Thursday, September 30, 2010
I have a vision of Chino Moreno sitting in his cold apartment listening to The Smiths and masturbating into a bucket of his own tears. He probably doesn't do that every day, but his whimpering voice would imply so.
White Pony was their third album and the first with DJ and keyboardist Frank Delgado as a full time member, and his added textures and psychedelic soundscapes helped make this their best album and most eclectic and atmospheric yet. The fact that during the White Pony tour they made their entrance to the Twin Peaks soundtrack really says it all. They would not release an album nearly as good until 2010's Diamond Eyes, but that's another story.
Lotsa high points on this record so it was hard to choose with songs to post. At the end I went with the mercurial Digital Bath, the acoustic triphop-y oddity Teenager (originally written for Moreno and Delgado's side project Team Sleep) and what is still ten years Deftones' best song: Knife Prty.
The reason is of course the eye-popping guest vocals from Rodleen Getsic which someone somewhere (I love being specific) described as sounding like an angel having an orgasm. That's perfect, I wish I'd thought of that. The best I could come up with was "Pink Floyd's The Great Gig In The Sky shitting itself whilst in detox".
Buy it @ Amazon.com.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
On this one Josh Homme and his sandy cohorts combined the shroomy looseness of Volume 1 & 2 and Volume 3 & 4 with the rougher punk elements of Volume 5 & 6, on which Nick Oliveri's Dwarves buddy Blag Dahlia (whom Homme would later beat the shit out of in a bar after he'd accused Queens Of The Stone Age of selling out) raised as much hell as he possibly could. I actually prefer Volume 5 & 6 to this one but it came out in 1999 so it's a no no on this list
This one is a teeny tiny bit better than Volume 9 & 10 (2003) which had pretty much the same personell as the previous installments (Josh Homme, Dave Catching, Chris Goss, Dean Ween, Alain Johannes) with P.J. Harvey, Twiggy Ramirez and then brand new QOTSA drummer Joey Castillo added to the mix. Basically picture QOTSA's Songs For The Deaf through a thick haze of pot smoke, sleep deprivation and two cases of tequila and Volume 9 & 10 what you get.
I have no idea why I'm rambling about 9 & 10 when I'm supposed to be talking about 7 & 8. But there you go. Alright? Exactly.
Actually come to think of it, picture QOTSA's Rated R through a thick haze of pot smoke, sleep deprivation and two cases of tequila and Volume 7 & 8 what you get. Yeah.
Nice save, Dave. Thanks, Dave.
(mp3) Desert Sessions - Hanging tree
(mp3) Desert Sessions - The idiots guide
(mp3) Desert Sessions - Making a cross
Buy it @ Amazon.com
Friday, September 24, 2010
Fucking hell, this must be the third or fourth time I blog about this album. During Dropkick Murphys Week last year and on other occasions. But at least it's for a good reason - being fucking incredible and stuff.
By the way, if you've missed it I'll say it again: for the duration of this countdown my weekly Friday mp3 mixes will be posted on my other blog right here. The other blog also has a running feature with my favorite songs of the 00s from genres other than those covered here on the metal blog. You'll find that here.
Okay, here we go once again:
On this their third album, Boston's sort-of-Irish folk rock punk dudes changed their line up quite a bit.
Original guitarist and founding member Rick Barton took a hike, and was replaced by not only a new guitarist, but two of them. They also added a dude on tin whistle & mandolin and stuff, as well as the legendary Robbie "Spicey McHaggis" Medeiros on bagpipes. This was the only album that featured McHaggis and he was only a member for a couple of years before leaving to spend more time with his family, but his impact (and his bodymass) was so huge that his spirit still lives on within the band to such a degree that some even think he's still in the band. The fact that this album has a song (The Spicy McHaggis Jig, a big live favorite among fans) written about McHaggis and his penchant for "chicks over four hundred pounds" probably has plenty to do with it.
The addition of then 17-year old Marc Orrell, appropriately nicknamed "The Kid", was a huge improvement in my opinion. Not only did he have classic rock licks to spare, but he had an effortless, fluid playing style that Barton lacked and which suited Dropkick Murphys' ever-evolving sound as they grew into more of a Celtic rock band with punk flourishes as opposed to a Celtic punk band with rock flourishes. He was also a fucking firecracker on stage and made their already mad live show even more energetic. Orrell left the band in 2008 to pursue other musical horizons.
The result of all these changes in camp Murphy? Their magnum opus, that's what. People always tend to think the follow up, 2003's Blackout, is the best Dropkick Murphys album. Those people are drunk. Don't pay any attention to them.
While Blackout is a most excellent album, this is the one where everything clicked; this album has the best songs, the best production, the best party atmosphere, the best shout-along choruses, the best of everything. On the albums before and after this one the combination punk rock vs. Irish folk music has always tipped over in either direction. Not so here, the two styles mix perfectly.
This album rules, I cannot praise it enough. It's the kind of album that makes you wish you were Irish. Or at least from Boston.
Or at least have any sort of Celtic affiliation so you wouldn't feel like such a tool when you stumble around in a scally cap on St. Patrick's Day with green beer on your shirt.
(mp3) Dropkick Murphys - For Boston
(mp3) Dropkick Murphys - Heroes from our past
Buy it @ Amazon.com
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I don't know why I get a kick out of death metal supergroups. I've tried to analyze it and came up with nothing. Perhaps it's the simple fact that death metal is awesome and having awesome musicians from several different awesome death metal bands get together and do something awesome is awesome.
Sweden has a fair share of these, such as Murder Squad, Death Breath, God Among Insects, and Torture Division, to name a few of my favorites. And of course there's Bloodbath.
Formed in 1998 by dudes from Opeth, Katatonia and Edge Of Sanity. By the time this second album came out though the Opeth dude had left and been replaced by a Hypocrisy dude and a Witchery dude had joined on drums after the Edge Of Sanity dude decided he'd rather play guitar.
As a fan of Opeth in general and Mikael Åkerfeldt in particular, I was quite surprised when I was putting this list together and I realised I actually prefer this one, the only one with Peter Tägtgren on vocals, over the Åkerfeldt ones.
While the 2002 debut Resurrection Through Carnage has some of the band's all time best songs (So You Die, Bathe In Blood, Ways To The Grave) this album is more even in terms of quality. To make sure I really like this album better I even gave each individual song a rating from 1 to 5 to get an average score.
Resurrection Through Carnage got 4.1, Nightmares Made Flesh got 4.3. The truth is in the math.
And although I'm all for the retro Stockholm death metal sound of circa 1990, I'm glad they stepped away from the vintage feel of the first album and moved forward with a more updated and powerful production for this one.
And Peter Tägtgren fucking slays on the mic. I almost forgive for all the crap Pain records he's wasted his time on over the years.
Buy Nightmares Made Flesh @ Amazon.com.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I first heard The Hives on a label sampler in 1997. The song was A.K.A. I-d-i-o-t and I found it amusing, but nothing special.
This their second album came out three years later and soon their trademark black & white attire and cocky swagger caused waves around the world.
Unfortunately they got lumped in with The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Vines etc as a part of some sort of "garage rock revival", despite having nothing in common with those bands in terms of influences, sound or bloody anything. In fact, none of those bands sound alike or have much in common. Anyone with a pair of functioning ears and any knowledge of rock history can hear that within five seconds.
I suppose just like the grunge era ten years prior where bands that also sounded nothing alike (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden) were lumped together as a unified scene, when all they had in common was that they didn't sound like the norm of the time. All backlashing in their own way against the glossy glam of the 80s. They all sounded different from the mainstream in different ways.
The "garage rock revival" bands did the same thing, a reaction to detestable fratboy jock rock that dominated the airwaves for half a decade, starting in about 1998. Y'know what I mean, Puddle Of Mudd, Creed, Linkin Park, P.O.D., Kid Rock, Staind, and any number of horrid bands.
I know it's hard to imagine a world where nu metal, rap metal and post grunge is the norm for rock music, but only ten years ago that was the case. Terrifying, I know.
(mp3) The Hives - Outsmarted
(mp3) The Hives - Supply and demand
Buy it @ Amazon.com.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So what you think of the list so far, dear readers? A bit of a bumpy start, but I think it's coming along nicely.
We've now made it to The Mushroom River Band, a hard rock/stoner/whatever band which featured the powerhouse vocals of Christian "Spice" Sjöstrand, also of Kayser and Spice & The RJ Band, and previously of Spiritual Beggars whom he left to devote his time to The Mushroom River Band full time.
Didn't quite work out that way, as the band split up after his their second album. A damn shame as in my opinion this kicks the arse of anything Spiritual Beggars have ever done. A lot of the material on here could've easily been taken from Spiritual Beggars' 2000 album Ad Astra (which is not only their best album but also their last with Spice) only even better.
Even louder, even heavier, even more attitude, ever more hard-as-rock anthems that stink to high heaven of diesel, beer and bongwater. All topped off with Spice's godly pipes. I could marry a pair of vocals chords, I'd pick his. It saddens me that The Mushroom River Band never made another record, as they could've taken off big time.
Oh well, at least we still have Spice & The RJ Band which carry the torch nicely.
(mp3) The Mushroom River Band - Make it happen
(mp3) The Mushroom River Band - Change it
(mp3) The Mushroom River Band - My vote is blank
Buy Simsalabim @ Amazon.com
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
When my interest for music was first awoken in the mid 90s by bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, I kept hearing talks of the bands that came before them. The ones that started it all, the ones everybody was influenced by.
All these mysterious but apparently fucking amazing bands roaming the American underground in the 80s and early 90s, raising hell wherever they went. Cool bands with imposing names like Hammerhead and Killdozer etc were mentioned. In my mind I envisioned these dangerous, mentally deranged people destroying stage after stage in a blizzard of carnage while producing heavy, ear-shattering noise that left nothing in their wake.
This was before you could just download anything you wanted, so it took while to track these bands down. And sure enough: the disappointment was gargantuan. What the fuck is this? Sounded like something not even your mom would disapprove of.
I was instantly reminded of interviews with Kurt Cobain where he said he would read punk rock magazine and imagine what the music would sound like. Then he heard The Clash's Sandinista and his world was shattered.
That was a pretty atypical album for The Clash, so I figured maybe I had just stumbled upon a rotten apple. But no.
TAD had their moments, but largely they were pretty weak. TAD was at their best when their music was as heavy and unstoppable as their frontman, and the second a melody showed up it turned gay and lame. TAD should've been more Wood Goblins and less Dementia, if you know what I mean.
So I dug deeper. There had to be something worthwhile here, and by god I was gonna find it. I gave Scratch Acid a shot. A handful of brilliant tracks, the rest completely unlistenable. Big Black? Rapeman? Sonic Youth perhaps? Don't make me laugh.
All these bands had one thing in common: they all promised you the world, and delivered little more than one or maybe two good songs. The only band that lived up to their reputation were The Melvins.
Then 2005, Todd and I crossed paths. Whilst listening to P3 Rock one fine Thursday evening, the most extraordinary music came shooting out of the speakers and kicked me in the cajones. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
This UK/US band, which apparently features one or two former members of Hammerhead (but I'm not sure because I can't be bothered to look it up), sounds exactly as vicious as I had hoped all of those old bands would. It's basically the sound of a bunch of inbred, lumberjack hicks drinking watery beer and raping their instruments.
It's heavy, it's noisy, it's catchy, it's filthy and smelly, it's borderline insane, it's funny, it's scary and it makes you want to buy a guitar.
If you like extreme music in any form, you need Purity Pledge in your life.
(mp3) Todd - Butlers portion
(mp3) Todd - Mr. Harry
(mp3) Todd - Eagle and child
Buy it @ Amazon.com.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Misery Loves Co's third, and the follow-up to the 15th best album of the 90s.
It was also sadly their last album. No longer a duo with hired live musicians, singer Patrik Wirén and guitarist Örjan Örnkloo (best name ever) brought drummer Olle Dahlstedt (later of Entombed) and guitarist Michael Hahne into the fold for Your Vision Was Never Mine To Share. It also happens to be the only MLC album with live drums, or so I'm told.
In hindsight I can't really see why this album didn't make them at least a little bit bigger. Most of the brute force andof 1994's selftitled debut was left behind, and the dark melancholia and marvellous sense for melody and dynamics of 1997's Not Like Them were brought up to the front.
Misery Loves Co was one of far too many bands that threw in the towel without ever getting the recognition and success they deserved. They were quite popular in places, were respected within metal circles and were often hyped in British metal press, but these guys deserved much more. They should've been the next Metallica or something.
(mp3) Misery Loves Co. - Your vision was never mine to share
(mp3) Misery Loves Co. - Damage driven (recommended)
(mp3) Misery Loves Co. - When everything dies
Buy it @ Amazon.com.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I haven't been able to continue my awesome countdown for a couple of days, because Mediafire was down due to maintenence. But now they're back up and running again, and so am I.
By the way, have y'all heard the new Killing Joke album? Holy fuck. Go get that one.
Anywho, onto today's topic: Probot. Actually, the Mediafire shutdown wasn't the only reason it's taken me four long days to post this entry. The main reason is I don't know what to say about this album.
I mean, everyone knows the story of Dave Grohl deciding to go back to his punk and metal roots and creating this one-off side project as an excuse to work with his childhood heroes. Like Lemmy, Snake from Voivod (whose drummer Away also made the album cover) Max Cavalera, Tom G Warrior, King Diamond, etc.
There's nothing new to add to the story, and I don't even have any personal stories to tell about the album. I'm at a complete loss for words. I bought it when it came out and I liked it a lot because it's really good. That's about it. The Tom G Warrior track blows though, I always skip that one.
Any loyal reader of this blog should know I dig this album, as I've included tracks from it on my Friday mp3 mixes several times.
So yeah, it's a really good album. Get it.
(mp3) Probot - Centuries of sin
(mp3) Probot - The emerald law (recommended)
Buy S/t @ Amazon.com.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Celtic Frost's big comeback record and they sounded better than ever.
Frontman Tom Gabriel "I Wonder How Long I Can Hide My Balding Head Under This Stupid Hat" Fischer and bassist Martin Eric Ain recruited drummer Franco Sesa and guitarist Erol Unala and recorded the best album of their career, one that sounded nothing like anything the band had done in the past. Unlike anything anyone had done, really.
This is better than Morbid Tales, better than To Mega Therion. [/blasphemous but true]
This was a much filthier, dirtier, doomier album with a claustrophobic, suffocating feel that is almost unbearable in large doses. Listening to Monotheist in one sitting feels like slowly drowning in tar while Coffin Joe points and laughs at you. The anguished screams at 7:17-7:50 in Synagoga Satanae are the sounds of every soul in hell burning in unison. No black metal band in history has recorded anything nearly as menacing and evil.
Fischer of course left the band a couple of years after this was released, and continued along the Monotheist path with this year's excellent Triptykon record. He also likes to shuffle around like an emo and take MySpace-photos of himself in the mirror.
Buy Monotheist @ Amazon.com.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Well it's Friday again and whoever is looking for this week's flawless Friday mp3 mix can find it on my other blog right here
So then, on the 28th best album of the 00s according to the man whose opinion is the only one that counts.
Cretin formed as early as 1992 by members of (among other bands) Repulsion and Exhumed, but it took them 14 years to produce this their first album. It's also their only album so far. But boy oh boy what an album it is.
Instead of going for the hi-fi, technical sound of many modern grindcore bands, Cretin were instead hellbent on turning the clock back to circa 1987, to the early days of grindcore and death metal. This is pretty much the follow-up album to Repulsion's 1989 classic Horrified.
What sets it apart from all competetors though are the brilliant lyrics. If the album title and cover didn't give you a clue what this band is all about, there are songs about a guy with an insect fetish ("A probing fly climbs up his pee hole/Then it lays some eggs "), one about a retarded guy who hugs the family dog to death then digs up the corpse, dresses himself in the fur and runs around barking to cheer the kids up ("Wearing dog skin like a mask, he lumbers through the yard/He chases birds and squirrels and toys/A growling, yelping tard"), and one about an old man ejaculating on mannequins in department stores ("His favorite dummy's gone/She was 5'9" with shapely legs and assembled in Taiwan").
There are also ones about keeping dwarves as pets ("Strutting down the street/He's on his brand new leash/He tries to jump on people/I keep him out of reach"), kidnapping women and zapping them with a stungun ("I'll tazer your soft bits/And giggle when you pee"), raising your son as a girl ("I make him tuck his stuff/Back between his crack"), and of course eating dirt ("I'll bet you that it hurts like hell/When she takes a shit").
Allow me to share with you the genius lyrics to A Fowl Fetish:
I’m a rapist of poultry
Plucked, stuffed, and cooked
My recipe for love comes from a cookbook
You might call it sick but you’d be mistaken
I’m fowly in love
Nude beneath my apron
My prizewinning game hen
Tongue-kiss the neck hole
Fingering her rear end
Massaging in spices
My bumpy-fleshed lover
A finger lickin’ good lay
The turkey gobbles
The rooster crows
My glistening meat baster
Swells and grows
Dressing for sex with a twist
Spread her thighs, I grease my fist
I work the stuffing in her hole
Knees buckle when I lose control
I set the oven to cook real quick
And push the button with my dick
Lighting candles sets the mood
As I prepare to fuck my food
A breast or thigh
Neck or wing
My original or crispy
The scent of my lover
Hangs thick in the air
Through the oven window
I masturbate and stare
My lust overwhelms me
Throw open the door
Scalding my hands
I mount her on the floor
I plunge my cock into her meat
The steaming juices feel so sweet
Our fevered thrusting shakes the walls
Homemade stuffing burns my balls
She falls apart and cannot last
I shove a drumstick up my ass
Clawing at her tender breasts
I cum and then I eat the rest
Somebody give these guys the Nobel prize for literature. This is essentially the grindcore interpretation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and Deliverance. Absolutely sodding brilliant.
And I haven't even mentioned how frontman Dan Martinez went through a sex change after this album and is now frontwoman Melissa Martinez. That's too awesome to even express in words.
(mp3) Cretin - Cockfight
(mp3) Cretin - A fowl fetish (recommended)
(mp3) Cretin - The yawning god
Buy Freakery @ Amazon.com.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I will now make an assumption that may not have any basis in reality, but I might be on to something:
Refused's experimental masterpiece The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998) played a huge part in how this album came out.
Again, I base this on absolutely nothing, but I have a good feeling about it. With that their last album, Refused threw all hardcore/punk conventions out of the window and made an album full of techno beats, fiddles, samples, electronica, jazz interludes and god knows what.
Two years later Fireside releases their fourth album, Elite. They started out as a pretty standard post hardcore band of the Quicksand school in Luleå, Sweden, not far from Umeå, Refused's hometown. Although they soon found a sound of their own, they never strayed too far from their rock/hardcore beginnings. Until this album that is, which fans and critics alike were completely unprepared for.
I remember being a little confused back when this album came out, it seemed almost as though the band had broken up, and Elite was a posthumous release. The liner notes state that album was "produced pre-collapse" and contained "collected and compiled music from Fireside", giving you the idea that this was a collection of demos, rough recordings etc scrapped together to make up a final record.
This turned out not to be true, the band still exists today and released their fifth album Get Shot in 2003. A rather dull album, but we'll talk about that one some other time.
The whole atmosphere surrounding the album and the band at the time of its release gave the impression that Fireside were sick of the old ways, and looking to change things. Rick Rubin hyped the shit out of them in the mid 90s after the release of their second album Do Not Tailgate (rightfully so, it's a great album), got them to play on the Lollapalooza festival and everything.
Nothing ever came of this attempt to break the band in the States, and it seems like there was plenty of bitterness within the band over this defeat. That the thank you list in the liner notes is preceeded by "We mostly think people owe us a thank you with some exceptions" only seems to reinforce this.
Perhaps The Shape Of Punk To Come was seen as a bit of an inspiration for ways out of the rut, ways to change things up and keep them interesting for themselves, fans be damned. It sounds like they just threw any idea they had into the mix, no matter how strange, and filtered it through guitarist, main songwriter, producer, mixer, mastermind Pelle Gunnerfeldt. Who by the way produced The Hives' breakthrough album Veni Vidi Vicious the same year.
The first track Elevator Action (co-written by members of fellow Luleå band The Bear Quartet) opens in a most pretentious way with people talking in French and some arty tape noise before sullen acoustic guitars kick in.
Fernandez Must Die is basically three songs in one, starting out sounding like something from their previous album Uomini D'Onore (1997) washed in keyboards and My Bloody Valentine-style noisy reverb before chunky Soundtrack Of Our Lives-type riffs show up, the last two minutes consist of electronic noise, speaking voices and samples, before it transitions smoothly into Thing On A Spring, the by far softest Fireside song up to that point. A song which also is something of a little rock opera of its own, with triumphant horns and contemplative coda at the end that sounds an awful lot like Pink Floyd's The Scarecrow.
Hals Und Beinbruch has thundering drumming from Per Nordmark (one of the best drummer around by the way), synthetic strings, vocals sung through a vocoder, frantic drum machines, and the seven minute song finally ends with a few minutes of distorted guitar torture that Sonic Youth would be proud of.
The title track is a gigantic 12 minutes instrumental postrock epic, The Last V8 comes very close to the dream pop scene of the late 80s, and the stunning 9 minute closer Take A Down starts off sounding like something off of singer Kristofer Åström's mellow solo albums, then builds into white noise and a chaos of cymbals before taking a left turn with soft drumming, mandolins and accordions, and finally wrapping everything up with the tranquil sounds of rain and thunder.
Phew! A rollercoaster of a record if there ever was one.
This is an album that definitely needs time, it didn't click with me until about the 10th time I heard it, and by now I rate it even higher than The Shape Of Punk To Come. And seeing how Get Shot was a more toned down and back to the roots affair, one gets the impression the band got most of their need for experimental crazyness out of their system with this album.
It sure sounds like it anyway.
(mp3) Fireside - Hals und beinbruch (recommended!)
(mp3) Fireside - Take a down
Buy Elite @ Amazon.com.