This piece nwas pretty cool. Called "The Voice as Weapon". I can't think of a better title. NPR is doing a series on "50 Voices". This is the initial one. What a way to kick it off – with the man.
This piece nwas pretty cool. Called "The Voice as Weapon". I can't think of a better title. NPR is doing a series on "50 Voices". This is the initial one. What a way to kick it off – with the man.
A sad day for the underdog today. Go read a book!!!
Howard Zinn and J.D. Salinger have passed. Some amazing minds have been lost. I am not one to mourn death and especially not at91 years old!
I admire Salinger for being a great writer and speaking on alienation amidst the perky, optimistic idealist of his time. Zinn wanted the real American to have a voice. Read some of their items to be a better person.
Best Hip Hop - Top Rap Albums of 2009
Just wanna say – the hip hop I love is "real". Defined as, at least based in real instrumentation if not real instruments. Real MCs. Real honest. Real stories. So here are my picks from a bomb ass year for hip hop.
Other 2009 cds. Remember I buy these CDs, nothing is given to me:
Skyzoo – "The Slavation" Fatbeats. I will get this. From what I have heard, this is really friggin good. His flow is somewhere between Vakill and Big L. Smart, in depth lyrics. Beats by mostly 9th Wonder, Just balze and Nottz – can't fail. Solid storytelling and dope rhyming skills puts this above the norm.
J-RO. Love tha Liks. Didn't hear all of it. I Imagine it's more about makin it than just kicking raps. Kinda all over the place. I love his flow, but usually balanced with Tash. This is good. A little too much Electro beats for my taste. His flow and lyrics are actually really good; just not a lot of deep or varied subject matter. Beats are not my thing – "XO exp" and "FireWater" and last 3 XZ's – not the early shit of each that was real instrument rap. This is present day West Coast. I like some, some I skip.
Sean Price "Kimbo Price"– like him as a HS member or as a cameo, but not sure I can do a whole album. Not the most inventive lyrics. Some strong beats, some strong verses; but kinda average to me. If you like Duck Down, you will like this.
Royce da 5'9" come and go – I like it when he just gets raw, but when he tries to make a 'hit' I am not feelin it.
Slaughterhouse ah, a superroup. I am the fence about this. I like Joell, ; and Royce and Crooked I – again when they do straight rap or political, the come firce. But when they try to make the 'single'; I press 'skip'. This is somewhere in between underground and the pop crap I ignore. I need to listen to the whole thing. In time.–
Rakim "The 7th Seal" Ra Records. Um, yeah………. I want to like this more than I actually do. I bought it when it came out and I have not really gone back. I waited a long time for this. Ra, the legend, the God – I grew up on it. He elevated above what anyone else was doing. The Master and The 18th Letter had strong songs – especially when back ed by Premeir. We all wanted the Aftermath album to happen and it did not. SO, here this is.– The hard dark beast with dark piano are awesome. A lot of the track get ruined by some dude singing over them. I just get irked. Lots of talk of "Gangsta" and "Hustle" and "The Penal" dumb it down (I thought that's why the Dre album didn't happen?) The lyrics – alone – they are vicious, The are still the complicated multi-syllabic verse we love. They are not quite as bullet speed as they were in '88. "Workin' for You" is a great beat and a nice flow. But generic words and that friggin singing detract. I mean, are these thug lyrics better than the thug crap in the top ten? Yes. Mos Def. But that is not why I buy Rakim. Some good shit here, but when I wait 7 years for a legend to drop, I want more. "Put It All to Music", "Walk These Streets", "Man Above", "Working for You", and "Dedicated" are stand out. This album is better than most, but I hold Rakim to a high standard and there is too much singing for a NY street rapper of the old school. All that said, me and my boys got too see Rakim like 2 weeks ago (to a very appreciative crowd of 50 white kids) and he ripped it. It was amazing and he spit so ferocious, proving why I hold that higher standard.
OC & AG "oasis" DITC. Ya know 'em, ya love'em. Some of the beats are a touch to chill. A little glitzy at times. But that's what DITC is. I don't care about the club and crys – focus on the streets and the mic – and they prosper. I do not know who E Blaze is, but he produced some tracks. But mostly it is Lord Finesse and Show, so you know they are phenomenal Like I said, some tracks are a touch too chjill. But two time hardened MCs come with their best output in years. If you already liked them, you will love this, if you are new to these cats, pick it up and feel what true hip-hop can be.
Ghostface Killah – eh, it damn sure ain't "Ironman". It ain't even "Fishscale". You want great GFK, get "…Linx pt II."
Mos Def, Jay-Z and Eminem all released albums. I never listened to them and could not care less.
Man. Being Nitpicky sure allows me to do a bunch of different stuff. So Here are ten albums that blew me away. Again, my venturing into the stoner/doom genre has really "expanded" my mind and tastes. Might be all that stevia i have been adding to my decaf tea. That's what Black Sabbath was talking about in "Sweet Leaf" right?
so here are 10 (other than Church of misery) albums that are best confined in the parameters of metals.
1. Coalesce: "OX" Relapse Records.
I don't know if people still use the term "math-metal" or "tech-metal"; damn, I hope not. maybe that meant hardcore kids that could actually play their instruments. And liked music other than Black Flag. But I remember 2000-ish, with Dillinger Escape Plan's first and All Else Failed and others. Again, not a musician, so some of that is lost on me. Later band like Every Time I Die. But obviously, ETID and DEP said, "Hey, we simplify this; call our selves 'rock'; put on make-up; be assholes; and make tons of money without acknowledging hardcore!". I think this is why Coalesce always stood out to me. Some midwest kids that still loved the DIY ethic and pushed what Black Flag ended ten years prior. I recall picking up "harvest of maturity" in 1996. and dubbing it to a Maxell so ii could walk to college with it on my SPORTS walkman (that of course is an ironic model for me to have. But they were stupid durable, which I needed. Not for the variety of vigorous, athletic activities, but because I am a klutz. And drunk a lot.) The following full lengths and 7's were a plethora of diversions. The Black Sabbath covers 7" with Today is the Day. The split 7" with Boy Sets Fire where they cover each other. The Zeppelin cover album ("Nothing New Under the Sun"). Their donation to the Initial Black Flag 7"s. The 002 ep is still a lo-fi, chaotic, raw quick 3 song alchemy of hardcore drumming with thick metal riffs. Incredible. They kept the ball rolling with awesome full lengths; "Give Them Rope" on Edison, "Functioning on Impatience" on Second Nature, and "Revolution is Just Listening" on Relapse. They're sound blueprint pretty much stayed the same, the music just got better. They had song titles that continued to flip the bird to the music community and business. (Favorites: "On Being a Bastard" , "Sometimes Selling Out is Waking Up", "Burn Everything that Bears our Name" ) They're touring schedule an marginal success formulated many band tensions which they were not shy about discussing. SO, they called it quits.
in 2009 - after reunion shows and some crazy encapsulating package of dvd's - the released a full-length: "OX" (and later "OXep"). And this thing has the presence of an ox. Strong, rough, and not going anywhere it does not want to. Still got the Black Flag and Black Sabbath in there, but upped the Zep a touch. This album fits in with their discography. Better production; but, not smoothed out, not restrained. Little cleaner guitar but it feels natural in the maturation. The time changes and jazz-type beat are still the same. And the vocals are indistinguishable from previous releases. Which considering the scraping vocals of Sean Ingram, I mean that as an utmost compliment. There are some filtered vocals of 'singing' - but in a doom metal groove way that is seemless in its delivery. They put it out on Relapse who did a brilliant job with production and packaging. The CD and LP are impressive. There are a couple of instrumentals, pianos and acoustic guitars and synths and guitar pedal effects - i.e., not hardcore - but metal, I guess. They all bring the entire album together via this common thread of emotion and ambience the prevails over each song. I don't want to dissuade the heavy music fan. This album is heavy. it is intense. it is brash and disgusting; but level with 50 second beauty that allows a breath in an album that introspects musically. The pictures of the thick inlay of natuarl seasonal landscapes with patterns cut from them seem to echo this album's manifesto wonderfully. And they give a nod to the inspiration "traditional field holler" . You might have guessed an eclectic mix in their listening habits, but that on caught me off guard.
All in All, this is a heavy, heavy album with the unique signature of Coalesce as if they never had stopped. The production is polished but heartfelt and not contradictory to these guys' intent. A mix of metal, jazz, blues, and hardcore is a stellar gift for the listener. Hope there is More.
2. Municipal Waste: "Massive Aggression" Earache Records.
Tight, fast, heavy. Hardcore roots, with a metal trunk and thrash branches, bearing fruit of Awesome. Don't fuck with the formula. Well, they tweaked it. They have purposely extracted 'party' references. No songs about intoxication anymore. I am a huge fan of the Waste. I think people took them seriously because they play with serious talent. So, I do not see the impetus for omitting the party lyrics, But let's talk about what is there, not what is missing. Dave Witte's, a metal-core veteran, drumming demands tightly packed bricks of respect by the pound. It is machine-gun fast. This is the impenetrable skeleton that stabilizes the Waste's fierce sound. From the cover art to guitar wails to the subject matter, this album is the thrash worship we all have grown to love. Contemporaries like Warbringer and Toxic Holocaust don't come close in my eyes to the metal sound these dudes are forging. These guys take (good) Suicidal, Testament, Exodus, DRI, Anthrax, and other bands from the late eighties, thanking them, and surpassing them. "Massive Aggression" does step up in the metal arena. "Wolves of Chernobyl" & "Divine Blasphemer" have 10 second solos, but the production puts a NWOBHM grandiose application to them. "Relentless Threat" opens with them same leaning. So, there are some new layers to tapestry of Horror movie – metal marriage. The fact that this line up has been together and toured and wrote has made Ryan, Phil, Tony and Dave into a flawless, rabid Devastator; in constant sync and destroying all in its path. This album has a takes the "I Am the Law" stomp riff and runs gloriously with it. People will definitely hail this as their most proficient album. Songs like "Wrong Answer" (check the video), "Mech Cannibal", "Wrath of the Severed Head" and "Upside down Church" stand out.
3. Lamb of God: "Wrath" Sony Records
A friend, Learn, told me about burn the priest a long time ago. I did not care, not a big metal guy. then, my friend from RVA, Matt, told me about Lamb of God getting big. don't care. Sounds cheesy. Then, with a slew of teenage, pimply, x-box addicts - I heard "As the Palaces Burn". I was late to the game it was my fault. I had been notified. That album still gets me tantalized wit what this genre can be. I went back and grabbed "New American Gospel". Loved it. But as the years passed, with "Sacrament", Ashes...", I never even bothered to pick those up. As quickly as the love affair grew, it dissipated. Ah, well. Then out of nowhere in 2009, my boy b-rizzy said - you got to check out "Wrath". "eh," I thought. Well - what they are doing these days, blew me away. This album is tough-riffs, sonic speed dumbing, some southern dirge grooves, and epic vocals. Randy Blythe preaches on this bitch. The drums are produced more matter of fact. The presence of the double bass is there, the snare is a little tinny; but it's not that huge sound that metal bands fall victim; a la Rush-wanna-bes. (I appreciate if you're a good drummer, but this music is about emotion not technical proficiency. Like in all art - you should add nuances or elements that add to the final product; not just cuz you can do them. Like a photoshop filter.)
"In Your Words" is a old school LOG beginning, kicking ass in a stadium deserving presentation. It is possessing and empowering. "Set to fall" is the epitome of all the factors I praised coming together in a bigger than life song. "Contractor" is just crushing - fast and monumental. Metal fans will revel in its bullet projection through the first 2/3 and the last 1/3 being the crucial breakdown before returning to a double bass riff ensemble that is deafening. "Fake Messiah" and "Grace" have that VOD/Sepultura feel (which rule). I can't even keep up. The songs step back up a touch; building the anticipation and tension. They are a little held back but I think it helps. "Broken Hands" returns the bigger, heavier riffs. Chorus of gang vox and guitar leads are a good touch, adding a dynamic that walks us into the breakdown that captures the dead's attention. The last songs continue in this skilled redefining of metal, in the vein of (good) Pantera and Sepultura and Napalm Death. "Choke Sermon" stands out to me. They screams and guttural growls echo the time changes of the nasty drumming and riff structure of these songs. "Wrath" is a testament to bands being able to reinvent themselves when they do not just let a winning formula lay stagnant. Welcome Back, guys.
4. Graves of Valor: "Salarian Gate" Relapse Records
Definitely my most metal of picks. But whatever reason may cause it, this is my favorite of 'metal' stuff I try and pass on. The double bass bubbles while unleashing a mid-tempo snare/tom trade off; laced over those drums are slow, sludgy riding riffs of down tuned heavy bas and guitars. The vocals are filtered and growled (Blythe style) and extremely palatable. These guys do not shy from solos. The artwork and subject matter and general imagery are of things I do not really care about – and a younger me would have dismissed this band for it. But this album is undeniable in it immense triumph over my ears and hearts. There is Napalm Death, Lamb of God, Brutal Truth, Deicide, and even some off time math metal bands in this music. It is blended so well and create an innovative form of metal that makes it accessible to a hesitant listener like me. I am not sure what discerns 'death metal' – like Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, and whatever Florida guys you wanna think of – as opposed to just 'metal. But let me say this, Graves of Valor is heavy upon heavy – and performed by talented dudes that trigger a nod of respect and worship from laymen like me. For blastbeat grind love copulating with the bloody corpse of a heavy goliath riff maiden escaping to a perverse haven, try "Bridles of Invictus", "Sic Semper Tyrannis", "Suffocation of the Last King", To Breathe Blood", and "The Clever Ape".
5. Kylesa "Static Tensions" Prosthetic
While definitely lumped in with Baroness, Torche and other bands of that doom ilk – and fans of that stuff will appreciate Kylesa – I usually put this stuff alongside From Ashes Rise, Tragedy, HHIG. The Savannah natives are not as cleanly produced as some as the metal contemporaries and I think it adds to their sound. This is a metal band that likes its d-beat crusty, noise bands. I think Kylesa melds all these influences together into a final birthing of original music. I have never gotten to see them live, despite being an avid fan since "To Walk A Middle Course". I hear they add 2nd drummers and I am sure that is brutal. This album seems to have more of a rock feel – but those moments actually make me want to hardcore dance *(check "Insomnia for Months" for what I mean; the breakdown of "Running Red"). I think the rhythms are recalling some Black Flag, Necros and Die Kreuzen. The double vocals help; I like the female and male balancing act. The production is MC5 to Melvins to Metallica. This music is faster than their stoner metal peers but dingier than their hardcore peers. And I love the mix. This album is catchy. The groove drenched riffs help push the listener through the entire album, never still. Slightly longer songs on this outing – but is consistent with the two previous lps – nothing crazy new but showing growth. There is an atmosphere that is salient through each track. Some quieter moments but they erupt to please all fans. If you want punkier doom or rock like Clutch and Red Fang (But darker!) or if you crave fantastic heavy tunes – rock this. This album is so fuckin good.
6. Baroness "Blue" Relapse Records
This entry is as surprising as Converge or "Reign of Blood" in the all time metal album lists. But Baroness has earned their spot I the current metalscape. Savannah GA really tempers their metal bands with south sludge and rock and actual musicianship erupting into non-traditional instrumentations. Clean production, lapsing with a twinge of feedback, rides through this album that embraces its rock side as much as it's metal. Then, "Horse…" has a sing along like Avail or Against ME!. This is not as heavy as I thought it would be. But somewhere fans of Mastadon, Converge, Isis, Southern Lord, Sabbath, space, hallucinogens, Coheed, and fog machines will dig this.
7. Black Cobra "Chronomega" Southern Lord Records
Yes. If you know Southern Lord, you pretty much know what to expect: one of two sounds. Well, this is the less ethereal spaced out, meticulous instrumentation or pondering noise wave; this is the tsunami of balls out rock. This is Sabbath reinventing the Heavy Metal. Admantium durability and low tuned Marshalls pummeling your brain. Your internal organs shimmy as the slow bang of dirty ass metal claims this land for its own; akin to a violent ghost rape from Thor. Your ass has been claimed in the name of Black Cobra. This album presence that should deemed with an additive of "mega". Deserving of its title. No real tangential exploration of your soul or outer limit instrumentation; just heavy metal. The production is big and slightly muddied; again, perfectly place in the sound these guys want. The vocals are hidden behind the music somewhat, a good growl, but not Death Metal or anything. The drums overpower the song, feeling omnipresent; completely surrounding you instead of just a single layer. This is a solid album that I thoroughly enjoy from the first to last note – not grabbing w hole lot of different influences: just kicking ass at their doom metal sound.
8. Pelican "What We All Come to Need" Southern Lord Records.
I slept on this band for a while. I thought I knew what they were about. I figured they were a musicians' band: artsy and instrumental. "Somewhere between beauty and decay" I imagined the band's sound as being described. Like a Don Caballero or "Argument" era Fugazi. Or a thousand other bands I never got into. *(Which now I even like Don Cab, although I have not accepted Argument yet…). And I was kind of right. Big, epic songs, but heavier than I imagined. And yes, excellent musicians they are. Three of these dudes make up Tusk. Their first outings were on Hydra Head. This Album keeps each of its eight songs under 8 minutes. Prior, Pelican will do 11/12 minute song. But only one song is 4:15, two in the 5s, one at 6:48; and the remaining four are all in the 7 minute range. This is a truly intense album, often building toward climactic moments the rest to build yet again. If that experience sounds familiar; yes, being high makes this music incredible. However, the handicap of sobriety does not reduce the emotional enhancement one can gain from listening to Pelican. They find grooves, they lead on expansive journey. They know how to play tech/indie/stoner/doom amalgamation. There is a huge Isis parallel here. These 8 instrumentals are a growth from earlier releases. I think Pelican has found a positive rejuvenation in Southern Lord's bosom. "Ephemeral" "The Creeper" and "An Inch Above Sand" stand out to me for their groove and deeper, more aggressive riff structure.
9. Napalm Death "Time Waits for No Slave" Century Media Records
I think there is some lashing from die hard metal heads that they have changed their sound. Well, being a band for 27 years and not actually having an original member in it will do that. Some complain of more hardcore influence and longer songs (these dudes hold (held?) the GBOWR for shortest song) But I have personally have cherished the last three albums. I am a hardcore kid at my rebellious pith. And this is no doubt a metal album. I will listen to metal, but give me some groove, some hook and breakdown in the music. And don't tell me just about wizards, elves and Satan. Napalm Death present "Time Waits for No Slave" in a n urgent barrage of molten sensory obliteration. "Strong-arm" opens the album with an ill mid-song breakdown. "Diktat", track two comes in with chants of "Irresponsible", smooth thrash breakdown and cool time changes. "On the Brink of Extinction" has its main riff that has Hatebreed sucking ND dick. "Fallacy Dominion" is a Madball/SOIA riff, but gets some atmospheric help here and there fucking me all up. "Feeling Redundant" is a hardcore song in disguise. But "Life and Limb" is straight metal. This shit is genius. This entire album is well produced, fresh, invigorating and captivating. For the metal heads: this isn't Priest, Darkthrone, Cattle Decapitation or whatever. However, it is a powerful metal album with death growls and high pitched shrieks, blast beats, fast speed riffs and a bunch of noise with socio-political lyrics that seem to stand alone in this recent wave of metal's embrace of the fantastic and other worldly. I got problems here on earth. I have a system to fight today. I need my music to reflect that. I remember seeing Sheer Terror opening for Napalm Death at Babyhead. (ahhh, the MCA days) I was befuddled then, still kind of am. But I remember Paul B on stage saying how the Napalm Death dudes were cooler than most hardcore guys and that were having a blast on the tour. It took me ten more years to get it, but I am loving the last albums and I hope ND keeps topping the previous.
Brutal Truth "Evolution through Revolution" Relapse Records – Danny Lilker and his grindcore crew re-emerge 12 years later with a brilliant addition to their repertoire. Spastic vocals and blast beats and shredding riffs come quickly and ferocious.
Isis "Waving Radiant" Ipecac Records. They moved to LA. They Lightened their music and got more 'ambient'. But these dudes still make amazing music. And still resist major label temptations.
Bloodhorse "Horizonor" Translation Loss Records. Heavy doom with singing and quite a stoner group. These dudes concretely do there music better than others that get higher recognition.
Torche put out an ep or split that I have never heard. But if it continues on where "Meanderthal" left off…. I will be pleased.
i just listened to NPR: On Point, and they had Jarod Lanier on, discussing his new book: "You are Not a Gadget". He invented the term "Virtual Reality. It seems he is no warning against the loss of the individual in this society's abysmal integration of the "New Media" I have been in my Media Theory class in my Master's Program (Unemployment does funny things to a man...) ranting in solitary defiance on the same subject. I love technology, i love gadgets, i love the Internet. But there is a danger to it. I wrote a paper on this....a long paper. I used the films of David Cronenberg to illustrate a harbinger presented to us 25 years ago. Anyway, my frustration ran into nothing but confrontation in a class of gladly homogenized people. It made me sad. The technology is not detrimental or damning - it is the initiative of the individual; or lack there of that the conditions the power of the technology and its direction. I own a microwave. i probably use it a total of 5 minutes. but it is helpful. But if someone only uses a microwave - they only know how to heat. Only the motivated individual seeks out how to cook - to learn about food and its science, history, seasonal attributes, pairings, etc. If you are younger and you have always had Microsoft Word with Spellcheck and you never have used q book Dictionary, you do not learn. You select "all", hit "spelling" and it fixes the misspelled swords. You never learn meanings or etymology or even basic patterns and phonetic rules. And that saddens me. I think the "purpose of life" is to absorb as much varied things as possible, as many cultures as possible. And when you just hit a button to make some thing correct, you are not learning the culture of your endeavor; whether food or words, sex or music, art or writing, social interaction or even investing.
Lanier was good - with a great slant to the lost identity of the musician in this environment. I also suggest anything by Douglas Rushkoff, Thomas Frank and othe The Baffler essayists. And look back to Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Walter Ong, and Arjun Appadurai. These are all ground level, 101 type social critics - but i am very new to this "Hey we have enough leisure time to think about this stuff instead of going to two jobs each day". It has been awhile since i can intellectualize something like Twitter and its impact on society. Please take a look at my paper - it is not dry. i write as i speak and alot of music and movie quotes make it in there.
the reason i threw in this nitpicky different category - (i can't split hairs, i shave my head) is because these are for lack of a better term, "metal" albums. The difference in this category is that it's played by hardcore dudes in heart and in lifestyle. They just happen to choose different song structures. so be it. these albums kicked my ass this year. and in a different year - any one of these could have been number 1.
1. Converge "Axe to Fall" Epitaph Records. i need a disclaimer with this one. First of all, this seems like shooting fish in the barrel. It seems token and effortless. But this is not so. I am not a Converge fan. I remember the old days when these dudes came out. I remember getting the 12" of "Halo in a Haystack". I remember getting "Petitioning...". It never clicked. Just sounded like noise and i hated his voice. Again, i am not a musician - so all their technical brilliance was lost on me like the delicate balance of chevre to a McDonald's patron. I wanted Slaphot, Anti-Heros, SOIA or Minor Threat. So, when Jane Doe came out in 2000, i bought it. The reviews of a "genre-defining" album came in a barrage. I was working 2 blocks from Copley and the buzz in town was deafening. So i went in open ears and did not get it. Let's see, 200 - i liked Not Waving But Drowning, The Swarm, Coalesce, and similar beand noted as 'noise'. But, it just didn't ring as listenable to me. Then, the "You Fail Me" and "No Heroes" came and went i was tempted, but i never dug it. It was just noise. Unlistenable, meddled feedback hailed as genius. the "10/10"s, "classic"s and "masterpiece"s were flung in a cavalcade like drops of water in flood. (God, the fucking pressure these dudes must feel when they sit to write their next album!)
Anyway. "Axe to Fall". I don't think they changed the formula, but these dudes won me over; like a sip of Tremont Ale to someone bored with Bass *(you finally find a truer, fuller, complicated representation). Holy Shit. This is it. I am writing this without revisiting previous albums. But, i believe his voice is less shrieking than before. (read: not as high-pitched) Right away on the opening "Dark Horse", the drums and bass race in and a climaxing slew of lead notes push the listener's head to 'bang' as the kids say. They execute a brilliant beginning with double bass hits and heavy riffs with a stenographer's accuracy. The breakdown, monstrous! "No One's Alive" is screamed over steady waves of distortion that would get '95 Windbreaker kids to start throwing fists. "RWYS" pretty much rages in at a scalding speed and continues the pace. It pushes and the tension builds from the guitars keep adding to the impending climax. Instead of a breakdown we get a clear NWOBHM riff and lead. The next rack, Title track flows with a constipated churning - similar to Coalesce, but tempered slightly. This is controlled chaos. "Effigy" carries on in the same fast frenzy that manages to remain fresh. "Worms Will Feed" is plopped in the middle with that elongated beat after 2 minutes of feedback. I am sure it is some existential moment in the metalcore kid's jaunt. For me it is a wekcoime breath with crushing energy. Ater my well-deserved breather, feedback comes in - sounding just like Sheer Terror's "JCHE". a slow couple of notes linger, begging you come back in as the drumroll is mixed in; rising, calling you. Then the chaos again. Some gang chants and another metalk lead round out this adventure. They mix it up over the next couple; slower and faster romps. All A+ material. The stand out track to me is "Cutter". I don't even know what distinguishes this one from the other, on paper it is the same formula. But the vicious intensity and spewing ire and perfect riffing, laced with "No Way Out" at the end....magnifique! Perfect. We get one more metal core tune (a little rock; sung, filtered vox like a Nora/ETID, then the bass breaks down with an off-beat drum pattern, a la Coalesce) before the last two tracks; the first of which is mostly piano, acoustic guitar, and singing...or Tom Waits spoken word. Then it implodes on itself as condemned building in Fall River, just a shell. The loud swooning riff with precise lead wails. Devastating. It ends with "Wretched World" a 7:11 song that i have read has many musicians contributing different pieces as they all 'converge' into the final song; that is that the producer recorded many people playing different pieces and had them 'coalesce' into this tragic tapestry.
There is a huge list of guest Musicians; some make sense, some surprise. Wikipedia has a good breakdown of them. Well, all this was worth it. This album is amazing and brilliant and all the other repeated, undeserving adjectives. These dudes have worked very hard for years and i am converted. Going out to get "No Heroes" now.
2. Merauder: "God is I" Regain Records. Dude. Call it metalcore; call it metal; call it tough guy. whatever. This album is amazing. this album is heavy. this album is the best Merauder album. (Yeah, i said it. What?) i miss SOB and it is no disrespect, but i think this is Merauder's best since "Master Killer"; if not there best ever. That is a small album you can agree with or not. I love "Five Deadly Venoms" and this is clearly a better album. Again, heavy. I got to see Merauder after their Haunted tour, but before this album was released in Revere with my boys Cheech opening. I got hang with the Merauder dudes and they were all chill and pumped on the new shit. Relaxed before the show - and tight as virgin snatch when they played. (Big ups to my man Monsta! Nice to see on a kit, bro.)
Anyway, "God is I". Right away this album beats you. Unrelenting power in the first tune. "On Ratcatcher", go to 1:45 into it - evil beatdown riff. so sick. they the double-bass comes driving in and rides the rhythm untill we get back to the callous riffing breakdown. We get a metal lead and in the end, we get a a breakdown of epic proportions and Jorge singing "RAT! Caught in my trap. Your fuckin' neck, i'm about to snap!". Track 3 comes in faster and moving me to pull out the old school dance moves. I won't go track by track but let me sum it up. This album is punishing, heavy, gripping and focused. It is is what brings a heavy, metalcore band to upper echelon of the hardcore realm. This album pushes Merauder past what they have ever done, but does not try to do more than they should. There are subtleties and nuances and blatant song writing techniques that propel this album to my number two. It earns a spot in the best five metalcore album of the last five years. Jorge has hit 40 (i think) and is dad - and his enmity fueled growls are fiercer and tighter and better than ever. Again, the production of this beast elevates it to a level they only teased before. The bass and guitars are ridiculous in their output and synchronicity. They bandy between fast and mid-tempo so that neither seems redundant; each song distinguishing itself amongst the flock and captivating the listeners. All that said: peep "Forgotten Children", "Gangsta" "Ratcatcher" "Never Surrender", the nasty-ass breakdown of "Hell Captive". And props for the Spanish "Ahora". nice. This album kills. Each song has its own personality, instead of this dudes resting on their laurels and just creating heavy riffs and resigning to the banality the placates so many metalcore bands.
3. Rise and Fall: "Our Circle is Vicious" Deathwish Inc. Woah. I hope you were lucky enough to cath these Belgians on their US tour when this album hit. If not, i hope you have been rocking this treasure since it came out. I loved "Into Oblivion" with its Integrity/Ringworm worship. I loved "Clawing" with its slight growth. But this blows those two out of the Atlantic. This album really shows R&F coming into their own. Their is still an Integrity influence, but that have clarified their own sound. There are some slower songs (a la Verse) - but these guys avoid the deathwish curse; converting their sound to a generic, cookie cutter thing (a la Carpathian). While i guess you could put them in a Blacklisted/Verse camp - the break those molds quickly. The two middle songs at 4:22 and 5 minutes come closest. They are slower, more drawn out. Tracks 8 and 10 follow this paradigm, but each sway in its own glory. But they have just as much power. However, the crown jewels are when these dudes get down, fast and festering animosity. There are almost some doom influences in racks 6 and 7. "present Tense" and "Built on Graves" are tsandouts, fast and abusive to the body. The best song, to me, is clearly "A Long Way Down". This behemoth grabs a hold and never relinquishes its angered grip. The drums and guitars work in tandem to froth a seething breakdown riff the makes me weep. "Our Circle is Vicious" is a strong show of Progress for RIse and Fall.
4. Earth Crisis: "To The Death" Century Media Records. I reviewed this upon its release. FOr a song by song detailed account, peep that. In short - this was a solid release and a welcome return. The lyrics were uncompromising, enraged and specific to the problems that plague our society - not just generic chants. The music - after 6 months is a touch stale. But heavy as hell. Again, not reinventing the wheel, but reinvigorating the same four dudes that began this genre. These guys write music that dominate. And this Album is testimony to it. I would say that it is their best since "DTM". so if you like "BTK" and "GSE", prepare to love this. Not over produced or trying to be anything it is not. Just a great metal hardcore album by real guys who mean what they say.
5. Your Demise: "Ignorance never Dies" Earache Records. SXE Moshcore, and on Earache!?!? These Brits bury any of their American contemporaries. Now, i don't listen to any of that moshcore stuff, that Victory/Rise/etc stuff. The closest i come is once in awhile, putting on Black My Heart. YD kills that shit, moving beyond the one trick pony breakdown stuff. This is a blend of xTYRANTx, Until the End, Trial, SOIA, and some youth crew shit. They got that euro sound but add some variety (Down My Throat, Make It Count, Knuckledust). These dudes got chord progression (i think); tuning changes; immense amount of time changes; breakdowns; that jangly bass filter; some melodies and intense stomping. The vocals never move beyond the growl (thank god, no singing!). This has enough bursts into to straight ahead hardcore mixed with pummeling beatdown mosh parts. Every song is golden and as ferocious as another *(except the two dub-electro-dance breaks....odd). Cop this shit.
Phew. 2009 definitely saw some solid Hardcore releases, tickling my fancy more than a rusty trombone. Although we never saw Most Precious Blood drop that shit that they were supposed to, the hardcore community were droppin gems like a nervous jewelry thief. 2008 may have seen mo' bigger names put out stuff, but the welter weights are pushing boundaries this year. I think these ten run the spectrum and give us a great perspective of where hahdcore is at! Word.
3. Wasted Time: "Futility" Grave Mistake Records. Oh, yeah. This band caught my name a couple of years ago. Why, you ask? A. Name references Last Rights song B. They are on Grave Mistake, a FLAWLESS label C. they're an RVA band. So, I bought their two 7's upon release. Loved them. About 3 months ago, I was in Armageddon Shop (Providence plug!) and slightly disappointed in my meager haul, I checked a bin one last time. Wasted Time! A Wasted Time FULL Length! A Wasted Time FULL Length of NEW material! Okay, so I am happy. But, will you be? Oh yeah. The album cover captures these songs with precision; dark, lonely, angry, seething, critical. This is hardcore punk. Vicious, pissed, strong, sweaty hardcore. Think YDI, Poison Idea, AF, Negative FX, Negative Approach. This release is their strongest yet. Quick, fast blasts of east coast hardcore. Like it was meant to be; caustic rants stripped to elemental emotions in a world that forces us into our base instincts. Perfectly recorded – clean, but not polished; solid, loud. Oh my god. I am lazy – but this makes me want to dance. Intense heavy hardcore; contemporaries of Death in Custody, Punch in the Face, Kill Your Idols. This is a perfect album for a great surge of fury.
4. Paint It Black "Amnesia/Surrender" Bridge Nine Records/FatWreckChords "Like the violence of a cigarette…" That Dan Yemin sure can nail profundity. Simple can still be deadly. It can be subtle. It can tear your fucking lungs apart. Note that simple ep covers: black, white and grey; of simple occurrences. Yet, they unleash impact. This is Paint it Black personified, intentionally going back to simpler songs, simpler format, and simpler notions. This is PIB going back to old hardcore, in format, attitude, design, song structure, and length. And it pays off huge. I love these songs. Fast, brutal, powerful and sensible. Blunt, abrasive slams against this backwards society are the pith of these records. Rightfully, so; and expertly delivered. I am a fan of PIB; all three LPs; yea, even the wandering tangential ones. But I have always preferred when they get curt in their music. So, short (pun intended) of the last song on "Amnesia"; these are all blistering fast songs with breakdowns. Punk in spirit and execution; but flirting with melody, moments of 'catchy' while tempered with bloody throat vocals. In one instance, we get the Black Flag- type churning desperation of "Worms". Then, a 15 second Nerve Agent-like intro follows, only to burst through a 30 second canon of dissention. The final riffs of "Surrender" (song and ep) charge forward, before it slightly disconnects as Dan yells, "No more giving in…no more nostalgia for who I was when I was young…. No more violence of my tongue" Then the music completely deconstructs itself. It ain't Fugazi. It's still hardcore. It is ferocious. It is a matured HC statesman of our scene, reverting back to the intense passion that drew him into this punk thing. I have seen a recent picture of Dan Yemin that gets reused a bit. It is Dan in front of shelves of albums in a Minor Threat shirt. I can't think of anything more appropriate.
5. Death Before Dishonor "Better Ways to Die" Bridge Nine Records. Ahhhh, The current kings of Hardcore did not keep us waiting. This album is fucking awesome. It is a touch different than the prior, "Count Me in". There are some subtle and some obvious changes. But, this album rules. Stark images lace the cover art and the lyrics within. Street tales of vengeance and pain come together in Brain's intense, venomous delivery; waiting for you to jump up and sing along. The drums are a fiery force, pushing each song faster. The good guitar bounce and chug, keep each tune fresh. I mean, these guys can write the perfect hardcore song for three albums deep now. (Their first was a different animal, face it) But this beast crushes ass. Songs of urban decay, junkies, cops, fights. Struggles, loss, resentment, and hate. These guys then take those lyrics and place them over fast, hard riffs; with crazy breakdowns and plenty of gang vocal sing-alongs. It really is the essence of Hardcore. Side to side dance, picking up change, headwalks, and pile-ons! It is hard to sit and type just listening alone in my apt. Now, why 'different' from "CMI"? In the grand scheme of things, just slightly. But with the tight parameters of HC… Faster altogether. The production does seem as 'thick'; I am not a musician. Touch more guitar wanderings (not 'leads', per se, but tangents). A couple songs take they sing along a step further; not catchy or melodic, but something. Check song 2 – "Remember"; something there. It's awesome, just a step aside. The atmosphere helps in a song named "Remember". Number 10, "Bloodlust" does this, too. Stand out songs – "Boys In Blue" by far! Best music and its about cops! Title track is ridiculous. So good. "So Far from Home" is a great mosh song about touring. I love the opener, "Can I get alittle peace and quiet?!?!" cuz I feel like that from the inane, crippling noise of this useless world. They burrow in and nix any hope of escape. Great Negative songs "Coffin Nail", "Black Cloud" make seeing these live a perfect venue for venting the sick nonsense we have to endure in this life. (Hope You Got The 7" with The Bruisers' cover, sucka!)
6. 25 ta Life: "Strength Integrity Brotherhood" Back ta Basics Records. Yeah. I'm doin it. ("…but not cause of that reason you said!") Puttin' it on the list. You can go back and read my review of this when it came out, if you really care. But strip the spoken word lyrics of the last song – this a massive release. This is clearly the best song writing this band has had; refined and honed and chiseled and well-practiced. There were some good songs on the last couple of CDs; but this is a band that has really produced an amazing hardcore record here. And their trials have birthed it, I am sure. Whatever you think about Rick or whatever drama is being stirred; straight up: this is a bomb album. Less metal weird shit and sloppy execution. This is heavy hardcore album; with great punk influences. Catch the fury and bounce of "Stay Up", "Insults & Misery", "We're All Guilty". The heavy chugs of the 4 minute others; the two punk covers. I Love It. Check the HC riffs on "Crazy BNI"; then, it unleashes a brutal friggin' beatdown. Awesome. Go Back read my initial review. *And note the clarity of RTL voice and not that attempt to 'sing' or the sludgy, indiscernible "bleeeeechs"!
7. Bulldog Courage: "From Heartache to Hatred" & "Broken Heroes of the World's Demise" Thorp Records/Seasick Records. This was a great surprise. Been a fan of these dudes for awhile. They come to Boston frequently and seen them up in Albany. Then one day, months ago – it was announced that they were signed to Thorp Records. I got the digital release from eMusic around then; but the actual CD has been delayed again and again. Finally, now I see you can buy it at http://thorprecords.merchnow.com – anyway, looking at these guys; I assumed that they would be a typical tough guy band. But no sir-ree, bob. BDC fuses an amazing blend of ounk into their caustic hardcore. Heavy, but catchy. This is a stellar combination of Oi! And hardcore. These guys blend together 3 of my favorite things: hate, pain, and whiskey. These are songs about drinking, friends, loss, cops and the city streets. This material is a representation of the best parts of Death Threat, Blood for Blood, Wisdom in Chains, Cock Sparrer, Oppressed, 4 Skins. And on the end of FHTH – check the Black Flag cover. Yeah, son. These songs are fast, danceable, and tough; sing-a-longs and gang chants. Check the start of "The Pledge" – a sick bouncing roll of drums under abrupt riffs tuned down. It's hard to type and throw fists at the same time. Other huge highlights are "American Stormtrooper" and "Blood and Whiskey" and the best song in my eye, or, er…, ear: "Our Neighborhood". All these songs are solid and punishing anthems of real, lower class hardcore punk with afury from this fucked-up world. And I thank them for providing a bad-ass soundtrack to which I can curse the system. Check the supplemental 7' with three songs and a surprising cover – comes with digital download. Buy a shirt. Support these guys. This is Hardcore.
8. This is Hell: "Warbirds" ThinkFast Records. These monsters have been cranking out releases in the five years they have been showing the world their unrelenting version of Long Island hardcore. Drawing minimal influences of rock and metal, they bury you with a wall of sound and passion that smothers you. Fast songs that break and allow for sing-a-long from pissed of fans. In my opinion, they take the best of what made The Suicide File and American Nightmare monumental; and TIH takes what's good from earlier Blacklisted and Verse and strengthens those aspects into a better sound. The first song of this release is "The Search" and it forms a tight romp that you can scream to. It is just amazing. The second joint has a brutal burst open it and tears through with pummeling speed. I can barely keep up. The kids will love these songs for the dancability; but elder hardcore statesmen will respect the individuality, passion, and focus. This e.p. is captivating. Intense is an understatement. Now, these dudes do covers spanning every bit of music you could imagine. Beastie Boys, MovieLife, 108, CIV, and Pantera. This 7's b-side keeps the dichotomy rolling with a tight cover of Warzone's "CBNI" and then an INXS cover, "Never Tear US Apart". These influences show the large span of TIH's musical arsenal that creates their unique, powerful repertoire of crushing, incendiary songs. *EP comes with digital download.
9. Government Warning "Paranoid Mess/Execution" Grave Mistake Records. Another brilliant RVA band kills it with another release. They have a bunch of 7"s so it is nice to see an lp. "Paranoid Mess" is the lp and from the same recording sessions, we get the 7" of "Execution". This band is a nice refreshing break from the hardcore creative ennui. And to achieve this they channel the classic American hc sound. SO, if you are new to GW, think early hardcore. West coast slant, but 10x faster. These specific releases are produced much better than previous efforts in terms of the music. Cleaner, crisper, faster and with more balls. I really cannot stress how much improvement the production injects into this album verse GW's others. However, my complaint would be the recording of the vocals. They are mixed in the back and low. There is a late '80s thrash feel to the vocals, also. You gets used to it, but I would have preferred the vocal production of "No Moderation". Anyway, this music is tight. Picture fellow RVA dudes Municipal Waste playing only the "American Hardcore" Soundtrack. Picture Converge playing traditional Negative FX songs. Think Gang Green with talent, Effigies on speed (a lot of it), Zero Boys on amphetamines, Suicidal with self-respect. These dudes definitely listen to thrash, tinges pop up here and there; but more in terms of their musical proficiency and execution, not in their riff writing. G-dub reppin' in the 0-9.
10. Hoods: "Pit Beast" I Scream Records. Dude…. This is a great album from Hardcore royalty that deserves to be on a Hatebreed level. Mikey Hood has been doing this for 15 years. They have been the tough guy Murphy's Law with a rotating cast of members, but still staying consistent. Their Gain Ground stuff was good in the late '90s. Then in 2000 when they hit Victory, I thought they would blow up, It didn't happen and, honestly, those albums ("Time the Destroyer" and "Pray for Death") are good, but not spectacular. The Freya split is pretty fuckin good; much better than the Victory lps. Well, Mikey and Co. got a huge rejuvenation from signing to Eulogy and banged out two of my favorite albums in the last five or so years ("The King is Dead" and "Ghetto Blaster") They stepped up their game, huge! So "Pit Beast" came out in June 2009. And they have gotten even better. Improved songwriting and a honed rage and sheer determination have molded this brutal-ass album. It rotates the punk hardcore and metal sound; literally. In the middle of the first song a crushing breakdown is our introduction to another Hoods classic. But some songs have a punkier feel and riding bass line ("Let's Have Fun" "For the Sake Of" and "New Year's in Vacaville"). This is great hardcore; trimmed, no frills punk, a metal tweak with heavy distorted riffs beating you with hip hop bounces peppered in and double bass popping up occasionally. Check the heavy-ass "Grizzly", "Betrayed", and "Book of Hell". And the blazing speedy thrash of "Nunchuk" and "Punk's Dead – Emo Kids Next". Not too metal, not too punk – an awesome meeting of all influences. If I were to indulge in a "For fans of…" list, AF would be included. And Hoods tacks on a perfect cover of "Friend or Foe" at the end. "Pit Beast" 11 songs last for 20 minutes and 47 seconds. The opener is 3:29, so, "do the math". Short fast loud. Hahdcore. For fans of: Death Threat, North Side Kings, AF, and great music.
So…those are my top ten for 2009 in the hardcore world. Great Tunes. There were definitely Releases I did not get to this year. Honestly, two of which are in the mail! The biggest of which are the Bane 7"s. Folsom's "Hammer Lane" is in the mail…and I KNOW that they would be in here. I heard clips and I think they have stepped up their delivery. Last year, Forfeit's 7" "Visions" was one of my most replayed, I got their 2009 full length "The Lower Depths" late in the year. It is rough and vicious. They get the #11 spot. They have gotten stronger. Breakdowns aplenty and monster riffs and punishing dance parts. Cloak/Dagger is something I look forward to hearing. Word for Word is one of the best new bands out there – "Meanwhile" is fucking killer. I did pick up WFW's split 7" with Dogfight, I recommend that. Pissed Jeans, Outbreak, and Hatebreed had releases, but I am not interested. Strike Anywhere depends on my mood – but from people who like them, I hear that it's their strongest effort yet. I will get around to it.
Definitely big nods to Forfeit with a strong release and Maximum Penalty with a solid return and xBishopx banging out a crucial 7" and Coliseum's 2 song 7" "True Quiet/Last Wave" – that shit rules.
Aiight, people. I am going to do hardcore in a cluster. And short of the top 2 – no real order. Just celebrate and purchase these bastards.
This is the year of bands that I had heard of years ago – just never got into. But this year, they finally blew me away. Maybe they put out better shit (no….) or maybe my maturation has finally blossomed. Maybe I am finally adjusting my strict guidelines of listenability. *(Of course, that would refuted by anyone gazing upon the thousands of albums I own). I mean, this really was the year of expansion for me, genre wise. Some slower, stuff (with "pop sensibilities"); but, mostly the genres of metal and dub of finally become extensively accessible to me. Now, I obviously love heavy music. What is not "hardcore", fits some needed moniker of "metal-core". But this year, I went into straight genre defining bands that boast singular definitions; e.g., doom metal, stoner metal, black metal, grindcore, etc and even….dub reggae!! I mean, I have always loved metal and reggae – but this year I broke down to outskirts I had always resisted. Call it unemployment. Call it an increase in marijuana smoking. Whatever. I had heard dub before (but it was too slow); bands like Pelican, Mastadon, Sword, Sunn 0))) and my biggest conversion: Converge. I had had Halos, Petitioning the Empty Sky, Jane Doe. I had heard the recent ones. It just sounded liked noise to me. And when I did like a riff or groove – the voice was too grating. But, fuck me if "Axe to Fall" is not an amazing, captivating album.
The whole doom/stoner metal stuff; I just thought it was musicians and hippies. I never had a desire to see a band in fog machines and nod slowly in a droning daze. I have always loved Sabbath. And, well, when a band kicks ass as much as Church of Misery, well, I am hooked. And then, I discover their elements in others; so, it spreads. Killer music is killer music.
Another distinction in this year's list, is the bevy of musicians' music. I am not a musician. I have no idea about chord progression, palm-muting, scales and modes. I wish I did. I am not physically coordinated to play any instrument. Believe me: I have yearned, pined; tried, attempted. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And I still will go for Minor Threat, Sick of It All and Madball anyday for pure passion and piss. But again, this year, I got into a lot more "music". I also, in the beginning of the year, bought Graves of Valor and Hail of Bullets. Straight metal albums – not "metalcore". With deathcore growls I previously avoided. Now, I teased myself with Gorgoroth, Behemoth, Satyricon, and some others; but, did not purchase. If that's your bag; sorry. I just come from a punkrock background. And, Christ, Hail of Bullets rules. Easy when it sounds like Tragedy to me.
I definitely have a decent amount of Reggae, Ska, Jamaican R&B, Rocksteady, Bluebeat…whatever. But I always stopped at 1972. Maybe some mid 1970's. John Holt or Heptones or Greory Isaacs. But even though those years overlap with dub, I stayed away, It was too spacey, to slow, too abstract. But, somehow; whether it was the trees or the re-issues from Pressure Sounds; I found 'da riddim' this year!! "Praise Jah!"
Alrightey. Well – some old school hardcore, some tough guy and some oi! nailed it this year. And some good hard rock was released. Some metal. And a lot of instrumental shit.
Hiphop will not be avoided. Incredible year for rap. While big names dropped albums that I do not even bother to peep – some undergroubd heavyweights rocked it too. 2009 was a banner year. Here is a list of just albums. Check it:
"El Padrino" (Alfonso de Jesus Constanzo) slowly creeps in with static and feedback. As the "Most Evil" sample begins to describe a murder scene, the noise uncovers some semblance of a rhythm. Then, at 1:45 – loud crashing and a hypnotic bass groove comes in and grabs you. Still 6 minutes to go, fucker. But this is not torture. The mid-tempo crunch continues. This is rock. We travel through the glorious sludge till about 5:15; when we are seduced my some captivating lead guitars. They all culminate after the scream of "My Soul is Dead! I have No God!" Triumphantly conquering your senses until a fucking wah pedal filters the bass groove at 6:45!!! We all join back together to be escorted through the final riffs and feedback of the song at 8:45. We are left teetering; wondering what just knocked our skull into such a stupor. We are teased with a small respite. That is until "Shotgun Boogie" impales our eardrums in a frantic shuffle. This 4:16 jaunt is fast and, well, a boogie. The instruments are in a spastic orgy and you can only hope to bear your footing in the spew and overspill. Some samples of police, describing James Oliver Huberty's atrocities. We actually end with cymbals and the cocking (and, finally, firing) of a shotgun blast! We are slowly lured back to the naughty place with a Sabbath-esque bass line. More samples of a victim's account of a murderous scene guide us through a fog of noise and ambient chaos. At 1:10, they channel Jimmy Page and we begin "The Gray Man". This clamoring frenzy finds a funk back beat to propel it. I am bobbing my head and shaking my hips as if James Brown himself is forcing me. This is not out of the blue, as the fuzz continues; but it also channels their previous album, "The Second Coming". Suddenly, in the last two minutes, the feedback clears and we get a '70s rock stomp of congo, clav, and straight forward drums and wailing lead guitars. This is the most 'Clutch' of all the moments. Feedback and Testimony – of why not to let Richard Trenton Chase into the community – woo us in to "Blood Sucking Freak". A down-tuned, inward collapse twists our ears, as "I Am a Blood Sucking Freak" is shouted. This slower – expertly delivered textbook doom/stoner metal riff – rides through this glorious ditty, as my mind reels in the clouds of weed smoke. Lead guitar notes start to slap me around as I awaken to realize that I am only in minute 3 of this 8.5 minute romp. The token description of 'epic" begs to be used as COM continues on this furious ride until 6 minute mark. Then we change course to a straight 4/4 beat; a little clearer, a little crisper. The guitar and drums embark together; only to be halted by the tandem of feedback and static. The last 1.5 minutes are a boastful riffage ride that stark drum beat to the finish line. "Master Headache" bandies between frantic and almost catchy. Great blues/stoner drudgery. Time changes keep it interesting and proud. A doctor's account of discovering our perpetrator opens solo – into a drum roll. Then, a great rock groove with whimsical leads establishes itself. A Mid-70s Sabbath type sound comes over us. "Born to Raise Hell. Is growled over this proclamation of doom. Satan weeps. This Richard Speck nod is quite catchy also. Cream tuned way down and did a yard of blow. Halfway through this 7.5minute jewel we slow down – then we ramp back up for a final 2 minute march forward. Finally, "Most Evil" narration calls our attention; which of course is peppered with feedback until the gripping bassline demands authority. The rest of the band joins in on ?Badlands?. Now, whether you know of this story of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate from Terrence Malik/Martin Sheen/Sissy Spacek or the back of the BFB "Enemy" 7" or The Boss' "Nebraska" or were just interested in twisted shit as a kid (like me.) – or you actually recall that early '90s metalcore band 'Starkweather" – this is the tale most notorious to us Americans: "There's no tomorrow. We're living deep in sorrow". Fuck, yeah. The bass through the wah (again) solidifies a stubborn stance as a finicky lead dances about. Another heavy mid-tempo rant by COM. Then at 4:30m – we break to just strings and ambient noise; which then births tribal drums and a scream and sirens – tripping out until the vocalist beckons, "follow me". We gladly do. Until the smoke and feedback clears after 8 total minutes. Follow them. Follow my advice and buy this. Please do.