Disposable music reviews

Originally published in ‘zine issue #25, 2001

Cripple Bastards Misanthropo A Senso Unico
(Deaf American)
Whether you enjoy the raw noise offered up by these Italian misanthropes or not, in terms of importance, Cripple Bastards’ contribution shouldn’t be underestimated. Sadly, now that “grindcore” has basically become synonymous with “death metal,” and the term “noisecore” (which could very easily be applied to much of Cripple Bastards’ material; see Life’s Built On Thoughts 1993 EP) is more likely to bring to mind Dillinger Escape Plan than Genital Masticator, it’s kinda hard to imagine kids weened on grindcore these days appreciating the raw approach of Fear Of God, Lärm, early Napalm, and C.B. when there’s much more “professional” fare to be had at local mall record stores. Still, Cripple Bastards are one of a handful of DIY grind/HC/noise bands still active past their 10-year anniversary, and judging by Misantropo A Senso Unico, they still sound surprising vital. Straight-ahead, fierce hardcore, not too far off from the Your Lies In Check material or the grinding thrash on their side of the Suppression/Cripple Bastards split LP on Bovine awhile back; the new LP does not disappoint. As always, they manage to juxtapose short, melodic/quirky passages here and there to keep it interesting, and they toss on a demo from 1994 at the end (total noisecore chaos!). Also, there’s about 16 pages of lyrics (in Italian and English) and as usual, nothing vague here. C.B. spits out anthems of pure fucking spite, earnest and well-written. While they make a point in the liner notes of stating that the subject matter for this LP centers around issues common to Italy’s culture/government and to the “social background of the area where we live,” I didn’t find that much was lost in translation. In fact, reading these at times reminded me of some of the same feelings that got me interested in HC/grind to begin with.

Honestly, I’ve been kind of ambivalent about many of C.B.’s releases in the past, but this one just straight-up floored me. It’s great to see a band keeping it sincere, DIY, and totally pissed off.
(by R. Mason) ■

Dee Snider Never Let the Bastards Wear You Down
Twisted Sister was arguably the most important American rock band of the 20th Century. Large, hairy, and criminally reckless with the cosmetics, the SMFs managed to come up with album after album of great rock ‘n’ roll, from the straight-up stomp metal attack of Under the Blade to the almost ’60s-pop influenced Love is for Suckers. They managed to sell millions of albums to impressionable teenagers, horrify parents (including my own), and were ultimately so “offensive” that even Congress had to get involved. So obviously, myself being one of the few individuals willing to acknowledge the universal importance of Dee Snider & Co., I was anxious to hear the man’s first solo outing since the ill-fated Desperado project with Bernie Torme. Don’t Let the Bastards Wear You Down is mostly a collection of never released songs dating back to the Twisted Sister days, and with the exception of an ill-advised cover of “The Wanderer” (I never did care for those Twisted Sister covers) and Zep rip-off track, it’s basically like listening to a Twisted Sister album. In other words, I played it nonstop for about three months. If you’re a true SMF, you’ve already got this. If not, you deserve to be strapped to a chair Clockwork Orange style and forced to watch Strangeland on loop. Buy now.
(by R. Mason) ■

Gandalf Rock Hell
(Wicked World)
Anyone remember the whole Gorefest debacle? You know, where musically they started sounding like bad Uriah Heap and the vocal- ist still sounded the same as when he was talking about “Confessions of a Serial Killer.” Well, this sounds like AC/DC with John Tardy on vocals. Yeah, I know. Personally, if this band wants to continue in this direction, they need to leave their current singer in “rock hell” (wherever the fuck that is) and bring back Bon Scott for the next album.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Godhead 2000 Years of Human Error
If you only saw the cover and the band photo, you would have every right to hate this band. They look like a bunch of fucking cretins. However, this record is actually surprisingly mature, well written, and entertaining. Not as guitar heavy as I was anticipating, but it maintains a good balance between trancey, subdued verses and solid, “not as anthemic as they would have you believe” choruses. The vocals are very strong and confident, always the mark of a band that has paid its dues and established its sound. A killer record that improves with every listen.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Mayhem Grand Declaration of War
I tried to like this album. I really, really did. Anytime a band tries to “experiment,” I try to keep an open mind and get into their new direction. I can’t do that here. Too bad; there’s a lot of good ideas swirling around on this record. Unfortunately none of them seem to go anywhere. My real pet peeve is all the spoken word parts, which are about as riveting as the Robert Stack narration on Unsolved Mysteries. Merely a grand declaration of mediocrity. Steer clear of this one.
(by J.R. Hayes) ■

Neurosis A Sun That Never Sets
If I need to introduce this band to you, then just fuck off and die, but if you’re interested because you know that Neurosis is one of the heaviest bands around, then read on. This album is definitely a sign of maturity on behalf of Neurosis, and that’s a good thing in this case. I was worried that these guys might start putting things out that were overly pretentious and almost some sort of musical inside joke. I was wrong. The vocals are very different in certain parts, because there is actual singing and much more emotion being tossed around than in the past. By the same token the music has alot of mellow intentions, while still waiting to crush you at just the right moment. All the songs have much more structure and more variety than on the past few albums but you still get a mouthful of that good old Neurosis feel that we all love so much. In the end I would compare parts of this record to Tom Waits and The Black Heart Procession, and it even has parts that are almost lifted out of God Speed You Black Emperor albums. With all these greeat influences under the umbrella of a Neurosis release, it’s very hard to go wrong with A Sun That Never Sets.
(by Jake Cregger) ■

Pig Destroyer Prowler In the Yard
You need this album. It’s as simple as that. This album is something that everyone must hear. Prowler In the Yard is beautifully disturbing, delicate, offensive, and oppressively crushing all at once. The lyrics (which are my favorite part of the entire thing) are very influenced by writers such as Nick Cave and are strategically placed to tell a story of confused life, obsession, and ways to make it stop hurting. The song structures, which will simply cause you to cream your pants, are led by a legion of guitar parts that are very technical, yet still manage to engage you and force you to bang your head. In addition, the drums are very complimentary to the vocals and guitar, which shows that he, the drummer, is not here to show off but to make music that is as heavy and effective as possible. This is a great breath of fresh air from the overly tech Relaspe stuff that has been coming out lately. Although this by no means indicates that the drummer is poor or out of his league; he simply understands the “less is more” take on percussion. In short, you owe it to yourself to buy this album. It is not mindless grind, but rather a well-crafted piece of extreme music.
(by Jake Cregger) ■

Witchery Symphony For the Devil
In case you haven’t heard of this band, Witchery is one of the premier death/rock outfits around. Boasting members of The Haunted and Satanic Slaughter, Witchery’s lineup is comprised of veteran and proven musicians. In most regards, Symphony For the Devil (SFTD) is very dissimilar from the material found on either of the aforementioned acts’ records. Anyone familiar with Laibach or the Rolling Stones will recognize the “wond’rously diabolical wit” employed in naming the album. A more observant listener will also discern the remarkable similarity between Laibach’s miserable industrial remix album and SFTD in that both records essentially sound like the same track repeated ad nauseum. The material on this record, according to guitarist Jensen, was written in only a few weeks, attested to by the formulaic and tired delivery. Stylistically, SFTD resembles a straight-up ‘80s metal band, à la Mercyful Fate, infused with growling vocals in place of a cleaner, more screechingly irritating vocal delivery. The musicianship and production is outstanding, as one has come to expect from most Necropolis bands, but unfortunately there is virtually nothing to showcase. Some catchy songwriting can be found sporadically on SFTD but for the most part precious little new ground is broken here. Fans of mid- tempo, simple, and insipid Euro-metal should find this album a pleasing, even soothing listen. While technically not a bad record, SFTD boasts none of the bone-crushing mayhem that has garnered Sweden such unholy acclaim in the past.
(by Mark Sloan) ■


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