Archive for March, 2010

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A Brief Industrial Introduction

March 31, 2010

I thought I’d do a little introduction to an area of music I totally love, because most people love or at least know the likes of NIN and Rammstein, but there are loads of awesome bands out there in the same genre that are a bit harder to find but just as amazing. Anyway this is just intended to be a brief intro to the area, so don’t moan if I’m not going in depth about a certain band. I’ve had to restrain my love for NIN as it is.

So, to start us off I feel a bit of an explanation is in order. ‘Industrial’ was a term coined by the group Throbbing Gristle in the 1970s when they formed their Industrial Records label. TG are massively influential and are attributed with starting the scene, however industrial music then, to industrial music now are regarded as very different things. Many people argue that modern “industrial” metal has no relation to the older industrial groups, despite many of the current bands citing the older bands as influences. This article is mainly going to focus on the genre regarded today as industrial metal (sorry to offend purists, but get over yourselves its quality music).

Throbbing Gristle referred to themselves as an art form rather than a band, and if you listen to them, you’ll see why (I wont go in depth about them, because they really must be heard to be believed, youtube it or something). They essentially consisted of band members but created music that can be best described as pure emotion and ideas. Where as the likes todays bands write about screaming their hearts out and whining about something that pisses them off, these guys would actually whine and scream, creating a sound that definately isn’t what you’d call chart topping but is far from just noise.

The next, I suppose, logical step up from TG is Skinny Puppy. These guys took what Throbbing Gristle did with their ambient and just fucking bizarre noises and made it move more. They added specific beats and repetition which would become a mainstay of industrial riffage later on. In fact their song “Dig It” went on to influence Trent Reznor into making “Down In It”, the first single released off of NIN’s 1989 debut album, Pretty Hate Machine. While Skinny Puppy clearly have the talent, integrity and odd live shows, they still aren’t for every metal fan. While they do just about use guitars and can be quite heavy in places, they aren’t metal. But it is catchy and a good first step to make away from the mainstream metal standards. A good album to start with would be their greatest hits, a nice introduction to something a bit different. Check out the track: “Warlocked”

The next band is one of the most mainstream groups. Nine Inch Nails burst onto the scene in the late 80’s and have stayed firmly in the metal mainstream since, which is where the line that divides between the industrial camps lies. These are the guys who spread the industrial metal name and placed the genre into the mainstream. Nine Inch Nails have been one of the most credible (thanks to it’s sole hard working mainman Trent Reznor) bands to enter the metal scene as a whole. Their die hard fan base building up to such an extent that he left his record label and released not only 1 but 2 albums within a year with no advertising. The latter being a full album, released for free as a thank you, and was downloaded 1.4 million times in just over a month. NIN’s best albums are arguably regarded as anything before 2005’s “With Teeth” but I would happily listen to the whole lot without complaint. However I would recommend buying “The Downward Spiral”, if you’re a die hard metal fan who likes his out and out extreme and angry stuff, then this album will knock your fucking socks off, and still does mine every day. Check out anything from The Downward Spiral, or the single “The Perfect Drug”, or their live videos. I could go on. (Also, despite Trent’s recent retirement from performing live, god dammit, there is something new coming from NIN camp, what, I don’t know. But rest assured I’ll be first in line)

Now that you’ve dragged me off of NIN I shall move on. Ministry, the brain child of Al Jourgensen (who, like Trent, also has fingers in lots of little pies), started about the same time as NIN, yet remained slightly more in obscurity throughout the years. Their music is based more around looped drum beats and repetitive riffs and sampling, one might opt to describe it as Industrial Thrash at times. Al incorporates the same techniques as NIN, yet slightly more stripped down, which can mean it’s a bit harder to listen to. While I’m not an expert on Ministry, I would highly recommend giving “Rio Grande Blood” a listen. However my main quarrel with Ministry is that though the riffs are amazing, there are some fucking irritating samples of George W Cunt Bush placed here and there, and while I get the fact it’s an industrial album, and thats what its about, in some places it ruins a fucking stunning song. Still, a worthy introduction to a quality band, that’s not only seen more members than a hooker, but one of them was the inimitable Joey Jordison.  Check out the track: “Senor Peligro”

I’m fairly sure you’re all familiar with this bunch of nutters. Rammstein appeared in the 90’s releasing the awesome albums Herzeleid and Sehnsucht, with the type of catchy, stompy riff that keeps us headbanging and a smoking hot (literally) live show. You already know about Rammstein, so I’ll leave you with a recommended album in “Mutter” or “Live Aus Berlin”, which encompasses all of Rammstein’s best early stuff. Check out: “Der Meister”

Now we delve into the slightly more obscure, however I am sticking with familiar territory, well mainland Europe. KMFDM (who incidentally are coming to London later this year, anyone wanna come?) were formed in Paris and as most industrial bands are, it is the bastard child of one man, Sascha Konietzko. Their albums (despite featuring similarly themed album covers and titles) are slightly more rocky than metal, I’d compare them to NIN’s ‘With Teeth’, incidentally, Sascha has remixed some songs for Trent. KMFDM vary quite a between songs. They definitely have the riffs and heavy thrashing of the metal scene, while some songs lend themselves well to an almost clubby vibe, catchy choruses and beats. A noteable album to check out is “WWIII”, which starts with the awesome double kick assault of WWIII, before dropping into the catchy and groovy stomp of “From Here On Out” which wouldn’t be out of place on the charts, should the general public ever gain any taste.  Track to check out: “From Here On Out”

PIG belongs to Raymond Watts, who is also a partner of KMFDM, yet on this project we have more of a grittier feel. The electronics being slightly darker, leaning more NIN than Rammstein, say. The guitar work has more of a chunky chug to it, with vocals akin to those haunting growls and screeches of Skinny Puppy. I would describe these guys best as a heavier, more obscure NIN. While not as extravagant and mainstream (though still good) as NIN, these guys are what NIN would have become if Trent had listened to less Gary Numan and more Slayer. Good album to check out is “Pigmata”, it’s a scorcher. Track to check out: “Suck Shit Spit”

Revolting Cocks (or RevCo) are a project of Al Jourgensen and is, in my opinion, nothing that amazingly different from Ministry, they still have those awesome beats, clever guitar and samples, but a whole album of it gets a bit much. The only album I’ve got is “Beers, Steers & Queers”, it’s not bad but I tire of it easily, but if you’re a huge Ministry fan, you’ll probably end up loving this quickly. Track to check out: “Beers, Steers & Queers”

The last band to add to the roster of ever growing groups I need to listen to more is Pigface. This was born for a Ministry tour, being instigated by Al Jourgensen and then taken over by Martin Atkins and (scene whore) Bill Reiflin. Pigface records with various musicians on each release. The list includes Trent Reznor, Al Jourgenson, Flea, Danny Carey (Tool), most of Killing Joke, ogHr (Skinny Puppy) and Throbbing Gristle amongst literally hundreds of contributors. They have some superb tunes and they all vary so much in sound, yet still sound like one band with one vision, which is awesome. The best album to get is “The Best of Pigface: Preaching to the Perverted” purely because it gives an awesome spread of the musical variation you’ll encounter across their music. Awesome tracks to check out: “Nutopia, Suck”

I’m just scratching the surface with the crazy amounts of Industrial bands out there, so I’ll try and post up some more about it as I discover more, if ya’ll like it, that is. If not, why the fuck have you read this far?

Natureboy

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Bands You Should Check Out: Floors and Walls

March 30, 2010

If you read my review of Skindred in Portsmouth a couple of weeks back you may well have noticed the praise that I gave to the opening band, Floors and Walls. As much as I enjoy metal and all things experimental and progressive some times I feel the need to just listen to music that doesn’t screw with my sense of rhythm and manages to keep me engaged. Floors and Walls are only in their formative years but they’ve already developed a unique and catchy sound without straying in the realms of Pro Tools. With clear rock, ska and punk influences the band’s music is a mix of hyper-speed vocals reminiscent of  Madness and driving basslines taken straight out of Jane Addiction’s book.

Lyrically they combine humour and storytelling (see ‘Tracey’) with some incredibly powerful riffs. At times it’s hard to believe that there’s just four guys in this band… I caught up with them before the Skindred show and related stories of beating contestants from 26 other countries in a Battle Of The Band’s competition to attempting to pull Lily Allen (fuck nos why but fair does bros!) Anyway that’s more than enough from me, don’t let the ‘chav’ appearance fool you these guys are bros and with any luck I’ll be able to share more from them, with you, (you know a proper interview).

Floors and Walls on Myspace

Mr Bogle

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Where do we go from here?

March 29, 2010

A suitably gruesome picture

As a metal fan I’m often looking out for the next extreme which at the moment seems to be “porno-core” and “gore grind”, which includes bands like Torso Fuck, Sperm Swamp, ECT, which really seems to be more exploitation music rather than the next big step for metal, yet I’m left wondering how are we going to get more heavy and what will the music we love be in the future and how will we react when the next big in step in metal reveals itself, will we accept what the future throws at us or will we have finally reached our limit and become a generation of metal fans that no longer listen to the extreme but just an old music genre.

Before I continue with this article I want to get one thing straight, at no point in this article am I going to except that music can’t get any heavier as I think that a music genre that’s been changing and evolving for fifty odd years isn’t going to stop changing, and I won’t suggest that we’ve hit some kind of brick wall with extreme music as new bands are forming all the time and it only takes one band to step out and turn a genre on its head. On a personal note I also don’t want be known as that twat that said bands couldn’t possibly get heavier, so with that in mind lets continue.

What I think has really change the metal scene is there seems to be a bigger acceptance of the genre as feel that society is more open to the music we produce (sure we’re far from being mainstream,but  I’m trying to make a point), I feel we now have more freedom to express ourselves musically, on top of that apparently this internet thing is providing bands with a new way of distributing music, and the likes of Tipper Gore who pushed for censorship of music in the 80’s, and even put Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) on trial fudge sake, have been simply been left in the dust and considered the backwards musical fascists of their day (if you want to learn more about this I would strongly recommend watching Metal a Head Banger’s Journey if you haven’t seen it already in which case get out of that rock you’ve been living under!), and holy fuck we’ve come a long way from Twisted Sister that’s for sure, but even though music has gotten heavier the attitudes towards have become more liberal as time has gone on.

Although its difficult to make an assumption as to what the next step will be now what I’ve found is that an art form will evolve in  a certain pattern and it plays out like this, an art form will first appear in its most simple form, as this defines the conventions and conventions of the genre that is metal and this can be seen in early metal bands like Black Sabbath. Then it becomes more technical as time goes on until we reach a stage known as “art for art sake” (which is probably the state we’re in now) which the most technical is naturally deem the best but then I feel that the next stage is where artist simply abandon the ideas of technical aspects and go for a more conceptual, simpler and allows its artist to express themselves on a whole new level (although this a gross oversimplication and for a greater understanding I would strongly recommend How to Read Film by James Monaco).

So what is the new extreme, what will be the new sub-genre to make death core look like disco well rather than leave on some ambiguous question I’ve decided to make some new extreme genre’s right now, I now present to you the codes and conventions to make your band the most extreme band it could possibly be:

Snuff Metal: each track will contain the audio of a person actually dying to a metal riff. If that isn’t heavy I don’t what is.

Gorgasm Grind:  ridiculously heavy with some kind of sexy edge!

Torture Core: the pussy’s Snuff Metal.

Necro Lounge: Like regular lounge, but brutalier!

Tipper Gore Grind: The heaviest music with the cleanest lyrics.

Some Gore Grind for y’all (Torso Fuck, Fist Fucking Her Decomposed Cadaver)

and that Porno-Core thing I mentioned (Sperm Swamp, Canninus Cunnilingus)

Here’s a few choice examples (if you can stomach them);

PterryPtez

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Choice Pickings: Rammstein – Mutter

March 26, 2010

I love Rammstein, for various reasons, but largely because of their ability to laugh at themselves and generally not take life (or music) too seriously. The recent single ‘Pussy’ caused widespread outrage and caused a large number of forum and YouTube dicks to feel like they could take mis-aimed shots; ‘mate wtf is this shit? can’t they do sum proper songs?’ no, clearly not. But that begs the question, what is a proper song? (I’m gonna stop that debate now because otherwise it could go on for ages). Back to Rammstein, I realise that Mutter is their best known and ‘most commercial’ album but that’s not the reason I’ve chosen it. My first encounter with Rammstein was at the tender age of about 12 with the Vin Diesel (you know the gay guy who’s more macho than you could ever be). And the superb opening sequence featuring ‘Feuer Frei’;

Cracking ain’t it, well I think it is (and I’m the one writing this so clearly I’m right feel free to disagree though freedom of speech and all). It wouldn’t be for another couple of years till I would hear the full album and I was well and truly blown away. Largely regarded as the band’s ‘breakthrough’ album Mutter remains their finest moment to this day, it’s classic Rammstein, with songs about hermaphrodites (Zwitter) and wrestlers call ‘Son'(Sonne)  it’s pure brilliance.

The other thing of course is that it’s easily listen-able over and over again. In some ways it’s difficult to know what else there is to say about this record, except that no matter what you think of Rammstein this album deserves a place in any collection. Whether the band has gone ‘downhill’ since (but that’s always what hardcore fans say) or whether ‘all the songs sound the same’ (as is often the accusation) this album remains a musical gem. There are certain albums which just need to be heard and in many cases owned. Certainly one of my all-time favourites and a permanent feature in any ‘top 10’ or even ‘top 5’ list of albums ever (not just metal).

Well that’s it from me on Mutter the album can more than defend for itself.

Mr Bogle

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Callejon – Videodrom

March 25, 2010

Label: Nuclear Blast

Callejon seem kina fun. Besides being German (and I love Germans) they have some kina odd Zombie make up schdic going on in their video from this one, which conjures up pleasant memories of Send More Paramedics. Oh yeah, and then theres the music. It’s not bad, just that it’s kina…sitting in an uncomfortable place. Extremely melodic metalcore, that lies somewhere between Bullet for My Valentine and…..actually, scratch that, they’re pretty much the German Bullet.

Like Bullet, they’re sort of acceptable, and good as background music for most accounts, but not really worthy of any higher accolade than “alright” or “pretty good” at best.Theres only so many melodic harmonised guitar riffs back by double bass drums you can take before the whole thing gets kina OTT. The video single “Kinder der Nacht” is pretty good, as are a few others, opener “Videodrom” has a chorus that I thought was genuinely awesome, but ultimately it spreads thin too quickly.A lot of the time the melodic riffs sound rehashed, and the lack of variation in the verses and stucture in general got to me.

Some occational moments of rest, with clean guitars and vocals are welcome, and are written in well, but at the same time it’s all quite obvious stuff we’ve seen before. Ultimately, Callejon are adept at the genre, and they ply it well, with no surprises. This makes for an acceptable album, but nothing memorable in any way, I dare say “Videodrom” or “Kinder der Nacht” may find themselfs on a playlist of mine in the future, but I doubt much more investigation will be undertook.

Eyelicker

6/10

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The Music of Televised Comedy

March 24, 2010

Dethklok, when music and TV come together in perfection

It’s true that I spend far too much of my time watching sit-coms (and probably not enough time doing anything that could be called remotely productive). As a result I probably know far too many quotes and not enough about the real world but oh well, it provides me with some entertainment. Aside from being seriously funny, British comedy of the last 10 or so years has produced some of the best TV musical moments ever. Before I offer up my choices for your delectation (and regurgitation) its worth contemplating just what it is that makes great TV music. The idea of music on TV is more likely to conjure images of The X Factor or Later With Jools Holland depending upon your taste and perspective and yes in many ways these are the most notable examples of televised musical performances. The recent success of Glee! has brought the High School Musical formula of American High School kids with a tendency to randomly(?) burst into song and make pots of money for their creators. The combination of comedy and (mostly) original music is one that is often over-looked and although my first example here is The Mighty Boosh which does combine the two more frequently it’s still a comedy at heart. Well that’s enough of my rambling it’s about time there was some actual musical content.

I’ve no doubt missed out a whole load of great examples and I’d welcome any suggestions that you think I should check out. But here’s a selection of my favourites.

The Mighty Boosh – Electro

Psychedelic, strange, fucked up. Yep they’re all pretty good descriptions of not only this song but the Boosh in general. One word I would definitely ascribe to them though is genius, pure genius. In my opinion this is a moment in the show that is often over-looked in favour of other (poorer) examples. Yes it’s a joke and it’s not supposed to be any good but it’s surprisingly enjoyable.

Spaced – Tyres

I love Spaced and so should you. As messers Pegg and Frost’s first major outing it’s delightfully surreal and simply hilarious. This classic moment features the irritating/ awesome/ stupid/ weird (Delete as Appropriate) Tyres. With more than a light taste for drugs and raves and  almost certainly nuts this short clip is more than enough to give you a clear idea of just what he’s about.

Futurama – I Will Wait For You

Right ok so I know it’s a cartoon and it’s American but I friggin love Futurama and felt that it had to make some sort of an appearance (also the fact that YouTube doesn’t let me embed some videos… fucker). But anyway, this is definitely one the show’s finest moments, and most powerful. It never fails to move me (and no that’s not a joke) no matter how many times I watch it. I know the quality of this video sucks but you certainly get the point.

Father Ted – My Lovely Horse

And now for my all-time favourite, Father Ted is pure and simple genius and is too often forgotten. This version, the psychedelic nightmare of what would happen if Ted and Dougal combined their um… song. With an obscure B-Side (from the song which lost out on being a song for Norway in 1976) which no one would’ve heard of surely… But that’s another story, for now sit back and enjoy. (Once again I’ve not got the proper video but you can find it on YouTube for yourself)

Well hopefully I’ve brightened up your day, even if you already know all of these clips from before they’ve hopefully rekindled some (mostly happy)  memories. Either that or you think it’s a pile of steaming crap and are most likely going to tell me so (that is if you can actually be bothered to life your pudgy fingers and type instead of verbally directing abuse at your computer screen). Lighten up.

Mr Bogle

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Butchery is what we aim for: How songs should be covered

March 23, 2010

Shadows fall, purveyors of “meh”

I awoke on thursday, as usual, to the sound of alarms, composed of several strategically placed clocks and CD players, in an attempt to overthrow tiredness as quickly as possible, and hold fast untill sleep is well and truly banished. As well as this my CD player tends to blurt out whatever it’s holding at the moment too, be it Necrophagist, The Acacia Strain, or “Crunk Jamz playlist #3”. Interesting test by the way, when you wake up everything sounds like, 3 times faster, so having Despised Icon’s MVP on the go feels like dropping your brain onto a moving train off a bridge, as I recently discovered. Anyhow, once this introductory cacophony was overcome, and the only sound remaining was the usual comforting whurrrr of my PC’s case fans, I went to check my emails as usual. among the usual label mash in the RC inbox, was another equally meh announcement, that Shadows Fall, purveyors of “meh”, were releasing a cover of Bark At The Moon as their next single. My first thought was just how much of a terrible choise this is! I mean damn, way to choose a song that’s already been overplayed/covered into the ground! You might as well be doing Walk! There could potentially be a decent cover rung out of it (Walk too I guess), but Shadows fall are way too dull to be the ones to do it. The intrinsic problem with covers a lot of the time, is that they are done out of respect for the original band, and because of that, I imagine bands always approach them with an attitude of tribute, instead of making something which is good/innovative/not a carbon copy. There is also the fear of not “butchering” the original, which also leads to plenty a dull clone. I think that if you’re going to cover something, you should aim to “butcher” it. Slice it open, eviscerate it, fuck the corpse and spray your own creative juices everywhere, and then stitch it up and leave it on its families front porch, so you can laugh at their tears and anger. All the best covers I know of have angered the majority of the fans of the original, despite the obvious adoration from the coverers. But then again, such is the way with Metalhead mentality, “if you like our shit, you have to like it exactly the same way I do, or you’re a fayyyag!”

A screamo band is coming to do this to your favorite song, and there is nothing you can do about it.

To drop one great example of “butchery”, that clashed Scene Kids with Hipsters, would be Confide’s cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights. Here are both.

faggot emo kid…. screamo isnt music, confide is 5 menwho suck eachothers dicks…. oh yeah they also look like girls so u are gay” – Some youtube troll

Obviously I much prefer Confide’s, due to my natural preference for heaviness and screamo, but that aside, I think it succeeded simply because it got all the Postal Service fans mega butthurt over this defiling of their song.

Reasons why original fans hated it?: See above youtube comment!Plus any scene band covering anything else is bound to piss of the originals!

Another awesome cover, which also committed “butchery” of the 3rd degree, was The Berzerker maiming the already very heavy “Corporeal Jigsore Quandary” by Carcass. Once again, if you’re unfamiliar with the song(s) listen to the original first then the gutted version.

There is nothing quite like watching old school metalheads frothing at the mouth when you fuck with one of their “classics”.

Reasons why original fans hated it?: Triggered drums with electronic effects! GET OUT!!!

Finally, and in another realm, we have the Killswitch version of Holy Diver, (you knew this was coming, but it should! It jams hard!)

Basically, they took some boring dad rock, sped it up, gave it a killer heavy guitar tone (courtesy of Adam D, a primary man crush of mine) and added some sick ass breakdowns. You equals moshing!

Reasons why original fans hated it?: “I am old and new things make me confused and angry, arrrgg, those kids with their downtuned screamo metal playing a classic by the almighty Dio, how dare they!!”

Basically, aim to piss people off, aim to start debate, aim to start heated youtube flame wars. You don’t owe homage to anyone, and you can fuck with anything you want. Better you hate the band and are covering it for jokes than you just want to please them and their fans. Ultimately, something that will stir shit up is much more valuable than a clone.

Eyelicker

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