Archive for January, 2010

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Destinity – XI Reasons to See

January 26, 2010

Label: Lifeforce

The worst albums to review are those which seem to be about as middle-of-the-road as it’s possible to be. XI Reasons To See is one such record, I’m not quite sure how to define it except for calling it a ‘bad Dimmu Borgir impression’. In other words… a bad version of an already bad band. So… not much hope there then, it’s just so… generic. I know that the phrase is overused but it applies non-more-readily than here. I don’t know,  I’m searching for more to say about it but I really can’t, everything about it spells copy-and-paste and Pro Tools.

For starters, there’s the massively over-produced sound, which in its clear attempt at being ‘epic’ and feels dull and irritating. The vocals are more layered than the fat on a really fat person’s body and the sound is overdone to such an extent that it feels like your wading through a swamp in order to actually pick out any sense of instrumentality or song writing.

I’ve got no doubt that the fat kid Eyelicker mentioned in his AOAA review will love this record and declare it to be ‘true symphonic black metal’ or something like that. (Better stop now before this just becomes a rant… )

I’m not surprised if this review is dull as it’s a dull album, not bad but no good either.

4/10

Mr Bogle

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Pig Destroyer: Grindcore Is Love

January 25, 2010

Normally, at least once a year, sometimes twice, I find myself getting far too emotionally invested in some (usually European) chick, when she’s only lookin’ for the short game, and so I invariably end up getting myself hurt, and retreat to my dark room with a bottle of cheap ass vodka to stew for a couple of weeks in self pity. During these annual withdrawals, time and time again, I find myself always coming back to the same band: Pig Destroyer.

While I do too resort to the usual Emo jamz, favored by alt teens the world over, no one ever seems to quite as accurately hit the way I feel more so than the “Pornographers of Sound” and their unique brand of heartbreak Grindcore.

Me and a friend of mine who shares the fascination are now pretty much on museum curator terms with Pig Destroyer lyrics, in some cases being more familiar with them than the actual songs. So allow me to be your “curator” gentle reader, as i guide you into the downright creepy world of my favorite lyricist, J.R.Hayes.

Misogyny is in plentiful supply in the Male dominated world of metal. It may be the show girls and groupies in the “women as objects” world of bands like Motley Crue, wherein a girl is nothing more than a notch on your bed post, the Gothic “dark mistresses”, who fill up the fantasy metal realms, and most obviously, the countless “bitches and whores”, who get tortured and dismembered on a regular basis by Devourment and Cannibal Corpse. I’m no psychologist, but I’m going to put the consistent objectification and alienation of women down to fear of powerlessness, rage, and the general hopelessness of the average nerdy metal head with women. The empathy displayed generally ends at “you bitch why don’t you love me anymore”.

And so it’s refreshing that Pig Destroyer, singing almost entirely about girls, manage to never venture into misogyny, hatred, and objectification. All there is is sorrow, self hatred, and a kind of warped acceptance. There are still moments of rage, leading predictably to murder as we see in the doomy epic “Natasha”, but instead of bringing catharsis, like so many “I just killed my ex”, songs, it instead just causes more self hatred and weakness, ultimately leading to Natasha’s victory of sorts, as depicted metaphorically in the eerie supernatural ending:

“I’m surrounded by a thousand of her eyes bathing the tunnel in a strange green light,

the eyes show me pictures like ghostly television screens,

all her thrashing final struggles and her ravaged corpse serene,

the tunnel is closing behind me pressing me further and further down,

I’m being swallowed by her earth and consumed by her ground,

the end is moving into sight,

I gasp and I scream as I see her lovely mouth five times the size of me,

her lips curl into a grin around her crooked gnashing teeth,

I’m pulverized and devoured in the jaws of a girl seventeen”

“Torture Ballad” perfectly highlights the general uselessness of rage, in a much more graphic and uncharacteristically straightforward prose, essentially acting out the fantasy of many guys, but with a reminder of the futility, essentially reducing it to petty selfishness:

“The tape across your mouth says more than your words ever could

You’re squirming and screaming as I tease your eyes with glowing needles crawl slug drag your shattered legs behind

I know no matter how much I hurt you she’ll always love you more than me…

…but all of this isn’t for the sake of her love, it’s for the sake of my jealousy.”


Of course, most of the time the scenario is never as generic as the old “killing my ex or her new guy”, ploy, instead often focusing on unrequited love expressed through strange metaphors, and often far too cryptic to be put down to a simple scenario analysis. In many instances the lyrics merely capture a mood, or just the vibe of a type of girl, who are, ultimately, depicted as just as human, flawed and vulnerable as the narrator.  Some songs seem to contain merely a lyrical snapshot of a girl’s being, making point of view irrelevant (be it unrequited love, animosity, or simply casually observing, all of them work). Ultimately, it is the girl themselves who is the subject, as oppose to the narrator’s feelings, like so many other songs of this nature by other artists, where the girl is merely an object, a plot device. “Cheerleader Corpses” is a good example of this:

“Semen tastes like gunmetal she said smiling,
the arms of boys drowning in fire reaching for the rungs of my rib cage.
These pills I take in the witching hour.
I imagine I am swallowing you.”

Of course, it’s open to interpretation, and yours is just as valid as mine, but my point is that it serves to effectively portray a character, without really judging her, and bringing in any aspects of the narrator’s feelings, yet through the vivid metaphors, invoking all kinds of reactions in the reader. You know exactly who this person is, just from these four lines. It’s presented in a way that is almost completely objective, yet inspires a reaction, making it become instantly personal to the reader.

Another great example of this is “Blonde Prostitute”, which through it’s cryptic nature, is more effectively able to capture the essence of the subject:

“The vomit on your lips
tastes like the sex of a twin sister
I can hear your stomach knot
As another threshold is reached
And crossed imagination is the key
So destroy with the nails
Repair with the tongue and repeat
It only hurts if you look
I am a velvet corpse kneeling before you
And for a split second
Your eyes were lambs
As my fingers slipped around your neck
On the way to heaven

Take it and make it your own…

Of course, if you’re an unsympathetic male who lacks imagination, you may just think of many of Haye’s lyrics “oh, he’s singing about a slut who fucks guys over”. On a very basic level you could be right, if that’s how you get the most meaning from it, then cool, whatever. Sometimes that is pretty clearly what Hayes is writing about, but he always takes it deeper and more rounded than “sluts are bad”, and he never resorts to misogyny and snap judgments.

Another common theme, as I mentioned, is unrequited love. These songs bring more subjectivity into the mix, obviously, and are slightly less open to interpretation, as the intent is clear, however they still remain deeply personal to anyone reading them, as those feelings are something most people can relate to. The subject of the songs is usually depicted transcending the “snapshot of a girl” type of vibe from the earlier songs i mentioned, growing into a grotesque, supernatural, all consuming tulpa. As always with Haye’s lyrics, this is sublimely portrayed with intense metaphorical description. The best example of one of the “Unrequited Love” songs, and potentially Pig Destroyer’s best song, is “Towering Flesh”:

“She’s got heroin embraces
that I still need to be in
I force myself to loathe her
so I can fall for her again

Her lips are wet with venom
her posture’s serpentine
she’ll touch my arm and
flowers grow there
poisonous and obscene”


In the extremely oversubscribed field of unrequited love songs, I am yet to find one that captures the lethargic pain and hopelessness in the same way as “Towering Flesh”. Although Hayes has penned many other equally commendable attempts, most of which I would go as far as to hold in the same regard as Shakespeare. Yeah, that’s right, I just compared a Grindcore band to Shakespeare…sue me. Just check out “Lost Cause”, “Trojan Whore”, and the incredibly messed up “Starbelly” (“The other day i masturbated to pictures of you at your birthday party”) for an incredibly dark, yet unnervingly accurate portrayal of heartbreak.

Another distinct flavor of Haye’s style, are the songs about being in a relationship. Even then, the tone remains pessimistic and bleak, with a general sense of regarding himself as severely below her, as clearly seen in “Verminess”:

“When she touches me it’s like a rodent sifting through garbage but it’s better than just rotting away

when she kisses me her lips are like chalk beneath empty socket eyes

compassion takes too much effort

I suppose the dead honeybees suckle withered flowers ’cause they don’t know what else to do”

…or else containing a pessimistic glance to the future, in which all good things must end. The nagging feeling that despite how perfect everything seems now, and how much it feels like nothing will ever pierce your euphoria, you know that it will all eventually crumble.

These lyrics have even gone as far as to effect the way I think in my own personal life. Ever since having got so into Pig Destroyer, I find that whenever I am sharing a moment with a girl I have genuine serious feelings for, be it chilling at a festival or meandering through a city, I always think back to songs like “Hyperviolet”, and try and subdue the knowledge that the seemingly picturesque thing I have at the moment will no doubt, sooner or later, fade away.

“Traced in a wet sand her name in perfect cursive. A love letter to the crescent moon.

By tomorrow it will be gone I told her. There is no tomorrow she said.

I can feel her in a bikini of coiled snakes dancing into the hiss of the wind.

Postcards from a paradise in flames. She used to be so right. So right about everything.”

I’ve actually even found that a great test of whether or not i really like someone, as oppose to just see them as a casual fling, is whether I start applying Pig Destroyer lyrics to them, as creepy as that may sound. A girl mentions that she’s going out to some club to probably get wasted, and suddenly “Pretty in Casts”, flashes through my head. Find myself hanging out with two playfully apathetic hot chicks, “The Machete Twins” flickers into my conscience. Hanging around with nothing to do, waiting for your cute friend to call me like she said she would, “Gravedancer” is suddenly the theme.

Hayes is obviously not a misogynist, even though many people interpret him that way. He is fascinated with women, in the most humanizing and respectful way possible, and focuses on the little details, imperfections, that define a girl, and form the tapestry with which you fall in love. This is what makes Pig Destroyer so sincere and romantic, as oppose to just the generalizing and one sided jealousy displayed by other songwriters. Of course there is obvious negativity and sorrow throughout Haye’s work, but this is just part of the canvas of life, and he in no way blames anyone, least of all whoever the object of his affections may be, for the situations that lead to such melancholy expression.

“This is disgusting, it’s pornography
No, no, no. This is beautiful,
this is art.”

– J.R. Hayes

Eyelicker

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Annotations of An Autopsy – II: The Reign of Darkness

January 25, 2010

Label: Nuclear Blast

AOAA’s debut, 2008’s “Before The Throne of Infection”, was, I thought, pretty disappointing after the EP, “Welcome to Sludge City”. The production was better, but gone was the fun, and most of it was kina generic Deathcore/Death Metal, that got pretty unanimous reviews of “average”. Well, image wise, the band are even more boring this time around on “The Reign of Darkness”, with some of possibly the most unmemorable song names (and the album title) I’ve ever seen, that pretty much makes a showcase of generic death metal words. We get gems like “Born Dead”, “Emptiness” and “Portrait of Souls”, which sound kind of dark in a video game sort of way, but actually mean pretty much nothing. Gone are the days of amusing song names like “Gore Gore Gadget”. In general, the band have continued the journey begun with “Before the Throne of Infection”, taking them further away from Deathcore and closer to standard Death Metal (if you’re a fat nerdy tub of elitist metalhead goo with long greasy hair and a fat goth girlfriend, you would have said “true” then, instead of standard). Less squeals, less breakdowns, less humor.

Musically however, while closer to “standard” (there, said it again, fatty) death metal, this album is actually much better, simply because the song writing isn’t as boring. “In Snakes I Bathe” blew me away on first listen, with it’s precision time alterations at just the right moments, sick drumming, and some really killer riffage. Not to mention the vocals, growling away at a pitch just below a standard death metal growl. Cryogenica is also a stand out killer track, with a brutal sense of melody, and a great creepy intro (we could be pests, we could be food, but all we really are, is livestock).

New drummer Brad Merry, who has previously been below my radar, also makes his mark in full as the new drummer, providing probably the strongest accolade of the whole band with his blast beat assault, everything else in the band is reasonably standard-issue. The vocals are impressive enough, but I always feel kind of upset when someone stops pig squealing. The higher screams are also less frequent too, so less variation in general on the vocal front.

A cut above the debut, they lapse into mediocrity much less frequently (they still do though), and an encouraging listen if they keep on in this direction.

(I also have just realized the irony in having accused an imaginary metal head dude of being fat, when AOAA’s singer dwarfs the average fully grown bull manatee)

7/10

Eyelicker

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FROM THE ASHES OF HEADBANG.CO.UK

January 25, 2010

Ok, so it has been a couple of months and a rocky mess around to get the site up and running. We are the final contributors of the bang and instead of letting it die, we thought we would reinvent it, anyone who was awesome enough to have seen the bang would know the way it ran. For those who never read it, it was a monthly(ish) based e-zine centred on rock and metal. At the time of its inception, it worked very well and had a very enthused bunch of people at the helm, the enthusiasm soon lapsed and 3 years later we decided to rename the site to try and reinvigorate it.

This was pretty short lived as we soon came to realise that the thing that was killing us was the month to month format, it was too hard to time properly and keep running with style and great content every month with lack of backing from the bigger labels. Now we have figured what oh so many before us had already latched onto… Blogs are easy to manage, fun to write and can be updated constantly making for interviews to be published faster and live reviews to be published on the night! This was not only reinvigorating the old site but reinventing the format and changing up the structure, then came the decision to write differently, reduce the need for more writers and just keep the site updated regularly with content from more varied sources, not just hacking away at conventional rock and metal, Reverse Current is about versatility.

If you have any suggestions about the site, be it layout or content; tell us, we take all ideas seriously!

To promote your band or a friend’s band or even just a band or artist that you really believe in, email us with a little about the act, some idea of what music you do and maybe a link to your site, we will endeavour to reply to all emails on this front. We will attempt to review what we can but please remember that your act will be one in a thousand and only the most unique or outstanding are likely to get a review!

If you are reading this now it means that you are one of the amazing people that have surprised us by being here even before we begin to advertise and promote the site with any effort. Thank you!

Email us on –

admin@reversecurrent.com

theironeagle@reversecurrent.com

mrbogle@reversecurrent.com

eyelicker@reversecurrent.com

Please take a second to tell us which you prefer –

The Iron Eagle

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Valkyrja – Contamination

January 23, 2010

Label: Metal Blade

As a genre Death Metal is perpetually plagued by generic highly indistinguishable trash… It is for this reason that I will forever remain skeptical when I come across yet another band calling themselves ‘Death/ Black Metal’. It will forever serve to conjure up images of thirteen year olds with dyed greasy hair who try and out-do each other in the ‘horrible t-shirt’ stakes. That is, bands with logos that seem designed to be unreadable (I still have a flyer at home where the band names are helpfully provided underneath the logo). When you look at the Valkyrja one then (before you Google it… look at the cover above) you can why I was expecting to be underwhelmed.

I admit that I’m always the first to contradict myself and despite what I said in the previous paragraph, sometimes it’s better to (as I said in my Dioramic review) listen to the album before judging it. No doubt, you’d expect me to do that anyway, it’s my job right? Well yes, but it’s not something I’m overly fond of doing at times. Now, being a fan of all things Death and Black I have to say I rather like this album, it’s not a touch on Behemoth’s Evangelion but I wouldn’t expect it to be. Opener ‘Oceans To Dust’ is especially good.

It does however suffer from the lazy-finish syndrome, that is to say it should’ve ended after track six. I realise that the length would then be reduced to just over half an hour, but surely it’s better to have thirty minutes of music that leaves you wanting more than a drawn out sixty which, by the time its over you’re sick of the band and won’t listen to that album again for ages (if ever). Ok so maybe that’s a little extreme but it doesn’t defer from the point that the album is too long.

6/10 (8/10 for the first half with points lost for over-indulgence in the second)

Mr Bogle

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Dioramic – Technicolor

January 23, 2010

Label: Lifeforce

“Friction creates energy. The more tension there is, the higher the friction becomes, the more energy is created. Tension usually results from oppositional poles, charged differently and emitting contrary fields of
power: Light and Darkness. Hot and Cold. Love and Hatred. Strength and Weakness. This scientific law can be transferred to music just the same and there are some bands which thrive on the energy created by the contrary musical poles they include in their sound”

Erm…so…yeah that’s what the press release tells us! Which, as it turns out isn’t much, aside from the fact that whoever writes the press releases for Lifeforce clearly has too much time on their hands… or they have decided that, after reading ‘The Beginners Guide To Philosophy’, they can string a few sentences together and use it to try and make their band sound all that. The must frustrating aspect is that what isn’t written is that the album is actually pretty damn good. Drawing clear influences from the likes of Devil Sold His Soul and Architects (which just a touch of Tool for good measure) Dioramic have produced an album which, while flawed, shows potential.

The music is fairly straightforward metalcore with an epic twist. The album follows the bog-standard format of; ‘heavy opening, relaxed mid-section and ending epic track’. It’s likely that this album will get slated (along with most new and interesting music) by the majority of metal critics and fans alike. At times it’s simply unbelievable that it’s just three people, and three Germans at that, that can create something so dense and layered. That said… Tool and Gojira only have four members each.

The lesson to be learned here (as I often point out but feel can never be over-stated) is just to try it. I didn’t like the album when it first started… one minute and thirty seconds later I was hooked. This is by no means the band’s masterpiece and as such it only gets a reasonable score but everyone has to start somewhere. They’ve certainly produced a far superior album to many of the new-gen ‘dad-bands’ that still think it’s cool to pump out classic rock thirty years after Led Zep split…

7/10

Mr Bogle

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Metal Blade Sign Dawn Of Ashes

January 22, 2010

Metal Blade Records signs Dawn Of Ashes; prepares to unleash full-length album

‘Genocide Chapters’

DAWN OF ASHES teams up with special FX group ADI (Amalgamated Dynamics Inc) for outfit and mask designs!

Metal Blade Records is pleased to announce it has inked a deal with the Los Angeles horror inspired black/death metal band Dawn Of Ashes. Dawn Of Ashes is a band whose passion for intense and macabre imagery, music, and live performances will soon be seen by the metal masses when Genocide Chapters is unleashed in late spring/summer 2010. The band is currently gearing up to enter the studio to record their Metal Blade debut with producer Fred Archambault, known for his work with Avenged Sevenfold, Death By Stereo, Eighteen Visions, and many more. Handling the cover art for Genocide Chapters is Machine-Room (My Dying Bride).

Dawn Of Ashes has enlisted the help of acclaimed special FX group ADI (Amalgamated Dynamics Inc.) to discuss plans for the new DOA outfits and mask designs. ADI is the special effects company that created the creatures and special effects for movies like: Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator 1 and Requiem, Star Ship Troopers, Tremors and other films. This was amazing news for the band and should make DOA’s theatrical look even more interesting and grotesque.

“We are very honored to become a part of such a legendary Metal label. We cannot wait to see what this will do for the progression of the band’s career. This is a new level for Dawn Of Ashes and we are very excited to become part of the Metal Blade family” comments Dawn Of Ashes.

BIO:
Every nightmare is painted by a vision that is so terrifying and disturbing that only the imagination of pure violence can give a new form to eternal damnation. Dawn Of Ashes gave meaning to this in the year of 2001 by Kristof Bathory, the mastermind behind the sounds and visions of horror, hatred, and suffering. The name was created to reflect upon the birth of death and failure.

In 2005, DOA independently released their first demo entitled ‘Sacred Fever’. This release caught the eyes and ears of the German label Noi Tekk and shortly after DOA were asked to sign to the label. A few months later, the U.S. label COP International, as well as Russian label Gravitor, took notice to DOA and asked them to join their rosters them as well.

In September of 2006, their debut album entitled ‘In the Acts of Violence’ was unleashed upon the world. The brutal debut captivated the dark hearts and minds of many. It was at this point that DOA began to grow a significant fan base, which set the band on its path to success.

In October of 2007, DOA released their second full length album entitled ‘The Crypt Injection’. The album displayed much growth and transformation in DOA’s dark sound and substance. Along with the studio album, DOA also created a music video for their song “Torture Device”, which set much anticipation for the album’s long awaited release. ‘The Crypt Injection’ aided in DOA gathering more fans, publicity, and attention from the masses.

Since DOA was formed, the band has made transitions in line-ups and sound to create their ideal artistic outlet. DOA did so by adding additional members and placing the element of live guitars and drums into the music, taking the group from the Industrial scene into the Metal scene. With DOA’snew, solid line-up, the next installment from DOA will summon new sights and sounds among the world with a Black/Melodic Death Metal sound. It is now time for Dawn Of Ashes to enhance the brutality, so be prepared for more to come as the ashes will never rest upon the weak; the evil within this group will never die!

So there you go, another (admittedly cut down apologies for the previously unedited version) press release, the usual stuff about how this band is heavier than ever blah blah…(I did cut out the bit out the new Six Feet Under album see my review for reasons why) but anyway, take it or leave it MB have a habit of signing any band that bothers to send them a demo and as such regularly pump out a large amount of generic crap..however never judge a book (or album for that matter) by its cover you never know this could be the next best thing…(emphasis there on the word could) but anyhow. That’s all till…well my next post I guess..

Mr Bogle