I had the esteemed privilege of catching this show on a last minute, “Oh shit, I totally forgot this show was this weekend!” moment. The Empty Bottle is one of the best places to host a show with a group such as Shrinebuilder, one of the most epicly epic heavy metal supergroup lineups every formed. It’s like Thor, Zeus, Odin, and Batman (all badasses and metal as fuck) formed a group and played a show in your neighborhood dive. Good times. Tight tunes. And the quote of the evening goes to Dale Crover at the end of the near 1.5 set with, “That’s all the songs we know. Go back out and pay to come back in.”
It was a 2 set night…
Here’s some live footage I caught on my shitty phone that likes to pretend it’s an iPhone.
That’s Athens, Ohio for those of you who didn’t know
I fucking love SKELETONWITCH (all caps because they rule). Their brand of thrash-death-black-metal is exactly what every neo thrash band that is saturating metal labels everywhere wishes they could sound like. I highly recommend both “Beyond The Permafrost” and their new recently released full length, “Breathing The Fire”.
Here’s the new video for the single Repulsive Salvation. Pretty standard metal video. Great song though. Thrash!
Maybe Coalesce is the new Tool. They’ll release one slab of awesome every 8 or 10 years and then fade into obscurity only to return again after another 10 years of nothing. The only difference being Coalesces’ OX and this new EP are much more interesting to listen to than Tools’ last record. Which I can’t even remember when came out and don’t care to wiki it so suck it.
“It’s like your eye is a cock, balls deep in a peyote button butthole.” – Jay Randall, Agoraphobic Nosebleed
I like grindcore. A lot. I also like it when grind bands express themselves in as many ways possible. If it means having a giant pot monster come onto the stage during your set, awesome. If it means creating a dvd-audio noise-ambient-doom record companion piece, awesome. If it means having beach balls, a mini basketball hoop, basketball, man-thongs, and full frontal nudity, awesome. If it means making a movie based on the concept record you made? Um…I guess?
First off, I didn’t really like Fuck The Facts‘ “Disgorge, Mexico”. I suppose I was still too busy digging the shit out of Pig Destroyers‘ “Phantom Limb”. And, I never would have even realized there was enough “concept” behind it to warrant a movie when I did take the time to listen to it. With that said I can’t exactly form an opinion here that a short film would be good or bad. Hell I haven’t even seen the movie! What’s the point of this post again?
Right…here’s the link to the website for the film. And if anyone happens to know the authentication credentials to actually watch the clips that I’m talking about I’d appreciate it if you would leave it in the comments.
Did you ever see The Rock with Nick Cage and Sean Connery? If you did, you should remember the scene where Agent Goodspeed is exposed to the insanely deadly VX nerve agent. He is then faced with the ultimate decision to either let his flesh boil and eyeballs pop out, or stab himself in the heart with an over sized syringe filled with the antidote to save his own life. Sorry to be a spoiler if you weren’t around in ’96 to catch it, but Goodspeed balls up to the obvious choice and ends up lunging the syringe into his chest to save his life. Adrenaline rush, dilated pupils. Awesome.
So what the fuck does this have to do with Converge? Watch the video below, and then continue reading.
Wasn’t that fucked up and fast? Let me tell you something, this analogy of facing an adrenaline-amped, life threatening moment and having an even worse life threatening decision to make to save yourself was the first thing that popped into my head while listening to “Axe To Fall” the very first time. This record makes me think of all the artist interviews I’ve ever read in books and magazines where they describe their music as something that “you can interpret in your own way.” This is exactly what I get out of Axe and what I can gather as an insane trip into Deaths’ icy grip and then having to save your own ass to get out.
I think any fan of Converge old or new will dig the shit out of this. Everything on this disc is perfect. Goddamn perfect. Guitars, drums, and bass flame, as well as embellish in the kind of heroics akin to metal gods of yesteryear. All the while, sounding brand new. Jacob Bannons’ vocals are and always have been throat tearing and unintelligible. But in my opinion his frenetic delivery is just one more devilish cog in the grinding speed that the majority of this album delivers. Make no mistake, this is the record you will put on your stereo at ear bleed levels and rock out to in your living room. All the meanwhile, jumping off your coffee table playing air guitar and punching the shit out of the air pretending to beat some phantom assailant who wants you dead.
Nate Newton’s Doomriders‘ influence bleeds through perfectly into the songs. Any fan of the Motorhead meets Kyuss side project will know what to expect in terms of riff quality. To newcomers, any chance you get to think of this record as “traditional hardcore” will be thrown out with every passing hammer-on-pull-off double-whammy riff infused with a blues (Yes, blues) melody. *See album closers “Cruel Bloom/Wretched World” for what this means.* Although, you may have already had a coronary by the time the intense thrashing of “Cutter” breaks loose and knifes you in the dome.
It’s just too hard to believe and to say that this has easily topped everything they’ve ever written. Um, hello past three Converge releases?! Jane Doe?! I can’t believe I just fucking wrote that.
If they get any better than this, well…worms will feed.
Soulfly! Tribal tattoos for everybody! Back to the primitive and all that noise. Blah blah blah.
Actually this single five minute and fifty two second track from Torche’s split with Japanese WTF lords Boris is pretty gnarly, and no less gnarly for the tribal drumming that sparked the initial snap judgment above. Pigeon hole this!
The first half of the track is snappy menace and chanting at a marching pace. You are now arriving at the temple of doom. Please enjoy your stay. Two weeks later in the second half of our song. The excitement of arrival has faded and all that remains is sludgy menace and despair. Subwoofer destroying despair that impresses.
My recent introduction to Gaza was at this years Dudefest. While the sound in the Emerson Theater was pretty shitty, the raw intensity that these guys put into their set was chilling. Mosh pit on the stage. Enough said.
Regardless of what you think of their “War on religion”, it’s nice to see they put some effort into song titles. Unlike some other blatantly obvious anti-religious song titles like “Death to Jesus” (*cough looking at you Deicide). I’m looking forward to their new record as my first proper introduction to their style of jazzy-hardcore-skronk-grind-metal. Whatever the fuck that is/means. Hey, at least their not burning down churches and stabbing their band mates in the neck.
Check out a preview track over at BrooklynVegan and some great live footage from their Dudefest ’09 set below.
Second records are always risky for bands whose first were considered achievements in their own right. There tends to be higher expectations and in turn more pressure. As such the second record can go three possible ways:
They can maintain their creative force and make a record that eclipses the first record in greatness.
They can hold the line and while enjoyable, it record won’t have the same emotional impact as the first.
Or they can make a rushed follow up that just stinks and the band will most likely be never heard from again.
Sadly the latter two are what typically seem to happen.
Not this time though thankfully. Baroness come back to the plate after knocking one out of the park with The Red Album back during the summer of 2007. With it’s undeniable classic rock motif, groove infused guitar shoot-outs, and Jesus-hooked-to-a-car-battery-while-on-the-mount vocal delivery it was a record that felt more like a homecoming than an entry into the fray of extreme metal. With all homecomings there comes a time to leave and venture forth one more time and with this vibe I’d say that these savants from Savannah have succeeded.
With all good journeys there are moments of excitement and reflection to take in all that may or may not have just happened. For every “Swollen and Halo” with its harmonized dual guitar lines and thunderous peaks there is a “Ogeechee Hymnal” or “Blackpowder Orchard” to bring all the events full circle and allow for their impact to be truly accepted.
Savannah has the Savannah College of Art and Design and these guys
Baroness release music that makes this reviewer take the tact that it is a full scope art project, and not so much just a piece of music. To break it up into singles is like watching a scene from a play with no explanation to what happened before or after. It can be enjoyed on it’s own, but when included with the other accompanying scenes it becomes that much more powerful and awesome.
If “thrash band A” leaves the gig on “tour bus B”, and “thrash band C” with the same looking logo leaves the gig at the same time only with more cases of beer on “tour bus D”, how many more times do you need to listen to “thrash band B’s” record before you start to remember how good D.R.I.’s records were?
How many goddamn bands have spawned in the past couple years sporting the same spiky neon infused logos? Are we experiencing a thrash revival overload? Maybe. But goddamn, if there isn’t a band among them all whose material starts to leave a lasting impression on me like Municipal Waste does.
For six songs less than a minute you have seven others more than two minutes that actually are worth the riffs put into them. The reason being is that each song longer than 1:30 has an extra minute of song to allow it to breathe. (Yeah, I know I just said “breathe” in a description of a thrash band) There is some great variety in the songs they let slow down for a passage, speed it up a bit, really speed it up, add gang vocals, then throw in a good short solo for spice. These are the elements to a few songs on this record that make them memorable and digestible. See “Wolves of Chernobyl” and “Relentless Threat” for an example of these fine points.
"Acceptable grafitti!" - said in weekend nachos vocal style
So then my crusty metal friends: how many riffs does it take to get to the center of the good riffs?
Answer: about 154 in 7 songs. Which would bring us to “Upside Down Church”. Where upon first listen, sounds like the album literally blows its thrashy hot beer foam all over the walls. The song is fucking thrash metal defined. The rest is downhill from there.