Archive for June, 2010

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I kina just want the chick from Otep to shush :/

June 25, 2010

Via her blog:

My friends,

I find myself deep in the rolling green of the beautiful Southern territory of flavorful Fayetteville, Arkansas. The hills are rich with a monochrome flora and the arching landscape is crested by a silky blue sky brimming with billowing clouds moving slowly overhead like an enormous ghost armada returning victorious from war.

The heat is thick and sweltering. It is a strange and wondrous sensory experience.

I see all this and am amazed how anyone could live surrounded by such beauty but care so very little about maintaining it.

I wonder if future generations will ever believe days like this actually existed or will they assume that these are just the words of a demented mind twisted with fantasy or folklore? Perhaps they will lament on the rugged Eden that their ancestors took for granted and squandered in the heavy stink of apathy and inaction?

I remember my home, beautiful Los Angeles, and how sad it is that we do not have skies like those over Arkansas. Our sun rides high above a nicotine-stain of a haze hacked up from the millions of cars belching their lower-regulated exhaust into our atmosphere.

I remember the live webcam of the BP oil spill currently vomiting millions of gallons of crude into our ocean, killing wildlife, poisoning our water, and ultimately us.

If we do nothing, we are consenting to the murder of our planet and condemning future generations to endure a reality far worse than the one we were left by those who failed us generations before.

How many more brave American soldiers must be sent far from home, to kill, to fight, to be injured, to die (or see their friends die) in senseless wars for oil? (Much love & respect to the US Armed Forces.)

How many more innocent animals must perish, confused, suffocating and choking in stinky goo, due to our selfish inaction and apathy?

How many more American dollars will WE allow be sent to fund Iranian nuclear capabilities or the Saudis and ultimately al-queda?

What else needs to happen for us to demand a LEGITIMATE clean energy policy to purge this parasite of petroleum from our national skin?

I realize this will not be an immediate fix. There will be no mass exodus from fossil fuels. Our infrastructure is too dependent on it. Like any junkie, we must be weaned slowly from our petroleum addiction.

It might be a little painful, sure, but Americans are made from hard stock. We braved the rocks and jagged edges of pioneering the wilderness of a new country and we can do it again.

But it only works if we do it together and (this time) do it RIGHT. Clean Energy and Alternative Energy sources will create AMERICAN jobs. Solar, Wind, Hemp, Algae, Ethanol, Natural Gas, et cetera, et cetera will empower and fortify our workforce. Not just financially, but intellectually, and it helps secure the health and beauty of our only home – planet Earth.

Let us reclaim our pioneering spirit:
“If not us, who. If not now, when?”

In art,
Otep Shamaya

Tl:Dr:

“Oil spills are bad mmmkay…

…and I really fucking love metaphores”

I can only imagine how annoying her stage banter must be. She probably says that we have to work together to save the planet blah blah, followed by obvious go-with-the positive-vibe cheer. Remember when you couldn’t see an American band without some smarmy fucker saying something along the lines of “sorry for our president”. Insta-crowd-rappor, like covering Wonderwall at an indie gig. No ones gonna disagree, and it’ll probably get everyone by your side, but it’s such an obnoxious obvious thing to do its kina a dick move. Can’t wait for everyone to start saying what a wonderful human being she is and what a noble supporter of green energy. She’ll probably be further tarnished with the “outspoken political views” brush, which used to mean “a band that makes fun of George Bush”, but now he’s gone I guess these obnoxious “outspoken” political types are having to make do with every blindingly obvious metaphore-and-sugar coated event they can. Oil spills bad, renewable energy good, war bad, noble soldiers good. All this reharsh hardly stikes me as particularly revalatory or noteworthy in any sense. At least she isn’t getting at Barrack Obama for not personally swimming to the bottom of the ocean and plugging the oil with an American flag, like most of America seems to be.

But yeah, shut up Otep. And fuck Rage Against The Machine and their juvenile grasp of politics while I’m at it.

Eyelicker

Just to be clear, I agree with what she’s saying, just like any rational person would, and I’m all for political vigilance. I just hate people obnoxiously broadcasting such status quo views for brownie points.


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Taking Dawn – Time To Burn

June 24, 2010

Long ago, I was a cool kid and got myself a Myspace. After a few months an unknown band called Seventh Son added me to their friends list, which meant I was cool because bands wanted to know me and possibly get a hummer from my girlfriend. Flash forward a year or three, I hear they’ve changed their name to Taking Dawn and HOLY SHIT suddenly these guys are on the main stage at major festivals and supporting Kiss. Taking Dawn have worked long and hard to get to Roadrunner and their debut album is a testament to their commitment to this point.

Time To Burn is a mixture of all our favourite bands from the stadium killers of the past thirty years. The title track kicks things off in rather good fashion, combining solid rhythm, catchy melodies and some very good guitar work. It’s refreshing to hear a new band that doesn’t go for the full technical approach and trying to play as many notes as possible, every sound has a purpose and is brought to live by the excellent production that having a budget provided by Roadrunner can afford. A word of warning, however; if the slightly scene vocals of the Bullet for my Valentine-type bands annoy you, you will hate the vocals, no question. There’s no extremity to them in terms of pitch, which isn’t detrimental to Taking Dawn’s sound; it’s a solid performance that’s punchy and memorable.

As far as songwriting goes, Taking Dawn have really pulled it out of the bag. Every other song is a an absolute corker, and the ones that aren’t obvious festival singalongs like Fight ‘Em With Your Rock’ are far from filler. What was criminally overlooked about nu-metal was the that the big melodic singles from bands like Disturbed and Linkin Park were great examples of pop songwriting in metal, an art which is continued on Time To Burn. As a band, they’ve listened to a whole host of influences from the 80’s and 90’s and meshed together to create a classic metal band with a modern approach to a timeless formula. Time To Burn is intensely optimistic and hard to dislike, but if you do hate you probably listen to Anathema you raise your spirits, you glum bastard.

7/10

Twaddlefish

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Rhapsody of Fire – The Frozen Tears of Angels

June 23, 2010

Christopher Lee just started talking. I need to change my trousers. He did a pretty grand job on Symphony of Enchanted Lands Pt. 2, possibly the gayest name ever for a metal album, and despite some killer artwork, was mostly Luca Turilli’s brother playing weird folk instruments and not a lot of metal. I have no idea about the follow up, but the day I pay for another RoF album is the day I pull my own toenails out.

Thankfully, TFToA is a proper power metal album. The huge epic sound that we’ve to know (and perhaps, love) of RoF is still ever present and as an experience TFToA is a great record. Rhapsody of Fire have never really into the massive choruses of Eeeeeeeemarld Svoooord times for a while now, so there’s not a lot here to please your avid stadium killer fanatic. It’s also as shreddy a paper shredder shredding a box of Shreddies, so the plank spankers will be kept exceedingly happy. It’s quite an improvement back from the days when it was much more focused on the power, and I hate the term ‘Hollywood metal’, but RoF seem to be edging ever closer to it; we’d probably have to have our low jaws surgically repaired if they’d been recruited to do the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. However, if you don’t even have a passing interest in power metal avoid this like the plague, you will hate

I was never the biggest fan of the Italian’s earlier work, all the folk nonsense got a little bit twee and despite some really cool folk songs, it was very hard to take it seriously as part of their discography and less like an afterthought because they had twenty minutes of studio time left. I’m happy to say that TFToA is more about dragons than ever and less about fondling other men in leather jerkins.

6/10

Twaddlefish
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Enforcer – Diamonds

June 22, 2010

There’s a tendency in the metal scene to label something as ‘dated’ if it’s not overweight bald men scowling as they play pointy guitars. As one of the widest spanning genres in musical history, it’s short sighted not to appreciate the different facets of a finely carved gem that is metal. Apparently, Enforcer found the part of the stone that’s all sing along choruses and dual guitar solos.

Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a hair metal album, but as the name suggests, a NWHOBHM flavour is prevalent all through the album, stirring up memories of Angel Witch, Saxon et al. There’s the emphasis on the groove of rock and roll, and the hammer of late 70’s metal, and admittedly there is a pinch of Ratt in the mixture, mainly in the vocals, but what Enforcer have done is quite an accomplishment. While it’s eerily reminiscent of Steel Panther, it’s great to here this kind of music with a modern production sound that isn’t riddled with knob gags. Running In Menace in particular has everything that Enforcer have gone for, if you see them at Bloodstock this year I guarantee you’ll be singing along before the end of each song.

At forty minutes long, it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and has certainly ignored the Iron Maiden tendency of eight minute tracks. At least half of the songs on offer could be taken out as singles (if it was 1986, admittedly). The only gripe I really have with Enforcer is that they’re a bit of a one trick pony, however well they execute that trick, and the longevity of a band that has made a promising second album is my sole concern when they hit album number three.

7/10

Twaddlefish

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Ex Killswitch vocalist’s new band, “The Empire Shall Fall” release debut and free mp3

June 21, 2010

To be honest I didn’t really like them too much at first, but they’ve kind of begun to grow on me now. It’s a cool, almost dirty, rock like vibe they got going.

But anyhow, Jesse Leech of “Alive or Just Breathing” fame’s The Empire shall fall release their debut “Awaken” today. Check it out if the metalcore vibes featured above tickle your fancy.

You can also download for free their cover of At The Drive In’s “ArcArsenel” here. Also released today to celebrate the launch.

Eyelicker

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Annihilator – Annihilator

June 21, 2010

Label: Earache

Wow, this has been a great last month for CDs that completely reshape how I view things. Indica redeeming female Symphonic Metal, Equilibrium redeeming Folk Metal, and now Annihilator have just done the same for Thrash, that largely obsolete dad of a genre. This album, quite frankly, is some pinnicle thrash, and takes me back to being 14 and discovering the big four, and metal as a whole, for the first time. It’s all there, sweet, sweet guitar harmonies, some great snarled out vocals, pounding drums, with that lovely organic sound largely lost to triggers and anal production nowadays, and of course the riffs. Ohhhh the riffs.

While pretty much every thrash CD that’s come out recently from old or new bands seems to have consisted of mid tempo arbitrary riffs that sound like a boring Testament B side, this has some really tasty riffage, that (I hate myself for saying this) harks back to the glory days of the 80’s. It sounds very dated, and it still is “mid tempo”, but still, the riffs are just good. I can’t quite put into words what makes one thrash riff good and one bad, but whatever it is, this CD is packed with that “X-factor”.

…And then the solos. Damn, they shred like it’s 1989! I almost stopped writing this to air guitar along to the solo on “Death In Your Eyes”. And they’re all of that quality, with plenty of melodic little flourishes, harmonies, and hammerspeed tapping moments that made 80’s lead guitar so juicy.

This CD is dated, but in such a good way that that becomes an accolade. That said, there are even some blast beats too, which I guess keeps everyone happy. If you still follow thrash, this is really what you deserve after putting up with so many mediocre releases for so long. Annihilator are proof that good songwriting will always stand the test of time. Consider this the antithesis of Exodus’s Exibit B: The Human Condition.

9/10

Eyelicker

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Early Graves – Goner

June 21, 2010

Label: Metal Blade

It seems everyone is sounding cleaner than a clean trophy awarded to cleaner of the millenium by the I.C.A (International Cleaning Association). Whilst this is often a good thing it’s remarkably refreshing to hear an album with low production (that isn’t black metal) and a a result actually seem incredibly fresh and throughly enjoyable. Goner lasts just 25 minutes, that’s shorter than Reign In Blood. The mixture of hardcore and punk is as raw and intense as anything Converge have ever produced and for once that’s a comparison that it would seem fair to make.

I imagine that the large majority of sites will condemn this album to the shit heap before actually giving it any real attention. As a result it’ll most likely end up in the ‘criminally underheard’ section of the internet forums. But as  result it makes the experience for those that do hear it, and what’s more give it the time of day. Which considering the majority of albums feel like a stick of gum that’s been stretched so far it won’t actually return to it’s original, compact state.

‘Wriaths’ is without doubt the album highlight, it’s simply beautiful. With an intro with a guitar tone to die for and an inescapably brilliant ‘live’ sound to the whole piece it’s a song to really lose yourself in. This record is a must for all fans of noise and hardcore it’s difficult to really get lost in modern music but thankfully the likes of Early Graves are still around to save out collective sanities.  I realise that I’m spewing shite now so I’m just gonna go listen to Goner again, and again… Yes, it’s that good (and short).

8/10

Mr Bogle