Wednesday, December 23, 2009
25 ta Life Strength Integrity Brotherhood Review
okay, okay, i do hardcore reviews here. not drama perpetuating or shit talking. So, i will review this cd and not talk about all the drizama that surrounds RTL. Anyway, that being said. THIS ALBUM FUCKIN' RULES!!!!! if you got over these dudes awhile ago or have slept on them recently - this shit is tight and 25 ta Life's best output in years; best since FLC (the last with starting guitarist Fred).
You should know, i have purchased 25 ta Life CD's everytime they come out. i am a fan. the previous 3 have been good, but not great. Hit and Miss to me. Songs like "Fight Dirty" and "Believe In Me" and "Question Yourself" and "Fallen Angel" are great highlights. Other songs will have great hooks or lyrics or breakdowns, but something brings them down. It could be RTL trying to actually sing or repeated verses going on too many times or the song itself going on too long (5 -6 minutes).
Point being, this album has eliminated all those issues. Songs vary when they could get too repetitive. They end when they should. These have amazing riffs, crushing breakdowns, growled vox that fit perfectly. And if you're wondering, the "bleeeech!" vox are absent. *(also, meaning, of course, that "blaaah!" written in the lyric sheet is also void, like on CC's song, "Two Face". Classic, kid.)
The opening track, "Heroin Demon" is killer. Double bass kicks ride us in over a strong guitar part. Head bobbing. Check the breakdowns at 1:30 and the switch up at 2:00. Keanu style, "Woah". Some ill drums and quick leads in transistion. What i am most impressed about on this track (and whole CD) is the friggin drums. Tighter than braids on 8th Grade Picture day. So sick. The riffs are tough and act as an impetus to start throwing fists. Lyrically, it takes some from a previous 25TL song, "Prepare Yourself" off of the prior CD; but this is new and improved. RTL vox are kept back in the mix a touch - so, it adds nicely, not distracting or overdone. No AF "One Voice" imitation here, just HC growls. Amazing song.
track 2, "Stay Up" may be my favorite. Fast old school speed; verse lines alternate with gang vox of "Stay Up!" chants that propel us through the song. Then, at the :30 mark, breakdown chorus. Again, the highlight is the tight, double bass romp of the drums. A surprise after the 2nd chorus is a 'solo'. But then the liner notes indicate that the guest is Bobby Biohazard. So, i'll take it. it fits well into the song and that the entire song is 4 minutes, it is not over indulgent. Whole jam is very SubZero. Good NYHC.
track 3, "Kept Blind", comes in a little mid-tempo/melodic; then it bursts into another fast paced Old School NYHC song. This song is the best one. "We are all fucked, Shit outta Luck" lyrics. The chorus has a great riff structure, that is classic pick-up change style but injects that new school bounce/step style that the new kids love. The song returns to that slow/melodic tune for an oasis, but that leads us into a heavy slow breakdown.
track 4, GG cover of "You don't like me...". I am sure this lets RTL vent some of his recent frustrations with this soap opera HC generation. They do this cover perfectly. Sounds awesome.
Track 5, "Crazy BNI" has weird guitar line that leads it - and other parts have, dare i say, a groove. I mean, there is no flirting with a commercial sound here, do not let me leave that impression. Lyrics are a little repetitive, but they are so good in a hardcore sense, i like it. ("Love Kills, it will destroy!"). The final 1/3 of the song has a punk bounce into a breakdown. A really great HC sound. RIP Raybeez.
Track 6, "Insults and Misery" has Jay Reason and RTL exchange vox; less growl/more sing. But not strewn out, just straight and to the point. The song is quick and fast and fuckin good.
Track 7 is (another) Warzone cover from 25TL. But it is one of the greatest HC songs of all time. Again, they nail it. it sounds perfect. They even got some of the nuances of the original. Don't forget the struggle, don't forget the streets. always keep the faith.
Track 8 "Hellbound" goes on a little long at 4:24 minutes, and has some of that singing that irks me. It is a good song, but some of it should of hit the cutting room floor.
Track 9 ""We're all Guilty" is a song that could have been a CC song (remember, in '96 when they two were separate, distinguishable entitties?). Lyrically it is a stream of conscience style - so it rids it of the repetition for the first half, but it just does not sit well with me. The song definitely could have been a minute shorter. But i do like the punkier approach of the music.
Track 10, "Tom's song" is just strumming of a guitar over feedback. i don'y get it. but being a fan of dfifferent music, it ends the cd on a calming transitional note.
The key to this release being so good is the goddamn production, straight up and down. Spectacular decision making. Whether that is more RTL or Greg Thomas, i have no idea. But the drums are amazing. The guitars and bass are perfect. The back-ups and vox are balanced well and mixed to strengthen the songs, not to be the spotlight. Everysong has a guest, mad boston heads on it - so, it makes me happy. I would like to acknowledge Ezra and Petey Pablo's presence, as they were on the last two CDs. I think the fact they have been doing 25TL for the last 5 years have remarkebly solidified and improved the music released under this moniker. They are great HC songwriters and players. The vocals are focused and restrained. All factors to a powerful NYHC album. Also, RTL has dropped the long list of people, crews, bands or complaints at the end of each song like its a live set. so that helps a lot, too.
Just too repeat: if the name 25 ta Life makes you huff or shiver, have faith. This CD is incredible. Fast, tight and heavy. The vocals are balanced and concentrated. Lyrics are true HC, on the downside with a touch of survival (not optimism). And no dramatic rambling. This really brings 25 ta Life back to the forefront of hardcore. Get it.
Monday, May 4, 2009
She Rides (s/t) Stillbborn Records
I had seen this name on some flyers, but never caught them. Then, i just saw them open for The Bronx. I was blown away. Absolutely floored. Thoughts: energy, chaos, rock, punk, feriocity, spit, hate, cocksure. They killed that friggin stage.
So, i went over to Armageddon Shop and low and behold they had their cd. sweet. First surprise: it is on Stillborn!?!?! But this ain't no tough-guy mosh spew. This is punk rock-n-roll. A big
"Coke Frenzy" and "Sleeping with Zombies" ar the two true gems; other standouts are - "Wage Slave", Party in the Piss Kitchen", and "Faceride". Again, if you want something new and different - or just some good loud punk, pick this up. While some of the lyrics get a little rediculous,
Monday, May 4, 2009
Defiant Hearts "
For fans of: Bane, Killing the Dream, Dead Hearts, etc. Sharply produced, fast as fuck passionate Mass hardcore. Some pauses and slow parts (moments to reflect, i guess. very deep.) that aural landscape of discordant noises and tremolo - but sparse and quick. Not indulgent like Verse.
Mostly, these dudes get down to business. Like the speed and intensity of MPB, but replacing the dark and doom with the tonality and chords of turning point. Jangly bass and wandering soloing creates a sense of urgency, pushed by pummeling drumd in 4/4 time. Lyrics are abstract and morose. Again, this will be grouped with Have Heart and MLIW - but this is tighter and better, if that stuff turns you off. Lots of breakdoowns and gang chant moments; expect constant stage dives. Good chaotic, sweaty posi-core - self-proclaimed "melodic hardcore". These dudes give nods to mid-'80s Dischord stuff, but that may be more inspirational that musical. This CD is taut, fierce music. Not revolutionary, but a pretty good outing.
Posted by emptyhands at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Earth Crisis "To The Death" Century Media
So, yes, i bought this on the day i came out. I have had a week and one day to absorb it. And as an astonished Marty McFly would utter, i have one word, "Heavy". i am revelling in this bands 'heaviosity'. If you are old like me and remember when this band epitomized (and pushed) this new hardcore sound, or you just got hip to these older cats on their reunion tour last year, you should love this. i have happily returned to it again and again over this past week.
HISTORY: Assuming you would read this out of interest, i will presume you like (or 'liked' them, most likely) Earth Crisis. So, let me put you in my perspective. In Summer of 1995, I remember my friend (who had been off to Detriot for a year) putting on his discman's earphones on my head with Destroy the Machines blaring. I was hooked. My favorite albums in my 17 year old brain being Madball: Set It Off, SOIA: JLA/STS, and all Sheer Terror, this approach to metal infused HC was new and amazing. It stepped it up in a crisp, technical, brutal manner that i was not aware of (i had not heard Unbroken, yet). Snapcase's Steps/lookingglasself just did not capture it (albums that still have a missing link to me - which their PTU found!). I went out and bought DTM. Now, Earth Crisis' prior output, the 2 ep's, All Out War and Firestorm, were cool; but, they also lacked something. His weaker/rap vox delivery and lesser production and musicianship weakened the delivery. Now, i love punk rock - so, i do not believe that someone has to be 'good' at writing music to have an impact - i listen to a lot of 'shitty' bands; my point, is that this style - and especially Earth Crisis - are strengthened and unleash a fiercer song with their skills honed. As the years passed, they released more albums, but none hit me like DTM. I did not like GSE at first; now, I like it - but it drags for me and does not as many distinguishing efforts in it. BTK was just a total metal effort, in my eyes, at the time; which was not my thing. Now -it is good, but nothing had the magic that DTM had. The B-sides, live cd's never interested me. I want to hear Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Clapton play "Sunshine of Your Love" - or fucking Fudge Tunnel, for that matter - not god damn Earth Crisis. Christ, cover fucking, S.O.A. or 7 Seconds. And didn't they even do a Led Zep cover? WTF? ugh. Anyway, to continue the journey, they then were burdened with making a record in the burst of Slipknot/Sevendust/Staind nu-metal era. And i am sure, on a label with Obituary, Soulfly, Sepultura, Machine Head, Fear Factory (and King Diamond!), that EC was like, "Hey! We've been making great metalcore that is accesible, where is our share?". Fair Enough. But that is a musician's cry, and not a hardcore kid's lament. And it will bite you back, my friend. So, they created "Slither". My once-friend (not due to this recommendation...) called me up and told me how awesome it was. "Different," he issued as a caveat. But his favorite was BTK. So, i ran out and picked it up. Remember, kiddies, no myspace, no xm radio, no on-demand, no metalcore in every magazine. You took a chance. And my chance was a snake in the grass under the Earth Crisis moniker. and i got stung. From the pleather-laden group photo (fine it is fake, but if you are vegan, why would you want to promote/emulate that image of leather?). I was done. The melodies, the singing: ouch. I hung my head in shame. Honestly, i was just so disappointed. The most vehement of hardcore, these men that took this lifestyle of resistence and rebellion that I embraced, to even further extremes than i did (vegan SXE), made a leap towards a commercially viable album. It was a sad day. I, then, yearned for a repeat of the two metal previous albums i had shunned. Freya came out a couple years later boasting 3/5 EC - i was hopeful, but that "Light" album was friggin' "Slither pt II". Well, at least i was under a different name this time. So, when Victory released a split between Hoods/Freya, i was stunned. Hoods seem too heavy, too 'core to be put out an ep with Freya. Oh, well, i ignored it. Then came a show in a small artspace usually saved for small bands (as220) that flagged For The Worse, Freya, and 25 ta Life. Wow! But, i guess in 2005, those bands were passed their prime and only old, nostalgic dudes like me would care. Well, Freya got up on this diminutive, humbling stage (precluded by Rick ta Life going, "Props to these dudes. They could be touring under Earth Crisis as a reunion to cash in, but they got integrity..." not that they do not now - just amusing) and these mothefuckers unleashed a barrage of unrelenting riffs and breakdowns and harcore screams on my delighted, yet surprised ass. No Singing. No harmonies. Just brutal metal core. I, I, I....think...i may be erect. I went out the next day and got that split and i will be damned if it was not fuckin incredible. Fast forward 4 years and a reunion tour later.....
"To The Death"
MUSIC: again - heavy. Some definite Hatebreed/Sepultura (Arise/Chaos AD/Roots) nods in this, that mid-paced chugga riff to stomp to. But remember, 4/5 of this line up was doin it years before Hatebreed. But, this is no HB wanna be record; no, sir. There are a myriad of nuances (by real musicians) that distinguish this from the onslaught of mediocrity most of the "metalcore" genre unloads upon us.
LYRICS: I like extremes. They really interest me. I admire positive ones. Earth Crisis (sans "Slither") has always had my respect. They got huge and only intensified their message - not subtexting it like other bigger bands. This is hardcore - and i maybe a self-destructive drunk and an indulgent meat eater - but i get their stance. And I agree with them. This album is amazing with their lyrics in the fact that it is not loaded with trivial platitudes or generic slogans or even rote, unsubstantiated chants of "Straight Fucking Edge!!!". And this is what separates EC. They delve in to the idiosyncracies of what drugs and this American lust for consumption do to us as a society and as a species. There is substance and thought into their substance-free lifestyles. That gives it an exponential worth and value. And here on "To The Death", they graphically illustrate the horrendous reprecussions of how these selfish, destructive, indulgent choices plague are communities and environments.
1. "Against the Current" comes right in with a nice chug and bursts into a quick pounce. Then, we are treated with a slow thrash of verse in to gang vox of "Against the Current!!!". So good. Some time changes (to slower, to faster) keep it interesting. It stays mostly fast with Karl spitting like a raspy serpent. You will definitely be moshing in the mirror to this. Lyrcially, it is a straight edge anthem. As a 'rebel', I want to scream in unison "Against the Current!", but this is for those stronger than I. Killer fucking kick off.
2. "To Ashes" jumps in with a mechanical pulse, pummeling the aural organs. This is switched to a more sweeping tempo after with fast riffing; then slower, heavy, more atmospheric leanings. The main chant of this is "Every Meth Lab Burned!". It is a focus on the specific problems and issues of Meth Production; which is an ugly scourge upon us if you have seen what this disgusting, cheap drug does.
3. "So Others Live" continues with pretty much the same feel as the previous track - fast riffing, with some Sepu-Slow downs. Nice breakown at 1:30 that will promote some rediculous stage dives. After another burst of speed, the song ends strongly on this chugging style. This song is a cry for the cessation of barbaric whaling (Well, all whaling - i just think it is barbaric) and an applauding to those who stop these ships.
4. "Security Threat #1" Here is a song that is bold and unapologetic. It is about how these drug cartels/dealers and all the fallout from their fighting and killing effect us all on a global scale. While personal drug consumption can appear to only effect the one who ingests it, the businees of growing and delivering of these drugs leads to innocent death, pain, loss, fear, and isolation across all communities. Which as (an almost) Libertarian, is a good opposition to my inclinations. No man is an island. Musically, it conitinues on as the previous songs. This one has more of a HB leaning than the others.
5. "When Slaves Revolt" is a good up-tempo stomp with a groove riff that tangents into some soloing; boasting a heavy SubZero/Merauder type romp. These lyrics a more abstract, but with "revolt" and "with steel in my hand" as main refrains, the message of anti-authority aggression is apparent. Nice.
6. "Plague Bearers" - an instrumental. a good 1:20 pause.
7. "Control Through Fear" is like track 5; a full, encompassing wall of slow chords envelop you. Then, that quick chug takes over. We bandy between these two tempos in a dark, metallic shroud that would make some long hair happy. Along with track 5 again, the lyrics are more metaphoric (and literal, i am sure with the sledgehammer reference) as a beckoning for the oppressed to break the chains and becoming "marionettes" of the oppressor no more. Word. Stop beig afraid and demand answers and culpability of those we put in power; socially, economically, and politically.
8. "Cities Fall" is a valiant look into the aftermath of when mother earth reclaims her lands; like that History Channel show on now, "Life After People". When "moss covers concrete...(and)...vegitation returns". We as humans must reap what we sow at some point, right? I personally can't wait till the negative aspects of over-building, over-population, and commercialism come to fruition. I like cities. I will only live in a city. But i am disgusted by the continual need to take country or pastoral settings so that we can have another convenience store, atm, fast food joint or what the fuck have you. Enough. Never mind the multitude of third world factories perpetuating deforestation. Musically, this is a Sworn Enemy/Cold as Life covering Cro-Mags kind of jaunt.
9. "Eye of Babylon" This band does love the religious references - which always shocked me as a defiant hardcore band. Oh, well. This song makes me feel like it is raining steel nails on my ears. Metal enough? A nice groove, like if Biohazard mated with Down my Throat, with Stampin Ground slappin the pitcher on the ass. A slight hip hop bounce is in the second third of the song. Me likey. The lyrics are a heed against stem-cell and cloning (i think).
10. "What Horrifies" has double-bass riddims chaperone us through Karl screaming about the perils of drunk driving and mothers smoking and drug addiction. Again, it is nice to see specific examples of abuse, the anchor to any strong argument. Musically, this song is a touch heavier, with a tough tone - like ArkAngel or Full Blown Chaos. Again, time changes keep it fresh and from escaping monotony.
11. "To The Death" defintiely ends this beeeach on a friggin' high note. God Damn. "Vegan For Life" leaves no room for misinterpretations. "I disengage the death machine". This is a song that disavows any responsibilty to the slaughter of other bretheren creatures. And they mean it. Vegan Straight Edge. Proud. And they save the two harshest breakdowns for last. Out on top.
I remember picking up The Control s/t 10" on +/- Records, walking into Copley Square on a sunny day, when my older friend asked me "So, what amazing things to those guys have to say? i mean, it must be the lyrics that makes you buy different bands, cuz all that shit sounds the same." And while i can listen to a thousand bands that others say sound the same, i think this Earth Crisis record exemplifies that sentiment with percision.
The music will defintiely make Doc Brown question the future of the earth's gravitational pull. The lyrics are a great example of not following a crowd or chanting vapid expressions. These guys have explored the reasons for their choices and backed up their viewpoints. and that's fuckin' hardcore. The production is perfect for their sound; brash, but never over done. I do love Bulldog's bass that pokes through and propels the brilliant execution of Merrick's drumming. The guitars are a heavy and authoritative presence and the vocals are tweaked here and there for resonance, but mostly it is just Karl screaming the best he ever has. I would also love to give a tip of the hat to Paul Romano/workhardened for great layout. Nice, simple but not generic SXE or tattoo shit. Good stark imagery using Black/White/Red/Gray. Original and striking. All around, a complete package that is a proud representation of what hardcore can be. Thanks, boys. Glad to have you Back.
Posted by emptyhands at 9:17 AM
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I know this has been out for a spell, but i buy all this shit myself. I had not had the chance to hear Pressure, and "wow" am i impressed. Fast, tough, unpolished hardcore. Starts out on a low-tuned gallop, and the gutteral bellowing begins, like a sweet honey lubejob in my ear. The song speeds through the first minute, then a grooved riff breakdown - layered with some higher guitar notes and screams make for a pretty ill final 2/3 of the song. Song 2 comes in on that mid-tempo anticipatory lingering beat - It stays this tempo as the dude screams some more - definite side to side stomp for the angry HC kids. Good stuff to get amped up for the third song that which gets right back to the speed. Pressure blasts another gem. And then they end with a cover of "Evil" (hey, at least, it's not "Chaos") and they fucking nail it - true to the original and enough of a twist of their own. Fuckin good. This band kills. For fans of: COA, beefed Up KYI, Scraps and HeartAttacks; tough angle on some old school shit with a punk snarl.
Posted by emptyhands at 8:01 AM
Thick As Blood "Embrace" Eulogy Recordings
i like heavy, tough hardcore. Eulogy sure knows how to churn that out. TAB had a previous album, "Moment of Truth". I downloaded it (paid for...). It was ok - like when i am in the mood for tough stuff, i can throw it on. (as opposed to being in an ambivalent mood and a Terror or Skare Tactic or
Fast forward to "Embrace". I picked up the actual CD. God damn. These dudes stepped it up. Whatever that missing click was, they found it.
These songs are heavy as shit, midtempo-to-fast metalcore. LOTS of breakdowns. All growls for the vocals. No emo singing crap. I definitely want to spinkick and throw some fists to this. They definitely owe some big ups to Throwdown, but i like this better than what that Pantera, Jr has put out recently. Defnitely, these dudes fit in well with that Black My Heart and Blood Stands Still stuff. They are touring with Sworn Enemy; which they are akin too, but less thrash. This is more straight-up moshcore. "Decimator", "Raising Hell", and "Unbreakable" are stand out tracks. I mean, this does get redundant here and there. But, if you are looking within this genre, then this statment is relative to those parameters. We are not looking for Tool or Rush odysseys. TAB is extremely better than Bury Your Dead or any Victory nonsense. I mean, on their myspace you can subscribe to each individual member's twitter account. Dumb to me but it's what the kids want these days. So, if these guys get lumped in with all that stuff, please know that they stand above. While not the new Terror, these guys are above average. Again HEAVY, fierce, crushing hardcore. 7/10
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Make It Count "Leeway"
Holy Shit. I am a year late on this, and maybe i thought it was another generic youth crew thing, but uh, i missed the fuckin train. When i see GSR, i think that German metalcore shit (which i like); but, like, Born From Pain, Arkangel, Knuckledust, etc. But they've got some newer school shit - like
Anyway, Make It Count bring the best of all worlds: they channel some Madball, some Coalition, and some Champion; while still giving props to Insted and Chain of Strength. Also, they blend in contemporaries like Cast Aside music with Dragnet vox. Heavy, fast music with a slight melody/catchiness. The vocals are perfect, strained screams gracing every track.
These tracks are heavy, skipping through some brutal riffs; good time changes. Mostly fast with sweeping breakdowns. The tones of the guitars and the pep of the drums and the vocals culminate with an urgency that is impossible to ignore. I hope these Germans come stateside for some pile-ons and sing-alongs. This is above average hardcore. check it out.
Posted by emptyhands at 9:45 AM
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Not Now Not Ever 7" Defiant Hearts Records
Mostly this is "Hoods Up!" side-to-side mosh stuff; but that is a disservice to dismiss it that quickly. There are some tougher breakdowns and actual musicianship in these songs. I did have to check my record player to check the tone or pitch or speed - the dude's voice threw me for a sec. Expecting a HC growl, i got a higher pitch than expected. But its more Mark Shutdown than Mike Ski, so by the 2nd song, i was fine.
This 7" is a quick little romp by these kids from
Monday, March 30, 2009
"I piss on my generation, I piss on my fucking generation.
All I see are little MTV babies playing their little MTV game
That ain't the fuckin real world I was forced to live in
That ain't the real world at all!!"
- Blood for Blood, "Ain't Like You", Outlaw Anthems, 2002
I really can't take these fucking reality shows anymore. I could honestly say that I do not watch any - and I never have. Exclude the ones like No Reservations, Iron Chef, Most Evil... but maybe they count. But I am not talking about those types. Those are exploratory, curious, challenging and educational. I have been watching Iron Chef Japan since 2000. But, as I do now, I have always changed the channel before they announce the winner. I don't care about the announcement of the winner. In fact - and especially with ICA, I can barely sit through the pretentious spatterings of the arrogant judges *(except Bonecrusher…he was the man). I like to see how the meals are presented. And that show carries the air of friendly competition; for the sake of creating fun extravagant dishes that incite the audience's culinary yearnings.
Iron Chef brings out friendly competition, like a good sport. I see nothing wrong with that. It is healthy human nature. I can sit in the back yard and throw a ball or go to the park and shoot hoops for the fun of the game. That, however, does not however automatically make me give a toss about the MLB or NBA. And those are games I understand. But these fuckin reality shows are rash with petty sycophants and opportunistic leeches. There is nothing in them involving the growth of being pushed by a quality peer. These shows dangle a miniscule effigy of the proverbial carrot to extract and expose those ugliest, most savage aspects of these already hollow, disgusting creatures.
I would not want to watch these people decorate baby’s cribs in a cancer ward or give out food to the homeless in the midst of a bitter Minnesota snowstorm. I wouldn’t want to watch the 3 second flash of genuine generous intention they may get on there deathbed, never mind the lifetime (or 15 minutes we are privy to) of plotting and greed that exhale with every thought. I see a moment or two of these shows, and I am appalled. I wonder what kind of person could sit and tolerate the opening credits, never mind watch, absorb, discuss and actually enjoy this trash. Then, I hear people – people that I respect and like – talk about them.
"I tell you, man, i ain't no jiver - i never saw an episode of Survivor.
Is there any hope for me; in global, corporate society?"
- Smut Peddlers, "Playstation Generation", ISM
So, take that and look at top chef. Hey - established chefs, not world renowned to IC level, but respected in their field. These chefs are already established and proficient Executive Chefs, Sous-Chefs and Caterers. And as soon as you promise some fleeting moment of recognition in front of them, they are stabbing their santoku into the next chef’s back. I mean, at least, they get $100,000. Not that money can excuse these deplorable actions; but, that is a substantial amount that could be a down payment on a restaurant, which is difficult to produce. So, I understand that if can bloom competitive inclinations, but not the trite soap opera drama they spew.
However, most other reality shows are just highlighting people’s weaknesses. And the prizes are just airtime and an empty one-month relationship post-wrap. Like, what’s that Brett Micheals shit? Some over-the-hill rocker - who even in his prime was a horrible disgrace to rock and roll and metal – who now feels empty and lost, as he has never found true love. Awwww. So, some producers gather x amount of pole-dancing skanks to battle out to win his affection. I love that some of these women are in their 20’s. I am surprised that this douche is still relevant to people like me who can actually remember his putrid existence; never mind people born 15 years after his last album. And, of course, how do you get this germ farms to prove their ‘love’ to you? Well, via motorcross races and lingerie mud football, of course! Then, when he can’t decide, who won a single exercise, he dates three of them at once. The camera then intercuts shots of three vile beings slobbering over him; while the losers swim in rejection, wallowing off in a mansion. So, if this was the way to determine marriage material, I find it funny that once you whittled down these poets laureate to the finest single example of femininity and poise, that this prick needs to come back for three additional seasons. Three Seasons?!?! What a surprise? This scientific method somehow was flawed. Imagine.
While, I manage to evade most of this cultural pollution, some of this shit manages to pervade my protected ramparts. These shows, this culture of these shows, invade my attempt to watch television, my trip to the grocery store, my visit to the book store, and, of course, my attempts at vapid discourse with the humans in public. This ubiquitous trash is suffocating my hope for any intelligent triumph of our society.
"In this world of competition, the compassion is gone.
Yet, we ignore the needy and we keep pushing on."
- Bad Religion, "Punk Rock Song", The Gray Race, 1996
So, they take even a good thing – like Top Chef or even Survivor, they infect it. Survivor – because it was one of the first, I will hone in on here. They take a good concept of gather some city folk, mix them with strangers, and isolate them on an uninhabited island. Ok, here is a chance to promote trust, cooperation, teamwork, resourcefulness, intuition, discipline, and unity. But, of course, since hideous, selfish people want to “win” or be noticed on television – they absolutely rape the essence of it and conspire, connive, cheat, plot and gossip until this is an amalgamation of people’s worst traits. It then drives them to portray the most repulsive sides of our society.
There are also shows based on business (The Trump/Apprentice thing), music (Puffy one/Am Idol), dance (bunch), sports, etc. Something for each interest; beckoning all who profess an aptitude in said niche. While not something I would care to watch or participate in; still, as a foundation, yet another chance to produce something positive. All the aforementioned niches are industries usually rife with networking. So, if someone does not have a “my dad golfs with a guy who’s wife’s cousin is a…”, this can be an appropriate venue. And people want to waste their weeknight staying in the house melting their brain cells, cool. As I said, I like the Iron Chef. So I get it in a way.
However, this altruistic, benevolent pith revolving around healthy competition disintegrates instantly when handled by gluttonous producers and attention starved 15 minute seekers. These ‘contestants’ resort to the basest of instincts and egos to pursue menial goals and monetary prizes. I guess American Idol prizing a record deal is substantial, but otherwise they often fight for simple petty screen time. The abhorrent barrage of shows that have come to molest the airwaves after some found success is overwhelming. In the truest sense, it is overwhelming. There is too much. And I feel a breakdown coming on.
I could go on about the disgusting dregs that compose these terrible shows, but I am more concerned with the effects it has on our society (“won’t someone please think of the children?”). I will assume that people are aware of this mess – but I am taking about the ones on MTV (which I have never ‘seen’), VH1, and even, yes, Bravo. All the Kardashian/Paris/Girls Next Door/TopModel/Flavor/Rock of Love, etc. And then what really makes me vomit is that these no-talent vile creatures lose on one show, but happen to stir enough chaos, that they then get their own show. And the rejects of those shows get shows. Then, they create a show of select people from various shows to become one more contest of a show. The deluge of absolute shit landing on and fertilizing the minds of our youth is disturbing.
I fret fervently figuring the future being established from these spiritually caustic shows. I can see the priorities being instilled in our relatives as these shows’ lessons permeate in our friends’ and children’s brains. The sediment from these exhibitions of human desperation fermenting in our youths’ brains frightens the fuck out of me. I fear, too, that watching these shows – over and over – has to have an effect. I hear my peers ignorantly dismiss the viewings as ‘fun’. They think that the indulgent trips into the idiotbox that they can comeback unscathed. I disagree.
I think that the din of these people arguing and bragging and nagging and spouting their spite has to leave an imprint. Then, our children put these aspirations as personality traits. They will believe that attention, fashion, winning, destroying, fighting, and money are the most valuable aspects of life. They will adopt the notion of degrading yourself and putting yourself in harm’s way, and that lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving, conspiring are necessary actions to getting the fame and money needed to be important in life. These shows lead one to believe that getting heard or getting noticed is what counts in life. Basically, we will believe that the paramount destination of this existence is on the HDTV posted on our walls.
“Reality TV be reality for who?!??”
- Jean Grae on Wyclef Jean’s “Next Generation”
As opposed to our parents’ peers who watched soap operas to escape into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, this generation is watching “real” people. The first abomination of this concept is the setting. The generation watching these shows concocts unrealistic goals of where we should live; what kind of ‘crib’ we should be chillin in. size of These mansions, the towns, are plastered with nothing that resembles art – yet, cost millions of dollars. Gold framed mirrors hang in the bedroom to show us all the flaws that we project to the world. So then, we have to buy all these name brand facial creams and moisturizers. We have to pummel our flesh with the latest chemical concoction just to look 20. Because then at 30, we should be consulting the top plastic surgeon in our area. The bookshelves are littered with the latest fad diet book an US Weeklys. We have to rummage through our apartment of a closet to take out the newest clothes of exuberantly priced gaudy, over-decorated crap. I won’t even start on the fucking cars.
Again, to compare to the prior generation’s soap operas, at least those shows were ‘created’. And they understood as such. We watch these ridiculous abstractions of financial Faxanadus and imagine them as realistically attainable. We make ‘celebrities’ out of people that do not deserve to be known. We take these Frankensteins; adorned with garish jewelry and adored by no-esteem pathetic peons, and make them think that they actually matter. The cyclical masturbatory celebration of the newest reject of one of these shows, spawns a thousand wannabes. So, then they each jump up to get noticed. Ten of them do garnish an unwarranted 15 seconds on TV; and then, my friend’s kid mimics his asinine actions. And everyone is so entrenched in all of this raucous filth; that we think this behavior is standard. And no one bats an eye. No one pauses for a second thought. And no slap in the face could ameliorate this quagmire. We stomp through the laugh track in a zombie daze in this cultural void.
I could go on forever. And I would repeat myself on some ideas and elaborate on angles of this I only graze upon here. I guess my point is that harmless fun can be had. If you are staunch in your constitution, delve into whatever human stained episodes you like. But please be aware of what message it sends; to people that produced it (“MORE, Please!!!”) to kid next to you on the couch (“That was cool!”). Turn off your fucking TV. Tell them we want better. We demand better.
“Beauty is the god of our times and celebrity is our most noble virtue, the opiate that keeps the zombies blind and in line and hypnotized in worship of the pantheon of sex and shine. but now I've seen the light... It's time to light the fuse. Violence is better than the CULT OF SILENCE in which the open-eyed hide. into the abyss... I refuse to suck at the tit of distraction, and I refuse to worship the human face.”
- Ramallah. “Kill A Celebrity”, Kill A Celebrity, 2005
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Carpathian – “Isolation” – Deathwish, inc
I loved their first cd – a good (Indecision) Throwdown/Down My Throat authoritative sound, with spots of Madball and others of 100 Demons. These Aussies have stepped off that vibe and gone more 'contemporary'. What you’d expect from DW hardcore. Worshipping at the altar of the latest Blacklisted, also like Verse and MLIW. Strewn out. elongated generic Bane attempts. Medium Paced stomp, pizza making style to faster heavier parts. Dark. The sound is that ominous atmosphere - where the songs string together intense brutal riffs to slowed down, panting breaks; meant for you to absorb the sonic beating you just took. There are some moments of brilliant guitar work and "building" moments of songs, but they dissipate into the general anaesthetic of mediocrity too often. However, there are some nuanced tweaks that make this a better record, i think due to great production. It is a little repetitive - and those great riffs, just make me want more of that toughness and aggression. *I will say the lyrics are pretty fuckin great though. Straight and to the point. And as bitter as ESB. I wish these dudes continued on their original path, but if you like this style - this is a great example of it.
Posted by emptyhands at 1:58 PM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
VICTIMS "Killer" Deathwish, inc.
So, Deathwish, inc is releasing this. Good. They deserve it. This album is 'killer'. (Zing!) I am realizing too, that i omitted it in my "best of '08" list. There is one reason alone for that. I am a moron with no memory. Anyway - now this can be in both lists. I picked up this CD last year (about 11 months ago) when Victims and Coliseum came around together. Holy Shit. Incredible. I have loved Victims since their split with From Ashes Rise. I have loved their following two albums. So when i got a chance to see these Swedes absolutely crush and obliterate
Evacuate - (s/t) - TAANG! Records - 01/2009.
Ah, the dreaded "ex-Members of..." stamp. A blessing and a curse. i appreciate each group for what they are. In the wake of a new Sepultura Album just released, we are forced to examine what's in a name. So, when our beloved groups do don a new moniker, we must keep this in mind. Joe Coffee is not Sheer Terror 2. Sam Hain was not The Misfits. But, would i have even heard of Evacuate, if i was not looking for whatever Mike Virus was up to these days? Probably not so soon. So, boasting members of "The Virus, Cheap Sex, and The Lab Rats' - despite being a 'new' band, i think we can bet the deed to the house into which aural parameters this venture will squeeze.
Now, while The Virus was one my favorite punk bands (ever!), due to their 'heaviosity'. Cheap Sex carried that banner, too; but, somehow felt short of what i loved so much. I got the three Cheap Sex albums. I liked them. I loved certain standout songs.
So - here we go with Evacuate. Well, the inaguaral bass line from track 1 kicks off straight from a late '80s
LYRICS and CONTENT - i loved Mike Virus 2 previous bands so much because of there brash political lyrics. Evacuates layout of the album have newspaper clippings re: war and famine and social ills. But when going through the songs, there is no starkly overt political (like, Cheap Sex's "Dick Cheney") - these tunes are more social, than political. But the all are awesome and definitely address many problems that plague this world, and more so, this country. They address the mechination and digitization of this country. The difference between our ideals and the tangible world we are forced into, and how that differential silences our soul. But, as i claim the movement of this album closer to 'hardcore' than 'punk', there are songs that leave the political and have the standard themes; "One Sided Friend", "What Happened to Hardcore", "This is Our Night".
One specific song i would like to isolate, that approaches a specific issue is, "Bulemic Girl". It is unusual to hear a song address this. I would guess because we in the punk world would like to think that none of our ilk would have this issue; as they should not be guided by image and others' opinion. Also, punk and HC is extremely male-centric. So, this would not be something frequently thought of. It is definitely an issue - a disgusting reaction to a sad root problem; a physically destructive course of action stemming from a nadir of self-image. Something we in the punk community should care about and address. Big ups, guys.
Anyway - looking back at my review, it is all splitting hairs. This is a hardcore punk album. An incredible, fast, blistering riot that i have been enjoying since i bought it on its release date. Mike Virus' standard snar will always rile me up to fight against this sickening world that mainlines greed and impulse instead of attending to the needs of its main inhabitants. The music created here matches the idignant lyrics with aggression and ferocity. Buy it Blare it.
Posted by emptyhands at 2:53 PM
Labels: hardcore punk review
I read on “theworldwontlisten.wordpress.com: - Why I don’t think straight edge should (or does) have anything to do with human sexuality.
Here is my response:
I am not straight edge. Please do not dismiss my thoughts immediately. i am 31 and have been into hxc and punk since i was 13. The first bands i got into were bands like sheer terror, murphy's law, poison idea - bent on self-destruction; bad brains, soia, black flag - somewhere in between; and minor threat, SSD, and my favorite: slapshot. So believe me when i say, i was/still am exposed to all aspects and views of hardcore. i listen to it all. i have always had sxe friends. I actually - considering how much i drink - respect sxe IMMENS
That being said - to directly address your statements - i get what you are saying. You make valid points. But i believe there should be the 3 X's if you are going to fully embrace what sxe stands for. Yes, i completely agree with human sexually being positive and natural. I have never abstained from sex in my life (intentionally, anyway...) but i have never been promiscuous (well, almost never). Now, i do not think one should live their lives by the lyrics of a song. I think you stand your argument on people taking "Out of Step" as a paradigm. The point of punk/hc is that the bands are just kids like us that picked up instruments. there is no rock star barrier. there is nothing bigger or better about the band members on stage than the people in the audience. So, in the true vein of a punk ethos "no idols, no heroes, no gods"; i would say that we can not take a human's word as a doctrine. Inspiration and ideas? Absolutely. I drove to work listening to Kill Your Idols this a.m. – and it made me feel better to know someone was still screaming about “change” – and our ability to make an impact (-big ups to KYI and their entire catalogue!!!) Live your life by your own ideals.
That being said, Ian MacKaye is someone i respect greatly. i think that man is open, intelligent, self-reliant, and determined. He is a man of impeccable integrity. So let's resort to the Ian interview on "A.S.O.M.": he points to the "punks" he was watching as he grew into the scene. People rebelling against the jocks and that retarded mentality of drink, fuck, get high, and waste away. Not putting anything into this world. Just rotting away and becoming a sheep; a mindless, useless lemming. While the punks are supposed to be rebelling against this - they are sniffing glue, popping pills, drinking, shagging all around them, skipping school, and avoiding work. Not much better than our enemy.
So, Ian decided to take the crux of this culture (drink, drugs, sex) -which was basically the spine of the adult society, too - and "X" it out of his life (pun, intended). I am getting long winded, so let's "pick up the threat". Sex is a part of that world. The yuppies, jocks, whitehats, whatever - go out into their society and you are drenched in sex. That seems to be the point of life. You do not become a "man" until you "get laid". When "dudes" got to the bar - that's the whole point. Not hanging with your boys, but some chick you are trying to take home and fuck. The third “X” needs to block out this anchor, this distraction that weighs people down and disrupts their focus. And running around fucking random people is an unhealthy activity.
Emotionally, sex is detrimental and confusing and self-abusive. But, medically it can result in just as negative results as excessive drinking. So, i believe your elusive 3rd "X" stands for irresponsible, promiscuous sex. It keeps your eyes off the prize. Sex is wonderful, natural, and healthy. And i am not saying 2 people have to be in love - if the two (or more) know all the expectations of the act and afterwards - they can get down. Just as someone could enjoy 2 beers after work. Moderation. Fine. BUT, it is a slippery slope. Easy to get carried away and make excuses. So i think that is the point. if you truly want to be a rebel, you must rebel against these staples of society ("that are, like, so important to the rest of the world" and not find "much importance in" them.)
Ian notes that he "can't keep up" with the deluge of imagery and pressure to "get some", to get drunk, to get high, to buy the new camaro, to get a respectable job, to get married, to go to college, etc. I know kids who are 18 who call themselves "Straight Edge" cuz they don't drink. They know nothing of punk or hardcore, they simply do not drink. That's great that the do not participate in this saturation of drugs, booze, and sex, but they are not straight edge.
SXE is a division of hardcore. This is our movement, not some commercialized bandwagon. Otherwise, some fundamentalist christian from
* i would like it known that i homebrew and drink microbrews or small batch independent bourbon. I do not put money into large corporations. I believe a major issue with declining drinks and smokes is the money it gives to corporations. BYO = DIY