Monday, December 26, 2011

2011




1. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

Tim Hecker's forays into dissonance have undergone something of a maturation, the result being Ravedeath, 1972. I won't go into specifics - one will take from ambient music something else entirely from what another does. All that needs to be said is that this is essential listening, ambient fan or otherwise, and perhaps Hecker's best work yet.

2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Let England Shake is without a doubt Harvey's most eloquent record. A singular theme, which is represented in both lyric and composition, is maintained throughout, creating a thematically dense and cohesive record. If there's a pop album that you need to hear in 2011, it's this one.

3. Fell Voices - Fell Voices

Fell Voices' second LP is again another excellent addition to the band's discography - many blogstalkers would have already heard the two tracks on here previously, as they were put in on a limited edition tour promo last year, but to have them out on LP was the band's original intention. This is again 'Casciadian' black metal, but much more authentic than a lot of the scene's other bands. Fell Voices are easily the most consistent of the groups that are associated with this style, and these two tracks are probably their best. Though it may seem daunting having over 40 minutes spread out over two tracks, the music here is highly engaging and very replayable. I've spun this record countless times since receiving it - it inarguably deserves the accolades that I or anyone else give it.

4. Soul Swallower - Devoured

I didn't know about Devoured until its release, and even when I first heard it I wasn't overly impressed. Still, I got my hands on the LP and before long I was playing it regularly. Sharing members with Mind Eraser, this group have been in hiding for several years while working on this LP, and their efforts have not been in vain. Heavy-handed hardcore with occasional PV elements thrusts this into any punk lover's conscience, and the songs themselves are all fantastic. One of easiest albums to listen start to finish in one sitting. Last but not least, those riffs. Goddamn.

5. Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawaah

This was a bit of a late addition to my 2011 musical sphere, but I didn't expect this record to go past without my attention. After their great demo from ealier this year, I had high expectations and they have definitely been met. This is tentatively my favourite death metal record of the year, though I have not absorbed this to the same extent that I have Blaspherian and Cianide's releases. Taking a Portal-esque aesthetic and combining it with their own unique take on esoteric and occult black/death, Antediluvian have made a record which will easily be remembered for the rest of the decade.

6. Loss - Despond

Loss has taken their sweet time putting out an LP, but we've finally been blessed with one of the best funeral doom records in a long time. Despond takes everything the band has been working towards over the last decade and puts it all into one unforgiving and despondent album. Three earlier tracks have been rerecorded and put into a cohesive slab of funeral doom that is easily the best thing the genre has seen since Stabat Mater’s self-titled. I doubt Despond will be topped in 2011 in terms of doom, though Worship is set to record its third LP later this year which will surely give it a run for its money. Vile gutturals, downcast melodies and a richly textured composition, this has everything it needs to be great. Perhaps now Loss will finally get the recognition it deserves.

7. Blaspherian - Infernal Warriors of Death

It took them four years of what I assume was profane contemplation, but Blaspherian have finally returned to the fold with the release of their first LP Infernal Warriors of Death. Earlier material such as Allegiance to the Will of Damnation certainly made a name for these Texan blasphemers, but I feel safe in saying that this is record is what the band has been working towards since its inception. Blaspherian model a very dense style of death metal on this record, one which is structurally impressive and very long-lasting - their method of contructing a motif and then making subtle variations in said motif is engaging and welcome. Overall, there is little to criticise on Infernal Warriors of Death, and a lot that will make fans of death metal gush over its cohesion.

8. The Men - Leave Home

The Men's first LP Immaculada was a really great record, one which I spin regularly, so Leave Home had a lot of expectations to meet. To put it bluntly, this easily matches the debut and in many respects exceeds it. The Men mix noise rock and hardcore with varying degress of intensity, incorporating influences from a host of other styles as well (from shoegaze to no-wave). While a lot of this record is ecentric in many ways, it is immediately appealing and doesn't get old.

9. Total Control - Henge Beat

Henge Beat is the long-awaited long player from Melbourne's premier synth punk group Total Control. After toying with their fans for several years with numerous EPs, the band have collected themselves and released an extraordinarly cohesive record to usher in the next stage of Total Control. Henge Beat takes the overly jarring synth punk from earlier releases and puts it into a much more palatable format. Several songs have been rerecorded, such as 'Retiree', and sound just as good as the earlier takes (if not better). Total Control essentially takes the energy of punk music and combines it with electronic tenets, at times giving it a strong (yet modern) post-punk vibe. The record excels when it is juxtaposing between its varying elements, and while being relatively short, encourages constant listening. Not to be missed.

10. Helta Skelta - Helta Skelta

I only got this LP several weeks ago but it hasn't left my player since I first heard it. Having released an excellent demo tape a couple of years ago, Perth's Helta Skelta seemingly went into hiding but popped back to life some time ago with the announcement of this LP. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn't think it would be as addictive as it is. Jangly surf punk meets 80s hardcore, in the best possible sense. Seeing them live just after I got the LP further cements my opinion that Helta Skelta is on the same level as both Extortion and Suffer.

Honourable Mentions

Seidr - For Winter Fire
Ash Borer - Ash Borer
Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings
Scapegoat - Scapegoat
Corrupted - Garten der Unbewusstheit
Mental Powers - HOMOH
Dirty Beaches - Badlands
Grouper - A I A
Grinning Death's Head - Black Sun Rising
Preterite - Pillar of Winds
Bad Life - The Day You Die
Sutekh Hexen - Luciform
Meth Drinker - Meth Drinker
Martial Canterel - You Today
The UV Race - Homo

EP/Compilation/Demo/Split (in no particular order)

Cremation Lily - Cremation Lily 1 & 2
Strongblood - The Beaten Paths of Youth
Total Abuse - Prison Sweat
God Harvest - Demo 2011
Cervix - Life Fucker Tour 2011
Tim Hecker - Dropped Pianos
Prosanctus Inferi - Red streams of Flesh
Wreck and Reference - Black Cassette
Blessed Offal - Blessed Offal
Internal Rot - Internal Rot
Cruciamentum - Engulfed in Desolation
Antediluvian - Revelations in Excrement
Bloodclot Faggots - Bloodclot Faggots
Willing Feet - Willing Feet
Crime Desire - Alone in a Dream
Crazy Spirit - I'm Dead
Iron Lung/Mind Eraser/Hatred Surge/Scapegoat - Brutal Supremacy
Grave Upheaval/Encoffination - Split
Sump/Sexdrome - Split
Abe Sada/Sub Ordnance - Redux/Organ Grinder

Other records I enjoyed over the year can be seen in this list.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tenement - The Blind Wink



There are days where nostalgia grips me so strongly that I'm rendered incapable of doing anything but putting on my favourite albums of yesteryear or just lying on the couch and rewatching early Scrubs episodes. What I listen to really depends on whether or not I want to get out of my fuzzy, sentimental stupor - if I'd rather lie there comatose, I'll spin something like Disintegration, but if I want to smile in teary bliss then I'll put on --. Nothing you idiots, happy music is for faggots.

Okay, not really. But to be perfectly honest, I'm usually overcome with melancholy in these aforementioned 'episodes' I experience, and most of the time my musical therapy matches that mood. This is where Tenement comes in - their second LP The Blind Wink was only released this year, but it feels like I grew up listening to this record. After about three listens, I felt like I already knew the songs and that I had already bonded with them over the years. This isn't because they imitate anybody (though obviously their influences are displayed proudly on their sleeves) nor is it because their music is generic in any kind of way - it's simply because they've perfectly captured the youthful exuberance that the fuzzy pop/punk of the 90s impressed upon an entire generation.

The Blind Wink takes on board a host of previous styles - as Amos from the band states, 'it runs the gamut of fuzz pop like the Swirlies, punk/pop like the Descendents, and more minimalist Big Star styled pop songs'. The overall punk feel to the record is probably the most pronounced aspect, but the incorporation of various indie rock tenets really complements Tenement's sound. Bands like Grandaddy or even Built to Spill are channelled through the music, reinforcing The Blind Wink's even greater grounding in the 90s.

If you're 22 and embittered by your vanishing youth, this album is probably perfect for you. While it makes me feel like a child again, it does it in a way that is far from childish. With mature composition and a mature approach to the genre, The Blind Wink's entire purpose is to recreate the naivity and optimism only someone half my age could have. And believe me, they have succeeded.

The Blind Wink can be streamed from Tenement's bandcamp page.
Cassette version can be bought at Dead Broke Records.
Vinly version will soon be available at Cowabunga Records.
Follow Tenement at their blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scorpion Violente - Uberschleiss




Here's a little "synth pop" for you guys. Always thought that calling modern bands that use analog synths and a little noise experimentation "synth pop" was a little strange. Nevertheless, these are some great tunes. Fuzzed out analog synths dance on top of almost garagey/grimey beats. The beats are very strong in this music, they really give some songs the umph that is commonly missing amoung peer artists that take a minimalist approach (Lust for Youth). While LFY is one of my current favorite bands out, Scorpion Violente, with their more aggressive take on synthpop, set themselves apart from all of the cool shit currently coming out of Denmark and Sweden.

The beats do become repetitive, however. The title track is a perfect example of this. The beat isn't bad, it just can't sustain a four and a half minute song with only minor variations. There are several songs here that would be better off if a minute or two had been trimmed off.

The vocals may be an issue for some. Its typical of post-punk: moaning and reverb-laden. Newcomers might be turned off by the style, but if you listen through the whole record, they are easy to adjust to and you might actually end up liking it.

Overall, this album is refreshing. The more aggressive style (like some contrepoison tracks) makes it stand out against the other projects that are currently cranking out cassettes on posh isolation, ark tapes, release the bats, utmarken and avant!.

http://www.mediafire.com/?xhg86oy2sqtcibl (Scorpion Violente)

P.S. i'm also including a 7" by His Electro Blue Voice entitled "fog". This release isn't really representative of their discography, as guitar is the prominent instrument used here. However, it's pretty fucking cool. If anyone comes across a link to their new ep "dead sons" (its got more synth and a touch of noisey filtering) it would be great if you could post it. Below you'll find a link to their bandcamp where you can stream all of their releases.

http://hiselectrobluevoice.bandcamp.com/

http://www.mediafire.com/?xdbrnnkjx4wow8b (His Electro Blue Voice)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Craig Colorusso - Sun Boxes



Sun Boxes is a 7" comprising of two reasonably short field recordings. The catch is that these recordings were done through solar panels, which give off ambient texture depending on the amount and consistency of its input. I've chosen not to speak at length about this record, but to simply say that not only is the concept behind it excellent, the music itself is absolutely exceptional. Soothing tones that warp and pulse to the rhythm of something we cannot see and can barely feel.

listen

download

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Neat Beats - Cosmic Surgery



Coming out on Hop Skip Jump Records (who put out the great Moonbeams record earlier this year) is the project of Alvin Fenner, suitably called Neat Beats. Cosmic Surgery is his first LP under the Neat Beats moniker, yet the maturity displayed here gives off the impression that Fenner has been doing this for a long time.

Cosmic Surgery is an electronic record, but it does not fall into the traps that often put me off the genre - there is no meandering, there is no identity crisis - and it doesn't actually try to be anything more than it is. Inarticulate visions of grandeur (the new M83 anyone?) would have ruined this record - Fenner keeps it thematically simple but compositionally coherent. At a fundamental level, this is an album of beats and samples. Fenner probably spent a good portion of his time splicing and dicing samples until he felt that the songs had actually become more than the sum of their parts, and I feel he has completely succeeded.

Whether you look at Cosmic Surgery as an electronic record, or as an 'instrumental hip-hop' album, the songs are all remarkably well crafted - there are very few albums of this kind I feel comfortable listening to while I'm doing nothing else, but Cosmic Surgery is one. Songs like 'Video Game Characters' or 'The Machine Destroys Everything' have strong pop elements which work entirely in their favour, but Fenner retains flow across the record by delivering different moods with each song. 'Turning on the Large Hadron Collider' and 'I Love You, Vashti...' are perhaps more solemn in relation to the aforementioned tracks, yet sit alongside them with marked continuity.

What perhaps characterises Cosmic Surgery is best explained in one of its tags - 'downtempo'. This is music to relax to, music to chill to, music to take drugs to. Offering technical descriptions of the music here seems almost pointless - despite there being a high level of musicianship displayed - because this is all about mood, and Fenner has undoubtedly hit the spot. I could talk at length about how this record makes me feel or the best way to listen to it, but nothing really would compare to the words of the artist:

'Cosmic Surgery by Neat Beats is a compilation of emotionally obscured and forgotten sounds warped and rewoven into an experimental downtempo beat album that takes hints from DJ Shadow, The Microphones, Animal Collective, Prefuse 73, and Flying Lotus, to name a few. I'd suggest waiting for a rainy day, smoking a cigarette indoors and throwing this record on...'

Download and/or buy here.

Also check out Hop Skip Jump Records - Alvin runs it with Ryan of Moonbeams.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

S4D#1 Still Available



Just a quick update for all you followers - S4D#1 sold out sometime ago but these three distros still have copies available:

For the US:

God Harvest Bigcartel

For Australia:

Coffin Cuts (WA)
No Patience (SA)

If you missed out and want one, hit up these guys. God Harvest have some sweet shirts available, so pick one of those up if you can. Coffin Cuts and No Patience have extensive catalogues, check them out too.

Plenty of copies of #2 left - order at slaysfordays@hotmail.com

Monday, October 31, 2011

Label + Distro Update



Just a post to let people who have already ordered the God Destroyer tape know that I haven't received the inserts for the tape yet, but should do so very soon. Most if not all the orders without a GD tape have gone out.

Got some new distro stuff in too. Doomed Beast is an Australian heavy metal band, playing solid riffs with an occult atmosphere. I have a few copies of their debut demo tape available. Along with that, I received some extra copies of Australian experimental/blackened/industrial project Oxygen Abortion. I've haven't quite absorbed their music just yet, so I can't quite describe it. I have copies of their first EP and a compilation release of their first album + EP.

In addition to that, I also have some 7"s available. I won't go into details, but you can read their descriptions on the distro page.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kronofogden - Rid I Natt



It was only earlier this year that I realised Scandinavian hardcore wasn't left behind in the 80s. Bands like Heratys and the like are still carrying on, perhaps, as some will argue, without originality or the same inspiration that made the style so great. However, like any 'revival' that's taking place, the band's records that are being produced should be judged on their own merits and not so much on whether they are refreshing to the style or just plain derivative. Kronofogden belong to the former - this tape isn't by any means a 'highlight' for me, but there's just a shit ton of Euro raging to be heard across these 15 songs. If you worship Totalitar on a regular basis, this is probably for you. A CD-R version is available because the tape was severely limited, but I do know that Coffin Cut Records still has a few cassettes available.

try
buy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ByVolume #1 - Oct 2011



A new web publication which I have contributed towards has recently released its first issue. ByVolume is a contributor based publication and will hopefully be releasing issues regularly. Currently the PDF will simply be hosted on the site, but a print version may appear for future issues. The first one contains reviews of new material from M83, Wilco and Low as well as a few others, gig reviews and various articles such as an analysis of Thrice and a close look at Aidan Baker's work in 2011. The first issue came out really well, thanks to Adam for putting it all together. Check it out.

ByVolume

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Distro Update



Got two new zines in just today, Negative Noise #2 from the States and Downsided #4 from over in Queensland. Only a few copies of each. More info on the content can be read on the distro page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Violent Pink - The Propaganda of the Deed


Sooo, my gf bought me this (she's awesome) along with the 2x Cassette In Currents. Both rule, and I'd say that In Currents is a little better. I'd upload them both, but my ripping abilities suck ass at the moment. As soon as I get a rip that does the record justice, I'll post it here.

Now, Violent Pink (Tyler Keen) produces some very tight, rhythmic and layered noise. On most tracks, you'll find slowly oscillating drones of static, whirling sine-wave synths that are "syncopated" with jagged rhythmic bursts of feedback. "October 19, 1977" and "Attacks" are the most archetypal examples of this. One stand-out feature of this release are the vocals. Completely distorted beyond belief, wretched, writhing, hateful, desperate; they're simply some of the best screams I've heard in any noise release.

The album is also mixed very creatively. The main components (screamed vocals, voice samples, noise/static drones, feedback, synth) are brought to prominence/buried appropriately across the different tracks. Sometimes the synth and vocals will be on top and most prominent, other times feedback and drones prevail. It definitely keeps things interesting, which is important with a somewhat limited sonic palette.

Point is: get this. Violent Pink is one of the best emerging noise artists in 2011.


Since this is from my personal CD collection, I can upload a lossless high fidelity copy that I use for my music library, but I have to split the album into multiple .zip to get around the "free" uploader limit, so I won't unless it is requested.


Total Abuse - Prison Sweat

For those who weren't paying much attention in the hardcore department, Total Abuse's Mutt was an ugly offering of noisy hardcore with stomp, and attitude and all that lovely stuff. At last we are pummeled with their latest Prison Sweat, and will probably be their last offering but who knows we will see. Right from the start we are where last years effort had just left off, it's almost as if we are given Secret Passage III. Once you are oozed out of the noise of "Final Passage" it is up to the listener to survive from then on.

you can stream Prison Sweat in its entirety here
download
buy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Auris Apothecary Sampler #2


Hey bitches, this is kitsch. The music I post is different.





Auris Apothecary is a DIY label based in Bloomington, Indiana, USA that releases, punk, metal, avant-garde, noise, drone and the like in very limited quantities and with very unique packaging. Whether you think its pretentious or adds to the aesthetic of the music, one can't deny the creativity of packaging a cassette in a recycled library case with a library punch card that holds the liner notes. In addition to oddball packaging, they also release obscure formats, such as a loop of reel to reel tape, a 17" lathe cut made to be played at 17 rpm, and floppy discs. One such release this summer came wrapped in dried sunflower leaves with mysterious “magical seeds.” Anyway, you get the idea. Its the kind of stuff that hipsters would eat up if they could stomach the auditory “variety” that this label releases. This “variety” is nicely captured in their most recent “Sampler #2.” For every lo-fi indie bedroom jangle and autumn emo anthem there are also jagged and piercing power electronics, shrieking black noise and “samples of torture victims.”

This variety makes for quite an uneven listen. Just when you get in the groove of a nice indie song by The Constants or Fair Fjola, the next track blasts in with a scream of feedback from the likes of Dante Augustus Scarlatti or Torture Corpse. The tape isn't completely random, however, the label did a nice job of establishing a flow with the extremely eclectic array of material at hand. The poppier stuff tends to be at the beginning, and the more noisy and experimental songs populate the latter half. There are some nice transitions, too, where the minimal synth of Pendra Gon fades nicely into the layers of noise in Rob Funkhouser's track.

The point is, most of the material is excellent stuff. If you are familiar with the kind of label that has the tag line “We exist because fuck you” you pretty much know what you're getting yourself into with this compilation. Everything on the label can be purchased (cheaply, I might add) on their website aurisapothecary.org.

This sampler is available to download there for free.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Slays for Days Issue #2



The second issue of S4D is complete - I have approximately 25 copies sitting next to me, left over from the gig I was selling them at last night. I mentioned before that Jeroen of Antediluvian was designing the cover, and you can see his work above. I've got to say, it looks fucking fantastic. I've even printed off extra copies of the design on separate sheets, to be sent out along with the zine. I'll be printing the rest of the copies later this week - as it stands, I'm aiming for a press of 150 copies, though that might extend to 200 depending on how quickly they go. I still have people asking me for copies of #1, so I'm hoping to keep some stock for at least a while. Anyway, information on the content can be read on the zine's page.

The Aeolist #1



I'd like everyone to welcome our new contributor, kitsch. I'm not really too bothered with posting links and shit like that on here anymore (though obviously it's still gonna happen), but I thought kitsch's posting would add a little extra flair to the blog.

Kitsch has recently made a zine that features essays, poetry, short stories, photography and illustrations from various contributors around the world, including myself. The best thing about it, other than the material being fantastic, is that it's free - all you have to pay for is the shipping. If you're in the US, visit kitsch's blog Modern Lies Media to order one.

If you're in Australia I'll be doing the same thing, or I'll simply include a copy with any order if requested. Alternatively, if you have the means to print it yourself, the PDFs are available on MLM - the only condition about printing it yourself is that you have to print as many as you can and pass it around.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Willing Feet - Willing Feet 7''

I could only count down the days until this nasty little seven inch would surface on the interweb. I've been spinning this destruction since it was released and due to my incredibly poor ripping abilitys there would be no way i wouid degrade one of my favourite releases this year. Willing Feet are a local band from here in Winnipeg and i've had the pleasure to see live many times. Two re-recorded songs you've heard from the demo and the sound is more menacing then ever. Right from the start you are whirled into the punk-y stomp of Deep With the Dead, and not much bands these days seem to be pulling off this style without coming off as tired and recycled.

buy here
download

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Otro Mundo - Jellied



Hailing from the scorched psychadelia of Arizona, Otro Mundo is stuck in an acid-laced and highly fuzzed out time warp. Jellied is essentially an exercise in futility - a lot of alternative and noise rock bands covered Otro Mundo's chosen path two decades ago, but this doesn't make Jellied any less involving. Recalling elements of bands like Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers or even punkier forms such as Husker Du, Jellied consists of 5 songs awash with distortion and catchy melodies.

Yuck put out a record earlier this year that attempted to recapture the particular 90s vibe that a lot of 20-somethings are now nostalgic for, and it succeeded in various ways - Otro Mundo is much more of an experimental take on the style, leaving the listener with very little pop sensibility to grasp. In fact, the lo-fi aesthetic of the record is one of its defining elements, and sets the standard for a lot of the songs.

The title track, for example, is an addictive yet simple indie rock song in the vein of Built to Spill, but it gives off an almost claustrophobic vibe from its subdued production and lower-mixed vocals. The anxiety that it invokes is something which can be found on most of the songs, and in my opinion sets it apart from the usual revivalist deadheads. The highlight of Jellied for me is undoubtedly Heart-Thrush - it's one of the less punky songs on the demo, and in an almost anthemic way totally epitomizes the mood of the record.

As far as I can tell, there is a hotbed of interesting acts currently residing in Arizona, such as Pigeon Religion, Avon Ladies, Nihilism, Acid Dawgz, and Naive - Otro Mundo has members of all of them. You can purchase this on cassette directly from the band on their blog. If you aren't convinced of this demo's quality, then please, sample the download and let me prove you wrong.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Prosanctus Inferi Red Streams of Flesh

For all those who have been waiting for more viscous enthropic ennui, Prosanctus Inferi returns with incestuous genuflections in presenting their newest EP, Red Streams of Flesh. Those who preferred the band's demo over their LP (as many apparently do) should be immensely pleased with this opus, as the guitar tone and overall production have become much thicker. Also of note is the new drummer's contribution to the band's sound; what used to a messy flurry of battering toms and cymbals giving something of a "machinegunning a beehive" effect, is now a uniform march of incessant hatred. The intensity here is off the charts, and the songwriting has changed in a similar way as well; composition is tighter than a nun's asshole and has largely moved away from the grindcore-like random stringing of riffs that characterized Prosanctus Inferi's previous approach. There is still plenty of fury, and plenty of chaos, but it has now become focused and directed into a singular vial of decadent sadism. As if to highlight these changes, the work closes with two older songs. Of the six on display, "Bent in Genuflexion" in particular is mind-fuckingly violent. Buy here.

download (VBR, 297-320kbps)

Monday, September 19, 2011

God Destroyer - III



Third release (obviously) from this New Zealand ambient/drone project. Two tracks, coming in at just over 20 minutes. The first, 'Ghosts', gradually builds in intensity over its 13 minute length, constantly adding texture and noise to its already warm and bass-y drone. It's arguably the best song they've recorded thus far.'IƱupiat' closes the EP with a gentle comedown, displaying an excellent grasp of minimalist composition. As an overall record, III is by far the most polished and conceptually 'complete' release by God Destroyer. You can download it from Zeronoize. The God Destroyer Untitled compilation tape is still in the works, and will be available here on Slays for Days Records very soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bad Life - The Day You Die



'Bad Life is a procession of every half-heard sound that ever seeped through heat-cracked walls distorted. The Day You Die is eleven death rattles as rallying cries, grinding against the walls of this world'

Music Ruins Lives is back again - having been somewhat inactive over the past couple of months, the label has set off a series of upcoming releases with Bad Life's The Day You Die. Did I expect anything bad from MRL? Of course not. Did I expect to be blown away by Bad Life? Not entirely, but that's still what happened. Bad Life, as far as I can ascertain, have been around for a while, putting out some splits and such. The Day You Die seems to be their first full release however.

I find it hard to to properly categorise Bad Life. At its core, the band follows a post-punk template, but elements of noise rock, doom metal and Have a Nice Life-esque melancholy shine through. To sum it up as concisely as possible, this record is a fusion of both post-punk's and doom metal's versions of depression. Hearing Curisms alongside clear Black Sabbath influence seems to be a rather unpalatabe combination, but Bad Life make it work perfectly. Add to this a highly textured and addictive pop sensibility (warped beyond recognition by the band's experimental nature), and you have what could possibly be one of the best underground records of the year.

As dark as its subject matter may be, there is a consistent level of accessibility to The Day You Die, despite the record's almost malevolent atmosphere. For those of you who listened to nothing else but Deathconsciousness in the months following its release, you are strongly encouraged to spin this through just once. That's all it will take.

You can stream the album at Bad Life's bandcamp page.
Preorder the CD from MRL's store, as well as several other great releases they still have available (Wreck and Reference, Bad Braids).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Psychic Blood - S/T Demo



As a fuzzy combination of Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers, Psychic Blood have certainly done their research - their noise and shoegaze-laden style of discordant alternative rock does very well to remain true to the bands they're inspired by, but at the same time retain even a smidgeon of originality. Not to say that this is original, but there does seem to be a shortage of bands like Pyschic Blood these days - at least good ones. Post-punk melodies, noise-rock rhythms and shoegaze-esque distortions make up the brunt of this demo, and it's combined rather authentically underneath the band's lo-fi aesthetic. Apparently there is more Psychic Blood on the horizon, so if you like this demo, keep your eyes open.

Download it here

Keep up to date here

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blut - Grief and Incurable Pain/Ritual and Ceremony



Ritualistic drone doom gets bad rep these days. A few years ago it was all the rage, but it seems no one really wants to get their hands dirty anymore. And fuck Sunn O))) - they don't deserve half the acclaim they get. While the drone doom genre may be lacking, this could be partly due to my own ignorance; I'm usually content with Corrupted repeats and a local act from these parts called Drowning Horse so I don't feel the need to search out other, newer groups. But this is where Blut makes their entry. A two-piece outfit from the UK, Blut combine noise and a lo-fi aesthetic to further emphasis the 'ritualistic' component of their style.

As far as I know, Blut has several releases under their belt - I received only two of these in the mail, but apparently they are the band's two full lengths, last year's Ritual and Ceremony and the recently released Grief and Incurable Pain. Both records are very similar in sound and style, combining colossal riffs with long and painfully slow passages of murky, droning ambience. It can be said with some certainty that Blut's style is not incredibly palatable, but this is merely from the outset. With repeated listens I've found a plethora of depth to these overly excessive recordings.

The way atmosphere is handled by the duo is surprisingly good. More often than not, the types of people making this kind of music don't really have any idea what they're doing and end up creating long songs that are boring as shit, feel like they go nowhere, and certainly don't help the listener 'transcend' to an alternate plane or whatever the fuck the intention is. There are little things here (remember, it's always the little things) that just make it for me. Both records are heavily textured, albeit in an extremely lo-fi manner, with layers and layers of fuzz cushioning the constantly rolling riffs. The noise and ambient passages are ritualistic by every definition of the word, and the occasional synth work that Blut utilises makes for some interesting vibes. In actual fact the noise/ambient passages remind me of 70s horror films, but without the four decades of deteriorating shock value.

What is most (un)pleasant about Blut is the sheer filthiness of the recording. The drums are completely buried, and sound entirely suffocated under the weight of the riffs. Leadwork is also put to use, arching over the murkiness of the songs. Good examples are in 'Death.Mourning.Famine' from Grief and Incurable Pain or 'Throne Ritual' from Ritual and Ceremony. The latter track goes for 24 minutes, and after building up a lumbering riff for a little over 6, throws in this harrowing black metal inspired tremolo-ed riffage, which sits perfectly with the overall mood of the track. Similar moments are strewn across both albums, and make the build-ups even more exhilarating. And just because I'm a lazy writer, I'm just going to tack this onto the end of the paragraph - no, Blut is not instrumental. The vocals aren't overly used, but they're mostly disgusting and completely unintelligible shrieks and gutturals. Whether this affects your decision to hear the band or not is irrevelent of the fact that they work perfectly with the music at hand.

Blut have requested that I upload the two albums I received, so both are available below uploaded at 320kbps. I highly recommend this to fans of this style, particularly to anyone who wants a little foulness in the wake of Corrupted's overly clean recent offering. Check out their website for more information on other releases (the availability of which I'm uncertain).

Ritual and Ceremony
Grief and Incurable Pain

Blut

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dirty Beaches - Badlands

Without a doubt this will now offically be my summer hangover record; in my opinion it's one of those love it or hate albums. Dirty Beaches offer you nothing more but a record do absolutley nothing to and it feels great. The only thing wrong here is that it's length does do the album justice as the album is not even a half hour long. After its completion the listener should feel lost and miserable and if you do not feel this way you are most likely not a person and probably a terrorist. Another thing Badlands could be criticized for is it's originality; the bassline from "A Hundred Highways" straight from Les Rallizes Denudes' song 'Night of the Assassins' but it's not like we haven't heard that bass line before in any other Denudes song anyway, it is time to get real. There are couple others worth mentioning but I just listened to the album again and i don't feel like doing anything anymore.

Badlands

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God Destroyer - S/T



God Destroyer is from New Zealand. I personally have not been to Australia's smaller neighbour (yet) but I've heard good things. For such a small country with a tiny population, I'm always surprised at how good underground music is over there. There are several death metal bands who've recently gained international limelight, and the last year or so I've uncovered a burdgeoning hardcore/PV scene with more filth than most can handle. Nowadays when I associate a style of music with NZ, I think of crackling tapes and lo-fi aesthetic.

Now to be sure, I'm not complaining in the least. While I'm positive every style of music exists in NZ and I simply haven't heard about it yet, God Destroyer is a surprise for me, as well as being completely expected. Given the different bands and styles I commonly associate with NZ, God Destroyer is very far removed. But then given the placid atmosphere and scenery that we all know NZ to be famous for, God Destroyer is incredibly fitting as a musical accompaniment to the country’s environment.

When I received the self-titled album, the tag of ambient didn’t dissuade my thoughts that this would be something a little noise oriented, something a little fucked up. This is not the case. God Destroyer is reminiscent of some earlier Aidan Baker, displaying gentle, flowing tones that pulsate through your own warped visions of nostalgia. There is something genuinely haunting about this type of drone music – while it can often be very alienating, it at the same time breeds a greater appreciation of isolation.

There are four lengthy tracks on this demo, all which follow a similar template. It’s pointless to go into specifics here – this is minimalist ambient music. However, when it does break the mold of minimalism and reaches into the expanses of drone, when the pulsations are loud and the musical surrounds are filled with a soothing buzz, God Destroyer is at its best. These weightier passages are juxtaposed with the minimalist quietness of other passages, further emphasising their intensity.

As far as I know (and can tell) this is a DIY recording, so listeners only familiar with the later works of bigger artists such as Baker or Tim Hecker should not expect crystal clear production. In my opinion the somewhat fuzzy exterior to this album gives it a sense of reality, making it all the more authentic and organic. But that’s just me though. The demo is free to download, and you’re all encouraged to do so.

download

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Dada Tapes



From the outset, Perth, Western Australia's music scene seems sparse and uninviting, even to people who live here, but with enough dedication one will uncover a thriving and genuine underground, in a plethora of different styles and genres.

Perth has two main centres, being Perth (the CBD) and Fremantle, a port town. In terms of record stores, Fremantle has two well known ones (Mills and Junction Records), as well as a couple of second-hand stores. The city has a few more, such as 78 Records (shit) and a few new ones I'm unfamiliar with, but the best of the bunch is easily Dada Records, a nondescript store front with a huge collection of different types of stuff. As I've found out, the store is quite involved with many of the city's 'experimental' bands, and has released a tape of various live recordings from a collection of Perth bands.

The artists I'm familiar with on the compilation (Royal Vomit, Mental Powers, Gilbert Fawn etc.) all provide a really great song each, but there really isn't anything remotely bad here. The songs range from soft folk/ambient to more outlandish and noisy experimentation, as well as more rock-oriented ones (as well as a hip-hop track). The comp is entrancing from beginning to end, and highly recommended.

Thanks to Reel Muzak for posting the link up. The tape was limited to 200 copies and is probably long sold out, so this rip is all latecomers such as myself have to go with.

download

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Slays for Days Issue #1



Copies of issue 1 are available again. Another 25 copies were printed, 20 of which remain. Send an email to the address given below to order a copy. A couple of distros will also have copies available soon.

---------------------------------------------------

The first issue of the S4D print magazine is now available. In terms of content, there is a predominant focus on Australian music. There are also three pages of reviews. The four interviews are with:

- Drowning Horse/Warthreat
- God Harvest
- Mammon
- Ocean of Zero

Within Australia, the zine is $3 shipped.
International orders, $5 shipped.

To order one, send an email to slaysfordays@hotmail.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slays for Days Print Zine



Slays for Days has gone to paper - the first issue of the S4D print zine is now finished and just needs to be printed. It should be available by the end of the week. Interviews with Drowning Horse/Warthreat, God Harvest, Mammon and Ocean of Zero, as well as a bunch of reviews. I haven't worked out how much it will cost yet but it probably be around $3, with shipping within Australia a dollar or whatever and international shipping a couple of dollars. More information regarding cost and how to order one will be posted shortly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Column of Heaven - Ecstatically Embracing all that we Habitually Suppress



Noise is the bastard?

Canada's The Endless Blockade has given us a fair few years worth of material to ponder in our dingy record dens, but this doesn't necessarily mean the blockade has come to a close - as the name would have us believe, the noise is indeed endless. Column of Heaven is an offshoot of the Endless Blockade, or in the words of the band, 'the new post-Blockade group', and they have recently released their first demo tape, called Ecstatically Embracing all that we Habitually Suppress.

Andy from the band states on his blog that 'When we were talking about starting this band the original idea was a loose "Like Blockade but with more noise and less hardcore; more weird shit." This release definitely isn't "less hardcore; more weird shit", at least not to my ears. The future may be different, but we'll see what that looks like when we get there i guess.'

His expression of Column of Heaven's sound is pretty accurate - Ecstatically... sounds a lot like Endless Blockade, but the band have in some ways suffocated the hardcore/pv aesthetic with more noise and power electronics. Obviously this was an element in Endless Blockade's sound too, and so I don't really hear much of a notable difference. The intro song 'Altars' and several other tracks on the demo encapsulate the foray into noise remarkably well. Rather than listen to my shitty descriptions, you can listen to the intro track as well as see its accompanying video here.

In my opinion this demo is nothing but good news. It carefully fills in the void that EB has left, and from the looks of it Column of Heaven are going to be taking the project into a different direction, one which I anticipate thoroughly.

You can listen to the demo entirely on youtube at this link. Alternatively, you can download a (high quality) digital version from the band's blog, where you will also find links to purchase it (though I'm not sure if there are any physical copies left).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Suffering Luna - S/T



Suffering Luna were a crust/hardcore band that existed in the early to mid-90s alongside bands such as Despise You, Gasp and Dystopia. I won’t go into detail, but the band struggled to keep it together and eventually disintegrated, leaving two splits behind them (a 7” with Dystopia and a 12” with Gasp). The band has more or less reformed now, rehearsing and touring over the last year or so in anticipation of their new record, an LP that contains new material and a lengthy live recording.

While the hardcore aesthetic is prominent in Suffering Luna’s style, there is an inarguable originality to the way they play. Combining the eccentricity of Man is the Bastard with the hallucinatory nature of Gasp, Suffering Luna can be and often are labeled as ‘psychedelic hardcore’, a term that is perhaps a little vague but makes sense once the music is heard. If anything can be said for sure, it's that they don't sound anything like their contemporaries.

This self-titled LP contains three new tracks featuring Suffering Luna’s signature sound, a combination of compositionally progressive crust and highly textured soundscapes a la Neurosis. ‘Sea of Drugs’ opens the record, and sets the mood with an almost tribal feel and dirge-like pace, creating a sense of dread with a weighty atmosphere. The pinnacle of the three songs is the middle one, ‘Paranoid Delusions’ – this ten minute epic showcases the band’s capabilities clearly, displaying their ‘psychedelic hardcore’ in full force.

The B side of the record is a 24 minute live set, recorded last year in a studio – the sound quality is high, allowing one to properly hear everything that is going on in Suffering Luna’s music. This includes spacey bleeps and bloops and disfigured samples played under the lumbering crust that defines the band. There is definitely a disparity between the live recording and the properly mastered songs, however the difference doesn’t lie in quality but in the nature of the recordings – the live set has a very full sound, with the vocals higher in the mix and the atmosphere a little more abrasive. Regardless, the two sides show two different ways of hearing Suffering Luna’s music, and both are highly invigorating.

Whether or not the reformed band will last is hard to say, but as it stands their new material is very solid. A lot of work has gone into making this record cohesive, and even the live set sits remarkably well along with the other songs. To purchase a copy of the record, follow the links on the band's website. Rips are floating around the internet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Evil Invaders III



Despite planning on making the trip across the wastelands of this country to attend Evil Invaders III, I didn't quite manage to work it out, with uni and work etc. Which is pretty shitty considering the line-up of (but not limited to) Ignivomous, Innsmouth, Portal, Grave Upheaval, Black Jesus, Impetuous Ritual and the legendary dISEMBOWELMENT ressurected under the name d.USK. The gig is essentially the culmination of Australian underground death metal.

While I didn't make the trip, fellow slayer Eddie went up to Sydney from Melbourne to catch the show, and was nice enough to write about his time there. Read it here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bad Braids - Arrow and Orb



While you're all still delving into Wreck and Reference's EP, here's another Music Ruins Lives record that will undoubtedly interest you. Bad Braids' EP Arrow and Orb is a collection of six intimate and enticing folk songs, making up a captivating twenty minutes of introspection.

Arrow and Orb is a simple record, eschewing complexity in the wake of honest emotion and placid contemplation. Even through its simplicity, it still took me a while to properly digest Megan Biscieglia's music. While it's clearly charismatic, the mixture of pop sensibilities and somber folk on the record is almost hypnotic, leaving the critic in me somewhere far away from Biscieglia's voice.

Folk music is about personality, and it's about emotion. Arrow and Orb demonstrates both of these plainly, which ultimately becomes its affecting quality. It sounds just as much like everything else as it does nothing else, an unwavering sign that this project does not need to cater to unestablished and whimsicial folk tenets to write a good song - Bad Braids is simply heartfelt folk, meant to be felt from your heart.

You can download the EP from Bad Braids' bandcamp page for a price you choose.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wreck and Reference - Black Cassette



And so here I was thinking that I wouldn't ever find any new takes on doom metal worth hearing, until Wreck and Reference sent me a copy of their EP, Black Cassette. From the outset, this band's music retains elements of traditional doom, but it warps and distorts them into something totally unique. Coming out of California, the band describes themselves as a 'lo-fi electronic doom band', one that plays doom with no guitars. While this could be off-putting for some, all it does is simply set Wreck and Reference apart, putting them in a category that is completely their own.

Other than the drums and vocals, all the music on Black Cassette is electronically created using synthesizers and various samples. The end result is a composition that is structurally a 'doom' record, but one which loosens the genre's boundaries and leads expeditions into experimental territory. The claustrophobic nature of doom is here, but it is further accentuated by a noise-esque fuzz over the composition. Moments where the music bursts to life are shadowed by a deep rumble that is unnerving in the best possible way. Do not be mistaken, however, in thinking that this is as ‘lo-fi’ as the band claim – while there is a DIY feel to this record, it is immaculately produced and simply sounds great.

The pace of the EP is pretty much perfect. There are no lengthy songs here, and though the whole thing goes for a little over 23 minutes, I don't even notice the time when I listen to it. Compositionally, Wreck and Reference have nailed it. Each song is as engaging as the last, and while they keep to a similar core approach in each one, there are differences that set them apart and keep them fresh. Strange melodies, such as the one at the end of 'Evening Redness' or on 'Surrendering' are captivating and emotionally charged, a current that runs throughout the entire EP.

If I had to pick one thing about Wreck and Reference which makes me refer it (loosely) to traditional doom, other than the lethargic tempos, it would be the vocal work. While it's not a reference due to similarity, I'll simply drop the name Warning to get people interested. The vocals on Black Cassette are very unique and ordinary at the same time, something that Pat Walker is arguably known for. On Black Cassette, one thing that characterises all the vocal work is the acerbic tone in which it’s delivered, one which ranges from almost Placebo-like emission to Walker inspired wails (the vocal performance on 'In Chains, Awakening' a perfect example). If anything, they make Black Cassette all the more inviting.

What I love most about this record is the fuzz. And sometimes the lack of. The 'riffs' are made of walls of distortion, which swell and dip frequently, and the occasional moment where the absence of the fuzz is emphasised juxtaposes wonderfully with the rest of the composition. The quiet first half of 'Surrendering' as opposed to its abrasive and almost despondent climax is one such example, a formula that the band repeats in a variety of ways throughout Black Cassette.

At first I put little effort into this EP, but all it took was one concentrated listen for me to realise how good it is. Wreck and Reference is a young band, forming only a couple of years ago, and I'm while I'm unsure of any earlier releases, Black Cassette is reason enough to become a fan. They're a mesh of Warning and The Die is Cast-era Menace Ruine, with a lot of unique twists and touches - something which, in my opinion, simply has to be heard. This comes with the highest recommendation I can possibly give.

The EP can be streamed at Wreck and Reference's bandcamp page, from which you can download it for free. There is also the option to buy the physical copy, so if you do like it, please support them so they can keep putting out such great music.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Moonbeams - The Daisy Chain



All great shoegaze/dream pop boils down to an exercise in utter time distortion. This debut record from San Francisco indie outfit Moonbeams is no exception. Their particular brand of slow-motion pop with its psychedelic guitar and swirling percussion is an atmospheric delight. The lazy vocals have a rich, warm resonance that pours over each track just like honey. All of this culminates into an introspective sonic storm, the ebb and flow of which lulls this listener into a state of timelessness.

So what sets the Moonbeams apart? The right amount of fuzz on the needle. The lo-fi aspect isn't forced for the sake of it but genuine and natural. Despite the fact they're up there floating around in the clouds, you can't accuse them of being aimless. A good sense of balance and direction prevents this record from drifting too far and losing sight of the listener. The track order works, the titular song which comes four tracks in is a stand-out for me, as is 'Ultraviolet' around the middle and the final track 'Eternal Life' drives it home nicely. I have no major criticism of The Daisy Chain and I'm not going to burst this bubble with trivial nitpicking. It makes you reminisce for the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain without drawing unfavorable comparisons.

The Daisy Chain will be released by Hop Skip Jump Records on the 17th of June.

stream the album here
download the album here

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Balcony View - Balcony View



What happens when a trickster binges on ambient, drone and folk music and is then given a guitar and an instrument mic ? - Balcony View, that's who. Some of you may remember Trickster, a contributor on this fine blog in its formative stage, but unfortunately this fine specimen had to leave us, and actually became a real person, going to college and not really posting on the internet. Balcony view is proof that he's still Trickster deep down inside.

To quote the musician himself, 'everything's done using guitar and vox, recorded through an instrument mic i hooked up to my laptop, no synthesized shit'. This is pure ambient music, closely following the footsteps of one of S4D's favourites, Aidan Baker. Gentle ebb and flow on tracks like 'Skyscraper' are positioned alongside folky songs such as 'Cold Wind'. As Aidan Baker would put it, this is 'drone-folk' of the Scalpel variety.

The two long songs, 'Skyscraper' and 'The Coming Storm (And Its Aftermath)' are simply epic, with a wall of ambience enveloping the listener. What I love most about this as an ambient album is that it often strays from the generic ambient template. Listening to 'The Coming Storm...', one cannot miss the very bluesy guitar solo towards the end. It's something completely unexpected but sounds fucking great.

Ambient music is easy to make but it's difficult to make properly. Balcony View is easy to listen to and revels in its simplicity, but one can tell that thought and care has gone into its composition and arrangement. Trickster never leaves anything up to chance. Highly recommended.

download

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Host - Demo 2011



No matter what style of music it may be, UK scenes have always eluded me. I know little about them other than 'big' bands and random underground groups that gain recognition due to being signed to a reputable label or just becoming 'known' on the blogosphere. But like any scene, I'm sure there are a 'host' of good bands being overwhelmed by a horde of shitty ones, but fortunately for me (and subsequently you) the band Host belong to the former.

From Leeds, this group play a form of dark and sludgy hardcore - the band themselves call it 'downbeat'. I'm not sure whether that's a British thing or if I've just not caught onto the term, but I don't really know what it is. Regardless, it sort of makes sense.

The three tracks on this demo clock in at a total of about 8 minutes, and it's ideal for constant replays. Faster-tempos morph in and out of crushing riffs with some really vicious and bitter vocals. I was told along with the submission that this is for fans of Cursed, Trap Them and Magrudergrind, but I'd also add Hatred Surge, Iron Lung and maybe even Dystopia to that list. There are probably lots of bands that sound a lot like this, but that doesn't mean anything to me because this demo is as visceral as it needs to be, and has me hooked.

If you've already figured out what this sounds like, you should be able to guess if you'll dig it or not. It's an amalgamation of two of my favourite genres, and it's done really well. Any fans of sludge or hardcore should check their demo out. I'm already waiting for new material.

host - demo 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lycus - Demo 2011



Lycus were a completely random discovery, though I'm pretty glad I found them. The band formed a few years ago and after some gigs and a demo, disbanded in 09. So what do? Obviously move to San Francisco. Once relocating, Lycus was back to life, and now they've put out another demo, aptly titled Demo 2011, and it kicks a lot of arse.

In tagging this post I almost included 'funeral doom', but eventually decided against it. Lycus play death/doom, quite structured and heavy akin to certain European acts along the lines of Ataraxie or Ophis. Elements of melody exist, but not so much as to call them melodic death/doom.

The demo has three reasonably lengthy tracks and each of them are really captivating. There is zero meandering here, which is a sure sign of good doom. Another notable feature of the band is the vocals - the most guttural of gutturals, they weigh heavily on the atmosphere.

As a demo, this release is fantastic. It gets me wet even thinking about what Lycus' next record will be like. You can stream the demo from their bandcamp page, as well as download in your choice of FLAC or 320k mp3. I'm not entirely sure if there are physical copies available, but if you want to find out, you can email these delightful chaps at lycusdoom@gmail.com

Lycus bandcamp

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pharaoh - Pharaoh



Three piece sludge band Pharaoh from New Jersey, USA have kindly sent their self titled 7" in to S4D, and what a 7" it is. Two 5-something minute tracks make up this record, each of them toying around with sluggish tempos, bludgeoning riffs and vicious vocals. What I like most about Pharoah however is that while they retain their label of 'sludge' in every way, they bring an extra element of ferocity - not all of the sections of these two songs are simple down-tuned punishment.

At times the band will venture into almost crust-like territory with a slight hardcore edge. As anyone into sludge will know, there is a great deal of cross-over between the two, and this generally works out really fucking well. You know what this sounds a bit like? Dystopia. A little more sludge-based with slightly deeper vocals, but this is something along those lines. Anyone with a hard-on for Dystopia, or for similar bands like Sea of Deprivation, or pissed off crust bands like His Hero is Gone, or for the dirty fuzz of shit-kickers like Grief or Accept Death, then you will like this. In other words, if you've got a good taste in music, then Pharaoh is for you.

This 7" is available for purchase from A389 Records. Feel free to download it here. The band have stated that there is another record in the works for later in the year, so watch out for it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Leucosis - Pulling Down The Sky

Well being no stranger to the current black metal greats that are sprouting up anywhere you can name in the United States I can pretty much say that the USBM scene is dominating at this very moment and you don't even know. Whether it be the cult phenomenon BTC (Black Twlight Circle) or all your favourites in the Cascadian Black Metal scene, or all your limited cassette demos you collect; it's for certain the US is on top. After all this you can only laugh at any subhuman brave enough to call out the current USBM scene. True Norweigan Black Metal.. more like True Californian Black Metal.

Leucosis hails from the sunny lands of Santa Cruz, CA; also sharing this place one of my current favourites Fell Voices and being told the two were very much similar right then and there I am sold. They both share an overwhelming amount of atmosphere and give such a relenting crush after every single riff has been inflicted upon you. The band being described as 'ambient black metal' may be a little unsuitable for me because when I think of ambient black metal I immediately think of bands like Xasthur, Leviathan, maybe some Darkspace. This is how i seperate my good from bad so Leucosis you can stay out of that category.

Immediately right after the 'Opening' has passed you are visously pulled into the massive title track. Distancing shrieks and howls are heard beneath crushing riffs that almost seem to fly from every direction. This formula continues throughout the album and at times get very overwhelming. Right after the crushing assault of 'Approaching Lucidity' you are quickly given a short breather into 'Intermission' then whirled into the calm soothing intro of 'Invention of the Monsters' but to soon find out you are back to where you started. 'Hymn to the Forest of Pixels' provides another breather for the listener as it prepares you the mammoth 'Incarceral Form'.

Being an hour something long album may be a big deal to you, but the way all the tracks are done and the little intro's and outro's provided everything perfectly works out. I found myself just in a trance half the time by their powerful blend of atmosphere and doom. It's one of the more impressive black metal albums i have heard this year being up there Ash Borer's latest output. It's another band you can gladly add to your list of current greats in the USBM scene.

download here

$5 at http://www.myspace.com/leucosis
or by contacting leucosis.band@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Post-Punk/New Wave Bullshit

You won't find any Pornography or Unknown Pleasures here. These are just some of the lesser known (but great nonetheless) albums of the eighties post-punk, new wave scene.

The Sound - Jeopardy (1980)



Forever on the cusp of notoriety, The Sound never achieved the fame of such contemporaries as The Cure, Wire etc - a fact that never ceases to perplex fans. I pin it down to their somber follow-up 'From the Lion's Mouth' which to some is considered genius but to me came off as just another mellow Joy Division derivative. However this charged, anxious and edgy debut is worth seeking out. Elegant and charming in it's simplicity.

And Also the Trees - Virus Meadow (1986)



Deeper, darker with a tendency towards the more dramatic, in other words it teeters on the edge of the gothic realm. Chock full of angst, Simon Jones tends to recite his lyrics like poems rather than sing them. If you like your post-punk a little theatrical and with a side of anguish this is the one for you.

Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (1980)



And now for something completely different. Delightfully minimalist post-punk with gorgeous female vocals. This album, the only the band ever released, is a true gem. Do yourself a favour and get this one even if post-punk isn't exactly close to your heart. Sounds like The xx eighties style.

More Post-punk/New wave bullshit on SlaysforDays:

The Chameleons - What Does Anything Mean? Basically
Television - Marquee Moon
The Cure - Disintegration

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mammon - Demiurge



'I am a false prophet, God is a superstition'

I've sat on Mammon's Demiurge for a while now. It's not because the demo is bad, in fact, it's quite the contrary - the three songs on this Canberra based band's first demo are all very excellent and have simply needed a little contemplation to properly write about. There is an immediate depth to Demiurge's composition, and as I will shortly explain, the demo's concept runs just as deep.

It's hard to pinpoint Mammon's style of music. If I were to make a very broad categorisation, I'd say post-metal. However, this does not sound anything like what post-metal commonly sounds like, e.g. Neurosis, Isis, Cult of Luna, Rosetta, whatever. There is a greater emphasis on sludge here, but I refrain from simply calling it sludge because there are progressive elements beneath the rawness. The beginning of 'II', for example, is black metal through and through, but it does not sound out of place at all - Mammon blend in the fusion of styles articulately, and so deviations from their usual sound fit in with the overall feel of the record. This also goes for the slight hardcore-y feel of the demo too - 'III' sounds very much like any European emotional hardcore group, with an almost post-rock inspired screamo template, or you could even describe it as having a little neo-crust influence, with its dark and numbing mood.

While the music itself is well-written and executed flawlessly, a great deal of thought has gone behind its concept - this concept of course encapsulates the demo, but it's also a pivotal part of the band itself, so future releases will possibly be further extensions of this concept. This concept, put simply, is opposition to religion. In the words of the band, 'as a band we believe that revealed religion (and, to a large extent, all religion) represents the ultimate personifcation of fascism, that it is exploitative, deceptive and inherently a force for evil, due to its advocacy of the master-slave relationship (the essence of abjection) and its promulgation of immoral and ultimately harmful teachings'. They strongly encourage and advocate naturalism as a framework for morality, which is something that I can definitely relate to, as I'm sure most of S4D's readers can too. This concept follows through the band's music and lyrics, and also extends to their artwork, which you can see above.

The artwork was done by Jacob Rolfe, a Melbourne based artist who is familiar with members of Mammon. His depiction of a snake intertwined with a burning church sits very resolutely alongside the demo's concept - 'the lyrics on Demiurge express revealed religion as the 'Demiurge' [in other worse, the creator], personified as a snake (a creature typically chosen to represent evil), and argue against the intrusion of this immoral institution into our lives'. You can visit Rolfe's website here.

Not only as an integration of creativity and concept, but simply as a rocking piece of music, Mammon simply succeeds. It's obvious that the band have an enormous amount of talent, and as good as Demiurge is, I feel that a lot of this talent is still untapped. This release is highly recommended, and any subsequent releases from Mammon will be undoubtedly excellent. Although providing the demo as an mp3 release for all of you to download, Mammon have also said that they would be willing to send a free copy of their CD to you, provided the shipping isn't ridiculous. If you're situated in Australia, get onto this. Otherwise, feel free to simply download the rip. Mammon have really impressed me, so this comes with as much of the S4D stamp of approval that I can give. Apparently the band is currently working on an EP which is due for recording in the next couple of months. Keep an eye out.

download Demiurge here

contact Mammon at this address for a CD or simply to tell them how great they are - mammonband@hotmail.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

God Harvest - Demo 2011



Last month a band previously unknown to me released their first demo and have already, to whatever extent you wish to fathom, affected my life. Listening to it over twenty times does that to a person. I’m yet to own my own copy of the tape, but you can be sure that I’ve played the shit out these mp3s.

The demo goes for a little over ten minutes and its six songs are packed full of unrelenting grind with touches of both powerviolence and metallic hardcore. It’s a perfect mix, and God Harvest execute it flawlessly. While there’s a lot to say about this demo, ranging from the engaging songs, fantastic vocals and killer riffage, what I liked most about it was the overall sound. This demo sounds real, and when I mean real I mean it sounds authentic, organic, and not fucking shit, which is exactly what grind should sound like.

Because the tape is really short, it’s okay to play it 6 times in a row – what makes me so positive towards it is the fact that you actually can play it six times in a row without being bored, not an unimpressive feat. Download this and give it a listen – if you like grind or hardcore, it will be right up your alley. Then go buy a fucking tape.

download
buy

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tempest - Passages



Canadian Tempest released this LP late last year but have recently made it available on their bandcamp page, as well as distributing the link to various blogs such as this one. The group plays a menacing and moody form of crust, sort of like Downfall of Gaia or Fall of Efrafa if they were a little darker and didn't have any of the gay post-whatever influence. I can't believe I hadn't heard about this release or even the band until now - as a debut LP this is fucking fantastic.

Having already released a 7" previously, which is also available on their bandcamp, the band didn't take long to put out their first full length. Seeing as there's just over a year between each release, there isn't much difference in the sound. However, Tempest are able to show off their compositional skills far more effectively on the full length than they are on the two track 7" - it's obvious they know how to put together a record.

Passages takes the listener through bitter and emotional crust, a trip that encompasses despondency, vitriolic rage and some really great sound samples. It's not a long record - in fact it's probably the perfect length, coming in at just over 24 minutes. The 7 tracks are of reasonable length but every single one is attention grabbing, not to mention the 7 minute epic self titled track that closes the album.

I don't really have anything bad to say about this. Every moment of it is excellent, it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome and it has a great deal of replay value. Perhaps some may think it's a little on the short side, but fuck you. This is still a punk record and its abruptness makes it all the more enjoyable. For those of you (like me) who seem to have completely overlooked this great LP, hopefully now you can rectify your unfortunate circumstance. Highly fucking recommended.

Passages

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Frank's Metal Misadventures: Moss, Converge and Mitochondrion



In an effort to fit in better here at S4D I decided to venture deep into the black heart of all things metal. So I asked my beloved Rasputin (who has tried and failed many times to unleash my inner metalhead) to give me a definitive and varied collection of the best and most popular. It was his idea for me to make a record of my thoughts and thus we have the first installment of Frank's Metal Misadventures.

Mitochondrion - Parasignosis

This was the first death metal album I've ever listened to whilst not under duress. I was able to survive through it's entirely due in no small part to the not-so-ridiculous growling vocals that usually shrivel my musical vagina faster than Thom Yorke's face. Instrumentally-wise it's a lot of RARARAR with a bit of twang-twang-twang and some slower, pretty bits somewhere in the middle. I can imagine it's the kind of album that Dr.Phil puts on after a long day on set and then proceeds to ritualistically beat his wife. The ending is almost as eerie and off-kilter as her plastic-surgery laden face. In other words, it's pretty swell. My favourite of the three.

Did I mention the band name reminds me of grade nine biology class? An organelle that uses glucose and fatty acids to make energy? That's so satan.

Converge - Jane Doe

I was actually enjoying this for the first forty seconds until I heard that unmistakable, irritating tink-tink-tink sound like a pot being hit with a metal spoon. Ignoring that pet-hate I listened to what I thought was a woman 'singer' screaming for close to nine minutes only to find by the fourth track she was in fact a dude. The vocals remind me of my kid sister during one of her boyfriend-induced-rages where she incomprehensibly screams herself hoarse. Ah, young love. My favourite track for obvious reasons was "Phoenix In Flight" which was immediately followed by my thoroughly least favourite "Phoenix In Flames" (I suppose the juxtaposition is meant to be clever and witty or something). On that note I was kind of surprised by the lack of pretentious bullshit track names - they're really quite tame, possibly even lame. To me this album paints the picture of the kind of news story you hear about some crack-whore 'Jane Doe' who eventually tires of the constant beatings and shortchanging dealt out by her pimp, she wigs out and goes medieval all over all his arse with a rotary dial telephone. She takes one last hit from the pipe before burning the joint down with them both inside. Overall listening to this album wasn't what I'd call an enjoyable experience, though I doubt it's meant to be - I give it two crackpipes out of five (mostly for the cover artwork).

Moss - Sub Templum

I wasn't sure what to expect from a band called Moss. I was told it was 'sludge' metal which to me means it should sound equivalent to that foul, gooey substance that lines the inside of old drainpipes. And honestly if that's what they're going for then the first track nailed it. I could imagine this on the soundtrack of some film school freak's atmospheric avant-garde piece entitled "The Anti-Clockwise Rotation: Life Down The Drain" complete with long, tedious tracking shots of plumbing. From there it just proceeds to get weirder. A kind of constant jack-hammer sound overlaid with the occasional crash-bang or anguished scream. Once I [very quickly] got over the general creepiness of the thing it was just plain torturous, I too wanted to scream in apparent agony. Which lead me to believe anyone who would voluntarily listen to this for an extended period of time must be some kind of twisted masochist or simply put: a moron. Rasputin said this one 'crushes posers' implying only the brave and elite will endure this rubbish - not dissimilar to the cruel tests that fraternity pledges suffer. If this is the case I've still got a long way to go before I can call myself a sister in the House of S4D.