Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ROTTEN SOUND - Cursed CD review

Relapse Records
Genre: Grindcore
Rating: 5/5

Two things I need to point out. The first one is that I saw ROTTEN SOUND when they were on that Exhumed To Consume CARCASS Reunion tour in 2008 and was thoroughly blown away by them. I was never overly enthused by Grindcore as a genre unless the bands had some Death Metal as well as Crust influence, without the stupidity, also have the ability to rip your face off with their overall sound. Of the previous releases I've picked up by this band since seeing them, last years Napalm EP, 2008's Cycles and 2005's Exit (they have plenty more that go all the way back to the mid-90s) I can simply say as far as Grindcore goes this band is incredible. This one here, Cursed, is even better than those previous mentioned releases. If I played this loud enough with my windows open then every resident in my neighborhood would be without a face. Believe me some of em could use the change but that's another point entirely.

Cursed is a fast release coming in at under thirty minutes. Also there's a lot of "guests" on here, too many to name of course with one exception. ENTOMBED's LG Petrov adds some guest vocals on two cuts. Trust me you can barely tell since they're both under two minute cuts. Cursed simply starts, beats you to a pulp and then leaves you bloodied on the floor. It's slightly more hyper than what these Finns have done on previous releases I've heard. There's no obvious variety at all. When they do slow down it's still faster than most bands. Once you push play forget doing anything for around a half hour because you'll be held down by the fury. Which brings me to my second point which is the label. I'm glad to see Relapse releasing something which is as extreme as the roots which the label has.

Label: http://www.relapse.com

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/rottensound

BEFORE THE DAWN - Deathstar Rising CD review

BEFORE THE DAWN - Deathstar Rising CD
Nuclear Blast
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Rating: 1/5

This Finnish band gets one strike against em off the bat because of the Star Wars referenced title. It probably doesn't have anything to do with said movie franchise in reality but right now I say fuck Star Wars and if you have something slighty mentioned about it in a release. As far as this dink overall, it sounds like a poor man's AMORPHIS who just so happen to be their countrymen. This is my first time listening to BEFORE THE DAWN even though they've been putting out releases for a decade now and this is their sixth full length. Deathstar Rising is also the band's first for Nuclear Blast Records. I'll get this one done quickly and say that I don't care for this band's mediocre melo death with epic touches plus dueling vocals with one harsh (guitarist Tuomas Saukkonen) and the other clean sounding (bassist Lars Elkind). Which the exception being Juho Räihä's soloing on a handful of cuts I just find it all boring. How boring you ask? Well how about to the point where I can only see this as pop metal territory which is played on the cable tv metal channel. They will probably win a Finnish Grammy but for me it's a gold plated turd which cable tv metal channel fans can eat.

Label: http://www.nuclearblast.de/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/beforethedawnmusic

MURKRAT - Drudging the Mire CD review

MURKRAT - Drudging the Mire CD
Aesthetic Death
Genre: Funeral Doom/Gothic
Rating: 2/5

If you were a fan of MURKRAT's debut release from 2008 then you'll probably won't be too surprised by Drudging the Mire. There have been some changes for this New South Wales, Australia act since they came up on everyone's radar in 2010. First off Mandy Andreson is now the sole member of the band, ditching Becky Nine-Iron for a session drummer. Secondly if you thought the debut was miserable in a depressive avant garde way than get ready for some Gothic doom and gloom. The perfect way to listen to this new one is with the lights out but you can burn a single candle. I cannot do that because I'm a drunk and might knock over the damm candle in a fit of depressive rage brought on by this music. The next thing will be that my house would burn down to the ground which is also a depressive thought and I might even be lost in the fire. That's right and then where would you get your fill of honest extreme music reviews with a helping of hipster bashing?

If there's one word I could use to describe Drudging the Mire it would be horrific. This is like the result of some pop singer in raccoon makeup, Tori Amos?, high on depressants and liquor. The opener, "Processional: Drudging The Mire" is just Mandy Andreson tinkering on the keys of her piano in an empty hall as if no one showed up for the recital. Now that's depressing, give me a drink and some pills if ya got em. Once "I, Rodent" starts then it's goth torture time with just organ and drums. Musically it's not much different then "Believers" from the debut. It drags on until the mid-point which is when Mandy adds more piano tinkering and her witch howls. "I, Rodent" is probably one of the better moments on here. Coming in at a few seconds over seventy four minutes this dink drags more ass than an alligator, she's from Australia so I'll switch that to crocodile. In other words this release makes ISOLE sound like a speed metal band. The debut was slightly more lively.

As Drudging the Mire trudges onward things get more medieval and Gothic sounding to the point where it is like a funeral. Mandy is the lone mourner in a black veil with the haunting vocals sung over ambient drone. Songs like "Faceless" and "World" are completely boring unless you're into Goth which I am not. I was ready to scream "will something please happen" and it does on "Electric Womb". This is a fourteen minute kill joy about a world where machines control human births. "Propagating the brain-sack farm. For the survival of the race. To preserve the mass consciousness. Of the passive-mind creatures." Yeah that's pretty depressive if you ask me. "The Mighty Spires" introduces in some witchery tale with Mandy's vocal being perfect amidst a organ and piano drone. Once again a good track which reminds me of their debut. "Speak" takes on an apocryphal tone which draws heavily on the Gothic atmosphere of the keyboards. The final and shortest song on here, "Berceuse - Slow Immersion" is another piano recital number played in a windy yet empty hall.

If there are any guitars on here you cannot tell they're there. It mainly sounds like piano, organ, drums and vocals. This is like the final performance by some former pop singer/piano virtuoso whose gone off the deep end courtesy of pills and booze. The lyrics are the final confessions before the oral concoction takes its final conclusion. Is that a bad thing? Nah because that's what some people want in your Gothic funeral doom. This is for fans only for which I'm now questioning my own status. Don't let your roommates hear you playing this dink or you're likely to find yourself coming home one day to an intervention or worse, the big guys in white coats with a third guy holding the needle.

Label: http://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/murkrat

HELIOTROPES - Ribbons 7" review

HELIOTROPES - Ribbons 7"
Self Released
Genre: Indie Rock
Rating: 1/5

The biggest surprise about this all girl Brooklyn based three piece is that they are from Brooklyn and not a liberal college town. The two songs represented on here sound like someone discovered BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE or the DANDY WARHOLS a few months ago and decided to bastardize. Maybe an ex-boyfriend left a CD behind at the apartment and didn't have the balls to go get it back? Typical indie-chick vocals (whispers & howls) sung over psyched-out guitar noodling. I was really expecting them to be from someplace like Chapel Hill or any other nondescript liberal college town where the people have the musical tastes of pigeons. Plus they (college town liberals) are worse thieves then the non whites they hire to clean up their filth except the college town liberals thievery comes in the form of music. Indie Rock Losers steal everything. Oh well I'm glad to see these girls have a hobby to waste time on while they're collecting unemployment. I'm guessing some sex starved loser on a Doom blog will gush over this one in order to get an interview. Beware ladies you know what those dorks really do online. Oh yeah Anton Newcombe called, he wants his guitar solos back. You don't wanna fuck around with Anton.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/heliotropesband

SACRILEGO - Darkness Secrets CD review

SACRILEGO - Darkness Secrets CD
Pure Black Heart Productions
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 2/5

File this one under troo underground black metal since PBHP wouldn't release any band that wasn't. As far as they're concerned "Only the true underground counts here!" and "We do no professional stuffs here." So basically everything is done on the cheap. You know cheap sound, cheap production and cheap packaging might be a fun way of acting "anti" to the mainstream but it also cheapens the bands and ruins any chance to expose a talented act to some people who actually might like it. I'm just saying that there are ways of balancing out your way of sticking with your ethics and running a decent business model the benefits the bands as well as the fans by putting out a quality release. Look how long it took FUNERAL MOON, another south of the border BM act who garnered an occult like status, to get something out that was quality.

Now I'll step down from my podium and say if there's one thing good about SACRILEGO it's that they really are Mexican Black Metal. You can't help but hear the home grown influences within some of their songs. The Spanish flavored acoustic guitar passages added to the background ambient keyboards is some of the better moments. When they kick into their blackened death mode is where things go south. Lord Nosferatu vocals literally jump out over the instruments because of poor production. The first time playing this I was grinning the whole time and that's a good thing. That's sad since SACRILEGO have potential to be better.

Label: http://pureblackheartproductions.yolasite.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/sarcrilego696

Monday, March 14, 2011

ONSLAUGHT - Sounds of Violence CD review

ONSLAUGHT - Sounds of Violence CD
AFM Records
Genre: Thrash
Rating: 4/5

It would be cool and a lot easier if I could just get away with saying they cover "Bomber" by MOTORHEAD. Yeah after listening to the first couple of cuts I skipped to the end to hear their version of the classic. Yes they do it justice although on here they have MOTORHEAD's Phil Campbell on guitar and the vocals are sung by Tom Angelripper from SODOM and Sy Keeler. As for the rest of this latest from these veteran Brit thrashers I'd have to say this is much better than their 2007 reunion/comeback album Killing Peace. ONSLAUGHT has always had the distinction of being called the British version of SLAYER. So by saying Sounds of Violence sounds like modern SLAYER is a compliment.

Of course there are always going to be some people who hate geezers getting back together to show the newbies how it's done. Seeing that their last release was treated as a cash in for the neo-thrash revival this one proves that ONSLAUGHT can still kick some goddamm ass. Their live album from 2009 should have proved that one but if you are still skeptical then grab a hold of something and let this fucker beat the fuck out of you. Sounds of Violence is by no means a perfect release but there's some standout tracks like the militaristic intro "Into the Abyss" which bleeds into opener "Born For War". That will get you jumping around and smashing shit. Other cool cuts like "Godhead", "Suicideology", the title track and of course the MOTORHEAD cover are nuggets of merciless bliss. Run out your front door, down the street and punch the first person you see in the face then scream "ONSLAUGHT" at the top of your lungs.

Label: http://www.afm-records.de/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/onslaughtuk

SVARTSYN - Wrath Upon the Earth CD review

SVARTSYN - Wrath Upon the Earth CD
Agonia Records
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

The charm of Swedish Black Metal is how militaristic it is compared with the population at large and the nation's peaceful history. Sweden has been neutral in wars as far back as the 1800s. So I always found it hard to understand how a nation that's been playing humanitarian while the rest of Europe was killing each other for over a century could spawn such incredible war centric blackened armies of metal fiends. Yeah sure it's that whole Viking thing from the past which is what fuels this band. SVARTSYN is basically vocalist/guitarist Ornias and whoever he can get to sit in with him as session musicians. Ornias has been doing this since the mid nighties when Black Metal's Second Wave was in full swing. Back in the day he was only doing demos because that was the kvlt thing to do back then. It wasn't until 1998 when he finally capitulated and recorded a proper full length, The True Legend. Since then every two to three years a new SVARTSYN makes it's way out to the faithful. The last one Timeless Reign came out in 2007 on Carnel Records and not only displayed a complete lack of respect for anything post second wave BM but it was also meaner, leaner and thoroughly enjoyable.

Wrath Upon the Earth shows that four years later Ornias is still not willing to tone it down. Musically it sounds like GORGOROTH on steroids with a four armed drummer and Ornias sounding caustic with every bloody throated utterance. After a two minute intro the battle rages into high gear with "Wrath of Leviathan" as guitar and drums are fired at a machine gun's pace. The whole of this release follows at the same pace. "My Mountain" and "Deathsworned" are continuous barrages. The rest is akin to staring into the grim face of your worn torn attacker before he kills you. "Dawn of Triumph" indeed it is for SVARTSYN as well as putting Swedish Black Metal back into the ranks of the never ending war. Between the battle hardened speed on here which is almost death metal/war metal influenced and Ornias' amazing vocals, even your jaded buddy who's ready to buy some hipster crap will like this one. If not then kill him and take the CD yourself.

Label: http://agoniarecords.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/svartsynband

AMON AMARTH - Surtur Rising CD review

AMON AMARTH - Surtur Rising CD
Metal Blade Records
Genre: Death/Viking Metal
Rating: 1/5

For those of you not into Norse mythology, yeah I'm sure there's one or two out there, Surtur (the big guy on the cover with the flaming sword) is the leader of the fire giants in the south side of Asgard. He's the ruler of Muspelheim otherwise known as the realm of fire. Something else of importance (or irony?) is that at the end of the world, which is Ragnarok, his hordes will rush north like a badass southern wind to overwhelm the gods. Well that's good to know because someone needs to save this band after releasing this turd. Hey now don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of AMON AMARTH, bigger than you poser. With Oden on our Side is probably my favorite AMON AMARTH release, it's the band's best release all time followed closely by Twilight of the Thunder God. That latter one had some killer cover artwork that matched the music within. Surtur Rising has surpassed the cover artwork battle but musically it's a step down.

Opener "War of the Gods" starts out decent enough but slowly reverts into sounding Power Metal instead of their past aggressive sounding melodic death metal style. The guitars from Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg almost sound like keyboards plus there's no bass whatsoever. It's as if this band's former berserk sound has been watered down to appease the pussies who hate Viking Battle Metal. As the release continues along it simply gets worse. "Töck's Taunt" (Loke's Treachery Part II), which is a poor sequel to “Hermod's Ride To Hel" (Lokes Treachery Part 1) from With Oden on our Side, is fairly epic in nature with some decent extended soloing but the meaty riffs are soy meat. Johan Hegg's vocals are ahead of the overall sound on here. At times, like on "Slaves of Fear", he sounds like he's fronting a pop metal band. Other cuts like "Destroyer of the Universe" and "Live Without Regrets" are generic bores where as "The Last Stand of Frej", with Hegg's deepest growl vocal, had promise of great Viking Doom but turned into a wuss fest of watered down melo-death drivel.

As the release continues on it just doesn't get any better. "For Victory or Death" made me bow my head in shame and "Wrath of the Norsemen" sounds like it was stolen from a goth band. There's background symphonic keyboards on the final track so I won't go on any further. OK I will and it's their inclusion of a SYSTEM OF DOWN cover "Aerials" as a bonus track. There's another version of this release that contains two other covers, KISS's "War Machine" and ACCEPT's "Balls to the Wall". It figures I'd get the review edition which should have been labeled "for pussies who like their music watered down for easy swallowing". The greatness of this band's previous works consisted of catchy riffs with melodies that still hefted enough aggressiveness that you wanna break shit up to. All of that is gone from Surtur Rising. It's over produced theme music for the plastic Halloween helmet crowd.

Label: http://www.metalblade.com

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/amonamarth


Possession Productions
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 2/5

Ah yes Belarus, I spent a few summers there back in the late 80's before their independence. I used to rent a flat on the south side of Minsk. Every evening I'd break out a bottle a of vodka and share it with my land-lady. After two glasses she would get tipsy and start to sing old Belarusian folk songs to me about the tough times during the war. A lovely time but this was back when I was an agent for the government. If I divulge any more info I'm required to kill you all. Now if you believed all of that then I have a lovely cafe I'd like to sell you in downtown Minsk. The fact is most people couldn't find Belarus on a map. Secondly DOOR INTO EMPTINESS, who hail from Belarus, might not effect people enough to have them zip over to Google maps to find the country.

On this their debut full length DOOR INTO EMPTINESS displays a lot of variety which defies the ability to say what the signature sound of Belarus black metal is. At times the band (or is it a one man project?) comes across as a somewhat cold industrial/ambient BM styled act. On some other tracks the shift falls to the doom side of the aisle. As you stroll further down some death metal enters the mix with added touches of drone/noise. It all sounds as if they're in search of an identity. The one constant is this bleak overcast which permeates every track which kinda reminds me of my first summer in Minsk. OK that latter part is a lie but yeah this release is as cold as a well digger's ass in Minsk.

Label: http://www.possession.ru/

Official: http://www.doorintoemptiness.com/a

BLOOD CEREMONY - Living with the Ancients CD review

BLOOD CEREMONY - Living with the Ancients CD
Rise Above Records
Genre: Doom/70's Hard Fuckin Rock
Rating: 5/5

The 70's are back, in a way that is. The new Doom is to hump the corpses of every band from the 1970s that you can find a record by in the dollar bins at your local Used & Abused store. Lets be honest here, people have been fucking the corpse of SABBATH as well as a few other 70's bands for a long time now in the name of Doom. Sometimes it sounds pretty damm good and other times it's reinventing the past by slapping a new label on it. BLOOD CEREMONY does both fairly well and I like em for it. Unfortunately for all of the musical greatness (or reinventedness) from their 2008 self titled debut it only became an exercise for clueless hipster critics to type "SABBATH" as many times as possible when describing em. BLOOD CEREMONY are a four piece act from Toronto, Canada and musician wise they are guitar, bass, drums with a female vocalist who also performs keyboards and the flute. As far as the SABBATH influence goes yeah there's some but only enough to fit under guitarist Sean Kennedy's pinky fingernail. There's so much more going on with this band's music that to just name drop one band from the 70's does them a disservice. I should know since I grew up in the 60s and 70s with the music of that era. It also shows why hipsters need to be removed from music criticism altogether so they can go back to writing blurbs about theme dining, fruity beers, homo-erotic art and Twilight sequels.

While listening to this their sophomore release it's like someone took a slew of bands from the 70s, threw em into a blender and then handed out the remains for this band to retro-fit for modern times. This is not something new to extreme music in fact it's been going on for 20 years now. Aside from Alia O'Brien's vocals, which are superb, it's her talent on keyboards and flute that add so much to this and give it that retro feel. Of course on the opener "The Great God Pan" they come off sounding like a stoner version of the DTs or even the DETROIT COBRAS. It's that vocal harmony before the basic riff kicks in. The song is a rocker first and foremost at it's beginning stage then reverts into something sounding like it was off of PROCOL HARUM''s Broken Barricades LP. Instead of Matthew Fisher on the Hammond organ and Robin Trower on guitar trading solos it's O'Brien and Kennedy. "Coven Tree" is a bluesy number accented by O'Brien's ability to come across sounding like a soulful ghost calling out from the darkness. Another great addition is her flute soloing on "Coven Tree" which calls to mind other past flautists from 70's hard rock like Thijs van Leer, Ray Thomas or the more obvious name-drop, Ian Anderson. In fact on the the third cut, an instrumental entitled "The Hermit", it does remind me of one of those short instros that Ray Thomas would insert into a MOODY BLUES album from the early 70s. The same can be said for the second instrumental track, "The Witch's Dance", which comes near the end of the release.

"My Demon Brother" will get people comparing BLOOD CEREMONY to JEX THOTH except on here it's more URIAH HEEP ( ala Ken Hensley on keyboards and Mick Box on guitar) than IRON BUTTERFLY on bad acid. It's that heavy doom effect use of the keyboards coupled with the occult rock theme to the lyrics, the guitar/keyboard solo trade-offs plus female vocals which you can't escape comparisons. The same theme follows on the next cut "Morning of the Magicians" except for the added Martin Barre meets Tony Iommi riffs and flute soloing that would shake the cow shit from Ian Anderson's cottage farm rubbers. The bonus is how O'Brien's vocals on here come off in a haunting folk kind of way. The song shifts at it's midpoint from rocking to melancholy, very cool. "Oliver Haddo" is a pure JETHRO HEEP SABBATH hybrid sound which will have the heads of 70's retro rock worshippers exploding. If there's some obvious SABBATH worship on this release it comes at the opening riff of this song. "Night of Augury" sounds like URIAH HEEP with female vocals and O'Brien raises her vocal range a little higher on this cut then the previous ones. The cut ends with an instrumental jam session, which is incredible, then it returns to the beginning sequence. The final cut on here "Daughter of the Sun" is like every great ingredient from this release packed into a ten plus minute opus.

A jaded observer could look at this review and say "welcome to mr. wolf's name drop marathon." That's fine since that same self centered coffee house worm would not like BLOOD CEREMONY for their mining of the 70's. Personally I think BLOOD CEREMONY has mined for influences and they've struck gold. When in comes to a lot of these new bands in the Doom genre, fraud is a competitive sport. Stoner/Sludge is the new Indie Rock where the lion's share of those newbie bands and the hipsters who love em make no effort to point out how they're just recycling Tony Iommi's riffs from thirty years ago. What makes a band like BLOOD CEREMONY, as well as two other favorites of mine CAUCHEMAR and ORCHID, much better is how their sound comes across more like sincere homage than a ripoff. What this band has done is to remind me what it was like when I was a nine year old kid in 1973 getting into all the cool bands of that era while my peers were listening to pop crap or nothing at all. Amazingly enough here I am today still listening to better sounds than the typical hypster tool. That's why I consider Living with the Ancients to be one of the best releases for 2011.

Label: http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodceremony

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BLODSGARD - Solve et Coagula demo review


BLODSGARD - Solve et Coagula demo
Self Released
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 5/5

The only thing bad about this Norwegian band's four song demo is that it's too short. This is their third demo release since starting out in 2006. I can see with line-up changes making matters tough. Then there's wanting to put out that opus which will brand your band logo upon people's souls. Well they've done it on Solve et Coagula so now it's time to get out of the bush leagues and take your place amongst True Norwegian Black Metal's elite. Actually I don't know if they're all into that. They might be just content to put out quality sounding demos. Most of the demo releases I get are not of this quality aka: perfect production, musicianship top notch and songs that some in the BM realm would sell their souls to have a writing credit to. BLODSGARD doesn't try to spook you out with keyboard interludes as a back drop. They're basically into fast songs with crushing riffs that get tempered by slight melodies. The vocals are of the harsh rasp variety kinda like a younger Shagrath.

Just eighteen seconds of an atmospheric intro to the first cut "Pakallelsen" and then you're swiftly knocked over by a northern blast from a blackened storm which lasts less then three minutes. Yes that's right a three minute BM song that actually has some decent melody and is still epic as fuck with blast beats which remind me if they've got Hellhammer behind the kit. "Sjeler vil brenne" follows with a somber strummed opening then the drums destroy everything in their wake until the vocals kick in. At the time when the song finally steadies out in a brooding fashion the drummer decides he's had enough and a hail storm of blast beats ensues. It kinda bleeds into the following cut "Mentalt minefelt" which is the best song on here. There's a great balance of brutality from the drums and melody courtesy of some dissonant riffs plus a blood curdling scream. The last cut "Kaoskonstruksjon" is very similar to the first song with a short atmospheric opening then the vocals plus a wall of riffs and drums crush you like an avalanche. Although the song slows down to a cold ambient beauty with just long enough for you to catch your breath. The song ends with the band obliterating everything in it's wake with Nordic power.

Let's be honest here, the dust will never settle upon Norwegian Black Metal despite what it's detractors have to say. As long as bands like BLODSGARD strive for that excellence in sound and song structure quality then they will bury the naysayers. This band hasn't reinvented the wheel and there's definitely past influences being harnessed but in the long run that's good enough for me. I'm biased so what at least I admit it and I haven't heard anything of late that has taken the Second Wave of Black Metal to the cabin on top of the mountain for a thorough blood infusion. BLODSGARD has got something going with this four song release. Hopefully a full length is next on their agenda.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/blodsgard

CALCIFERUM - The Beast Inside CD review

CALCIFERUM - The Beast Inside CD
Self Released
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

French Death Metal is never this brutal or should I say "brootal", which should not be confused with Brutal Death Metal. Ok you're probably confused. The fact is that the French are very technical when it comes to their DM as represented by GOJIRA. The reason I could only think of one French DM band just goes to show how much I give a shit about Tech Death. Hell I know more about the bands from Quebec and they're just as technical. So CALCIFERUM are a big time surprise with this eleven song beast. This is their first full length but they do have an EP from 2009 out. I'll be honest with ya by saying The Beast Inside is the best thing I've heard from a French DM band but of course that's based on musical taste and not musicianship. I'll take a hatefest of atmosphere with a touch of BELPHEGOR over technical ecstasy anyday. Oh yeah this French band loves their BELPHEGOR and maybe a little AUTOPSY to boot.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/calciferum

BIRTH A.D. - Stillbirth of a Nation CDEP review

BIRTH A.D. - Stillbirth of a Nation CDEP
Self Released
Genre: Punk/Hardcore
Rating: 3/5

This could of been a demo from back in the 1980's with better production of course. BIRTH A.D. are a three piece who hail from Texas, have two former AVERSE SEFIRA members and sound like a second tier HC act from back in the day who were influenced by DRI. They actually cover a FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL song, "Blow Up the Embassy", which I give em props for because you have to be cool to have known of that band. Their originals cover all the bases as far as subject matter went for Hardcore Punk back in the 80s. I gotta say that the themes still hold true for today. Songs like "This Scene Sucks", "No Jobs" and "Failed State" all carry that nostalgia feel. This was originally released by the band back in 2009 and I had it sent to me now by their production company. Are we ready for retro Hardcore Punk? I really don't have the answer to that one but this release garners the same length of a review that I would've written back in 1985, which is when I started writing about extreme music.

Official: http://www.birthad.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/birthad

DECREPITAPH - Profane Doctrines Unburied CD review

DECREPITAPH - Profane Doctrines Unburied CD
Razorback Records
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

It's gotten to the point where if I see that Elektrokutioner is involved with a band then I know it's gonna be fuckin great. On here Elektrokutioner (drums) is joined by Sinkworm who takes care of the guitars, bass and vocals from the bowels of Hell. DECREPITAPH is not a new project for Elektrokutioner in fact he's been involved with it since 2006. They've been fairly prolific over the years with 2010 being one for over achieving since they released a full length, an EP and two splits. If you're familiar with the band's past material (and if you're not then you should start) then you know the territory being walked upon. Listening to Profane Doctrines Unburied is like walking through the killing fields using the bodies as stepping stones on a path to morbid fascination. This is not far from overdosing on early OBITUARY and AUTOPSY then having some sick fucks fondle your corpse at the morgue before they drop ya in the hole. Sinkworm graduated from the school of filthy riffs and creepy solos. I've already mentioned where he conjures up his vocals from. As far as Elektrokutioner's percussion talents go it's perfect just like when he's drumming with his other bands. This is almost fifty minutes of death doom which any extreme nutjob, myself included, would crawl through a mile wide mass grave to find.

Label: http://www.razorbackrecords.com/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/decrepitaph

A.N.S./RAMMING SPEED - 12 inch split review

A.N.S./RAMMING SPEED - 12 inch split
Genre: Hardcore/Thrash
Rating: 4/5

Sadly these two bands have flown under my radar over the years. I know more about Pagan Folk Metal bands, with Power Metal flirtations, from Eastern Europe than I do my own country's Hardcore (real Hardcore that is and not that metalcore crap) scene. That's where my friend Big Jon comes in. I turn him onto old bands like BATTALION OF SAINTS and BEYOND POSSESSION and in turn he tells me all about the newer bands. As a matter of fact he had seen A.N.S. live, playing in someone's (choose one: livingroom or basement) before. I was listening to RAMMING SPEED's debut full length from a few years back, Brainwreck, a week ago at his house while drinking a few beers. I know the band would've wanted it that way. Strangely enough I wanna beer now while listening to this Texas versus Boston Hardcore/Thrash throwdown.

Both of these bands play fast aggressive shit that makes you want to start trashing your surroundings as you thrash around. A.N.S. start things off with four cuts. The first three, "Pine’s Perdition", "The Quest Lives On" and "Can’t Let This Go" are fast blasts which remind me of a host of cool bands from back in the day. Their final cut, "Roehrs’ War", thrashes out for little over a minute and then spends the next seven minutes in a metallic stoner jam. RAMMING SPEED take things more to the brutal side of the aisle with their three entries. The first cut, "Betrayed", is a three minute beatdown. This is the soundtrack to a fight outside of a club. "Last Drop / Dogmatic Horde" is a grinder that bounces back and forth from face ripping intensity to thrash melody. It bleeds into their third cut "Perdition" which is just pure Hardcore madness. I'd have to say RAMMING SPEED wins this match hands down although Andrei Bouzikov's cover art is probably the overall winner.

Label: http://www.tankcrimes.com/site/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/ans

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/officialrammingspeed

MOONSORROW - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa CD review

MOONSORROW - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa CD
Spinefarm Records
Genre: Folk/Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

Looking at the cover photo of this Finnish band's latest release you get the idea that MOONSORROW are in a league of their own. It's that whole top of the mountain thing. Well technically they are especially if you toss in words like epic, majestic and lets not forget grandiose when describing their audio output over the past ten years. We're talking about the band who a few years back put out an almost hour long release, V: Havitetty, which only contained two songs. They followed that up a year later with an EP which was longer and had METALLICA and MERCILESS covers. So now we have this their sixth full length with a title that translates to As Shadows We Walk Through The Land Of The Dead. It's basically a concept album dealing with humanity's demise and the survivor's struggle to keep going in the face of hopelessness. Kinda sounds like the plot to the comic book series/TV show, The Walking Dead, although there are no Finnish zombies in here. If you are wondering is this borders on the Doom side of things you would be correct. The tempo is very slow and the atmosphere as epic as ever. Although there's plenty of folk touches and progressiveness abound all surrounded by blackened vocals.

As far as the songs go there's four long over ten minute cuts with three short intro/sound bites intermixed. The opener "Tähdetön" (Starless) sounds like Viking Doom cometh early on then gradually sets a more melodic tone about midway through to the end. "Muinaiset" (The Ancient Ones) turns up the epic metal meter a few notches almost bordering on Power Metal. "Huuto" (The Scream) is my favorite song on here with a running time of around fifteen minutes. It combines much in that time slot, starting out as a folk melody than switching to some powerful BATHORY like sweeping arrangement. It's at this point where you just turn the volume up and let everything overwelm your senses. The final cut “Kuolleiden Maa" (The Land of the Dead) simply crushes. Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa is a good release but there is a slight draw back and that's the depressive mood which the music sets.

Label: http://www.spinefarm.fi/

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/moonsorrow

Official: http://www.moonsorrow.com/

Friday, March 4, 2011

Video of the Month: Kids sing IRON MAIDEN classic

According to Metro.co.uk, a video clip of children from Wattville primary school in Birmingham, England singing IRON MAIDEN's 1983 classic "Flight Of Icarus" has become one of the most shared videos on YouTube this week. The four-minute clip shows the children singing the song while headbanging and later engaging in a bit of classic air guitar. Some of the children even have fake plastic guitars with them as the chant they way through the tune.

The video, which can be seen below, was uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday and has already been watched by over 20,000 people and "liked" 355 times.

The song is part of Kerrang! magazine's Cash For Kids charity which is aiming to "raise funds for sick and underprivileged children across Birmingham and the West Midlands to help local kids in crisis."

Read more from Metro.co.uk.