Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Orchid - The Mouths of Madness (2013)

I know that there will be no shortage of butthurt denizens roaming the streets with identical complaints of "Orchid sound like Black Sabbath", yada fucking yada. Get over it. Please, just get the fuck over it. Orchid rocks and most importantly Orchid is doing a way better job at keeping the whole '70's occult rock vibe' alive than Sabbath is, especially if 'God is Dead?' is any indication, which it is, so there.

First off, the whole trip that Orchid is on is unquestionably genuine. From the lyrics to the artwork to the music itself. The intent is there. Orchid has had 40 some odd years of musical history to glean from in regards to where they are at today. They are obviously not concerned with reinventing the wheel, nor should they be.  The gift of music ultimately boils down to how it sounds and how it makes you feel. Somewhere along the way came this pretentious notion that "everything has to sound original". Sure, that's all groovy and grand when it does go down, but regardless of what our musical dictators tell us, music is about the vibe, not about building spaceships and flying off into outer space... well, I guess it is in a proverbial and metaphysical kind of way, but I digress! Yes, Orchid has vibes aplenty and that, my friends, is what it all boils down to. It does my heart good to listen to music that puts me in a 70's frame of mind. I guaran-goddamn-tee that the new Black Sabbath album aint gonna have shit on Orchid in that regard!

If you can find it in yourself to get off of your high horse and listen to Orchid's music for what it is, you will realize, quickly, what a strange and wonderful world it is that they've created here. In a time when everyone has their face collectively glued to a cell phone or some other mind altering contraption, it's a fucking relief and a pleasure to hear a band that sounds as if they were frozen in time. Hats off to ya, gents!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Lords of Salem (2013)

I've been looking forward to seeing this ever since I saw the trailer. I'm not a HUGE fan of Zombie's work, but for the most part (except for his Halloween II remake which was simply atrocious), his movies have been entertaining and generally alright.

The Lords of Salem stars Sherri Moon Zombie as a local radio DJ. She receives a record from "The Lords" and upon playing the album, she and all the women of Salem start acting weird. She starts having hallucinations and weird dreams, while her landlord and landlord's sisters start to become a little too interested in her.

It's easy to see the old 70s trippy/horror inspiration, most notably Rosemarie's Baby and maybe The Sentinel (along with a little Eyes Wide Shut and many others). While casting his wife is getting pretty old, Sherri Moon Zombie's acting was a little better and required more from her than usual. The three sisters were definitely a highlight, including Dee Wallace from The Howling and Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as Zombie regulars like Sid Haig and Ken Foree.

There's a lot of really awesome and creepy images and I personally loved the montonous droning music from The Lords' LP. It has a very art-house/religious/psychedelic feel to it without becoming pretentious(although some parts come really close). The main complaint from most people is that the movie plays more like an elaborate music video rather than a film, and I have to agree. There are some over-the-top moments but overall it's definitely worth a watch.

Movie Poster of the Week: Manson (1973)

The Way's Top Worst Follow-Up Releases

I know that some folks will probably think I'm out of my mind with some of these selections but they have their reasons for being here. Some of these might not have been straight up "sex change operations" but nonetheless, they were a departure from what I was expecting and/or hoping for. Certain and obvious choices such as Morbid Angel's 'Illud Divinum...' ultimately did not make the cut because Morbid has had such a long and good run up until that point and frankly, I'm not that offended by that album. Most, if not all of these albums, etc, were released when I was much younger and a bit more , shall I use the term "emotionally attached". Now that I'm an old fuck I take it way less personal if a band decides to jump out of the closet and ride the Hershey Highway.

Pestilence - Testimony of the Ancients

After the crushing and dismal onslaught of the imagination that was the mighty 'Consuming Impulse' I was not prepared for the artsy fartsy, post-neutered diet rite version of the band that was about to come prancing from out of my speakers. Oddly enough, the element that I was most concerned with (the absence of Martin Van Drunen) ended up being a non-issue as guitarist Patrick Mameli ably handled the mic. Sure, he sounded like a rather generic version of MVD but at least the aggression remained.

There are moments on this album that I swear were written by the two fags from Air Supply and basically that's what 'Testimony...' sounds like, a collaboration between Pestilence and that band. After waiting almost three years for this album to be released, I cannot begin to describe what a letdown it was to finally hear it.

Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky

After the mindblowing 'Soulside Journey', nothing, absolutely fucking nothing could prepare me for the utterly homosexual bandwagon hopping of this album. To this day it kills me that everyone bows at the feet of this band, heaping massive amounts of praise upon them for being so original and for "sticking to their guns" (???)... really??? Are you fucking kidding me? Darkthrone is the biggest example of the term "trendy hipster" there is. It's difficult for people to comprehend why, exactly? Because the two geeks in this band act like they don't care? Yeah right. Trust me. If they didn't care they wouldn't write, record and release albums. Period.

Cathedral - Soul Sacrifice

I should've known that the weakest track on the band's debut would be the one whose style of which Cathedral would capitalize on throughout the rest of their existence. What a shame. To this day, no one has been able to come close to the brilliance of Cathedral's 'Forest of Equilibrium', certainly not the band itself. I cannot say for sure that it was a complete shock to hear the more upbeat tempos found on this 'ep', but it was a major letdown nonetheless 

Carcass - Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious

Sure, this is still quite an aggressive album but it wasn't really what I wanted to hear after 'Symphonies of Sickness'. I had waited some time to once again delve into Carcass' dismal void of crushing gloom and was rather thrown off to be greeted by the thrashier aesthetics of 'Necroticism'. Don't get me wrong, I actually like the album but I have always grappled with the sinking feeling that the primal sludge of their earlier incarnation was to forever be a thing of the past as the band began to incorporate elements of thrash and traditional heavy metal, not to mention the increasing absence of Bill Steer's vocal croak which would be non-existent on Carcass' next album, 'Heartwork'. Great album, but a bittersweet reminder of the everflowing winds of change.

Suffocation - Breeding the Spawn

With their debut, 'Effigy of the Forgotten', Suffocation beat the living shit out of everyone around them, bands and fanatics alike. Effortlessly pushing Cannibal Corpse to the side, Suffocation became the new barbarians of U.S. brutality on the block. This band had great things in store. I knew it... until....

I'm not quite sure what the fuck Roadrunner was thinking when they sent the band off to some hole in the wall studio to record their heavily anticipated follow-up to 'Effigy...', but boy did they fuck that up. Regardless of whether or not the actual "playing" is up to par, the album sounds like complete and total shit. You can pretend to yourself otherwise until the second coming of Christ, but the fact remains: this album sounds like garbage. I can only imagine what it would've sounded like had Scott Burns worked his magic once again.

The other problem I had with it was that the songs just really aren't that good. Sure, there never seems to be a shortage of praise from musicians and techno-nerds alike, but to mine ears (seemingly) alone, none of these songs really stand out, ultimately making the album sound like a big stew of meandering garbage and noise made worse by the atrocious production. What a fucking shame.

Obituary - The End Complete

The End Complete marks the beginning of Obituary's longstanding affair with releasing absolutely boring and unimaginative albums. It's as if they stopped giving a shit after 'Cause of Death'. Like that album was so overwhelmingly taxing to create it pretty much sucked out the remainder of the band's creative output. I don't know. I'm just speculating. 

I've learned since then that each time the band is about to release an album and utter the words "oh, this is going to be a typical Obituary album", they're referring to each and every worthless piece of shit they've released since 'Cause of Death'. 

Therion - Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas

Where 'Beyond Sanctorum' had mere "glimpses" of symphonic faggotry sprinkled throughout, 'Symphony Masses' was a full bore crashing through the gates (otherwise known as the closet door).

Perhaps the biggest letdown for me were the vocals of Christofer Johnsson. On the band's previous albums he was a fucking beast, quite deserving of the band's moniker. Here he sounds like some wayward and haggard wino surviving on a diet of Kamchatka and withered dog turds. Somebody get this guy a bowl of soup!

Bolt Thrower - ...for Victory

After 4 albums of total and complete godliness, I should have known that the mighty locomotive known as Bolt Thrower would eventually run out of steam. This album isn't a departure from the band's "tried and true" formula or anything of the sort. It just sounds like a band tired and completely out of good ideas. To be fair, there are a handful of decent riffs here and there, but as a whole the album just sounds tired and weak. Even though I felt that the band's follow-up, 'Mercenary' was a glimmer of hope, the band have never truly recovered and have been on a long path of mediocrity since.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Antiviral (2012)

I was fully prepared to hate this movie. Usually kids of good directors don’t just come up short; they fall flat on their faces (ie: Cameron Romero, Jennifer Lynch to a degree) so I figured Brandon Cronenberg would suck as well.

Antiviral is the younger Cronenberg’s debut feature about a young man working at a clinic that specializes in celebrity diseases. In this unknown point in the future, the cult of celebrity has gotten to the point where the gullible masses don’t just want to look or be like their favorite stars, they want to encompass them wholly, including being afflicted with their same diseases. Syd March works for one of these disease dispensing clinics and decides to smuggle the diseases in his own body to sell on the black market. He happens to infect himself with a new disease that ends up taking the life of supermodel Hannah Geist and now has to figure out what’s going on before he ends up dead like her.

David Cronenberg’s body-horror influence on his son is very apparent throughout the film. You can see little bits of Videodrome, The Fly and other goodies throughout, but Brandon tries to make this his own. The problem is that in making it his own, he ends up going a little overboard into the arthouse realm. I appreciate nice colors and well-shot images as much as the next person, but it gets to be a little too much. Most of the film is white-washed and sterile and cleanly edged. The only non overly bright/white moments are when Syd goes to do his black market dealings and it feels contrived having the dark dingy corners feel way too obvious creating at the shady mood.

The movie is a slow-burner. I found myself fast forwarding through the second half, waiting for something/anything to happen. Everyone’s favorite “I’m in every movie” actor, Malcolm McDowell has a small part, but the show is pretty much carried by Syd (Caleb Landry Jones). His almost albino, freckled, expressionless persona both annoyed me and worked in some weird way. The girl who plays Hannah is dispensable at best.

For a debut offering, it’s not bad. I wouldn’t purposely watch this again, but I wouldn’t leave a room if it happened to be on. I am curious to see what Brandon Cronenberg offers up in the future.

Maniac (2012)

Although I am neither a fan of remakes nor the “new wave of French horror” that’s been popular the past 10-15 years, Maniac ends up being an exception to both categories. This Alexandre Aja penned remake of 1980 classic is a fairly faithful retelling of the original. Elijah Wood is no Joe Spinell, but with his portrayal as a seriously deranged fuck with boyish and charming good looks, Woods actually fits the character better than Spinell’s loafing, schlumpiness IMO (and I can hear the ire of a thousand purists). The chick who plays Anna is an actually somewhat likeable and interesting character, as opposed to 95% of female roles these days.

Except for 2 or 3 scenes, the movie is told from Frank’s (Wood’s) point of view so we only really see him when he’s reflected from a window or mirror. The gore and blood are there, as is to be expected from Aja’s work. The scalpings are fine, nothing groundbreaking or novel. There is a nice little Achilles heel slicing which I am a fan of, and there are a few scenes where Woods is washing his hands with a steel Brillo pad looking thing which were definitely squirm-worthy.

If you’re a purist and devout fan of the original, you will probably hate this. But if not, it’s definitely a movie worth watching and one of the better horror movies to come out in recent years.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Napalm Death - Harmony Corruption (1990)

Easily my favorite ND album. After 'From Enslavement...' I was relieved that they changed things up a bit. I couldn't imagine yet another album in that style. Sure, it was cool for what it was as was 'Scum', but the novelty was wearing thin and if they were going to stick around for a while they were in dire need of some serious changes.

I for one am not one of the gay "punk" douche-bags that cried all the way home about the changes made within the ND faction. For one, I've always been a metalhead, first and foremost. I never liked punk. Period. The music sucked. The douche-bags that populated that scene sucked, The lame "punk attitude" thing was gay and so on and so fourth. When ND went all out death metal, I thought "fuck yeah!", now this is more like it! Don't get me wrong, I was all about their early grindcore stuff and I'll never forget the day I went to the record store, purchased my "pink" (yep) copy of 'Scum' on cassette, brought it home and was completely bludgeoned by it. It was cool then and on occasion I'll pop it in (more for nostalgic purposes than anything else) for the hell of it, but I just couldn't see Napalm belting out a continuous succession of Scum's and From Enslavement's. One more album done in that fashion would have been overkill. The transition to full blown death metal began with 'Mentally Murdered' and was complete with 'Harmony Corruption'.

I was not expecting the vengeful, hateful blast beat/Barney roar combo that would coming crashing through the gates, unexpectedly amidst the static laden intro. I was momentarily dazed. Once the dust quickly settled I noticed the bizarre tremolo riffing of team Pintado/Harris doing its thing and I knew right away that everything was gonna be alright. To date, this is ND's finest hour. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know there's a million naysayers out there that wanna tell you that ND died after Steer and Dorrian flew the coop, well, fuck 'em. Their opinions don't mean shit to me. There's also a newfound and rabid interest in the band due to their supposed "return to form" starting with 2000's 'Enemy of the Music Business'. Apparently I'm in the minority on this one as I can't shake the feeling that a very large and important ingredient is missing. The band's early 90's mojo is obviously a thing of the past and I'm not terribly enthusiastic about the 900 albums they've released in the last 10 or so years. Again, for me, Harmony is the pinnacle moment of the band with a couple of worthy follow-ups since but nothing quite on its level.

Barney's vocals are unbelievably hateful and monstrous sounding, "New guys" Jesse Pintado and Mitch Harris really added a new dimension to the band yet kept everything sounding just as intense as the band's previous albums. The songs are more tempered. Not in the sense that they've lost their edge, but there is more of a notion of "craftsmanship" this time around and Mick Harris' drumming is on point throughout the duration, mixing it up between blasts and beats and I'm sorry to all the "trigger haters" out there, but Scott Burns did a fucking fantastic job on this album.

Death - Human (1991)

With Death, you have on one side of the spectrum all of the "old school death metal" faggots that claim allegiance to the first two albums and those two only (with a few, apparently "forgiving" denizens adding in 'Spiritual Healing' to the equation) and then you have the artsy/techno-nerd types who are rendered  "breathless" by everything the band has done from 'Human' on out (though for some reason all factions tend to agree that The Sound of Perseverance gargles laminated donkey testicles).

Personally, I think they're all wrong. Spiritual Healing, without a doubt, belongs with the first two albums as part of Death's classic and initial phase. The Sound of Perseverance is not as bad as everyone makes it out, especially after the ultra-bland flavorless gruel that is 'Symbolic', and Human is in all likelihood the band's pinnacle moment with Individual Thought Patterns a strong runner-up.

I always thought that 'Human' was a substantial "fuck you" to the mongoloids in Massacre. I mean, talk about regression, it was clearly evident who the weakest links were once the homey's in Death got the collective boot and re-formed Massacre. The songwriting "skills" sank considerably and Rozz's whammy wanking ways were left unchecked while flying guitar strings were the bane of many an eyeball across the nation. If something boring and lame is considered "pedestrian" than the guys in Massacre were a pack of cripples trying to cross the street in wheelchairs. The muscianship between the two bands is incomparable. Once the Massacre dolts got dropkicked from the ranks, Schuldiner's creative juices truly began to flow.

The cool thing about 'Human', to me, was that, more than being just a technical upgrade, the songs remained catchy and even more so than any of the band's previous outings. Their was a finesse here that the band acquired and everything sounded, dare I say, smooth, which is surprisingly a good thing. Hey, I don't mind a job well done in the studio. I'm not one of these "necro" fucks who whines all day about shit not sounding raw enough. Whatever. Up until this point, 'Human' was the best sounding Death album and probably the best in their career. Do I like it the best? Nah. I have a soft spot for 'Spiritual Healing', though 'Human' comes in right behind it.

Thankfully, the fags in Cynic are only here as hired hands, otherwise 'Human' would have been an altogether different "experience".

Movie Poster of the Week: Death Line -aka- Raw Meat (1973)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Maveth - Coils of the Black Earth (2013)

More "blah" being touted as the "next great thing". Fuck that. This shit is boring, capital L-A-M-E. I read somewhere how great the vocalist is and how much he sounds like a "monster". You gotta be fucking kidding me. Trust me. There is absolutely NOTHING spectacular about this guy. I won't say that he outright sucks. I mean, he's decent enough, but after all the praise and rim jobs, I was half expecting my cabeza to detonate from the sheer awesomeness of this guy's delivery. Not quite. Just another average schmoe grappling the mic and adding absolutely nothing more than a minor distraction from the rather pedestrian riff department. Trust me folks, this is nothing to drop your laundry over. Sure, it doesn't outright blow, but given the amount of trembling hype that it's received, this album has come up noticeably short. Just another run o' the mill death metal band that everyone has a hard on over because they happen to be from Finland. Next.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Way's Top 5 Most Blasphemous & Evil Sounding Death Metal Albums of All Time

To me, for a band to sound truly "evil", there has to be that special something about it. It has to have a certain quality. I know many folks out there think that by having Satanic lyrics in their songs the musician is automatically "evil" sounding. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. I've heard many bands throughout the years with Satanic lyrics, who made The Chipmunks sound voraciously blasphemous in comparison. A great wealth of black metal bands quickly comes to mind. No. Truly evil sounding death metal bands have to have a certain vibe about them. A Particularly "gloomy" aura. It's not just about "evil" lyrics. There has to be a mastery over nuance and subtlety. For example, there's something about a band that employs the use of string bends and trills that somehow gives me the impression that they're privy to some unspeakable horror that can only be found within the darkest landscape of the mind. Obviously the use of tremolo style picking is also of great importance. Personally, I've always considered the contrast of low end gloom and pinch harmonics to be an added bonus when applied. Here are the following five death metal albums that, for me, fall perfectly into that category.

5) Morbid Angel - Covenant (1993)

I know a lot of people cite 'Altars of Madness' as the "be all end all" Morbid Angel album, but for me the band truly reached the pinnacle of their abilities with 1993's Covenant. Though the band has always had a firm grasp on creating evil sounds, I felt that they really knocked it out of the park with this album. The sound was a bit more murky and cavernous what with their newfound low end and there was a larger emphasis on slower, gloomier sounding riffs. Make no mistake though, the whirlwind rhythmic onslaught that made them such a force to be reckoned with in the first place was still present in songs such as 'Rapture' and 'Blood on My Hands', yet it was the doomier tracks like 'God of Emptiness' and 'World of Shit' that had me entranced and obsessed.

4) Disciples of Mockery - Prelude to Apocalypse (1999)

Featuring 3/4's of Incantation's 'Onward to Golgotha' line-up, DOM's blasphemous debut features everything from grinding death metal to slow and decrepit doom to even a more "blackened" sounding tremolo assault. The vocals of Craig Pillard are a bit different here than anything he's done with Incantation or Disma, for that matter, yet they sound just as menacing and evil. It's too bad that DOM didn't remain active as they would have easily given Incantation a run for their money as evidenced on 'Prelude to Apocalypse'. Hell, I prefer this album to anything Incantation has released since Craig's departure, so there!

3) Coffin Texts - Gods of Creation, Death & Afterlife (2000)

This album really blew me away upon its release way back in 2000. From the band name to the album cover and song titles, I guess I was expecting some bootleg Nile rip-off. By the time the first song finished I knew that this was going to be one of my all time favorite albums.

Coffin Texts sound like a cross between early Incantation and early Bolt Thrower with a healthy dash of Immolation thrown into the mix. The vocals are a bit "witchier" sounding than the aforementioned bands, which brings to mind the German old guard of bands such as Kreator and Sodom.

2) Incantation - Mortal Throne of Nazarene (1994)

Choosing between 'Onward to Golgotha' and this, is no easy decision to make by any stretch, but ultimately I have to give 'Mortal Throne' the edge as it takes everything from the first album and improves upon it. The band sounds that much more mature and enlightened this time around, yet without sacrificing any of the gloomy aesthetics found on their debut.

1) Immolation - Dawn of Possession (1991)

And here it is...

By far the most haunting and sinister sounding death metal album ever! There is something rhythmically serpentine about this album, from beginning to end. The mastery over feeling and atmosphere is rather uncanny when you consider that this was the band's first "professional" outing as well as the fact that they really haven't sounded this sinister since. Everything about this album is top shelf, from the absolutely brilliant production, courtesy of Harris Johns, to the masterful use of tremolo picking, harmonics, string bends and other assorted spells. This is the pinnacle achievement of the band, and although I wouldn't say that it's been downhill since, they certainly haven't been able to get any higher than this.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The GG Allin Manifesto

If you believe in the real underground of Rock 'N' Roll, then now is the time to do something about it. The time is now to overthrow the current situations and declare war on the record companies, radio stations, publications, clubs, and anyone who promotes the whole so called "scene" as it now stands. We need to destroy it all and take it back from the corporate phonies and conformist. But action must be taken now and blood must be spilled.
First let me tell you who I am. I was born Jesus Christ Allin in 1956 in Lancaster, NH. The Jesus Christ they preach about in the Bible is a phony imposter - just a crutch for the cripples to lean on. Fuck that weak shit! I am the man to deal with. I created myself inside the womb from the fires of Hell. There are no separations between Jesus Christ, God and the Devil, because I am all of theme. I am here to take Rock 'N' Roll back & prove to the world that I am the real king through the powers I have acquired.
When I was born in 1956, Rock 'N' Roll first started taking off. Why do you think that was? Because I created it. I created Elvis. I made it all happen. Even before I was born I was plotting. But through the years everyone has let it all go. That's why I am ready to take it all back. Nobody has held on. Nobody has had the indurence to finish what they were set out to fucking do. They all let me down or I took their lives for a purpose. I was the one who was throwing all the monkey wrenches into the gears. But money and commercialism made them all sell out. Even Iggy let me down. The Sex Pistols let me down. Sid let me down when he fell in love (that's why they are all dead). And now we have the Ramones praising bands like Guns N' Roses, which runs against everything they were set out to destroy.
But now it's 1991. This is the decade for the final bloody mutilation. Time to get Rock 'N' Roll out of the hands of the masses and back to the people who will not accept comfort or conformity at any cost. Then I will commit suicide on stage and the blood of Rock 'N' Roll will become the poison of the Universe forever. Take a look around and see what's happening. Spineless record companies kissing the mainstreams ass, being pressured by the money media and politicians. So called cutting edge radio stations as fucking lame as the stations they oppose. Censorship publications kisssing the monkey suits asses, who in turn, are kissing someone else's ass. Even so called "underground" publications have no fucking desire to get blood on their hands. They are too busy crying about how we can make the world a more wonderful place and how politically correct they can be. Talk is fucking cheap.
It's time to fight. It's time for revenge. We need to overthrow Rock 'N' Roll as it now stands. We must bring down record companies by not buying their products. A boycot. If you have to have a record, steal it. That way they wont get your money. We've got to stop feeding them. Your support must now go to me - GG Allin, the commanding leader and terrorist of Rock 'N' Roll. Why do you think I am in prison right now? Because they know who I am and they fear my reality. Our society wants to stop my mission. They want to brain wash you and keep you locked into MTV, and their stagnating, safe worlds. It's a plot to kill Rock 'N' Roll. I am the savior. Thats why I am considered a threat to society.
This is what you should do:
Go to your record store and buy all the GG ALLIN recordings you can find. If they dont have any in stock, tell them to order some. If they refuse, then do what you have to do. Call radio stations and demand GG Allin. Spray paint "GG ALLIN" everywhere. Make them aware that the disease and the Scumfuc tradition is still spreading. Write "GG ALLIN" on all your dollar bills. Any bills you have. People do not throw money away, so it would be a free way to get the message out. You must do it every day of your life. We must live for the Rock 'N' Roll underground. It CAN be dark and dangerous again. It CAN be threatning to our society as it was meant to be. IT MUST BE UNCOMPROMISING. And with me as your leader, it will happen. I am ready to lead you, my allies, into the real Rock 'N' Roll underground. Let's get started.