Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bury Your Dead

This originally appeared in the second issue of Repulsive Regurgitation zine. I'm including it here for posterity...please don't steal this and the pics that go with it by putting it in your own shitty little thing without my permission. [I'm talking to you, Malaysia.]

Every movie monster is analogous to a larger problem. Vampires represent fears of sexuality, or drugs, or AIDS, or alienation. Frankenstein was an allegory for science run amok. Werewolves are twisted representations of adolescence, both male and female. Dawn of the Dead was about mindless consumerism; The Walking Dead is about fans of The Walking Dead. [Seriously, I have no idea why that show is so popular.]

Hesher Xmas

Is there a more metal holiday than Halloween? With its pagan roots and shameless embrace of everything horrific and ghoulish, it's the one day of the year when the rest of the world turns into us. This is our Christmas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bandcamp Picks - Temple of Baal, Vehemence, Abhorrent Decimation, Marasmus

Temple of Baal have been delivering some top notch albums for over a decade, under the radar for the most part. Mysterium is a master class in how to create the perfect black/death hybrid, expertly balancing discordance, melody, blast and restrained tempos. Another jewel in the crown of le metal noir. [$4.99 til the end of October]

Arizona's Vehemence were one of the first bands I ever interviewed, so I'm happy to hear they're back at it. Forward Without Motion picks up where their cult classic God Was Created left off, hammering their knack for melody home in 3/4 time and blowing away preconceptions of what it means to be an American death metal band. The only sore point is the production, which feels too much like a home recording and lets the bass drum run roughshod over the mix. Let those soaring melodies fly free, lads. [$10]

London's Abhorrent Decimation should be appealing to fans of modern death metal. Miasmic Mutation contains a good mix of all out speed, mid-paced groove and lots of catchy parts to get heads banging, all anchored by some assured performances. The Glen Benton-esque vocals make this longtime Deicide fan happy. A thoughtful melange death metal's past and present, as well as glimpses of its future. [£5]

It took all of 2 seconds for me to know I was going to love Kansas City's Marasmus. Conjuring Enormity is hyperblasting American death metal that hooks you in and doesn't let go, like the mighty Origin at their unrelenting best but with a few more progressive flourishes. The future of death metal is safe with bands like this pushing their physical and creative limits. [$7]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Horror Film Music 101

Hesher Christmas is quickly approaching. Being the antisocial kind, I'm not going going out this Halloween week-end, preferring instead to hole myself up in my bunker with a bunch of old friends like Evil Dead and Reanimator. [Also I'm in Malaysia, where there's zero percent chance of running into slutty Laffy Taffy.] But before I hit play on my Panasonic reel-to-reel, some thoughts on horror movie music.

The music in a horror movie sets the mood, builds tension, and drives home the scares. At their best, horror film scores stand separate from their film counterparts as albums/songs of their own merit. Here are ten of the best - most of which have been used by metal bands in some form or another.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Snail, My Home On Trees, Old Man Lizard, Low

Seattle's long-running shoegazers Snail were one of the bands that never saw their share of the spotlight when their town blew up. [Tad Doyle feels your pain, Snail.] They broke up in the Nineties, got back together in the Naughts and have released an album every few years since then. Their latest, Feral, is a fuzzed out marriage between shoegaze and stoner rock. The giant mushrooms on the album cover spell out both the band's sound and how it's meant to be enjoyed. [$10]

Like the great Sergio Leone, My Home On Trees are Italians with a thing for the desert. On How I Reached Home, the Milanese band sink their teeth into Kyuss' laconic desert groove and won't let go, with vocalist Laura Mancini doing a pretty good approximation of John Garcia's soulful pipes. A new take on the spaghetti western. [€7]

If the lack of vocals on Earth and Pelican albums was ever an issue, Old Man Lizard has you covered. Their new self-titled album keeps the ominous heft (and twang) of Earth's best albums, and adds some Neurosis-styled yelling. Even if the field they're playing in is overcrowded, this is a smart and somewhat unique album. [€7]

Minnesota's Low are slowcore pioneers - just don't tell them that. Ones and Sixes grafts the dual voices of Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker over sparse beats and simple guitar work, making the band's trademark minimalism sound expansive and overpowering. The band says it best on the opening track: Careful, measured, tortured, stable. A new high for Low. [$10]

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

nostalgia as curation

back in the day was still too late
Ah, nostalgia. Can anyone resist the temptation of romanticizing the music of their youth - especially if they just missed it? A few recent documentaries - Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC and the BBC series Music For Misfits: The Story of Indie have come not to bury the past but to praise it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hate Storm Annihilation Interview

I saw Hate Storm Annihilation on my most recent NY trip, when they opened for Master and Solstice at the Acheron in Brooklyn. Despite their young age and relative newcomer status, they held their own admirably with the veterans. Since I've always been a sucker for this kind of brain melting, unrelenting death metal, I e-mailed some questions to the band, which guitar whiz/vocalist Craig Schmuhl was kind enough to answer (the band is completed by drummer Konstantin Dermendjiev).

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bandcamp Picks - Creeping, Ogotay, Nightfell, Ravens Creed

The boundaries between death, black, and doom are fluid for New Zealand's intriguing Creeping. Their third album Revenant finds common ground with Gorguts and Ulcerate, but focuses more on slow tempos and discordant atmosphere. The production, courtesy of Ulcerate's Jamie St. Merat, brings the best out of its bleakness. [€6.66]

Coming out of one of the best countries for extreme metal, Poland's Ogotay have a lot to live up to. The songs on Dead God's Prophet wouldn't be out of place on a Behemoth album, though with a slight experimental edge that reminds me of the late, great Red Harvest. I can't say no to another great Polish band. [$8]

When I heard His Hero Is Gone as a teenage hesher, I was ecstatic that hardcore bands were finally using death metal(ish) vocals. I can only imagine my younger self's excitement if he knew HHIG's Todd Burdette would go on to form the dark and deathly Nightfell. Their second album Darkness Evermore is what you'd expect if the guy from Tragedy put out an album with the drummer from the Howling Wind; that said, it's not that far off from canonical bands like Bolt Thrower and Asphyx. Slow death metal for slow death metal fans. [$7.77]

Nottingham's Ravens Creed aren't ones for overthinking things; Ravens Krieg is about as straight to the point as you can get, drawing from the early, simple days of death metal, with plenty of nods to Hellhammer, Master, Death and the like. As subtle as nails in a baseball bat, and about as effective. [€5]

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Steals, This Book

I took this photo from their Facebook page for my own use. I hope they appreciate the irony.
Someone I don't know took my post about Rumah Api (and the photos that went along with it) and published it in their zine without my permission. It was a pretty personal post, which is part of the reason why having it reprinted without my consent is so irritating.