Every once and a while, a record comes and graces my ears, and just gets everything right. The newest EP from Sordo, their vinyl debut, is one of the most perfect records I've heard all year. Beware those who enter this review, because I am going to splooge so many words of praise in here, it might get stupid. You know what else is stupid, this record. It's stupidly awesome. You all know I'm a huge fan of bass/drum bands; give me a destructive bass tone, some blast beats, and I'm pretty much always good. Sordo get all the things I love about bands like this down to a science. For a guy like me, it was deep, passionate love at first listen. It also helps that Sordo know how to write a good ass song! There are catchy riffs all over this record. Riffs that are as pulverizing as they are groovy. These jams get me excited as hell, I threw down to this record at work. No shit. But, these songs wouldn't have nearly the same impact if the recording was as absolutely disgusting as it is. I don't think I could have asked for a better recording. The drums are booming! The snare, the kick drum, toms, every hit just reaches out and thwacks you in the face. Absolutely sick bass tone too, total low-end annihilation. When Sordo goes into full blast mode, it sounds like mountains collapsing. I also get to play one of my favorite games when I listen to this record; "Name That Sample"! If you're not into samples, this might annoy you, honestly. Nearly every song has one. And if I did have ONE complaint, it's that the "Hobo With A Shotgun" sample on "Skull Stomp" goes on for way too long. I didn't have any problem with any of the others though (I also recognized "Dumb and Dumber", "They Live", and "Spongebob Squarepants"). ERRRRGGGG, this is just too good. So good. It's good. No, it's great. It's amazing. Buy it. NOW! Pick it up from Nice Dreams Records, and do it fast, they definitely won't last long.
After MANY months of nothing happening, then a couple more months of getting everything back together, getting a ton more tracks, pulling out hair, and going a little mental, the Operation Grindcore Vol. 2 compilation is nearing completion. It's been a lot of hard work keeping everything together, and the reception I've gotten from bands submitting their tracks has been incredible. But now we're finally at 50 tracks, from 50 bands, and I'm very happy to see it all coming together. Here is the final line-up for the comp.
There are a lot of times where I grimace at the fact that I'm not living in the west coast. News like this makes me power frown at my current residence like no other. In Disgust, yeah that In Disgust, are playing a reunion show in January. And of course, I have to be on the other-fuck-side of the country. You west coaster's and your super awesome bands. Makes me sick. In all seriousness though, this is some pretty incredible news, and I'm excited about the possible outcomes from this. I mean, their split 5" with SFN is coming out. Maybe a full on resurgence from the band? Might be a stretch, but hey, a guy can dream.
Well, it's that time of the month again; another Sidetracked record is rearing it's glorious head and by golly I would be a fool to not promote the ever loving hell out of it. The Tacoma, WA fastcore has been killing it this prolific year, seeing the release of the "Wrench" cassette, "Forfiet" 7" and an excellent split 7" with Self Inflicted. This particular upcoming release trumps all others for me though. The split 12" with the supreme fastcore kings, xBrainiax. One of the last records that will be released by To Live A Lie before the year long break. Fans of fastcore around the globe are probably moist from anticipation at this sure to be amazing split, and Sidetracked was kind enough to give us a little 5 song teaser of their side, to stream on their bandcamp. Though the songs will probably be over before you're done reading this, the tracks are excellent, and should not disappoint any fans of the band. To me, the recording kind of calls back to their side of the In Disgust split (probably my favorite release from the band). Stream it below, and hope that at least half of the releases they have planned come out next year.
I can't count the number of time's I've been asked; "what's grindcore?" or, "what makes this powerviolence?" or, "what the hell is fastcore, how is it different than powerviolence?". And usually, I feel like I can give a pretty legitimate definition about these genres, but that being said, it has kind of gotten to a point where even seasoned listeners can get a little tripped up pinning down what subgenre a band falls into. It seems every band with a blast beat these days is labeled as a "grindcore" band, and every fast band with a sludgy part is "powerviolence". So, let's put it all to rest, I present to you, my take, and not very encyclopedic definitions of these three genres. Hopefully we can reach some level of understanding.
For the most devoted of underground grindcore followers, a split like this should be a true gem. The Prince of Mince, Archagathus, teaming up with the steadily rising in popularity chronic-grinders, Pizza Hi Five. If you're already not turned off by a band called Pizza Hi Five, you're either already a fan of the band, or are a curious reader. In either case, good for you, you get a gold star. First up is Archagathus, and honestly, a review of their side is pretty redundant. If you've heard one Archagathus record, you've pretty much heard them all. Still grinding like all they've ever heard is 90's Agathocles. The recording on here is pretty tidy, actually. Maybe it was recorded during the "Canadian Horse" session? The guitars have this nice, bright crunch to them, and the drums add a lot of punch with every kick drum hit. I'm also hearing some crust influence in some of these songs, particularly in the track, "Surgery Addict", probably my favorite song on there side. The main riff actually is pretty reminiscent of early Swedish death metal too. Nice touch! As usual, the vocals bellow over EVERYTHING. Roars, grunts, squeals, and a nasally high scream that still kind of makes me squirm. It's another solid pack of songs from the band, what more can I say.
But if I had to pick, I'd say the Pizza Hi Five side is where this split really shines. I'm been a fan of these guys since about 2009, and after all these years, they still haven't learned any new tricks. And I really wouldn't have it any other way. Dank and dirty mincegrind played at warp speed. Super thick and soupy recording, with down tuned guitar riffs tumbling over everything, crushing small children, skulls, ripping faces, and all the other usual grind descriptions journalists use. The songs are here are pretty much balls to the wall blasters, no real slow parts to see, and some great stop/starts are used. This band is just so lovely. I really am happy to see them getting more exposure. Expect to see many more splits from these guys in the future. Pick this up!
Yeah, oh yeah, yeah buddy. Yeah. After all this time, agonizing, just agonizing at the thought of the posthumous split 5" between SFN and the stupidly good In Disgust not coming out, I end up moseying
on over the the Drugged Conscience Records site, and see this:
As soon as I read that, all seemed right with the world. We will FINALLY get to hear some "new" In Disgust music! Just, rrrrgh, yes!! This is probably the last time we'll ever get any kind of new material from the band. The fact that it's coming out at all is just amazing. The SFN side is nothing to over look though, and fortunately, you won't have to wait until whenever the record comes out to hear it. The band has uploaded their whole side to their bandcamp page. It's killer stuff; blistering, techy, super aggressive fastcore. Hopefully this comes out before we all die in a firey apocalypse. Stream the SFN side below.
I.fucking.love.Cloud Rat. There's no doubt in my mind that these guys and gal are going to get their "big break" soon, and become more than just underground grind titans. Everything from their stupidly good live performance, to the stunning quality of their music and recordings, this band has it all. But I guess I should stop wanking in their ears now, and get to the real "news" part. One of the things I live about the band is how prolific they are. To my knowledge, they've had split 12"s with Xtra Vomit and Republic Of Dreams come out this year. And now, the band is about to have their new full-length LP come out!
There's the sure-to-be-gorgeous-in-person cover art. The new album, entitled "Moksha", is all recorded, and about to be sent to the pressing plant. US labels, IFB and Halo of Flies will be handling the domestic release, while overseas, 7Degrees and React With Protest will handle the European pressing. It's awesome to see so many great labels wanting to get in and help release this. Hopefully it will help get their name out there more. Aside from all that, there really haven't been to many other details announced about the record. According to the Cloud Rat blog, they also have a 7" coming out. I'm stoked. You can stream a new track from "Moksha", entitled, "Aroma", over at Halo Of Flies right now.
Remember earlier this year when Rotten Sound just threw the new's out there that they had a new EP coming out? Well, after not many updates (kinda forgot about the whole thing, honestly), a whole bundle of details have been announced regarding the new release, entitled, "Species At War".
This new 6-track EP will be released on CD and a single-sided 12" with a B-side etching. From the sound of it, this whole EP was apparently recorded, mixed and mastered by the band. Interesting to see how this DIY approach will sound, maybe a rawer attack from the band this time around? In addition to that, this will be the first release the band puts out since signing on with Season Of Mist for exclusive European distribution, with Relapse Records handling the rest of the world. The EP is actually available for pre-order right now, here, and will be officially released on January 22nd. I expect a few tours in support of this, and hopefully a new full-length isn't far away. Can't wait to go ape shit to these guys at MDF!
Well, it's all come down to this. Five years, endless amounts of hype, a loss of a drummer, gaining a drummer, more hype, teaser tracks, even more hype, and now the finished product. Man. The past half-decade has been a real trip, for me personally. I must preface this review by saying Pig Destroyer is one of my favorite bands, period. I can't even begin to accurately describe what this band has done for me and how they have shaped my taste in heavy music. And in a sick way, this album was pretty much doomed to be underwhelming for me. Not to say that that this is a bad album, but let's be real honest here. There's no way in hell that this album could have lived up to the expectations I had for it. I have unwillingly fucked myself over. But I think that goes for a lot of people too; I don't think anyone really went into this going, "yeah, this should be pretty decent, at least". I bet every stinking one of you was thinking "Book Burner" was going to be balls ass amazing. But...no. I wish I could wait just a little bit longer for this review, so I could listen to it more and try and soak in some more details, but the curse of journalism is that you have to stay with the times, and I fear that if I wait any longer, this review will become irrelevant. Well, let's get into the nitty gritty now and dissect this beast. And keep this in my, I like this album.
See, I really do appreciate it when you guys tell me about bands, because otherwise I most likely would have looked over awesome groups like this (thanks for the heads up, Tyler!) Bad Friends are a kick-fucking-ass fastcore/powerviolence band from Albany, NY (a mere few hours from where I live. Need to get these guys down here). This debut (?) EP is 10 track beast of gritty intensity. Loud and lo-fi recording; the kind where the drums are über-present and the guitars scream over everything, and the buried vocals yell out, desperate to be heard over the mix. You know, the good kind of recording. Fans of bands like Vaccine should instantly fall in love these guys. This shit will make you power stomp small children. Check it out below, and give them a like on Facebook.
The Australian grinders are back to deliver "Another Gory Mess"! Here's an interview Alex Cha did with Fuck... I'm Dead's, Dave Hill, who also plays with The Day Everything Became Nothing. Enjoy!
Operation Grindcore: Can you describe the grind scene in Australia? Is it better now as oppose to the year 2000 when Fuck... I'm Dead was created?
Dave Hill: I have to say its a fair bit quieter now in in my opinion, than how it was back in 2000. There are still some great grindcore bands from around here, but perhaps not as many and the scene doesn't seem as big at the moment. From 2000-2008(9) or so it was awesome, heaps of shows and heaps of great bands, playing shows and releasing material.
OG: What is your favorite Fuck... I'm Dead song to play live?
Dave: It would have to be "Colon Commando", its such a fun song to play live and I get to execute one of the very few lead breaks we have, a sweet tapping solo! Some of the new songs are great to play too, like "Horrified" and "Sanguinary Overture".
OG: Besides your own band's name, what is the most offensive band name you've come across?
Dave: Anal Cunt would have to be at the top of the list for most offensive and ridiculous.
OG: Given that we haven't seen you since Maryland Deathfest, are there any plans to tour America in the future?
Dave: Unfortunately we currently have no plans to tour the US at the moment. We've been concentrating on writing, rehearsing and recording the new album for the last 6 months or so and have only arranged and Australian tour in support of that so far.
OG: Talk about the artwork for "Another Gory Mess". Who's hands are those... and what exactly are those hands holding?
Dave: They are actually my hands in the photo, and I'm scooping up another gory mess. Its an absolutely horrendous concoction that myself and Xavier (guitar) put together. Xavier took all the photos and layed out the booklet as well.
OG: Your releases have touched nearly every format. We've seen Fuck...I'm Dead cassettes, vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Is there a particular format that you guys prefer?
Dave: I love CDs for the convenience, but the vinyl is probably my favourite. Hopefully we'll get Another Gory Mess released on vinyl!
OG: What is the first grindcore album you ever owned and what are your feelings about it today?
Dave: "Reek Of Putrefaction" by Carcass, and today its still one of my favourite grind records and it has definitely stood the test of time.
OG: What do you think happens more often: a drummer (not necessarily yours) dropping a stick or a technical difficulty with the drum machine?
Dave: Haha I reckon the drum machine having a technical problem. For us it has been a great change to have Darren Condy on drums for the last few years. It has added much more dynamics to the songs, especially live. And if there is any stick dropping going on there is always the opportunity to improvise. When there was a error with the drum machine, like no stage foldback, or not playing the correct song, there isn't much you can do, you just have to go with with and hope for the best.
OG: Here's a fake scenario: you're on tour and (knock on wood) your drummer accidentally gets injured to the point where he cannot play. Do you cancel the show or bring back the drum machine? And is that even an option with the new material?
Dave: There is no going back to the drum machine under any circumstances, a human on the drums is a vast improvement For Fuck...I'm Dead's sound. I wrote a lot of the new material using drum programming to start with before rehearsal it with the rest of the band, but there is really only bits and pieces of songs scattered through the drum machines so it really wouldn't be an option anyway.
OG: Any last words for your American fans?
Dave: Thanks for all your support over the years, it was awesome to tour the US and play Maryland Deathfest in in 2008. Another Gory Mess will be out officially on November 12th 2012 through Blastasfuk Grindcore (www.blastasfuk.blogspot.com), grab yourself a copy to mosh to.
I've been hearing exciting news regarding upcoming ANb releases all year, from upcoming splits with Extortion, to the new Decibel Magazine christmas flexi. But nothing could have prepared me for this bombshell that they dropped earlier this month.
New's like this makes me need to shit in other peoples pants, cause mine are filled. This is one of the coolest things I've heard all year, and if any grind band could pull off an idea this ambitious, it's Agoraphobic Nosebleed. And praise be to Scott Hull for not burning out or taking any resemblance of a break. Dude is not only banging out tracks with ANb, but released the new Pig Destroyer album, will be touring selectively this and next year, and most most likely working on these new solo albums well into next year. I'm now convinced he's an riff-crafting automaton from space.
While it looks like these new albums won't be released until the better part of next year (ugh), this gives us plenty of time to play the "What Will The New Albums Sound Like" Guessing Game! I'm gonna say a lot of sludge influence on Kat's, given her time with Salome. Weirdo grind with an oldschool vibe for Richard's, and for Jay...fuck, who knows. How about, noise drenched, hip-hop flavored, electronic encrusted, cyber blasting, hatefuck grind. Sounds about right, right? Right. Scott's will probably be more along the lines of newer Pig Destroyer, with a lot of thrash and other metal influences. Place your bets in the comments below!
From the wonderful people that brought us the USA Power Violence Vol. 1 compilation, comes the the 2nd chapter in this sure to be epic series of releases. While that comp. focuses exclusively on bands from yee 'ol 'Merica, this next one branches and features bands from all across the world, including Get's Worse from the UK, Skuff from Canada, and goddamn Extortion from Australia! While there are very few exclusive tracks for this, this line-up is still stacked enough to make anyone with any interest in underground music give it a shot. It looks like a LOT of time went in putting this together and getting the tapes organized, comps. are a huge undertaking (believe me!). The cassette version of this is still available, I'm sure, but you can download/stream it on bandcamp too. Killer!
I do want to make it perfectly clear that I do not dislike Column of Heaven, I actually rather enjoy them, and "Mission From God" will most likely be making my year end list. It's the hyperbole around the band that I thought I was too much, but I don't want to rehash old and tired debates here. The point I'm making is that I'm super pumped on any new music from these guys. With that being said, here's new music from these guys! Two new releases are in the works right now, a lone 7" for Iron Lung Records, and a split 7" with Radioactive Vomit. The song that's been put up is from the latter, and it's pretty damn good. This track, entitled "Aubade II: The Trident of Light and Decay", definitely displays a more "metal" influence that people seemed to pick up on "Mission..", that I never really heard. The usual grinding with well orchestrated noise and samples is still present, thought it's not as harsh this time around. Still no word on when this or the other 7" will be released, but a cassette collection of all the new tracks will be floating around in some select distros. Collectors scum, be on the look out (you know I will be). Check out the new track below.
Perth, Australia's Extortion hold a very very special place in my heart. For the better part of a decade, they've put out consistently great releases of ripping, fast hardcore, but with their last few releases, from their split with Septic Surge up to the "Loose Screws" 10", something seemed absent. The aggression was definitely pulled back, and everyone just seemed a lot less fierce. The recordings just sounded a lot less genuine than usual. So you can imagine my ear to ear smile when I heard their side of this excellent split 12" with Austria's Cold World. Extortion is definitely back with full force on this recording, especially their vocalist, Rohan, who sounds fucking vicious on here. Bringing back that fantastic higher register scream that I fell in love with on albums like "Degenerate". I'm picking up some sort of subtle video game concept on their side too, from song titles like, "Pitfall" and "Kill Screen". Plus the 8-bit sound effect on "Max 330 Mega Pro Gear Spec". Welcome back, Extortion! On the flip side, we get Cold World, who definitely hold their own against Extortion's side and make a very good companion band for this release. There's a strong 90's fastcore influence with these guys; ridiculous song craftsmanship with riffs spilling over each other and vocals roaring desperately to keep up with it all. I love the drum work on this, excellent precision and solid blasting. The track "Boardhole" is fastcore nirvana, if I saw them play that live I would go ape shit. I'm definitely on the look out for this bands past releases now. Buy this if you can, it's a winner of a split.
I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and progressively more grumpy and curmudgeonly, or what, but I'm really starting to loose my usual cheery holiday spirit around the Christmas season. The consumerism, and just the whole cutesy, holly jolly atmosphere, it kinda makes me sick. I have a black heart. But, thankfully the fine people at Decibel magazine have once again rounded up the Agoraphobic Nosebleed guys and gal for another Christmas themed flexi disc, to make the season a little bit more enjoyable for people like me. It's looks like it's just going to be one song this time around, but I'll take it, any new ANb is a tremendous joy for me, and it looks like a lot of exciting things are on the way (read here). This should be released with the December/January issue of Decibel. Merry Chrystmeth.
The newest treasure I've discovered from Canada, my magical grindcore motherland, takes the form of four Squamish, BC natives collectively known as Shooting Spree. Together, they make fastcore/grind the only way a few Canadians can; mincecore riffs played at breakneck speeds, tight drumming, brutal stop/starts, a 3-headed vocal attack that covers all the ranges, and some excellent grooves and breakdowns that pack some serious punch. In a nutshell, it's Canadian grind, just how I like it. They've been kicking around for about 4 years now, and have released a demo, EP, and 3 split cassettes. Out of all of these, I'm most familiar with their material on the recently released 3-way split with T.H.C and Humanity?. The 8 songs on there are a perfectly raw and brutal assault of A+ grind jams. Give it a listen below, and give them a "like" on Facebook. I'm definitely keeping my eye on these Squamies.