Microreview

Micro: Rage Nucléaire, Unrelenting Fucking Hatred

Rage Nucleaire, Unrelenting Fucking HatredCryptopsy‘s Lord Worm’s death-ish, very slightly symphonic industrial black metal band:  Anaal Nathrakh covering Marduk with Regan McNeil occasionally guest-singing.

Ridiculously ferocious, foaming-at-the-mouth psychotically manically furious, and, if you’re reading this site, Great: and This Much More So Than One Would Think.

Exemplary Numbers: “Violence is Golden,” and “Hunt with Murderworms, sculpt with Flies,” the latter of which also wins 2012 Title of the Year.

All Hail the New Eye Candy

It was time for a change. We recently moved past 400 posts, we finally got our boobs and pubic hair, we were declared a Man at our Bar Mitzvah, we passed the rites of the Ugandan Shaman and were made to commune with the Earth Spirits beyond the Sacred Smoke….

It was time.

Time for a zeitgeber, time for an indicator, a delineator, nay, a delineanator of flux…!

And so,

You see before you,

The newest incarnation…

of Sawtoothwave.com.

[Apathetic, relutant applause, awkward stage bow.]

And… SCENE.

Anyhoo, I dig it. I find it airy, yet clean… clear, yet mysterious… streamlined– yet flashy.

And so, to celebrate, here, in nano-review form (i.e., a few sentences, so you can scan them quickly and get what you want from them, like the little whoring eye candy that they are), are all the latest things I’ve been blasting and/or listening to patiently in a quiet room with a glass of sherry.

Also a smoking jacket.

Here, for the first time on this site, are not one…

not ten…

not twenty…

not even twenty-one….

…but twenty-five— reviews for you, the lover of the metal and/or the jazz.

There are three categories, listed in order of slightly decreasing awesomeness, as perhaps you will notice. Please… do enjoy.

Awesome: Acquire Soon

Pig Destroyer, Book Burner: Their …And Justice For All. No low end, weirdly boxy production that somehow contributes to the overall pure dexterity and fury of this band. This and Monolith of Inhumanity fucking tower over ever other grind/ death grind release this year. Prolly in my top 3 of the year.

Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas: No appreciable evolution over their previous Passion… but this English black/industrial outfit still show you how pure, literal, psychotic rage sounds. Top 10 of the year.

[Vanitas is released 11/6/ 2012 on Candlelight Records.]

Christian Scott, Christian aTunde Adjuah: Miraculously, a spin on Miles Davis’ hollow, beseeching sound without kowtowing to him. A somehow New Orleans-warm yet icy-terrified trumpet bleat over doomy lyric song titles. Highlights: “New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp),” “Who They Wish I Was,” and “Kiel.” To me the best new jazz album of 2012.

Ramesses, Possessed by the Rise of Magik: From former members of Electric Wizard who found Dopethrone too pussy– disgusting, gritty blackened doom riffs if they were played in a garage and/or torture chamber. Production value zero, and somehow perfect.

The Sword, Apocryphon: The detuned perfect heaviness of Age of Winters, but with a tiny splash of that Texas blues that was probably too obvious on Warp Riders. They can do better, but still pretty great. Top 10 of the year.

mind over four, The Goddess/ Halfway Down: Two-decade-old alterna-progressive-metal that is still disgustingly/ criminally underrated. Either album should be in your top 50 of all time.

Law & Order, Guilty of Innocence: Cock rock with a southern flair (from LA) from the late 80s that still is awesome and not embarrassing in any way. One of the only bands to make me wish I was playing in a rock, not metal, band. Not a bad song on this one. Classic– top 50 of all time.

Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker: Amazingly, these utterly-decrepit sludgy, stonery black metal anonymous weirdos evolved on this record, noticeably so from their previous release, Hatred For Mankind. Neurosis if they were Satanic black metallers.

[Widowmaker is released 11/6/12 on Prosthetic Records.]

Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65: Meh at first, eventually moving up to thrilled and loving it. The new version of the American blues, lapsteel-playing, deal-with-devil-making howls of despair. Top 10 of the year.

Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine: Perfect stoned black metal. The Cure or The Church if they loved Darkthrone.

Chet Baker Quartet, Jazz in Paris, Vol. 53: Chet Baker Quartet Plays Standards: Baker gets some shit from critics, like the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff, for not giving a shit about evolving as an artist– and truth be told, he never really did. But he’s the only soloist, to this day, who loses energy and slowly dies as he solos, rather than building up to a crescendo. Easily my favorite trumpet player of all time, over Miles Davis and Christian Scott. Makes me wanna take up trumpet, to this day. Buddy Bolden reincarnated as a white junkie matinee idol.

Quite Good: Worth Your While

Menace Ruine, Alight in Ashes: Black metal so weird it practically becomes spectral classical music. I dare you to listen to this on acid.

Incantation, Vanquish in Vengeance: Like Asphyx, generic but truly great (American) Brutal Death Metal. You know if this is for you or not.

[Vanquish in Vengeance is released 11/27/12 on Listenable Records.]

Havok, Point of No Return: “Re-thrash” as powerful and energetic (though generic) as it gets. There’s two covers on this EP, “Raining Blood,” and Sepultura’s “Arise.” They should not have included them. Havok’s originals are great, but not that great, and they’re just asking for unfavorable comparisons.

Down, Down IV, Pt. I– The Purple EP: Down is never as good as they should be, as you think they’ll be. “Bury Me in Smoke,” “There’s Something on My Side,” and “On March the Saints,” are truly great stoner metal tunes, as are Purple’s “The Curse,” and “This Work is Timeless.” But from these guys? There should be more immortality.

Witchsorrow, God Curse Us: Title track, with the refrain of “God curse us, every one…” a cheeky Dickensian nod, or seriously-depressed Shawn-Spencerian perveyoring of dispairitude? Ha! Anyway: doom-worshipping, Hellhammer-loving greatness. Sounds like modern mixing/mastering, but also sounds like a NWOBHM album, where the band was rushing, in 1982, in the studio to record their ideas, when they were sucked into a time vortex and got their asses wormholed into a 2012 studio….

Bedemon, Symphony of Shadows: The other half of Pentagram– Interestingly, sounds like Witchsorrow, but was actually recorded nearly two decades ago. Astoundingly prophetic. Could’ve been recorded yesterday.

Bison BC, Lovelessness: Vaguely NWOBHM-ish sludge that loves to eventually gallop and whorl, to take off from its slower stoner metal tropes… not better than Dark Ages, but just as good.

Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay: “We All Rage in Gold,” opens with third/fourth dyads, played as clean/ crystalline as humanly, as Scott Kelly-ishly as possible; at around 1:00 we gets the GEE-tars… sounding a bit Sisters of Mercy-ish, if we’re being truthful… at @ 1:35 there’s a human throat sounding off over the crystal… 3:28, and there’s a lonely bass and a Hammond-ish synth effect…. “At the Well” begins with the dying emanations of a suicidal homeless man, or something to that effect… at 4:20 a bitter and romantically-mournful sitar riff (are they called riffs?) that seems perfectly appropriate and perfect… at around 7:00 we get a combination of meditation music/ Zen sounds and heavy fucking metal, as the entire album continues this now very familiar Neurosis blueprint….

[Honor in Decay is released 10/30/12 on Neurot Records.]

Nails, Obscene Humanity: A 3-song ep to tide you over until their new one. Pretty much just like Unsilent Death, for better or worse. Ripping hardcore punks worshiping Entombed….

[Obscene Humanity is released 1/1/13 on Southern Lord Records.]

Intriguing, Though Not Essential

Weapon, Embers and Revelations: The thrash metal band that wants to be as mysterious and eeeeevil as black metal bands.

Acid Witch, Witchtanic Hellucinations: Rob Zombie as a sludge-metal act.

Dysrhymia, Test of Submission: Instrumental sludge/ prog that will fuck your stoned ass up. Pelican on benzedrine.

Norska, Norska: Other members of Yob, dooming your ass beyond recognition.

Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay: Death metal that never goes fast, only threatens to, and so ends up sounding most like extreme doom….

So! There you are:

a full quarter of a hundred albums to check out.

Don’t say I don’t love you.

Y’all come back now… hear?

Micro-reviews of Note: Demon Lung, Prong, Crystal Viper

To paraphrase Shawn Spencer from Psych: “Are you a fan of delicious riffage?”

Of course you are. That’s why you’re here, among other devotees of the Ostinato, in whatever form(s) it may take. Today, we have three up and coming perveyors of the Riff: Demon Lung, Prong, and Crystal Viper.

First, Demon Lung. Like Christian Mistress? Like The Devil’s Blood? Like your 70s-ish rock/doom riffs with a talented female singer? Then you’ll dig Demon Lung. If Christian Mistress are 70s rock-ish, The Devil’s Blood are 70s rock/pop-ish, then Demon Lung are 70s metal-ish. I should say no more. I’ve said too much. Anyhoo– dig (their Ep is only $4):

Old-timers Prong return with a surprisingly electric and alive album (though regrettably without original drummer Ted Parsons): Carved Into Stone is surprisingly fucking ROCKING. Doubt me? Dig the riffs in opener “Eternal Heat.” That’s good metal. So is “Ammunition,” now streaming via Noisecreep….

Finally we’ve Poland’s Crystal Viper– don’t let the cheesy name fool you– this is traditional European heavy metal, à la Mercyful Fate or even Iron Maiden, done well and with passion. You can barely even tell the singer is female. If King Diamond or Bruce Dickinson’s vocal histrionics bugged you for being over the top, then Marta’s the singer for you.

Holy Grail, Season’s Bleedings EP

Ha! Get the pun? Bleedings…?

ANYhoo, dig that lead reindeer with the King Diamond makeup! Sweet, right?

For those of you not in your 40s, in the mid-80s, when King Diamond left Mercyful Fate the first time, but before his solo band released its first full-length LP, King Diamond released a cassette single of “No Presents for Christmas,” with the b-side of “The Lake,” a spooky non-holiday song. (My cassette was green and red, so I assume all of them were. I thought it was cool as shit.)

“No Presents for Christmas” was pretty much just King taking the piss out of Christmas/Christianity, as is his wont as a Satanist, I guess.

So, 25 years later (wow), enter Holy Grail: regular readers of this site might recall my waxing ecstatic about their debut LP Crisis in Utopia over a year ago. I love Holy Grail– I think they’re the best form of 1980s metal staples (operatic vocals with shredding guitars) but with a modern sensibility.

And now, for the holidays, dig their clever and fun update of King’s 1986 lead single (before Fatal Portrait), where the greatest of cover types of perpetuated:

the spirit of the original is intact, but there’s a nice update: for instance, in the original, there’s a brief interlude of “Rudolph…”, but in this one, it’s from a Charlie Brown Christmas, something I just posted about…! The production is overall much thicker, and the guitars are detuned a step from King’s version.

Not to coin a new phrase, but it’s everything you loved about the original, with a new twist.

Season’s Bleedings also includes a cover of Rainbow’s “Kill the King,” which, though interesting enough, isn’t nearly as great a cover as the one of Accept’s “Fast as a Shark” (originally on their first EP, Improper Burial), also included here with their cover of Exciter’s “Exciter.”

So, for our Christian readers, Merry Christmas! For everyone else, Seasons Bleedings! Go drink something with alcohol in it. I will.

But seriously though, not Southern Comfort 100– Jesus Buddha Christ that shit’ll give you the hangover of all hangovers. And I am, like Lloyd Christmas would say, a raging alcoholic.

Anyway, it’s awesome and all that. Check it out….

Anatomia, Dissected Humanity

Vibrant Japanese death metal band– playing doom metal.

Opener “Carnal Mutilation”= straight ahead death metal until about 2 minutes in, when it becomes the abovementioned blend of extreme styles: also, over the riff, there is what I’m pretty sure is a wild boar grunting (don’t ask how I know that)– if that is actually the singer: kudos to you, Sir– kudos!

“Tortured Bleeding End” [as in “Conclusion,” or as in “Ass?”] has a great doom riff as its central piece, as does “Drowned in Sewage.”

They’re all interchangeable, but they’re all fun. You can tell these guys dig playing detuned doomy metal– gnome sayin?

Micro: Witchery, Witchkrieg

I had never heard of Witchery until Decibel’s recent thrash metal hall of fame issue (their Restless & Dead was #42); I instead bought their newest, Witchkrieg, as that album was not available on MP3 that I could find.

They were, allegedly, superb blackened thrash.

And oh my– they so totally are. They overall add nothing to the pantheon of thrash metal thusfar, but they do it so goddamn well.

Clichés aside, I can’t stop listening to this one. It’s just really well-written, utterly heavy fast, ruthless thrash (with blackened elements). Clever lyrics, interesting arrangements…. “Witchkrieg” is the monster here, but they’re all great. I was going to put this in the top 5 of this year before I realized it came out last year. [sad trombone sound]

amazon

Micro: Vio-lence, Eternal Nightmare

Got the cassette free in 1989 I think, from a magazine. Vio-lence were second-string bay area thrash metal (with Machinehead’s Rob Flynn on guitar), but even 20 years later, are the best of the bunch. Ferocious light-speed thrash, where every song seemed to bleed into the next, not unlike a symphony (also, and not insignificantly, singer Sean Killian’s beard, specifically in the video from subsequent album Oppressing the Masses’ video for “World in a World,” is pretty much why I have a beard now).

Every song great– “Phobophobia,” “Calling in the Coroner,” and the best of all “Kill on Command.”

listen