Archive for the ‘Musing for a Minute on Metal’ Category

Abrasive Audio – Musing for a Minute on Metal (part the third)

stopwatch

 Musing for a Minute on Metal (part three)

 What say we try this again? Yet another foray, an experiment of sorts, which might, or might not, prove that one can base an opinion on an album upon a single minute of immersing oneself in the audio it offers. But it’s not quite as simple as all that! In this instance we, I say “we” as I have a co-conspirator in this exciting endeavor, will dissect not only the initial track (only the first minute, that’s what makes this so exciting) but also two others (there’s seriously no science to this) deeper within the release. That and differing opinions, as there are two of us and we aren’t joined at the waist (or any other appendage, to set the record straight) or have any reason to venomously agree on everything, should give more a complete impression of what an initial listen (or the first minute of a trio of tracks) will offer.

Without further ado I’d like to introduce this segments third entrant (or that which I commonly refer to as “victim”).

Jig-Ai – Entrails Tsunami

https://jig-ai.bandcamp.com/album/entrails-tsunami

(Czechia)

Release – July/3/2019

Bizarre Leprous Production

Jig -Ai

 It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to the realization that this release could have been designed especially for this exact purpose. The first track runs roughly a minute in length (as do a number of others if one is taking notes) so what say we place this intriguingly titled release between the ears.

But not before, however, a customary few words on that which adorns the audio package itself.

The image is exactly that which might come to mind if hearing the term ‘entrails tsunami’. Gruesome, but of course, and exquisitely depicted the imagery includes many a form writhing in agony as the suffocating crimson wave crashes against an undisclosed Japanese shoreline. But the question remains is this anything compared to what Godzilla must secrete daily. Have you ever wondered where that ends up? Do you ever purchase spring water from Japan? I would think twice before doing so again.

“Hey shopkeep, this has floaties in it. They glow a violent green and they’re winking at me.”

I have designed an especially devious rating system, somewhat like that seen in the Attack of the Compilation series but different, for occasions such as this;

the one minute review confused header

Huh?

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great but, with a little work, future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not. Potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

 The First Track; “Fujiculate”

drew infared avi

Drew’s Thoughts – The first thing to grab me in this offering is the cover. From a quick “scroll glance” it almost looks some twisted pile of SpaghettiOs. “Is this one of the rejected covers from The Spaghetti Incident?” I ask myself.  On further (and much closer) inspection, I quickly realize those are bodies and entrails. And lots of them. Almost a “Tsunami” of them, if you will. Say what you want about this cover, but the band certainly delivers on a promise.  And with an album titled “Entrails Tsunmai” I’m left only to speculate on what musical adventure awaits. Will it be a mix of country love ballads? Or perhaps some Jay-Z/Kardashian side project? Or will this be straight up metal brutality? I’m leaning heavily towards the latter.

Let me say in the interest of full disclosure that I am not the biggest grindcore fan. But I can appreciate the effort dedicated to such speed and tempo changes and will be judging solely on those premises. And the opening track “Fujiculate” comes at you and comes at you hard (pun kind of intended.)

Normally with this “one minute” endeavor, you find yourself struggling to get a real grasp of what’s in store.  By the time your average metal opener is done with the howling wind effects and slow-building guitar crunches, a minute is long gone leaving you with no clue what kind of actual music awaits. This certainly isn’t the case here. In fact, in a new twist that almost spits in the face of this effort, the opening track is actually less than a minute. In true and brutal grindcore form, this tops out at a nice 55 seconds. 55 seconds of pure, unadulterated speed. Definitely something that “Has Potential”.

 Cult’s Thoughts – As one might assume the audio gets right down to business. The drumbeat is akin to a ninja slicing up an enemy in wicked fast fashion and the vocals are varied; a hybrid of what sounds an abruptly awakened bear might make if poked in the rectum by a sharp stick accompanied by howls, shrieks and burps. However, with that in mind there are actual lyrics one might/will most definitely struggle to make out (one might comment this is a trademark of the genre to which I’d agree). Rhythm shifts, surges and an unrelenting inhumanely precise skin-pounding tattoo approach drive the track and its raw production values keep it from the ain’t I cool/poser “I like grindcore” territory. An undeniable injection of groove ups the intrigue ante some. In short, this is brutal, unforgiving and blunt much the same as a cement block to the forehead. I’m stamping this with “Has Potential”.

Drew’s pick – Boobzilla (track six)

I picked “Boobzilla” because it has the word “Boob” and I’m perpetually 12.

It’s fast. It starts out fast and then gets faster. This style of music is generally great if you just want to punch the shit out of a wall or kick your neighbor, and “Boobzilla” well definitely help in that regard. As for the lyrics? No clue. There could be a reference to tits. There could also be a recipe for peanut butter blondies for all I know. This kind of music isn’t exactly world-renowned for its discernible vocals and it doesn’t really need to be. It’s about energy and aggression and you won’t have trouble finding any of that here.

I stick with my same rating of “Has Potential” only with my previously stated disclaimer that it’s not my preferred genre of sound. Don’t love it but don’t hate it. But if you’re the type that can’t get enough grind, then there’s plenty to be had here and I have a feeling based on these last two minutes that you won’t be disappointed.

 Cult’s pick – Certificate of Perversity (track sixteen)

This track opens boasting much the same effect as placing one’s face into a blast furnace (an action which obviously isn’t recommended, even in the most excitable of circumstances). As it progresses it’s pace builds to become reminiscent of vintage Napalm Death output (though not quite back as far as the Lee Dorrian era) with numerous tempo and timing shifts albeit still showcasing the grindcore motif and pissed off (just awakened by a sharp stick in the rectum) formidable woodland creature vocals. In short this is grindcore which is both ‘abrasive’ and humorous though wouldn’t appeal to one whom has little knowledge/experience of the genre.

As I’m submerging myself more and more (this reviewing one minute of audio lark isn’t quite as easy as one might assume) it’s becoming more and more pleasing to the senses (“tolerable” probably isn’t the right word!) With this in mind I’m stamping this with the “Has Potential” label leaning heavily towards Impressive, which I’m sure it will be once I lift these one-minute parameters.

excited animal gif

Grindcore, grindcore, GRINDCORE!!!!

Well, there you have it. Another exercise in futility. We might not arrive tat concrete conclusions with these short and sweet assessments, but this is fun and I’m sure another will grace this space in the near future. My thanks go out to Drew for his patience and willingness to open, or even read, my constant badgering emails and for his humoring me by even replying.

Until next my inane scribbles grace your retinas.

Cult

Musing for a Minute on Metal (part the second)

Well, the first went down without complaint, so what say we try this again?

stopwatch

This installment sees Drew and myself pass judgement, yet again, on a release with only one solitary minute being played. Naturally one can’t really get a taste for an album from the first minute alone. With this in mind Drew and myself will also tackle separate tracks with the same premise in mind. Is it possible to get an accurate representation of an album from its first minute? Perhaps not, but we’ll have a blast trying.

As is the tradition with reviews of this type (huh, this is only the second one!) and much in the same way I tackle the Attack of the Compilation pieces I’ve devised a cunning rating scheme for this (exact) purpose.

the one minute review confused header

Nope, I’m still perplexed

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great but, with a little work, future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not. Potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

This week sees us laying our ears on a release from the Unique Leader stable. Straight off the bat I’d assume, based on the ‘traditional’ output from the label, that this is better suited to this style of reviewing. But I’ve been mistaken before (…and often. Just ask the wife!) Without further preamble the second victim is;

Organectomy

Organectomy – Existential Disconnect
(New Zealand)
Release – June/ 21/2019
Unique Leader Records
https://uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/existential-disconnect

However, before I wax poetic and try to describe that which you cannot see, a few words on the accompanying artwork. After all talent deserves recognition whether its audio, art or otherwise (and they call me uncivilized).

Damn, there’s a lot going on. The image here depicts what could be described as a struggle between otherworldly forces. Although no conflict is shown a form is depicted plugged into some device or another in an alien landscape overrun with nature amok (but not the type we might be familiar with) all within a terrain which is utterly foreign and undeniably predatory in nature. A trio (or the otherworld forces) looks on from above in the proverbial heavens). The image screams wear me and has the eye- catching appeal to make others ask who is that band? It’s certainly up there with some of my favorite pieces of the year. If I were to make this short, I would say it’s close to being some kind of hybrid between the art seen on recent Inferi and Inanimate Existence releases. Vivid, bright and detailed an air of fantastical seethes from its every pixel. Before I get carried away and traipse deliriously into diatribe-ville a few words on how we’ll approach this release and no special attention based on it originating from the birthplace of my favorite director (Peter Jackson and New Zealand) either.

First off, the introduction/otherwise known as the First Track; Severed from Humanity

drew infared avi

Drews Thoughts – An album that gets right to the Goddamn point. No sound effects, chimes, eerie piano solos, or soliloquy’s to be had here. It hits right out the gate and hits hard. Brutal death style in all manners of production particularly in the vocal department.  Just going off the first minute establishes what this album has to behold and where I’m guessing it’s going to stay. This type of band isn’t one to switch gears and grind to a disappointing slowdown as too often many do. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and rate this with a nice Fuck me, this good!

This album was also released on my birthday, so it’s got that going for it.

Here’s hopping to the next track.

My Thoughts –

Within the first second alone I’m impressed. Who I can only assume is the vocalist can be heard clearing his throat then taking a breath readying for his part in what’s to follow. Then the audio kicks in. Fast, intricate and technical a brutal death/slam style incorporating a tsunamic cavalcade of notes, rhythm changes and a myriad of riffs. Then there’s the drumming. Precise, on point and force of pissed off nature in its intensity. Undeniable chops in the production department takes the sound to another level entirely, unlike many other similar albums in the same genre (based on that which I can only assume thus far in) every instruments role and part in the overall audio combination is crisp and clear making for audio which is pristine. And, wait for it I’m damn impressed even though I’m not usually a fan of the slam genre there’s something about this (even a minute in) that I have a fondness for. I’m going to put the boat before the deluge here and say Fuck me, this is Good!

The Final Track (Drew’s Thoughts on); The Infinite Witness

I chose this track simply because it was the last one and wanted to see how this whole thing held up. It starts out much the same as the first track maintaining straight up destruction of all guitars, drums, and vocal cords for the foreseeable future. It’s not quite the same pace but still a familiar one nonetheless. This is death metal. Nothing more and nothing less. And for this reason alone, it still impressive as all hell for me. In a display of just pure stubbornness, I’m sticking to my guns with this one and holding steady at Fuck Me, this is Good! Just by the fact I want to hear more. Which is exactly what I am going to do now with no listening constraints placed up me.

Track Five (My Thoughts on); Claustrophobic Intent

I’m going into this with a little bias if truth be told, my experience of the first track has left me eager for more of the same. I’m intrigued to put it mildly. Stabbing “springy” riffs start this track off, a more relaxed paced than the track heard before, a tad djent in nature (think Meshuggah). The ‘jump up and down’ style changes with the addition of melody of sorts and guttural vocals (is it just me or is there a playful edge to them?). Galloping riffs join the fray and the track has taken on a brutal death slam style albeit slower than previously heard, add a spot of technicality some guitar techniques which make screeching noises, a break which is sure to plummet the track into absolute chaos (if only for a few seconds) and you have a track which isn’t quite as intriguing as the first (need I say IMO?) the drums aren’t as prominent here, the style isn’t as frenetic, but it still holds the interest and promises fretboard shenanigans and blistering insanity on the menu in the foreseeable future.

ingested album art

Insane art for the Ingested release entitled “The Architect…”

I’ve downgraded my initial assessment to Impressive. My intrigue is perked the vocals and drumming are especially impressive and there’s something about the style (detectable within even the merest of submergement) which screams decidedly ‘not just slam’. Much like my initial experience with a similar band (again I’m making an assumption here, as I’ve not heard this all the way through) in the form of (Britain’s) Ingested, I’m left wanting more!

 

Well there you have it, another entry in the books. Feel free to tell me what you think. If you’ve heard the album in its entirety how does it compare with our assessments? Is it better, worse, is it worth a complete listen, three, six? A purchase and placement in the amassed audio library? Who should we cover as a future “victim”?

Until next our paths of audio interest meet,

Cult

Musing for a Minute on Metal; The One Minute Review

stopwatch

This is either going to work, or die a horribly, screaming, painful death very early on. There’s no doubt that any album needs to prove itself in its infancy so that it may be played continuously until it’s final notes. A popular consensus is that three tracks is what it takes for a yay, nay, eject or continue to play. For me the first track is very important, although I have given up on an album if the second, third and fourth track leave little to no impression, even following a blow my mind initial introduction. Imagine if you will a world in which you have a single minute to make the decision. Naturally, there are some genres in which this won’t work well at all and others where it will suit the music’s style. Take Akercocke’s “Praise the Name of Satan” (the opening track to ‘Choronzon’) for example, if I were base my opinion of the album on a minute of its intro alone then I would be hearing zero actual music (unless you count an angelic chorus as the backdrop against the talkie bit) and all soundbite about some guy droning on about witchcraft this, sacrifice that and who the hell knows the other. By this point I’ve lost interest completely. And have little to zero indication how the music will play out for the remainder of the album. Naturally, there will be elements that will need playing with in this particular the format. But, what the hey, let’s go with what we have for now. I’ve left the best news for last – I’m joined in this exciting venture by a close friend who has similar interests.

Without further preamble…

Much like the Attack of the Compilation pieces I believe a quite specific rating system would work for this format.

the one minute review confused header

Yea, I’m still confused and unsure

Worst/Avoid this like the proverbial plague – I’d rather spin a vintage Judas Priest album backwards in an insane asylum but not before letting the inmates loose and arming them with bendy straws and plastic sporks.

Ugh – This is like that one jug of milk in the fridge which you can’t for the life of you decide whether it has an odor or not (the date is indecipherable), it’s best not to drink it and you won’t if you have an alternate nearby.

Has Potential – There’s a certain something which elevates this above ignorable. It’s not great, but with a little work future efforts could well be. “Mmm, suck you do not, potential you have” in my finest Yoda voice (which isn’t that good).

Impressive – There’s no doubt about it, like a train full of hardened criminals (rapists, murderers, politicians) careening off the tracks into the gaping maw of a smoldering volcano, this is going places (whatever that means!)

Fuck me, this is Good! – Like finding a $50 note on the ground, stop what you’re doing and grab that shit, before it’s gone!

Naturally a decision cannot be made on the first minute of the first track alone. Let’s not be hasty here. Albums are often diverse and more often than not open up as the running order progresses showcasing the bands diversity, talent, and often a willingness to adapt and/or experiment in order to carve a niche of their own. What better way then, than to get a feel for this than by giving a few tracks a listen. Another two (as well as the initial one) to garner a better understanding of where this album might be headed.

The First Victim

As of late I’ve been struggling to keep up with the vast number of promos which have somehow found themselves in my Inbox. Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve tackled a release from the Satanath stable, I’d like to rectify that. So, with dart in hand and blinder across eyes I throw the dart, smash the computers screen (what an ignoramus way to pick randomly) but come up with a name; the first victim of the very first One Minute Review Segment (it remains to be seen if there will be another?)

vehementor

Vehementor – Dungeons of Grotesque Symmetry (cd limited to 500 copies)
(Macedonia)
Release -June/24/2019
Satanath Records (Russia)/MurdHer Records (Italy)
https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat252-vehementor-dungeons-of-grotesque-symmetry-2019

In the grand tradition of the other review pieces on this site (talent needs to be recognized) I’d like to commence this with a few words on the albums art.

Crimson. Lots of crimson, candles, steps and a foreboding figure in the background. But what is his purpose? Is he the “Vehementor”? And just what is this abode fashioned from? It appears as though it’s a living breathing entity, perhaps it’s a giant creature or a vast vagina this fellow has somehow stumbled onto and in. And cannot find his way out? We might never know. All queries aside, outrageous or not, this is a rather impressive image, one that hints at audio with ominous, perhaps Gothic, most undeniably evil, qualities.

For the purpose of this review I’ll tackle the third track. Entitled “Notorious” which strangely has nothing to do with a similarly named scallywag, an Irish M.M.A fighter, but more to do with…Hell I don’t know (I guess I need to give this a listen). And Drew will tackle the eighth track entitled “The Stronghold is Yours”.

Onwards. (setting the stopwatch)

“Reaper” (Track One; the introduction to both the band, the album and their style)

drew infared avi

Drew – Exactly what I was expecting based on my first track, at least in the vocal department. Nice, solid tempo but the music definitely isn’t straight up death. Nothing in the blast-beat department so far. Production is clean in both music and vocals. The artwork is just begging to be thrown on a t-shirt. A nice glimpse into what kind of looks like one of the many rooms of hell.

Really digging on it so far and have upgraded to an Impressive rating.

Cult – This isn’t at all what I expected. There are riffs here, of the infectious variety, clean production and a thrashy vibe with a mid- tempo, rather than an out and out brutal death and or blackened nature played at hyper-speed. Vocals hit at the thirty second mark and they’re of a raspy type, heavier than traditional thrash though not quite of a growling nature one usually associates with death realms, reminding me or the earliest of Witchery style (“Restless and Dead, “Dead, Hot and Ready”). Stranger still is that they are of the decipherable variety and that they fit the groove the guitars and drums provide. Although a break in pace hasn’t happened yet I’m left wondering if it might, as the track bears definite ominous qualities.

witchery dead hot and ready

In case you were wondering

I’d gladly give this an Impressive rating as this leaves me beyond curious as to what the remainder of the album offers.

Drews pick; “The Stronghold is Yours” (the eighth track)

I actually jumped straight to my track first without listening to anything for no other reason as to not skew my view of the band…and to be difficult. A screeching guitar effect blends seamlessly into what feels like a slowed down jam session. Shockingly, I really can’t get a feel for what this band is like based on 60 whole seconds of this track alone. But right around the one-minute mark is exactly where the vocals begin to kick in leaving me with a death impression.

So far, I’m leaning heavily on Has Potential.

 Cults pick; “Notorious” (the third track)
sepultura beneath

It goes without mentioning that this is a must own album! 

Classical, acoustic, guitar (electric) opens this track, much in the same vein of Sepultura’s “Beneath the Remains” though not quite with such the same epic vibe. An introductory vibe which lasts for a good fifteen seconds. The drums join at this point, then at forty-five seconds the oomph of another guitar and an interesting rhythm (which sadly this one-minute format will not allow this listener to hear the climax of) again, at a mid-tempo pace which sounds surprisingly clean. This isn’t the audio one might assume based on the cover art, but it is catchy. Only the smallest snippet of a vocal accompaniment accompanies the track before the (one-minute) buzzer goes off and I have to fashion this with a rating.

Impressive is again my opinion and I’m intrigued as to how the album might play out, but that’s for another day. I’m interested as to Drew’s thoughts (I scribbled and finished mine before reading them).

Well, there’s the first entry in the One Minute Review (Musing for a Minute on Metal) segment in the bag, it wasn’t perfect, but we tried! It’s best to remember that our opinions are based solely on one minute of audio and not the whole album so the final verdict could go either way, and could be light years removed from our verdict. Feel free to share, comment and/or suggest other albums which might be suitable for similar scrutiny.

 

Cult