Disposable music reviews

Originally published in ‘zine issue #34, 2005

Adorior/Witchmaster split LP
This record is complete fire, if only for the Adorior side! The five piece from Sussex, England start things off right, with two blazing songs of absurd, grinding death metal. Clocking in at just over 12 minutes, it’s a fevered assault that few in their genre can match these days. Singer Melissa Hastings spits pure venom on these tracks and I love it. I’d gladly drink the menstrual blood from the unholy snatch of this metal demon! Lyrically, she sticks to topics like Satan, war, and random violence, which I have no problem with at all. The band backs it all up with a tourniquet-tight performance. There’s nothing left to say, but “Hail Adorior!” The slightly lesser Witchmaster offers five tracks of aggressive black metal that does little to excite me. Perhaps it’s the poor recording. Nonetheless, they did their best at trying to tear a new asshole into the listener, so good for them. Well, like I said, side A is worth every penny, and with a nice packaging job, I recommend picking this one up if you can.
(by Adam Perry) ■

Collapsar 2005 album
(Escape Artist)
All this jazzy, angular, talent-spewing, instrumental math-metal is getting pretty tiresome. If I wanted math, I wouldn’t have dropped out of fucking elementary school. If I may indulge myself, this is the last review I’m writing for this installment of D.U. and the needle on my jadedness meter is approaching an unfriendly level. Remember Suzukiton last issue? Similar deal, but much longer, much more involved, and completely devoid of ball-busting metal riffs. Again, I’ll harken to Dysrhythmia and The Fucking Champs. But, see, I think I like those bands a tad more, especially The Fucking Champs. Though impressive in its own right, Louisiana’s Collapsar basically just jumps from one wanky-sounding thing to the next, constantly shifting time signatures and developing textural interplay between the instruments. If that’s your cup of tea then you will surely relish this fine example of the style. A definite highlight of the album is the brilliantly titled “King Kong Died for Your Sins,” what with its sheer Voivodness and mournful voice-simulator outro. That leads me to what I ultimately liked best about this disc: the squeezed, whammy pedal-enhanced guitar melodies and the ambient bits with moog and even a theremin(!) If you own or have access to a theremin, you are truly special. Otherwise, my patience for Collapsar’s incessant abstraction wanes.
(by Lenny Likas) ■

Debris, Inc. 2005 album
(Rise Above/Candlelight)
Fuck me. This disc rules. It’s punk as fuck L.A. hard rock sprawled out over a flea-ridden couch like only a drunken 50-something Dave Chandler could sweat from his aging pores with the medicinal assistance of Trouble’s Ron Holzner on bass. The feedback moans in vein-popping agony, the guitar sounds as gritty as sandpaper on your balls, and the throbbing bass is loud enough to hear over the pack of Harleys revving in your front yard. These righteous songs take you on a spaced-out trip from sleepy cannabis haze to alcohol-fueled rage with Ramones-like catchiness one moment and the palpable discomfort and plodding pace of the best Vitus songs the next. I really thought Wino was keepin’ it real with his godlike The Hidden Hand, and then I heard this fuckin’ shit! This shit scrawls faded tattoos on your forearms and makes you smell like a bar room full of cigarettes. These guys don’t give a fuck, with wandering bass solos all over the place and searing wah-wah guitar leads that crash and cry and scream like a head full of bad memories. Fuck! These are the best lyrics ever, with a chorus that will have you chanting “I don’t!—listen!—you’re full of shit!” over and over again. You’ll wanna stand up, drop an “I don’t giv-a mutha-fuck!” one-liner, guzzle some Old Crow from the bottle, and kick in the nearest TV screen! When the disc is finished, you’ll feel like you just got out of a three-year stint at Chino for cocaine possession. I’m telling you, this shit is that real. But if you haven’t already paid your dues, muthafucka, you was born too late.
(by Lenny Likas) ■

End Of Level Boss Prologue
(Exile on Mainstream)
Whew. Okay, this sorta sounds at times like Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger on one of those fat shake diets. The singer is just grating my nerves. I don’t know what to call this, except I have this sneaking feeling that I might bring this record to a party to see what happens when I put it on. This is bad, and the artwork is terrible.
(by Mike Taylor) ■

Kult Of Azazel The World, The Flesh, And The Devil
I just don’t get the black metal thing. Somebody please explain it to me. I mean, I’m all about some screaming vocals and some blasting drums, but black metal riffs always have this mock epic, homoerotic gladiator movie feel to them. To be fair, this album isn’t a total loss. Some of the slower tracks are actually pretty interesting, but they are the exception to the rule. The first song is called “The World is Full of Violence.” No shit, Sherlock. Thanks for the news flash. Everything about this style––the imagery, the sound, the corpsepaint, all of it––is fucking played out. It was played out six years ago. Please stop.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Minsk Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive
(At A Loss)
I’ll quote Blake on the first thing he said when we arrived in Europe together: “Not impressed.” The lyrics tell me nothing. It sounds like a caffeine-free, watered-down Neurosis. There’s more soul on the barcode of a Swans CD than the music on this album.
(by Mike Taylor) ■

New Dead Radio Avalon Bridge Will Burn
You know how sometimes you’ll throw on a record and even though it’s really heavy and fast, it just sits there and stares blankly at you like the weird fat kid in chemistry class? Well, this record is the opposite of that. This record moves. It drives hard and fast and drags your bloody carcass behind it. It grooves like old Helmet, screams like Refused, and rocks like Black Flag. Even the feedback is great. New Dead Radio has got the goods. Check ‘em out.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Origin Echoes of Decimation
I don’t listen to stuff like this, and if I do I like it to sound a lot more raw. Origin plays grinding metal, sometimes lingering into death metal. Most of the songs sound alike; not a lot of dynamic in the sound or tones of the record. Triggered drums—which I hate—guitar sweeps, terribly unimaginative artwork, bad lyrics. There’s talent in this band’s ability to play well, but this is pretty unremarkable music––there’s really nothing that sets this apart. I know some people will like this, but I don’t.
(by Mike Taylor) ■

Quell One Man’s Struggle With the English Language
What does North Carolina’s Quell sound like? Spazztic and technical, with an undaunted and undifferentiated screaming dude trapped inside claustrophobic start/stop rhythms that keep things tense until the contemplative, quieter moments spring up. These post-metal guys love their guitars: pseudo-time signatures, dueling scale runs with odd harmonization, dissonance—you know the deal. At least there’s no awful clean singing. Of course, by that I mean any clean singing at all. Musically, I enjoyed the subtle instrumental sections, especially with piano, and that kind of lonely, unspecified melancholy that lingers nearby. But what I liked best about this release is the packaging: you know those public information brochures you get on airplanes and shit? With drawings of people involved in emergency situations and what to do if the shit hits the fan? Well, they spoof it. Been done, right? See, Quell’s take is interesting because they’re not intended to be funny. Instead, they attach abstract ideas and commentary on human nature to these depictions of really terrible things happening. It’s thought-provoking and unsettling, so thumbs up.
(by Lenny Likas) ■

Ramesses We Will Lead You to Glorious Times
(Dark Reign)
I’m calling their bluff on the title of this record. It led me to bedtime. The first riff lasts for at least eight minutes; I had to skip the rest of track one. The rest of the CD is more of the same. There’s really not much to say about this release since nothing much changes music-wise. On the plus side, apparently there’s some ex-members of some other band in this band, and I say that’s great. And there is a tank on the cover of the record. And this band is named after an obscure brand of condoms, so that’s pretty cool. Boy, Eyehategod sure did pave the way for a lot of shit.
(by Blake Midgette) ■

Recourse Weakening The Structure
(This Dark Reign)
Another death metal band that, for whatever reason, thinks it is equally a hardcore group. But Recourse’s grasp of hardcore seems unfortunately limited to playing the occasional groove or chunky breakdown and posturing in bulky clothing and stocking caps during summertime (see tree full of healthy leaves in the background of the liner photo for evidence). To their credit, Maryland’s own Recourse is a solid act and some of their lyrics seem to convey that they suspect America has been hoodwinked by the current presidential administration––hell you say?! Though nothing displayed here is too memorable or intense, or inspiring, they do let loose some USA thrash-influenced, controlled death metal with heavy churning moments and tempos that typically alternate between mid-paced with double-bass rolls and up-tempo with on- and off-beat snare pounding. Everything about this band’s sound is firmly rooted in the well-trodden East Coast thrash/death metal scene. And if you find that interesting, you could do worse than download an mp3 of these guys.
(by Lenny Likas) ■

Sunn O))) Black One
(Southern Lord)
I was thinking, “Right on, Southern Lord put this out.” Well, see, I know a lot of people are hip on this band right now, but I will never get that hour of time I invested in this garbage back, and that hurts. A lot of things can be done in an hour and it’s how I choose to spend that time that defines the quality of life I live. I can get more out of one hour of life by being stuck in traffic on I-95, watching a high school band whose instruments are way out of tune, sitting at the Buffalo Wing Factory, or listening to the House Of Pain 7” on Sub Pop 50 times on the wrong speed than by listening to this record again, all of which, I might add, are more evil than listening to some shitstick in a coffin screaming into a microphone. Fuck you and your Druid outfits, Sunn O))). Actually, I like the outfits, so just fuck you, Sunn O))).
(by Mike Taylor) ■

Toadliquor The Hortator’s Lament
(Southern Lord)
Now this is something I can sink my teeth into. I must admit I’ve been into Toadliquor long before reviewing this disc from 2003. I caught wind of them when I heard that someone from Behead The Prophet/NLSL played with them. This disc here is essentially everything the band ever recorded. I can’t say enough about my liking for this band. They play extremely dirty/raw/visceral doom music, somewhere in the vein of bands like Noothgrush and Eyehategod, but dare I say nastier, the way I prefer to hear it. Vocals that sound like they were recorded at the bottom of a dark, wet hole, distortion that cracks and buzzes through my speakers, songs that plod and hammer like raw meat smacking raw meat. More music needs to be this mean. A must have for fans of the slow and heavy.
(by Mike Taylor) ■

The Unheard Of The Struggle
No metal/hardcore/jazz crossovers here; just straight-up hard rock with just a dash of late ‘80s glam (in their sound, not their image). Think Tesla without the chops. There’s even the obligatory sensetive ballad, a la “Silent Lucidity.” This doesn’t make me wanna jam #2 pencils in my ears or anything, but there’s nothing much here to get excited about, which is why The Unheard Of will likely remain just that.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Urgehal Through The Thick Fog Till Death
(Southern Lord)
The artwork for this album is so absurd that I’m not sure if this band is a “real” black metal band or a parody of a black metal band. Then you throw the record on and you realize that they’re probably dead serious. This is what I like to refer to as a genre album, meaning these guys look and sound like a million bands who look and sound like a specific band (speaking of which, can somebody please gather up all these awful Dillinger Escape Plan rip offs and shove them in front of a subway train?). Sure, I’ve heard worse … much worse … but there’s just no excuse for this sort of shit, and shame on you, Southern Lord. I hold you guys to a higher standard that this silliness. I mean, there’s dog shit, and then there’s fake dog shit. Excuse me; I’m gonna go kill myself now.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

V:28 SoulSaviour
Sterility is the word here, with electronic backdrops and keyboard flourishes imparting a sense of bleak wonderment. A few of the guitar riffs on this album sound like simplified approximations of Slayer riffs. Not that I’m complaining about that, though. This is mid-tempo black metal with a passable melodic sense, your average black metal vocals, and a strong affinity for digital manipulation. One song even dares to jump into a full-on dance part that sounds like the shit people would be getting down to in some suave, nihilo-European dance club in a mid-‘90s action movie—no breakbeats, just straight pumping techno. Actually, a lot of this stuff has a vaguely cinematic quality to it. The lyrics and visuals describe a uranium-enriched environment where radioactive decay has cleansed the world of all life, like disinfectant on a toilet bowl. The only things left are empty apartment complexes and leering billboards with softcore photos of women dressed like nurses. These guys are good enough, but I wouldn’t feel too compelled to seek them out in the future.
(by Lenny Likas) ■

Grind your fucking face in

Grind Your Fucking Face In
Talking Head, Baltimore, MD
by Editor

“Grind your fucking face in” was the name of the festival that took place at The Talking Head in Baltimore, Maryland. It was only one night and only six bands, but it had something of the air of an event that was more than just another show.

By the time we got there, Medic had already played and the bass player was loading his gear in his vehicle outside the club. They presumably played songs from their CD, Greetings and Amputations, and their split 7” with Triac.

Touring in support of Buried in the Front Yard, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder from Pennsylvania played thrash metal through and through. The riffs were technical and the band struck poses the way a proper thrash band should, and the singer never got out of character, asking the crowd, “Having a good time tonight?!” and so on in the way that most bands that play this style of music stopped doing many years ago. Rumpelstiltskin Grinder was a lot of fun, concerned itself with putting on a performance, and didn’t let up for one minute.

Total Fucking Destruction is also from Pennsylvania and they sounded like their band name on stage. Their set was actually one of the best I’ve seen of them, even with fatigue (or the effects of weed) evident on their faces and the handicap of a fill in at one of the guitar spots accomplished by one of the axe slingers for Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, who also handled backups. It didn’t seem to be a problem at all, however. Bandleader and drummer/vocalist Rich Hoak said that night during loadout that the point of the band, or one of them, anyway, was to write simple riffs that anybody could play. This was one of the U.S. dates the band was playing before they went to Europe to promote Total Fucking Destruction: Compact Disc Version 1.0.

Total Fucking Destruction performing live
Total Fucking Destruction performing live

Next, Triac played a hurried set after believing they would have to cancel because of their van not starting. The equipment-laden vehicle started after all, the result of a battery jump and a few swift kicks, and with its arrival at the club the band threw their equipment on stage and rocked. They’ve been playing one-offs and weekend tours in support of their split 7” EP with Medic and their CD, Dead House Dreaming. Basically Triac played their grindcore with lots of absurdly catchy riffs frantically, with the singer at one point belting out a verse or two from the floor in the company of the crowd surfers and slam dancers, and from the stage kept up front and handed out wisecracks in between songs.

Triac performing live
Triac performing live

Misery Index took the stage amid excitement and proceeded to rip through numbers from Retaliate and their latest, Dissent. Misery Index performed grindcore but, as with each band that night, not in the same way as any of the other bands. Their take was a mix with death metal of the highest caliber. The band had energy to spare and performed well, putting on a rousing, crowd pumping set. Well seasoned and solid as a rock.

Misery Index performing live
Misery Index performing live

Finally the behemoth that is Swarm Of The Lotus came on. Playing several songs from their second album, The Sirens of Silence, as well as some from their first, When White Becomes Black, Swarm played one of the most pissed-off sets from them I’ve seen. They were coming off like they had something to prove, but that seems to come easily for the band as Swarm has its own sound and at the same time is terribly heavy and extreme. With triple vocals, 7-string axes, 5-string bass, and double-kick drums, Swarm made sure the audience left happy.

Swarm Of The Lotus performing live
Swarm Of The Lotus performing live
Swarm Of The Lotus performing live

Things were getting out of hand at a few points in the pit during the set, with one of the guys from Medic trying to calm down what he called “pool hall” behavior. Swarm’s singer paused in between songs to remind the audience that everyone was there to have a good time.

Contact info for each “Grind Your Fucking Face In” band respectively:

www.swarmofthelotus.com ■

Photos: Total Fucking Destruction (top), Triac (center above), Misery Index (center below), and Swarm Of The Lotus (bottom) (D.U.)


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