Bad Day Chaos Blues

•July 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been going through a real rough time, but who cares? I started a tumblr: http://slycatz.tumblr.com . Not replacing my music posts here, just stuff for short-term fun and things that don’t need to be discussed. DONT B WORRIED!!!

I gotta tell ya, that tumblr stuff will suck your life away. Don’t spend too much time on there, unless you’re a cubicle cat who can sit on G-chat all day, or a poor musician with no future.

Cool new jams by Kurt Vile:

Notodden Kulturkampf

•May 5, 2011 • 2 Comments
  • Notodden Rock City: sweet Norwegian TV special about Notodden and the substantial bands from there, specifically Emperor, Peccatum and Zyklon. Pretty cool look at the town and so on. Wish there were subtitles or they talked to Ihsahn’s wife, Heidi Solberg more I guess.
  • Also: did you frikking know that Peccatum covered the Judas Priest classic “Under Blood Red Skies”?  It just cracks me up that Ihsahn has bandmates who play in a band called Zyklon (formerly Zyklon B) but he does music covers off the most sexually suggestive Judas Priest album in their discography. Anyhow, they make it all electro and weird and artsy — which is great of course; and it’s back before Ihsahn was a really good/practiced singer, so it has this weird, epic, soulful vibe.
Doesn’t even sound like him anymore:

Death 2 False Credibility

•April 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It seems this whole blog thingy could just be bypassed if I went ahead and gave you the link to my youtube favorites. Am I right? Reading blogs; iz like buying vinyl or CD when you can already download the album illegally somewhere on the interwebz. But whatever, I like the formality. Ain’t no tumblr just like there ain’t no smartphones up in here.

So — false metal: Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, false metal referred to glam bands, who were basically boy bands in poor disguise, cashing in on the popularity of the metal trend. The whole shit has come full-circle again today, so now you have all these metalcore/deathcore bands, which are essentially boy-bands, mistakenly giving normal people the impression of playing heavy metal, while marketing their merch and music to teenage kids. I’d think only girls would listen to it for the cute boys, but I’ve met plenty of young guys playing this stuff seriously. So weird, bro. All ya gotta remember is: deathcore = false metal; don’t tolerate people describing Bring Me the Horizon as a metal band. So obv I know, but hey I gotta water it down for the massive volume of readers I get on a daily basis.

There is also some weird hipster stuff making the rounds in the (adult?) metal scene, but in no large enough capacity to really make a lot of money. It’s just weird when mediocre stuff gets so popular. Or that is, mediocre stuff that has no real gimmicks. I mean, there are plenty of bands now just aping early Ulver, doing a half-assed job of recreating it in their Brooklyn studio space, and then marketing their avant-garde angle of being eco-green black metal or something similar.

It’s weird anyone lets them get away with this; black metal happened already, and less than 20 years ago. It was a pivotal extreme metal movement, and it brought a lot of anti-Christian/religious sentiment into the mainstream — not too mention a lot of those artists from the original black metal movement are only now reaping the meagerly lucrative benefits of being able to play live to large crowds (Immortal, Ulver, etc.). It just blows my mind when people want to plug these granola/urban/fixie-black metal bands like they’re something fresh or new. Dudes! Black metal was perfected in Ulver and Emperor and Enslaved back in 1994! Not being a jerk here, but people who release Bergtatt rehashes at this stage in the metal scene, with an eco-green twist, really seem like hipsters (Agalloch being the obvious exception lolz).

BTW: In addition to ordering the latest Ulver album on vinyl, I also snagged a CD copy of the latest Star of Ash album, Lakhesis. The press for Star of Ash has been kinda quiet since her first solo release in 2001, Iter.Viator. It’s all too artsy (as in, substantial) for the extreme metal scene these days, but top-notch stuff. Maybe you can describe it as nouveau-classical noir/darkwave? The previous album, The Thread was a fantastic minimalist, artistic concept album with some of the most gorgeous vox Kris G. Rygg has ever laid down!

Things that I have scene lately

•April 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Recently, there was posted a pretty informed review of DC metal/crust band Ilsa’s debut full-length, Tutti il Colori del Buio, posted on the band’s page at Metal Archives.

The review itself came from one of the primary contributors over at the metal review blog From the Dust Returned. I think their review is thorough — and is well-observed — but 6.5/10 must be more respectable to me than the reviewer himself. I mean, the same guy gives Scar Symmetry’s latest release a 7/10. That particular band is objectively terrible; they’re on a big label and the sound is so dated and artistically stale.

Ilsa is meanwhile a good looking-glass into the sound of an underground wave of metal that has emerged in the past 10 years. The review does them justice, describing a wave of heaviness unlike previous generations, and an inspiration unhappier than anything else I can really think of. FYI — the band also did an interview with Brooklyn Vegan recently, and there were some nice words here.

Other cool bands to check out:

  • Northern Cali’s Amarok is the heaviest live band I have seen in a long time (maybe ever at a house show?).
  • Austin’s Lions of Tsavo is rolling through DC in mid-May, and plays a killer progressive sludgy form of blackened metal, kinda like Inter Arma and other bands of that ilk happening now.
  • Melodic doom/sludge/drone dudes Anhedonist, out of Seattle, are playing some upcoming east coast dates
  • Ohio’s Artillery Breath just played some cool dates in the area and they are most excellent. Hear for yrself.

BONUS: the Norwegian group Ulver has a new album out in 2011, Wars of the Roses — and it sounds much promising from what I’ve heard:

Lately I have been considering throwing together a quarterly heavy metal zine for the DC area. I’ll keep you fanboyz n gurlz posted. It will feature all the hip underground metal news, plus all those satirical comedy stylings you have come to love me for.

Devil’s Crush: sure plays an evil pinball

•March 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Devil’s Crush (also translated sometimes as Devil’s Crash) was an action pinball game released in the early ’90s for the Turbo Grafix-16 and the Sega Genesis/Megadrive. Although a straight-forward pinball game, it featured action elements such as moving enemies, bosses, and an extremely interactive board that gave the gameplay more depth than the typical pinball game. The coolest part is that the game had an occult/Satanic horror atmosphere, and some random storyline about a fushigi ball or whatever.

The most important part is the music; here it is preternaturally fantastic. Some of the score was written or co-written Toshiharu Yamanishi, who is one of the masterminds behind the great soundtracks to the Thunderforce series, also released by Technosoft. Listen to this hot tamale of a song and experience vicarious battle with the spiritual underworld.

Jim Morrison: Mad Love

•February 5, 2011 • 2 Comments

One of my musically-inclined friends once told me he thought The Doors were one of the most overrated bands of all time. I disagree — even if you approach the Doors simply for their catchy/commercial songwriting (the way popular culture seems to measure all music since The Beatles), they still have a unique songwriting style and vibe that no one else had.

But the vibe — yeah, that’s what this band is about. The Doors were some dark-siders; specifically, Jim Morrison was into some dark-ass shit. The Doors have some catchy hit songs for sure, but they aren’t light-hearted the way a lot of their peers were. There are some strange-feeling passions going on underneath there. The funny thing is how bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones tried to market their dark “occult” side with references and symbolism. The Doors never did that so blatantly, but were naturally much closer to that sort of thing. To play it up would have been overkill at the time.

“Light My Fire” was the hit single off of their debut full-length, but it’s a 7+ minute song. That only makes sense if you listen to tracks like “Crystal Ship” or “Alabama Song” or “Take it as it Comes” — more concise tunes, but with a much darker feel. It’s like you’re at some weird occult seance or orgy. It’s a real direct window into the bizarre spiritual landscape of California in the 1960s. It has a strong emotional feeling to it.

The band’s sound becomes easier to describe with more musical movements to compare it to. The music hints at elements of dark-wave, prog rock/metal, and noise. I could imagine The Doors having gone into a free-jazz direction, or getting truly lounge-y with their sound. I could even see them getting drawn into sludge or early heavy metal, though I doubt anyone in the band had that interest. Between the mix of blues, jazz, acid-rock and a neo-beatnik feel, they result in a very peculiar mix.

And then that whole ’60s spiritual scene fractured and Jim Morrison was gone. An arbiter of that cultural decadence with nowhere to go once the tides shifted. He died in Paris, some Bohemian out of a Henry Miller novel, a casualty of drugs like so many people, then and now.

Schuldiner’s Tale

•February 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment


Remember back in the ’90s, when Chuck Schuldiner was still alive? That was awesome. Human was the breakthrough album by Schuldiner’s band, Death, one of the most important metal bands of the late ’80s and ’90s (others being bands from other extreme metal movements, like At the Gates or Emperor). All extreme metal is some amalgamation of their influences, or genres at the very least.Though I had Human downloaded illegally onto my computer via Napster, I didn’t know much about Death or like them enough yet to contribute to Chuck’s cancer fund-raisers. I don’t feel great about that. But to be fair, I was a young teenager, and most young teenagers are poor and know so much about nothing at all.

And despite being so well-known in metal today, Death didn’t even sell enough albums or make enough money throughout its existence to pay for Chuck’s cancer treatments, so as far as I’m concerned you didn’t support it enough no matter who you are. Chuck wasn’t a party-animal, he didn’t blow his money on drugs or live like a scumbag. And yet most of the artistic credence of death metal came from him. A national treasure and he got second-rate health care.

Anyway, before Chuck died he was working on the project Control Denied, with a bunch of other awesome musicians. It was like, yet-even-next-level prog-death-metal, but with awesome clean singing, of which is the cat’s meow. This puts to shame basically all other metal out there — even wigger-slam and deathcore (believe it or not!). I hear a lot of this in the new metal supergroup, Charred Walls of the Damned (which is also quite solid stuff and features the same drummer, Richard Christy).

Supposedly their second release is coming out in 2011, like 8 or 9 years later. Dunno how much of Chuck’s actual playing is on it, but I’m pretty excited! It’s too bad, his best stuff was probably yet to come.

 
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