Sunday, December 29, 2013

Godly Enslavement: An Interview with Jeremy Kibort of Desolate

What's happenin' Jeremy? How're the holidays in New England treatin' ya?
Josh brother, things are real good, holidays echh, just waiting for them to be done, another year full of disgust at how a "holy" day is used as a money reaping tool by retail industry.
Alright, what brought about the reunion of Desolate?
Haha funny you should ask..after seeing the fb page you started for Desolate, we could see there was still some fanship there after many years, so we decided to do a reunion just a few shows with the original members..Todd/guitarist just wasn't happening and Eric Roy was just too busy with work stuff to really commit to a practice schedule and basically had to back out. Mike Clayton was into the idea and took up his old drum spot and invited his friend Drew to come jam. Drew had 5 songs down for our first practice and all the songs learned in another couple weeks. We've just felt real good and started writing new stuff. ..
I know you guys have been quite busy playing festivals and shows since the resurrection of the band. How has that been going for ya and what would you say are the big differences from the early-mid '90's to now?
Yeah we've played through the summer and its been great..martyrdoom fest in Brooklyn was definitely a highlight . Things that have changed the most. .the venues I think. There are still a ton of places to play, but quality has suffered as many small clubs don't mic anything but vocals, and the overall sound really suffers. Still the same amount of shit joker promoters as there ever was. .bands too, holy fuck there are so many now. .tons. .some are real good, some are shit. .too many paint their faces and dress all black metal without actually taking the pain of writing dark compositions..not out to start calling false this and that, but fuck! Try writing scary music first. .

John (Pathos) compiled and released your two demos as well as two previously unreleased tracks. Could you tell me how that came about and could you give me a little history on the bonus tracks as well?
Yes, sanity obliterated. .John Dwyer contacted me one day and said its about time for a discography. We had recorded a couple songs before we broke up in 97 , so John had it all remastered to get the songs to sound a little more consistent with each other. .were all pretty happy with it. The two songs at the end of the disc. .Blessings End and Graceful Denouncement are two of the four songs we had most recently written before breaking up and show a more mayhemic, blackened style of Desolate.. a direction we are continuing now. .
I gotta say... watching you guys live (unfortunately only through Youtube ) always puts a smile on my face as the rage and intensity that you exude is unmatched. I always hated bands that just "stood there" looking bored. Is this a conscious thing on your part or are you merely "going with the flow"?
Well thanks dude, no, just going with the flow. .but honestly a band thinks of songs and goes through the trouble of practicing and defining a distinct sound, getting shows, so when its time to play, you're just going to stand there like you cant be bothered? Fuck that. .I'm going to take this song and drive it down your fucking throat. ..why waste the moment you know?
I understand you guys are working on your long awaited debut album. How's that going and what can everyone expect to experience?
Yes we are currently busting ass to get ready to record an album of epic, sick, tale weaving blackened death the way we play it. .for some reason were having trouble shaking the term "old school death metal" which isn't bad, but I can guarantee that's not going to be the listeners first impression

New England's always had a sketchy history as far as death metal bands go. On one hand you have a handful of bands that have sort of been the "flagbearers" of the region (Vital Remains are the first to come to mind) while so many others have for some reason or another remained WAY underground. What are your thoughts on this and where does Desolate fit in? Also, are there any bands from the New England area that you'd like to give mention to?
Yeah from the old school days not many bands survived, Vital Remains certainly has but in general we prepped a good many fans for what was going to become the wave of shitty metalcore and deathcore garbage that followed .. desolate anyways had a very loyal following from the beginning, at times wish we would've thought big picture and stayed together ... in New England nowadays I'd love to give mention to some acts we admire. .Vaettir, Martyrvore, Cold Northern Vengeance, Infested Prophecy, Blessed Offal, Blood Stone Sacrifice ..I'm sure there's a few others that I'll hear and be impressed by and some others that will come off as shit. .
What are your thoughts on the current state of metal, death metal in particular?
There's still some pretty good bands out there, but it's just very saturated. .sooo many bands and perhaps they might have a good singer but the riffs suck, or vice versa. .and part of the sorriest state is all the "core" bands that have stolen from this artform and label it theirs, and unfortunately the labels that used to put out the bands you and I grew up with have flocked to that lame style of shit!

I know there are many who wonder... will Jerry ever resurrect Warhorse?
Haha. .hmm I've asked him and everyone involved with Warhorse is heavily into other projects, all of them quite different. Jerry, myself, Terry from Martyrvore and Dan from Scattered Remnants have been jamming some Warhorse tunes that were never finished and some new stuff also. .we're calling it
If you could only pick three albums to take with you into the afterlife (any genre) what would they be?
Shit thats tough, I guess Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger, Elliott Smith figure eight, Alice in Chains s/t .. fuck depends on my mood upon said day of death.
Alright Jeremy... thanks a million for your time. Last words?
Josh, thanks for always being a supporter of Desolate, you will not be disappointed with the new album. .Get Evilution back together Brother!!

Desolate's 'Sanity Obliterated' is available through Pathos Production's and I seriously recommend you all to vamp a copy or two of this as quickly as possible!

Check out Desolate over at Facebook.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sepultura - The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must be the Heart (2013)

Yeah, yeah, yeah... ok, so the album's title is supposed to be a clever reference to Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece 'Metropolis', but sorry, the shit just sounds plain lame to me.

Now, before you go thinkin' that I'm one of these "underground" homos who hates everything Sepultura has released post-stinky boy Max Cavalera (or for those truly underground cock-smokers who mock what the band has does since the release of 'Arise' way back in 1991) let me clarify that I've actually quite enjoyed the bulk of the material with Derek Green behind the mic. Despite the goofy homosexuality of certain bands (Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, P.O.D.) I actually didn't mind the Ross Robinson obsessed sounds of a small number of "nu" metal bands out there (and trust me... I really don't give a fuck what the Autopsy/Incantation wannabes think of that either). In fact, at the time I thought that some of the bands in that scene sounded rather refreshing and certainly brought something new to the table, so I really didn't mind the direction Sepultura headed in starting with 'Roots' (though one could rightly surmise that the first step taken in this direction actually began with 'Chaos A.D.'). For one, I've always preferred slower and lower tuned riff sequences as opposed to the more high pitched and tinny sounds of many a thrash band throughout the 80's. I also felt that the inclusion of Brazilian tribal drumming into the equation was awesome, especially when accompanied by a nice fat bowl (or joint or whatever the fuck your preference is). Sure, I was worried about Max leaving the band but after hearing 'Against' I was convinced that all would be well. Sure, that album wasn't exactly a flawless victory but the good outnumbered the suck and since that time Sepultura has released more hits than misses. Trust me.

'The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must be the Heart' continues the band's tradition of releasing quality yet misunderstood albums throughout the last decade and a 1/2. If there's one gripe I have with this album it's the production. Ross Robinson and Sepultura made a great team back in 1996 as I've always dug the earthiness of that album. This time around it sounds as if Ross showed up to the proceedings drunk on cooking sherry. There is such a sloppy and disheveled sound this time around that it really makes things feel rather tragic as a majority of the riffs and fluctuations are lost within the mix. One of the things that I've loved about the many post-Max Sep releases was the thick and flawless sound that they've harnessed. This time everything gives way to a rather unfortunate breakdown of their once winning formula. I'm sure that all parties involved were once again going for that earthy, "rustic" sound of old but something got fucked up in the process.

Riff-wise there are some winning moments throughout and the band's new drummer is a worthy successor to Igor Cavalera. I, unlike many, have never found fault with the vocals of Derek Green. I always felt that his performances were solid and came with the right amount of energy and projection as needed for the sort of music a band like Sepultura creates. besides, let's be totally fucking realistic here... Max Cavalera was NEVER a giant when it came to vocal precision and dominance.

With all that said, 'The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must be the Heart' is a good album slightly marred by a half-assed production. Great album cover, by the way!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Way's Top Ten of 2013 (in no particular order)

Bolzer - Aura

Haven't been this stoked about a death metal band in quite some time, really. I know the big cool way to describe evil sounding death metal these days is to call it "blackened" death (total fucking barf), but for my money this is straight up evil death metal. Everything from the morose and majestic tremolo picking throughout down to the Bolt Thrower-ish chug of 'Wolfshook', this album is a mind-blasting reminder of what could be.

Blut aus Nord - What Once Was... Liber III

I can only assume that this -ep- is one big giant FUCK YOU to the fags that threw a temper tantrum and pissed their diapers over the band's 777 trilogy because this motherfucker is pure evil! This is quite possibly the band's most vicious sounding material since The Work Which Transforms God. Great stuff and a reminder that this band has lost nothing.

Saturnalia Temple - Impossibilium

Nifty little two song -ep- of occult doom to hold you over until the next Electric Wizard comes barreling 'round the bend. That or album #2 from Saturnalia Temple themselves! At the rate we're going, don't hold your breath for either.

Psicomagia - Psicomagia

Stupidely delicious psych-prog from Astra's Brian Ellis. For me, this is far superior to his main band.

Vista Chino - Peace

Josh who? 

Holy Mount - Alpic

Picking up where 'We Fell From the Sky' left off, there isn't much "progression" from that album as 'Alpic' is more of a honing of skills. Fine by me. If you got a good thing goin' on, why fuck with the ingredients? 

Situs Magus - La Grand Oeuvre

Yet ANOTHER insanely awesome black metal band from France! What more needs to be said?

A.M.S.G. - Anti-Cosmic Tyranny

Weirdo "old style" black metal with jazz sections (?!) who are apparently "really into" Satanism. I couldn't give a fuck less. As long as the music jams... and it does!

Melt-Banana - Fetch

Who knew experimental grindcore with a healthy dollap of pop sensibilities would sound so fucking good? Well, I did! But that's only because Melt-Banana have been kicking my ass for well over a decade. Now if only C.S.S.O. would get off of their asses and make good on the promise of 'Diversion of Former Customary Trite Composition'!

SubRosa - More Constant Than the Gods

I'll be honest with ya... this can be downright boring at times, but... when this shit gets good, prepare for your head to freeze, crack and explode!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Antediluvian -vs- Mitochondrion -vs- Aevangelist

I can't say that I've been completely bowled over by the ocean of old school inspired 'black/war/children-of-Incantation' bands that have been flooding the underground for the last few years. Try as I have, there always seems to be some key ingredient that was spaced out during the mixing process. Whatever the case may be, many of these bands lack that one thing that their idols had in spades and that's 'riff charisma'. Sure, they totally have the "blasphemous & evil" thing down pat but when you strip all that away all you have is a handful of lame riffs that I'm pretty sure could have been trumped by a four year old amputee with Down's Syndrome.
I've tried many, many times to get into some of these bands due to the ridiculous amount of hype that surrounds them. I've oft-times wondered if I'm lacking the insight to whatever it is that seems to have everyone else enthralled. Last night, after drinking a few cups of coffee, I decided to once and for all dive into the confines of this new and blackened age.

Without further adieu...

The thing with Antediluvian is, that aside from the vocals there really isn't all that much to lure me in here. The guitar sound is rather on the pussy side of the fence (not a big fan of the jacked up tuning thing) and serves as a puzzling and ultimately awkward contrast to the behemoth slush-monster that is the vocalist. The riffs themselves are somewhat reminiscent of black metal, particularly those that are "strummed" or plucked, rather, in an attempt at being "avant-garde" or whatever the fuck which to me is just about as gay as gay can be. The fact of the matter is that, despite the technique these riffs are being manufactured through, the end result is totally fucking bland and serves more as a vehicle to annoy rather than enlighten.

When listening to Aevangelist I was extremely bummed when I realized that beneath the mass of  screaming souls lies a boring and sub-standard riff-sequence that sounds completely out of place. It really sucks because I actually like when bands use effects to accompany the more traditional usage of guitar/drums/bass. It seems like more time was invested in the use of effects rather than writing cool riffs. Again, the riffs just are not here. With all the praise these two bands have garnished I'm beginning to think that the government poisoned the drinking water with dum-dum juice.

The vocals are so-so. They don't outright suck but they aren't so great as to deviate me from the realization that I am in the midst of a rather ho-hum affair when listening to Aevangelist.

While I wouldn't say that everything going on with them is award winning, Mitochondrion makes it a bit more difficult for me to find fault with. The vocals are of the low-end/brute force variety and the riffs are plentiful and mighty with only a mere handful being tossed into the pot labeled 'I could do without'.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with all of these bands doing what they're doing. I mean, I'd rather see that than an influx of crunkcore or something as equally demeaning.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mortician - Domain of Death (2001)

Mortician have always been extremely hit or miss with me. In the very beginning (or I should say, around the time 'Mortal Massacre' was released) I was drawn to them and completely obsessed with their mountainous guitar sound and Will's thunderous vocal rumblings. When they started to employ a drum machine for further recordings, I began to have my doubts. For the most part I didn't mind so much but every now and then I couldn't rid myself of the realization that everything sounded very cut and dry due to the 'click-clack' of the drum sound, not to mention that the programming wasn't the most imaginative I'd heard.

With those gripes aside, Mortician has always been a band that suffers from its excesses. Whether it's the 90 minute intros that bore me to violent fucking insanity or whether it's the almost mandatory inclusion of some of the most remedial sounding death metal (they call it grind, whatever) riffs accompanied by the lamest drum programming this side of a typist hopped up on a curious mixture of benzos and aderall, I've always felt that Mortician were better off releasing nothing more than 7"s as it would seem that when it comes time to gather the proper amount of material to justify a full length album, Will and the gang seemingly get caught off guard and resort to throwing any old fucking riff and lame ass pattern arrangement together in order to meet the deadline. I mean seriously, they go from one or two absolutely killer fucking death metal tracks with riffs that would laugh at the damage done in Moore, Oklahoma to some of the most ridiculously gay segments, so bad that I have to turn off the lights out of sheer embarrassment, cringing in the dark and hoping it will go away.

Now, I've always heard that the guitarist of Mortician had to dumb his shit down because the bass "skills" of vocalist and angry midget Will Rahmer were far from fucking exemplary. Having heard the guitarist's shit outside of Mortician, particularly Primitive Brutality, I would have to assume this to be true as quite clearly the guy knows how to handle his instrument. I can only imagine that he and Will are the best of friends as I can not come up with any other reason why he would subject himself to the mindlessness of this project. Again, I do like Mortician, but only in small doses and mainly for nostalgia. At my age now, I hardly have the patience or endurance levels for constant blast beats and such. Of course Mortician certainly divvies up the changes of tempo throughout, but the overall atmosphere (or lack thereof) comes across as monotonous nonetheless.

Also of note, Mortician's albums have a tendency of getting lamer than the last with this one gasping for air at the bottom of the barrel. It wouldn't be until the release of the appropriately titled, 'Re-Animated Dead Flesh' that the band would sound somewhat fresher and hungrier than they had since arguably the 'Zombie Apocalypse' -ep-.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel (2013)

I think it's good that Carcass took an extended sabbatical, particularly Bill Steer. It would seem that absence makes the heart grow fonder, indeed.

With 'Swansong', it became glaringly obvious that Billy Boy was beginning to (ahem) "steer" away from his grindcore roots, though one could probably argue for the win that he began to do that shortly after the release of 'Symphonies of Sickness'. It would be a while before the sinister urge came upon Mr. Steer, causing him to once again lift up and hold high the great 'metal of death' and inflict both woe and wonder upon the denizens of Planet Earth.

Enter the aptly titled 'Surgical Steel'. 20 years after the release of 'Heartwork' and it would seem that only two of those have passed, leaving 1996's 'Swansong' reduced to a memory of supremely vague proportions.

One thing that I was worried about before entering into the aural confines of this album was just how much leftover pseudo-rock riffs from 'Swansong' would make their way into the equation. Thankfully, the number is surprisingly and considerably low. In their stead there is no shortage of the type of rhythmic endeavors that decked the halls of both 'Necroticism...' and 'Heartwork', though there are moments on this album that give those albums a run for their tamales in regards to limp-wristed, over-melodious guitar heroism. Despite this, I would have to deduce that 'Surgical Steel' is far less catchy as its two closest predecessors, 'Swansong' and 'Heartwork'. As odd as it may seem, 'Heartwork' had far more "snap" to it in terms of what I could imagine actually obtaining a fair amount of airplay (of course in reality, that was barely the case).

A few months back I read an article somewhere with Jeff Walker stating that Bill Steer would be returning to a more prominent role, vocally. Well, if this is indeed the case, then he must've got the Jason Newsted treatment during the '...and Justice for All' sessions as I cannot make him out anywhere on here. Oh well.

Overall, 'Surgical Steel' is a pretty decent album and if anything, it goes to show you that not all comebacks are worthy of the trip to the sewer via toilet bowl.

Welcome back, lads.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Frontieres (2007)

Why everyone rides the "new wave of French horror" dick so hard is beyond me. Between the praise for movies like High Tension, Martyrs and Inside, you'd think the Frenchies were doing something innovative or creative. And these movies have been a whole lot of neither of those things. Except for their over-the-top violence and penchant for having excessively blood-soaked women come out as the heroines/sole survivors, these movies don't offer anything remarkable.

Frontieres is yet another French movie that follows the same formula and leaves the same unmemorable, indifferent feeling. Some twenty-somethings are involved in some looting and rioting during a time of political turmoil in France and run from the cops after one of their friends gets caught, beaten and near death in a hospital. They make it to some run-down hostel/farm on the edge of town run by a family with some rednecky looking folks (a la Texas Chainsaw) and a slutty blonde chick.

There's a Nazi patriarch who spouts really cliche German lines in between his really shitty French, a youngish looking, shy/autistic/retarded girl, and some mutant inbred children who live in a mineshift. The movie goes on for way too long, the main girl manages to avoid being shot by multiple people even though she spazzes around like she's having a 30 minute seizure (and yet manages to take out the jacked, beefy member of the family).There's lots of really dark brown blood (why does every movie insist on having buckets of overly dark colored blood) and some shit covered pigs.

Do yourself a favor and watch TCM instead.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home (2013)

What self-indulgent garbage. Let's be honest: home invasion movies are a one-trick pony. Dude with mask breaks in, tortures/beats people for kicks, kills one if not all members of the household... the end.

Home Sweet Home is pretty much the same deal, with two exceptions. The mask that the bad guy wears is actually pretty different and creepy. And two, this director thinks of himself way too highly. This movie is full of gratuitous slow-motion shots, close-ups, and unnecessarily fancy music. There's a slow close-up of the front door towards the beginning of the movie that is just trying way too hard.

Another thing that sets this movie apart is the seriously shitty dialogue. We're introduced to a married couple who act in the most awkward way to each other, a mom who leaves really over-the-top phone messages, and painful dialogue and decision making.

The bad guy turns out to be an authority figure with absolutely no rhyme or reason for his actions (which I presume is to add to "the terror" of people being bad for the sake of being bad, but it just ends up being stupid). Dude has a duffel bag with everything he would need for a fun night of break-in and murder .. like a hazard suit, guns, rifles, tie-wraps, and... a fucking short sword?? Not a knife, not a box-cutter, but a short katana.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Anathema - Alternative 4 (1998)

This is as limp wristed as it gets. It never fails to blow my mind everytime someone refers to this album as one of the band's better works. At least up until whatever the fuck the band put out after 'Judgment', this is by far their weakest entry.

I actually didn't mind 'Eternity'. I thought that it was a pretty damn good album, though you'd have to be Stevie Wonder not to see that there was trouble in the White House. Much of the bottom heavy doom from the band's previous releases was significantly stripped down in favor of a more "emotional" (gasp) aesthetic. The problem with that is, this is usually a harbinger of a vast and rapidly approaching storm of homosexuality, which is precisely what came thundering 'round the bend with the release of 'Alternative 4'.

Honestly, if the songs were nearly as decent as those on 'Eternity' or 'Judgement', I wouldn't have minded the distance the band put between themselves and their early, doom incarnation. Unfortunately, the songs just aren't here, coupled with the fact that the production is super sterile, nary a semblance of depth to found nor heard.

I will say, that the middle verse of 'Fragile Dreams' (maybe I always knew... etc.) is definitely one of the better sections the band has conjured fourth during their lengthy career. Unfortunately, nothing else lives up to the staggering and beloved hype that smothers the reputation of this record.

Personally, I feel that Anathema's next studio foray, 'Judgement', would be a far better representation of the band's songwriting prowess.

Bölzer - Aura [ep] (2013)

WOOOOWWWW!! Jeepers, Mr. Wilson! This is the kind of shit that comes around only rarely, yet compels me to incessantly hit the repeat button once the music comes to an end.

I've never been terribly fond of black metal, however, when infused with death metal, the results can be monstrous and Bolzer is quite the behemoth to behold.

A lot of this reminds me a bit of Sonne Adam, particularly the material found on the 'Messengers of Desolate Ways' compilation, though Bolzer is probably that much more atmospheric as they obviously have a wider array of weaponry in their aural arsenal. The tremolo riffing is absolutely ridiculous on here, such as the beginning section of 'Entranced by the Wolfshook' (not sure what the fuck that means) and then the band decides to drop some Bolt Thrower-esque riffage on top of your head, pummeling you deep into the swampiest depths.

The vocals are suitably diverse, ranging from mid-range death (ala-Witchrist) to witchier shrieks and some rather bizarre clean vocals which further add to the band's morbid atmosphere.

This truly is one of the best things I've heard in a while. The band possesses such an uncanny mastery over depth and atmosphere, I swear, there's no throwaway moment to be found here. This is some truly grimy and evil shit straight from the cavernous depths of your worst nightmares. Total fucking victory!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Terrorists are not cowards, they're the enemy... Annihilate them

"Joe Bob's America" for 9/1/96
By Joe Bob Briggs

Every time a bomb goes off somewhere, we trot out this word "cowardice." In fact, it's about the ONLY time anybody uses the word "coward" anymore. 

The President says, "We will not rest until we have found the cowards who did this." 

Time magazine's Olympics cover says, "Courage and Cowardice." The news conferences on Long Island after TWA Flight 800 went down would always start out, "The COWARDS who did this..."

But what I wanna know is...what are we getting at here? Are we saying that all acts of terrorism are cowardly?

What about the guy who strapped explosives to himself and drove the bomb truck into the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut? He might have been CRAZY, but he wasn't a coward. The night before, the man had ATTENDED HIS OWN FUNERAL.

Actually, people who go around detonating bombs are mostly NOT cowards, because they can blow themselves up at any moment.

If you talk to cops on the bomb squad, or military guys who specialize in blowing stuff up, they have this constant fear that they've set a timer wrong, or that they've miscalculated the amount of explosives needed.

They all have friends who have lost hands or arms or legs. I really think the reason people use the word "coward" is that they don't believe in guerrilla war, which is what this is.

They want all the Looney Toon political groups in the world to declare their intentions, show up on the Washington Mall with rifles and shoot it out with the Army.

If they had enough guys to do that, THEY WOULD. I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate one minute to engage in open warfare with us if they thought they had a snowball's chance in hell.

But they know they'd be wasted to the last man. The only way they know to fight is secretly, by ambush, using dead innocent civilians to create chaos.

But they're not cowards. You can read the transcript of the trial of the guys arrested for the bombing of the World Trade Center and see that most of them would die for their cause.

They're soldiers.

If we keep calling 'em cowards, then we're gonna underestimate 'em. We're gonna treat 'em like some kind of weird, half-crazed criminals who we need to catch and lock up so the world will be safe.

If we regard them as soldiers, on the other hand, we can get busy wiping 'em out. We might even authorize the CIA to use assassination to do it.

If they're gonna wage a secret war, then we should be waging a secret war right back.

But don't call 'em cowards. Call 'em what they are: The enemy.

You know what you do to the enemy?

You annihilate him.

Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)

The new Leatherface does a stop-littering commercial: "Don't Mess With Texas"

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 1/26/90
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas 

I've got to calm down here. I don't know if I'll be able to do this review or not. I'm trying to get ahold of myself.
Maybe I can go on now.
"Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III" has a few . . . how should I put this? . . . a few problems:
1) The movie doesn't make a lick of sense.
2) A guy gets chainsawed through the skull and then comes back at the end of the movie, with only slight injuries. They don't even do this in Friday the 13th movies. (Normally I wouldn't mention "Friday the 13th" and "Saw" in the same breath, but I'm afraid they've brought it down to that level.)
3) The movie's over so fast that everbody that was watching it started honking their horns when the credits rolled. None of us could believe it. "That's it?" I've had X-rays that used more film than this movie. 
5) It LOOKS like they made it in California. They've got HILLS in the background.
6) Leatherface's new cannibal family includes his Mama and a little girl cannibal with a fetus doll--promising developments--but they don't ever DO anything.
7) You never see Leatherface actually doing any carving.
8) They make a big deal about how this whiny yuppie guy is gonna be trussed up and carved alive by the little girl, but instead they just go on to the next scene, as though the cannibal family FORGOT to have dinner that day.
9) Kate Hodge, the new actress trying to replace the greatest screamer in film history, Marilyn Burns, runs over an armadillo in the road and STOPS TO SEE IF IT'S OKAY. Obviously, these people have NEVER been to Texas.

Now. I know what the producer and the director and everybody is gonna say. They're gonna say that it USED to be a good movie, but then the Motion Picture Censor Board got on their case and gave it an X rating, and they had to take a chainsaw to the movie, and what came out was different. And it's true, the Jack Valenti Boys hammered away at this baby, evidently demanding stuff be taken out that they ALLOWED in the first movie in 1974.

I don't exactly understand what's happening here, but I know that, during the past two years, these bozos in El Lay have decided to crack down on horror movies. They want movies about NICE cannibals. Cannibals that carve up tourists in LOVING ways. This is the same kinky group that decided "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" should get an X rating for "disturbing moral tone."

But what I'm getting at is that the owners of this movie had a choice. They could say "We don't give a flying frijole what the MPAA Censor Board says, and so we're putting out the movie without any rating on it." Or they could weenie out, cut it into a million pieces, and release it with an R.

They weenied out on us.

They suckered us for five bucks.
They profaned the name of the most revered horror movie in film history. 
And what makes it worse is that the director, Jeff Burr, evidently knew what he was doing. There are a few scenes in this flick that are as goldang scary as anything I've ever seen. 
The Communists just got him.
It's pitiful.

They might have to put me in intensive care for awhile. I don't know if I can bear to think of this thing floating around out there, turning the chainsaw we all know and love into a steak knife. 

Nine dead bodies. 

No breasts.
One motor vehicle chase.
Putrefied human heads.
Armadillo bashing.
Hand roasting.
Chainsawed Mercedes.
Bone-drill to the leg.
One human fireball. 
Dead-lizard window decorations. 
Giant filigreed chainsaw.
Ear rolls. 
Gratuitous Playboy mutilation.
Bear-trap Fu.
Double-blooded ax Fu.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Viggo Mortensen, as Tex the handsome, well-mannered cannibal, for saying "There's roadkill all over Texas--natural order of things";

Tom Everett, as the weirdo sex-fiend cannibal, for throwing body parts into a swamp and saying "Is it soup yet?";

Ken Foree, as Benny the war-games survivalist, for saying "Yeah, militant lumberjacks--I see em all the time"; 

Kate Hodge, for getting her hands nailed to a chair and summoning up the screams to prove it; 

Joe Unger, as Tinker the modern cannibal, for saying "Technology is our friend" and "I'll be in hell for breakfast";

R.A. Mihailoff, as Leatherface, for sharing his Sony Walkman with his victims;

and David J. Schow, for a script so great Jack Valenti couldn't stand it, featuring exchanges like this one:

"Why don't you leave us alone!"

"We were hungry."
"Ever heard of pizza?"
Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Deicide - Once Upon the Cross (1995)

I'm going to go ahead and state that I've always liked this album better than 'Legion'. For me, 'Legion' had too many "happy" sounding thrash moments and not enough of the evil riffing found on the band's debut. Also, the production was pretty shot. Everything sounded to garbled and clunky.

Now, to be fair, when I first heard this album, I had pretty much written it off. I figured that Deicide was all but finished. Where the first two albums showcased a dumptruck load of energy and a knack for speed and riff intricacies, 'OUTC' initially came across and overweight and tired. Some of the riffs sounded laughably simplistic to me. Then, after about a solid week of listening, on and off, the album started to rub off on me. I began to realize that this was a far more barbaric album then 'Legion' was and with the exception of perhaps the final two tracks, there really aren't any bad songs on here. Even the last two are "decent", but you can tell that Glen & co copped out by shoving the two weakest tracks at the end of the album, resulting in a rather tame exit strategy. It's actually kinda funny that 'To be Dead' and 'Confessional Rape' are tucked in at the end of the album, as the band's next release, 'Serpents of the Light' comes across as a complete capitalization of the two tracks.

Benton sounds particularly hateful on this album, though the high pitched shrieking demon vocals that had accompanied his lower rumbles are noticeably trimmed down this time around. I figure he wanted to make a statement being that he did not need to rely on constant over-dubs to get his point across. Either or, it works for me, because when that mother proclaims 'They are the children of the underworld', you can feel the fucking ground shake and mountains crack wide open as a result!

Dismember - Death Metal (1997)

After deciding that "death -n- roll" wasn't their thing, Dismember decided to go down to the local gay bar for inspiration. This is where they ran into the guys from 'In Flames' (title says all) and were delighted by the idea of "injecting" an unhealthy dose of melodious rhythmic fluctuations into their arsenal. 

There's a couple things about this... first off, the Judas Priesty/Iron Maiden-ish embellishments found slathered over a good portion of the songs on this album would pretty much become a solid staple in the band's sound until their demise in 2011. The other thing is, despite the uncomfortable amount of awkward sounding passages due to the band's newfound love affair with the more "happier" sounding aspects of 'melodic death metal', the truth of the matter is that this album is, for the most part, a welcome return to form after the identity crisis that was 'Massive Killing Capacity'.

The truth is, this is actually a pretty damn good album that I'd easily rank among Dismember's best. Of course, I'd be hardpressed to name a Dismember album that was a complete winner, aside from 1992's skull smashing 'Pieces', which was merely an 'ep', so... Again, there are some really killer tracks on here, but just as things beginning to really cook, the band throws in some god-awful "melodious' lick that wrecks everything, forcing you back to square one. It's rather irritating, really. Kinda like fucking some chick who persists on attempting to shove a dildo up your ass everytime you approach a climax.

Oddly enough, with a name like 'Death Metal', I expected to hear less 'power metal' and more 'death-fucking-metal' in the riffage.

Bolt Thrower - Honour - Valour - Pride (2002)

It's almost as if Bolt Thrower had collectively decided to dumb down their style and sound in order to safely usher in then new guy, Dave (Benediction) Ingram to the fold.

Honour - Valour - Pride is by far the weakest album by the band. Trust me. Do not let the 'Realm of Chaos'-esque album cover fool you into believing that the band finally decided to tune their guitars back down to the ground. This is basically in the same vein as the shit that they started pumping out on '...for Victory'. Unfortunately, there are even less memorable riffs than on that album, which, for yours truly, is quite an exepectional feat being that I've always considered '...for Victory' to be the band's lowest point, up until this album, of course.

Had Karl Willets remained on board during the recording process, this may have turned out slightly better... probably not by much, but better nonetheless. Unfortunately, Dave Ingram just not fit very well into the equation. I never thought that he sucked as a vocalist during his tenure in Benediction, but he never really stood out either. The best way to describe his delivery is to imagine what Barney from Napalm Death would sound like doing the Thorazine shuffle. There is no razor sharp diction to be found, nor is their much energy flowing from the mic. The whole ordeal sounds very lazy and uninspired overall.

Riff-wise, the same thing goes. There just really isn't anything going on here. Sure, every now and then something reminiscent of 'Mercenary' or even the better fare off of '...for Victory' will peep around the corner, offering a glimpse something adventurous to behold, only to disappear like some malevolent trickster. This is all very disheartening as I felt that the band's previous album, 'Mercenary', was a couple steps in the right direction after 1994's '...for Victory', an album that I didn't find to be terribly enthralling. Perhaps with the inclusion of Willets and a better guitar sound, this may have been a bit more interesting.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Breeding the Spawn -vs- The Erosion of Sanity

Had this been a challenge between the debut albums of each band, I would have went with Suffocation tenfold. As it is, Suffocation's second album ended up being a major letdown while Gorguts, a band that I wasn't (and to some extent, still am not) very into, stepped up their game a bit with the release of 93's 'The Erosion of Sanity'.

Gorguts, I always felt, was just another run o' the mill Death clone (of course all that would drastically fucking change with the release of Obscura!) that ultimately failed to reel me in. Suffocation, however, blew the fucking door off the hinges in terms of pushing the boundaries of how brutal a death metal band could be.

Oddly, both Suffocation's and Gorguts sophomore albums actually sound more than a bit similar to one another, stylistically. Both see each band evolving technically whilst shedding much of the more accessible elements of their debuts. The glaring difference is that with Gorguts it actually works, for the most part, while 'Breeding the Spawn' ultimately turned out to be and unbelievable mess. Everything on that album sounds so horribly out of place, not to mention as if it were released before the band's debut. Gorguts, on the other hand, manages to use their newfound technical agility to make things sound a little bit more interesting than the bulk of material found on 'Considered Dead', though they do come close, more than once, to going off the deep end of self indulgent tangents, a trait over-employed by musicians seeking to one-up themselves.

In the end, I have to give Gorguts the upper hand here. While 'Breeding the Spawn' is unquestionably a few staggering steps backwards (a mistake the band would remedy with the release of album number three, 'Pierced from Within'), Gorguts continued trudging on in the right direction while upping the ante a bit in terms of their newfound technical revelations.  

If there was one thing that both bands were dead even on, it would be the astonishingly killer artwork that adorns each album, courtesy of death metal go-to guy, Dan Seagrave. Between the both of them, it's practically impossible to choose, though if I had a gun to my head I just might have to go with 'The Erosion of Sanity', yet again.

Winner: Gorguts - The Erosion of Sanity

Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction (1988)

If there ever was an album that deserved to be re-recorded, 'Reek of Putrefaction' is it.

Way back in the late 80's I remember first hearing 'Reek...' and being rather blown away by the ghoulishly sloppy dual vocal assault and absolutely chaotic whirlwind of grindcore riff terrorism. Of course, the true possibilities of the band's potential would be made breathtakingly clear once album number two came barreling 'round the bend, 1989's sewage fest, 'Symphonies of Sickness'.

While the over the top tag team vocals helped keep me interested, the truth is, 'Reek...' would have been so much better had the riff intricacies been a bit more sculpted and defined throughout the studio sessions. Unfortunately, making sense of any one song on this album is next to impossible. In 1992, however,  there was a glimmer of hope as the band had chosen to re-record one of their chestnuts off of their debut, 'Pyosisified', and the results were fucking brilliant! I immediately wished that the band had done this with the entire album. Sure, I understand that all of the purists out there would cry foul, but fuck it, if you don't like the notion, then don't listen to the album. Simple as that. Hey, I haven't bothered to listen to Sodom or Exodus' reworkings of their classic debuts for just that reason.

Honestly, I really stopped paying attention to this album once 'Symphonies...' was released. Granted, at the time 'Reek...' had come out, I was astonished and happily bludgeoned by its gleeful insanity, but truthfully, I have always had a very short attention span when it came to early grindcore. I always felt that things didn't really start to cook until the release of the sophomore album.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Carcass - Swansong (1996)

The problem with this album is that the riffs are just not very interesting. I can accept the fact that the band (or more accurately, Bill Steer) wanted to go into a more "rock" oriented direction, but unlike the fellas in Entombed, Carcass just could not convincingly move forward in that particular direction. I've listened to Steer's post Carcass output and with the exception of Gentlemen's Pistols (of which he's not even an original member, raising the question of how much has he contributed, musically, to that band) I'm just not that big of a fan. I can totally understand his being drawn to the more rustic sounds of classic rock ala Cream, etc. but I've heard far more convincing renditions of the era that he's sought to emulate and Carcass' 'Swansong' is, obviously, the most awkward of them all. For me, it really doesn't have much to do with the seemingly obvious, which is the fusion of death metal and blues/rock, but the fact that Steer's strength is clearly in sticking with his metallic roots, be it the gloomier, grind drenched riffing of 'Symphonies...' or the trad-metal influenced rhythmic fluctuations of 'Necroticism' and 'Heartwork', the latter being the obvious culmination of his talents.

Starting with 'Heartwork', the lyrics, I felt, began to take a turn for the worse as the band began to take on more practical subject matter and on 'Swansong' they really hit rock bottom. I mean, 'R**k the Vote'? Really?? This is almost as bad as '31 Flavors' by Sacred Reich.

All in all, 'Swansong' isn't as bad as some would lead you to believe, at least if you're one of the more open minded denizens that doesn't get a period over a band experimenting with their sound a bit. For me though, it all just comes across as very uninspired and ultimately being an unneeded and non-essential offering to the band's body of work. Thankfully, the band has come to their senses and decided to conjure fourth an album soon to be unleashed upon the masses. I'm happy to say that the little I've heard thus far pretty much picks up where 'Heartwork' left off. Welcome home, boys...

Vital Remains - Dechristianize (2003)

Ugh! What a horrible fucking album! Ok, ok... "some" of the riffs and some of the leadwork is cool, but god-motherfuckin'-DAMN do these cocksuckers know how to beat a dead horse into the ground, especially the infernal soccer Pop himself, Mr. Glen fuckin' Benton (oh Boy). Perhaps this album wouldn't be such an excruciatingly monotonous experience to endure if it weren't for the fact that ol' GB persists on incessantly "singing" over each and every conceivable nook and cranny throughout the album's duration. I mean, who ok'd this shit? It's like going to shake a little pepper into your stew and having the top come off accidentally, resulting in one hell of a mess. I wouldn't eat it. Would you?

I guess I should mention that I was actually surprised at how far VR advanced musically since the Jeff Gruslin days. The band's first two or three albums were average at best with nothing terribly interesting or offensive going on. '2000's 'Dawn of the Apocalypse' saw the band take a huge step forward in terms of musicianship and delivery overall (largely due to the involvement of the many tentacled Dave Suzuki). Personally, I think the bald druggie who sang on that album was probably the best vocalist the band has ever had.

Unfortunately, fast forward to 2003 and it would appear that Glen Benton's ego insisted on cramming his haggard roar over each and every note fluctuation on the album. Quite the unfortunate move considering that ol' horseshoe head hasn't really sounded all that good, vocally, since roughly around the release of 'Once Upon the Cross'. I always felt that the cracks in his performance began to transform themselves into gaping chasms around the time 'Serpents of the Light' was released. That's too bad considering that his performance on Deicide's debut is one of the greatest of all time. Here (and on pretty much everything he's performed on since, be it VR or his mainstay act) Glenny Boy sounds like he's angrily gargling balls pretty much from start to finish. Not good Glenny Boy. Not good at all.

Again, I never viewed VR as anything special and all I can really say about this album is that they went from exhibiting a more plodding and painfully predictable style of third tier death metal to advancing (?) to a more frenzied and overwhelmingly obnoxious style of mediocrity. Either or, VR is not, has never been and probably will never be my thing.