Sunday, January 31, 2016
I have had another bad night of sleep apnea with no mask and so really feel like I have been riding the black machine of dread nightmare and incipient oblivion. So naturally I was like "Cirith Ungol! That is what will fix me!" and that is almost true. Cirith Ungol have an excellent claim to having made my favorite 1980's metal album of all time, King Of The Dead (1984), which encapsulates and extends far far into the abyss the practices of traditional/doom/battle metal. 'Black Machine' can almost been seen as a hellish inversion of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine', and the Moorcock influence on both bands certainly cannot be overstated. The fact that there even exists live Cirith Ungol from 1984 is inherently miraculous and that it is of such audio/visual quality is even more amazing. Every element is clear and isolated, from Tim Baker's cries, to Jerry Fogle's amazing lead guitar work, to Michael Vujejia's amazing lead bass, to Robert Garven's drums. There is some tape-waver/near-dropout, but it doesn't really affect the listening experience too much. I can attest to this, as I keep listening to it over and over again. Of course, listening to 'Black Machine', makes me want to listen to 'Master Of The Pit', the titular entity of which is mentioned in 'Black Machine' and directly follows 'Black Machine' on King Of The Dead. Gosh I love Cirith Ungol. If I had a smoked/pulled meats BBQ operation, our slogan would be 'Bow Down And Kneel To The Master Of The Pit!' and we would have aprons that said that, and we would send Cirith Ungol tribute monies.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
A dream of the coming of flowers for Imbolc. An anodyne for the cold and the snows and the chill winds coming through the cracks in insulation and door and window. Dream as an agent to burrow within, to keep and tend the fire inside. Here is another near-winter's tale from Illuminations to keep your nights ablaze with wonder and dread: (Illuminations is my favorite Buffy Sainte-Marie album. The electronix & the guitars and the singings & otherworldly spirit-projection are thoroughly undeniable and summon the all the elemental powers known and unknown)
One of the things I dig the most about recent Napalm Death albums is their not-so-stealth reintegration of their mid-90's prog-jazz-industrial facets. I love those albums. I can't say they are my favorite Napalm Death of all because all of Napalm Death is my favorite of all Napalm Death. 'The Wolf I Feed', though, sounds a durn lot like Fear Factory in places, and so makes me imagine a world in which Fear Factory and Napalm Death pioneered a kind of psych-cybergrind together. Wait! That world DID exist! It was the mid-1990's! My brain damage is worse than ever! Also there are locusts wearing hats in the video, which is rad. Apparently, the wolves fed by Napalm Death are not wolves at all but are locusts wearing little outfits that maybe Napalm Death sewed for them during a thoughtfully provided John Carpenter film festival? Here is a bonus Napalm Death video-single from Utilitarian, 'Analysis Paralysis' which does not feature Voivod vokills nor locusts wearing outfits, but is still rad and grinds madly. The clean guitar breaks fill me with delight. My favorite song of all from Utilitarian is 'Circumspect/Everyday Pox' which has some mighty John Zorn sax eruption on it! Here is an official track from Utilitarian, 'Leper Colony' which also has some awesomely weird vokills. Weird clean vokills and guitar tracks and synth noise and saxophones and percussion are what I live for 30! years on in recorded Napalm Death glory.
Friday, January 29, 2016
"Whatever You Think Of Us Is Totally Irrelevant" // "We Are Egg-Snatchers" // "Open It All, We've Come To Stay" // "Wave Goodbye To AmeriKKKA, Say Hello To The Garden" Against The Fascist State Of Ronald Reagan, Against Dinosaurs, Against Bombing Campaigns, For Cocaine, Acid & Grass & Sex In The Park. For Love. For Noise. Steal The Starship And Fly To The Stars To Make A Commune The Man Will Have A Real Hard Time Kicking The Door In Of.
(The video for 'Electric Crown' is not so good, but the song is so very incredible. Foolishly, I never got to hotbox sedans to it in 1992-? What a substantial loss on my part!) I have spent today listening to Testament in an ill-advised marathon as it replaced more necessary? things like sleep, etc., and I can now for sure tell you that The Ritual is tied for or #1 for my favorite Initial Testament-era album with 1988's The New Order. These albums, along to a slightly lesser extent, The Legacy and Souls Of Black, share an eerie, grim, psychedelic spaciness within the heaviness/thrashiness. The Ritual is the first of these to extend thrash riffery to the slower, more additionally smoked-out 1990's. The Ritual seems to draw from 70's Post-Acid Classick Rock in its vibe, a doomed, gloomy old-school prog edge that I so dig. The title track is an excellent example of this, returning Testament to its original thematic preoccupations of black magick wreaking havoc upon this world. And that album art! An inverted kaleidoscopic pentagon with an eclipsed sun at its center! With behorned devils exhaling fire on piles of skulls! Word! I don't understand why 'Deadline' for instance, never became the 90's rock radio song it so obviously yearned to become. the guitar scrapes, the weight of the ambient noise within the solidity and clarity of the mix makes The Ritual the best-produced album of Testament's career up to that point. Allowing leads to weave in and out of riffs, to ornament and amplify them also makes The Ritual feel more solid and organic, with solos emerging from their songs rather than stopping everything short and returning. The Ritual did have a hit song, though! 'Return To Serenity' like, totally charted. Note! This is the single/video-edit, which clips some real awesomeness! Nonetheless, it rules. This video is also a little better than 'Electric Crown', too. Hooray For The Ritual! Hooray For Testament! Hooray For Psychedelic Post-Thrash Prog-Doom!
Thursday, January 28, 2016
'Mouth Of Kala' is my favorite song off of L'Enfant Sauvage. That stutter-overlap riff section is ridiculously awesome, as is the undulating wave-function. Also, it is about Time as a devouring deity and the impermanence of all things, which is a typically Gojira conceit, they being one of my favorite kinda aggro New Age Metal bands. All of their songs are about kundalini energy and flying whales and karmatic blockage and stuff like that. They have a new album out in 2016 and I am way happy about this. I am that dude who turns up the Gojira in the station wagon and blisses out on the way to the Vitamin Shoppe. Here is 'Liquid Fire' which is a super-inspiring song about shakti/prana, which comprises and flows through all being. Also it has a near-disco throb, which is only underscored by the rad vocoder passages. Lastly but maybe the best of all, here is the incredible video for 'Born In Winter', which is the most fully New Age song on an album full of them. So beautiful. So hypnotic and inwardly transporting.
For duelling/complementary guitar tone/texture/extended leads, this rivals Skynyrd's various cotemporaneous 'Freebird' tv appearances in awesomeness. As far as the sexual/personal politics of 'Stranglehold' go, I cannot claim to understand them, let alone feel comfortable with them (like who has who in a stranglehold? whose face is being crushed? other than mine, which is definitely being crushed? most welcomely I might add?), although what I really like is that Ted tells the crowd that THEY have HIM in a stranglehold of Fan Appreciation? which is pretty rad. Also, the list of bands and figures that Ted shouts out are like Napalm Death liner notes in 1990. Ted was on this special with Aerosmith, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, Golden Earring and Wolfman Jack. That is kind of crazy, right? I heard 'Stranglehold' most recently like a month ago over the end credits of Ash Vs. Evil Dead, a show that really uses 70's metal to its advantage, and I haven't been able to get it out of my consciousness by any means available. One of the great guitar epics of all time. Extra Midnight Special 1978: Cheap Trick playing one of my favorite Cheap Trick Songs: We're All Alright! We're All Alright!!!
If you are sleep deprived and you haven't worn your sleep-apnea mask for two nights in a row for the hour or so that you have received a really fitful sleep beset by tv noise and weird half-dreams, what sounds best is Grave Miasma's Odori Secpulcrorum. It is a warm blanket of comfort-fog-roar. When your eyes are rolling back in your head for whatever reason and your body can barely lift itself from whatever position it finds itself in but devotional pineal-centered astral projection unto the darkness below, Grave Miasma is your jam. Hope is for those who don't know where they are at, and can dig it despite or because of what is going down. For when incense reduces visibility to negative numbers and the destination is nowhere. When this next befalls you, Grave Miasma.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Watching MSNBC with the sound off and Bastard Noise Live On but also watching Bastard Noise almost makes MSNBC palatable as a kind of ambient television of people in suits and glasses intercut with shots of corroded pipes and corrosive rivers. You can't actually see lead poisoning but you can see its fallout sometimes. Why I do this to myself I will never know. I have a bad sinus headache tonight which is full of allergen-stoked mucus. So this Bastard Noise performance is really doing it for me. Knobs are tweaked, plugs are plugged and unplugged. Sometimes vokills, mostly not. Thanks be to recordists and uploaders. Unseen astral beings judder above in whorled spiralites. More Bastard Noise Live 4 3 2015 :
This song is ripping holes in what is left of my consciousness today, but way awesomely. Axe-wielding, howlings-at, snowbound waste constructions to eff up your day! YEAH!!!! TSJUDER!!!!! YEAH!!!!!
As much as I dig Mike Oldfield, who is rad, Lalo Schifrin's score for The Exorcist is one of his greatest pieces of music, jarring and clattering and resonating, with orchestral scrapes and drags and stabs, harp discordances underneath uneasy drones. Apparently, this score was blamed for test audiences losing it in front of the 'banned trailer' of The Exorcist. I would still really dig having seen this version of the movie. And I agree, almost unbearably frightening. I saw a piece about this in The Quietus, which led to an article in Dangerous Minds, and then went to YT and saw I had already bookmarked it from some prior notification but never dug into it. Don't be like me. Listen to this, no matter what you are doing right now, keep doing it, but do it to Lalo Schifrin's rejected Exorcist score. Trust me that it will make that activity far more absorbing and potentially terrifying than it already is. Here is the 'banned trailer' w/ the Schifrin score: This by the way, is now my favorite trailer for anything, even better than the Spring Breakers trailer which has James Franco jumping on a bed to the sick drops of Skrillex, and Britney jamz.
'King Nothing' was the last video/single released from Load and in hindsight, maybe it should have been the first, as it is the most Black Album-sounding and in fact immediately referencing of anything off of Load. I do, however, respect Metallica's guts to represent Load's uniqueness with songs which forged new sounds and paths rather than advertising 'Black Album II'. I dig how 'King Nothing' opens with Jason Newsted's bass, a motif continued and built into the song, indicating that the staccato thrash riffery of past Metallica is undergoing serious modification even at its most traditional moments. Here, after establishing a churning, layered riff pattern, when they typically would have pulled back into James/Lars chord mayhem, there are instead bridging elements of classic-rock/Pantera-influenced smearing and elision which sets up a groove continuing nad increasing momentum rather than defeating it. This rules rather than sucks, and took years to learn how to do. Also, Kirk Hammett's wah solo is the best, for real. This video, too, with its snow-forest and rivers and fire and crowns seems rather like later big-budget Black Metal music video actions. I love Load so very very much. It is the album I want to listen to more than maybe any other single album, which seems crazy, but ultimately works in their favor of classic rock sounding better twenty years after release. Hail Metallica Hail!!!
Before dawn in an eastern seaboard still blanketed by snow and ice and having watched on the cable tv 60's-era low-income condemned apartments in Pacifica, CA get ready to fall into the ocean, what feels good is Lycus. Lycus are from Oakland and they feel good because they bring the epic, sorrowful doom which builds and builds its slow-war-chariot-action until it erupts into black metal blastbeats and harshed hissing and scratching without dropping the reverb and the echo and the chanting and the sorrow, which gets layered atop the black metal stuff and then the black metal stuff and the death moaning gets layered atop of that, but it never sounds messy, it sounds beautiful. This is music for watching continents slowly collapse into constituent elements, being eroded from within and without by wind and water. Ice dams have themselves decided to back up into our roof/ceiling apparatus and down into the walls. Lycus feels good. Lycus can't/won't stop the rock, but it can hold your hand as you watch it fall. Also, I would like to point out that Paolo Girardi once again provided an awesome painting for the cover of Chasms. Paolo Girardi for making iconic metal landscapes is up there with Dan Seagrave, and I do not say that lightly. Here is an interview with him courtesy of No Clean Singing: http://www.nocleansinging.com/2015/08/17/get-to-the-point-paolo-girardi/#more-95060 And here is a list of album covers he has worked on courtesy Encyclopedium Metallum: http://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Paolo_Girardi/260928
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Historically my most-listened-to Scorn album. Today and yesterday was freezing rain advisory post-blizzard so as to make everything ultra-safe for travel, not. Staying inside and listening to Mick Harris/Nick Bullen coming at you whilst having a nice cup of warm or warming beverage and medicinal vapors wrapped in warm blankets/afghans and watching the silver rain fall is a far-preferable plan of action if travel is to be avoidable. Bonus if in a cushy chair/sofa with ornamental antimacassar. I just wanted to write 'antimacassar' which I always think is actually spelled 'antimassacar' and am sad when it never turns out to be. And watch for black ice. That stuff is hella dangerous.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Personally Unexcerptable, Frequency L.S.D. is not messing around in any capacity. Look at those Sterling Morrison Shades! Rarely or never before has someone yelling at you been so awesome. Explosive Charge//Third Eye Exit Wound. Sample And Hold As A Fugue State As A Way Of Life Means There Is No Past Nor Present Nor Futurity. Liftoff Is Achieved But Will You Ever Land, And If So, Will It Be You Who Comes Back Down? Bonus Masonna Full Set 2014: Bonus Bonus Masonna 2002
A) This 'Super HD' Psychedelic Wolf Puzzle, whose pieces may be EZ to pick up and hold, but is vibrationally hardcore and all-over in affect, making ease of solution visibility very slow-moving and complex. B) Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts being repurposed for Citizenfour by Laura Poitras. It is super-awesome that not only does Citizenfour play out like a 21st Century real-life update of the 1970's Paranoid Cinematics, but how well Ghosts fits as a jittery post-ambient soundtrack. Speaking of that, Is it weird that I now like to watch Citizenfour as ambient TV, just having it on for some reason makes me feel better. I am in a nonfictional visual space right now I guess. Lots of Weather Channel, Card Sharks, Citizenfour. C) What is nonfunctional is that Blizzard Jonas actually got inside our house by breaking the roof. That isn't cool. I hope everything does not flood further once the snowpack melts tomorrow!!! It also destroyed our deck awning, but that is not the same as a roof. Here is Jonas from space in sequence! : http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/01/winter_storm_jonas_nasa_and_no.html D) This cover of Mayhem's 'Freezing Moon' by Wyrd Visions in honor of the very large, very cold moon I saw hanging in the sky over the Western Hill. The whole of Wyrd Visions' album Half-Eaten Guitar is definitely worth listening to, but I dig this haunted-folk-blues rendition of such a classick.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Ancient Wisdom - 'They Gather Where The Snow Falls Forever' from For Snow Covered The Northlands (1996)
Pine trees like dipped cones of spectral vengeance. A river that runs on loss because melted frozen tears of those who walk unseen, emptying into a chasm forever in grief. This is one of my favorite album covers ever. And one of my favorite Nineties mid-tempo Dark New Age Metal albums. Ancient Wisdom bring the comfort jamz when stranded within by blizzard winds! We're like not even in the Northland, but the MidAtlanticLands and nonetheless, snow has covered us and the entirety of the land. May we become free of our wintry fastnesses soon!
I haven't seen any of the Vasulka's videos prior to this, but I really dig psychedelic tree movies with/without electronic/noise/ambient aural activity. This is no exception. There are two basic movements. The first, or intro, is like what happens in your backyard or out your window when you are losing consciousness under the influence of heavy sedatives or anesthetics and the visual field starts spinning and rotating on various axes, some of whom you may have never experienced before. The second, longer, movement, is what it is like when you are looking out your window at trees or sitting in your backyard looking at trees and the acid starts kicking in and/or you lose optical focus over and over again unpredictably. The pixelization of the video field is structured according to a developing inconsistent drone tempo and ends up being kind of like the vascular, living pulse and throb of the tree life and movement itself. Bonus Vasulka Action: 'Noisefields' (1974) The video equivalent of harsh psychedelic noise/power electronics. Unbelievable. Will fix what ails you and/or ail what fixes you. To me it feels gentle and healing and cosmickally energizing. Unless you use this sort of thing to alleviate migraine (which I do), don't watch it if you have epilepsy or a migraine! This one will bore into relevant chakras for real!
Saturday, January 23, 2016
I have been waiting for a DUST longplayer for what seems like forever. I have been a fan of the works of Greem Jellyfish for a long time, and DUST is for my money the most compelling of the bands GJ is involved in. NYC is real good at making dancefloor stuff with spacy freakout vox on top and has been since disco and before disco. What DUST reminds me of though, is if early Warp and early Earache joined forces to make a Nocturnus tribute band out of the hardcore techno materials laying around. It doesn't so much SOUND like Nocturnus as much as it FEELS like Nocturnus, although some of the queasy synth and blocky sequencer action attest otherwise. This is music for exploring derelict spaceships in slow-motion using totally unnecessary kick-boxing moves in full vinyl or like if you were to open an Event Horizon-themed discotheque. Come to think of it, why ISN'T there an Event Horizon-themed discotheque? I guess there probably is, but I haven't heard about it because I never go outside or am hip to goings-on. Hey! Are you an alien cop/bountyhunter who is pursuing an even more alien serial killer who has come to this planet because yeah? Then you should listen to Agony Planet because then you will look way cooler crouching in the shadows with your rad alien pistol with laser sighting and digital display gripped tightly in your hands pointed outward while wearing dark glasses even though you are in the shadows because Gaian light levels are too extreme for your alien cop/bountyhunter visual organs. DUST is good. DUST will help. Hey, invoking the mighty Nocturnus, here is 'Lake Of Fire' from The Key (1990). Seriously, I love Nocturnus so very much. Florida Death forever.
So I Bring Black Plague Unto Your World. This song is really metal, like really really metal. It is about metal soldiers maybe from hell who cross dimensional gates using talismanic keys in order to invade places and unleash magickal biowarfare agents. There is a blind prophet who was chained up but then got away. There is a blind jackal also. A blind jackal! Of remorse! It is hard to get more metal than that! This song even sounds like armies trudging through mire toward a portal through which they will pour like nameless dust. Sanctuary is awesome.
The sound of twilight after a blizzard where the sun cannot be seen to set, darkness comes out of waiting, stops holding its breath, but what it exhales is quiet. What it exhales is nothing moving on the plowed roads, on the frozen river.
Become one with the howling wind and the drifting snow until it walks upright and you are made low, as one with, face down, unrecoverable. Or you could sit in a comfy chair with a cat or blanket or cat & blanket in your lap and allow the guitars to bristle against you like spikes of ice covering an evergreen bough and the synths to blur and shimmer like the auroras which might be the last thing you ever see as they grow brighter and brighter in the sky alive with stars.
This unholy fusings of Eastern Orthodox Church Slavonic Vocalizations & Musicks into Doomed Deathly Black as a fully functional organism all its own is super-impressive. I don't know enough about the circumstances surrounding or origins of Batushka except that they keep the ID on the DL and are from Poland. Many commentators with greater experience than myself have mentioned Mgla and Behemoth in relation to this, and they seem like more than reasonable lodestars to this working. This album kind of makes me want to put on Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev with the sound off and blast this in the background. That would be pretty rad. Utterly and savagely transporting.
'Gnaw' completes AN's Arc & Kat Katz dredges and scrapes like when you really need all that ice off of your windshield and it doesn't want to come off. In fact, that is what all of 'Gnaw' sounds like. An icepick against an avalanche. Like Godflesh as a flow of dirty snow and ice repealing city streets and covering what remains underneath in dirt, gravel, inorganic filth. What happens when the streetcleaner fails against the elements and is buried under. Arc is my jam. I dig that Agoraphobic Nosebleed is doing the solo-KISS-EP stratagem and I cannot wait to see what else they have in store, but for me, this one will be hard to top, or even get out from under. All Hail.
Shit Is Deep On The Block / Locked Down In This Cold Cold World (That siren riff like kills me like every time) WU TANG FOREVER. Bonus 1995 WU: Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Blue Raspberry, 60 Second Assassin 'Glaciers Of Ice' The Treasure Is The Glaciers Of Ice
We are straight in a blizzard for reals. I am snow blind. I can't see a thing. I think I'm lost in space. Check all that apply. All apply. Feets of snow. Ace Frehley had by far the best KISS solo album. Ace is my favorite of KISS in general. Really though, this is the jam. KISS Army Forever.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Do you think it is coincidental that on the day of the Abbath album release, a historic blizzard hits the Eastern United States Seaboard? Not me. I await the inevitable army of ravens and wolves currently lurking in the depths of white-out conditions to take over the local Target/Giant/CVS/Starbucks/McDonalds Plaza which will be unrecognizable when buried in snow, ravens and wolves. The Abbath album pretty much sounds like what I imagine this future also historic event to be like, if it is not already coming to pass. Which is to say, the Abbath album is in keeping with prior tradition, and acquits itself with well-fought pride and glory. Right now I am really digging 'Ashes Of The Damned', which has flangey sounds and mighty horn soundings and guitars which are good for stormings and being-stormed.
'Idolatress' is the song from Black Earth which gets stuck in my head the most often. It is a little repetitive, but the Liiva just crushes this one. sWhy was there not a video for this song on Headbanger's Ball? I dig the shaky, stuttering riffs which go into solos which go into wavery neo-classical jamz and then the overall 'thrash-out' aspects. This song rules. Hey! Here is the song that did get a video! This song also rules. Also, this band is getting back together too apparently but they will be called 'Black Earth' in order to play early Arch Enemy songs together I guess? Right on. So many 90's bands had to contend with swinging chains in their practice spaces! Such dangerous conditions in the olden days!
This is a vibe album, and that vibe is sunset in the dark half of the year, rising or falling. Like if Tiamat in their late-nineties High-Floydian phase were more influenced by Sketches In Spain - era Miles and 19th Century Romantic Classical Piano but turned that into the Heavy Doom without the Heavy but just as dreamlike and hushed and suspended. Ulver in the second half of the 00's is stretching their orchestral psych wings for flight, even if that flight is as a burnt cinder upon a wind choked with what is left of human civilization. I have heard Shadows Of The Sun described as 'ambient' but it really isn't. It is Dark New Age / Soft Rock. Like what would have been playing on stations that used to play Air Supply if those stations were nuked in 1983, turning all Air Supply vinyl into melted obsidian waste. For extra dopeness, Fennesz shows up all over to provide 'white noise', in an album which is composed from Venusian-level atmospheric densities that you cannot hear but only perceive as bodily or aura-pressure. Ulver is for everyone.
This is an absolutely fascinating work which takes some time in getting acclimated to, to its themes, paces & unfoldings so as to let its spell fully occupy. Karyn Crisis is long-time metal vokillist from such places as Crisis and later Ephel Duath, and it is with Ephel Duath's Davide Tiso, to whom she is wedded, that Karyn Crisis' Gospel Of The Witches has come to pass. This album is basically like a nonfictional version of a King Diamond album with empathy, love, compassion and transcendence at its core rather than shuddery/fun horror tales. Recorded in an old Italian farm house where Karyn came into mediumistic contact with the spirit of a witch, Ariada, and once in contact drops serious occult gnosis on Karyn, the aforementioned Gospel Of The Witches. I think I have that correctly! If not, corrections are always welcome! The first song released from this album, 'Mother', is a good choice, as possibly the most overall representative, but also the one which introduces the approach and content most directly. That said, this is an album which rewards patience and needs to be listened to almost as one song in many movements. It is frequently beautiful and moving and sweepingly melodic, but it is not the most immediate. This initial 'holding-back' is critical to the overall feeling of this album as it slowly 'takes hold'. Here is another song, 'The Alchemist', which like much of Salem's Wounds, features Ross Dolan of Immolation on 'death chorus vokills'. A couple of tracks feature Mike Hill of Tombs. 'The Alchemist' leans into an almost tech-death contemplation. Like much of Salem's Wounds, trance and dream are the aim rather than a more energetic thrashing about, which is rad to me, because it helps to expand What Metal Can Do and What Metal Is For. The overall vibe of Salem's Wounds is kinda Dark New Age, while never being expressly ambient or psychedelic in attack, it ends up feeling that way, which is wondrous and endearing. Here is 'The Ascent', another officially-released video track. I get a hint here or there on Salem's Wounds of a Goblin/Argento influence, transposed into the stuffs of magickal workings by witches, for witches. 'The Ascent' video has some serious Mario Bava Black Sunday going down in it, for sure, but in the interests of coven initiation, rather than slaughter and revenge. Here is a fascinating video interview with Karyn about her Psychichal and Magickal Workings and interactions with Ariada and how this brought about Salem's Wounds.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
I was toggling between The Weather Channel and the Metal Channel and this song came on and I had no expectations for it, but it ruled and then ruled more and then ruled even more and it was catchy and kind of eccentric and I wanted to hear it right after it was over, so I went and found it and listened to it. And it was just as good the second and third and fourth and fifth time and sixth time. Even if you are not into whatever genre wiser persons may consign this to, it is really really good and creative and worthy of your attention. The overall vibe from this album seems to be that God is at best an absentee landlord and total disaster at that, human beings are hopelessly evil and corrupt and Hell should engage in an occupation of liberation as an act of mercy to all. Every time something seems like it might go in a worn-out direction, it does something else or something better. As far as I am concerned, Fit For An Autopsy should be on the radio every five minutes like they were Slaughter in 1990. They are for me anyway. 'Saltwound' is a slightly more pulled-in and downcast Fit For An Autopsy. Here, there are interesting sounds and epic choruses, which are totally rousing and groovy. The gnarly solo which throws up trad metal value in advance of mosh blockade action like it was 1986. Here is an actual video-video for the title track of this album, and like Fit For An Autopsy itself, it takes lots of things people have done before in metal and makes them work, even leveraging their awkwardness in/against expectation. Insects, fruit, blood, flies, jars, etc. but whatever, it works fine with me. I really dig that spidery intro guitar which also fronts like it is on a classic Ozzy album sort of. This album is really, really good. I am totally into listening to it over and over, as you can probably tell. Here is the 'official stream' of the whole album if you too want to listen to it in its entirety:
So I read that Insect Warfare are re-forming to play some shows (and hopefully record some stuff) and this is way rad. 00's TX-grindcore at its very best when the world really needed Texas to throw up some grindcore in the face of Bush II, Insect Warfare more than delivered. Savagely misanthropic. Hates the internet. Hates the government. Hates losers who steal their weed. Noise Grind Power Death is my favorite Insect Warfare album because it is one side of a record, not even 9 minutes, has no guitars, just drums, electronic noise and vokills. Bring the noisecore sickness, yes please. This was their last release, but hopefully not now. Here is a full set of Insect Warfare at the height of their powers in March 2007 at 924 Gilman Street with guitars! as always, praises be to those who recorded and uploaded! Right on!
I watched a lot, like a lot, of Card Sharks in the 1970's and early 1980's on daytime TV, and I can assure you without a doubt, that this is the best and most profoundly meaningful episode of Card Sharks ever. Contestant Lisa is volcanic, ecstatic dynamite. Jim Perry (who just passed away this past November, R.I.P.) is dapper and put-together in his grey suit. Challenger Todd has a camel suit and is very tall. This entire episode is like watching the 1970's roll over into the 1980's. Lisa representing the 70's, and Todd the incipient dawn of the Reagan Era, and proto-bro. I don't want to spoil the incredible twists and turns, and I do recommend watching the whole thing, but the section (unfortunately slightly mangled here) which told me that yes, this is the greatest and most prophetic episode of Card Sharks to ever exist starts at 5:52. The Game Show Network has taken me back to a time when there was almost nothing to watch on daytime tv, and yet I am still voluntarily watching it rather than blizzard movements. Heart Lisa Forever!
To Be Incarnate Is To Be Unclean. Everything Which Is, Is Unclean. Life Is Septic. Life Is Contagious. Cleanliness Is Next To The Eradication Of The Possible.
Far be it from me to sit in judgment upon other beings, and this is just my opinion, but no matter what ends you seek to achieve, no matter who suggested it to you, no matter how many agree, no matter how long you have already been doing it for, if your idea requires for implementation genocide and slavery your idea is not very good. Thank You For Your Time And Readership, nxww
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I don't know if I have a 'favorite song', but if I had a favorite song, it might very well be 'Evil Satan' by Acid King because by now it would have been my favorite song for like 15+ years, and it has been lodged in my head for that long or longer and comes out like a moray eel out of shipwrecked pirate ship and winds its way around my consciousness, eating stuff or just cruising/crushing. Bow Down Evil Satan You're Always Right
'Love To Love' by UFO is one of the truly monster songs of the 1970's. From the very opening, with Michael Schenker's guitar tracings and the gong reverberation to the mighty chords leading up to THAT RIFF with the keyboards somehow far away above, and the clean riff atop the Mega-Riff and the bassline and then the orchestration, all before the plaintive lyrics of exhaustion of life on the road and missing the love out of reach, this song has everything needed for Ascendance Rock and turning up again, again, again in the vehicle, stationary or in motion. Bonus Michael Schenker Content: UFO - 'Rock Bottom' from Strangers In The Night (1979) The care and felicity and compositional wherewithal which goes into Schenker's riff/solo construction and juxtaposition is really quite breathtaking, and here he gets to fully go for it. This would be Michael Schenker's last stand with UFO, and it was made to count. Also, Lucifer. Also, cowbell hits and thoughtful/heavy organ-stylings. Because I now cannot stop listening to live Schenker-era UFO, here is an earlier performance of 'Rock Bottom', but with added guitar-god awesomeness-visuals-and-audials!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
What is the best Heart song? Maybe 'Barracuda' or something off of Dreamboat Annie? I will not argue with you, but my favorite and most life-impacting Heart song and video is 'These Dreams' from my favorite Heart album, Heart (1985). The Wilson Sisters along with Stevie Nicks were a gateway to New Age Witch-Power, to dreamworlds previously undreamt of, summoned from gossamer and moonlight and the ashes of rock burnt to powder. The Official Culture of the mid-1980's was both garish and bland, aggressively ugly in self-presentation, having raised Capitalist Realism to a weaponized threat level to stare down the fading Soviet Empire. A sort of obnoxious, hard-geometrical tedium which fetishized militarism, consumerism, and bodily perfection, making a show of effortful labor and paradoxical 'cool' affect. I still have shudders over thirty years later. Heart's 'These Dreams' offered a paean to sleep and dream, to alternate realities cherished and collapsing one into the other. There were no hard edges, no yelling, no transactionality. There was a magick based upon surrender, upon passivity, upon letting go of conscious will and drive and desire and in so doing, letting forever be, opening the self to the larger tidal pulls and tows of the kosmos and what the kosmos dreams and what the kosmos dreams is you. One sister light, one sister dark, united and separate. Nancy Wilson is seen playing heavy metal guitar but what comes out are gently percussive synth pads. Culted ninjas hold mirrors which are portals opening upon deserts the color of orange sherbet. The feeling of security and excitement which comes from sleeping and dreaming in a warmly quilted bed while the cold surrounds but pushed back, outside the firelight, the hearth, the magick circle, but still perceptible, still influencing the torrents and vortices of realities emerging and dissolving one from the other and into the next in sequences too complex to track. To live in dreams by way of avoiding the very real pain of daily life and lived trauma, especially at 11/12 was something I understood and shared in. A refusal of singular, cohesive narrative reality was not just a temporary escape, but a protest action, a withdrawal from forced consensus, from having to agree with anything, let alone oneself. My second favorite video from Heart (1985) is 'Nothing At All', another song which privileges distance, abstraction, the voided gulf between and within across which charges leap. There are pyramids of light and kitty cats and nothing. Heart's sound by this point was a post-metal ambient blur of synthesizers and guitars that sound like synthesizers and drums which sound like synthesizers. Everything is extremely pleasant and pleasantly out-of-focus.
Monday, January 18, 2016
It is really cold today. I moved to PA from MN and it is still really cold by whatever standards are being used. Not as cold as MN, for sure, but any day you are awake and at dawn the temperature drops from 16 to 15 and the 'feels like' temperature is -8 or -9, it is cold, especially when your warm pants are too dirty to wear, which is pretty dirty. So a good way to feel warmer is to listen to Canadian Black Metal, and especially Circle Of Salt's Suffer The Cold because that way, you won't. A circle of salt is protective against harmful outside forces, and salt is also an ice-melt. Suffer The Cold consists of two long tracks, 'Suffer The Cold' and 'Beneath The Frozen Moon Of Imbolc'. This latter song is also important to feeling warmer because Imbolc is, on the Wheel Of The Year, the holiday of pregnant fertility, of lactating ewes, of groundhog weather-awareness, of the increase of light and warmth, of the return of the maiden. It is between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, and is a period of holding on, of waiting out, until the full arrival of Spring. In a sense, Imbolc is like the Spring within Winter. Don't you feel warmer already? I do! Layers of guitars, like layers of clothes, also help us keep warm!
Louisville, KY hxcx that is like if you went to Bud's or Popeye's or Church's or whichever ones also have seafood and you ordered blackened dolphin and it ended up being bottlenose and you ate it anyway and went back through the drive-thru again to ask for seconds and also get an additional order of hushpuppies and then all that grease kicks in and the leaden, nauseous, time-slowing waves kick in and kick in and kick in so you decide to have a drum circle to appease the restless cetacean ghost in your digestive system but it doesn't work and you decide to see if just getting up and dancing will help your IBS but it really doesn't and you just have to wait it out but what if you can't
Horrendous's Anareta is a death metal album that deserves to be talked about as an album. It is lush and beautiful and dynamic and polished and I find it really relaxing. Forgoing primal aggression (which I dig so so much) for a layered sound that takes its time to roll out like a hallucinogenic fungus first spreading into your drywall and then releasing its spores throughout the house all at once. Anareta takes multiple listens to get a feel for what is going on and to catch the hooks woven into the piled fabric of its surface. I hear a lot of say, Dan Swano's stuff in here, as well as Chuck Schuldiner, but Horrendous really sound like nothing but themselves. Horrendous also care a lot about the mastering of their music, insisting on a full range of sound without over-compression or forced loudness. This makes a tremendous difference in what it is like to listen to their work, which is especially nice in death metal. This is a death metal which although being brand new, stresses continuity and backwards compatibility with past rocks and metals, back to the 1970's and 1980's, possessing a grand, but not grandiose, feeling and manner. This is a music which turns and pivots on multiple axes, but is never technical or ornate for its own sake, rather focusing on songwriting and composition to produce a satisfying listen. This is truly pleasurable to hear not just in the moment, but to muse and think about later on and recollect in dark tranquility, and so to put on again.
That love is real, and love is terrible in its claims, divorced from law, divorced from should or ought, divorced from family or state or deity. Bonus Crass: 'You're Already Dead' from Best Before 1984 (1986) Moderation and Compromise with the forces of hatred and oppression is accession to hatred and oppression. We live within a system which has already priced-in the liquidation and annihilation of all known life for marginal abstract gain. We are the dead, in a dead world, carved into bite-size pieces, set afire, administered and consumed by the dead.
For me, this cassette was a big deal back in 90 or 91 or whenever I finally got a copy of it. It remains just as or more radical in its message and presentation over a quarter of a century later. Allegiance to a symbol of oppression over real love and kindness and respect to others is as virulent today as it was in 1990. Dig that Fred Hampton footage! Dig that Hendrix sample!
We now live in an age when Martin Luther King Jr. has a Federal Holiday which is used to afford a Monday off of work, and for retail outlets for cars and furniture to exploit his name and memory to hawk their whatever it is. I just want to remind whomsoever reads this that towards the end of his life, MLK focused his attention against capitalism, economic inequality, systemic racism beyond U.S. Apartheid, White Supremacist Counter-Revolution and the Universal War Machine of Amerikkka vs. Everyone Else. He was a person of thorny personal and ideological legacy whose actual words are still very much worth listening to and are disregarded at collective peril.
I may be in the minority, but I prefer the 1984 Mutt Lange remix of 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' because I like my Def Leppard with as many sonic and visual layers as possible: echo, keyboards, pink forests, dry ice, crucified Joe Elliot, Heavy Metal Lady Of The Lake, synchronized forklifts, etc. I love Def Leppard. High N Dry, Pyromania, Hysteria are all albums I have delighted to for decades and decades. I got Hysteria first and that has made all the difference, although I was certainly familiar with the MTV/radio hits of years prior. Hysteria is the Dark Side Of The Moon of Pop Metal. High 'N' Dry is a great album on its own terms, which really rock extremely hard. But 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' is the next best thing to an early-80's Frozen Heart Scorpions Love Ballad which exists and that is an amazing thing. The first single from High N Dry is 'Let It Go' which rocks like crazy, like a more energetic pop-oriented version of AC/DC and has amazingly stupid lyrics directing a desired romantic encounter with a 'cool woman'. Like, if she is so cool, why don't you want her to exhibit sexual agency and discourse surrounding your potential interaction? Isn't this sort of thing supposed to be mutually agreed upon? Maybe she would seem less 'uptight' if there was dialogue and not monologue happening? Anyway, it DOES Rock, however, benightedly. Later Def Leppard would be better at accepting women as equal partners, Hail Satan. Bonus Lep: Here is a live (audio only) rendition of High N Dry's 'Lady Strange' from 1980. It is about a Strange Lady Who Is Strange. This version rules about a billion times harder than the truly awesome album version. It has MORE RIFFS! Bonus Heartbreak: Mariah Carey did a fine and lovely rendition of 'Bringin' On The Heartbreak' in 2002 for Charmbracelet. She focuses not on the expected pyromania, but on more of a slow-burn torch approach. Mariah is as always the awesome, so I couldn't not include it here! Hail Mariah!!! Hi Dave Navarro!!!
Sunday, January 17, 2016
All Max-era Sepultura is metal perfection as far as I am concerned. There is nothing better. Maybe it is because I have been so sick I have been watching TV news cycles for the first time since the early 2000's, but I have been wanting to listen to Chaos A.D. something fierce. Hearing 'Refuse/Resist' makes me want to throw folding metal chairs around like an idiot. Not that I would actually do that or anything. C-SPAN is probably not helping my chronic illnesses, I am sure of it. Why I am voluntarily watching propaganda? Maybe this respiratory bug is like toxoplasmosis or something but for idiocy. Bonus Chaos A.D.!!!: 'Territory': Helpful if you imagine 22-year old 90's me whipping my hair around my kitchen of my mom's house and shouting a lot! Oh Dear Mercy do I ever love Sepultura!!! Bonus Bonus Chaos A.D.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Jotnarr's Burn And Bury sounds like it has been burnt and buried and then dug up only to be found incompletely burnt and buried, which ends up being good for us because the charred-but-intact riffs will inscribe themselves upon you like crop circles left by hostile parties. Tension builds and is held until it all comes down and when it does, get out of the way. Mournful and Savage. I wish I had a cassette of this in 1992. I would collect Noise Complaints like Pokemon Cards.
OK, so 'Father Of The Wolf' is the 'Thriller' of Viking Death Metal Videos. It is just that awesome. I saw Amon Amarth in the late 2000's and I was like, yeah, alright! It wasn't really my bag, but it was good and rocking, the kind of thing one would raise mead to triumphantly, etc. For whatever reason, the 2013 Amon Amarth album like, totally grabbed me and will not let go. I think it is the lead guitar work is really super-finely melodically interwoven, like dwarven ceremonial chain mail or something. This is a concept album about Loki, which is also rad. It is entirely possible that Amon Amarth would have produced an earlier Loki concept album and I would be none the wiser. My interest in them was piqued today, once again, by cable metal streaming actions. I didn't actually hear 'Father Of The Wolf' nor see its amazingly epic video, rather I heard 'Deceiver Of The Gods' which, if anything, is an even better song than 'Father Of The Wolf', despite the latter having much more beautiful solos, but has a less epic video, even though it is derived from a movie in which lead vokillist of Amon Amarth, Johan Hegg, plays a Viking Warrior, and so is essentially one long Amon Amarth Video anyway? 'Deceiver Of The Gods' is diamond-hard and very difficult to dislodge from memory once heard a couple times, at least for me! Also, that twin-guitar intro just kills me. Is this the closest Amon Amarth have come to Heavy Metal? because if so, I am really really digging this. Speaking of Johan Hegg, when he brings out the wolf on the death growls I get weak. Speaking of intricate lead work, 'As Loke Falls' is a perfect example of why this album is pulling it down for me. I almost want to cry I find this so beautiful. I never thought I would be saying this about an Amon Amarth album in 2016, but there you go, life is full of surprises. Deceiver Of The Gods is a great example of how sometimes being heavy has nothing to do with being actually heavy, but by doubling leads and playing them slightly differently in order to get that metal feeling that can't be manufactured, only grown organically over time. I can't recommend this stuff highly enough if you are not already into it. And just in case all of this was not enough, on 'Hel', Johan duets with Messiah Marcolin formerly of Candlemass and it totally rules. Here is the entirety of Deceiver Of The Gods as an 'Official Playlist'! It gets better the more times I play it! Hail Loki Hail!!!
I may be the only person who really likes Forbidden. I even like Ernie C.'s production. Body Count is totally awesome. Ice & Ernie are as devoted students of Black Sabbath as have ever existed. Black Sabbath's self-titled is Ice-T's favorite metal album pretty much ever. I am way into his verse on 'The Illusion Of Power' and feel it harmonizes well with Tony Martin's more traditional power-doom vox. Bonus: Ice-T's 'Midnight' from O.G. (Original Gangster) Who would have the guts to finally lay Iommi over Bonham for real? One of the best rap songs ever. O.G. Original Gangster is unmessable-with, as all 80's/early 90's Ice-T is and shall always be.
I LOVE Chapter VI by Candlemass. Thomas Vikstrom's vocals really complement the more trad/power metal orientation to the project of doom, with outstanding keyboard flourishes/atmosphere. I had never seen this video before today and it got me wondering about a lot of things. First of all, how many Candlemass fans are in fact vampires? More than you might think, I suppose. Is this their favorite album by Candlemass? Secondly, Thomas Vikstrom's t-shirt in this video seems beyond ludicrously ignorant in 1992, to the point of being offensive. I mean, how many rappers in 1992 wore t-shirts in videos that said 'F**ck Doom Metal!'??? if you can find me one, I would love to see it. Were they concerned that Ice-T sampling Sabbath was going to put them out of business or something? How LAME! Thirdly, I kind of like how urban bar-scene this video is, and how it might make you paranoid that fighting with your significant other whilst out for drinks will get them led away by vampires. Beware!
Kids rolled up on and shot and killed by cops from cars. Kids standing in the street shot and killed by cops. Kids running away from cops shot and killed by cops. Who are you protecting? Who are you protecting? Who are you protecting?
Friday, January 15, 2016
Along with the new Anthrax song the TV sang to me this morning, it also sang to me this new Obscura song from the new Obscura album, their first since parting ways with drummer Hannes Grossman and guitarist Christian Munzer and gaining Sebastian Lanser and Rafael Trujillo repectively. I saw Obscura in like 2009 or 2010 or something and they were right on, but this Obscura sounds to me like if one were to disassemble Iron Maiden and all post-Maiden Teutonic Power Metal, send it into Outer Space to perform zero-gravity experiments on the whole of it, reassemble it into forms never previously possible on Earth and then have it somehow survive re-entry. I know this is technically tech-death or whatever, but that is what it sounds like to me, absolutely beautiful. A fountain of stars. Ripples in gravitational waves.
I was born in 1974, and I watched a lot of Seventies Television. This included the Carter-Era Country Rock trifecta of The Waltons (only under duress. I hated the Waltons), The Dukes Of Hazzard (exploding dynamite arrows, leaping cars, incompetent police, corrupt local bosses, illegal bootlegging operations), and the best, The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams. This show was about love, friendship between bear and man, and human and wilderness, about making peace with your past and coming to terms with yourself. Also, it had a bearded dude with a massive bear partner. I watched this TV show every week as long as it was on. I loved it even more than when the Bigfoot would come on The Six Million Dollar Man, or at least as much. R.I.P. Dan Haggerty. Long may you amble, bearlike, and/or holding wolf cubs. Also, dude was in Elves (1989). The craziest XMZZ horror movie of all time. No, seriously, this movie is insane.
I am unduly excited for whatever the next Metallica album is, and fully intend to see them live if at all possible. I am also excited to hear the new Voivod stuff, despite Blacky leaving again. It looks like a good year for old-school thrash in 2016. So, what are the non-Metallica 'Big Four' operations up to? I was finally encouraged to make this post given a ripping new Anthrax song I heard on the TV this morning. 'Evil Twin' from their forthcoming album For The Kings (2016). It seems a lot of thrash masters are frequently thinking about geopolitical stuff, and Scott Ian says that 'Evil Twin' is about his confronting Extreme Ideological Radicalism in general, and Radicalized Islamic Violence specifically. Whatever manifest content, this song shreds, and if I am not mistaken, I hear an explicit Megadeth reference and maybe a little Slayer influence, which is rad as all get out. I am so out of sorts I didn't even know Anthrax had a new album coming out until I saw this. Megadeth is also as always on the sociopolitical track, and has created an album based upon a Dystopian tyranny of corruption and violence. Although there may or may not be specific ideological complaints with the current administration's positions, it is true that David Mustaine has been making this sort of metal protest since the mid-1980's, and Dystopia (2016) is certainly in keeping with his overall body of work. This is probably the best Megadeth has sounded in nearly forever, with David Ellefson returning on bass, Kiko Loureiro from Angra on second guitar, and Chris Adler from Lamb Of God on drums, this is a Megadeth to be reckoned with, if the first three songs released are any indication. The legacies of Peace Sells/So Far/Rust In Peace are not being exhumed here, but reconsidered, and used as a building block for a new sound edifice. If all of Dystopia is as good as these three songs, I am on board for sure. I saw Megadeth pull off all of Rust In Peace live in 2010, alongside Slayer playing all of Seasons In The Abyss and Anthrax opening. Even though I wasn't feeling all that good, it was a righteous show, and I am so very glad I got to see Hanneman play one last time. Dave Mustaine was great that night, but he seemed a little out-of-sync with Megadeth as a whole, but this version of Megadeth sounds like they are working together organically and it really really works. Finally, as readers of this blog will note, I honestly have trouble countenancing a Slayer without Jeff Hanneman, no offense to Messrs. Araya, Bostaph, King, Holt, but I can't really think of this band as Slayer in the same way. That said, 'Repentless' is a fine tribute to Hanneman, and everyone involved is thrashing madly. This is a totally solid four minutes of metal. I am just still not OK. I would like to see Holt stretch out some more, but Exo-Slayer is not an inherently bad idea. Awaiting New Metallica, yrs. truly, nxww
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Although my track record for going out to the movies has been exceptionally poor, I am very very hopeful to go to see Robert Egger's The Witch next month. How down am I for Puritan Occult Folk-Horror? With G.O.A.T movie goat Black Phillip? As far down as down can go. (Sadly, speaking of movie witches, R.I.P. Alan Rickman. Snape Forever!)
This morning I actually was able to go to bed when it was pretty much still night and get up before 7am, and when I did so, I put on the cable music metal channel and the dying tones of Pantera's 'F-ing Hostile' came on and then right after it, Tombstalker's 'Chaos Undivided' which really rocked my waking up process in a positive way. Cavernous vocals, total commitment to war, blackened, encrusted death, Bolt Thrower adulation, this more than works. Relentless and oppressive, in the best possible way. I look forward to hearing this whole album!!!
Being afraid of Americans, especially of Trent Reznor, even pre-buff/aerobics Trent Reznor, following you at speed and repeating everything you say, is an entirely reasonable fear, even if you are an American or have lived in America for most of your adult life. I watched this video with my partner before we watched 'Lazarus' and cried and cried. This video, though, is hilarious. David Bowie was, in my opinion, never more stylish than in 1997, when he was getting Alexander McQueen for album covers. That yellow cable-knit sweater & blazer combo is so awesome! Here as bonus is 'Voyeur' and 'I'm Afraid Of Americans' Live at David Bowie's 50th Birthday Celebration in Madison Garden, the latter with special guest stars Sonic Youth!
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The eyes-closed Thunderbolt Illumination is the sudden awakening inside. Photo Credits: Chris Duffy, 1973 (http://mrmusichead.com/david-bowie-aladdin-sane-1973/)
There is forever tension between Gnosis/Illumination/Direct Experience/Knowing and Faith/Belief/Cognition. 'Quicksand' is a song about just that, how thought is an endless morass, a series of dream realities, images projected upon a screen, a vast glamour of maya, manipulated and directed through magick and power. Will and Desire and Belief are ways in which to be, in which to project oneself in the world. Gnosis is both within and without this incarnation, other than ideation/conceptual reality, the opposite of faith, of belief. Knowledge comes at the death of the self. The self can only be maintained through endless veils, endless delusions. The ragged hole of the void is the not-ness at the heart of being, its annihilation and fulfillment and extinguishment. The target cannot be. The goal is beyond.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
First off, I know the album is supposed to be called "David Bowie", but I like calling it "Space Oddity" because it sounds more that way. Bowie really wasn't that good at being a hippie. Space Oddity is a great album, but it is hardly a program for implementing utopian bliss, as it is far too snarky and pessimistic about human nature, the limits of reason and imposed mass morality. If anything, Bowie was always more gnostically attuned to the voice of the god within, to interior illumination, in the quest for freedom from fixity and from dictatorial or mob rule. 'Cygnet Committee' is an absolutely terrifying vision of a Totalitarian Hippie Regime created in the wake of successful revolution, and how if love and peace cannot be achieved through persuasion and logic, than it must come from mind control and genocide. Bowie was never a political revolutionary, and was deeply distrustful of any sort of mass uprising or groupthink, but BECAME a perpetual revolution of the self, constantly overthrowing and remaking successive incarnations, never remaining too sure, too set in right and wrong, in truth and falsity. The propensity of the Hippie Dream to fall back upon empty sloganeering and propaganda, privileging simple easy-to-remember high concepts over the difficult task of thinking through problems from many sides, of thinking that deeply ingrained practices can be easily re-educated out of people, ready or not, is completely at odds with Bowie's programme of listening to individual instinct and following that wherever it takes you, whether successful or not, no matter what family, friends or neighbors might think or say. What might be Bowie's paean to the pastoral bliss-out idylls of Sixties Freedom Culture, 'Memory Of A Free Festival', turns out to be a hail to the Venusian Contact, to the arrival of an extra-terrestrial culture and the promise of a world beyond the simply human, one broadened and transformed by Other Intelligences, where the Voice Of The Gods Within meets The Sun Machine, descending from above. This is about freedom from humanity, not freedom in humanity, and these things are very different
Monday, January 11, 2016
((Sorry if commercials, ugh! WTF?) I keep thinking and thinking about David Bowie. I can't stop. I wasn't able to stop before his death. When I would get into a Bowie period, that is all I wanted to listen to over and over again. I would play albums until I had to put them away. My favorite Bowie period of the 1970's, the one I 'identify' with for whatever reason is generally considered 'transitional', but I find maximally Decadent Bowie, 1974-1976: Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station To Station. The ripe stench of glam's almost-corpse fallen into a dystopian nightmare, a slick soul/disco platter with a seething, restless void at its center, and the apex of dark-mirror cocaine mysticism & hollowed-out melodrama. This is what I return to over and over. Diamond Dogs is, like its album cover, a mutant Ziggy-becoming-feral-dog-pack in a strange new world of radioactive NYC, post-apocalyptic politics, the truly chilling way in which tyranny will survive the death of the world, but also the survival of rebellion, of resistance and glamour, of rock & roll. Bowie himself played lead guitar on this album, bringing a real enthusiasm for noise, for the 'wrong' approach, for what rock & roll guitar would sound like if reinvented from the wasteland. This album famously started life as a concept album based upon 1984, but I like it better that it couldn't be. It is weirder and more prophetic to consider that even the fall of this civilization will not allow freedom, but a recoagulation of warlordism, brute force cults of personality, enforced thought/action orthodoxies via state/priesthood machines, etc. The only sane response to this, to living in the rotting carcass of a collapsed monolith as the already-dead, is decadent rebellion, the 'misuse' of resources, frivolity, waste, assertion of aesthetic priorities against state propaganda. Of course, all of this sounds like 1974, but like an alien, impossibly removed 1974, as if looked at from the chilly vasts of space. I will also say that this album feels special to me also because it came out in the year of my birth, and we share a twin genesis of sorts. This is the Bowie that was when I was incarnating for this time, and he was already becoming something else, as always and forever. On 5 December, 1974, at the end of the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour, David Bowie appeared on The Dick Cavett Show to play Diamond Dogs & Young Americans material, and he was clearly more in YA territory, having fully kitted out the funk/soul aspects of '1984' and asking Dick Cavett's audience if they remembered President Nixon. His brown suit/plaid tie combo is awesome. This is how I wanted to dress in the 1990's, at least part of the time. The sound quality on this clip is not the best, and most of this material can be seen in somewhat higher quality in excerpted videos, but I wanted to put the whole of Bowie's appearance up as it is the becoming that I am noticing most, even as fully Bowie as ever.
Fire Walk With Me is my favorite David Lynch movie along with Inland Empire and Lost Highway. It is made extra-special by having David Bowie in it for a little while! Special Agent Phillip Jeffries sort of returns from a place above a convenience store which is a gathering place for wizards in order to briefly hang out with Agent Cooper, Gordon & Albert at the Home Office. Bad Things have gone down and even more Bad Things are going down and yet more Bad Things will go down. The recognition Jeffries has of Cooper is literally terrifying. The fact that David Bowie will definitely not be on the new season of Twin Peaks (or Hannibal Season 4, for that matter) is super-sad to me! Garmonbozia! DARE says: Just Say NO!!!!, Kids! because DARE wants all the Garmonbozia for itself, if we are being honest here, because DARE is hungry... Hey! Here is David Bowie's 'I'm Deranged' from the Lost Highway Soundtrack (1997)! This song is awesome! The piano parts go all haywire and stuff!
A fabulously moody mid-80's smooth-jazz-fusion/synthpop collaboration between Bowie and Metheny which was made for the espionage Cold War flick 'The Falcon And The Snowman' which starred Timothy Hutton (who was all over the mid-80's) and Sean Penn (who also was!), who sold U.S. secrets to the Soviets and was apparently based on real life events. The song actually concerns the plot of the film, unlike many songs which grace film soundtracks. 'This Is Not America' has a gauzy, icy tropical ambiance with Lyle Mays' long-held keyboard tones intermixed with short runs, intricate percussion, and stealth guitar riffing from Metheny. A really excellent song, it makes one wish for a whole Bowie/Metheny collaborative album! Alas!
Much like Motorhead had 'Motorhead' on their first album Motorhead, Tin Machine had the song 'Tin Machine' on their first album Tin Machine. Motorhead is about motor vehicles and speed and going fast. Tin Machine is about a tin machine. Both songs are propulsive and anthemic and about transport from one place and state of being to another. Unlike Motorhead, however, Tin Machine want to go somewhere WITHOUT alcohol, which is a really salient difference. I have always 'been into' Tin Machine because when I was first getting into Bowie I LOVED 'Let's Dance' (which is still one of my favorite albums) but wasn't super-fond of Tonight and liked Never Let Me Down pretty well, but the mid-80's was not David Bowie's most consistent period. I have never liked Mick and David's cover of 'Dancing In The Street', for instance, and that was all over MTV. Tin Machine represented a path out of the morass of general Music Television Product Homogenization, a return to abrasive guitar textures and a willingly to flirt again with noise, albeit in a more strictly 'rock' context, which Bowie had never been limited to in the past. Reeves Gabrels is indeed a formidable guitarist, as his post-Tin Machine 90's work with David B. demonstrates even further. The best analogue to Tin Machine is probably the late 80's/early 90's 'return to rock' albums that Bowie friend/compatriot Iggy Pop was putting out at the same time, energetic and rougher than standard 80's corporate rock, not 'art rock' or really abstract, still remaining recognizable and somewhat commercially viable. My favorite song off of the first Tin Machine album is probably 'I Can't Read', which has a kind of slow-burning sepentor quality with fretless bass, floating sustained guitar textures and is about not being able to get anything right and just watching COPS on TV and no longer being able to read anything and losing the capacity to write. This happens to me all the time, except I can't watch COPS anymore, but I did watch COPS in the 80's and 90's until I could no longer countenance turning police brutality/propaganda into entertainment. The last to go was probably World's Wildest Police Chases because as a digest of insane police chases combined with a ridiculous heavy moralizing tone of voice was the supreme OTT example of this genre.
(I apologize for not writing anything, as I am actually in shock (my brain hurts alot!)) Another incarnation, another planet, other planes out there/in here Miracle Goodnight
I can really relate on a personal level to Earl Sweatshirt's weed-stoked/treated, panic-attack-beset, paranoid-agoraphobic inertial isolate like nobody's business. That deal has been my jam for decades. I Don't Like Shit I Don't Go Outside is even more that way than his previous work. In 'Grief' there are places where even been in the song doesn't seem OK, like Earl is going to drop out or stop or burrow even further inside the track. The non-time, the perpetual twilit endlessly drawn-out afternoon that is inside with all the outside shut out, that is what this sounds like to me. When your circadian rhythms and what time things happen as they do get totally uncoupled or synchronize by accident. I can't speak for what is up with him, but this is what it reminds me of in my own trips, when I was younger and later than. And you know, when what outside is the omnipresent spectre of a militarized police state which exists to perpetuate multiple genocides, that makes not going outside a hell of a lot easier, but inside isn't safe either.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
I have been a fan of Lasse Marhaug's Blackened Electronics since the early XXIst Century, and he is a righteous dude. One of my favorite albums of his is All Music At Once (2010), which although being devoted to metals, it is also somewhat contemplative and reigned-in, with songs being the product of small-group or duo collaboration, with Lasse performing opposite some frequent collaborators. I was originally going to write about just one song, 'Blood Of The Beasts' with Jon Wesseltoft (guitar) and Maja Ratjke (vokills)because it is a monster living beneath your dungeon and posing it a serious existential threat. Maja Ratjke is one of my favorite vocalists making stuff in the now, and her work with Fe-Mail was some of my initial introduction to both her work and Lasse Marhaug's (as he produced and collaborated). Then, though, I thought about all the other wonderful songs, like 'Born Cold' which has this kind of sad Black Doom vibe, 'Feed The Earth And Master It''s loner isolationist drone ambience, 'Don't Buy Bread, Buy Dynamite' which features Kevin Drumm on electronics and French Horn from Hild Sofie Tafjord as well as guitar and 'performance' from Wesseltoft & Marhaug, and this song sounds like every food riot compiled and timestretched from the French Revolution to the 2008 Depression into 9.5 minutes of revolt. 'All Music At Once' is gtr/noise from Wesseltoft & Marhaug and it is a feedback grid decomposing and recomposing on top of itself, forever unstable yet volcanically alive. The last song, 'Moutain Of The Seven Vultures' is a stoner/mordor/dying anthem which actually drags itself to a peak, only to be eaten by birds just moments from the summit. This whole album is a tribute to listening to metal by yourself or with your friends in your living room and feeling the speakers push air and being both transported by and caved-in by the sheer noise and heaviness at hand. Lasse Marhaug's whole catalog is worth checking out, but this one is an especial favorite of mine, and I am glad I got to write a recommendation for it! Go Listen!
Once of the heaviest thunder/lightning/rain sets in recent memory moved through Central Pennsylvania last night and today left even more heavy duty wind in its wake. There was some rain too, but mostly wind gusts up to 40 mph. I didn't sleep last night and only went to bed today around 11am - 5pm. Having days/nights ellipse into each other is not a good way of living for me, at least not under current situation. I wanted to listen to music which could represent that sound of a far-too-warm wind howling outside in the remnants of the storm and many fine things presented themselves but none were right. That is because what I needed to hear was Wind's Poem from Mount Eerie. Wind's Poem represents the initial serious impact of Black Metal upon the Mount Eerie operations, which in a sense can be considered a metal-laced singer/songwriter/folk project to begin with, wherein Black Metal has always had significant impact on the operations/aesthetic/modality of Mount Eerie - downcast, lo-fidelity, isolation-oriented, hymns to the vastness of nature, etc. Wind's Poem, though, begins to adapt Black Metal guitar stylings/crescendos/drones to Mount Eerie, and where they seemed mostly in the past driven by interest in 2nd Generation Scandinavian Black Metal, this album seems to offer an overlapping geography with Cascadian Black Metal from the Pacific Northwest like Wolves In The Throne Room and Ash Borer. This album is full of extended, minimal, shimmering drones, as well as being a literal concept album about the wind upon the mountain and being with/among/alongside/under/within. This by no means is a 'Black Metal Album', but does represent the deep and subtle influences which can be derived from immersive listening and orientation. I can tell you that it harmonizes so well with this windy evening. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank You! PS - 'Between Two Mysteries' specifically is a tribute to Twin Peaks and is awesome as all get out. There is significant Twin Peaks/David Lynch vibe to parts of Wind's Poem for sure, being the other major vibe-carrier along with Wind itself and Black Metal. But this is more music for holing up in your mountain lair many elevations above town, in your bed listening to the wind move over and around and singing as it does.
"How long do you want to be a victim of states' power and force Stand up and struggle for freedom And be Lucifer's friend" Running Wild's Victim Of States Power is an introduction to their remarkable hypothesis that Satan is a force for liberation of all beings against tyranny of all forms, especially state violence and male supremacy. Lucifer is that which teaches us to say no against that which would oppress us and deprive us of freedom. That is just the lead track here, the second song, 'Walpurgis Night (The Sign Of Women's Fight)' is about the witches' direct revolution against masculine dominance. There is a fair bit of BDSM/femdom getting excited here, which is a nice change of pace in 80's Heavy Metal, for sure! The last song 'Satan' is a paean to Satan's destruction of idolatry and the enthronement of an ideology of imposed morality and power over others. Satan really really hates Totalitarianism, which would make sense, given everything. This EP is but a teaser to Running Wild's concept album 'Gates Of Purgatory' in which Satan fights a war of Liberation on Earth to assist in the fight for freedom. All of this is near and dear to my heart. Hail Satan!!!!! After their first two albums, Running Wild became a pretty exclusively pirate-themed band which actually makes sense, given their enduring belief in revolt against the state, for maximum freedom. This EP and especially, Gates Of Purgatory and the follow-up Branded And Exiled are awesome works of proto-Black Metal Satanarchism which rule so very much. 'Victim Of States Power' Live 1985: !!!!!! So Awesome!!!!!!
Despite the fact that it came out like two years ago, I cannot stop listening to Mantar's Death By Burning compulsively and I listened to it when it came out and have been listening to it ever since. This is some kind of Classick Rock in the modality of Tad or Unsane, with a blackened crust encasing a seething, molten core. Guitar/Drums/Vokills. Drums include Cowbell, right from the gate. Mantar is like a car on fire driving down the freeway as fast as possible never braking with its factory-issue stereo turned up all the way even after the speakers fail. Total Commitment To Rock. Here is their video for 'White Nights' which is a little more stark/epic than normal yet still totally heavy. I don't think this band can do anything not heavy, like it would still be heavy. Some dude in the woods with no shirt on and occasional dog in the snow. And here is a live-in-studio session which just destroys. Destroys. Hail To Thee! Psychedelic Warriors Of The North!!!!
Saturday, January 9, 2016
It is not a secret that I love every M. Night Shyamalan movie I have seen, with the possible exception of Signs. It is true that I haven't seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, After Earth, or Devil, which he wrote but didn't direct. I watched about half of Wayward Pines, which he executive produced. It was good but I have a hard time with TV. Signs I am still not feeling since I saw it in the theatre, but I LOVE The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Village, Lady In The Water, The Happening and The Visit to pieces. In fact, I would go so far as to say that The Visit is now my favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie. In fact, the procession of films above to me seems like steady improvement, the finding of his specific storytelling voice. Each of those films is better than the last, and The Visit is the best of them all. It has the most maximum effects for the least strain, is the most organically whole cloth of the works at hand, and is an outright horror film, which has not up until now, been Shyamalan's mode of directing, but he is good at it. Really good. I was freaked out in places, and I generally don't get freaked out, and not by things leaping out, but by an ever-ratcheting awareness of badness-at-hand. The Visit is a resounding success as far as I am concerned and would gladly see it again. I didn't see a lot of 2015 movies in 2015, but this is one of the very best of the year, and best horror films this decade. I am eagerly awaiting M. Night's next movie! (Generally I would put up the trailer, but honestly, this is best gone into as cold as possible, and the trailer works against this to an unfortunate degree!)
R.I.P. Angus Scrimm One of the Greatest Anguses of my lifetime. I love Angus Scrimm in anything, but Phantasm 1 & 2 especially cornered and defined a separate dreamworld off to the side of the rest of contemporary horror. Phantasms (along with Tobe Hooper movies) had the most Italianate disdain for conventional logic or narrative structure, allowing them to move under their own power, to go where they wanted to, as far as they could. Angus Scrimm's Tall Man was really the boogeyman for me, more than Michael or Jason or Freddy or Leatherface, because being chased, snarled at or grasped by the Tall Man was just plain scary, even if or because there was no clear end to you, except the very bads, the stuff of nightmares. Thank You Angus Scrimm and Hail To Thee in perpetuity for enriching my life and my dreams for always. PS - You were the best thing about Don Coscarelli's initial Masters Of Horror episode by a landslide and a half. Love, nxww.
Continuing in a series of examining Metallica's Load-era video singles, this one might actually be my favorite. Let it not be said that Metallica for lacked bravery, creativity or drive in the 1990's. Adapting 'Fade To Black'/Black Album - style melancholy balladry to straight-up country/metal hybridity in a song addressed to James Hetfield's mother who died from cancer when he was 16 years old, and having to live in the void left by her early death is an incredible thing to do, and certainly not the kind of thing which anyone would do to achieve chart success or mass popularity. In some ways, it could be argued that Metallica did stop making metal even with the Black Album and never returned, instead making music that only Metallica could make, and which only Metallica ever has made. Lots of people have made some really awesome thrash albums, but no one has ever made another run of albums that sound remotely like 90's Metallica (except for maybe Paradise Lost, but I think that is more a case of temporary parallel evolution rather than direct influence), nor lit out for similar territories, but instead, I think that what Metallica did was to broaden what metal could be, what it could do, who it could speak to and how, and they were in a unique position to even be capable of this, and the fact that they went ahead and did so, knowing full well that this would be misunderstood and potentially reviled in many quarters, at least for a very long time, is eminently deserving of hails and respect. It has taken me 20 years to really grasp what Metallica were up to with Load/Reload and for this, I feel both like an idiot and kind of sorry I haven't had these songs as intimate companions during that whole time the way I have with say, And Justice For All or my beloved 1984-issue cassette of Ride The Lightning. Hail To Thee, Metallica!!! Hail!!!