Wednesday, September 30, 2009
DESTROYER 666: DEFIANCE
D666 is an amazing band. They keep putting out great recordings despite the fact that none of their such recordings sound much alike. On this one, the band takes its thrash influences and its black influences and mashes them together and adds some more melody. That's right, this album is significantly more melodic than their previous albums. This is quite possibly a finalist for Album of the Year. It's that good.
DYING FETUS: DESCEND INTO DEPRAVITY
Dying Fetus manages to further refine their sound. Dying Fetus was one of the early bands to dabble in slam death, but at this point they are far more technical and brutal, becoming more of a Suffocation-type band minus the dirge-like grooves. Dying Fetus seems to get better every album. I did not know what to expect when I picked this up, but I am glad I did.
THANATOS: JUSTIFIED GENOCIDE
Thanatos is one of the more underrated bands in the death/thrash scene, possibly because the band comes from Netherlands, which is not exactly a hotbed of metal activity. Thanatos is one of the more brutal, powerful bands to come out of the early death/thrash scene and the first Dutch extreme metal band. This album is incredible, powerful, and melodic. There are two bonus tracks, both of which made up the 7" vinyl EP.
Vader is one of the most consistent extreme metal bands, as well as being the first major metal band from Poland. Not much to say here, if you enjoy Vader, you will enjoy this, if not, don't bother. Vader is one of my favorite bands, so I love the album.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Nailbomb was a decent side project. Typically, side projects should provide a creative outlet that the individual members cannot have in their main bands. Nailbomb is a good example as it allowed for Max to show off his industrial metal influences. However, Sepultura's sound changed so often that it's not clear why he could not attempt to sway the band's musical style in that direction. It would have been pretty awful and Sepultura fans would have abandoned the band sooner, but it was doable.
As previously mentioned, this is the live album, and thus the sound quality is not particularly great. No matter though, as industrial metal has never been exactly subtle. Max has always been a dynamic live performer, and that is still evident here. Nevertheless, I would have preferred the studio version of a lot of these songs. This isn't bad, it's just that I don't care a whole lot for live albums. At the time I bought it, I was unaware that this was the live album.
I first heard of Nailbomb when I was getting into Sepultura but never really checked them out. I heard the band for the first time on the soundtrack to the godawful movie To Die For. This is the first time I went and picked something out though. I may check out the studio album, just to have a clearer idea of the songs. This will do in the meantime. Passable.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Which all brings us to Intruder's Psycho Savant. This is actually an exceptional album and a completely hidden gem. I had never heard of the band until a few weeks ago when I was at the local excuse for a record store whose only redeeming value is the wall of cassettes in the back. I saw this tape in the bargain bin for $3.00 and decided to pick it up, guessing as to its metal classification only by the cover art.
As it turns out, this is a great album that came out right before grunge "killed" the metal scene and is thus an afterthought album. At a time when many of the bigger metal bands like Metallica were softening their sound, this album stands out as a last ditch effort to retain the glory days of early 1980's thrash. Sounding like a progressive-tinged mashup of Exodus, Anthrax, and Testament, Intruder clearly had technical chops, savvy songwriting ability, and infectious riffs. If only this album had come out a few years earlier, Intruder could have been a much bigger name than they are.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Huh. Maybe I should be watching my back.
I lived in a very small town for a couple of years. I know just how bored police officers can get. I was once pulled over for driving four miles over the speed limit on the highway. However, to classify a group like this as a gang is pretty absurd. I remember watching a documentary talking about straightedge as being a gang, and was surprised by that as well. Just because a bunch of fucking idiots hang out together and do stupid shit, does not mean they have organized as a gang.
The effect of the classification is that if, and when, any juggalos get in trouble with the law where they are so classified, they now have potentially more serious charges against them. All this for listening to a terrible band.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The music on Reroute to Remain was different, I will grant that. It certainly paled in comparison to their mightier melodeath material. But it was catchy, and emotional, and fun to listen to. Reroute to Remain was my first In Flames album, and perhaps that is why I feel the way I do about it. Perhaps if The Lunar Strain or Colony was my first, I would hate Reroute to Remain. Nevertheless, I loved the album then and still do now.
After that album came Soundtrack to Your Escape and Come Clarity. Both albums retaining that infectiousness from Reroute while being less than well-appreciated in metal circles. I still enjoyed them.
Then we come upon A Sense of Purpose which is where I will be getting off of the In Flames bandwagon. I do not honestly know what I dislike so much about this album. It seems like most of the elements from the previous three albums, which I enjoyed, are still here. Perhaps the songwriting has become stale, perhaps the modern rock elements have started to dominate the sound further decreasing the metal elements. I do not really know. All I know is that something happened on this album, something that has lead me to not enjoy it as much as their previous albums. Perhaps In Flames will catch themselves before they fall too far, perhaps not. It has been a fun ride while it lasted, but it's time for me to get off.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Nu metal was almost inescapable and was really they only thing close to metal that those outlets allowed. As such, I was not as excited about music as I had been in junior high. My genre of choice was somewhat stale. Unfortunately, I had virtually no knowledge of the international scenes, which would have cured my issues with the genre as some truly astounding music was being made in Sweden and Norway at the time.
As mentioned before, nu metal was everywhere. People who claimed to be metalheads were listening to bands like Korn, Deftones, Slipknot, Staind, Sevendust, Static X, Rammstein, and more. I listened to those bands a little. But my favorite bands I was listening to at the time were bands like Testament, Fear Factory, Ozzy Osbourne (who I had developed a sort of hero worship to), Sepultura, Danzig, Prong, and Misery Loves Co. I was in a leadership position in the high school marching band, and as such often had to drive the younger members around. My car quickly became infamous with people as one to avoid if one had an aversion to loud music. I relished in that image.
It was during high school that I discovered my first issue of Metal Maniacs, a pivotal point in my development into a metalhead. I curse myself for throwing it away some time ago and am constantly on the lookout for it on ebay. As I recall, it had Pantera and Trouble on the cover and came out in 1996. I remember a lot of those articles well: articles on the aforementioned bands, Misery Loves Co., Helloween, Eyehategod, Kreator, Edge of Sanity, Skrew, Pan.Thy.Monium, Strapping Young Lad, and many more. This was my first exposure to a lot of these groups and I sought many of them out over the years. The magazine showed me there was so much more than the American metal scene out there. However, it would not be until college that I would really begin to experience that.
Toward the end of high school, I picked up a tribute album to Celtic Frost. I picked it up blindly, I had only heard one Celtic Frost song, which I had enjoyed. But I was anxious to check out some other bands and the H.R. Giger art on the cover caught my eye. This album freaked me out. It included songs from groups like Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Opeth, Slaughter, Grave, Sadistic Intent, and many more bands that I had never heard of before. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. The music was so extreme, so angry, so unlike anything I had ever heard before. It wasn't long before this album was a favorite and I would go on to seek out music from those bands. My friends hated this album, and in particular the Mayhem track, although the back story of Mayhem became a favorite story to hear. I'll go into that some other time.
I survived high school as a metal head, but nu metal would soon overpower the rest of the country, making it that much more difficult to be a metal fan.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
THE GATES OF SLUMBER: CONQUEROR
This is about as metal as an album cover can get. We have a barbarian standing over the corpse of his latest conquest holding a sword in one hand and the head of his enemy in the other. A naked woman sits at his feet.
Akercocke has made a career of having beautiful, naked women on their album covers. This is my personal favorite. Unfortunately, their last two albums have not featured naked women.
AKERCOCKE: RAPE OF THE BASTARD NAZARENE
This is my second favorite.
TRISTANIA: BEYOND THE VEIL
Here, we have three naked women laying on the rocks. The pictures on the inside of the booklet also feature naked women.
TYPE O NEGATIVE: BLOODY KISSES
They're not naked, at least as far as I can tell, but they are kissing, therefore, they deserve a place here.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Up first is Impaled on their album "The Last Gasp". Impaled has been mentioned before as being one of many bands featuring members that are also in Ghoul. Impaled plays a form of death/grind. I could be wrong, but I don't think that the person on the cover is gasping. Impaled said they used sausages to represent the internal organs that this person apparently had ripped out through their mouth or puked up. Very tasty.
Bleeding Through is not well-received in most metal circles due to their metalcore leanings, but this album cover is fucking brutal. I happen to like this album, the band blends metalcore with blackened death metal and some interesting keyboard parts. I haven't like much of the rest of their stuff though. I bought this when I worked at Target and my boss happened to see it. The next day he told me he had nightmares about it. Apparently this fellow has had his lower jaw ripped off. Tough to eat when that happens. This again is fake, it is done through CGI.
We come now to the band Blood Red Throne and their album "Affiliated with the Suffering". Blood Red Throne is a decent death metal outfit from Norway. This cover features some maniac standing over a pool of blood in the snow with a bit of a shit-eating grin on his face. I would not want to meet this gentleman, particularly not in the snow.
We come next to Autopsy, one of the first bigger death metal bands and their classic album "Severed Survival". This album had two covers. The one on the right was deemed too bloody for many stores to carry and seems to feature an individual getting the Hellraiser treatment, i.e. being torn apart by chains. The one on the left is potentially creepier as we get a patient's eye view of some maniacal doctors that are committing acts of unnecessary and painful surgery. I actually prefer the censored version better, which is weird.
Last, but not least, no bloody album covers exhibit would be complete without SOMETHING from the great Cannibal Corpse. This one is disturbing on many levels. I will leave it at that and not comment further. Wow.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Oh, what the hell, let me have a crack at this.
Here's the story for people too lazy and/or just don't want to click the link. Police in San Diego unearthed human remains in a man's backyard garden. Neighbors state that the man typically works in his garden while listening to heavy metal. A Cattle Decapitation album was found in his home. Said Cattle Decapitation album features a song called "A Body Farm". A news station is attempting to contact the band as "authorities" are suspecting possible copycat crimes based on the band's disturbing subject matter and lyrics.
So what have we learned? People are still a bunch of fucking idiots and I am speaking of the people investigating this and the nutcase who did it, no one is safe.
So here's what will happen, the news will absolutely run with this incredibly incidental link between Numbnuts here and Cattle Decapitation starting off another moral panic and cries that heavy metal is ruining our children and convincing them to do despicable things to others. Some relatives of the poor victims (presuming that this man was a murderer and not just finding the bodies elsewhere, such as digging them up) will sue Cattle Decapitation similar to what one crazy family did when their daughter was killed by some insane people who incidentally listened to Slayer. The story becomes even bigger. The lawsuit gets dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted/total idiocy. Only the lawyers get rich. Cattle Decapitation sells millions of albums.
Did I miss anything?
UPDATE: Dammit, I fell for it. This is just the set up for the video for the song "A Body Farm". It's all a joke. Fucking Cattle Decapitation, now you won't sell millions of albums. I suppose I'll tackle the Slayer issue this weekend. It's a long story.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
There used to be several Homer's in Lincoln, where I grew up. In the last couple of years that number has dwindled to just one, but it was a great store and I went there almost every time I was back in town. Now, even that store is closing. There are three stores in Omaha, one of which is also closing. So, we will be down to just two stores in Omaha. I haven't figured out what I am going to do about the lack of stores in Lincoln yet. Of course there are places like Best Buy to buy music, but I always preferred the independent record stores. Much more underground selection.
This, of course, sheds a little light on some major problem plaguing independent record stores in recent years. With internet access and downloading, stores are not doing nearly as well. It's too bad, because part of the charm of going to stores was looking at something new that you may not have seen before. It's hard to do that online. I enjoyed just going there and looking around. Sometimes I would pick up something blindly and buy it and it would prove to be a great album. This is how I got into groups like Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, Meshuggah, In Flames, Iced Earth, and many more.
Homer's, you have been good to me. I will miss you.