Friday, August 29, 2008

Death - Human

Utterly pummeling. Subtly technical and simply brutal. Pure aggression, anger and beauty perfectly balanced in a precise unleashing of hatred towards society. Death's "Human" is one of the several albums that all death metal is measured against. It is a genre milestone, a glimpse into the future of death metal. It is the perfect blend of all that was death metal at the time - groove, brutality, and the imminent infusion of jazz elements with the genre's past thrash roots. It is an album that is as relevant today as when it came out almost sixteen years ago. For me, it is hard to be unbiased toward the album that introduced my once ignorant ears to death metal.

Thousands of words have been used to des
cribe this album. Thousands of hours have been spent listening to "Human" by fans all across the world. These fans have been drawn into the deep production, master songmanship, incredible musicianship and personality of each song. Listening to Human is an experience. Blasting songs like "Suicide Machine" and "Lack of Comprehension" is almost a spiritual awakening for many. The sheer impact of the music hitting you is enough to make you stop an allow the songs to absorb you and your attention. I once played "Lack of Comprehension" in a school class for a presentation and everyone simply sat and stared for three minutes, completely shocked. To them it was an eternity, for me, it was over too quickly.

As the drums fade into "Flattening of Emotions," you are completely unprepared for the sonic intensity of the guitar tone. I still get chills racing up and down m spine when that song erup
ts. It's like an orgasm of death metal fury - so powerful and close. One of the most powerful aspects of the album's tone is its depth. The guitars sound as if there are a million guitars playing simultaneously and hitting every note at the same time. Sadly, the bass is generally lacking and even the intro to "Lack of Comprehension," is a bit hard to decipher without close examination. Schuldiner's guitar tone is simply overpowering the bass. DiGiorgio should have been a bit more audible in the mix. Luckily the guitar tone that Chuck and Paul Masvidal discovered for this album is simply incredible. The tone is beautiful and fucking HEAVY. It is absolutely uncompromising.

This production supports one of the strongest song collections that any album has ever had. Ever. Eight songs, thirty-three minutes and fifty-seven seconds of perfection. The album neither lasts too long nor is is over too quick. It beats the crap out of you and then lets you get up only hoping for more abuse; more Death. "Flattening of Emotions" and "Suicide Machine" exists as a brutal opening combination only to be followed by "Together as One" and the intense "Secre
t Face." Hell, if that was all that was on this record, it would already be worth the price of a full length. Instead however, we get the lethal quartet of previously mentioned "Lack of Comprehension" and three closing tracks that fit perfectly onto the album yet hint at the future direction that death would take with its next three albums: Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic, and Sound of Perseverance. "See Through Dreams", "Cosmic Sea", and "Vacant Planets" are monumentally intense jazz/death hybrids with a hint of jazz more than the pure fusion of jazz and death metal that Pestilence (latter albums) and Atheist would become known for.
These songs are ultimately an extension of the musicians themselves, notably Schuldiner. Reinert's drumming is spectacular and compliments Schuldiner and Masvidal excellently. Guitar solos are superb, each one capturing the essence of the song and existing as separate memorable entities. These musicians and somewhat absent DiGiorgio - who we don't have to mention due to his undeniably incredibly talent - are masters of subtlety. The quick high pitched noises twenty-four seconds into "Suicide Machine," bassist DiGiorgio I believe, and the vocal effects used later on at the end of "See Through Dreams" are only two examples. The album's charming quality is found not in the music but in the musician's prowess at adding these minuscule yet personal touches to the music.

This album, "Human," is a piece of art that all must own. It is an example of metal, death metal and music at its very best. The effort and legacy of the musicians on human is unquestionable as is the strength and legacy of the release itself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For Sale

I recently cleaned my room and I have discovered some stuff I no longer want. Mostly random tids and bits that were hidden underneath bits and tids but I figured instead of throwing them out, there might be someone out there who might want some of this stuff.

24 Disc Cd Rack: Holds, obviously 24 Cds. The interesting thing about this particular cd rack is that the cds lock in so they wont fall out and you push a button and they pop out for you to grab. It's kind of cool but I have no room for it and too many Cd's.
Portable Cd case: Car carrying case for CD's. Has a Zero Tolerance magazine sticker on it. Blue, good shape.
Hacride - Amoeba sticker
The Amenta Sticker
Metallica - No Leaf Clover T-shirt. Worn maybe once. Size XL. I'm a medium at best.
Edguy - Rocketride Mousepad

NP: The Beast - Power Metal - 3. Enemy Ace

Thursday, August 21, 2008

News: August 2008

Lethal Strike:

Some quick news about what has been going on around here lately. 95% of the guitars for the new Lethal Strike Demo are done. Bass was finished this morning so aside from some minor parts its all going along very nicely. Everything is sounding extremely thrashtastic. Sadly the release will not be ready for their show this weekend at B.B. Kings in NYC with Finntroll and Warbringer however it will be available shortly afterwards.


After three years (possibly more) there will be more Ascendant material out soon. Four songs are in the works: Three new songs and a properly recorded version of "The Masada Fortress" which originally was only available as a terribly quality live version which Mike recorded with a microphone next to his television speaker from a live DVD we did back in 2005. There is a possibility we will change names but I am still unsure of this. The whole release should be available sometime in either September or early October.


New material in the works at the moment.


I am looking for live videos of Primordial, Coroner or Opeth (Morningrise - era). If anyone has any of these available please contact me. I am open to trading for them. Also I may start uploading some rare demo's I have stocked away for everyone to listen since I don't want them going to waste. I have some stuff from Gangrena and Desolation Angels I do want to upload as well as some other bizarre material I acquired over a trip last summer to New York.

I'm contemplating writing a detailed walkthrough for Guardian's Crusade for PS1. I haven't played it in a while though it was such a fun and intriguing game. If all goes well and people enjoy it, I might proceed to do more games in the future. I figured that I would start with a simple game at first.

Other than that there isn't much to say. I will be doing more reviews and possibly interviews once the school semester starts. I will have a whole lot of time to do a whole lot of nothing and I figure that tossing more material online at warp speed (or slightly slower) is as good a method to waste time as anything else.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Day Of Pigs

Anyone who has never checked out A Day Of Pigs that is into sludgy metal has to get their head out of the swamp and get this New Jersey band's first full length, Lecherous. This five piece outfit, comprised of Kevin LeBlanc (Vocals), Steve Silberg (Guitar), Bill Belford (Drums), the surname missing TJ (Bass) and newest member Pat Sheridan also on guitar spend their days swishing and swaggering to a steady helping of sludge.

In 2006, ADOP released a 4 song EP entitled The Oath. While a valiant effort, The Oath was a tired soldier. Containing a different lineup than currently, a second guitarist listed as RFDS is noted. While Lecherous leans towards sludge, this early EP is rooted in the a more hardcore direction with sludgy undertones. The move toward an even sludgier direction was incredibly beneficial.

Opening song "Through Time," lacks energy and a captivating opening riff. LeBlanc's vocals are buried and his excellent rasp hidden. While the song is competently composed, there is no real hook to cling to except a single riff one minute into the song providing an obfuscatous essence to a mostly hollow husk.

"My Dying Rose" is even less engaging. Though the song does have a nice insidious riffs with which to wallow with, the entirety of the rest of the song is shallow and unappetizing. Much like wading through waves of fecal debris, even the crests in this song provide little escape from the troughs.

"Black Cobra" must have been written at a later date from these two previous songs. For one thing, it recognizes the effect tension and a constant building progression can have upon a listener. The subtle play of melody and a heavy hitting core this composition has makes it the most complete and mature song on the album.

Final song, "Forever My Dead," also has a more mature essence. Roughly half-way through there is a riff that hints towards a love of Slowly We Rot, Obituary though not nearly as effortless. While the Florida masters reaped their harvest of slow and destructive with an unmistakable talent for crushing cultivation, ADOP haven't quite sowed their fields properly.

The Oath has ideas and a firm musical ground on which they were meant to be built however this EP, sadly, comes off as sounding amateurish. Luckily, Lecherous, showed a much improved and more mature band. In 2007 ADOP returned...

Released by Spare Change Records on November 13th, Lecherous, while maintaining some hardcore and doom leanings piled on the sludge thicker and heavier than its middle school predecessor. A Day of Pigs, in a single release crushed their EP hands (and mud-covered-boots) down. Kevin LaBlanc's vocals are more prevalent, Meat's guitar tone is both more nasty and tasty, and instead of a clean, badly mixed bass, Holly's (apparently TJ did not play bass on this recording) rougher, not-quite-Lemmy-but-dirtier-than-Geddy, tone was very pleasing.

From the first minutes of Lecherous, a noted change can be felt in the attention to detail: more courageous uses of melody, more complete and riveting songwriting and a seeming ease for creating compelling hooks without resorting to the trend of clean sung vocals. A Day of Pigs, while forging ahead with more adept songmanship bucked the cliches off their backs.

Also offered is an increase in the "metal." Whereas The Oath was somewhat light in having blatant metal inspired riffs, Lecherous embraces the metal so much so that some songs sound as if written by a Dio possessed ADOP. "Pikey" sounds so Cathedral like that I had to check to see if I had somehow switched my Cd player to my cassette deck and somehow left "Soul Sacrifice" inside. "Way To Go Fuckface" and "In The Crease" also lay down the metal as thick as the sludge.

Also present are two instrumental tracks entitled 665 and 667 respectively. At first I was wondering where 666 was and then I found myself wondering where these instrumentals came from. 665 is actually beautiful and stunning, a pool of clean water amongst the industrial leakage and blackened grime embraced by the rest of the songs.

Though a sevenfold better album than their previous EP, Lecherous still has a copious amount of filler and forgettable material. I found the inclusion of My Dying Rose from the EP to be a terrible choice. Inferior to even the worst of the newer songs, it was wasted time. Regardless, with such a massive improvement in every area, I am sure a new album will be even better and more precise than Lecherous.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Live: August 1st, 2008

Lethal Strike

Instead of wasting a night watching reruns of Junkyard Wars I decided to check out my friends in Lethal Strike and Cypher Seer and after a short ride up to The Cup in Linden, I walked in just as L.S. were beginning their set. Their self-titled track was a definite highlight as well as a blisteringly awesome cover of Seek and Destroy. Toxic Terror sounded dreary as ever as well - really looking forward to a good recording of this song. Also included was a cover of Anthrax's Metal Thrashing Mad which would have been even better if only Marcus or Salim had multicolored facial hair.

Syd Barrett

I was impressed. I was actually curious before I even saw them come on stage since I see their drummer all the time since he works at the legendary Vintage Vinyl. Definitely a conglomerate of hardcore punk and sludge and metal and all things doom, each song was expertly crafted for maximum punch. Interestingly, I found myself constantly watching the drummer, as his playing reminded me greatly of Steve Shelton (Confessor) in his continued twisting of beat and rhythm. though I found his use of only a floor tom and one rack tom unique. Heavy is a word that describes many things. Syd Barrett are massive...

Cypher Seer

Though I tend to find the use of keyboards in metal tedious, Cypher Seer's use of the instrument doesn't irk me. It is not overused and their brand of European styled power metal is still very much a guitar-bass-drums showcase. Zano (sp?) has a strong voice, and carried the tunes and vocals well though. I am reminded of the singer of Killswitch Engage in his inflection though overall I get a distinctly "metal" feel. Apparently, this was the first show Cypher Seer has played with their three new members. Only Sergio, Sergio 2, and Rod - Guitar, Keyboards, Guitar respectively - are original members. I am looking forward to their show in September at B.B. Kings with Iron Savior. As good as they were. I think that they will be even tighter and better rehearsed next time in September.

On a more personal level, it was great to see Rod since his relocation to Florida.