UNDERGROUND SOUND ISSUE 61 : REVIEWS

Editor | Airplay

  1. picture Pestilence Aura Negative

    Snakey grinds, fitful stops, full core thrash and slithers of blast beats nail this song to the grave. The last tour this band did was a couple of years ago, this album is approaching three years so maybe this is coming out now because there are gigs? I'd heard they broke up, yet there are rumors the band is back. Between 2015 and now there has been a compilation and supposedly a live album which I haven't heard yet. I remember Pestilence from waaayyyy back, like them sending me demos on cassette days. They've usually did better than respectful stuff, it'd be great to hear a complete album from the new lineup.

    • Jen Gloeckner Jen Gloeckner - Row With The Flow

      Floating high with just enough ambiance to keep it mysterious. Dark enough to be veiled and with enough laid back groove to be catchy. Jill has a nice voice which together with the music seems to soar. The slide guitar filling a big hall sound gives the music a kind of psychedelic feel. There is also some touches of true alternative stuff (think college radio) that comes in around the choruses. Perfect for dreaming, meditation, and introspection.

      • picture Blues da Casa Torta - Desventuras :

        Brazilian modern blues outfit mixing rough barrel w/ southern latino to create a palatable blend. Classic blues, some, delta, not so much. A bit of Chicago and some memphis thrown in for flavor. An edge of garage shows up here and it adds just enough trash to make it all the more funkier. I'd love to hear these cats rip a full set of full tilt boogie blues, they've definitely got the chops to go higher. Whether that would be better is up to debate of course. The cut Barba seems to be in my favor. I'd swear too that Serenada is another name for Stray Cat Blues, but then the blues are like that sometimes. A whole lotta songs sound like other songs. A time or two here the Blues de Casa Torta stretch out, and that's where I like them best; stretched out under a huge umbrella with a drink in my hand, listening to Desventuras, rollin' a fat daddy!

      • Korn The Serenity Of Suffering

        Korn have proven themselves more than survivors. For a while after Head left, things got more stilted and electronic sounding. Overall though the band continued to make popular music, and it wasn't as bad as it seemed. With the return of Head the core unit was back in action which was really obvious if you've caught one of their shows the past couple of years. The band wants to get nasty and complicated on this new album, but it's good heavy fun. That the band can bring it has never been in doubt. That in middle age they could be relevant "heavy metal" stars, authentically, not necessarily an accomplishment in itself, they've seemingly managed to reach back and take it forward with this new release. If I've really liked anything the juggernaut has done last 10, this is close to the top. It can be retro, sloppy, redundant, and at times raw. Above all it stands affirmative as the mighty Korn.

        It's the click-n-pack heavy groove when it rises to rule that you go "yeah", it's the other stuff that makes you go "yeah" and really, it all kinda makes you go "yeah" when the band kicks in to a signature riff or groove. Yeah they kinda stumble mid way with some mediocre - yo yo? They recover pretty good though, it's not their first rodeo.

        With the mix-n-paste that is Korn, you get all kindsa heavy, they work pretty good on the medolic (that's Kornish for melodic) end and they still remain a disconcerting edge. A few times throughout it sounds completely fresh and new, which is really good for band of Korn's vintage. It gets harder after time gets long to not repeat yourself quite often. While maybe not a ten on the masters list of what is, The Serenity Of Suffering is a good strong 8 or 9. Easily. On a good night they might reach a 10. A toast to the Kornsters!

      • death Death - Scream Bloody Gore

        Re-release of one of Death Metal's ancient treasures. Thrashing and grinding through almost 45 minutes of old school metal, we find the heart of some of the early day warriors. Never too good on the sonic stage, this album is much better sound wise, though the vinyl is far better on the overall mess of frequency this era of indie metal recordings almost all seem to have. Again there is too much midrange but on this re-release it's not as rough on the ears as the original release. Honestly as far as sound goes, if it was just a bit louder, a bit more bottom all the way around, it'd be perfect. Overall, an honest tribute to one of death metal's 1st run classic bands. Death continues to live.

        • picture 6 Lucy And The Rats - Girl b/w Lose My Mind

          Lucy and the rats are pure pop pleasure. They could be from day one rock n roll up to the present. It's not a bad thing, that's just how it is. Sugar coated, jingly jangly strum 'o lush lollipop, with a side of seltzer. All together for some crazy reason I am drawn back to the days of Clovenhoof, whom rumor has were all dudes (wink, wink). Lucy and the Rats though are a mixed gender. Cutie Lucy Ellis is all gal and her rats seem to be all men. While some recall shades of Blondie I tend to think more in the way of the Go-Go's with dudes yet still retaining the female singer. I guess that's too complicated, so just enjoy the tunes, and don't worry about it.

          • picture NYTE-EEGLE Storm On The War Front

            Excellent war core presenting arms and entering into battle. Heavy DIY garage feel, which adds to the appeal. You can feel the tension, your senses become so acute they almost blind you. Then the chorus kicks in, and you know your comrades are there to support you. They will kill for you, you will kill for them. This is war motherfuckers. The amphetamines kick in and your tired, ragged senses become sharply focused, like the tiger stalking it's prey, the dragon waiting of the moment to strike. You are alive.

        • True Widow - Theurgist

          True buzzin' on the return of the Widow. As if suspension in embryonic fluid sludge does not wrap around the head, the groove certainly does. All this poignant respectability set deep in the sunlit caverns of cement block existence. Cut glass gelatinous visions, as a migraine in reverse. Above all, the smoke filters the mood, leading to an intergalactic haze. Cool man, cool.

    • kruz Kev Dot Kruz-Iklwa Bros. Love Languages Volume

      If you've ever really listened to Soul House you'll find this set refreshing. There's just enough 70's in here to keep it traditional with some smooth transitions and nice vocal segments which compliment instead of taking anything from the thumping beat. There's not a matching flaw anywhere, this set is made to be danced to. A few big bass drops and some atmospheric jazz showing every once in a while, it appeals to purists and gig cats alike. There's a good bit of EQ filtering shuffle play , which is in some ways another nod to the OG's of elastic frequency. It's an hour and two plus minutes of stone groove and psychoactive hymns. So put on them duds, chains, elevators n shades, let's ride this baby to the top!

      • Imperium Imperium Dekadenz - Still I Rise

        More inspiring metal music from Imperium Dekadenz on the label that is a champion of black and dark, Season Of Mist. This track runs powerful and smooth, with a lifting melodic part on the vocals and a classic breakdown to end the piece. Melodic Death Metal is a comprehensive art form, here Imperium Dekadenz show their true selves, they are masters and some of their material ia absolutely beautiful. As I said, inspiring. This isn't the only great stuff they have, in fact, all of it is a cut above. They show the tenacious strength still apparent in many German metal exports, of any genre. Worth the effort indeed.

        • NOFX NOFX - First Ditch Effort

          NOFX have been making music a long time. Almost as long as I can remember. The band isn't about Fat Mike who's in the band and owns part of the label the band is on. The band and music is about punk rock, and really your bare end of the rock n roll essence. It's easy to hear early Ramones and even faster skittle bands of yore in here. Even some Pistols By God! NOFX pretty much have always did a melodic brand of punk, at times over the years adding a horn here and there. They've stayed true to their course and fans have not been disappointed.

          First Ditch Effort is their latest offering for the kids and the kid in you. It's full of hum-a-longs, political rants disguised as lyrics and propeller pushin' beats. Not too much is slowed down, it's all pretty much applied with loads of humor and the songs are short in that gabba-gabba way. When the band reaches back and calls upon the memory and throws a galloping beat over the airwaves, they score every time. 2016 was a wacked out year, and staying relevant, NOFX gets to have a say. They don't deny they've been around forever and that gives them some cred. They remind you it's being part of eternal time by making great music, staying punk whatever that means, and having a good time, that keeps rock n roll alive.

        • picture Darkthrone Arctic Thunder

          Many are saying this is their best yet. I can't disagree with that. The shit is tight and mean. Tempo and pattern changes are handled well, very much in the old school vein. I'd like more low end in my kicks and bass guitar, but that's why we have subs and equalizer. Pretty much the mix is clean and sparse, you can hear stuff pretty good. First cut Tundra Leach sets the pace. Packing punches as it shifts from extended long play to pattern chord sets, staying heavy all the way. We get some speed, almost to the edge of vintage hardcore on the following Burial Bliss, bringing home the metal of the ancients, the simple feel of the warm blood running down your chest as you devour your prey. It is as metal should be. War, conquest, death, ale, cannabis and redemption. As I listen to this album, the more I like it. Some of the best metal of 2016 from a band formed 30 years ago!!

          • PICTURE Krypts - Entrailed To The Breaking Wheel

            Sludgecore with thrash & death overtones Krypts Entrailed To The Breaking Wheel is like wading through the sewer filled with pungent aroma, as rats nip at your flesh and your blood feeds the maggots. So, that being said this is pretty good dark metal. The Dark Decent label out of Colorado has a good bit of excellent shit. No doubt legal cannabis has something to do with that.

        • picture J. Ryan Daniel - Odin's Disciples

          Yeah it's a bit on the Celtic side, maybe some Norwegian peat moss thrown in to pack the bowl. As the smoke rises you can feel the pull of the myths coming back into your mind. Can you dig it? Free thoughts flowing with the mists out upon the rivers, into the seas. Come 'o ye warriors of the Great and Mighty Odin. Come ye to me!

          • picture15 INTER ARMA - "The Summer Drones"

            Stoner Doom Trippin' out in tha desert. Relapse bands have become famous for it. Kinda like a blend of hashish and peyote mixed with knotty pine sensimellia laced with just a hint of white sage. Reminds me of the old days when you had to ride a mule down into the canyon.

        • Kev Dot Kev Dot Kruz and Lady Jane Kisses

          Another great work from Master Kev Kev Dot Kruz partnering on this one with the smooth Lady Jane for a dance floor burner which deserves to be recognized as some of the best work currently out there. Passionate, grooving with a nice dose of soul, the first release Kev & Crew have done for Root System is a definite keeper. On this cut Kruz has the good fortune to have Michele Chiavarini stepping in on keys adding lead stabs accenting an already smooth flow. A piece of work the whole thing is, working well as a single, adding more depth & presence to a growing body of excellent work from Mr. Kruz.

    • picture Green Day - Revolution Radio

      You'd be tempted to think they've went the concept trail again with the opening number, sounding all garage magical mystery touristy. If they have, I couldn't tell ya 'cause I don't get the press releases of major label bands anymore. Being on a major allows this record to have airtime bought in the larger markets, which in turn sells a few copies nowadays and prepares the fan bases in those larger concert markets for the band to come through. Touring is where most of the money is nowadays for any band. A band like Green Day who've been big now going on 30 years, the older established industry can still produce fame and fortune for them. I hope they make a fuckin' mint. The first song though, whatever the reason for making it first, is probably the weakest on the album. Soon as you launch into the following number Bang Bang and then the title cut, you're back on planet punk rock.

      The band then quickly shifts into their trademark sound and song structures as they ride on through till the end, just slowing down a time or two to tell a story, shed a tear or catch their breath. They do the big anthem thing on Say Goodbye, not for the life missing the opportunity to tie in with the current vibe of the streets. As in quite a few other recent releases, the social unrests of the past two years show up a time or two. The Beatles and shimmering glitter peep a few times as well. It's cool though, because it's done up classy, kinda a traditional early glam sound, so yeah Bowie, T-Rex and even Tommy James would be proud. Seemingly, as the decades go buy, that stuff comes back around every so often, if it leaves at all. Perhaps I am showing my age here....Outlaws of Redemption anyone?

      That Green Day show their age a bit is to be expected. If it seems a tad on autodrive a spot or a few, yeah, unfortunately, it could be so. No sucky sucky here, just the creep of middle age. Hell it happens to us all, punks, metal heads, popsters n hipsters alike. When you think about it, as the band relates on one of the album's singles, "I'm still breathing. I'm still alive", in some ways the baggage we all build over time defines us, like it or not. That can only be achieved over time, there are few shortcuts. Let us pray we all get to enjoy a little more Green Day while we're all here, during our time. Like Green Day sez "we live in troubled times." Rock n roll can help ya through.

      • blank IamStylezMusic - Face Time

        Blended reggae and hip hop in a rap setting served with vintage island ganja. It starts off fairly tame with the gangsters chillin' the wine on Tic A Likkle. The smooth transition as the title cut comes home gives you pause to catch the young urban kids which tellingly, all this is and can be. Good writing, bangin beats and nice melody rules throughout the entire program. Some union jack grins about in It's A Pitty. All kinds of life is therefore reflected, from thug to high rider, which happens to actually be the last title of the set. The moderate hit Money Money follows; it's classic and probably as a mainstay has just begun. The message is clear, and the dance floor beckons. High Life follows with it's ode to friends, family and the life. Not a bad way to spend a day on the beach!

        • Ringworm RINGWORM - "Innocent Blood" :

          Ringworm continues their iconic psychedelic trash discombobulated style video catalog build, as do many Relapse bands. Perhaps it is a hallmark of their in-house video production suite? This song off the recently released Snake Church hints at the hardcore just a tad, while much of the record retains only shreds of the doom stoner vibe of much of the 'worm. Much of it is as at home with slamming death metal bands as any Slayer album. To be honest Snake Church is a damn good album, and this song is but a glimpse of what is there. Roll a fat dog and check it all out one night when you're super high.

        • Zipperfish Zipperfish - Absolutely Furious With You

          Supposedly an internet collaboration, Zipperfish is pretty cool if you've got the time and can keep the tongue firmly in cheek. "Too Much Time" is robbed straight from late-70's era Pistols. Not that that is bad, it's just, along with the fake crowd noises, a laugh within itself. A lyric within "bored to tears" seems to be about right. The punks not dead title seems to be lifted from The Exploited, but has been a rallying cry for the "movement" for decades now. Zipperfish may have a bit to offer there, if more stuff like "Spread The Disease" was floating around, instead of faux audience participation nonsense. Not that the music is much better, but "Don't Blame Me" is at least authentic. Nuff said.

    • whiteflag Franchize Music - Wave The White Flag Vol. 1

      Not sure what the white flag is about since that's usually mean to be civil, and let's talk. Might have something to do with soldiers, who knows, or really cares? Seems to be over all this called, in fact, First Strike. Spreading through this mixtape, rounded, diced and sacrificed by Franchize Music, mostly breeder beats and loose freehouse lyrics with a minimal approach. Special guests keep things changed up a piece, one of the mix highlights is Atlantis featuring Skenny Bonez, a little diatribe that could be on anyones course of cursin'. G5 Goonsquad is another badroom session slinga, complete with bravado, shouts, n stammers. Plenty of mention of the chronic throughout, adding legitimacy to a perpetual on the scene. Some of the spits are pretty good, see Fallen Angel, and some stuff, before and laters, cuts the key on the heavy side, niggas, gangstas and all, like on Texas Tea featuring a spit fired Sir Quan. There is retrospectives, like on Killin' Me. Sometimes cold hard reality you cannot escape When she got that thang on you, whatcha gonna do?

    • Dark phrasing, steady builds lead into black reckoning. A finely compressed fusion brimming with deeper aspects. Hauntingly beautiful, encased in sorrow, it reminds you how good it feels to release the pain. At times rising to the pinnacle of ancient lords, the droning call to worship echoing throughout the kingdom. It is your choice, for the bells are tolling, do you answer your master, or do you stay out in the cold, at risk of hypothermia? Either way, this wall of music will bring you down, and you'll be the better for it.

    • PICTURE Raging Speedhorn - Lost Ritual

      Someone asked me recently, WTF a Raging Speedhorn was. I told them a kick ass metal band! These UK riff masters have released a solid album with Lost Ritual back in the summer. Always good to get a heavy album like this in the middle of the summer time, so you can sweat you ass off while you're blasting Raging Speedhorn on 11!.

    • kimbro Kimbro - Need That

      Kimbro is part of the Ill-Lit crew which also features Chris Prythm who appears with Young Observe on this piece. A song about coming up off the curb, chasin' paper, and doing what thou will before the final day. The riff is classic piano with a sonar sounding sample riding over laid back drums n bass, old school that it surely is. Lyrics are pure modern poetry. New video will add to the numbers who know.

    • picture Ghoul - Dungeon Bastards

      When it's not completely thrashed out, some of the riffage is vintage Megadeth style, I hear some SOD, maybe some Testament influences. Not so much original as solid. They can play with the best of them, blast beats soaring over witchy riffage with occasional complete sonic meltdowns, like a war machine hurtling towards ultimate destruction. I'd heard this was a concept album, and I guess in someways the horrid end of mankind is always conceptual, as we're living the real thing daily anyways. Me, I like the jazz rips in the breakdowns.

    • crossbones Crossbones Crossbones

      Strong classic metal released from the 80's. Dario Mollo's revolving band had started early in the decade and by 1989 had released this album which was produced by Kit Woolven. Short of a masterpiece the album is still very strong, the music vintage 80's heavy metal which also features the work of Don Airey on keyboards. Fans of this era of music will not be disappointed and the album release by Italy's Jolly Roger is a collector's item showcasing the Ventimiglia's very own Mollo. Should you desire more, check out The Cage which also is the brain child of Mollo's.

    • picture The Avalanches - Wildflower

      It's been a long 15 yeas since we heard something significant from The Avalanches. Though at press time this album is a UK exclusive per the slab, word is on the street it can be had in America. You've always been able to get it digitally - https://TheAvalanches.lnk.to/Wildflower. While overall folks have raved about this new stuff, the music seems to be pieces of similar sounding retro stabs, from the english circus to the thick cannabis infused flows of Cypress Hill. Some MF Doom shows up a few spots, yet the rapping is more parody than poetry. Some of the aforesaid shows ugly on Frankie Sinatra, though the spits and flows there are uniform and hit pretty well. Subways is another number which offers a firm look back, but no tayters to make it last longer. Then you've got stuff like Because I'm Me which are a notch above both creatively and expressively, making for an uneven, rambling album overall. Should be a moderate hit, maybe more, For XL.

      • picture Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry

        Iron Reagan huh? If what has came before is any indication of what is to come, this should be nicely thrashed with a side of punk metal. Only bits and pieces to review; stuff such as "Dying World" sounds eerily similar to vintage Anthrax, Dead With My Friends calls out to those ready to make the plunge to oblivion, and "Fuck The Neighbors is well, just fuckin' classic off the bat. Other soothing hymnals such as "More War" should square nicely in the era of Trump, and "Dogsnotgods" seems to be the hottest fad in "thehellwithreligion" circles. Mighty morsels indeed, from cross over masters Iron Reagan. Now on your knees your worthless swine and worship!

    • Los Chicos Los Chicos - Rockpile Of Shit

      Twangy punk rock mixed with a salt of britania. Some like to say there's country in here and there is, something we yanks hear and know came from a country overseas. It's something like rockabilly with some oi and a side of 60's era Stooges. These boys are even saucier 'cause they got that Spanish blood in 'em. Not La Bamba more like El Loco. When it comes across high energy, it can be fine, perhaps even fantastic. If it gets too down home it's like day old noodles, kinda sticky and funky tastin. Los Chicos damn well can bring it live. The 'ol boys perfect for a cruise down the Thames, an open air spliff bar or heard rockin' hard from the lorrie over 'round at the pub. Nothing like sweet garage rock, and this is it. Rockpile of Shit they may say, but Los Chicos can play, so to shit it's all gone. Crank it!

    • Ulcerate Ulcerate - Shriens Of Paralysis

      More great metal from Auckland's Ulcerate. Hard to believe this band has been around going on 20 years. They've always been a leader in what folks want to lump together as "technical death metal" yet genres fail here. Ulcerate do indeed play fast with the triggers, and chop beats up into precise exaggerations. There is an almost behind the count feel where the guitars are concerned, and there are plenty of sustained whole measure stuff to qualify as ambient. Yet no minute long dirges here. Rifling blast beats soon tear through the fabric and blood is spilled as the sound of thousands burning in a firey death can perhaps come close to the feel portrayed by the dynamics of the music. Dark atmosphere is thick as tones akin to crushing bone overtake your mind. Rest not, you are not at home, you stand before the throne of your master. The time of lies has passed. Now, it is time to die, an exceptional death. Horns up fuckers.

      • picture Metallica - Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

        It's been a long eight years since the last Metallica album of new material. I could've said it's been 10 years and it'd not made much of a difference. Death Magnetic was, as we all who follow metal know, a return to original form somewhat, for Metallica. As one of the biggest bands in metal, they'll always be able to put out a new material album when they please and live well off shows and repackaging in between.

        The material and product we get after all this time, Hardwired... To Self Destruct stands up mostly well as chunks of familiar metal along side some great new songs. It does have it's hiccups; Am I Savage begins promising then gears into a moderate grind which too much of Metallica has been heavily at times the past 20 years. Atlas Rise! kicks a mean riff then the vocals sound as if they're being read off a paper and the simple chorus too sounds like it needs a kick in the ass. Even these songs, far as when the band gets it, like a steam train coming down the mountain, it sounds like Metallica alright. For that alone we can be thankful and enjoy.

        As I said before and most agree, the band got back to form with Death Magnetic. Hanging hard in that frame of mind the band expands on Hardwired to reach for new heights and reclaim some of their lost former glory. This all being said, the new album, much again like Death Magnetic, sounds like a conglomeration of their stuff from the early days rehashed. No doubt stuff like Moth Into Flame and the incredible Spit Out The Bone are top notch Metallica, definitely as good or better than anything on Death Magnetic. Still, stuff like Confusion, Here Comes Revenge, Murder One and Dream No More, are really not up to par. Those songs are sludgy and thin. If Metallica had upped the tempos, ditched the cliches and poured some extra fire through arrangements into an extra couple songs, or three, or four, you'd had a great album. As it is, it's really good, but it sorely lacks approaching the best stuff the group has done simply by the fact the band is vintage and expectations remain high.

        After 35 years though, it is hard, and almost ridiculous to ask for more from a band who have proved their greatness many times over. They're not going to be remaking themselves, as none do, at this point in careers. I could fall in line and praise this album as one of their best ever, but this is a review, not a worship service. As I said the band rise to the occasion more than once on this album, besides Atlas and Spit, the simple buzzsaws of Now That We're Dead feel like a long lost family member coming home. Again simplicity is key along with a small bit of melody and a cool break down among the grind of Halo On Fire that makes it work. Speaking of signature songs, the title cut could easily have been on either Lightning or Master; that song is 100% classic Metallica. After nearly 10 years waiting for new stuff it seems the fan base has spoken and they love this album. The band are smart though, there is plenty of live stuff from recent tours on this four disc set to offset any failings of the new material. Plus they make some nice coin. Now comes another massive tour and let's hope a continuation of writing good new heavy music we'll get to hear before we're all old enough to collect social security.

    • Pirosaint Pirosaint - Atrocity Not Condign

      First I'd heard from Pirosaint in a while was a year or so ago when they released Live At Blackthorn 51. It was a good recording showcasing a good tight thrash metal band. This record Atrocity Not Condign is actually their cassette demo that was in circulation in the early 90's mixed with their actual first release which came out in the mid 90's. I have the first demo on cassette, sent to me from Chile. Those songs here sound great, true to the original cassette sound which has that definite underground sound of the 80's and early 90's before everyone lost their mind and started using cheap digital shit from China. Always sporting an uncluttered type of sound, Pirosaint's metal is the read deal not fixed with overdubs, affects, or mind mashing compression. You can hear how, early on, that the band was clean and mean. Releases like this from decades ago remind everyone that underground music has really grown, yet has always been powerful. I remember those two decades when cassettes where more the norm than anything else, after albums peaked in the late 70's until the late 90's when almost all analog recording became a niche or strictly for the audiophile who preferred it, or the poor who had to use it. It lives on! Raise a toast to the metal!

    • st_elmos_fire St. Elmos Fire - Across The Nations

      St Elmos Fire tried crowdfunding to pay for the new album's recording through release unto the streets. They fell pretty far short of being able to fund it that way but they put up a good fight, the band is still working towards finishing the recording and putting out the new album. This group is a fighter, been around over three decades and made good quality working man's heavy metal on and off the whole time. They are remnants of the famous Sunset Strip 80's era of bands, having gigged heavily during that time enabling them to put out a series of singles, demos and EP's up into the 90's. They band reunited by late 2016 are preparing to cut the album for which their crowdfunding campaign was all about.

    • picture Blank Face - Don't Give A Fuck

      Leading into a dark place coming from defiance. Hardtime spins us another relation of truth and frustrations. Guns, dope, attitude, street scenes and in the end, killin'. It's the real world out there brought inside through your headphones, speakers, and mind. Talkin' bout the government not giving a damn lest you step on their own rackets, while MJ's "They Don't Care About Us" loops round a time or two. Reminding all, these hassles ain't new, and the caps keep poppin'.

    • picture Heavy Metal Eruption - Italian Metal Compilation

      Excellent compilation of the very early 80's Italian Metal scene. First glimpses of bands such as Death SS, Steel Crown, Revenge, and even Strana can be found here. Most of the stuff, though sounding dated of course almost 35 years later, has stood up pretty well. It's in limited pressing, so if you're a collector get it now.

    • pic J Halkz - Get Back Home

      Song about the hood, homeboys, memories, and life. Simple piano riff with minimal drum set set up over background vocal loop providing the backing for slightly laid back vocal verses which then go on to mesh with all that's going on on the choruses. Somehow it all works. This number will bring up some reflection, and lets you know, you don't forget where you come from, lest you lose it all.

    • Nastyelgic - Come Wit Me

      Blip o' the bongo, kick of the mids, play of the poetic rhythm. Party favors via villa southside but not mellow enough to be confused with set back, cause there's talk about bustin' ass here and there. Like a drive through in slow mo, party on a Saturday night.

      • picture Downfall Of Gaia - Woe

        While not as epic a cut as the over nine minute Antrophy, Woe is more of the Grade A substance you expect from this band. A tumultuous beginning lays into a grinding central core before coming out into a sustained powerchord ending; as everything I've heard from this band it borders at the boundaries of fantastic. Death metal put together like this and played flawlessly cannot be under-rated. You have to like and understand this type of music though, and there are millions who do. A large base of people are literally dying to find this type of metal perfection, the darkness it brings to them brings life, the purity of the metal sustained, it's power grows. Yes, there are those, armies in fact, who await the call. You'll know it when you hear it. Here it is.

      • The Cavemen - Born To Hate

        Speaker blowing, over-amped distorted punk rock on the edge of affirmity. Opening cut Savage kinda says it all. The boys get on a tear and it's loose enough to goose and stiff enough to fuck. Really and truly, this is how Rock N Roll was always meant to be. Sloppy, nasty, and dangerous. It gets anything else it starts losin' cred. Well The Cavemen got plenty of street cred, and they gotta good album here. One of the better punk records I've heard in '16 and I've heard a few. Music like this is what I call original, because it's not really copying other people and they damned sure aren't aiming for anything above a basement sound. Like those Stooges records that sounded really fucked up. Rough son, and cool.

        While I am sure that is a point meant to be made, nowadays you have to try to get "that" sound", it's the songs when the band kicks in that brings forth in your mind that they are champions. "Speed Of Death" is ecstatic, even though you know you could die. Like that last tie off that left you pasty, covered in cold sweat and not knowing WTF, except that tension, that fucking tension, it was there, eating away at the facade of oblivion. Success! Yes!

        True there is some stuff you know here, in a genre a long time ago and far, far away. That's not really what you're here for, you're here for the jam, for the vibe, for the times. Raise a toast to rock n roll! Lots of good songs to toast and roast to here - "Ain't My Baby" almost sound canadian, "Dead To Me" is the tale of life, and "Nasty Gilr, Nasty Boy", well we all know them! They keep the pedal down on C.H.A.R.L.I.E., recalling times of tripping balls and maximum delusion. "I'd kill (to see you dead)" speaks for itself and on the last song the singer pleads "I want you to take drugs with me!". Remember now?

    • picture Red Fang - Only Ghosts

      Been a while since I heard this band for the first time. I liked them then, and I like this new album as well. Good mix up of heavy melody, retro chronic riff rock and soaring headlights. It's good music to just sit and listen to, and it rocks at the core. Dual guitars with lots of lead, vocals from singing to yelling, and some shouting in between. The band is not afraid to throw something funky in for taste and during the whole album you'll go from one scene to the next, building over time with bridges, other times intense and immediate. Like all good hard rock records tend to do. Red Fang has matured a good bit from the more growling, rougher band of the early days to a better polished unit spitting cut after cut of catchy weirdness. Break downs with the wah and some psychedelic madness are added benefits. Should transfer great live.

    • The Fadeaways vs. Muck and the Mires - Split Single : Creature Double Feature

      The Fadeaways vs. Muck and the Mires I got just the Muck and The Mires rave up paying homage to some far version of say, a mid 60's Yardbirds/Animals/Stooges hybrid. Just punk enough to be significant, classic rock enough to be retro and far out enough to be super cool. That I dig guitars does not help me be critical of this, so I'm not gonna try. I can almost hear the ghosts of Beck and Page here, yet I am tempted to remember what is real is this is new, and that makes it even better.

  2. picture Sumerlands

    Definite classics here. I remember then, but probably have not heard such since then. Amazing to hear this era so, literally, fresh.

    Rarely is it this good. Never this extensive.

    2016 has had a few. 4 or 5.

    The specfics are there as to why it's an award winner, mainly listen. It is rich and at times beautiful.

  3. archie Archie and the Bunkers - Mystery Lover

    Drawing ties to the sand dunes of the 60's, this kind of music seems to always find those notches in the culture where it can slide on in. Like evil clowns, junkie carnies and crashing merry-go-rounds the organ hammers on. If you get visions of bikinis, packed coolers and v-8 lead sleds, it's to be expected. I've seen this stuff make people wanna drink too, and get kinda rowdy. For sure you can dance to it, even better after you've been doing that drinking. But is that really the point? Because the rastaman wants to come visit on "Mexican Garage" yet he doesn't know if everyone is cool. So the point could be mute, but the song is kinda cool. I'm reminded of those old baking tins that formed things, like faces, or birds n shit. The organ drones on, and I feel the need to step outside for a smoke.....

    • SOHN - Rennen
      4AD

      Laid back album of superior numbers made finer by the simplicity of the arrangements. Sohn use just a tad of minor dark melodies and dissonance stacked on top of bare beats and minimal instrumentations. Somehow they make it all sound thick with voice playing the over-riding instrument throughout, sometimes, most of the time, in the leads. Album contains the song Conrad which has been worked as single but for a kick back and let 'er rid, there's much more here.

      • Ravencult Ravencult - Force of Profanation

        True black metal building from lightning fast guitar encompassing the entire first minute,then giving away to the thunder of drums as the doors to darkness open wide. Many places throughout the roar of hellfire can be readily discerned, as can the blastbeat. It is strong and forceful on almost all numbers, taking center stage out front on ball breakers such as the sinister "In Macabre Triumph". The kicks turn to thrashing madness on "Beneath the Relics of Old" as the ancient armies of the damned arise! The up-tempo crusades continue through "Merciless Reprisal" and into "Doom Oracle" a couple of cuts later. It is time through, so you are led to the "Altar of Impurity" akin to the Slayer of old and straight into the incredible "Temple of the Void" from which there is no escape. Why even try, for at this point, this hell is all your own.....

        • picture Dj Odyssey - Go Fi Dat - Music Is Life Vol 9

          Serious island superset. High mon laying sunside upon dem mountains overlooking jamaician bay mon. International dance floor underground heroes, flipping plenty of loud to cloud the dance floor with pieced coffee nut java sweat coming forth from them pores. The beats kick, the heads nod, the feet move. Isn't that the point? Uh huh you gotta 110 minutes of masterful grooves and the tongue clicking pulsations to go wit it. Big money, champaign, players and block parties are everywhere. Sometimes it's hard to see the ground because of the clouds. You best be careful and aware though, those reefer girls frisk that coin, and all them gangstas rope that paper. Dj's be mixing, you be tripping and somewhere, someone's gettin' paid. It's life man, it's no game, it's a movie, it's a scene, with your name on it. Yo Dj, pump dis one mane!

        • subterfuge Subterfuge - A Beautiful Chaos: 1981 - 2004

          Those of you into new music and hardcore the past 35 years will remember Subterfuge. They were actually active until a little over a decade ago. For any band, that's still a long time. They had some minor hits, opener "Wasted Life" comes to mind. I recall both album 88 and wrek playing the band often during the 80's. The band's releases were impossible to find though, and it's great to hear this compilation that collects some of their best tracks and lays them out for your enjoyment. The Mystic Records era is well represented here, and there is a rough n loose gig from Fenders somewhat intact here. Las Vegas is proud of its bastard sons.

        • Tyrants Kill - Mankind's Damnation

          Coming off the Dagon album, which was originally released in 2012 as an EP from the band, Mankind's Damnation is cross-riff metal that touches on black and sludgecore influences. There is a certain current of traditional back roads metal here, you hear this a lot with really underground bands. The fine label Witches Brew out of Germany brings us this gem. The entire program is hauntingly good. Horns Up! Enjoy!

        • Dustaphonics - Johnny & Bo

          You never know what to expect in life. When you do start expecting things is when you get into trouble. So it was unknowingly that I set the playlist to the new Dustaphonics album called Johnny & Bo. Not knowing anything above the band being on Dirty Water Records and maybe having heard something from the band a while back I was pleasantly surprised. A nice dirty mix translates crashing symbols rhythmic pelvis pushing backbeat and string along rolls into comprehensive rockabilly shake. Even if it's something reminding you of the early days of yore, it's faster, looser, more raw. Going by the title, the album cover and semantics, you'd guess punk was in here a bit, and it is, but just a bit. So is some down home street soul, see "Sounds Groove" completely with swinging bass line and funky clipped guitar. Is that a flute I hear? By God it could be 1972! The Dustaphonics do passable takes on surf, garage and twang. So there's something for everyone somewhere in there. Lead singer Hayley Red of tha group is a firecracker throughout. Her voice strong enough to be distinctive. Johnny & Bo? It'll definitely keep you movin' & groovin'!

      • lwk Luke Winslow King - Im Glad Trouble Dont Last Always

        New stuff from Sir Winslow features his trademark chicken scratching guitar, smooth almost anthemic country flavor, think vintage Robby Robertson, and soaring slide guitar leads. King's got a crack band, smooth as polished jade, which underpin and drive the songs home. Standouts here are the single No More Crying Today, opener On My Way and the heavy prairie stomp title cut. Actually, honestly, the whole thing is pretty good. There's a deep vein of Appalachia shining in there as well as the fiddles play on Heartsick Blues. You can work the hog wire, stomp a beat or think about what hides in the darkness, all with Luke and his band of minstrels providing the soundtrack. First though you gotta get the record!

        • picture High On Fire - Death Is This Communion

          If High On Fire are anything, they are consistent. I haven't heard anything from this band that could not stand the test of time. There is very little filler and a lot of major riffage. So too goes Death Is This Communion. More than a time or two the double bass drums makes the difference between something ok and something killer. Skins and steel play like they are one often, and the band as a team shows great cohesion when they rise to the occasion. They power grind the chords. take off and rock like hell starting with track one, rarely letting off until the end of the album almost an hour later. It's like a metal utopia. Rarely since the glory days of Motorhead has anything been so fulfilling overall.

          I have people try and tell me High On Fire is a doom band all the time. I do not have any idea where motherfuckers get that because there's very little sludge here, only the obligatory salute to Sabbath and for the most you have uptemp melodies with a good bit of dynamics. The band doesn't reply on being tuned so low it's all much and there's as much major as minor here. It's got a good round of traditional metal feel, a bit of something deeper, some rhythmic space jams, and it's unrelentingly heavy. There's a decent amount of lead guitar too, which always makes for a wanted change when you've rutted the groove for a while. When High On Fire rage through a blast beat into some mind bending jamming shit, then into a tight, quick chorus, it draws your attention, and you wanna replay that part.

          I find this another great metal album from High On Fire as the streak continues, running decades now, for Relapse Records.

        • deeath beast DEATH BEAST - The Onslaught

          Something like early Venom, but not as deep and more punk. This kind of classic metal Barabarian Wrath excels in. Punk metal in my day we called it for the chords, it quickly became black metal and here we are with DEATH BEAST. You can almost hear the laughter, because almost as much as you want to hate this shit, it's got some killer blues and metal, so whatcha gonna do.




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^Since 1996^



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