Friday, December 18, 2009

The cuts keep on comin

Insomnium - Across the Dark: a little TOO melodic.
Katatonia - Night is the New Day: sissy metal.
Kittie - In the Black: would be better if Morgan wasn't the singer.
Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough: As far as black metal goes, it's probably good. But I didn't really dig it.

KsE is sitting on the fence. I don't want to like it, but I can't help but sing along.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Get Thrashed!

I just finished watching Get Thrashed. It's a documentary about the history of Thrash Metal. It was pretty good. I'm kinda late to the thrash scene so it had a lot of info I didn't know. Thrash started in like '82-'83 when I was 4-5 years old so you can understand that I wasn't a metalhead back then. All I heard was Sharon, Lois and Bram or the country crap my Mom listened too. I got some CCR and stuff like that from my Dad, but it wasn't metal. I didn't get into metal til "One" by Metallica and even then, I wasn't INto it. I hadn't denounced everything else yet. (Sepultura did that for me) Of course, I got into the Big 4, had no idea about Exodus, Testament, Kreator, Death Angel, etc etc. I have heard of them before this but didn't really know the history or how they fit into it.

If you are into metal at all, I highly recommended this doc. Great music, great insight. It's different than Heavy Metal in Baghdad because it's not just about one band. It's not quite as good as Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, but better than that one Penelope Spheeris did. The Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years. I might even say it's better than Global Metal. The sequel to Headbanger's Journey.

I really dig documentaries on stuff I like. And I love metal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

You're cut!

I broke the alpha order tonight. I skipped everything from H to L. I wasn't in the mood for anything in that range. I went right to Napalm Death. So good. Then I back a bit to Magrudergrind. So good. Oh right, the cuts.

God Dethroned - Passiondale: Death metal. Good. War themed lyrics. Good. Anti-Judeo-Christian moniker. Good. Periods of non-brutalness. Not good.

Goreaphobia - (not coming to mind right now): Ripping old-school death metal from old school death metallers. However, sub-par vocals. Could have used better production. And nothing really memorable about it.

Hatebreed - Hatebreed: I didn't actually listen to this in the last few days. I tried to. The first song is pretty bad and it just soured it for me. They have fallen so, so far.

Outside of the above mentioned bands I listened to Slayer, Kylesa and Black Sabbath all weekend.

Oh! and I scored a free record player this weekend. Now all I need is a needle (maybe) and let the vinyl collecting begin!! (My wife is gonna hate me)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My thoughts on Decibel's Top 40 #20-#1

#20 Asphyx - Death...the Brutal Way: brutal is the only way I like it. This album is amazing.
#19 The Atlas Moth - A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky: haven't had the pleasure
#18 Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us: haven't been able to get past the first couple tracks. It's just not where my head's at this year.
#17 Mastodon - Crack the Skye: took me a few listens to get it. It's great. The all instrumental version is great too.
#16 YOB - The Great Cessation: It's pretty good but it wore on me after a while. Light one up and....
#15 Nile - Those Whom the Gods Detest: My first experience with Nile. It won't be the last. This is awesome.
#14 Magrudergrind - Magrudergrind: I've been becoming more of a grind fan lately and this album is part of that.
#13 Obscura - Cosmogenesis: too damn technical. not my bag.
#12 Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse: see Magrudergrind
#11 Immortal - All Shall Fall: still working on a taste for "traditional" black metal.
#10 Isis - Wavering Radiant: could be their last album? oh that's too bad. NOT
#9 Marduk - Wormwood: see Immortal
#8 Tombs - Winterhours: I had forgoten about this. It'd pretty awesome but likely won't be this high on my list. If at all.
#7 Slayer - World Painted Blood: It's Slayer. Nuff said.
#6 Kylesa - Static Tensions: Should make number 1 on my list. Still need to transcribe the interview I did with Laura and Phillip.
#5 Cobalt - Gin: This black metal I dig. LOTS.
#4 Napalm Death - Time Waits for No Slave: This came out so early in the year, I have to back and listen to it again. It's good though, it's Napalm Death.
#3 Coalesce - OX: I may be one of the few people who just doesn't like them. I don't dislike them. I'm just indifferent.
#2 Converge - Axe to Fall: AMAZINGNESS EMBODIED!!
#1 Baroness - Blue Record: The Red Album topped my list that year. This year, Blue Record will be damned close.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2 more list eliminations

Disappearer - The Clearing This was never really in contention. I just hadn't heard it much. And it's not in contention now. There are plenty of bands with the same M.O. that do it way better and with more energy. (Baroness, Torche, any number of lacklustre NeurIsis clones) I found the vocals weak and the instrumentals leaving me wanting more. Like vocals. I was making up screaming vocal melodies in my head. It sounded much better. I'd listen to it again but I wouldn't crave for it.

Divine Heresy - Bringer of Plagues Say what you want about Dino Cazares. But the dude is awesome. I've loved everything he's done up til Divine Heresy. The vocals are bad, it's like nu-metal never ended, and there's too many recycled Fear Factory riffs. After the awesomeness of Brujeria, and the wickedness of Asesino I don't know why Dino would do this. He and Burton need to make nice with Christian and Ray, and remanufacture FF with the soul of a new machine. (See what I did there?)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tops of 2009 list update

So I started listening to the 90 or so albums on my iPod. I'm going in alpha order for now.
Here's some of the albums that are NOT gonna make it.

Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate (not my fave style of metal and the vocals get irritating after a while)
Arise & Ruin - Nightstorms Hailfire (I'm friends with these guys, I hang out with them at their shows. I want to include them but album has some weak spots. Great guys and great live show)
Batillus - (can't remember) (pretty good instrumental doom/drone but it got boring in parts. comes with the territory)

Coalesce - OX ( some pretty good parts but it just wasn't doing anything for me. Call me crazy.)

Daath - The Concealers (The new one lacks all the quirkiness/electronics that made the last one so appealing.)

Dethklok - Dethalbum II (it's good and has lots and lots of circle-headbang appeal but it's band based on a TV show. An AWESOME tv show but a tv show nonetheless.)

Despised Icon - (I'm drawing a blank) (Cream of the deathcore crop but that's like being the best player on, say, the Redskins. It's still metal/football and it's better than rock/basketball but there is way better. Brootal Death Metal/ the Saints. and worse. Crabcore/Lions, Rams etc)

Crippled Black Phoenix - 200 Tons of Bad Luck (on the light side and very situation/mood/state of mind dependant)

Devildriver - Pray for Villians ( t'would be better to pray for Dez. The band is great but I feel Dez is the weak link. It is wrong that I kinda/sometimes/almost like Coal Chamber better than this album?)

There is about 6 maybes in that alpha range but considering there is about 8 or 9 probables in that range too, I doubt they'll make it

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My thoughts on Decibels Top 40. #40-#21

40. Funebarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams: I haven't heard this one. Not for lack of trying. It's been on my search list for months.

39. Millions - Gather Scatter: See above.

38: Municipal Waste - Massive Aggressive: Their punk/thrash crossover is fun but it doesn't pull me in the way it does a lot of other people. There's not many un-serious bands that I can get into.

37. Javelina - Beast Among Sheep: see 39, 40. If it's half as good as their self-titled debut, I'll be superstoked when I hear it.

36. Suffocation - Blood Oath: This must be some kind of mistake. Did they put a 3 in front of the 6 by accident? Easily one of the best death metal albums of the year.

35. Goes Cube - Another Day Has Passed:  I honestly can't remember if I heard this one or not. Must have made quite the impression!

34. Culted - Below the Thunders of the Upper Deep: I've only heard this once so far but it's fucking awesome. DOOM!!!

33. Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough: This is on my iPod. Haven't got to it yet. Maybe I'll throw it on when I finish listening to the Baroness album for like the 10th time.

32. Brutal Truth - Evolution Through Revolution: I think it was pretty good. I haven't heard it in MONTHS.

31. The Red Chord - Fed Through The Teeth Machine: I don't like my death metal too technical but I enjoyed this the first time around. It deserves another spin or two in a better environment. (not my van) It's better than Clients and Prey For Eyes anyway!

30. Keelhaul - Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity: Pretty original. Not many bands can blend noise rock, math metal and stoner vibe and pull it off. They do.

29. Katatonia - Night is the New Day: I haven't gotten past the first track yet. Not really my thing.

28. Gaza - He's Never Coming Back: Haven't had the chance get this yet. It's on the "to download" list. I'll probably love it.

27. Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God: Another apparent typo. Should be closer to 7. This album is so kick ass it's not funny.

26. City of Ships - Look What God Did To Us: Not bad. Not great either. I'd have to really be in the mood for it. (read: stoned)

25. Burnt By The Sun - Heart of Darkness: Too bad it's their swansong. This is the first BBTS album I've heard. And it's great. It's easy to call it metalcore but it's better than 99% of bands with that label.

24. The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder: I was disappointed by this. Their last album was great but I couldn't get into this one.

23. Funeral Mist - Maranatha: Never heard of them.

22. Mournful Congregarion - The June Frost: I enjoy some funeral doom now and again but I found this one boring.

21. Altar of Plagues - White Tomb: Heard it once. I'd need more before I can say. I know it was a while ago too.


I'll give my opinions on #20-#1 in the next few days.

I wish I could write better.

Admission time, folks. I don't feel I'm a very good writer. I read Decibel and various metal blogs and think, "Wow. They can write much better than me." But I don't beat myself up about it. I didn't go to Journalism school. I was never good at english. And I played tuba (very poorly) in Grade 7 and 8. It doesn't really set one up to be a master of writing about music's most complicated genre. But I do what I can. I write what I feel.  I don't know an arpeggio is. I can't tell you what time signature anything is in. Hell, I can't even properly define pinch harmonics. But I can tell you what kicks ass and what sucks balls. And I'm not talking about kinky sex. Sometime soon I hope to have the time to look up the definitions of some common metal lingo that I am too embarrassed to admit I don't know. Anyway, I was just bored and don't have any specific album to talk about at the moment so I thought I'd just throw that info at ya.

Concerning my year end list, I'm working on it. I have about 90 artists on my iPod that made it to the last round so to speak. Some albums aren't on there (Clutch, Mastodon, Lamb of God) because I actually bought the album and if I paid money for it, it's making the list. There's some albums on it that I just need to listen to at least once more before probably cutting them. (Kittie, Daath, Divine Heresy) And there is a couple EPs on there that go on a separate list. Nevertheless, I have quite the task ahead of me. I have a hard time believing I can make it a list of 50 and I'd have to be especially cut-throat to make it a Top 40. Also, there is at least 3 albums I need to listen to that I haven't been able to obatin a copy of yet. (Javelina - Beast Among Sheep, The Company Band - The Company Band, and the new Blacklisted (if it gets released this year) Anyone wanna help me out with these?)

Maybe for something to do later, I'll give you my thoughts on Decibel's Top 40.

Friday, November 27, 2009

These Are They

Yesterday I didn't listen to much. I was in a supremely pissy mood. And I wasn't in an environment where I could properly vent. (Screaming violently in the break room at work doesn't go over well) I spent some of my break time alone and quiet. I didn't even want to see people. Anyway the only album I listened to all the way through was Blood Oath by Suffocation. I picked that because I was wearing a Suffocation shirt. (and it's a fucking KILLER album) When that was done, the next album of the iPod was by These Are They. I believe the album is called Who Linger. There's really nothing overly special about it. At least on first listen. I think it's a grower. I found myself enjoying it more at it progressed. I wouldn't really throw it into any particular sub-genre. The vocals are more or less "death metal" but the music is more varied than that. I'd like to give a more accurate description of the sound but I was listening to Agoraphobic Nosebleed before I started writing this so my mind is in a grind state. I will be listening to Who Linger again (maybe sooner rather than later) so I can give a better breakdown then. But the reason I even feel the need to mention These Are They right now is because of the last song on the album. It's a cover of Soundgarden's "Fourth of July". My favourite Soundgarden song. It's a fair rendition. The vocals are a bit flat and the singer doesn't have Chris Cornell's range, but I can't fault him for that. What I found most interesting was the backing vocals. On the Soundgarden version, Cornell is double-tracked. One low voice, one high.On the These Are They version, there is a clean and a rough. Like a deathy growl. It's a pretty evil sounding song to begin with. The backing growls and the flat clean delivery make it even more so. To my recollection, this is the first cover of "Fourth of July" I have ever heard. Instant props to These Are They. I'm in a "Tops of 2009" mode right now, listening to my fave 75 albums or so, but this cover has earned These Are They some more of my precious time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hatebreeed - Hatebreed

First of all, I like Hatebreed and I like this album. I'll admit, it's not their best. (Not by a long shot) There were lots of better albums released this year. But I've heard a LOT worse than this this year. That being said, I'm going to play the bad guy and rip Hatebreed to shreds. Just because I can find fault in something doesn't mean I can't enjoy it to some degree.

I'll start with the music itself because I can speak of that in a more or less general sense. In a word: stock. I bet if you took the time, you could find all the riffs in some form, on one of their older records. The few times they do branch out a little it either sounds forced and/or weak and/or Not Hatebreed. Case in point, on the instrumental track, "Undiminished", it doesn't sound like Hatebreed at all. If I had heard that song by itself randomly, I would never, ever guessed it was Hatebreed. Not in a million years. I would have guessed it was an instrumental Paradise Lost track. And if you told me it was Hatebreed, I'd call you a liar.

On to the vocals. The majority of the gang vocals on this album suck. Either they down right sound bad or they detract from the song. For example, on "No Haloes for the Heartless" the "whoooa" gang vocals sound awful. Ruins the song. And on "Every Lasting Scar", they shout along with Jamey at some parts and it's completely unnecessary. That song is one of the most aggravating on the album. Other than the gang vocals, it features his "Kingdom of Sorrow vocals" as I like to call them. You know, the voice he has where it sounds like he's trying to sound like Kirk from Crowbar but can't? No-one can. He's too awesome. (Isn't a new Crowbar album like, way overdue?) They are "okay" on a KoS album but they don't fit on a Hatebreed album. Plus, it's so damn catchy I can't get it out of my head!!

I don't know if it's just my copy (digital) or what, but the "Escape" cover at the end is horrible. The music is pretty solid and accurate but Jamey, Jamey, Jamey. I hope it wasn't his idea to put all the effects on his vocals.I don't know what they were shooting for, but they missed the mark. Oh, that accursed vocoder!

Be that as it may, Hatebreed can still get the blood pumpin'. If you allow it to permeate, it will raise your adrenaline levels. One of the few redeeming qualities on Hatebreed is "As Damaged As Me". The lines "You're just too fucked for words./You're fucked!" are the most honest lyrics I heard on the album.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nile - Those Whom The Gods Detest

Nile is a pretty kickass band. I wonder why I never got into checking them out til now? It's not like I'd never heard of them. Decibel inducted Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka into their Hall of Fame and I still didn't check them out. What is wrong with me? Todd would be ashamed. Whatever the cause of my idiocy may be, I'm glad I wised up.

As much as I like gory and evil death metal, it's nice to find something with a little more depth. The Egyptian themes that run through all the Nile catalogue intrigues me enough that I really want to see the lyrics. Very few bands to that to me. (Behemoth being another) Most of the time if I want to know the lyrics is just to scream along properly. ( I couldn't replicate Karl Sanders' growl anyway)With Those Whom the Gods Detest, I wanna know just to know. I think I'd find it fascinating. It's thinking man's death metal. Maybe not as cerebral as Buried Inside, but definitely more than your run-of-the-mill death and violence death metal.

This album is furious and heavy. It's wicked fast but is able to shift tempo with ease and purpose. Not like those other bands that I mentioned that do it just because. Just enough tasteful technicality in the brutal so as not to turn me off. I have no problem with tech-death to a point. (Dying Fetus, Origin) It keeps it interesting. I have a feeling this will make it into regular rotation. I might even have to buy it. Maybe. I still haven't bought the Slayer album yet.

WInds of Plague - The Great Stone War

Wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this one. I had heard something about it being Epic Metal. Okay. Epic is good. (Ex Deo!!) But this album didn't make me feel very epic. Yeah, there were brass instrument fanfare type stuff but it felt really disjointed. Just when it would get into a nice riff, a weedily woo part would get thrown in and totally disrupt the flow. I hate that. It seems so self-indulgent. It's just not my thing. That's the main reason I don't like a certain subset of bands. (BoO, BTBAM, The Human Abstract, PTH, the Sumerian roster.) Finger acrobatics have their place. They are called solos.

Anyway, not a bad album if you like that sort of thing. But I don't much care for it. I can't say I will never listen to it again but I have enough to choose from I really don't need to.

Listening to the Nile again. and then I might listen to the Hypocrisy album again. Get a second read on it. The problem is I'm reading The Lost Symbol and it's taking up a fair amount of my brain power. A good book vs. good music is a tough battle.


Disappointing first listen. Hatebreed just aren't what they used to be. Maybe the metal scene is saturated with bands that ape Hatebreed in some way. Therefore, they don't stand out from the pack anymore. Hatebreed deserves for me to listen to it a few more times at least. I can't make final judgment on one listen. At times it sounded too much like Kingdom of Sorrow for a Hatebreed album and the cover of Metallica's "Escape" was pretty pointless. Did I detect a hint of mild vocoder on that track?

I'm trying to remember what else I listened to yesterday and I'm coming up black. Oh! The new Nile. That was pretty kickass. Need to listen to it again before reviewing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thank you, Chris Dick

I have to thank Chris Dick. I read his review of Revocation's Existence is Futile in Decibel and it made me glad to know that I am not the only person that thinks the album sucks. It makes me feel good when someone who writes for a respected publication agrees with me. So thanks again, Chris.

My favourite line to use when referring to that album is, the existence of the album is futile. I didn't like Empire of the Obscene either so really, the existence of Revocation is futile.

Speaking of pointless, I was listening to Evergreen Terrace. I think the album is Almost Home. Whatever the title, it's speedy and energetic but when my break was over and I was packing up my breakfast, I had to check to see who I was listening to. That's the kind of impression it made on me.

And speaking of almost home, it's almost time for me to go home after another joyous night shift. Yes, I will yet again be screaming along with Blood Tsunami on the way home.

I really need to reload my iPod.

After listening to Converge, I was kinda stuck on what to listen to next. There was a lot of stuff I just had to interest in and a bunch of stuff I wanted to hear but weren't on there (Baroness, BDM, Cannibal Corpse..). And some stuff that I have downloaded but haven't loaded into iTunes yet (Nile, Hatebreed). So I had to settle.

General Surgery - Corpus In Extremis: Analyzing Necrotism: It's death metal so it's automatically decent. It's not tech-death or (bad) deathcore, so that's 2 more "pros". Some nice groove going on, another "pro". But on the "con" side, it's really nothing special. Predictable even. I found myself tapping out the riffs with my feet even though I'd never heard the song before. Plus, I never once felt the urge to circle-headbang. Not a good sign. It's not bad per se, just kind of generic.

Forsaken - After the Fall: The intro was good. Women screaming for their lives, mob noise, and what I assume was werewolves snarling and growling. It put a cool visual in my head. Townsfolk offering virgins in sacrifice to the lycanthropes. Cool. But, that "cool" ended when the songs started. Pretty good tone. And the riffs and stuff weren't really bad either but the singer's voice just rubbed me the wrong way. It sounded too second-rate 80's for me. So, less than 2 tracks in, NEXT. I don't have time to listen to something I know I don't like.

Tombs - Winter Hours: This one is really hard to describe. Put them on a tour with Kylesa, Withered, (heavy) Neurosis, and early Baroness and they'd fit right in.

Converge - Axe to Fall

My experience with Converge is fairly limited. I don't think I've ever heard Jane Doe. I might have heard Petitioning the Empty Sky. And I haven't listened to No Heroes in years. So really, when I threw on Axe To Fall, it was almost like a new band. A new, incredibly awesome band. Right from the opening riff, this album is a monster. It taps into that part of the brain that says "throw yourself around haphazardly and if someone's elbow breaks your nose, it's totally worth it." I have no doubt that the mosh put at a Converge show is down right frightening. The Red Cross sets up buckets for blood donations. It's just impossible not to get worked up listening to Axe To Fall. The track with Steve Von Till as a guest vocalist is pretty mellow or the most part but when the heavy kicks in near the end, it's huge.

Jake Bannon is an amazing vocalist. The energy that he put into his performance is outstanding. You can't fake that kind of intensity. Kurt Ballou is one heck of a guitar player too. There is nothing simple or easy about his riffs. It's weird that something that intricate can be as catchy as it is. His style makes Converge a very fitting tour-mate for Mastodon. Mastodon may be "sludge" or "crust" and Converge "hardcore" but they are both so complex. And both bands are so tight. Like they were born to play together. I wish I was able to catch that tour. Dammit.

I still can't get over Jake's neck tattoo though. Those things weird me out. Back of the neck. Fine. Side of the neck. You're pushing it. Right over the Adam's Apple? Nope. Sorry. Not for me. Maybe it's because I hate turtlenecks.

I'm getting off topic. If you want to read about Axe To Fall from someone who's a way better writer than I am, check out the cover story in the current issue of Decibel. It's fantastic.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why can't I just have normal dreams?

I had a pretty messed up dream this afternoon. I can't remember most of it (I jotted down the main points, just haven't got back to it) but at the end, I end up in a park. In this park, I come across a scene of death. The bodies of 4 out of 5 members of Arise & Ruin are laying in front of me. I scream " NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" (Usually, I would wake up groaning at this point) Then I hear this high-pitched wail.scream. It sounded like Travis from Cattle Decapitation. When I find the source, it's Ryan, the lone surviving member of Arise & Ruin clinging to the bottom of the park. Apparently now the park is floating in the air. The scene was similar to Luke hanging from the antenna underneath Cloud City.  I woke up at this point. Nature called, I wrote down some key points and got back in bed. I tried to get back into the same dream but it didn't happen. I'm interested to look at my notes later and try and remember the rest of it.

Goreaphobia - Mortal Repulsion

Not too bad on first listen. Your basic death metal. Not too technical. That's good. Like I said before, death metal has been my chosen sub-genre this year. It kind of had an Obituary vibe to it tonally. On the vocal side, it was more of a black metal, recorded in a cave sound. I liked that too. I guess my only real complaint was that it was a bit long. Not really enough diversity to keep it interesting past the 30 min mark. Nonetheless, my toes were wigglin' in my boots, my fingers were ever so slightly air guitaring on the table and of course, the head nodding. Not full on headbanging in public, but I couldn't keep my head still.

I had planned on listening to General Surgery next but I was reading about the new Converge album, Axe To Fall, and decided to listen to that. Again. It's so awesome.


I finished the God Dethroned album. Yeah, it's pretty good. I'll have to hear it at least one more time to seriously consider it for the list. I've had like 1 hour of sleep in the last 24, so my judgment is a little off. I'm not exactly thinking straight.

I decided to skip Goreaphobia for now. I was reading an article in Decibel about The Gates of Slumber so I decided to give them another listen. Verdict still stands. Not turning my crank this year. Good tone, nice riffs. Not a big fan of the vocals. Overall it just wasn't intriguing enough for me to really care. Ya can't win 'em all.

Right now, I'm just looking forward to bed in about an hour, and screaming along to Blood Tsunami's "Laid To Waste" on the way home to keep me awake. I fuckin' love Blood Tsunami.

God Dammit!

I shouldn't really say that. Not in any "taking the Lord's name in vain" way. No, I shouldn't say that because cursing a god you don't believe in is pretty useless. I should have said "For the love of blastbeats!!" My point is, I thought I had my list finalists figured out. Then I listened to God Dethroned's Passiondale. It's pretty fuckin' awesome. And it's brutal death metal. I might have to consider it now! What's gonna happen when I listen to Goreaphobia next? And possibly General Surgery after that? It's all too much.

BTW, does anyone know what Justin Marler is up to these days?

Almost year end list time!

This year's "My Top Albums of " list, as always, will be very hard to compile.  I have it down to about 60-70 possibles.  However, I haven't heard the new Nile or Red Chord albums yet. And I think Blacklisted is releasing one this year too. In any case, I'm gonna have to be pretty damn cut-throat. For example, Culted's album, great but won't make the cut. The Gates of Slumber. Their last album made my Top 10 (I think) and their new one won't make the cut.

Strange Cousins From The West by Clutch will be ranked 0 because I am incapable of being unbiased when it comes to Clutch.

I am pretty sure that this year's list is going to be very heavy in death metal. Of the brutal variety. That's just where my head is at this year. There will be some not so heavy bands (Baroness) but for the most part, it's gonna be a heavy-ass list.

Hopefully starting this week, I can load the iPod with the 60 or so finalists and start paring it down. I'd like to have it done before February this time. Because by the time February hits, I'll have a list of 2009 albums that could have made the list if I had heard them IN 2009.

I can tell you this, I am 99% sure that nothing on Sumerian will make the list.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paint my world blood.

There is a reason that Slayer have the most devoted fans in metal. That's because they fuckin' rule. World Painted Blood is no exception.

Every band has their "crowning achievement" so to speak. Metallica has Master of Puppets, Sepultura has Chaos A.D., Megadeth has Risk. (JUST KIDDING!!) For Slayer, it's Reign in Blood. Nothing will ever match that album, so it's useless to even try to compare any subsequent Slayer album to it. That being said,World Painted Blood is pretty slaytanic. I've had it on repeat for about 3 days. I had to force myself to listen to something else. (YOB - The Great Cessation) I think people rag on recent Slayer albums because they haven't really changed their style much in forever. But when bands do change their style ( ie Metallica) they get ragged on even more. So you can't win. But really, why should Slayer change anything? Don't fix what ain't broke. Tom Araya can still bring it. ( Fuck you, Auto-tune) Nobody solos like King and Hanneman. And Dave Lombardo is a fucking god. He is phenomenal on this record. Especially on "Unit 731".

I need to stop listening to albums for the first time in my van. The sound is so comparatively shitty that it ruins first impressions. Actually, I listened to the first few songs of this on my computer. At 6am. At very low volume. On one speaker. Yeah, not a good way to introduce an album. When finally I was able to hear it with decent sound, at a befitting volume, I had to kick myself for the flicker of doubt that crossed my mind. World Painted Blood is awesome. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. It's fucking Slayer!! The worst Slayer track is 250% better than the best tracks from 95% of the metal out there.

World Painted Blood is fast, it's vicious, it gets stuck in your head. I can't stop discreetly air guitaring. Or drumming on stuff. Or singing "murder is my future!" under my breath.

Slayer fucking rules.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder

If you don't know Shrinebuilder, shame on you. They are the very definition of supergroup. The lineup: Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Al Cisternos of OM (ex-Sleep), Dale Crover of the Melvins and Scott "Wino" Weinrich of Wino (ex- St. Vitus, Spirit Caravan, Hidden Hand, Place of Skulls, etc etc). The sound: Neurosis meets OM meets Melvins meets Wino. Doesn't get much simpler than that. You can hear elements of all the players other bands in just about every song on the album. I believe they all sing as well. It doesn't sound like 4 bands mashed together though. It's cohesive. It has flow. And it's (as SYL would put it) heavy as a really heavy thing. However, it's not oppressively heavy. i.e. Sunn O))), Sloth, etc. Ya know, stonerdoomgaze heavy.

I really hope this collaboration isn't a one-off thing. They work really well together. All parties are so prolific, it's a wonder they even had time to do this. But, if they did it once, there's no reason they can't do it again. In the meantime, I'll be building my shrine.

Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive

The first time I listened to Darkness Come Alive, I enjoyed it but I was in no big rush to hear it again. A couple weeks went by. At the end a veritable death metal marathon (Suffocation, Hail of Bullets, Despised Icon and Pestilence, with some Skeletonwitch thrown in for good measure) I was almost about to listen to Dying Fetus when I spotted Doomriders beside it on my iPod. I figured a break from brutality wouldn't hurt. Even this time I wasn't "into it". Granted, being played through and FM Transmitter on 15 year old car speakers is not going to do any band any favours. I switched to Blood Tsunami for a little scream therapy. When next I donned my iPod I put it back to Doomriders. Something had changed. Almost instantly I was locked in. It fitting because the track was "Come Alive". I felt like I had. Or at least been awakened to the awesomeness.

Groove, hooks, melody, and emotion all in the context of heavy. I could feel the galloping groove that makes you feel like your flying across a vast landscape. I was hooked by the Torche-esque power-pop elements. Some of the intricate guitar work reminded me of Baroness. The heavy comes into play with the tone and the pummeling drums. The vocals could be my favourite part. Amidst the southern crust/sludge/stoner musical backdrop, a hardcore bellow delivers the message. They're vocals that come from deep within. That are full-out. They can't be sung at any less than full volume. Just the way I like it. Even when they are a little cleaner, they're still powerful and loud. Like someone forgot to tell him that he has a mic. He's singing over the other instruments. Ah, glorious.

I had my Top 50 of 2009 almost figured out. Darkness Come Alive will probably bump somebody out. (Despised Icon's Day of Mourning might too) It's just a matter of who. I also haven't heard the new Slayer yet, but that one's a given.

Hey whatever happened to White Zombie's J. Yuenger?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Revocation - Existence is Futile: I seriously don't understand what the big deal is with these guys. The singer is nothing special and too many times the guitar work reminded me of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or someone like that. Nowhere near the status being exalted on them by the "media".

Converge - Axe to Fall: It's Converge. Nuff said. Well, I can say a bit more. This album is, in a word, powerful. Decidedly hardcore, energetically metal. It amazes me how people can compose music like this. I'll have to listen to it a few more times before I can start to place in my Top 50 of 2009 list. It'll be there, just where is the question.

Children - Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World: I am having a hard time. A hard time deciding how to describe Children. I can hear all sorts of genres. Punk speed, thrash riffs, hardcore vocals, and some crazy solos. Instead of sounding like a band that doesn't know what they are, they sound like a band that is able to put all their influences in the same pot and still come out with something delicious.

Burning Human - Resurrection Through Fire: Yet another reason that 2009 has been a great year for death metal. Fast, brutal, evil.

Short thoughts on recent listenings

Andreas Kisser - Hubris I & II: Boring. Pointless. Not bad per se, but just unnecessary. If it wasn't Andreas Kisser, I'd have dismissed it outright. II is lacking the bad singing of I and that's good. But it's not really great. If I wanted to listen to flamenco sounding guitar work, I'd listen to....

Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11: Okay, I'm a metal guy thru and thru. So why do I love RyG so much? No drums, no singing, very little electric guitar. Just 2 acoustics guitars and lots of energy. Perhaps what I like best is I can put it on with just about any company around and nobody says "How can you listen to this?"

GWAR - Lust in Space: Meh. Never been much of a fan of GWAR. Why start now? They do put on an interesting live show though.

Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage: I wasn't really into Daylight Dies, but this is better. Maybe I just needed to separate myself from KsE for a while. I guess it just didn't come off as sappy. It's a grower for sure.

Otep - Smash The Control Machine: WAY better than I expected. The last one was horrible. Well, maybe the last 2 or 3. Not to say this is great by any stretch. Still very much in the rap-metal vein on some tunes. At least one horribly so. And there is the obligatory almost spoken word "rant" we've come to expect from Ms. Shimaya. That chick can still shred some vocals though. When she screams "Make me come!" in "Numb & Dumb"...yeah.

Astra - The Weirding: The definition of retro. Transport me back 35 years and give me an endless supply of weed and Astra would be the soundtrack for that trip. It's pretty good but I'm stone cold straight right now so it's not doing much for me.

Resistant Culture - Welcome to Reality: Fuck yeah! Remember when Max was in Sepultura? This kicks ass!

Snail, Syrach and Weekend Nachos were alright but nothing special. Snail deserves another listen though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

3 Inches of Blood w/ Arise and Ruin and guests @ Time to Laugh, Kingston, ON Oct. 18, 2009

3 Inches of Blood said they hadn't been to Kingston in 3 years. Arise and Ruin have been to Kingston 3 times THIS year. Whatever the frequency, Kingston (and I) were glad to have them both. The support acts were CFPT, We Are the Archers, and Fathom Ties. Here's the rundown:

CFPT: Beats me! I was still driving there.

We Are The Archers: For most of their set I was takin' a dump at the Pizza Pizza then smokin' a joint in a back alley. I think I caught the last song but I wasn't paying attention. At the end of their set, the singer says "We are We Are The Archers! (slight pause) That's the name of the band, We Are The Archers". It made me think of that P.O.D. song, "Youth of a Nation". Not the music, just the "We are, we are" part. Maybe it's time for a name change.

Fathom Ties: They seemed like a pretty confident bunch. But confidence will only take you so far (with me). I wasn't real impressed by them. They were very well rehearsed and looked like they believed in their music, but it just wasn't my thing. They did that whole synced guitar/headbang thing. Ya know, to a breakdown. They reminded me a lot of Incubus. The sappy-ass nu-metal one. Not the old school one that I've never actually heard. There were kids going apeshit though. Good for them. They'll come around eventually. At one time, I liked Incubus. Oh and when the singer was like "Let's hear it for ...." he said "3 Inches IN Blood." Ouch.

Arise and FUCKING RUIN!!!!!!!! These hardworkin' Guelphites never fail to put on a kick ass show. They are wicked tight. Vocalist Ryan Bauchman is a force. Dude is so full of energy! I love it. He's grabbin' people by the shirt and screamin' in their face. He's jumpin' off the monitors. He's screamin' and sweatin' and tearin' that place apart. The rest of the band aren't slouches either. For instance, I had to move over because I kept getting whipped by Sam's hair. Hell yeah. Come back again soon boys!

3 Inches of Blood: I have to admit, I set my hopes really high for this. Too high for anything to have lived up to it. The last show I was at was Clutch, so nothing could live up to that. With that being said, 3IOB did put on a great show. I think they needed a bigger stage though. Technically, they were spot on. I don't know if it was just where I was standing or what but I could only really hear the vocals and bass guitar. That wasn't really a bad thing. The bass is hard to pick up on the album, so being able to hear (and see) it live was kinda nice. I could hear the drums too. It was just the guitar that was kinda low in the mix. When I was reviewing Here Awaits Thy Doom, I mentioned how I missed Jamie Hooper's vocals and Justin Hagberg did a decent job but not great. He made up for it live. His screams were great. Very good interplay with the spot-on performance of Cam "He Who Is Most Aptly Named" Pipes. (I need to trademark that) They played a nice mix of tunes from the new album as well as some older stuff. The crowd reacted just as fervently no matter what they played. Many a lyric were sung, many a fist were pumped, many a head were banged, and when the 3 song encore finished with "The Goatrider's Horde", many an ear left ringing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hail of Bullets - Warsaw Rising EP

Warsaw Rising picks up right where ...Of Frost and War left off. Buzzsaw riffage, pummelling drums and very distinctive tortured screaming vocals. And of course, it's about war. In short, fucking awesome death metal. Hail of Bullets is quickly becoming one of my favourite death metal acts. In addition to the new material, some live tracks are included. Excellently performed, great recording. I am guessing this was recorded from a show in their native Holland. All the between song banter is in Dutch. (I assume. I can't make heads or tails of it) If Warsaw Rising is meant to whet our appetites until another full length, I hope they make it quick, cuz I'm gettin' hungry!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Skeletonwitch - Breathing The Fire

I set my hopes really high for Breathing The Fire. Maybe too high. It's not that the album isn't good, it's just I expected to be incapacitated by awesomeness. I found that is was considerably better the second time around. Also, I have yet to hear it through good speakers or at elevated volume. That makes a difference. I found myself doing a lot of steering wheel drumming. The steering wheel guitar will come soon enough. It's hard not to considering how much BTF shreds. I am not sure if I will get to the scream along phase though. My black/death vocals are based a lot on volume to get the desired effect (Blood Tsunami-style) whereas the vocalist for Skeletonwitch can pull it off without the balls-out screaming. That's a good thing.

I'm about halfway through the new Immortal right now but when I'm done that I think I'll spin Breathing the Fire again. If it keeps getting better with each listen I should just leave it on repeat!

Monday, October 12, 2009

too busy

I've been busy. I've been listening to a lot but during the time where I would be writing reviews, I've been reading. I don't want to neglect you so I'm taking time out of reading Atlantis, Alien Visitation and Genetic Manipulation by Michael Tsarion to tell you a little but about some of this weekend's listenings.

Ancestors - Of Sound Mind: Has some interesting elements (Hammond organ) but not very engaging on first listen. I suspect a more concentrated listening session would yield better results. (read: stoned).

Asphyx - Death....The Brutal Way: Fuckin' right! I wouldn't have it any other. Is that the same vocalist as in Hail of Bullets?

Belphegor - Walpurgis Rites: Hexenwahn: I listened to the whole thing so it wasn't that bad but it didn't make a huge impression on me. Plus, that was like 2 days ago.

Bloody Panda - Summon: 2 words for ya - Scary shit. It's like the soundtrack to a horror movie filmed in a haunted insane asylum. But it's real. Terrifying, tortured and awesome. I'd like to do a full review on this one.

Chaosfear - Image of Disorder: Again, not a huge impression. It deserves another listen. Kind of traditional modern heavy metal. I wouldn't stick it in any particular sub-genre.

Dethklok - Deth Album II: Ya know, for a "fake" band, they're pretty rippin'. Or should I say, brootal.

Demonical. I can't remember the album title. But it's fucking awesome. An oppressive wall of buzzsaw guitars.

Devil's Blood - Come, Reap: Pretty cool. Retro sounding. Makes me miss Mammoth Volume even more.

I did start listening to the new Bergraven. Dude reminded me too much of Rammstein. Wasn't feelin' it. I listened to one track off the new Despised Icon album, Day of Mourning. Wasn't feelin' that either.And when last I was at my iPod, I was listening to Hymns of Blood and Thunder by The Gates of Slumber. It's good. Very Sabbathian. It's not blowing me away the way their last album did. I'm only a couple tracks in so maybe it takes some time to get going.

Finally, whenever I've been driving, I've been screaming along to (literally) Grand Feast for Vultures by Blood Tsunami. I fucking love the shit out of this album. I've probably listened to it more than any other one this year. I seriously expect it to fight for My Fave Album of '09 That's Not Clutch.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm in a shitty mood today and I've been having a hard time finding something to listen to. I listened to the second half of Horizoner by Bloodhorse. That was good. I love that album. Reminds me of early Kyuss. I didn't even make it through one track of Bury Your Dead's It's Nothing Personal. It sucks donkey balls. Then I listened to one track from The Chariot's Wars and Rumors of Wars. I'm not in the mood for christiancore today, eventhough I became friends with the bassist when he was in I Hate Sally. I gave Black Cascade by Wolves In The Throneroom another shot. I'm not big into black metal. Not bad. The songs weren't different enough though. I may try Moss - Tomb of the Blind Drugged. I think that's the name. I don't think that will do anything to improve my mood though. I'll find something.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Doom night

I've kinda been listening to all doom stuff tonight. I started with Batillus, then OM, and I just started Culted. Not sure what I have on my iPod should I finish Culted tonight. All 3 bands are awesome. I'll talk about OM.

I have always been a big fan of OM. Not only because I enjoy OM as they stand, but also due to the (until recently) pedigree of the members. Both Al Cisternos and Chris Hakius used to be in Sleep. So, duh, awesome. And Chris was also the drummer for a band called The Sabians, fronted by Sleep alumnus Justin Marler. I fucking LOVE that band. Too bad they only made 2 albums. Anyway, the album is God is Good. It's the first OM record without Hakius. I can't remember the name of the new drummer, but he's pretty good. I haven't had a chance to really listen to the lyrics yet. I'm guessing it's the as per usual deep shit. No fluff here. If you could say anything bad about OM it's that their previous work pretty sounds the same. Overdriven bass with a lot of cymbal and bass drumwork with chant like vocals. While the drums and vocal cadence remain more or less unchanged, their are some changes. The overall production, especially the bass seem a lot cleaner. And the vocals are higher in the mix. On top of that, there are more instruments! I can't recall there ever being more than bass and drums. (Correct me if I'm wrong, it's actually been a while since I've listened to their older stuff.) There are some Eastern strings (sitar?), some kind of flute, and something else that escapes my memory at 4am. Piano!! I knew I'd remember. It gave the album a very Eastern feel. Which is kind of odd, considering the album is called God is Good. God as in singular, which is really more of a Western point of view. I really want to delve into the lyrics more. I've been reading alot about alternate theories of human history, reinterpretation of the Bible and Eastern religion, so I'm kind of in that mindset right now. I think this one will get a lot more spins before it eventually winds up somewhere in my Top 40 of 2009. I'm totally going to meditate to this album. It's so chill. Some herbal accompaniment wouldn't hurt either.

Speaking of Al Cisternos, he's also in Shrinebuilder. I've heard one song from this doom supergroup so far.It rules. The album is going to destroy us all.

Hey, whatever happened to Kim Thayil?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Random whatevers.

Just some stuff i've been listening to. I'm not in a "write a review" mindset right now, but I'm bored.

I had a reader ask me about Burnt By The Sun. He asked if I could recommend any similar artists. That's a really hard question. I've listened to the album, Heart of Darkness, about 4-5 times since he asked the other day. I still haven't come up with an answer I'm satisfied with. Maybe because Heart of Darkness is so good, you don't need to listen to anything else! It's heavy, intense, complex. The vocals are passionate. There's new subtle textures I hear every time I listen to it. I hear metal. I hear hardcore. But despite the iTunes tag, I wouldn't consider it metalcore. It's great. I might even listen to it again today.

I listened to the new Every Time I Die this morning. New Junk Aesthetic. It's okay. Pretty typical ETID. It's fun. It's not exactly straightforward riff-wise but it's not hard to listen to either. It was my first go around so I haven't formed a solid opinion yet. But, I have a feeling ETID is more in their element in a live setting. Even on the album the vocalist has a commanding presence that would be awesome to see on stage. Ya never know, they might even come to Kingston!

I listened to the new Black Dahlia Murder album, Deflorate, last night/this morning. First time I heard it I was unimpressed. I must have been having a bad day or something because it's pretty kick ass. Love the vocals. I think I like them so much because it's the kind that I like to scream along to. Like Blood Tsunami and Skeletonwitch. Almost black metal vocals mixed with death growls. I was really into it driving around last night. Until I picked the kids up. I didn't turn it off. Just down. And I wasn't screaming at the top of my lungs.

What else? Samael! Above. That is a loud fuckin' record. I usually don't like keyboards in my black metal but they are well used here. Not dominating. It did seem a little long thoug. There wasn't enough difference between the songs to keep me intensely interested all the way through. And the remix at the end? I was having none of that.

Yesterday's feast also included a band called Culted. I can't remember the name of the album. Beneath something or other Thunder Deep. I think. I feel bad not remembering because it's pretty awesome. Slow, atmospheric, blackened doom. Most of the time I don't have the patience to let stuff like this get where it's going. (if it ever does) Decibel gave it a 9 and most of the band is Canadian so I toughed it out. Glad I did. It sounded bleak and depressing but at the same time, I was tapping my toe and nodding my head. How does that happen? Very nice range of guitar tones. The vocals were tolerable. If you don't like basement black metal vocals, you won't like these. They fit with the music so I didn't mind.

The last thing I've listened to today was Dying Fetus - Descend Into Depravity. Brutal tech-death awesomeness. I saw a video for one of the tracks of this and it really showcases the technicality. Especially bassist Sean Beasley. That dude is fucking amazing. Finger tapping AND sweep picking!! "Hello Jaw. Meet Floor". Amazign musicianship. Brutal brutal brutal vocals. Technical without sacrificing the songs, or being self-indulgent. It's weird. I like this, but I don't like Cynic, Obscura, The Faceless, etc and I do like Origin and Arsis. What is with me anyway? I don't make sense.

I downloaded a Metal Maniacs sampler. Most of it was shit. There MIGHT be 2 bands on it that I would care to hear more of. Surprisingly not Fetid Zombie or Bone Gnawer. Orthrus maybe? and possible Augury. The Century Media sampler should be better.

Ok. Time to read some abstracts of books recommended by Michael Tsarion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3 Inches of Blood - Here Awaits Thy Doom

3 Inches of Blood - Here Awaits Thy Doom: This is a hard review to write. But write it I will. When you hear a 3IOB record you kind of know what you are going to get. Old-school riffage, fantastical/battle-themed lyrics, and some high-pitched singing courtesy of Cam "He Who Is Most Aptly Named" Pipes. So when I started listening to Here Awaits Thy Doom I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. That something was second vocalist,Jamie Hooper. The Screamer. Guitarist Justin Hagberg does lend some unclean vocals here and there but it's just not the same. The screaming was a integral part of what hooked me on 3IOB in the first place. (A friend at a record store put on Battlecry Under a Wintersun years ago and I dismissed it before I heard the screams. Then, last year, a different friend was raving about their shows so I gave them a second, more serious, chance. I had recently been expanding my musical horizons and was enjoying bands that I had previously (blindly) never cared for. i.e. Iron Maiden.( gimme a break. I was late to the party. Pantera's Far Beyond Driven turned me onto metal.) I ate Battlecry..., Advance & Vanquish and Fire Up The Blades right up. My favourite aspect was the screaming. I thought "How fucking awesome would it be if all the vocals were that visceral, strip-flesh-from-the-bone screaming?!" Instead, they are totally absent. Too bad the screams virtually destroyed his vocal chords and forced him to depart.

It's still a cool album. It's still got the battle theme, the riffage and the Pipes. And it's catchy as fuck. The songs get stuck in your head real good. Now whether that is due to catchiness or repetition is up for debate. "Preacher's daughter" is repetitive in "Rock and Roll All Nite" proportions. Maybe it's just the lack of screaming but I also feel HATD is a little less ferocious than previous efforts. I can hear a wider range of influences seeping through as well. Obviously KISS, the usual Maiden/Priest and I think I can hear some Black Sabbath, maybe some Skynyrd, Allman Brothers and Zeppelin too. It's hard to pinpoint for a young'un like me who wasn't raised on that stuff. (Country. UGH. Why Mom? Why???!) Like I said, pretty good album but I miss the screaming.

However, nothing is going to stop me from seeing them next month when they come to town. You'll see me rockin' out, front and center!!! Oh yeah, I'll be there to Rock In Hell.

Hey, whatever happened to Filter?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clutch! Comin atchya live!!

I made the trip to Toronto last Wednesday to see the greatest band ever, live in concert. Oh yes. I'm talkin' about Clutch! They played at the Phoenix. I had never seen a show there. It's quite the place. I'm used to seeing shows in small clubs/bars. And I'm usually right up at the front so sound quality goes right out the window. So, I was really impressed with the sound at the Phoenix. I could listen to each component. I could distinguish each guitar from the other, the bass from them both. It was a nice change. Don't get me wrong, I love small clubs. But with a band like Clutch, it's not about screaming or headbanging or moshing or being as loud as (in)humanly possible. At a Clutch show, it's about the experience. A religious experience. And Neil Fallon is the preacher. The stage his pulpit. Guitarist Tim Sult and bassist Dan Maines, while being absolutely amazing, are pretty much glued to the floor. Drummer J.P. Gaster (who pulled double duty with Wino) is a spectacle unto himself. Watching him play is fun! Between his facial expressions, his bouncing around on the stool and his unique beats, he'd be worth the ticket price alone. Back to Neil. He's probably the best frontman I have ever seen. (Phil Anselmo may be the other) He has such a conviction. An energy that is hard to describe. He is one with the words. He can look you in the eye and you will believe whatever comes out of his mouth.

One of the best things about seeing Clutch live is you never really know what to expect. They change the setlist up every night. So if I had the extreme pleasure of catching more than one date on a tour, it would be a like a whole new experience. Even better than that are the jams. Oh the jams! The Clutch boys have such an incredible sense of each other. They are locked in. It's like they can read each others minds. They can slip into a jam and carry it out for 5, 10, 15 minutes and be so far away from where they started and WHAM! Right back into the song. Perfectly. And it's not just the bass and drums providing a beat for the guitar to do it's thing. At any given time, any instrument can be the centrepiece. It's amazing. One of these days, I'm half expecting Neil to just start rambling off lyrics improv style. They played for about an hour and 45 minutes including, I believe, a 4 song encore. You get every penny worth. None of that 45 minute set crap. I don't recall them playing anything pre-Clutch. I also don't remember anything from Jam Room or Pure Rock Fury. They might have. I'd have to check the setlist. They played a good chunk off the new record, Strange Cousins From the West. No "Spacegrass", no "Escape From the Prison Planet", no "Dragonfly" but you can't have everything. If I had anything bad to say about the show it would be the occasional echo effect on Neil's mic. I don't know if it was just the acoustics of the building or if it was a bad effect, but it didn't sound very good. They used some weird effect during "The Yeti" during the "...time is of the essence..." parts. It didn't fit at all. It wasn't even close to the album sound. Instead of it sounding like someone talking farther from the mic it sounded like someone talking underwater. I don't who's idea it was, but it was a bad idea. Relatively minor complaints, I guess.

So basically, what I'm trying to say is, Clutch were, are and always will be, the best live band you will ever see. (Best recorded band too. Just the best. Ever. Believe it.)

In case you were wondering about support acts, I have a few words for them too. Circumstances prevented me from seeing opener, Lionize. I'm not hearbroken that I didn't get to see them. But I would have liked to. They sounded kinda trippy from what little I heard online. And I was in a trippy mood. (wink wink) I did see/hear most of Wino's set though. By that point in the day I hadn't eaten in almost 12 hours. ( I just plum forgot. Too excited) So that signature Scott "Wino" Weinrich tone and it's subsequent low-frequency resonance was doing funny things to my stomach. I had to step away for a few minutes and then stand in a ridiculously long and slow moving line to get some $3 water. I was concentrating more on the line and the loudmouthed idiot in front of me than the band. What I did see though was pretty good. Performance wise it was kind of sub-standard. They didn't move that much. The music was great but it wasn't so much a "show" as a listening party. Plus, they had J.P. on the kit so that was like an extra bonus. I'm a big fan of all of Wino's work so I would like to see them again. On a full stomach.

Below is the shirt I bought. Sweet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

MetalMatt needs your help

I'm taking an anger management class and my assignment is to find a song that describes how I feel. I am really bad with remembering lyrics.
Can you help?

I feel:

angry all the time
like nobody listens to me
like every one is an idiot
like I HAVE to yell to be heard
want to throw things and hit things all the time
want to be alone
nothing is interesting

Basically, I feel like doing anything that is not for myself directly is a hassle and I am always hassled. I am a walking ball of rage with no control.

Know any songs that sound like that?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Toronto's Titan posted a live video of new song "Warmer Months". It slays.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I've been busy, alright!

I've been pretty busy this month so I haven't really posted. I have been listening to plenty of metal but I just haven't had the time to post much. If you follow me on Twitter, I posted little comments there more often. But, because I feel like I am neglecting you, I'll post some stuff right now, instead of reading a very, very, very interesting book. (Atlantis, Alien Visitation, and Genetic Manipulation by Michael Tsarion)

I don't really pay that much attention to lyrics. However, the other day I was staining the fence while listening to my iPod. Since I wasn't reading or surfing the web, I actually paid a little more attention. Here's what happened. Heaven & Hell, pretty cool stuff. Dio's lyrics really separate H&H from Black Sabbath. Behemoth (Evangelion), I still couldn't make out most of it. All I remember is "Hail Dionysus!" Good enough for me! Birds of Prey (The Hellpreacher), I've listened to this album at least a half dozen times, or more, and this was the first time I sort of got the concept. Not 100% but I got the whole prison thing and what not. I did have to pay some attention to the task at hand. Bloodhorse, I wasn't really paying attention. I was more thinking, when the hell am I gonna finish this staining!!

I recently listened to:

Shadows Fall - Retribution: Sounded pretty solid on first listen. Good rythym, good speed. Vocals sound pretty good too. There's the odd part that is kinda weak but overall good. At times, I thought it sounded like Trivium. In a good way. I will def be listening to this more. It deserves it.

The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate: Again, pretty good on first listen. A little bit techy for me but the non-"generic death grunt" vocals made up for it. I've never been a huge BDM fan, but I've always enjoyed them. This deserves more listens too.

Baroness - Blue Record: I've only listened to a few tracks but I like what I hear. I don't think it's a heavy as the Red Album. There is always so much to hear with Baroness. I'll have to spin it a few more times to see how it will rank for this year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Shrinebuilder song!!

A new Shrinebuilder song (Pyramid on the Moon) is streaming on their myspace.

For those of you who don't know, Shrinebuilder is the new supergroup featuring Wino, Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Al Cisternos (Sleep, OM), and Dale Crover (Melvins).

It's fucking incredible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a few words on what I've been listening to

Battlefields - Thresholds of Imbalance: Pretty good. A little boring in parts (tinkly guitar passages) but nice to chill to. I haven't finished it yet but I will.

Burnt by the Sun - Heart of Darkness: haven't finished this either but it's turning my crank. Nice and heavy. Some great riffs too.

Not really impressed by Artillery, At War, or Axis Powers. Azarath and Backwoods Paycheck sound pretty good.

Swashbuckle - Back to the Noose: I really liked the track "Cruise Ship Terror" when I heard it on the Nuclear Blast/Sumerian sampler. So I was excited to hear the whole album. It's better sounding than their debut production wise. But, the pirate metal shtick gets old fast. The little spoken shit in between songs is pointless and boring. Like cut-scenes in video games. Back to the Noose is good and fun but all in all forgettable.

Friday, August 28, 2009

There has been a lot of talk recently about Dino Cazares. The whole Fear Factory fight, a new Divine Heresy album and what not. It got me thinking. Dino has done better than (later day) FF and Divine Heresy. Asesino!!

I still need to show up at a show with a mask like the drummer. So fuckin' awesome.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Phil Anselmo is the man

I recently came across a series of videos of Phil Anselmo speaking to a group at Loyola University. I've linked it here for you because you need to see it. Phil is my favourite performer ever. EVER. He speaks from the heart and chews a lot of gum. hahaha

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Swashbuckle - Crewed by the Damned: I'm new to this whole Pirate metal micro-subgenre. But I think I like it. I first heard of Swashbuckle from the track "Cruise Ship Terror" on the Nuclear Blast/Sumerian sampler. I love the track so I'd thought I check out more. When I went searching, Back to the Noose wasn't out yet. So I went back an album. CbtD sounds pretty cool, if not very polished. LOTS of "Yo ho!"s. It's very fun to listen to. I hope they don't mean to be taken seriously though.(I'm pretty sure they don't) That's fine by me! I like fun. I particularly like the thrashiness of it. And the gang shouts. (of Yo Ho! of course) There is a definite step up in terms of quality and production from Crewed by the Damned to "Cruise Ship Terror". Which means, Back to the Noose is gonna plank your ass!!

I don't know about the "eternal" part

Darkest Hour - The Eternal Return: Darkest Hour went back to their old producer (Brian McSomething) for this one. And yes, it harkens back to the good ole days of Darkest Hour. Rough and raw vocals and all that. But it doesn't fit. That's not really Darkest Hour anymore. Or maybe Devin Townsend turned DH into something they weren't? And now they've gone back? I dunno. But like I said, something doesn't fit. I think what it is, is that the vocals have gone back but the music still progressed. They still have that driving punky drum force and the guitar work is fantabulous. But uh, where'd Paul go? You know, the bassist? If I listen real hard I can hear him but it might as well not even be there for all it does. Not blaming Paul. He's good, I've seen him play. Solely blaming the mix. All in all, it's not a bad album but there's nothing really catchy enough about it to bring me back much. Besides, some of the solos sound very Dragonforce-ish. Yikes!

Chimaira ping-pong.

Chimaira - The Infection: This album had the shit hyped out of it. And deservedly so. Chimaira has released some great stuff. Just every other release. Let's start at the beginning. I can't remember the name of the first album (if I was at home, I'd just look on the shelf) but I liked it. I almost got a Chimaira tattoo ( I know someone who did). They reminded me of Slipknot. ( Another tattoo close call) Sometimes I get a craving for that album. Second one. Can't remember that name of that either. (might be on shelf at home) Bored by it. Here's how bored. I saw them as part of the original SOTU tour in Mississauga. During their set, a buddy of mine and I actually laid down on the concrete floor, and had a nap. No joke. No beers, no weed either. We were just that disinterested in seeing them perform we were able to nap on a concrete floor, with 100+ dB music playing. Third album, Resurrection. Aptly titled. Great album, nice comeback. The Infection, BORING. I guess that's being a bit harsh, but I think I've tried to listen to it 3 times and haven't made it all the way through yet. It just doesn't grab me. It feels contrived to me. Too many triggered drums. I feel it's too trendy. (I smell record label influence) Vocals and lyrics seem whiny and amateurish. At least I can bank on the next one being good! No doubt I'll try to listen to it again but it has some pretty stiff competition just in the "C" section of my iPod. (Clutch, Candlemass, Coalesce, Cobalt, Children....) Gonna have to do better if they want to stand out in the crowd.

More like Pray for Mercy!

Devildriver - Pray for Villians: First of all, how fucking long IS this?! It seems to go on forever. With every song just sounding like the last. Granted, I was listening to the version with bonus tracks but still, it was long. It wore out its welcome long before that. I didn't finish. I flipped to something else before the bonus track was over. The bonus track actually sounded like a better recording than the rest of the album. I used to like Coal Chamber, I used to like Devildriver. But I don't know about this one. I think the pedigree is a double edged sword. On one side, I did find some enjoyable stuff on it. Some catchy riffs, that sort of thing. But was I looking for them, for something to cling to? Maybe. On the other side, I was expecting it to kick some serious ass. It didn't kick my ass, that's for sure. It was decent enough but Dez sounds like he's trying to hard. Like it's forced. It just doesn't seem genuine. Better than most of the shit out there but I doubt it will be making my Best of 2009 list.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Because I suck

I should have been in Toronto last night. I should have been getting my doom on to Zoroaster, The Gates of Slumber and (the almighty) SerpentCult. But I wasn't. I was at work. Overtime. Because I suck. Instead I listened to a couple shitty albums on my breaks.

What do you get when you mix two parts Fear Factory and two parts Threat Signal? LinkinShank? Spinepark? Chester Santos? Useless nu-metal garbage? Close. You get Arkaea. Christian and Ray of/formerly of (the battle rages on) Fear Factory and 2 dudes from Threat Signal got together and made possibly the worst album of the year. While, I'm assuming, trying to be serious about it. Well maybe not the worst. (Oceano) But certainly not any good. It sounds like Spineshank without the electronics, or Linkin Park with balls, with a little FF influence. Raymond Hererra should be ashamed to be associated with this.

Speaking of Fear Factory members who should be ashamed...Dino, Dino, Dino. What is wrong, man! Who in the fuck! is that singing on the new Divine Heresy? (Bringer of Plagues) Possibly the worst singer I have heard in a long time. That's the best you could do?! Totally ruined a decent album. It could have been a better album for sure. Overall, I found it to be a bit repetitive but pretty rippin'.But the vocals...Satan help me.

Up next for listening, the new Behemoth and Kowloon Walled City.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I am bored and my brain is kinda mushy so I am gonna talk about the last 2 albums I listened to. It'll be brief and not very thought out.

Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God: First of all, what an awesome album title. Goatwhore has always been one of those bands that I know I enjoy but can never remember very much about them. That may change with this one. I think it's great. I've been in a phase lately that I need things to hit hard and hit fast. Carving Out the Eyes of God delivers that. If you know anything, you can hear the NOLA sound in it, but it brings more than just that. I can hear thrashier, punkier elements in it. I makes me want to headbang and mosh at the same time. Breakdown-free mosh, that is. They are touring with Abysmal Dawn so they obviously fit in with the death metal crowd. I could see them playing with thrash bands or hardcore bands too. I think this album is gonna get some heavy rotation on the ole iPod.

Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares: I have always loved Warbringer. I like the new school thrash movement and they are in the upper tier. (Unlike Wolf. I can't get past the first 4 songs of Ravenous) I can't really compare them to any of the old school thrash bands because I didn't really listen to any other than the Big Four. If I HAD to compare them to one of those four, I'd say Anthrax. Not as evil as Slayer, not a riff-y as Megadeth and not as long-winded (?) as Metallica. I can hear more punk/hardcore influence in it, similar to Anthrax. But it's not really a strong comparison. The vocals really stand out for me. I like vocals that sound as if they have to sung with conviction. Like you can't half-ass it. Maybe that's why Hetfield sucks now. No conviction. Just do yourself a favour and check it out.

I am going to listen to Executioner by Mantic Ritual next. It's awesome.

And I can't wait to get my mitts on the new Swashbuckle. I have "Cruise Ship Terror" burned in my brain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

what I've heard today

Sea of Bones - The Harvest: I'll definitely have to listen to it some more but it sounded pretty good on first go. Very atmospheric and broody. Sounds nice and evil.

Stinking Lizaveta - Sacrifice and Bliss: Again, just a first listen. I thought it was great. I'm getting pretty picky with my instrumental stuff but this makes the cut.

Suffocation - Blood Oath: I already reviewed this one.

I just started listening to Seance - Awakening of the Gods. Sounds pretty good so far. I just hope it doesn't get same-y as the album goes on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Mantic Ritual - Executioner: Awesome! Total speed thrash!! Welcome back 1983!! Whiplash inducing!! Don't even try to keep up!! Where's my jean jacket?

Jungle Rot - What Horrors Await: Death metal. No bones. Punky beats, buzzsaw guitars. Rasped bellow vocals. There's good chugging goin' on but you can shove your breakdowns up your ass!

Wino - Punctuated Equilibrium: It's Wino. Nuff said.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Suffocation - Blood Oath

I don't have a lot of experience with Suffocation. I have heard Effigy of the Forgotten a couple times. Everything in between is unknown to me. About 1 song into hearing Effigy for the first time, I knew I was missing out. So I was pretty excited when I heard they were releasing a new disc this year. Blood Oath might just have one of the best album covers ever. It reminds me of the days before the Internet when you would buy an album just based on the cover. (That's what I did with my first Slayer cassette) I mean, that's some seriously awesome imagery.
Equally awesome are the tunes assaulting my eardrums (Thank Satan, I don't think I could stand listening to the Barbie movie my daughter is watching right beside me). I got a taste of Blood Oath on the Nuclear Blast/Sumerian sampler in last month's Decibel Magazine. The track was "Cataclysmic Purification". From what I have heard so far, it was a fair representation of the album. Old school death metal. No jazzy breaks, no fucking gay-ass breakdowns, no dual vocals. Just pounding, in your face, death metal. The way it's supposed to be. Ugly, brutal, uncompromising. Don't get me wrong, dudes have chops. The difference is, it's more from the gut. It's not "hey, look! We can do "this"!" just for the sake of doing it. I hear a lot of bands that are really good until they go into some totally off-beat interlude crap for no apparent reason. Just bring the heavy. What's really standing out for me how even though the drums and the overall feel of the music is full speed ahead, my head is banging slowly. Also, the vocals are incredible. Right up there with George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. (Ha. My daughter stole my headphones and was dancing around to "Marital Decimation" Gotta start 'em young.)

I'll have to listen to Blood Oath more but it's absolutely one of the best death metal releases of 2009.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I've been on holidays so I haven't been keeping up with the blog. I will tell you this:

The new Clutch rules.
The new Candlemass is awesome.
I still love LOG's Wrath.
I haven't listened to Blood Oath by Suffocation yet but I am sure it kicks ass.
As much as I don't want to admit it, the songs I've heard from Swashbuckle and Blackguard kinda rule.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lords/Titan/Barnburner/Kill Martyr @ Bar None, Kingston, ON June 18, 2009

I'm gonna start by saying this was one of the best front-to-back shows I've been to in a while. There was no band on the bill that disappointed me. Even though I wasn't really familiar with most of the bands, I really got into it. Usually, if I don't know the band, I just stand there. But all the bands pulled me in. They didn't just come to play, they came to perform.

I'd seen locals, Kill Martyr, on plenty of bills, but I'd never actually made it out to see them. Well, I regret that! Finally a Kingston product, that plays shows (I'm looking at you, Excarnation) that doesn't sound like a million other myspace bands! It's hard to really describe their sound. Vocals are hardcore, that part's easy. But the the rest is like metal/jam/noisecore? Regardless of what they sound like, they believe in their stuff. The vocalist was all over the stage, the guitarists were headbanging right along, and the drummer was relentless. The bass player was kind of static, but I'll let it slide. I (used to) play bass and when I performed, I didn't move around much either. And, it wasn't a huge stage so there wasn't alot of room anyway once you have the backline up. I was really impressed by Kill Martyr and I would have bought a shirt, but I didn't budget for it and I know I can get one later. Because I will be seeing them again. Guaranteed.

Montreal's Barnburner are hard to really categorize too. Nice and fast. Great presence. They were a good compliment to Lords. They have a real Southern kinda swagger to them. When I thought about who they reminded me of, I kept thinking of Iron Giant and Bionic. But alot more "in your face". The vocalist sort of reminded me of Electric Wizard. Just his tone or the way he trailed off sometimes, I dunno. Great band. Lots of fun.

Titan. Who I came to see. Man, were they good. I'd seen them play with Fuck The Facts a few months ago for the first time and they blew me away. I knew of them before that because a good friend of mine was in a band with one of their guitarists. But, on their first EP, they were more hardcore oriented, and I'm not a huge hardcore fan so I never really paid them that much attention. Well, they've got my attention now! Their new EP, Colossus, is amazing. And much to my utter delight, they played most of it. The only song I didn't know was "Proceed". I believe that's an old one. Anyway, they played "Next Winter" from Colossus. Probably their heaviest song and one of my favourites. I was really into their set. My neck is pretty sore today. I probably looked like a damn fool, headbanging, little bit of air guitar, pounding on my leg and stuff. I don't care. That's what happens when the music speaks to you. All inhibitions are gone. (a couple beer help too) That light switch goes on and nothing exists but you and the music. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a beautiful thing. No power outages this time. Good thing, I wouldn't have wanted to miss anything! (For more posts about Titan, check the archives for a previous show review and a review of Colossus)

I knew I had heard Louisville, Kentucky's Lords album, Fuck All Y'all Motherfuckers before, but I couldn't remember what they sounded like. I knew I didn't not like them. But I still had no clue as to what to expect. I guess when you don't expect anything, you can't be let down. Right? I wasn't let down at all. I was treated to a set of PBR-fueled intensity. Edgy, southern-fried punk. I think what impressed me most was the speed and nimble fingeredness of the bass player. They reminded me a lot of the band Speedealer. That's a pretty hefty compliment. My shit ass memory is rearing its ugly head again and is sapping me of further details. But I will tell you, if you have the chance to see them, fucking do it. Y'all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random bits

Other albums I tried to listen to last night but just wasn't in the mood for: Giant Squid - The Icthyologist, Hooded Menace - Fulfill the Curse, and one by Eluvitie.

I listened to Oceano a few weeks ago. Yup, they suck.

I listened to Iwrestledabearonce a little while ago too. They didn't suck as much as everyone says they do. At least not the EP. Maybe the new album is really really bad. I hate the one dude's hair, and the singer chick looks like Jeanne Garofalo.

I still haven't finished transcribing my interview with Kylesa.

I haven't listened to "50,000 Unstoppable Watts" or "Abraham Lincoln" by Clutch in a few days. I do believe I have developed a tick.

Inevitable End - The Severed Inception

I didn't really like this one either. Not near as bad is Impending Doom though. I just really didn't like the vocals. A couple times I remember hearing punk toned guitar riffing over the deathcore vocals and drumming. WTF? I could still envision kids with bad haircuts doing that bop-sway "dance" they do. You know what I mean. I made it through the whole album but I really tuned out after a while.

Impending Doom - The Serpent Servant

I don't know why I downloaded this. The album title? Maybe I thought it was evil? Nah, I'm pretty sure they are Christian, and I'm pretty sure I knew that going in. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I didn't pay for it. At least with money. If they are Christian-core, I couldn't tell. I couldn't make out any words!! I usually don't mind that but you're not going to win over the heathens with mindless growling. There's plenty of J.C. hating bands out there who can do that. Vocals and lyrics aside, this album has more breakdowns than Bury Your Dead. You know, the band that has an album called The Beauty and the Breakdown? I don't know how the guitar player(s) could ever masturbate properly. They've got no rhythm! I never really want to hear The Serpent Servant again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Toxic Holocaust w/ Dirty Lickens May 29 @ AKA Autonomous Social Centre, Kingston, ON

KPP does it again!! There have been so many incredible acts passing through Kingston lately. Who needs Toronto?! This time the festivities were hosted at the awesome AKA Autonomous Social Centre. I love this venue! I'm pretty sure my living room is bigger but that's what makes it so cool. I don't think my wife would want me hosting metal shows at our house, but at least I know it can be done. Tubby Custard and P!cked On were supposed to open but apparently they both broke up. So Dirty Lickens opened instead. I don't think I've seen a stranger combo of opener to headliner. Ever.

Dirty Lickens ( I keep wanting to say Smelly Lichens for some reason) was really not anything like you'd expect to see opening for Toxic Holocaust. I asked Marc before they went on what they were like. He told me they were punk kids playing folk music. A pretty fair description. Accompanying the bass, drums and guitar was an acoustic guitar, a banjo and I believe a ukulele. They played some pretty upbeat punk-tinged bluegrassy stuff. I hesitate to call it punkabilly though. Maybe it is. I dunno. Either way, it's unique flavour was kinda refreshing. Nice to hear some kids doing something different instead of every Tom, Dick and Harry breaking down with deathcore slam. It certainly was good beer drinkin' music. And I still can't get their take on " Big Rock Candy Mountain" out of my head.

I didn't really know that much about Toxic Holocaust other than that they kick ass. I knew some dudes from Rammer were playing with them now. And I had seen a picture of mainman Joel Grind in a magazine once. Said picture gave no sense of scale. He was much bigger than I thought. No giant, but for some reason I pictured him being more my size (5'7", 175) No matter his size, his stage presence was huge! You can really tell this guy lives and breathes his music. Speed and thrash metal course through his veins. I only knew the songs from the latest album (2008's An Overdose of Death) but I could have known none of the tunes they ripped out and still have rocked out as much as I did. I am glad they played "Feedback, Blood and Distortion" though. That one is stuck in my head too. They had the place throwin' horns and bangin' heads like it was the last metal show on earth. I got more armpit-to-the-face from Dan in the Sodom Shirt than I'd care to, but I didn't care. I was too busy enjoying the show! It's been a while since I've been to such a pure headbangin' show. I'll bang my head to just about anything, but this made me want to grow my hair out even more than I already do. Everyone was having a great time. I'm really glad I didn't get stopped by the cops on the way home. I had so much beer spilled on me, I coulda failed a sobriety test. There was a girl there taking a video of the show. I asked her if I could get a copy. I told her she could contact me through this site and wrote it down for her but she was really drunk so who knows. If I do get it, I'll post it on here so you can see for yourself what a great show it was.

I gotta say, the atmosphere at AKA that night was great. I felt very comfortable talking to people. I usually don't. Met some new people, found out who some people actually were, cross-invasion of personal spaces, and generally stayed out later than I probably should have. If I lived in Kingston, I might hang out there more. But since I don't, I'll just have to wait til the next concert.

Stay metal, my friends.