Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Playlist: 04/27/11

1. Bolt Thrower - What Dwells Within (Request - Lumber)
2. War Master - Chapel Of The Apocalypse (Request - Lumber)
3. Primordial - Gods To The Godless
4. Primordial - Lain With The Wolf
5. Omen - Die By The Blade (Request - Tony)
6. Black Sabbath - Into The Void (Request - Tony)
7. Darkthrone - Summer Of The Diabolical Holocaust
8. Midnight Chaser - Rough And Tough
9. Midnight Chaser - Turn Your Head Around (Tank Cover)
10. Grave Digger - The Round Table
11. Absu - Four Crossed Wands
12. Sig:Ar:Tyr - Blood Of The North
13. Atrophy - Puppies And Friends
14. Immolith - Slaughter The Legions
15. Abazagorath - When The Skies Opened
16. Morbid Sin - Injector
17. Licht Erlischt - An Aimless Life
18. Immolation - The Weight Of Devotion (Request - Tony)
19. Manilla Road - Return Of The Serpent King
20. Motorhead - Bomber
21. Motorhead - I Know How To Die
22. Artillery - Time Has Come
23. Hellhammer - Massacra
24. Teitanblood - Seven Chalices of Blood and Vomit
25. 1349 - Atomic Chapel
26. Apolion - Inverted King
27. Immortal - Beyond The North Waves
28. Hell Rot - Goat Chapel
29. Burzum - Jeg Feller

Monday, April 25, 2011

Midnight Chaser - Midnight Chaser

What do you get when you combine Budgie and Diamond Head with a bit of freewheeling attitude and baste it in a concoction of badassery? If you answered Midnight Chaser, you already have your finger on what may turn out to be one of the better vintage sounding metal bands out there. Midnight Chaser skirt the razors of edge of being hard rock, but do so genuinely enough to capture the raw essence of what metal was in 1978. Unlike other bands attempting vintage sounding metal like Swedes Enforcer which I sometimes feel play the part like an actor or Wolf who have taken a path towards mediocrity with their last album Ravenous (I still love their first four records), Midnight Chaser take a different approach to old school aiming not for the Vintage sound of traditional metal but seek a trajectory towards proto-metal which can only be accomplished by a group of individuals who really have never left their teen-years for the more extreme metal corruption of the mid-late 80's.

So this self titled EP has gotten quite a few spins from me, contains killer tracks across the whole record and an excellent sense of pride. It reeks of a lack of interest in trends, while somehow falling into the movement towards the old school metal that's been erupting out of every garage across America and Europe. I think the most interesting facet, and the strongest attribute of Midnight Chaser is how dead-set on excellence their songwriting aims to be. Even "Out On Your Shield" which is my least favorite track because of the undeniably lame intro riff, is still well written. The band is humbling, everyone shines, is never overshadowed or overbearing. The band sounds like they are rocking together, slamming their bodies around a shaking rehearsal room, too loud for human ears, with all their friends slamming down PBR's and headbanging for no other reason than having a good time. It's that kind of a record.

Quick reconnaissance reveals a four man lineup fronted by Scott Attwood on vocals who sounds a lot like Sean Harris from the aforementioned Diamond Head. The same shouting, wooing, classic rock influenced vocal approach is Attwood's calling card as evidenced on opening track "Rough and Tough," which wouldn't sound out of place on Lightning to The Nations. He hits some decent highs across the disc, such as in "Down For Whatever." The rhythm section on the EP is tight, with Josh Hunt on bass and Brandon Thomas on drums. Nothing spectacular to mention. Stephan Lauck is the sole guitarist in the band and I can't help but feel that a second guitarist would really help strengthen the band sound-wise but as it stands, Stephen's got things under control in the guitarist situation. On this record, the solos are well written and performed but tend to be thin, with Lauck accompanied by only Hunt. It definitely adds to the sense of being a live recording but I hope on their upcoming full length, they dub some guitars under the leads.

The disc opens with "Rough and Tough," a straightforward rocker with a catchy main riff (in G minor I believe). Attwood's Sean Harris style vocals are most evident here though they show across the whole EP. "Out On Your Shield," is a bit a sleeper for me until the solo kicks in, but never really catches my attention. It just seems a bit... lazy. Luckily, it's followed by Tank cover "Turn Your Head Around," the albums fastest. The opening riff is a sleazy, slippery thing that belongs in a seedy bar with scantily dressed women looking for a interesting night. This is one song where the solo is backed by guitars as well as bass, and thankfully so - it keeps the track rocking from beginning to end. Maybe a bit heavy on the chorus near the end but I'll let it pass because I could listen to this one all day. "Down for Whatever" and "Too Wild to Tame" round out the record in an acceptable fashion with two more ballsy tracks. "Down For Whatever" reminds me of some of CKY's more gritty tracks but with an extended instrumental section that might be at home on Fireball Ministry's first record. Fun unabashed lyrics telling it like it is becomes the thematic premise behind pretty much every song on the disc and "Too Wild To Tame" is no different. "Too Wild To Tame" is a quick closer to the EP.

Midnight Chaser have a lot going for them. I look forward to the full length which, according to their Myspace, is out this spring sometime. We'll see. I'll be picking it up and if they've got the same attitude, energy and songwriting prowess evidenced on this EP, I'm sure I'll be giving it plenty of turntable time. Be sure to check them out live if you're out west in the California area - I have a hunch they know how to get a place in a frenzy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playlist: 04/20/11

‎1. Accept - Pandemic (Request - Lumberjack)
2. Accept - Fight It Back
3. Steel Horse - Burning Soul
4. Judas Priest - Genocide (Live)
5. TT Quick - Go For The Throat
6. Morbid Sin - Injector
7. Morbid Sin - The Cathedral (Of The Black Monk)
8. Van Halen - Get Up
9. Thin Lizzy - Warriors
10. Spectral Incursion - Visions
11. Slauter Xstroyes - Battle Axe
12. Sepultura - Inquisition Symphony (Request - Tony)
13. Massacre - From Beyond (Demo)
14. Hellhammer - Massacra
15. At The Gates - Night Comes, Blood Black
16. Execration - Fiendish Max
17. Slaughterlord - The Recoil
18. Slaughterlord - Eulogy
19. Cancer - Into The Acid (Request - Tony)
20. Poisonous - Poisonous
21. Druid Lord - Black Candle Seance
22. Indestroy - Terminal Choice
23. Solstice - My Mortal Grief
24. Gutwrench - Necrosis
25. Atlantean Kodex - The Atlantean Kodex
26. Atlantean Kodex - Fountain Of Nepenthe
27. Electric Wizard - The Outsider
28. Electric Wizard - Venus In Furs
29. Burial Invocation - Beyond
30. Forefather - These Lands
31. Forefather - The Paths Of Yesterdays
32. Teitanblood - Whore Mass

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vehemence - Good Shot... Gang Member Dies

If you have some bizarre compulsion to own every thrash demo that no one should own, Vehemence's "Good Shot... Gang Member Dies" may just be the holy grail of thrash demo seekers. Not only does it fit all the criteria for being completely generic, but it also lays claim to one of the most politically incorrect titles of all time. If you collect demos that specifically are politically incorrect while still achieving the status of not being worth anything at all, finding this in a used bin would make you feel like Donald Trump actually finding Obama's birth certificate with a giant Nigerian flag sewn into the paper and a picture of him being born in a rat infested hospital holding a clock and being fed garbage in a baby bottle. Generically speaking, the demo is basically Slayer if Slayer could be a more generic version of Slayer. Vehemence have the riff writing ability of a no-armed infant, the vocal skills of a tumorous Chinese citizen gifted with a pity-episode on Discovery channel and the songwriting diligence of Testament.

The general feel of "Good Shot..." sucks. It is due to what I would refer to as "concessions of weakness." There is an underlying odor of not everyone adhering to the same thrash rulebook - some sound like they want to play the funky parts of Death Angel and others Sodom. I don't think anyone in the band, actually knew what they wanted to play. Second to last track Crimson Death would be a prime example of this and contains a drum beat fifty seconds into the song that sounds like the most synchronized construction crew on earth. As if Vehemence never had a drummer, and instead were just recording at someone's house while the Jones' were having an addition tacked onto their home. The workers, unfamiliar with heavy metal, improvised, pulling all their talent from listening to disco singles in their early life. The kick / snare drum combination sounds like your old-fashioned wooden hammer being slammed against a piece of plywood and the cymbals; a saw cutting through metal flashing. This is the first example of construction metal ever.

How does the rest of the demo fare? Well, across the five tracks, we get the similar drum sound as outlined above, in regards to the orchestra of contractors. One notable exception where Vehemence almost did something worthy of barely a listen would be final track Impositioned Propriety, where guitarists Fernando Vazquez and Sergio Alfaro turn what would have sounded like a sub-par Faith or Fear riff from Punishment Area and decided to tack onto the almost classy traditional metal phrase, the dumbest, way out of left field - like... left field of a different baseball stadium - atonal scale you could muster. Totally ruining a song I spent way too long listening to without any hope of redeeming itself.

I actually think the best part of this whole demo is the artwork believe it or not. It's got such character, with the bars over the liquor store windows in the forgotten part of town. The gang members, one wearing a propeller topped beanie, one three times larger than the others and one born to a mother who was a chipmunk, all gunned down by a man in a ten-gallon hat from the back roads of Arizona or Nevada or something. And all this in front of the Chaka Liquor store at the corner of Griffin and Avenue. I also like how Joey "Stick" had a great understanding of how to draw with perspective but totally gave up on trying to create realistic human beings. I still think Mr. Oklahoma is shooting the gang members with a slingshot.

Playlist: 04/13/11

‎Last week's playlist:

1. Gutwrench - Necrosis
2. Razor - Going Under (Request from Tony)
3. Heathen - World's End (Request from Tony)
4. Black Sabbath - Thrill Of It All
5. Black Sabbath - Sign Of The Southern Cross
...6. Manilla Road - The Ram
7. Queensryche - Queen Of The Reich
8. Exxplorer - Metal Detectors
9. Horrifier - Exordium / From Beyond The Grave (Request from Joe)
10. Exciter - Rising Of The Dead
11. Jag Panzer - Harder Than Steel
12. Jag Panzer - Bringing On The End
13. Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus (Request from Tony)
14. Anthem - Headstrong
15. Anthem - Fire N The Sword
16. Suffocation (GER) - Mantis
17. Suffocation (GER) - Intestinal Disease
18. Suffocation (USA) - Mass Obliteration
19. Malevolent Creation - Premature Burial
20. Morbid Saint - Scars (Request from Lumberjack)
21. Kreator - Tormentor
22. Hallows Eve - Nefarious
23. Faith Or Fear - Straight To Hell
24. The Beast - Enemy Ace
25. Mortal Sin - Endangered Species
26. Clamfight - Ghosts I Have Known
27. Maegashira - The Man Who Named God
28. Burzum - Valen
29. Wooden Stake - In The Godless Moonlight
30. Accept - Balls To The Wall

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poisonous - Demo

Poisonous hail from the death metal hinterlands of Brazil, and have this two song demo released before their debut LP by Genocide Productions, a label which seems to have a knack for releasing very interesting South American bands such as Mystifier, Mausoleum and Impetuous Rage. Poisonous seems to be their newest attempt to push a band into the death metal stardom. So, this Demo from 2009 was most likely a cheap teaser to garner interest for the label who, I'm sure, knew they would be putting out a full length from the band a year after this little cardboard promo thing. As much as I hate these cardboard promos, which never fit anywhere, be it CD binders, CD cases, with my CDs on the shelf - they seem to disappear between everything (I'm pretty sure I lost my Ravage promo this way) - and they are easily destroyed by practically any kind of mishap. Still, Genocide have a nice little promo here with some cool old school styled demo artwork and a nice back cover as well. Campy sticker on the disc to set it apart from... non-stickered cardboard promos as well... Whatever.

The music is strong, supported by a covenant of musicians who know exactly what they want the band to be. Michael Hellriff and Fabio Ramos have delivered some crusted over, Swedish styled riffs, coated with Brazilian murk and aggression. The Brazilian atmosphere really is best heard in the ultra low, reverb bogged growls and snarls, similar to Headhunter D.C. Hellriff supplies these additional abilities as well as his guitar gruntwork. E. Evil on bass and Alex Rocha round out the unit, with strong rhythm, heaviness and simplicity. While some extra effort would have been nice in the buried area, Poisonous' style doesn't seem to lend a whole lot of care for dynamics on this demo - they go one speed, and in a bevy of 16th notes at that. The mix on this lends good instrument separation so were Mr. Evil to leave the shadow of the guitars and show some reckless abandon, my claim of simplicity would be borderline remiss but nevertheless still valid.

The demo leads off with an atmospheric intro which seems to last too long, some eerie piano sounds under what must have been Hellriff wandering between his house and the local watering hole on the other side of the Amazon rain forest - deep bellows and screams and cadaverous undead animal mating calls soak the intro in a shallow atmosphere. With first track, the not so anonymously titled "Poisonous," we get a showing of standard if not enjoyable nor memorable death metal but the band is impassioned in their approach and easily likable. It's like the kid in high school who was much smaller, nor as strong as the other guys but you would want on your side in a fight anyway, just because he would jump in and mess crap up without any real interest or care for consequences. Poisonous are like the rapidly wing flapping moth flying directly into the spiderweb totally unconcerned. Poisonous may even break through most webs. The title song comes complete with a classic death metal sounding solo if not exactly classic in its composition entirely, some bloody keyboard moments, and a cup of coffee to keep you awake.

Last track and closing bomb run, "The Black Vomit" is a bit thrashier and less mature. Once again there is your classic sounding solo which I at first thought was a carbon copy of the solo in "Poisonous" but I did notice one or two slightly different notes tossed in between the sweeps and runs. In place of the keyboards and the coffee, "...Vomit" digresses into the entire band doing their best attempt at being scary and yelling and screaming obscenities drunk into a toilet positioned directly in the center of a giant gymnasium. The song resolves in, for me, a total "fuck it we're done" moment. Pretty much like Metallica's Battery except without the whole "we can sit back and watch everyone worship us now machismo." Not a bad demo, with Poisonous showing promise. I'll actually probably check out the full length but if the whole thing is the same riff, different pattern for forty-five minutes, I'm giving that disc the same shelf time I've awarded Megadeth's Risk.

#45: Coaster

101 Uses for Metallica's ReLoad: #45: Coaster

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Clamfight Braveathon Appearance

This is the March 25th Clamfight performance and Interview from the WPSC / WPBN Braveathon. Two brand new unreleased Clamfight tracks and an interview with Andy and Sean from Clamfight and Jersey John and the Fat Man from WP 88.7 Brave New Radio. Great stuff. Download here:

Clamfight - March 25th Braveathon Performance

Older Radio Archives Here:

Radio Archives

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jag Panzer - The Scourge Of The Light

There will never be another Ample Destruction. If there was any hope for such a return to the classic Jag Panzer style, the output of the band in recent years should have done much to strike down any optimistic dreams of another track sounding like "Harder Than Steel." So with this dream now occupying the same space in my mind as another Crimson Glory album like their debut, or another John Arch fronted Fates Warning album in the vein of Awaken The Guardian, I can approach the band with a new respect. I've relinquished my frustrations and, looking at this years new Jag Panzer release with an open mind, I can honestly say that it's a damn good modern power metal album.

In this sense, "Scourge of the Light," Jag Panzer's 9th album measures up to other modern power metal bands doing a similar style. With Jag Panzer though, you also get their seal of quality. Some things have not changed though. The speed is still there, and is in full force on opening track "Condemned To Fight." The melodies are still strong and up front and the musicianship is excellent as could be expected. John Tetley is still around on bass this time accompanied by Rikard Stjernquist on drums. Together they create the tight rhythmic foundation we've come to love from the band. Mark Briody is accompanied by Christian Lasegue on this record. The pair are obviously a capable duo on the guitar-front. Conklin still has the pipes to overpower God it seems. His performance is what really pulls the record past what would otherwise be considered mediocre by almost any other person's standards. There are some excellent songs on "Scourge Of The Light."

Much like Jag Panzer's last album, Casting The Stones, which I admit, I think is a bit stronger than this newer release, there is a much stronger modern metal element most obvious in the production and tone of the record. I originally though that I liked all the mid-paced tracks more than the faster songs but then I realized that it's a much more simple differentiation than that. The tracks that I like the best on the record are the tracks that aren't trying to be bad-ass. They are the tracks that just are bad-ass. For example, "Let It Out," gives me the feeling of listening to a amped up Soundgarden or Pearl Jam track... somewhat like "Do The Evolution." Also worth knocking is fifth track Cycles which is probably the most uninspired track of Panzer's career. It just reeks laziness. Conklin also sounds a whole crapload like a constipated Chris Cornell on this track.

The good: Opening track "Condemned to Fight" and the intricate "Burn" are both consistently fast, hard hitting and, if not memorable, damned good for the time being. The tracks that stand out the most are the unconventional Jag Panzer tracks such as "Setting of the Sun" which relies on the melodic interweaving of both solemn and hopeful airs, clashing and battling for control of the track's heart. "Bring The End," is a bitter accusation of greed and selfishness, echoed in Conklin's growing vocal intensity. The marching vibe of the chorus sections paired with a blistering solo contrasting a subdued midsection combine for my favorite moments on the album. Both songs utilize atypical melodies here too, like a modern power metal version of Sahg II instead of the same Iron Maiden progression in every song.

"Call To Arms" is a typical metal anthem without the Manowaresque posturing or about being specific about 'metal brotherhood' which I think works in Jag Panzer's favor, because paired with eighth track "Union," it's clear a patriotic theme courses through the Jag Panzer ranks. Considering similar sentiments on the recent Accept album, it's an interesting pattern in older power metal bands.

Overall, the album is a bit inconsistent, I skip past several tracks and listen to others in a row. A strong start and end to the record split in two by three boring tracks offers a bit of awkward pacing. So, to be fair, much like most records this one has some cool tunes, some bad tunes and is about 60% worth replaying and enjoyable. Jag Panzer remain a band to keep an eye on, even if they aren't as Generally Hostile or producing the same Symphony Of Terror that they were in the mid 1980's. Luckily, The Tyrant is still worth investing time in and I'm sure that whatever the band does to follow this will be of similarly strong quality.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Solstice - Poems Of Petulancy

This 1992 demo from Dutch Doom/Death band Solstice is another example of where death metal would naturally head in the early 90's as bands tried their hands at extremity by slowing down and creating more ominous and dirge-like tales of sadness, despair and suffering. While some bands such as Morgion and Paradise Lost perfected the polar opposite of what death metal traditionally aimed for in speed, violence and gore, others keen to show their cards before looking at their hand released demos in a manner akin to fifty-two card pickup with virtually no real reason for doing so or the talent to warrant any release at all. In most cases, almost all these bands should have simply folded and waited to be dealt a new hand. Solstice is a tough call though; an example of a band that may have had a chance at being something excellent if they didn't fall apart before 1995.

Poems of Petulancy marks their first demo and, with moments befitting of the excellent artwork and obscure nature of the demo, offers an adept listener with some worthy plodding, grave digging, tomb entering doom death. After an impressive intro complete with obligatory synthesizers and 70's hammer horror move accents, Solstice fall headlong into "Purify My Soul," a pretty typical precursor to the rest of the demo. Some strong walloping, chugging riffs and some speedy parts more in common with Scream Bloody Gore era Death than faster moments of more closely associated acts. The opening track has its moments such as an interesting spoken section after three minutes of economy doom death. It's all just a bit too generic. Overall the opening track is like the first few stone steps on a massive stone staircase spiraling downwards - at first imposing and slightly awe inspiring but after a few feet, you realize it may be a really long tedious trek.

Side A of the tape finishes with the two minute "The Sun Profaned," a forgettable three riff novel worth about one minute of attention and the longer culmination to side heavy, "Perpetual Dreams." By no means is Solstice breaking boundaries with this track either... alternating between fast and slow parts, undulating across the magnetic ribbon like a trickle of water across some bare stone. Sure, the foundation here is strong and solid but, with little in the way of subtlety or detail to etch something interesting across the surface, we're left with but another rock in the sea of stones, another grain of sand on one really long boring beach. The track, with some slight tweaking - a lead here or an overlayed melody over there - could have made this a highlight track, something worth coming back to. There is a solo but, strangely like the other leads on the reel, sounds somehow out of key and awkward though oddly emotive and vibrant in the same sense.

With the end of side heavy we get to flip the tape to side metal. While "Prelude to Winter" is adequate in terms of the rest of the material on the tape, final track "My Mortal Grief" makes the tape worth the listen. With Solstice emphasizing the strong parts of their craft, we get a strong track in the same vein as the rest of the demo but with just the right amount of creepiness, solemnity and disregard for predictability. Solstice find that oft-sought after perfect dramatic contrast here with the descending chord progressions and the feeling of falling into a deeper and deeper depression. Lyrically, while the rest of the tracks are a bit lame in their high-school sentiment of loneliness and sorrow, "My Mortal Grief" falls into the same gimmick here but with just the right amount of self-loathing to tint the song towards a darker hue as opposed towards a self parody of stereotypical social awkwardness.