Friday, May 31, 2013

Hivelords - The Cellar Scrolls

Hivelords' 7" Grand Cromlech left a pleasant taste in my mouth. It was everything I like in a slow, blackened funeral dirge. Moments of melodic hissing, atonal spritzes, a phenomenal vocal performance. For fans of more extreme doom sub genres it was hands down one of the highlights of many local projects from Philly which tends to be a hotbed for sludgy, gross and disgusting black metal offshoots. Now I encounter their debut full length which was released a year earlier than the 7" EP. Little information on the lineup on the release is given, obviously vocalist Kevin North is present. Guitarist Will Rollem, bassist Tyler Butler, drummer Justin Alexander round out the foursome. They are getting some notoriety apparently as they just opened for Cobalt on their post-MDF appearance in Philly last night.

The Cellar Scrolls is very similar in style to the EP, slightly more bright and crisp in production which seems to take away from the effect of spinning a 7" and emitting evil monstrous sounds. The disc greets you with the black and white image of a large roach scaling an unknown object which may be a tree or may be a torn page from one of the books of mazes and labyrinths which I owned as a child. there is little by way of information however lyrics are provided in the single paged insert. The times and song titles appear on the back. Some more artwork would have been appreciated in the package. The disc appears to be a professional duplicated CDr.

The music here varies little from the more recent Grand Cromlech wax. Opening track "Larvaeathan" is the better track but only because after the nine minute opener, all the other tracks just seem to have lost effect. On the EP, Hivelords was able to separate songs better than on their debut. While there are moments of memorable sections in each of the songs, second track "Odun-Kyhrr" has the best moment of the disc with a stellar lead melody halfway through the track after a section of unique clean vocals by North where he half sings half mourns. Final track, "Funeral Hag" opens with a slow submerged bass intro but otherwise continues with Hivelords' recipe of drawn out chords, minimalist drumming and excellent vocals.

See this band if you can in a local dive or bar. If you're in Philly on the 15th they are playing some block party but do yourself a favor and catch them in the right setting for maximum effect. It doesn't do anyone justice if you're watching a dark and dreary band that sings about crypts and insects and dungeon chambers if you're watching them on a bright sunny side street of Philly while some hipster grills up veggie burgers and tofu hot dogs and they are sharing a stage with bands like Bunny Savage and the Handymen or Zebras and Bulls Fight Tonight.

Whiplash, Shat, Sardonica, The Unknown and Fever Vein at Dingbatz 5.30.2013

In most ways, Thursday was going to be a totally average day. I got up at 5:30am and went to work. Had a rather average day there, trying to get your local retail store looking spiffy for the weekend rush, writing work lists for the underlings... etc. When I left at four o'clock, I ran to Bagel Boy and grabbed an awesome sandwich (bologna, turkey, mayo, mustard, honey mustard, pepper, lettuce, tomato on a round roll) and an everything bagel with chicken salad for the girlfriend before she left for work. Ate, took a slight snooze and picked up a couple friends to run off to see Whiplash which, I expected, would be you're all too common Whiplash show at their favorite spot, Dingbatz, in Clifton, New Jersey. The bill seemed unremarkable but acceptable. Opener Fever Vein began in average local metal quality. Their set was a mix of Pantera simplicity, and a decent vocalist with a hardcore vocal style. Their bassist was the highlight for me.

We left after a couple songs to catch some food - again - at Dingbatz accompanying bar across the street. Dingo's Den is a place everyone should stop in should you find yourself at Dingbatz. The place is full of eye candy decor and really fills up when shows are going on. Often you'll find a row of motorcycles out front. Their bar-pies are quite delicious though I would stay away from the hotdogs. My chilli cheese dog was not the finest I've had. The Acheron in brooklyn still claims the blue ribbon for "Best Hot Dog at a venue" with their wiener over rajas covered in all sorts of flavorings and goodies. Either way though, there are few locales in the Garden State where a you can go to a rock bar and not get looked at sideways with glaring eyes for putting on metal on a jukebox. Then again, the only place local I go never experienced anything but an unending playlist of Judas Priest, early Fates Warning, Queensryche and Napalm Death while everyone other than my immediate company was trying to hit on chicks and slam back bro-drinks while fist pumping to Kyesha.

We missed The Unknown while scarfing down food but Sardonica was, at least for me, an enjoyable band to watch. Their overt 70's British Punk influence is about as obvious as the need for their bassist, Ron - who you all met briefly in my Whiplash interview a few months back - to get preventative shots for sweating. In the fight for perspiration dominance there is are those that sweat and there are those that simply have no equals. I think there is a three-way tie between Ron, Jesse Bartlett of Penetration and my father doing yard work. Either way Sardonica's set was fun to watch. "Bombscare" was notable for it's blatant The Clash influences and "Fuck Me" was a good crowd participation track. They probably had no real place being on the bill of course being a punk band but I don't think anyone really cared about that. Jose Mangin from Sirius XM was DJ and giving out free shit, beers were cheap, and everyone seemed to be related to Tony Portaro. It felt like a locals only show. I wouldn't be surprised if this was literally nothing but a family function and there didn't seem to be any regulars of metal shows there.

So up until this moment, the night had been everything I expected it to be and my Thursday was still feeling pretty non-exciting. Then Shat:

I had no idea what the band was, who they were, why their disc had fifty tracks about pussy, tits and fucking all aspects of someone's family. My questions were answered immediately as three mostly naked fat dudes and a fourth skinny member all climbed onto stage. You really can't help but laugh, smile and cry when the front man of the band you're watching has sixteen dildos attached to all parts of his bare body and the strap-on he's wearing only covers his penis and leaves his testicles freely visible to everyone. There are no words. Their songs were short, stupid parodies of known melodies such as "Old McDonald Had a Farm" with songs with conspicuous titles like "Blue Balls" and "Show Me Your Tits," which somehow elicited a pair of decent knockers from someone who's probably shown her breasts in public before. Their set was topped off when vocalist and ball-tickler - at least he was during "Crabs," a song about getting, obviously, the little pincers from a hooker or your grandma or something - Jeff Wood stood in the middle of a circular ring of air hoses connected to an air compressor operated by their 'security' man behind stage that blew a large amount of smoky compressed air in a mock-tornado around the blubbery shameless man. Good fun. Go see them if you're over 18 years old. They do the whole Gwar thing way better than Gwar. Best band of the night for some reason.

Whiplash were great after they figured their sound out which, sadly was halfway through their set. The first song which had distinguishable parts was Insult to Injury. Opener "Last Man Alive" as well as "Spit On Your Grave", "Killing On Monroe Street", "Stagedive" and "Red Bomb" all sounded awful. Also hampered was their newly debuted track called "Sword Meets Skull, Skull Meets Sword," which is off their forthcoming album "Old school American Way." The track was actually really good though and I can say that I'm looking forward to the album. Luckily, "Burning Of Atlanta", "Walk The Plank", "Power Thrashing Death" and "Nailed To The Cross" all sound really good.

Also of interest was a bit of spoken banter before "Red Bomb" which Tony Portaro (52) said he wrote when he was seventeen years old. Math proves* that he would have written "Red Bomb" in 1978 if this were the case. This would be the first Thrash song of all time if he can prove it with some recorded demos from that period or some proof otherwise of it's existence. There's also the case that he was just shooting the piss and he wrote it when he was twenty four in 1984 when Whiplash was actually formed. There's a good chance the song was written a bit before but 1978 would be an incredible span of time between writing a song and using it in a band. It's not unheard of however. When I joined Arctic Flame, guitarist Don Dioro told me and showed me video of him playing Steel Angel with his band in 1991, a full fifteen years before the song found it's way to a release. If true about the existence of "Red Bomb" in 1978 / 1979, then Tony Portaro is the most unacknowledged metal musician in the world and New Jersey should be hailed as the cradle of thrash with Whiplash and early birds Overkill also hailing from the 47th smallest state in the country.

* Thanks to Tobestius for pointing this out mid-show. I can always count on you to mathematically calculate random information in the middle of a band's set.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Master Fury - Circles of Hell Review #2

From Burning Salts Zine:

"Are you like me? Are you addicted to speed? It can be a real problem getting that fix especially that fix that satisfied the need for speed. Yeah I'm talking about that drug – that is if that drug is metal played fast, loud and obviously heavy. Master Fury from New Jersey by way of Wisconsin feed that need for speed. Contaminated Tones offers up the bands discography on one CD with all thanks and applause going to the label because I seriously doubt there's much of a chance at snagging an original of one of the two albums present here Hell  party or Circles of Hate.

Really there are no complaints here other than why had I not heard of this band before. The tinny production does get matched by some of the bands grooves – if you play these songs loud enough the bass shines through and that tin-thin sound wears away into violence fury and masterful speed metal. Hell Party is a dirtier record and offers the dirty portion of this compilation album. The lead guitar a lot of the time on the Hell Party tracks likes to shred off sometimes seemingly out of place but it's all in the insanity to give the songs the fury and mayhem they already have but it just makes it that much more in your face.

The late 80s were not the greatest haven for thrash metal let alone most metal. Many thrashers of note were experimenting Metallica were creating ten minute long songs. Slayer was not at top form, Testament was adding some slower more contemplative thrash. Exodus arguably were doing Pleasures of the Flesh and Fabulous Disaster which are again arguably good records. Death Angel failed miserably after The Ultra Violence. So point being thrash was struggling after really only a brief period. Sadly bands like this that produced some good good shit went unknown because the record labels supporting thrash were already jumping ship.

The other portion of this compilation Circles of Hate has a pretty appropriate title. While jamming the album I kept thinking this would make for a bad ass circle pit live. The cuts are still fast but a bit more chunky and groove oriented kind of familiar like a bastardization of the prowess of Testament's New Order and the smash smash gallop of SOD. Now in the 2013's and recent years we have the ole retrothrash where bands that sound pretty much exactly like Master Fury are making records that just sound more produced. Forget that if you want to be retro, don't studio produce the hell out of your thrash records.

I'll give warning though, spinning all 16 cuts of this record is taxing on your head it can induce some dizziness or just the need to thrash and mosh so make sure your listening area is secured appropriately. I can't gripe too much and say oh man – those were the days considering I wasn't even a teen in the late 80s but I go back to the gripes I was making bands like this just never had much of a chance sadly. But thankfully we have fine folks to resurrect the releases and have cool cover art make the music easier to access. I've found a lot of good records through this ethic – a good example would be the somewhat recent reissue of that pre-Master band called Death Strike and a hunk of their material – that was some grade A speed, just like this. Thrash, hail kill. - B.W.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Return

Hey everyone, just got back from MDF. Going to get back on updating with new reviews and updates on the Forestfather - Hereafter release as soon as I can get an exact date of shipping. Also should be getting some more info on the first run of Aeternus patches along with some pictures as well. Also will be announcing two, possibly three more releases for this summer! I leave you with a where's waldo:

Find me in this image and email me for a free copy of Master Fury's Circles of Hell CD. I'm only giving out one so... be quick or be dead!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Metal Core Zine's Chris Forbes Interview

Metal-Core zine is a legendary old school rag from New Jersey's glory days of Heavy Metal. Chris Forbes has been doing the zine for the past 26 years and he still reviews and does interviews for the zine which has gone web-based. I met Chris about two years ago at a show and have been talking to him ever since. He even did a couple reviews for the Okketaehm and Diseased Oblivion releases. He loved the Okketaehm tape and slammed the Diseased Oblivion tape. I caught up with Chris at the recent Oz, Attacker, Maximum Oversatan, Midnite Hellion show and got the run down on some of what makes this dude tick.

Contaminated Tones: Alright! So I am here with Mr. Chris Forbes of the legendary Metal Core magazine. So Chris, tell me about how you started Metal Core back in the 80's I guess. What spurred you to create a fanzine back in the day.

Chris Forbes: Well, back in 80's I started reading... I used to go to L'amours sometimes and I would always stop at a store called Rock 'N' Roll Heaven. That's when I first discovered fanzines. I'm not sure if everyone remembers a fanzine called Kickass Monthly put out by Bob Muldowney. I actually bought a couple issues and when I started going to shows in Philadelphia there was a guy named Scott Helig doing a fanzine at the time called Total Thrash. I asked him if he wanted me to start reviewing stuff for him so I did. I was giving him so much stuff that he said "Why don't you start your own fanzine?" I liked challenges so I decided I was going to do my own fanzine and that's how it started and I'm still doing it twenty-six years later.

CT: Just a webzine now though?

CF: Yeah. I did thirty issues and was going to do thirty-one in 2001 and went to the web only because that was when the internet was starting to explode and all that so obviously webzines started and all that. It was actually harder to get ads and I was doing ten thousand at the time so obviously I'm not taking money out of my pocket so... See I didn't want to stop. I kind of still miss the old days of doing it but... you know... it's what are you going to do? The internet rules everything now.

CT: How... I guess at your peak... how many interviews were you doing for each zine and how many reviews?

CF: Ahhh... Reviews maybe seventy-five to one hundred. I mean, back when like issue ten or eleven started coming out I was getting demos out the ass and because most fanzines only put a couple issues out after like six or seven instead of me writing bands I was starting to get bands sending me stuff. When I ah... later on I started doing more label interviews. Actually the first label interview I did was Monte Conner from Roadracer. So I actually started making the interviews longer and there wasn't as many but there would only be maybe four or five every issue but the things were like six pages long so it was like reading a novel.

CT: What would be the one demo you received or album that you received to review that you had no idea what it was and you got it and you were just floored by it?

CF: I'll go way back and that would be the Savage Death - Crucified in Hell demo from the 80's. That totally blew me away. It's so great that finally came out on CD lately. Albums I would say like stuff by... I would... My first actual albums I ever got were promos of some of the Combat stuff... Death - Leprosy, Nuclear Assault - Game Over, Darkness Descends by Dark Angel stuff like that just completely... just the speed and intensity back then. I mean... Darkness Descends Holy Toledo! I mean listening to that now it's still fucking kills.

CT: What about interviews? What's the weirdest interview you ever did for your zine? As far as... what's the weirdest interview you ever did?

CF: I would say actually... well the funniest interview... not the weirdest... was a zine called Metal Mafia that came out. It was by Dea Evenbeck I think her name was. It was in Ohio. I ended up interviewing her, Jill Girardi who was doing a fanzine and Jenn Matthews who was doing a fanzine. It was Chris' Charlie's Angels cover issue. Hahahaha. That was kind of the funniest. The weirdest would probably be I don't know I interviewed Slayer one time and that kind a... it was like the answers weren't really long and didn't seem like the guy was too into it. But most of the bands when I would... most of the bands would be into it, especially the underground bands cause obviously always looking for publicity. Kind of the bigger bands you know they're like "Oh it's another interview and stuff like that."

CT: What was it like back in the day I guess... growing up in NJ where we have a pretty significant metal history with the Old Bridge Militia and Megaforce Records and all these things? What was it like growing up in that environment? What are some of the great experiences you could relate from that time period of metal?

CF: Well the first thing. I used to hang out with Anvil Bitch all the time and one night we were sitting in the parking lot over in Philadelphia at the Empire Rock Club and the drummer, Chuck, says "Why don't we go to L'amours tonight?" and we saw Overkill. We went up there and I was completely blown away. twenty-five hundred people, they went on at like one-thirty in the morning and I didn't get home until six-o'clock in the morning. But I mean New Jersey had so many clubs back in the day. There was vintage vinyl the store I used to go to all the time (Vintage Vinyl still is the best record store on the east coast for Metal - Orion_M) I'm sure you're familiar with the Aquarian Weekly. I would go and buy that. You'd see Club Benet, Dingbatz, Obsessions, The Satellite Lounge, City Gardens - I saw tons of shows there in the 80's. He would book metal and hardcore... I mean it was insane. There was a ton of great bands. Ripping Corpse, Revenant, Savage Death, Lethal Aggression, Dirge, Chronic Fear. I mean I could go on... Whiplash, Ceremonium... I could go on and on. City Gardens was insanity... Agnostic Front or even Bio-Hazard played. Freaking pits going everywhere, people stage diving. I remember one time I saw Black Flag in '86 with Venom and Overkill. Henry Rollins comes out with this fucking pentagram on his hand going "Satan! Satan" making fun of Venom, which was hilarious.


CT: So what about... ah... I guess you had a lot of conversations with other fanzines out at the time. Do you still own... do you still have all of the fanzines from back then or?

CF: I had some of them. I have a bunch of Kickass Monthlys. I'm trying to get more but they're impossible to find on eBay. I have a bunch of the Slayer mags. I have a bunch of the fanzines back in the box at home. But yeah I mean, that was cool. The fanzines were a commodity, everybody helped each other it wasn't like it was a competition. I would trade with other fanzines, we would spread ads around. People don't know. We used actually write letters back then and what we would do is we would make ads. You'd make like one thousand and you'd cut them up and bands would send stuff back and forth and I used to send stuff and eventually it got to the point, that's why I started getting... I used to write bands in the beginning... back by issue six or seven I had bands starting to send me stuff. It was great. I mean I used to have to sit at the desk and you're writing letters out and next to my desk I would have like piles of ads. Write somebody a letter or band fold the letter and stick as many ads as I could and send it out. Those were days were great. Now the camaraderie is not as good - you email a band, you see them on facebook whatever. I mean we're here at Oz and there's not that many people. At L'amours there would be twenty-five hundred people but you're not going to get that anymore at shows unfortunately.

(Massive crash of thunder outside - it has started to downpour by this point as the show was ending and people were leaving.)

But the Old Bridge Show tomorrow I'm looking forward to. (Anvil, The Rods, Twisted Sister, Raven, Lords of Mercy.)

CT: Do you think that the underground metal scene now-a-days has lost some of that personal interaction I guess because of the internet?

CF: Oh. Big time! Absolutely. To me there's just too many labels, and too many bands and there's too many bad bands. You know, I would not want to be in a band starting... and you know what the funny thing is, even with the internet, facebook, myspace, reverbnation... you'd think it would be easier to promote a band because you have all this stuff, technology and all that... It's fucking worse now. It's harder! I mean it's harder to promote shows now than it was back in the day. I mean when I used to go to a show I handed flyers out. I mean look at Oz. They drew like sixty people here. But yeah, it's lost a lot of camaraderie. People don't hang out as much and all that. It's kind of like everyone's in for it themselves but back then it was all about helping each other. Bands helped each other, we traded demos, you would try to spread names out... now it seems like everyone wants their little piece of the pie.

Like I said, just too many labels. I mean I can not imagine some kid walking into Vintage Vinyl - and you've been there - there's a new release section with a hundred cds there, two of them might be good - how are you going to do that? You can't... back then Nuclear Assault - Game Over, Death - Leprosy, Celtic Frost or Voivod... You knew those albums... S.O.D I mean... Overkill... you know. Now you look at a CD and it's like it's just so hard to pick out what's good. You can't just choose by an album cover, you can't just go by the songs, and there's just so many sound-alike bands. I mean, you have all that grind stuff, all these Cannibal Corpse bands and then in the early 90's you had all these Long Island Suffocation clone bands so... now it seems like a lot of these nu-metal jump bands I call them with their groovy riffs thinking people are going to get up and jump up and down and all that shit. Fuck all that crap, man. Give me Celtic Frost. I mean... you know... this kind of music is meant to be evil. I hate clean vocals too. A lot of bands do that now. The guy will sing in a growl voice and the next freaking line it's clean vocals... I'm sorry metal is supposed to be fucking evil. Not saying evil as in Satan but as in aggressive and not aggressive as in Limp Bizkit and all of that jump-metal shit. You know.

CT: I wasn't aware that was aggressive.

CF: Haha. Well... Limp Bizkit I mean you go to a show and I'm sure you get all these trendy people jumping up and down and Slipknot thinking that's underground metal and they have no fucking clue. Hahaha.

CT: So ending off the interview, what do you think would be one of your favorite moments from doing Metal-core zine. What have you gotten out of doing a fanzine?

CF: Uhmm. Promoting bands. I mean I actually went from promoting bands to managing bands. I manage a band called Necrodemon now, I managed Immolation, Symphony of Grief. I was helping them out for a while. I helped out Ceremonium out a while and I was helping Bloodstorm out a while. Actually me and Tom from Immolation had started a record label. We only put out one CD out but he didn't get all the trading and all that so the label kind of folded but probably the proudest moment was doing issue 25 and going newsprint. Going to a place in Philadelphia where you could get your... you know... newsprint. And I went and did ten-thousand of them and they were free. Going to that place the first time and just seeing ten-thousand boxes of Metal-core was like Holy shit! Before, I was only printing a couple hundred of them and not making any money. I mean I had labels giving me one-hundred and fifty bucks for ads and that's why I printed ten thousand. You know that was probably the most Holy Shit of like... I mean I don't know why I'm still doing it today but to me it's always been fun. It's not a job. When it becomes a job I'll probably stop. I mean, even to this day. I still enjoy getting bands either sending me stuff whether it's digital or a CD. I'm still like a little kid opening stuff up man. Even after all this time.

CT: So how can people reach you if they want to send you a demo or...

CF: My website is I have a facebook page They could email me at And just to warn bands, I'm pretty brutal in my reviews but if you're a good band you're going to get a great review. If you're a bad band, I'm gonna trash you. And if you're a good band you're getting a good review not because I'm kissing your ass it's because you deserve it.

CT: Alright thanks very much!

CF: Thanks man!

Bitter End - Have A Nice Death

Though listed as a full length, Bitter End's "Have a Nice Death" comes off as more of a compilation of older material; at most, an EP with a large amount of bonus material. The first six tracks of this fourteen track release are the only new material but new in the sense that it wasn't released in the early 90's when it was recorded.  The other tracks are a handful of live material which would normally be considered as bonus material and the inclusion of Bitter End's four track 1988 demo "Meet Your Maker." Mostly, this release amounts to trying to get some name recognition for the newly reformed project. All the "Meet Your Maker" tracks were originally released on the average "Harsh Realities" album in 1990. At times riffs and structure point towards why Matt Fox may have spent time in Holy Terror even though the two bands are universes apart in terms of quality.

Overall, the album displays some interesting dualities in Bitter End's sound which come off sounding like a slightly more aggressive, more generic early 90's thrash version of Annihilator's "Set the World on Fire." Matt Fox's vocals are throwbacks to Diamond Head's recognizable croons as well as Alice in Chains' Layne Staley though he adds more grit and less sex appeal than Sean Harris and less grit than Staley. Chris Fox's bass playing is the high point on this album for me though. His clunky tone and clearly audible meanderings appear just moments into the awesome "Tiny Minds." Often jazzy and always precise I found myself just listening to his parts when the riffs became boring. Solos on the album are also quite enjoyable. Whether they are traded off between Russ Stefanovich and Matt I have no idea. Bitter End tend to suffer a problem encountered by practically every thrash band: talented individual efforts on display but average riffs and average songs otherwise.

A quick run through of highlights is limiting. "Tiny Minds" is the most memorable track on the album with a main riff that wouldn't be out of place on the next Enforcer album. The song's got some great licks and an emotive vocal performance. "Burning Bridges," - possibly the single off the disc - is decent. It switches between thrashy and clean parts reminiscent of Guns and Roses or Alice and Chains. "No Law" is another strong track and the thrashiest of the unreleased tracks on the album. The bass parts are out there. Chris mixes things up with some hammered out full chords during the shredding solo. At times the track sounds like something Megadeth could have used on Rust in Peace as a filler track. "Tunnel Vision" starts out with a intro that stirs up thoughts of Devastation's awesome "Legacy of Faith" and how this barely compares. This is also the closest Fox get's to purely alternative rock/metal vocals. Notable also is the live version of "Tiny Minds" which appears towards the end of the album but it's only awesome because the song is awesome and not for any other real reason.

The rest of the album just comes off as kind of bleghh. The Meet Your Maker demo tracks are alright but they don't offer much in the way of interest compared to the slightly better, more metallic and thrashy sounding versions on Harsh Realities. The title track's back and forth romp-around main riff sounds like something written during an uninspired rehearsal that everyone just figured would be worth messing around with for lack of better ideas. "Beat The System" produces a groovy stop-and-start thrash riff that doesn't really do much, even if the rest of the track isn't bad after a verse that rumbles through a "Got The Time" styled bass propellent. The chorus quashes anything positive the track could produce however with one of the most lacklusterly memorable groove  riffs I've ever heard. "Living Hell" is straight up obnoxious with it's intro. There is definitely some interesting material on "Have a Nice Death," but there is a lot of crud also. I don't know how much the disc is really worth to thrashers in this day and age, and I also don't know if hard rockers would be turned off by it's thrashier parts even though there are some good hard rock / alternative parts spread out here. It's just right there in the pack and does nothing to push it forward out of that group. Early 90's transitional thrash that doesn't seem geared to or appealing to anyone.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Coprophilia - Right Is Right

Coprophilia's Right is Right demo is such a fun ten-minute brutal death metal party a review is in order. Song titles like "Liberal Treesaver", "Infernal Greenpeace Antagonized By Semen", "Male Lesbians" and "Grudge Fuck With Extreme Prejudice" scream right wing to the point where while the vast majority of humans have no knowledge of this tape ever existing Rush Limbaugh must own all known copies other than mine just to try and relieve the swelling the tape's satirical slant puts on display. While vocalist - presumably - Justin is credited with "Right Wing Ranting" in the who's who, there's no literary disambiguation discussed attempted and so the tape just becomes an a-political, ideas tossed to the wind in favor of fart-jokes basement demo made by a greasy handful of miscreants during the Clinton administration. Who would have guessed a song like "K-Y Residue" would have overarching meaning later in the 90's for the Clintons and for American politics. There's something disturbingly prophetic about these tracks. Edgar Cayce born in a sewer... Nostrodamus starring in a porno... It's THAT kind of Prophetic.


Actually it's just a bunch of immature Floridian death metal somewhere between awesomely horrific and horrifically wrong. And that's why I love it. My favorite track is "KY..." because of the intro after the sample with Justin screaming the title in successively higher pitched voices. Four of the tracks begin with sleazy samples. The demo is like an incredibly short lived Mortician EP blended with sticky grimy grind speed. The production on my tape is terrible and sounds like it's been dubbed a billion times over as the tracks waver in and out like my stereo is running through a wah pedal. Either way the guitar riffs can be rather awesome at times like in the beginning of "A.R.I" which is the demo's most song-like of tracks. "Grudge Fuck With Extreme Prejudice" incorporates some thrashy elements. What a relic...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ad Patres - Scorn Aesthetics

When I was in Tilburg to play Mario's Metal Meeting I remember hearing from other bands and people at the show that individuals in the Netherlands were very critical of musical technicality. At the time, I remember that making total sense because thinking of bands like Iniquity and Sinister I figured that interest in technical prowess would translate to other metal genres as well - in my case Traditional Metal. Let me just say that France's Ad Patres would go over quite well in that country judging on their expert musicianship which is by far the band's best attribute on their debut release Scorn Aesthetics. They are but one of many Death Metal bands of the style in the nation of late and Death Metal seems to be a huge trend in France while in many other countries it seems the genre has been dropping in popularity. Maybe my observation is wrong but Ad Patres is just another one of these Death Metal projects from France which will get little attention outside of the country.

The artwork on the album is a blur of reds and blacks and is geared to appeal to no one except those that would want another album in the collection with a disjointed cover featuring a skull, conjoined bodies, a hung human peering out of a window and some lovely smelling incense to hopefully mask what must be a god-awful odor in that tiny five inch square room that is the album cover. The rest of the album's inner sleeves follow in kind except for the band photo which is in black and white. The quintet could either be Ad Patres or a photoshopped picture of a college biology class during a black out. The rest of the booklet has the lyrics which I have no interest in reading because the vocals on the album are about as dull as death metal vocals can get and I would have no desire to scream them out with vocalist Axel Doussaud. Either way, a quick glance at songs like "The Lock" reveal lyrics that probably weren't worth being printed; "I will dig your fucking grave, I will kill you with my own hands." Blah Blah... it's the same crap that the Jamaican dude I work with comes up with to stereotypically mock Heavy Metal as a whole.

Musically, the album contains two halves split by the dying patience of myself. While the album starts strong with "The Lock", "Scars of Compromise" and "To The Fathers," afterwards the album teeters off. It's not that the songs are any different - they're not - but all the band's creativity is available on display early on and the backside of the album leaves little surprises and engagement. The whole album sounds like a combination of Krisiun with some slowed spots - the more interesting moments - taking cues from Decapitated's Organic Hallucinosis. Leads appear on several tracks and rekindle memories of listening to Necrophagist though here, the leads are much more interesting since they aren't fighting tooth and nail within a song that was essentially just one long guitar fracas to begin with. Best track for me though is "Scars of Compromise," which contains a refreshing interlude about halfway into the song that cuts the blasting and blabbering genericism down a notch with some drawn out atonality and mixed drum beats. The problem with a lot of the tracks here though is that they don't actually seem to go anywhere and come off as a collection of cool - and not so cool - tremolo riffs with mundane blast beats beneath. At this stage in the game it just doesn't interest me that much but I'd tell everyone who just can't get enough death metal that they wouldn't have to work hard to head bang to Scorn Aesthetics.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Black Sabbath - Headless Cross

I've long been an advocate of the non-mentioned, non-Ozzy Sabbath albums. Mob Rules, Heaven and Hell (to a lesser extent), Eternal Idol and in particular Headless Cross get the same attention that an orphan from China gets from non-celebrity parents. Even on my own blog I've been adamant about the lack of attention given these releases dating back to 2009 when I did a quick article reviewing several albums rather briefly including Black Sabbath's Headless Cross and as recently as a couple weeks ago upon Sabbath's release of the abhorrent God is Dead? music video starring the vocally impotent Ozzy Osbourne. I digress however as I'm not interested in proving how terrible Ozzy is in comparison to every vocalist Sabbath has had since and prior. Rather, Headless Cross deserves mention and awareness because of a slough of great songs, great performances and to hopefully cut through the plague of individuals out there that attempt to sully the work Sabbath did after Ozzy's dismissal and after the impeccable vocal marksmanship of Ronnie James Dio on Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules.

I originally owned the CD Version of Headless Cross which I neglected in my youth. I traded it away for a copy of The Puritan's Lithium Gates. Doom for doom at least but I lost out on three of the greatest Sabbath (Headless Cross, Devil and Daughter and When Death Calls) tracks in favor of one immense extreme Dooooom track (It Is Your Own Decision To Respect Life). I picked up a copy of the album vinyl as soon as possible to overcome this self-imposed wrongdoing. While both albums retain minimal artwork, I must admit, the cover to Headless Cross is one of the most immediate and definite representations of Doom and of Heavy Metal which has ever been inked onto a one square foot record sleeve. The ominous cemetarial cross harkens the subject matter within, the black and white colorless manifest to this day is reminiscent of so many of the albums covers employed throughout metal, especially within the underground and the backside of the album, featuring the broken cross headstone, symbolizes the heavy metal stance - agreed upon by so many - of an anti-religion, anti-establishment credo which has become ingrained in the minds and imagery of the genre. But looking closer there are subtleties. There is no image of the musicians or mention of them on the outside of the release. The Black Sabbath moniker appears small on the cover and the album title appears only on the reverse. The emphasis is on the Cross and the hidden moon, small in an ebony sky behind cimmerian clouds.

Everything here is precisely effectual starting from the ominous introductory piece "The Gates of Hell," straight through the final track, "Nightwing." There is a definitive 80's production here which is not to be supplanted but it's one of the album's strengths. The atmosphere created by Geoff Nicholls' keyboards at pivotal moments through tracks like "Call of the Wild" maintain that horror-like motif of 70's films. Those that claim the album is an 80's glam album need look no further than the lyrics which are morbid and demonic. If anything, what could be perceived as an attempt towards 80's accessibility could actually be deemed a clever and devilish propaganda trick. Ignorant vagrants looking for an album to enjoy could be seized unwittingly and thrust into the darkest and deepest throes of the Devil's malice. It happened to Brian May of Queen fame -he appears on the album's most powerful and emotive track, "When Death Calls," - at the behest of Satan and even the acoustic moments of album draw thee in. I've been lost for a long time.

The four best tracks are the irreplaceable title track which, with it's steady drum beat and iconic clear yet muffed guitar tone, lead the way through a story which - at least after listening to this album so many times - I could imagine no one else narrating other than Tony Martin. One of the least talked about aspects of this album is Laurence Cottle whose direct and particularly syncopated style comes across well on this album. His bass lines are notably driven on the album and while he rarely does anything of particular technical prowess, without the momentum of his bass lines, songs like "Devil and Daughter" would be nothing but a collection of well intentioned riffs over a metronome-like Cozy Powell. He pulls the rhythm section from beyond and ties it to the surface with one big subtle knot noticeable only after direct contact for long periods of time such as I have been known to enjoy with this album. Ultimately the three best tracks are the A-sides on this album though and after the title track, "Devil And Daughter" is fun and naughty, pleasurable and painful. Memorable to infinite ends. "When Death Calls" ends the A side with a menacing, discomforting and powerful. When Death Calls... There's no tomorrow. For me, when Martin proclaims "For I Believe, Satan lives in the souls of the dying," I get shivers at easy it is to hear that on a record and know that line would freak 90% of the world out. Awesome riffs and Brian May's lead is one of the best ever put on a record.

The B-sides are less engaging. "Kill in the Spirit World," while momentarily strong during the choruses and pre-solo instrumental sections reverts constantly to an unfittingly optimistic verse. The solo is excellent but that verse... "Call of the Wild," also suffers from a similar fate though less pronounced as that encouraging vibe is dashed after the intro for the most part. Another notable lead. Recognize the pattern here? "Black Moon," is notable for it's stop start main riff and strong finale of leads and big chords complementing Tony Martin's croons. "Nightwing," starts with some killer fretless bass work, acoustics and keys before following a similar structure as "When Death Calls," with the heavy emphasis on the refrains. While a strong track, the A-sides are just so good they make the B-sides seem less than they probably really are. Great album through and through even with some small flaws on the follow through side. It's hard to find an album with no flaws though, and I'm not one to ignore them to prop up a previously acknowledged opinion on what Sabbath's best era is. I think the music itself backs that up and it sure as hell came after 1979.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beyond Creation - The Aura

Beyond Creation are a technical death metal band, among the finer gymnasts of the genre. This album is a polished exhibition of impressive technical chops, mechanically performed and very complicated. This band can do a lot with their skills, and they most certainly do a lot. The problem is that all of it is boring, unmemorable wankery.

Leads and licks are not riffs. While some guitar acrobats can turn shredding into a hook and build a song around it - such as Jeff Loomis' "Miles of Machines" - this band aimlessly wanks and turns dissonant guitar noodling into the main attraction. When the guitars repeat a riff a few times, the bass endlessly doodles underneath. The bass tracks throughout the album are constantly wandering aimlessly - these aren't the bass tracks for this album, someone must have put this guy's instructional DVD into the mix instead. This guy contests Steve Vai as the biggest wanker in music!

In addition to the riffs being boring, most of the album demonstrates a poor habit of poorly and quickly transitioning from one part to the next, with hardly a rhyme nor reason other than the need to shove more riffs into the mix above the never-ending bass solo. There's hardly anything resembling a decent hook, everything is boring and forgettable, a technical show that reminds you that these fellows can play their instruments really well, but they can't write a song that's not the riffing equivalent of a tire fire. They shred it and forget it. Showed off that lick? Good, only 187 more to go!

Beyond Creation have no sense of making good music, they basically made a death metal album that's the equivalent to watching video after video of "sickest guitar and bass solos" on YouTube for the sake of showing off and called it a death metal album. This is incredibly tasteless and forgettable wankery in and out.

Wizardrone - Wizardrone

Wizardrone are a stoner/doom metal band that mixes in some awful noise driven by excessively distorted guitars. Both remind me of the recent crop of Electric Wizard-influences bands who simply don't give a shit that they sound like shit. The sweeping noise is aimless, perhaps less irritating for those baked out of their minds, but droning low end and noise are presumably much more pleasant when they're actually music. This is noisy nonsense.

There are stoner doom riffs that are quickly drowned out by the vocals, which are both awful and suffocatingly loud in the mix. A combination of boxed-in, distorted whispers and distant wails, drenched in reverb, and played through a three-inch speaker over a radio twice as loud as the guitars. From the first track after the intro, the vocals are so loud that they drown out everything else. The farting, distorted bass and guitars burp through, but it just sounds like ass unless you're so stoned that you'd find solace in sleeping with your head atop a clothes dryer for the warm hum, though I suspect that a Maytag's warm, dry tone would be more pleasant than this ugly, soaking mess.

Even worse, the vocals get quieter towards the middle of the album and the boring noise, rather than the bass of the repetitive stoner riffs become the focal point. This album was recorded in two parts, and apparently they learned a thing and a half about mixing between those halves, so in the middle it turns into lame Electric Wizard worship. The vocals get drowned out by buzzing guitars that worship the buzz and bass of their amps rather than actually playing doom metal riffs like Sabbath, Sleep, Stillborn, and Saint Vitus did. The only "S" these guys earn is "Sucking".

Are you so high on marijuana that it took you five minutes to read this far in the review? Go hug your refrigerator, it's mixed better than this collage of noise.

Be'lakor - Of Breath and Bone

I'll preface this by noting that melodic death metal has been one of my favorite types of music for over a decade.

Be'lakor are a soulless Dark Tranquillity clone who have managed to suck all of the life out of melodic death metal. They use a template of the general sound of more recent DT mixed with the slightly atmospheric, doom-tinged emotional approach of Insomnium. They're best compared to those Finns, since their style is to make plastic-sounding, lame melodeath that sounds like the skeleton of Dark Tranquillity after having the meat stripped from the bones and the soul swallowed. This is boring, uninteresting melodic death metal.

The vocals are monotonous death growls, lacking inflection and passion. One thing that makes this type of music stand out is a vocalist who exudes passion and character like Mikael Stanne, where the delivery and enunciation of a growl deliver emotion and feeling. This vocalist has none of that, only a slight enunciation that makes each syllable almost intelligible and occasionally dragging a word to indicate that he knows that growls can be more than mere barking, but he never does otherwise. The same problem with delivery comes through in the guitar riffs - there's no feeling in the phrasing, rather the emotional atmosphere seems to be conjured in production, and it just doesn't feel right. There's a riff at the end of "Fraught" that clearly shows the Swedish influence, but it's presentation falls completely flat - it's repeated many times with no variation and quickly turns around the feeling of potential as it goes nowhere. Even a slight tail-end variation could improve it, a lesson they could take from In Flames' "The Jester Race", but they keep driving these riffs hard, playing them too many times without a feeling of variation, not even the natural shift in feeling of production that isn't excessively polished, layered, and edited. This feeling similarly hurts the production - it's implying a feeling, but the music doesn't reflect that. There are bands who go for the same feeling, mostly melodic death/doom, who nail it in both the music and the sound, but Be'lakor lack the edge they need in production and the feeling they need in the music.

The songs are long, not out of necessity to deliver their message, but because it seems like the band wanted to play each riff twice as much as it needed to be played because they couldn't figure out how to write enough transitions in the first place. This feels like a collection of riffs assembled from tablature. There are clean parts that are starved for anything but mechanical perfection, but they're so dry that they might as well be a nicely-toned synthesizer rather than an actual guitar. The pursuit of mechanical perfection in production is a bane to music that tries to capture and deliver the emotion of a performance, any passion in these performances is lost and carpeted with a synthetic, somber, solemn sadguy feeling that comes only from mixing the ambiance of the guitars in production.

There's a certain, essential part of melodic death metal that this simply lacks. It's not diminished, it is simply nowhere to be found. The key section from "In Parting" that loses the emotion like a MIDI version would suck the life out of the keys in Dark Tranquillity's "Cathode Ray Sunshine". This music is plagued by the synthetic feeling of the recording and the lack of passion delivered by the performances in the final product. This has already been done way better by many others, so there's no reason to listen to this album instead.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Aetherius Obscuritas - Ventus


Sent in a trade for free I had no expectations for Aetherius Obscuritus' album Ventus. I had figured that it would be another bland and boring black metal disc. I guess it was sent as a promo from Paragon Records along with a few others. Either way, Hungarian black metal - and metal in general - is far from being on the top of everyone's list as far as top-tier artists go. The only band that I ever think of when the nation is mentioned is the impressive Sear Bliss - which likely have influenced the leads and melodies on Ventus - and after doing some digging I turn up projects such as Gabor Varga's Dusk and Marblebog which skipped my mind initially. I'm sure there are many other great bands out of the country but it comes to show that some distances are difficult to traverse even in an age where a search box can bring up a list of every band a country has to offer. For a local comparison, the band sounds a lot like Immolith. Especially Immolith on their first two Demos.

The disc is typical fare. The cover employs a hag carrying a faggot of branches through a misty landscape - an image used on album covers ranging from Zeppelin IV through to variants such as on Drudkh's Blood in our Wells. Unfortunately there is no real booklet to the release, just one double sided page. Perhaps they felt that a booklet wouldn't fit in the CD case due to the bulging muscles of Arkhorrl. And I thought that Primal Fear's Ralf Scheepers was huge! Arkhorrl looks like he just destroyed the entire Hungarian 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medal water polo teams before sprinting to the local truck pulling competition all before lunch. I can't make this stuff up. I think the only reason that Zson is in the band is so that Arkhorrl has someone to bench press.

Musically the release is quite accomplished though. Most of the material is credited to Arkhorrl who performs all instruments but the drums which his thighs and triceps don't fit behind. Although Ventus does drop off after the sixth track, there is enough variety on the album to make it a worthwhile listen for Black Metal fans who like a more melodic leaning. Immediately noticeable from a track such as opener "Cold Fire" is the highly precise tremolo riffs that emphasize well thought out melodies. "The Resting Might" is memorable for it's plodding drum beat and energetic screams and for a chorus which sounds like it could be a theme from Mario 64. The highlights are often leads and overlapped melodies which, as noted earlier, would sound at home on Sear Bliss' "The Haunting." "I Stay" has some slower parts which break up the quick pacing of the earlier tracks as well.

The songs here are all quite short which truncates some moments that really deserved to be expanded upon. Noticeable would be the lead near the end of "Cold Fire" which starts with a great amount of finesse but twinkles out way too fast or the ending to "Meg Az Elet Elott" which sounds as if it is about to step into a wonderful sweeping movement. The details in "Doctor Ox's Experiment" as well as what feels to be a full solo and it's a great display in what is my second favorite track on the album. I really like the drum sound on the album too. It sounds natural and honest even when Zson doesn't exactly land a beat perfectly on time. Honest performances should not be zealously replaced and Aetherius Obscuritas leave breathing room for subtleties. Also, I don't know what is so "bonus" about bonus track "Hideg Tuz." It's the same as "Cold Fire." Are the lyrics in Hungarian while the original track is in English? I don't know.

In many ways Ventus reminds me of Countess' better moments, especially in regards to melodies. Although I doubt Orlok would regard this as Orthodox Black Metal, I do. There is an obvious influence from traditional metal such as in the inclusion of leads and solos as theatrical moments and the focus on songwriting is very much a throwback to NWOBHM. Aetherius Obscuritas take it a bit further by incorporating elements from Norwegian Black Metal such as the tremolo guitar riffs, Arkhorrl's scratchy vocals - a component which I laugh when I imagine him producing them - and the drumming style. I really thought this was a good release. If Arkhorrl is interested, I'd like to hire him as my personal trainer if he doesn't buy a plane ticket and come attack me viciously due to my incessant ragging on his superbuilt chassis first.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CTP 004 - I: Aeternus Logo Patch

These official Aeternus patches are the perfect addition to the kuttes, vests and jackets of discerning metalheads. $7.00 Postage paid to the USA. International add $1.00. These will be available through myself as well as through Aeternus. Great thanks goes out to Ares and Aeternus for offering Contaminated Tones the opportunity to put out some high quality official merchandise. Aeternus has long been one of my favorite bands and working with them has been excellent! Thanks also to Chuck Parsons, the Patchmaster General for his work and effort in getting the patches just right To order, Email me.

New In Store

Added some stuff to the Store:

Armor Column - Maximum Collateral Damage MC
Astrofaes - Ad Infinitum MC
Black Winter / Eternal Darkness - Craving for the Ebon Masquerade Split MC
Dimentianon - Live Promo CDr
Exciter - Unveiling the Wicked MC
Haethen - Wanderer MC
Hate Forest - Purity MC
Njiqahdda - The Path of Liberation from Birth and Death MC
Njiqahdda - Serpents In The Sky MC
Sectioned - Elme Promo CDr
Solus / Vrag - Awakening of the Hungarian Witchwoods Split MC
Varathron - Genesis of Apocryphal Desire MC

I only have one copy of the Astrofaes, Black Winter / Eternal Darkness, Dimentianon, Exciter, Hate Forest, Varathron and Sectioned tapes / cds.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Name One Band..." - Liege Lord Live at Webster Hall

Sunday's May 5th Liege Lord show at the Studio at Webster Hall in New York City was an excercise in light and heavy hearted truisms. Truism #1: I miss at least one band I want to see because of traffic at least every two or three shows I go to. I missed Cruciamentum and Evoken at last year's Martyrdoom festival, I missed Drugs of Faith at Maryland Deathfest two years ago... there's more on that list going back the past few years. Tonight, I miss Graeskul, from Long Island and a band I'd been wanting to see. Their name seems to be everywhere lately with a well circulated Demo tape and their brew of Thrash and subtle hints of Heavy Metal and Doom would have been a great primer for Liege Lord.

Pyramada was one or two songs into their set when we arrived and while their singer had a decent voice, styled after 90's Metallica, they stood out for not fitting on the bill at all. Graeskul, Retaliation and Liege Lord are decisively Metal. Pyramada are a Guns and Roses mixed with ReLoad-Metallica. There may be some slight Pantera influence but their riffs were borderline Metal at best. They are a decent hard rock band perhaps but concisely sub-par to mediocre as a metal band when paired on a bill with Retaliation and especially talent such as Liege Lord who would make practically anyone feel subpar. Truism #2: Too many bands get on shows that do their band a disservice by comparison to other bands on the bill. I don't know why they would WANT to be on the bill. They self-categorize as a hard rock band. Pyramada were decent musicians but they just had nothing to offer an audience that was there to see Speed Metal and good ole Power Metal as it was called back in the 80's.

After Pyramada, one of the most off-putting conversations I've ever had occurred with their merch girl / band member's girlfriend or wife. She made a B-line for my two friends and I. She asked us if had seen the previous band - which was obvious as we had been standing in that same spot the entire time. After responding with a simple affirmative she pressed us to buy one of the band's $10 Cds. We declined which elicted the following exchange:

"You don't want a CD? What did you think of the last band?" Hands on hips, her lips in a defensive snarl she responded with the bark of a newly birthed chihuahua.

"Honestly, I thought they were mediocre... not bad, not good..."

"Mediocre!?" She harummphed like a little girl being told she couldn't have a cookie until after dinner. "What do you know? Seriously, what bands play solos like that now?"

I could have retorted in several ways. I could have mentioned that there were at least five guitarists at that show that were accomplished guitarists that have, in the last several years, put out awesome albums with incredible lead work on them. I could have introduced Attacker's Mike Benatos who was at the show hanging out with drummer Mike Sabbatini. Both there to see Liege Lord, a band they were supposed to host in Philadelphia before having their show cancelled at Kung Fu Necktie. I could have pointed to Adam Tranquili, guitarist of Blood Feast who was there to perform with Retaliation and inserted a shout out to good friend Blood Feast's John Blicharz as well. Brohammer / Deceased guitarist James Danzo also was in attendance. Another possible example of a talented guitarist. Or I could have simply responded with a perfunctory "Well... Liege Lord is playing tonight, and their guitarists (Tony and Danny) are better guitarists than 97% of every other band in existence."

Instead I offered her an out... "You want me to name some bands?"

...and she met my check with a move that put her in mate. "Name one!."

I burted out Metal Inquisitor because I had been listening to last years Unconditional Absolution the past few days at home. "Who is that!?" I offer a brief history on the band and some of their major festival appearances at Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air (twice) and Bang Your Head and Wacken. She then walked away. Truism #3: If you don't know your shit, don't pretend to know your shit. You'll be called out on it. Truism #4: Trying to sell some merch and help out a band is great but when met with honesty, just nod and walk away, whether you agree or not. Getting into an argument over something as subjective as whether a band is good or bad or whatever is a lose-lose conversation. If you somehow are able to argue that your boyfriend or employer's band is actually good and accomplished, that person you just righted is still going to feel negatively towards that band because you essentially violated their sense of self-knowledge. If you aren't able to argue against the assertion, you get a whole anecdote posted about your argument on a blog like this and the band gets laughed at afterwards. Smile and nod. The customer is always right. I respect someone that has the courage to walk up to random people and try to sell them a band stuff that they are representing. Good job on that. Bad job on method. Truism #5: If you don't know your shit, then stick around for the band you're opening for and learn something. Pyramada left before Liege Lord came on (at least I didn't see them standing around anywhere).

Courtesy Tobi Resnik
Retaliation were a heaping pile of fun. Vocalist Terrie is a beast. One of the absolute best frontmen I've seen in the area. Full of energy, he does the Peter Steele / Carnivore stage presence perfectly and his movements are dead on with Pete's from what I remember from Carnivore's show at Lamours 6 or 7 years back. Their set was a great mix of Carnivore and Retaliation. Although they missed out on Male Supremacy due to time constraints after bassist Kevin Bolembach broke his E (!) string after the second song of their set. Memorable numbers include Angry Neurotic Catholics, Thermonuclear Warrior, Carnivore, God is Dead, Jesus Hitler, Sex and Violence and Technophobia. Basically anything from Carnivore would be awesome though leading us to Truism #6: My generation must learn to accept that Cover bands will be a necessity leading into middle age. With Jeff Hanneman's recent passing, Cover bands will be the only bands that will do right by the passing of those musicians we miss so dearly.

Liege Lord... where to begin. I never thought I would ever see Liege Lord live and they were excellent even if they didn't play one of my favorite tracks (Transgressor). Joe Comeau sounded great, looked relaxed and was spot on vocally though I did see some lyric sheets on the stage so perhaps he is still trying to remember all the lyrics from some of the back catalog. I don't think I saw him using them much though. He looked a little stiff on stage but as he got deeper into the set he seemed to loosen up a little. Either way, I didn't need their energy... I had enough of my own. Their setlist contained a great mix of Master Control material back to Freedom's Rise with a splattering of Burn To My Touch mixed in.

Fear Itself, Master Control, Feel The Blade, Eye of the Storm, Broken Wasteland, Dark Tale, Cast Out, Birds of Prey, Speed of Sound, Rapture, Kill The King, Vials of Wrath, Rage of Angels... They closed with Wielding Iron Fists. They included a short dual guitar tradeoff between Tony and Danny and a longer Drum solo by drummer Frank Gilchrest. Danny Wacker's spastic guitar antics were enjoyable throughout the night doing moves I would label such as "slapping the stick" and "flipping pancakes." Tony was more reserved but engaged the front lines with sheer ability and finger histrionics. Most interesting of the night was Joe Comeau's admission of a new album in the works. Truism #7: There is no need to teach old dogs new tricks when the tricks were awesome to begin with.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Master Fury - Cirlces Of Hate Review #1

Author Autothrall hits the nail on the head with a oversized sledge in this review, revealing every reason one has to own a copy of the Master Fury - Circles of Hell compilation.

"This shit hits like a barrage of old Metallica meets Whiplash/Nuclear Assault, with meticulous rhythm guitars that are often adorned with the frivolous leads I mentioned above. The boxcutter guitar rhythm tone is by far the most powerful element, but the bass and drums pop through, and the vocals, which feel like an ungodly East Coast alternative to the late Keith Deen (Holy Terror), retch and bark like a crate of salacious imps just imported from some preschool in Hell."

Check out the review on the From The Dust Returned website and if you still don't have a reason to get a copy of Circles of Hell... well... there's nothing I can do to fix your brain.

Friday, May 3, 2013

CTP 001 - II: Maximum Oversatan - Too Evil For Hell

With the imminent first live show of Maximum Oversatan, I've gone ahead and repressed the debut demo, Too Evil For Hell, in a small quantity of cassettes (50). These will be first available at the live show on Friday, May 10th at The Backstage at Championships. Once again, Motorhead and Venom inspired dirty and raw Heavy Metal is ready and waiting to drag you to hell!

This release contains the original demo as well as bonus rehearsal track of Cry of the Pentagram previously unavailable.