It’s Almost the 50th Anniversary of Beatlemania: Metalheads, Be Wary of Posers! by orlandooom407

When I was purchasing my tickets for the upcoming Kvelertak concert on the respective online box office for the tour, I found myself slightly amused to discover that, along with Converge, the Norwegian howlers had been labeled simply “hard rock/metal”, defining them in the effective subgenre shared by both Nickelback and Nirvana. But the brief thought also conjured up another name, on the occasion of its first single’s golden jubilee this month, from which a band being in that category places it only just two degrees of separation away. There is rather a significant overlap between consumers of “hard rock/metal” and fans of the Fab Four, and even those who find the Beatles too mawkish, meager, or otherwise lightweight – for a palette, anyway, that has currently expanded to include the exalted flavors of deathgrind, blackened troll metal, and powerviolence, which is apparently a type of music, now – must concede at least a primordial debt owed to them. We have, in any event, been entreated to the idea whether asked for or not.

The more mediocre commentators have always invariably pointed to “Helter Skelter” as the grandfather of metal (“I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”) but an imaginative sort can usually cite less obvious tracks, like the handful I recently saw nominated for this distinction by the author of a Top-100 list in Rolling Stone. “Ticket to Ride” seemed to be the most unexpected choice, and after a repeated listen, one may start to imagine something not completely dissimilar to Black Sabbath. The songs “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide But Me and My Monkey”, “Birthday”, and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” have also popped up in similar compendia, purporting to discover that missing link.

This is serious musical genealogy, but it’s being offered to you by fabulists. The familiar framework of the Beatles catalogue is precisely why “Helter Skelter” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” are as jarring as they are. The metal connection is piecemeal and elemental, owing to the fair-mindedness of John and Paul in inventing or popularizing the use of fuzz effects and rollicking solos. I would like to now suggest the possibility that the indiscernable bridge is a consequence of something approaching impotency. After all, Slayer’s encomium to Holocaust terror has been available for the entertainment of would-be mass killers for three decades, but the White Album inspired racist violence almost immediately. The kind of metal being said to have its roots in Beatlemania has had comparably little success in putting actions to its words at all.  The Beatles attracted more international scorn for claiming to be bigger than Jesus than did the early scene arsonists when they upped that ante at the stave churches in Skjold and Fantoft. But structurally, semantically, and aurally, the case simply cannot be made.

(Not unrelated but somehow more excruciating are those same critics who are still insisting that “Black Metal” should be credited with inspiring the music that bears its name just because Varg Vikernes got caught wearing a Venom tee shirt on his way to prison. Has anyone who makes this claim actually listened to the eponymous album? It is no more likely to have spawned Darkthrone and Gorgoroth than Iron Maiden. Remember, black metal was not even called that until death metal became too trendy a wagon to hitch on to, and now we are asked to believe that a band as bovine and effete as one that would write “possessed by the soul of the gods’ rock-and-roll” in its most famous song inspired our most benighted exemplar of nihilism in music?)

But I have made no secret of my partisan leanings and have had to catch myself in loosely insisting that a black metal element necessarily improves a track. And if we can believe that the Beatles at least inspired the music that inspired the punk that inspired the thrash that inspired the black metal, then let us be clear about what that means. The road from Lennon to, at least, Schuldiner is built on the latter’s unique attentiveness to riffage and picking, and paved with magnitudinal shifts in chord structure and percussion, but black metal managed to evolve divergently and in spite of the trends of either artist. The Beatles, for all their innovations and achievements, remain a manufactured product of capitalist industry, while black metal that is not an expression of working class angst can scarcely be graded pure at all. Your humble servant hastens to inform you that even a musician as prolific and illustrious as Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg was compelled to take a night watchmen’s job just to make rent. The latter-day Beatles came to be defined in opposition to the promiscuous conceit of the Johnson doctrine in Vietnam and within the overall movement toward civil rights and equality, but black metal has only recently developed a stomach for social consciousness that isn’t retrograde and nationalist.

And yet … “Let It Be”, for all its cloying sentiment, really does appear to contain a downtempo precursor to the Discharge-beat. And there is that riff, just buzzing enough, in the chorus of “Come Together” that one can imagine extended, through eight or sixteen more bars, and ruminatively re-expressed over a blast beat and a ghoulish shriek, that, maybe, streamed through a tinny amp and recorded in a basement, hints at the possibilities of black metal. But don’t expect any peace and love in the forests of poverty and decay.

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– Zack Sigel


[REVIEW] PHILM – Harmonic by orlandooom407

It isn’t every day that bands with Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantomas) behind the kit show up. Especially bands that aren’t definably “heavy”. Philm (Ipecac Recordings) hails from Los Angeles, obviously, and completes their trio with Pancho Tomaselli (War) handling bass duties and Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance) on guitar and vocals. Pancho, having had experience with arguably one of the most entertaining and long lasting funk groups to this day, shares his talents in a way one wouldn’t expect. The same could be said for Lombardo or Nestler who’s techniques elicit an arsenal that fuses funk, psychedelic, jazz and progressive rock. Expect scratchy circa 1974 guitar solos, spacial digitally delayed atmospheres, and masterful rudimentary jazz percussion patterns. You don’t have to enjoy metal to begin to enjoy Philm; an appreciation for Hendrix, Hawkwind, or even Parliament could potentially unlock an appreciation for heavier music. Harmonic does everything a modern (experimental) rock record should, and anyone looking to broaden their horizons should give this record at least one detailed listen. You’ll find yourself hooked by the second song if not before the conclusion of the first.

Tagging Philm as experimental would win you an award for biggest understatement of the year. Want to know the best part? You can stream this whole record on Spotify for FREE.

– Jarad Haggard

Happy Saturnalia! by orlandooom407
December 11, 2011, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hey fools! If you’re like me, the holiday season makes your dick soft (or your vagina drier than my sense of humor, insert gender here). After black friday shows us the true dark side of the human spirit, everyone across America is exposed to bullshit politeness, relentless campaigns to put the “Christ” back in Saturnalia, and the always-present spectre of Zombie Bing Crosby crooning that timeless Nazi anthem, “White Christmas.” Unless you really love wool, Jesus, the colors red and green and/or are missing one of your parietal lobes, the holidays tend to jack up your blood pressure by more than a few mm/Hg. What better way to sneeze the hate out of your charred black soul than to revel in the best and worst holiday-related metal videos? Join me in my rage cage, kick your feet up and grab a bowl (of popcorn, or something.):

I feel no holiday is complete without this song. Fellow doomhead Sean McDonnell agrees. If I had it my way, this would be blasting in every Zales and Macy’s in the country instead of the 999 version of Silver Bells. The King turns the holidays into an effigy, declaring “There’s no presents, not this Christmas!” Right on! KD would be more likely to drop down the chimney to perform a sacrifice in your living room than to actually give you anything, anyway. I feel he missed an opportunity to say “Satan needs a helping hand” in the second verse, but hey, I’m not the King.

VH1 says that Run DMC has rock cred since they performed “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith an eon ago. VH1 also confuses rock for metal on a regular basis, and since I can only think thoughts that are fed to me by the tube attached to the back of my skull, Run DMC must be metal. If you think I have brain damage, watch the video and tell me there is anything heavier than seeing Crackhead Santa and his strange, half-pubescent illiterate elf slave. Shouts to Bobby Lee from Hong Kong and Iman Zumbal from Lagos, Nigeria. Nice.

Everybody’s probably seen one of these before, but this is a brand new 2011 edition of Slayer Christmas Lights. I love how creative this guy is with his light sequences, and even gets the Snowman’s mouth to move very accurately with the words. Very cool, and anything that injects Slayer into Xmas gets my approval 100%.

Christmas ist Krieg! Erlosung has been doing the Xmas metal thing for awhile now, and I love me some frosty black kvltic covers of Christmas classics. I encourage anyone who works in retail to troll their customers and hijack the PA to put this on.

Finally, we approach this mindfuck of a video. Everything is wrong; leopard print guitar straps, drummer with a headset, 80’s butt metal values and tenets, everyone has shades in the studio, Twisted Sister still has a career…this is the closest thing to a compressed, 6 minute long experience that brings forth all the same putrid emotions and fears that I feel over the entire holiday season. I am in some ways thankful for finding this and in others, very deeply regretful. It should provide some catharsis if you just got elbowed by some fat bitch at Best Buy, or if you need inspiration for finally going out into the living room and mowing down your family, holiday sweaters and all.

Alright, so these are neither the best or worst holiday videos out there, but they all hold a special place in my heart. Have a laugh, inhale some artificial snow and always remember that Santa has a list, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not on it, you filthy, godless atheist. Happy Saturnalia!

– Chris Nunez

Absu – Abzu by orlandooom407

It’s been a good year for metal already, and I was definitely looking forward to this release, the newest album from Texas mythological occult masters Absu. To anyone unfamiliar with their work, they describe themselves as “Mythological Occult Metal,” and play a pretty brutal brand on blackened death. They definitely do not play a straight version of BM, which might be refreshing to anyone who’s been listening to nothing but the frozen lake of sound that is “trve kvlt metal” these days. As for their overall theme, Absu is obsessed with esoteric and occult themes, moreso than most bands; while many bands might have a shitload of semi-Satanic or Hermetic imagery on their albums, Absu lyrically focuses on historic pagan traditions, stemming mainly from Celtic/Druidic mythology and tradition, as well as the Sumerian pantheon and creation tales. “Absu” (as well as Abzu and Apsu) is a name for the Sumerian concept of “holy water,” the belief that all sacred underground water stems from one holy source, an underground sea where the god Ea resides. These Sumerian legends inform a great deal of the conceptual framework for the new album.

Don’t get me wrong, before I looked anything up, I figured these guys had gone tongue-in-cheek, just switching out the “s” in their name to make their new album title sound like some weird fitness center for pets. This initial impression was reinforced by the awesome way the first track opens; Proscriptor opens “Earth Ripper” with a classic thrash riff and a vocal that sounds like he rented King Diamond’s “Instant Satanic Castrato” ball clamp. This will probably seem completely out of place for anybody insisting that their BM be pure (PURE I SAY), but it’s an excellent send-up to bands like Mercyful Fate and Slayer, both of whom have their fingerprints all over this album. “Earth Ripper” is a great opener to this album, wearing Absu’s love of thrash on their sleeves and sending any nonbelievers running for the hills.

“Circles of the Oath” sounds more like the material from the previous album, and is still completely punishing, showing Absu’s ability to incorporate the usual “whirlwind of tremolo picking” with rapid dynamic shifts. Proscriptor is still an absolute beast on drums, and has always had one of my favorite voices for black/death/whatever metal. He achieves that nasty “imp gargling curdled milk” sound that tends to shred less capable larynges in minutes. “Abraxas Connexus” has portions that remind me of a faster Cobalt (another great USBM band) interspersed with more Slayer love.

Of course, the elephant in the room on this album is the six-part “A Song for Ea” that closes everything out. The longest song Absu’s ever recorded, this journey through the black temple shifts and turns throughout its 14-minute length, taking us through peaks of vicious black thrash rites and valleys of acoustic reprieve. The entire work refers to the creation story of Sumer, better known as the Epic of Gilgamesh. Ea is one of the gods of the Sumerian pantheon, and “E-A,” the first section of the piece, refers to the “house of water,” Ea’s temple. “The Third Tablet” appears to refer to the section of the Epic where Gilgamesh takes counsel from his mother, Queen Ninsun before making his journey. Overall this whole thing thrashes harder than anything else on the album.  I’m also a sucker for ponderous, multi-segmented works, and even moreso when a non-wank band takes them up. This whole piece is easily my favorite work since they released Tara ten years ago. Perfect way to close the album.

So, metalheads and kvltists alike, check out this album to satisfy your cravings in this dark year 2011. I still prefer Tara over this album or the previous self-titled release, but “Earth Ripper,” “Abraxas Connexus” and the closing track are alone worth the price of admission. With any luck these guys will actually do an extensive tour of their own country this year, and we’ll get to hear Proscriptor’s Arroyo/Diamond-infused fury up close and personal.

Click here to order Abzu, available on Candlelight Records!

– Chris Nunez

Dissident Aggressor Joins Our Artist Roster! by orlandooom407
July 25, 2011, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Thrash Metal | Tags: , , , , ,

While these brand new thrashers have yet to been photographed together they did provide me with this deliciously retro logo. These caustically wild metal fanatics have also just made their debut release available on, where else, bandcamp!

Check out their music, FOR FREE, at this link: http://dissidentaggressor.bandcamp.com/

Here’s some bio information below:

“After rising to fame with the hit “Throbbing Rod”, Dissident Aggressor got caught up on the roller coaster of fame. After John Farran was convicted of manslaughter for exploding a man’s head with a 20 foot speaker and sentenced to 12 years in prison 2005, the band seemed to be over. But Satan would not allow it. He chose now to be the time for the antichrist to rise and save Dissident Aggressor. …A charismatic politician was the perfect cover, and Satan’s son easily won the presidency. Barack Obama’s first official act as president was to pardon John, and with many years in prison as inspiration, John had a plethora of explosively brutal songs. With Taylor Leamy’s depressingly pathetic life to draw from, he too was easily able to write lyrics for songs. But Jake Ettison’s old life as a pirate was still haunting him, and he sank deeper into the lifestyle of flying blimps and hanging out with Charlie Sheen. It was a very dark time for the drummer of Dissident Aggressor. But from the ashes, rose a phoenix. While on one of his week long coke binge/blimp flights (Jake was known to stay in the air for up to a week at a time with nothing but cocaine and drums wearing only a loincloth), he began writing drum tracks to the songs that were written. The completed songs sounded so good that Jake was cured of his cocaine addiction. After being put on the cover of Time magazine for finding a cure for drug addiction, Dissident Aggressor released their album Agonizing Demise on their own, simply burning copies of it on blank cd r’s. Rolling Stone calls it ‘so innovative’ and ‘the most creative thing since putting parental advisory labels as the cover of your album to look explicit’. They were ‘tired of dealing with the record companies and everyone loving you and having such big dicks.’ So today Dissident Aggressor is getting back to it’s roots, only choosing to play in smaller venues instead of the stadiums they could still easily fill. “Who knows what’s in store for Dissident Aggressor next?”, John said in an interview recently. “I just know that after we recieved the award for being the best band ever, I realized that kicking ass all of the time isn’t everything.. You have to fuck bitches sometimes too, ya know?”
Too true. Check ’em out!

-Jared Oates Haggard