Disposable music reviews

Originally published in ‘zine issue #5, 1992

Deathrage Demo 1992
What is this I hear? A fierce combo of early Vendetta and Kreator. This band has a distinctive German thrash sound with touches of Slayer and Coroner. The only complaint is the cheesy synth on the demo—it ruins a lot of potentially brutal riffs. One of the few good thrash bands I’ve heard in quite a while. $5 Europe, $6 overseas, Alessandro Vicini.
(by R. Mason) ■

Moribund Youth Turk Hardcore
Ah, those wacky anarchists! Standard HC with songs about killing politicians, the upper class, and anyone else they don’t like. Cool! Buy this demo and go slash a cop’s tires! $4 value; trade to Taylan Ipek.
(by R. Mason) ■

Voivod Angel Rat
(Mechanic Records)
Well, here it is finally, the new Voivod LP, Angel Rat! After a two-year-plus wait, a new logo, and a loss of founding bassist Blacky, Voivod is back. This is and has been for almost eight years now my favorite band. After glaring at a very disturbing and trippy album cover featuring a couple of characters from the songs found within, and a new logo straight out of the circus, I knew Voivod was not going to be (as the band never is) predictable!

Opening with a nice 30-second intro entitled “Shortwave,” which is made up of shortwave radio frequencies and talking of some sort, bang! Right into the first song, “Panorama.” I noticed right away a more rock ‘n’ roll style throughout the music: less fills, less riffs, and more up-tempo picking. This song to me is a hybrid of old, good Motörhead mixed with hints of Van Halen, say, Women and Children First era. Snake’s vocals as usual are weird and very ragged, giving the album a nice original feel throughout.

Next up is the current video, “Clouds in My House.” Again I noticed a rock ‘n’ roll style: straight-ahead riffing-type structures with weird vocal patterns behind some superb tom work by sticksman Away. This song is very much the single for the LP and a good non-generic one at that.

“The Prow” is next and receives my vote for best song on the LP! Not only does it have a godly groove to it and more sing-along verses than any other Voivod tune to date, but it’s almost a tribute to old Ramones/Sex Pistols-type punk. A masterpiece of ideas, soloing, etc.

Now, “Best Regards.” A song not far from Devo at its best, with a bit more guitar and at times Priest-style heavy metal riffing. Another god chorus and solo.

“Twin Dummy” is a song of odd riffing and time changes, extreme vocal effects, and is a chaotic closing to a fabulous side of an album!

Side two opens with the title cut, “Angel Rat,” which is a Russian folklore character created to stir a boy (stuck on a cliff, wondering whether to leave, and face the angel or rat shape above him, or stay and die) to a fatal decision. It’s in a very quiet, moving way that this story is told, and the answer is left to the listener as is to the outcome. A very emotional tune.

Next is the jumping, moving “Golem,” a song with a groovy drum beat, pounding beneath choppy, mechanical riffs and floating, dreamlike keyboards (the latter of which are actually used quite often and effectively throughout the whole LP).

The next tune, “The Outcast,” brings Technical Ecstasy by Black Sabbath to mind with its constant 1, 2, 3, 4 riffing and Snake’s Ozzy-like vocal approach. A decent rock ‘n’ roll song, but to me it’s the weakest song on this platter.

But “Nuage Fractal” brings me right back to Morgoth (Voivod’s imaginary land) with its extremely schizophrenic-style mix, awkward arrangement, and stunning vocals. This is the LP’s most interesting song. This is also part one of a three-part concept on the chaos theory played out on this LP.

Part two, “Freedoom,” is an almost haunting ballad at first, with more dreamy guitar noises and melodic, quiet vocals. But boom! Suddenly it twists into an early ‘70s Rush-style tune filled with chanting power chords, heavy toms, and crazy vocals. A good time at the very least.

Part three of the concept and the final LP cut, “None of the Above” is another favorite of mine, talking of answers to problems that nobody’s found solutions to. A great chorus and stunning outro make this my second favorite on the LP.

Artwork from "Angel Rat" by Voivod

I must say that if you gave up on Voivod after Dimension Hatröss, then this won’t encourage you to listen again, but if you understand the singularity and originality (which is very scarce in music nowadays) of Voivod, you will undoubtedly be sucked deeper into the world of strange, unique, and above all brilliant music that is Voivod. Angel Rat is my favorite LP ever! And that is saying a lot! [On a scale of 1 to 10] I give it a billion!
(by King Fowley) ■

Entombed, Exhorder, Ripping Corpse, and Deceased
The Bayou, Washington, D.C.
by Jim Hunter

The show began around 7:30 p.m. with Relapse Records’ Deceased taking the stage in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd. Once again, the band blew an audience away with its intense style of death metal. Deceased played a few of the classics (“Feasting On Skulls,” “Fading Survival,” “Shrieks From the Hearse,” “Decrepit Coma”) and [several new songs including] its soon-to-be classic, the epic “Into the Bizarre.” This song is so full of killer riffs it’s unbelievable! If there was any justice in the world, this band should have played right before Entombed, instead of opening the show.

Ripping Corpse from New Jersey was next. The band’s style of “hey, let’s play a new riff every second” did not particularly excite me. Some people may dig this kind of stuff, but I don’t.

RC Records’ Exhorder came on next and proceeded to try to look as cool as possible. The bandmembers all had mean looks on their faces, and the singer could teach John Travolta a thing or two about getting down with his disco stage style. Exhorder received a positive crowd response, but I think the drunk people in front thought they were watching Pantera. This band also sold sheet music for its new album The Law as merchandise, which I thought was a pretty cheesy idea.

Next up was the Swedish god of death metal, Relativity/Earache Records’ Entombed. The crowd was in a frenzy from the moment the band unleashed its first song, “Living Dead.” Entombed played some Left Hand Path classics (“Drowned,” “Supposed to Rot,” “But Life Goes On,” “Left Hand Path”) and a few from the new album, Clandestine (“Stranger Aeons,” “Evilyn,” “Sinners Bleed”). The band was so incredibly heavy and crushing, it boggles the mind! My only complaint was that Entombed didn’t play “Chaos Breed.”

So basically, Entombed and Deceased ruled, and Exhorder and Ripping Corpse pretty much blew. I just hope Entombed comes back to D.C. soon. ■

Obituary, Agnostic Front, Cannibal Corpse, and Malevolent Creation
Wilmer’s Park, Brandywine, MD
by Editor

My temporal lobes were overloaded by the incredible music to which I exposed them this night, at the Complete Control Tour. A couple of lobotomy patients posing as extreme music fans from southern Maryland’s “Underground” radio station hosted the show, and they tossed “Underground” bumper stickers into the crowd.

Unfortunately I missed RC Records’ Malevolent Creation, the Florida-based band that considers itself a New York band (its original home). I do know that the death metal group played songs off of its new album, the nine-song Retribution, as well as from its first album, The Ten Commandments.

Cannibal Corpse was in top form as usual. This New York band always sounds the same every time I see it, which is to say crunchy and tight. The band churned out tracks from its first two albums on Death Records, opening with “Covered with Sores” from the second one, Butchered at Birth. The one new song the band played was “Addicted to Vaginal Skin” from the latest album, Tomb of the Mutilated, which sounded good. Of course the band went over quite well with the gore hounds in attendance.

Agnostic Front took the stage with its forceful New York hardcore. Vocalist Roger Miret was recovering from an operation, so his little brother filled in and did a great job. AF belted out tunes from the new one, Relativity Records’ One Voice, such as the title track, and of course pummeled the ecstatic crowd with old stuff such as the opener, “Victim in Pain,” and “Crucified.” There were multiples of people on stage for the godly Agnostic Front, which played a rather short set.

Before I get to the headliner, I promised Dawn Crosby of Fear Of God fame that I’d mention that I saw her at the show. Yes, she relocated to Maryland, her original home, from the L.A. scene. She has a new band lineup with thrash roots, and the new Fear Of God album, Dawn revealed, will most likely be out on Warner Bros. Records. And it will be a cross between the harder old Détente stuff and the more melodic Fear Of God. Watch for it!

Obituary came out next and flooded the crowd with its Floridian death metal riffs. The band attacked the audience by throwing songs at it from the new RC Records album, The End Complete, including the title song and “I’m in Pain,” which had a brief drum solo in the middle. Obituary mercifully slashed the attendants with plenty of Cause of Death stuff, such as “Turned Inside Out,” and a few Slowly We Rot tunes like “Intoxicated.” The band’s live sound was close to the studio mix. A super performance.

So, to wrap up, the three latter bands were ruling the place, and the crowd ate it up. Hopefully the tour will be a success. These package things are great when there is a good mix of music and the openers don’t play too long. ■

Testament, White Zombie, and Latem
The Bayou, Washington, D.C.
by R. Mason

When I arrived, Latem was preparing to start its set. The band played a fairly long set of good technical thrash. It wasn’t bad, considering the group had an entire five feet of stage to run around on, but the singer wasn’t all that great.

Next up was Geffen Records’ White Zombie. The band mostly played songs from the new Sexorcisto album, and they were incredible. The group had strobe lights and sirens going and some other really neat shit going on. Sean, the bass player, had most of the guys in the club’s (including mine) testosterone levels at a dangerous level as she ran around with her bass. White Zombie is truly god and must be seen to be believed.

Finally, Atlantic Records’ Testament hit the stage, opening up with its new single, “Electric Crown.” The band played a lot of songs off the new album, The Ritual, and a few from Souls of Black and Practice What You Preach. Fortunately, the group played a few The New Order songs to redeem itself of its most dreadful plunge into the land of sellout thrash bands. The pit was going insane and people seemed be into it. However, I was not impressed.

Face it: Testament is just another cheese metal band now. Thank God for White Zombie, or this night would have been a total waste. ■


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