Thursday, August 17, 2017

Single Review: AMERICAN WRECKING COMPANY Everything And Nothing

Everything And Nothing
Title track from their new full length on Pavement Entertainment
If you're on the search for intoxicating, energetic metal with high immediacy I'd strongly advise you to look no further than American Wrecking Company, no doubt a group that has managed to build a cult following. Their new single, 'Everything And Nothing' is crushing. If 'amps to eleven' was ever on the verge of losing its meaning and credibility this song carries the flag for this apophthegm. Everything about it is bold and direct and you get a thrill listening to the all-pervasive crunching quality ever so prevalent in the riffs. They're a group that aren't the easiest to pinpoint but I'd say they fit into something of a progressive hybrid of punk and metal. It isn't visceral to the degree that one may consider it tied to the constrictions of primordial emotion. There is, in fact, a cerebral quality that would be enough in my estimation to prevent certain sectors from deeming it too 'brash' or 'loutish', among pejoratives one has a tendency to vouchsafe. Intricacy rears its head in a stylish, understated manner. It is set in 4/4 throughout and consistently remains in the key of B. What is most interesting is that it's based around a singular series of notes with a tendency to employ different variations which unlike other instances this technique most certainly doesn't become stale. The group emanates an all-encompassing display of energy and enthusiasm. -Jaime Regadas

EP Review: CASKET ROBBERY The Ascension

The Ascension
Right before I went to bed, I remembered that I was sent "The Ascension" by Casket Robbery to review. After sipping on a few radlers whilst listening to CD's that were sent to me by NIHILIST RECORDS, I threw on Casket Robbery for the first time. I cannot pin-point a genre on this, but it is some very loud heavy-metal. This is a really short one, as it consists of only three tracks. Even though it may not be long, it still packs quite a blistering punch. The timing is on-point and the production is highly professional. Crunchy, slammy guitars mixed with nice bass and powerful vocals. I will for sure be checking in again to see what these guys are doing in the near future. Beautifully done, nice job everyone. Always remember to support the underground. Great bands like this spring up from time to time and it is always a positive thing when it happens. -Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Pockets Lined With Flowers
2. The Ascension
3. Lilith

Article: God Gave Us Nothing by Joseph A. Zuchowski

God Gave Us Nothing
My rant today is about the phrase, "Our God given rights." and why I feel it demeans the struggles we have as a nation gone through to secure those fragile things. To the best of my knowledge, none of the founders ascended some mountain top, or went out into the wilderness had a divine encounter and return with a divinely written constitution. Nope, sorry, didn't happen. God did not give us our rights, we created them. The framers of the constitution argued, revised and voted on every one of them the same way we do our laws today. Those who use the phrase should really take a good look at the Book of Job: God can give than God can reclaim (The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away) It also demean the blood and pain that was suffered by many who were not originally covered in the early days of our nation. Women, and Native people were not considered citizens, and blacks barely so but that was for population purposes for statehood and then again it was only adult black males. Anyone familiar enough with basic European history knows that as time was progressing we were turning away from such concepts which permeated history. If you read the bible, rulership is divinely appointed the ever infamous "Divine Right of Kings." Our nation's Constitution make the source of our government's authority very clear in the first three words "We the People" no religion is to be promoted or prohibited by the government, and no person is to be made to believe in anything they do not wish to. Also no religious test are to be given for any public office of the United States. Another point, the existence of God cannot be logically proven, sorry all the arguments have been used up and it comes down to a matter of faith. If you gave proof you do not need faith, in fact looking to prove God's existence undermines faith, it shows the person is lacking in it and needs to have it bolstered. As I said when the Constitution was penned the majority of the country's population was marginalized. Let's look at things logically. Would a Civil War have been necessary if a perfect divine being was responsible? No, because the moral repugnance of that state would have been as obvious to an all perfect being as it is to us so slavery would have been abolished and full citizenship would have been available over two hundred years ago; women would have had the right to vote. And most importantly a perfect document would never have ended revision. When you say "God given" you are asking me to accept pro facto that there is a god, chiefly a particular variety and nature of god. Again I repeat: there is as much evidence for Yahweh as there is for Odin or Zeus or any of that lot. Case in point: the bible does not deny the existence of any other god, in the Hebrew Scriptures we are often told that "You will have no other god," not that there is no other god. Yahweh was developed through the course of time from a tribal to a universal god. The bible is a political book, political in the sense that the books included in the Hebrew and later Christian scriptures were designed to promote a particular world view. I recommend “The Bible On The Cutting Room Floor," "The Lost Books Of The Bible" and "Lost Christianities” to fully understand this. Submitted for your interest.
The purpose of my rant was to show how if we believe that our rights come from more than human minds, that the idea of democracy has its roots in human development. From ancient peoples debating around a fire on how the best way to handle a situation, or the early attempts at a semi democracy of ancient Athens, Rome, the Councils (things) of the Germanic peoples, are well documented. What is the danger in believing our rights are "God given"? The notion that a Supreme Being has chosen a nation or people to bestow a system guidance upon, that somehow these "rights" are perfect and above questioning revision and if necessary to be excised if they are no longer valid. The idea that people who have these rights are now morally obligated to impose them on others. Even to the elimination of those people and their cultures. We are as a species tribal, but the truth is we are one species with cosmetic variations of melanin, and that's about it. We have created our societies and all the good and ills that come with them. Many will say because Thomas Jefferson wrote "all men are endowed by their creator with the rights of life, liberty and happiness" which is only a variation of John Locke's "Life, liberty, and pursuit of property" only proves a belief in a creator, Jefferson's a Deist, basically as Dawkins puts it sexed up naturalism. Now one more point. What if I supported "God given rights (laws)” and my name was not said "Joseph" or as I prefer it "Joe" but Yousef Ibn Adama, would you still say I was right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CD Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS Grind Slut Mind Fuck

Grind Slut Mind Fuck
Nihilist Records
I recently received a parcel in the mail from NIHILIST RECORDS. Within that parcel was a compilation pro-CD called ''GRIND SLUT MIND FUCK''. Due to my previous affiliation with this label, I was expecting the majority of the tracks on this beast to be different variations of noise and grind. Although there was a fair portion of noise, there was also a decent amount of high-production extreme metal. A few of the bands released on this compilation have also been released in some way or another on my D.I.Y label Gorecyst Records. Over half a decade ago we put out a split tape that featured Zombie Raiders. A few years later we released a BLASPHEMATION dub cassette. Both of those projects were featured on this compilation and it is really nice to see that both these projects are still active and involved within the underground scene. This is without a doubt one of the better releases put out on NIHILIST. Everything on NIHILIST is worth listening to, but this compilation CD is a gem within the label's collection. NIHILIST RECORDS is run by ''Cire Narg'', and you can find him on FACEBOOK and other random locations all over the internet. We met in 2010-2011 when his band BLASPHEMATION and my old band PROCTOPHOBIC were released together on a split disc. In conclusion, NIHILIST has only been a label for a few years, but Cire is working hard at bringing the sounds of the underground to your virgin ear-drums. Buy this album and others to support the dark abyss that is NIHILIST RECORDS. I guarantee you will not be let down. -Devin Joseph Meaney
P.S: My old blackened gore-grind band released a ''Greatest Hits'' CD on NIHILIST RECORDS. For only a few U.S dollars, you could also own that piece of ''art''. NIHILIST RECORDS FOR LIFE.

Track list:
2. ULCER Exhorting The Swineherd (Demo)
3. GRAVEHUFFER Prince With A Thousand Enemies
5. ENBILULUGUGAL Choking On Filthy Flesh
6. EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT Gravitational Oblivion
7. BLISTERING DEFILEMENT Telekinetic Dismemberment
8. UNEXPLAINABLE Killer Within
9. GENERICHRIST Kill Your Parents
11. ZOMBIE RAIDERS The Crater Lake Monster
12. BLASPHEMATION Stomped Into A Sludge
13. ELEPHANTKNUCKLE Nighttime (Outro)

Video Review: PSY:CODE Stay Disappeared

Stay Disappeared
From their 2017 full length Mørke (Pavement Entertainment)
Twelve days after releasing their single 'Leech', the ever-impressive Psy:code returns with the incredibly different, unexpected 'Stay Disappeared', featuring a highly emotive yet disturbing animated video for accompaniment. Unlike the riff-driven nature of Leech, the driving figurehead at the vanguard of this track is the appearance of sustained piano voicings. It is a slow song that cannot escape initial comparisons to Steven Wilson due to a thought-provoking video that adds a new level of meaning to the song. It wouldn't have been possible at all without this. Depicting the harrowing patterns we see so often in contemporary urban living, the visual symbolism of individuals tied down and inevitably categorized by superficial statistics such as background, profession, sexuality and race, - each 'number' or, at a stretch, 'homo-sapien', has to resign to the fate of their heads' being supplanted by paper-bags to join the parade and contribute to the beautiful ebb-and-flow of urban flow. Within this chaos you see the band members depicted in 3D animated form, giving the whole thing a surreal, fantastical feel. It is a stark criticism of alienation which leaves one devoid of individuality and ability to express oneself. - And yes, the visuals depicting this are duly stunning. Of course you're not here to hear about the video per se but the song. Admittedly I found the video most impressive about it though the song is good. It takes until the end before the crushing guitars barge in for it to really be considered a 'rock' song. - But whatever it is in terms of classification the quality it retains is of sophistication and maturity from a group willing to push boundaries. -Jaime Regadas

Sunday, August 13, 2017

CD Review: EXTERMINATOR Total Extermination (Reissue)

Total Extermination (Reissue)
It has been an awful long time since I delved into the labyrinths of first-wave black metal but when I read about Exterminator I was intrigued to learn of their connections to that short-lived eighties movement. 'Total Extermination' is an album that has been widely sought after by fans of this niche genre, and while I too considered myself to be fairly literate as far as first-wave BM groups go I was surprised to discover that there was indeed a group from that era that I was unfamiliar with. Originally released in 1987 but re-released on August 5 via Greyhaze Records, the album is almost a definitive staple of how average extreme metal band sounded at that time: - Raw, unpolished, under-produced and not that great in all honesty. But what I like and what many others will like is that it's self-confessedly mediocre and almost kind of glorifies it in a humorous way. Don't get me wrong, - they're a product of their time and they were part of a movement that was pretty much characterized by a juvenile kind of enthusiasm in contrast with the now overtly cringe-inducing allusions to Satanism and the macabre. But in those days it wasn't so cringe-inducing because it hadn't been done before and it was still a moderately new thing. It's not a crime to say that if a lot of those groups ala Hellhammer (pre-Celtic Frost) and NME were around now they wouldn't be romanticized or bestowed with the same coloration, - and that's not particularly a bad thing but rather an inevitable consequence seeing as these type of groups paved the way for the more sophisticated brand of black-metal that would blossom in Scandinavia a couple years later. But this album itself obviously isn't very good - the riffs aren't memorable and nearly all of the crash-cymbals aren't synchronized correctly. The rhythms are sloppy and the solos are frenetic, detuned, dissonant and at times grating. Though having said that almost all extreme metal groups from the eighties were kind of devoid of the ability to solo properly and melodically, - (and if you disagree try singing me a Slayer solo from that era - I'll be waiting!). But nonetheless it's an inoffensive record if you're into this type of thing and it's an enjoyable album to listen to analytically for the sake of introspection. But overall it's a fairly dull twenty-nine minutes of material if you're unfamiliar with the scene it came from and of course the groups who were later influenced by it. -Jaime Regadas

Track list:
1. The End
2. Nightmare
3. Exterminator
4. Marchando Para A Morte
5. Voyage To Hell
6. Speed Metal
7. March Of The Exterminator
8. Pro Inferno Vou Te Levar
9. Haunting The Church
10. Fighting Against The Sky Angels

Single Review: DARK WATERS END Congenital Vice

Congenital Vice
From their upcoming full length, Submersion, to be released October 7 2017 (Independent)
When in quest for a resurgence of energy after waking up, 'Congenital Vice' by Dark Waters End proves to be an exemplary aid in that regard. It's a very progressive song in nature. Its elaborate production showcases the heavy guitars in full oscillation from left-speaker to its right. One hearing it initially may consider it too messy or involved, but that's just the nature of the group's beloved complexity. A wordy song, yes, but there's also a lot of technical efficiency in the solos. The drums are all over the place and there are so many subtle changes going on due to the common alterations of atmosphere and velocity. I can hear a slight Voivod influence in their manner of constructing a song, albeit without the eccentricity and excessive employment of diminished scales prevalent in their sound. Overall it's a strong and diverse release from Dark Waters End and a storming addition to one's metal collection. -Jaime Regadas

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CD Review: ELKENWOOD Elkenwood

Since Liam Anthony parted company with the Australian thrash band Malakyte he has taken on several projects, like publishing the Dampman and Shadowsix comic series and becoming the drummer of this folk metal band that formed in 2014 and released the debut single Uncreation a year later. This song is the introductory of their debut full length, and is accompanied by three more epic compositions of black/folk metal. Interviewing him in 2016 I uncovered a fair helping of background information on these projects and his other band Dragonsmead, a power metal act that presents tales of swords and sorcery inspired by Manowar and Rhapsody Of Fire. Drummer Anthony, vocalist/guitarist/pianist Gareth Graham and violinist Amanda Terry, are also involved in Dragonsmead so they spend a lot of time working, practicing and performing. You’d assume this would be a help to the material recorded for this album, and their extensive experience together shows. From the six minute to ten minute songs, it runs smoothly and doesn’t sound too tedious or time consuming. The first track I cited (with guest appearances by Dalton Quade Wilson on acoustic guitar and Sid Falck on drums) features a long, theatrical lead-in establishing their penchant for writing songs that resemble heroic narratives by their nature. You can tell a considerable amount of thought and preparation went into these canticles and the musicians involved have a way of drawing you into the atmosphere laden sweeping majesty they create for this track and those that follow. Old Satyricon meets Like Gods Of The Sun era My Dying Bride would be a fitting analogy. The songwriting and its execution invite you in to explore as long as you wish, and once you’re there you may find you want to visit many times. I have to note how uplifting the band’s interpretations of black and folk metal are, even in their most somber moments. This is mostly because of the interplay between the piano and violin, and the guitars of Nic Williams who contributes most of the atmosphere (not to mention the choral vocals occasionally appearing in the background. This aspect creates a refreshing balance for the harsher elements of the musicianship. The themes of fantasy and vast emptiness are arranged to show beauty in darkness in a way that is completely unique to them. The darkness is illuminated from within its deepest depths, where you would usually expect something far more malevolent to be lurking. Lana Ritchie’s cover artwork touches on all this but to fully experience it you really should check out the songs. More than this each member of the band is presented with an opportunity to shine with equal sharpness and clarity, whether they’re backed by the other musicians or given a moment or two to play solo. Gareth Graham and Cazmeth Moon collaborated on recording, mixing and mastering and knew what they were doing when it came to bringing the band’s most promising qualities to light. Head to Elkenwood’s Bandcamp page and give this album a listen. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Uncreation
2. Winter Cometh
3. Hemlock & Wolfsbane
4. The Elk, The Wolf & The Cloaked Companion

Friday, August 11, 2017

CD Review: GRAND DELUSION Supreme Machines

Supreme Machines
This album has good strong vocals. The guitar riffs are amazing and I dig the hard pounding drums. The bass is tight, and pairs well with the cello on Trail of the Seven Scorpians. The mixture of classic old school metal and a modern hard rock makes for a unique sound on an incredible musical journey. I like how their sound takes me to the late 70s/early 80s era of rock. Telling a story with the songs is another point I really like. In my opinion, it shows more substance in the work. Grand Delusion wrote all of the tracks on this album themselves. They started up in 2011, and hail from Northern Sweden. Per Clevfors-lead guitars and backing vocals, Mikael Olsson-bass and keyboards, Magnus Rehnman-drums and backing vocals, Bjorn Wahlberg-lead/backing vocals and guitar. Featuring Axel Thorell-cello on Trail of the Seven Scorpians. -Deanna Revis

Track list:
1. Just Revolution
2. Mangrove Blues
3. Trail of the Seven Scorpions
4. Imperator
5. Infinite
6. Ghost of the Widow McCain

Video Review: WHITECHAPEL Bring Me Home

Bring Me Home
From their full length Mark Of The Blade (Metal Blade)
Shot and directed by Mathis Arnell for Naughty Mantis
Rock music has always had strong compatibility with raw visceral energy spurring from abandoned emotions and feelings. Whitechapel's 'Bring Me Home' is a perfect example. The song is a five-minute rollercoaster that deals lyrically with themes of loss and associated grief, agony and associated echoes of suicide, and finally overcoming such a tough emotional battle with a sense of empowerment and revelation. Musically the song is downtrodden, defeated, dejected and inexorably dark throughout the affair but there are sparks of illumination lurking amidst the darkest void. An unconventional song to a degree for its being led predominantly by a sustained bass pattern and oneiric vocals. The chorus is huge and a lovely contrast to the bleakness of the verses. There's diversity in almost every minute detail of the track, from soulful singing to almost yearning cries exemplified in the harshest moments of this ordeal. The drums are demonstrative but not bombastic, as the last thing the song needed was overwhelming elevation. There are ebbs and flows within its personality but overall the thread that binds it is of introspective brooding. To have interpolated a variation of extreme highs-and-lows would have been unnecessary so I'm glad they didn't do such a thing. Although I found the song immensely appealing I'm not ashamed to admit as a complete body of work it almost pales in comparison to the stunning visuals in its accompanying video, and that's certainly not a bad thing. The video adds so much colour to an already fine piece of music and gives it a remarkable grounding and thematic relevance. One finds it touching - from the heart-breaking clips of the young boy's emotional turmoil yet incredible innocence with the grown man's outpouring of emotion and melancholy. From the emotive war-stricken, dilapidated landscape to the minimalistic shots of sitting-room contemplation the spectacle oozes remarkable evocative thought. A visual and sonic treat throughout. -Jaime Regadas