Wednesday, October 26, 2011

josé's band of the week: wolvhammer

from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (now based in Chicago)
I first heard of Wolvhammer shortly before their previous album, their full-length debut 'Black Marketeers Of World War III', came out. It was, at the time, a recommendation from The Atlas Moth's frontman Stavros, and since he still had his epic moustache at the time, I took it very seriously and checked these guys out. In good time, too - you might remember I placed that album at a very respectable #38 on my best albums of 2010 list, its ferocious mix of all the right brands of darkness hitting a deep spot indeed. Now, barely a year later, here's an even darker and leaner beast to contend with, in the form of the band's second album, 'The Obsidian Plains'.

The promo arrived in the nick of time for this week's band of the week too, straight from their new über-cult, über-cool record label, Profound Lore. I was indecise with a couple of choices for this week's accolade, but once I took the sombre b&w disc out of the package I had the feeling my doubts were over, effortlessly confirmed by a few spins. It truly is the proverbial passing into the next level for the band, on all fronts. A stable line-up which now features Jeff Wilson (former Nachtmystium guitarist), a stellar, as usual, Sanford Parker production/recording job and an expanded sound that doesn't, however, abandon the filth of its primordial Celtic Frost/Darkthrone gene pool are all the right ingredients for a deep plunge into the grey. 'The Obsidian Plains' is the sort of album that pounds you into submission in very different ways, due to the perfectly aligned and engaging tracklist. Obscure ragers like the one-two punch of openers 'The Gleaming' and 'Writhe' will instantly and immediately turn on any room full of metalheads, while halfway through things take a turn for the worse, with the atmospheric malaise of 'Ghosts In The Water' and the dread-filled chanting in 'Shadowhorn'. At a certain point, it's almost like the songs and their different parts are all bleeding into each other, and no matter if it's a feedback-ridden piece of noise, a particularly hateful piercing scream or a full-on blackthrash attack part, you're completely lost in their acerbic whirlwind anyway.

And that name, man. You have to wonder how in decades of heavy metal, no one took that name. It neatly sums up basically everything we need on a metal record. Fuck yeah.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

josé's band of the week: vegas martyrs

from New York

You know what that is? That's a tape booklet, bitch. You probably got that right (the name-calling bit aside) if you're at all into noise, for which tape is still the quintessential format, and noise is pretty much the main category in which Vegas Martyrs fits. They haven't got any new releases out or anything, but after the malaise that has been brought upon me by entire days listening to Gnaw Their Tongues (on account of their scary new album) and Death In June (because of the unforgettable show last Saturday of which I will talk about in detail soon), I felt like an extra dose of sickness to be piled upon me. That's when I rediscovered this Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient) project, of which I had a couple of tapes lying around that I had listened a few times and gotten a horrid metal image of, and it was exactly what the doctor didn't order. In fact, if I did go to a musical doctor, he'd probably tell me to stay the hell away from this stuff.

Much like the omnipresent in this blog Gnaw Their Tongues, Vegas Martyrs fuse hideous black metal screeching, subterranean broken riffing and musical corpses full of rough dungeon-like atmospheres. To stretch the doctor theme a little, they'd be the medical equivalent of a self-performed appendectomy, with an old pencil. This Prurient dude isn't exactly known by the beauty of his creations or endorsements, as any of you who have listened to Ash Pool or have ordered anything at all from his dlightfully abject Hospital Productions label will be fully aware of, but Vegas Martyrs seems to be the absolute bottom of the sickness pile. Of all the releases available, in tape or vinyl format, none are advisable as an entry point, but hey, try the ones whose covers I've lazily used to illustrate the article, as there seem to be no proper photos of the band. They're called 'Harlot Widow' and 'Vancouver Missing Women', and if you manage to keep down your lunch during 11 minute abnormalities such as 'Shadows Of Holocaust' and its sudden lurch into hell after the misleadingly quiet beginning, you might have discovered your new favourite self-mutilation soundtrack.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

live shots: trap them in madrid, 2008

As promised, a few older photos of Trap Them, this time from almost exactly three years ago (Nov. 20th 2008), a show at the Ritmo y Compás venue in Madrid with the equally awesome Grief and Moho. Ryan had a bit more hair and that last photo even ties in with my recent zombie theme.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

quoting critters: how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse

The quoting critters are concerned citizens. As they were listening to the awesome Bastard Priest, as recommended yesterday on this blog, they were at the same time worried about the safety of our community. What if the ghoul on the cover of the album would come to life and bring all his friends for a brains and beer party? Our brains?

The quoting critters are people of science too, so they know that eventuality is not as impossible as you think. Even the CDC itself has a series of measures on its website for when it happens. So, based on that article, they have made the following educational video.

Be responsible. Be prepared.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

from Hiroshima Nagasaki Umeå Stockholm (their words, not mine!)

So last week there wasn't a band of the week. Just imagine I recommended you something awesome, and then stop thinking about it. In fact, stop thinking, altogether, for a while. It's great to challenge yourself with le avantgarde and shit, but in between eerie bouts of the new Gnaw Their Tongues, Crooked Necks and Bloody Panda albums, and some Death In June memory lane tripping ahead of a gig next Saturday, it's all-out mindless head-smashing fun that has been consuming me. My last band of the week The Fucking Wrath are still on my regular playlist, of course, as is stuff like Red Fang or, above all, Bastard Priest.

If you're a regular of this joint, first of all I hope your regular appointments with the psychiatrist are going well, but also you might remember me placing the first Bastard Priest album, 'Under The Hammer Of Destruction', at #63 on the best albums of 2010 list, colourfuly describing them at the time as "Fucking grim, hard and loose punkish death'n'roll, like the corpse of Entombed spitting out fat larvae all over a puddle of puke." Almost exactly a year after that cute debut, the duo formed by Matt Mendoza and Inventor have coughed up a follow-up that will not only undoubtedly be present in the 2011 list, but also fortunately be described the exact same way.

 'Ghouls Of The Endless Night' is so far from the concept of evolution that it is essentially a regression - if anything is different from the debut, it's a punkier vibe, a coarser and even less refined lo-fi sound, uglier and more childish artwork and lyrics that are even more stupid, fun and exciting to scream as horribly as that Inventor dude does it. The last song is called 'Enormous Thunder Of The End', that alone should be enough to justify the price of purchase alone. If you still have any doubts, you're a pussy, and you should go remove them at Invisible Oranges, who are streaming the whole putrid thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

live shots: trap them at roadburn 2011

First time I ever saw a moshpit at Roadburn, and I guess that says it all about Trap Them's incendiary performance earlier this year at my yearly pilgrimage festival. I have shots from a show in Madrid a couple of years ago where Ryan had long hair, I'll post them soon to compare. That's the only difference though, he still looked all beaten up and like he'll bit your head off right after shouting something meaningful an inch from your face.

And here's hoping whoever it is that's sick in the band recovers quickly from the recently reported health troubles. We need you guys healthy and kicking ass.

Monday, October 10, 2011

(click on the page to see the readable large version)

Subject: Neurosis / Daniel Higgs live in London

Published: Terrorizer #208, February 2011

Random facts:

- It was the devastating culmination of a weekend that included The Young Gods, Wolves In The Throne Room and Shrinebuilder. Phew.

- At one point during Daniel's amazingly deep performance, he asked to the audience of the packed KoKo if anyone had a bible on them. "Almost 2.000 people are gathered here and there isn't a single bible. This is significant." And it is.

- Steve Von Till watched most of Daniel's performance from the side of the stage. That is also significant.

- During 'Locust Star', I apparently pressed my head against one of the speakers (I was on the first row) and I thumped. Repeatedly. True fact.

- Here is the full Neurosis setlist, including the two new songs:
At the End of the Road
The Doorway
Killing Elk
Given to the Rising

The Web
Locust Star
Water Is Not Enough
Distill (Watching the Swarm)
Stones From the Sky
Through Silver in Blood

...and a video of that all-consuming closer.