Monday, April 29, 2013

Update: Officially Announcing Grindhouse Vol. 1!

Hey peeps, so you might be wondering what the junk this compilation album that I've been mentioning recently is all about. Well, this post will hopefully clear up any questions you have about it. If you have no idea what I'm talking about in the slightest, just keep reading and you'll figure it out. You're a smart kid.

So what is this Thing?

Grindhouse Vol. 1 is going to be an online compilation album of the very best hardcore, grindcore, crust punk, powerviolence and loud, obnoxious music I've come across with this blog. Not every band on the compilation has had a review on here, but a large majority of them have at one point or another. A couple have even had multiple reviews done here. Keep in mind that since this is mostly a hardcore/ grind comp, all the awesome bands that I've come to know that don't fit into those genres won't be on it. I'd love to have a band like Warseid or Unbowed, or even the awesome Jason James on a comp, but they just don't fit with all these hardcore bands. It isn't that I don't want to help these guys out, it just turned out that a huge amount of the music I get sent is hardcore, so I had many more bands readily available to work with in that genre compared to others.

There's going to be 20 tracks and 20 bands (that's one track per band for everyone keeping track at home), making this a pretty short comp. I'll make it available on Bandcamp once everything is all pieced together. You will be able to stream it there and download it for free so you can jam it on your iPods 'n' shit whenever you want. Cool, right?

What Bands are Going to be on this Comp?

They're all pretty much chosen and sorted out. They are:

  • Water Torture
  • Yattai
  • Crypt Keeper
  • Youth Violence
  • The Fevered
  • Vengeance
  • Hiroshima Vacation
  • Termination Force
  • Haut&Court
  • Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt
  • Cloud Rat
  • Gruesome Stuff Relish
  • Clarity
  • Homolka
  • Degraded
  • Tyrants
  • Abjured
  • Faxe
  • Barlow
  • Nolentia
I'm only waiting on one more track from Hiroshima Vacation. If you're in a band or know someone who is in a band that fits this grind/ hardcore style, don't be afraid to contact me! I wanted 20 songs as a minimum, so any more just makes this comp even better!

When is it Coming Out?

I dunno. I told you already that I need one more track, then I need to deal with some volume issues between tracks, and then I need some artwork. So truthfully, I have no idea, but I'd love to get it out by the time summer rolls around.

Who is doing the Artwork? And Grindhouse is a Stupid Name.

The artwork for Grindhouse Vol. 1 is being done by a good friend of mine, the ever capable and super sexy Taimoor Khan. Also, Grindhouse is a fucking awesome name, and yes I did steal it from the Tarantino/ Rodriguez double feature.

I swear I'm actually cool.
Once everything is done I'll be sure to announce/ annoy you all again. If anybody has any further questions about this shizz, just shoot me an email/ Facebook message/ tweet/ smoke signal/ carrier pigeon.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

Album Review: Večan - "Frost, Reminiscence"

You guys remember Warseid, right? That awesome folk/ black metal band from Wisconsin? Turns out that Warseid guitarist Andre Cailliet is also the six stringed warrior of another band, Večan (pronounced ve-chan).

Večan is another black metal band, whose origins I can only assume are also from Wisconsin. Their name is a Serbian word for "Eternal", and they seem to drive home a sort of dark, atmospheric sound more than anything, keeping with some of the elements of Scandinavian folk metal for extra flavouring. Frost, Reminiscence is their debut album, out only about a month ago.

I'll be dead honest here. Frost, Reminiscence was a really ambitious project undertaken by Večan. It's got massive songs up to and exceeding 10 minutes in length, and it goes for what seems like a big cohesive concept. It's supposed to be a fully enveloping album of mysterious and mystical atmosphere, but unfortunately, it wasn't. I think that Frost, Reminiscence is a great piece of music in theory, but Večan really fumbled on the execution. So, no. I didn't like it. I don't think it's so bad I would draw a parallel between the music and kicking puppies to death again, but overall I'd didn't enjoy my time listening to Frost, Reminiscence.

First and foremost, I need to comment on the vocalist. I think that he was the reason for my dislike of this album. As I wrote down little notes on the album while listening to it over and over, I noticed I had written either "bad gruff vocals", "bad grunge vocals" or something similar for most of the songs. I hate anything that has anything to do with grunge, and vocalist "Mad Max"'s delivery almost consistently reminded me of a certain flannel covered era of music that I loathe. The weird part, though? Mad Max has got some serious chops. In the first couple songs, as well as the song "Lost", he barks out some old school black metal howls and gets down deep into some brutal guttural vocals. He does a great job with those passages, but why is it that he doesn't keep it going for the rest of the album? Does he not like to do them? Can he physically not do them for long periods of time? Does he think his other vocals sound better? I think it's a damn shame, whatever the reason.

Other than the proper extreme metal vocal delivery and his grungey vocals, Mad Max also brings in a lot of spoken word bits. These spoken word passages really remind me of old folk metal bands or black metal bands who would have some sort of narrative or something in spoken word either in the intro or a bridge of a song. These spoken word bridges in Večan's music sound pretty good and authentic (many, if not all of them are in a foreign language that I cannot understand. My guess would be Serbian.) but they crop up so god damn often that they really feel in the way by the end of it all.

The music on Frost, Reminiscence isn't too shabby. Again, everything is there for this album to be totally rad. All the musicians have awesome chops, but the way everything is pieced together leads to certain parts that seem out of place. While Andre can shred like a motherfucker, there are times where he lets loose in 6th gear, flying across the fretboard when he really should be slowing down. When the guitar playing is tasteful and the riffs are solid, the music really shines, but for the zillionth time, once the vocals kick in, everything just turns sour.

Now after saying all that, I need to say that the parts that are done well, are done really fucking well. The last two songs, "Lost" and "Solstice" are really fucking good. The former is an amazing modern black metal tune, full of emotion and dripping with frostbitten atmosphere, while the latter sounds like a tribute to viking-era Bathory more than anything with it's chanting and horns. Again, it's beautifully atmospheric and really brings you into a completely different world, but to me, the fact that only the last two out of all eight songs are great tracks can't really save an album.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Equinox, Lost, Solstice

On a Playlist With: Bathory, (old) Woods of Ypres, Agalloch

Overall Score: 2/5

Večan bite off a bit more than they can chew with their debut album, Frost, Reminiscence. All the ingredients were there for this album to be an absolutely awesome experience, and you can hear how awesome it is when everything does come together properly, but for the most part, things seem to be put together hastily and executed rather poorly.

You can check out Večan on Facebook and you can stream their entire album for free over on their Bandcamp page.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Album Review: Degraded - "Generalized Oppression"

So, for whatever reason, one of the scenes I seem to receive the most music from is the French hardcore and grindcore scene. It all started with Yattai, and moved on out to Faxe, Grunt Grunt, Nolentia, Vengeance, and Haut&Court. The newest addition to the list of awesome French grind bands I have for you guys is Bordeaux's very own Degraded!

Degraded is a four-piece consisting of your usual member combination of guitarist, bassist, drummer, and vocalist. These guys play in a style that mixes the stylings of grindcore with those of crust punk and hardcore into one big, pissed off package. They're still really new to the scene, having been formed in late 2011. After a bunch of lineup changes, they managed to get a solid line-up together and release Generalized Opression earlier this month.

The band really drives home the crust punk sound with both the raspy, throaty screams similar to those of Dean Jones of Extreme Noise Terror. Vocalist Paul can dish out some solid deep growls and high, depraved shrieks here and there on the album, but I really wish he did them a bit more often than he does. Lyrics are written mostly by drummer Jérôme, and much like the many grind and crust bands to come before them, Degraded deal mostly in politically driven lyrics about oppression, greed, war, and the like. It's nothing we haven't heard before from countless other hardcore bands. While the lyrics aren't anything new or groundbreaking, they're written with a sort of directness that screams passion and honesty on the band's part.

The instrumentation has to be my favorite part of Degraded's sound. It's unabashedly grindcore with its ferocity and speed, but it's also got some damn good grooves in it, too. The galloping in "Sufferings in Laboratory" is pit worthy, and the brief disco beats in "Communihilist" definitely throw you through a loop. This album isn't just a big conglomeration of blast beats and fast riffs, it's well pieced together and a little more involved than your average grind record. Rhythms shift around. Riffs come in one direction and suddenly veer off somewhere else without losing momentum. The drums (handled by Jérôme) keep everything barreling forward like an out-of-control train, but keep everything together from becoming a big trainwreck.

Guitarist FX and bassist Matt dish out some pretty inventive riffs on Generalized Oppression, too. While there are a ton of speed picked riffs and slower slam riffs coming out the ass here, there are a couple moments of guitar and bass wonkiness that sticks in your head. The very first riff of the album, off of "Dimitris" and one of the riffs about halfway through "Security Lies" show some influence outside of traditional hardcore or grind. I'm not sure where they come from, but they sound damn good, that's for sure.

The production here is alright. If there's any weak point to the album, I'd have to pick the production. Everything is mixed nicely; you can hear every instrument all the time, but I find everything sounds really bright on Generalized Oppression. The guitars are pretty thick, but the bass is way to punchy and definitely needs to be beefed up. If Degraded went for more of a production style similar to that of Pig Destroyer or  Nails, I think this LP would have sounded much better.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Banksters Hegemony, Nazionist, Security Lies

On a Playlist With: Extreme Noise Terror, Yattai, Haut&Court

Overall Score: 4/5

Generalized Oppression is definitely a great first LP by Degraded. It grinds, it grooves, and it pounds your face in. Considering that the band is less than 2 years old and they've already managed to pump out an album this good, I'm really excited to hear what these guys have in store for us next.

You can check out Generalized Oppressionon Degraded's Bandcamp, and you can purchase a 12" vinyl version (mine was printed on clear vinyl!) off of their BigCartel page. Be sure to throw 'em a like on Facebook, too.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

Guest Review: Prostitute Disfigurement - "Descendants of Depravity" by LJCB

I have a good buddy of mine doing a review for us today. He's one of the biggest authorities on metal that I know, and he's more metal than anyone you or I know combined. I take his iron-clad word without a second thought. His ideas are a landmine of furiously made points which cannot be denied. He is LJCB. Without further ado, here is his review in all of its glory. Prepare your bodies.
-Grave Dave

Great idea. mediocre album. These guys have really let me down. Usually when i hear a kick ass name my expectations get set higher than they should be. Expectations that were not met and I feel disappointed because of it. There's a lesson here for all of the young kids trying to get into music. Only have a name that is as badass as your sound is. If you can't match that level of badass-ery you may want to find a new name such as Maroon 5, Theory of a dead man, or perhaps mountain dew code: red. But let's get to the specifics of the album, the highs were high. the lows were low. I didn't actually listen to the album because I would just think it is noise and this early in the morning it would give me a bad start to my day, I also don't have a gallon of turpentine that is available for me to drink and seeing how that is on my to do list before listening to an album such as this it will have to wait. So that's it really. Don't set your audiences expectations to high by having a super rad name only to be followed up by poor execution, and terrible album art.

PS: If you actually read all of that I commend you. I wrote it and I didn't even read it.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Album Review: Severe Mutilation - "Spawn of Hatred"

It's always exciting to listen to music from a country you haven't heard any music from before. I've heard music from all across the globe, and I've received promos from bands hailing from many different countries as well. My first foray into Puerto Rican metal comes to me in the form of Spawn of Hatred by death metallers Severe Mutilation.

Severe Mutilation formed in 2008 under the name Bloodspill, and originally went for more of a grindcore and hardcore outfit than a death metal one. Even as the band evolved over the years form one genre to another, they managed to stay an independent act that has amassed a solid following of fans.

I've said a gazillion times on this blog that good death metal is good death metal. And this? It's some good death metal. Severe Mutilation call back to the good old days of death metal, where bands like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, and Suffocation reigned supreme atop their thrones made of skulls. That being said, these guys manage to bring in a pretty modern edge to the old school death metal sound.

Spawn of Hatred is ruled by riffs. Guitarists Junito and Chunk are chocked full of monstrous riffs. These guys fly by with vicious and precise tremolo picked riffs and gallops and can just as easily bring down some motherfucking slams that would make even Terrance Hobbs jealous. This album is meant for people who want to headbang and who want to headbang hard. While for me, the guitars are the highlight of Spawn of Hatred, the rest of the band dishes out some solid musical punishment, too. Drummer Felix keeps up with Junito and Chunk's top-notch riffage, alternating between blistering blastbeats and pounding double bass grooves. Vocalist Wesley busts out some very Frank Mullen inspired vocal work, but helps usher in the modern sound with some pig squeals here and there. For those of you who don't know, I'm not a fan of pig squeals but Wesley drops them with tasteful frequency, so it doesn't bother me too much.

The production on Spawn of Hatred is what helps push this album into the "modern death metal" territory. Everything sounds nice and clean here, with every member shining through in the mix (save the bassist, but more on that later). I'm not sure how I feel about clean production on death metal like this, because there's a charm to the raw recordings of old school bands that I can't seem to resist. While I definitely don't dislike clean production, I'm not sure it was the right choice for this type of music.

The shortcomings of Spawn of Hatred don't seem to come up until the second, third and further listenings. The first is that the bass seems to slowly disappear as the album goes on. The second track, "Practice What You Preach" has some sweet fat bass tones punching through the mix, but once you reach the end of the album (around "Fuck the World Bring on the Hate), the bass seems like it has been severely cut down in the mix. Maybe I'm just crazy, but it's been what I've been hearing consistently since my third or so listen. The second shortcoming of Spawn of Hatred is that I don't find it engaging past the end of the album. When it's on, I'm headbanging furiously and stomping around my house like an elephant, but as soon as it ends, I wouldn't be able to recall any moments on the album that really stood out or be able to hum any riff that popped up with even a shred of accuracy.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Practice What You Preach, Spawn of Hatred, I Kill for God

On a Playlist With: Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, (old) Morbid Angel

Overall Score: 3/5

I stand by what I said at the beginning of this review. Spawn of Hatred is good death metal. I definitely enjoy listening to this album now, but I feel like in a month or so I won't even be spinning it once in a week. It's a shame, because while Severe Mutilation definitely show some promise, they've definitely got to step their songwriting game up so they can pump out some catchier and more memorable tunes. Once they've mastered that, I think Severe Mutilation will be a modern death metal force to be reckoned with.

Spawn of Hatred comes out May 5th independently through Severe Mutilation. You can check the band out on Facebook, MySpace, and ReverbNation.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Megadeth Song "Super Collider" Should be Renamed "Shit Collision"

I know that I never do music news on this site, because all the news would I post here would be whatever was posted on MetalSucks or Metal Injection five hours ago. This however, I need to share. There's a new Megadeth song, the title track off of their upcoming album, Super Collider, and it's shitty. Shitty. Shitty shitty shitty.

I used to be a huge Megadeth fan 6 or 7 years ago, but with the combination of Th1rt3en being a complete piece of garbage, End Game and United Abominations being passable at best, and Dave Mustaine broadcasting his ignorant bigotry over the past year or so, I had a feeling Megadeth would soon drop out of the list of bands that I half-heartedly cared about and into the list of bands I hope never make music again. That feeling became a reality when MegaDave dropped  his new track on Full Metal Jackie. Take a listen:

Fuck you Dave Mustaine. Chris Broderick, Shawn Drover, Dave Ellefson, please, please, please, just get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

That's all for now, folks. I'm going to go listen to Rust in Peace and cry in a corner for the rest of the day.

-Grave Dave

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Update: Exams! Again.

Y'all know I'm an engineering student, so I don't have the most free time in the world. Especially during exam season does whatever is left of my spare time seem to diminish into nothingness. So, much like last semester I'm gonna be taking a mini break from rambling on the internet. I'm about halfway through exams, so after a week or two (I might need a couple days to recuperate), things should be rolling again.

I'll have more reviews, hopefully a couple more interviews or editorial/ special columns, and I'll finally be able to put out the first ever Needs More Noise Gate compilation album! I know I've hinted towards it in a couple posts, but I'll make an official post about it sometime soon actually telling you guys what the hell it's about.

Until then, I should get back to studying.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave