Sunday, December 27, 2009

BLOODY PANDA – Summon CD review

Profound Lore Records

Once in a while you’ve just got to scream “ENOUGH ALREADY” when it comes to the hipster avant-garde worshipping crowds who place bands like this upon pedestals. That was the case with this band’s 2007 debut Pheromone which had certain review scum on their knees with tongues out salivating. I didn’t see what the big fuckin deal was then and I still don’t see it now. BLOODY PANDA are basically a recreation of THORRS HAMMER, the differences being that they’re from Brooklyn, NY and it’s not 1996.
Albeit these New Yorkers have seen their far share of actual sludge, the Sludge Doom sound recipe is still pure THORRS HAMMER. Stephan O’Malley could be banging out these riffs in his sleep which is kind of an oxymoron if you think about it. The female muse here is Yoshiko Ohara whose vocals are more on the airy choral variety. She’s pushing on the hypnotic meter which might cure a phobia or two but otherwise it’s not excitement city. The subtle differences between the bands are that THORRS HAMMER was raw and powerful. BLOODY PANDA come off as bleak and monotonous with Yoshiko floating above the sea of Sludge like a water lily. There are keyboards added which are utilized as a background element of atmosphere plus the male background vocals remind you at times of demonic voices bubbling up from the muck. The main piece out of the seven cuts is “Miserere” a twenty one minute Sludge Doom opus. After nine minutes of repetition you lose interest in the music and wonder what kind of meandering you could focus on. I played this in the evening a few times trying to muster up some thoughts and ended up farting around on Facebook by taking a quiz to see what potted plant I was. Fans of this band also have moss growing on their bodies.

MAAX – Dawnbringer CD review

MAAX – Dawnbringer CD
Abyss Records

One of the appealing factors about Blackened Thrash, and there are many by the way, is its similarity to Punk/Hardcore partly by sound and style but of course attitude. You take Muncie, Indiana’s MAAX for example, blast their release a few times and you realize that they’ve got more Punk/HC attitude than all of those typically politically correct losers who have destroyed the genre. Check out their MySpace page and you’ll be greeted with the words “Go Fuck Yourself”. Granted anyone can post a phrase but with MAXX it’s obvious they truly mean it. Like I said just listen to their music and you’ll be like, “Oh yeah they mean it”. I’ll take a guess and say that they’re probably not the most liked band in their hometown. Of course that opinion would come from the spineless losers that MAXX has probably crushed on their way to get signed to the uber cool Abyss Records. Then again if you open your debut release with the song “Blut Reich Blood Dawn” you’re gonna ruffle the feathers of those sensitive types. But as the band clearly states, “Go Fuck Yourself”. Thankfully I like Dawnbringer with its influence clearly stemming from that era when the boundaries of Punk and Metal were not so clearly defined. When bands like VENOM, MOTORHEAD and BATHORY were worshipped by long hairs as well as no hair and funny hairs alike. Yeah those days are long gone. Pronounced “may-axe”, if this fearsome foursome were given a planet with an indigenous population they would annihilate it and proudly say “Next”.

PORTAL – Swarth CD review

PORTAL – Swarth CD
Profound Lore Records

I don’t know who is off their meds, these Australians or the people who continue to call their music Death Metal? Post apocalyptic is more accurate with touches of Death, Grind and Industrial Experimental insanity. They could’ve used this as the soundtrack to that last Mad Max movie and then dragged Tina Turner chained behind a jeep across the Australian outback. Now that would be some Death Metal sounds after five minutes then the screams would subside. Actually PORTAL is the result of a scientific experiment in which Aborigines were breed with Dingoes within a cavernous lab in the Australian Outback during the 1940s. The goal of the project was to create super soldiers just in case the Japs invaded during World War Two. After the war the project was scrubbed and the lab abandoned with the newborn creatures left to fend for themselves in the desert caves. Fast forward fifty years later when an ACDC covers band, while traveling cross continent, inconveniently has van trouble and brakes down near the creature’s liar. Once night falls the creatures come out to see who’s trespassed near their territory. The creatures eventually kill the band members and take their musical instruments back into the cave.

After a few weeks of practicing the creatures emerge as the band, PORTAL, all wearing hooded robes to hide their true identity. They are lead by the most intelligent amongst their kind, the one who calls himself the Curator, who is also their vocalist. Personally I wouldn’t call what “it” does as vocals nor would I call their sound music. But who am I to argue with a half man half dingo. He just might eat my baby. Anyways they commandeer the ACDC covers band van and head into the nearest city. There they meet with a club promoter drunk on Fosters who’s fucked up enough to give em a gig. PORTAL plays the show and afterwards meets with a guy, also drunk on Fosters, who’s willing to record them in his studio. This all happened in 1998 with the result being a self titled three song demo, which has been re-released as a 7”er in 2009. Since that fateful year PORTAL has continued to release material onto a world unbeknownst to their true identity and origin.

Swarth is the band’s third full length, their second on Profound Lore Records and no they’re not Dingo-men nor are they a Death Metal band. It’s noise although horrendous sounding and extreme to the hilt. It’s still fuckin noise! The guitar playing could actually have been done by a dingo-man hybrid it’s that incoherent. The drumming is pure crap and you know about the vocals. I won’t confirm that PORTAL is just one big fuckin joke being pulled on people. They have too many releases for it to be a complete joke. The members of PORTAL might actually consider their music an art form. Yeah well whatever because art, just like music is up to the beholder to judge not its creator. Once again this is not Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal, and not even experimental Death Metal. It’s simply tuneless, rhythm-less noise that is completely forgettable after one listen.

RAMMING SPEED – Brainwreck CD review

Candlelight Records

This Boston band’s brand of Thrash leans more to the Hardcore/Punk fun side of the isle in vocal style and riffs but some of the solos are from classic Heavy Metal. Back in the heyday if you had a song with a guitar solo longer than ten seconds you would be held in contempt by the scene overlords of punk rock fascism. Wow thankfully the days of political correctness and selling bands out for being too popular are over as far as the Hardcore scene is concerned. Yes that was a joke but this review is not. This debut full length of there’s originally was released in 2008 by Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records. I’m sure you’ve heard of em. It seems like Candlelight couldn’t stand having just two actual Thrash bands in their corral so they re-released this so now RAMMING SPEED will have something available in stores. Don’t expect to find their latest release, a four song 7”er on Punk Before Profits Records, in stores. It’s only limited to 600 copies which means their label is not really against making a profit. They’re against making a quality product that’s available. Note to Punk Before Profits, cheapo 7”ers are not cool or punk rock anymore. Innovation and technology has given bands/artists the ability to record, master and produce a quality CD from their basement which they can make available around the world. You’re not only stuck in the past you’re in the fuckin stone age. Ya wanna do vinyl then go for the thick LPs. But anyway on here you have 13 songs in less than 30 minutes and it reminds me of MUNICIPAL WASTE’s early output. If that floats your boat then pick this up fast. You see nostalgia will soon set in on bands like these. The original wave of Thrash lasted four years then started losing popularity. This second wave is just about there.

WALK THE DEAD – Demo review

Self Released

The key to being a good cook is to know what and how much of certain ingredients to put into your creations. The second key is to keep the tasters guessing what you’ve put in it. While listening to WALK THE DEAD my first thought is that I know what I’m hearing and yet I just can’t put my finger on it. That’s either a great compliment to them or I’m just not as jaded as people think I am. With the exception of all the samples thrown in here like garnish, the band is like a conveyer belt at a factory that produces flying metal hammers with encased sensors which target your skull. The songs on here are brutal death without all the cliché trappings of the sub-genre. The guitar riffs have that perfect crunch and the soloing has some technical flair without being overblown, ya know like the French. This band is from Colorado which by the way is a state where in the past has produced some uncanny Extreme Metal. It must be the mountain air or something. Speaking of which I wouldn’t want to be near any snow covered mountains when this band plays since the vocals will cause avalanches. They mix throaty vocals amidst high pitched screams that doesn’t sound like contrived metalcore bullshit. Not bad for only a three piece band. Contact the band and you can download this 14 song, not including the lengthy intro sample, demo. Seriously this thing is ready for label release.

SLAYER – World Painted Blood CD review

SLAYER – World Painted Blood CD
American Recordings

There are a couple of things that have become common place with every new SLAYER release since Seasons in the Abyss. First off its SLAYER dude of course you’ll buy it or a have a friend burn it for ya. Secondly if they come close to your neck of the woods on tour you’ll go see em. In 2010 they’re touring the states with MEGADETH and TESTAMENT, unfortunately their closes show is a few hundred miles away. And if you’ve got the big bucks you could fly over to Poland and catch their Warsaw show in June where they’re sharing the bill for the first time ever with MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and METALLICA. So it’s not necessarily important on whether or not this is good because you don’t care, its SLAYER dude, throw up those horns. But in the spirit of Extreme Metal I’ll go for it.

All of the pre-release hype for World Painted Blood was essentially hype. In no way is this, the band’s return to their pre-1990 ways. Anyone who has said that should be horse whipped. On the contrary anyone who says this sucks should also get in line for a horse whipping. You’ve got to listen to this from the perspective that these guys have been around for over 25 years. Of the four kings of Thrash from back in the day only SLAYER has stayed true to a point, where as the other three fell by the waist side. Only MEGADETH has redeemed themselves and that’s only been in recent years. Say what you want with their Hot Topic bullshit but atleast they didn’t release a movie with them seeing a shrink nor did they go Grunge, record with Rap criminals or become regulars on VH-1 documentaries.

So what’s good about World Painted Blood, well not the title track that’s for sure? I’ll say it’s decent and will probably sound better live. Speaking of sound the production on here is the only thing that will remind you of their early days but I don’t care for it. Say what you want about their previous release, Christ Illusion, but the production was much better then on this one. This is not raw sounding like Reign In Blood, it’s hollow and as far as the song writing goes well you can call it paint by the numbers SLAYER riffage. But there are some standout tracks like “Psychopathy Red”, “Unit 731” and “Public Display of Dismemberment”. You could also toss in “Snuff” for good measure. As far as the others well “Hate Worldwide” is decent and will sound better if they play it live. The same can be said for “Americon” which I’m guessing will be part of their set list during the European leg of their 2010 world tour. Yeah that’s about it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GORGOROTH – Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt CD review

GORGOROTH – Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt CD
Regain Records

Well it’s been two years since the start of what observers would call the band’s implosion. Whether you sided with Infernus or Gaahl and King ov Hell in the band control spat shouldn’t matter anymore. Fans of all eras of GORGOROTH, of which I’m one, felt disgusted by the whole media circus atmosphere and unclean with seeing a great band fall in with hipster retards. If your head fills with dreams of grandeur and you fall in with cunt faced losers, which is what Gaahl and King did, then you deserve to lose everything. The band needed to die a horrible painful death which is what happened. Gaahl and King have quietly faded from the picture although not without their own added baggage. Infernus is back in charge of the band he created and he’s brought in with him some faces old as well as new. Pest has returned on vocals to bring back days of old. Tormentor is back on second guitar but is not on this recording, officially he’s playing live. Another face from the past is drummer Tomas Asklund formerly of DISSECTION who also co-produced this release along with Infernus. Ironically he isn’t playing with the band live so Infernus has enlisted someone else for that duty. Finally on bass its Frank Watkins who everyone knows has been laying down the grooves for US Death Metal legends, OBITUARY.

So Infernus has assembled a formable squad of Extreme Metal vets in order to resurrect the name GORGOROTH from disgrace. Has he done it on here? The title translates into “as many as possible converted to Satanism” which is a great way to return to the fold as it were and rebirth. Honestly I had no idea of what to expect from this other then knowing that Infernus started writing the material in 2006. So when the opening cut, “Aneuthanasia”, knocked me back I knew instantly this was going to be incredible. The opening cut harkens back to a time of the band’s first three releases. Pest sounds as if the 12 years he’s spent out of the band never happened. In fact musically the Gaahl/King era has been wiped clean and GORGOROTH has returned to their True Norwegian Black Metal form. For some strange reason I’m reminded of Wolf’s Lair Abyss by MAYHEM. Not musically of course but in how both band’s stories are similar. With that one it was drummer Hellhammer who got the band back together from the abyss and brought in former vocalist Maniac to create a great comeback release. It’s evident in the song “Rebirth” which carries along in this melancholy ambient way. It’s this cut where you can hear Pest utter, in his vocal styled screech, “rebirth of GORGOROTH”. I can picture Pest with a snake’s head on a man’s body. His vocals are that venomous sounding and I’d forgotten how good a singer he was.

The overall sound of Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt reminds you of misery and pain which is quite a change from their last release years ago. I guess that’s to be expected since Infernus had written this material from 2006 to 2009, a time period which was wrought with turmoil. There’s a frigid quality to the riffs and a sense of dread to the staccato picking. It’s like walking out onto a frozen lake and then suddenly you hear the ice cracking. It’s not a depressing Black Metal release. On the contrary this is an invitation into the morose psyche of Infernus who obviously is recreating his ordeal through the music. Songs like “Human Sacrifice” and “Satan Prometheus” are reminders of tiresome battles he’s endured in life over the past few years. That’s probably why the production on here is low compared to earlier works. It adds to the bleakness like Pest’s scream at the end of “Satan Prometheus” reminds you of endless pain and torment. Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt should be the comeback release of the year simply for all the scars it unveils upon the world.