Lofty Goals//Low Places: Lord Almighty @ The Wreck Center

Metal shows aren’t supposed to smell like perfumed concert halls, they’re supposed to smell like cigarettes and stray kitties. And the piss of the aforementioned stray kitties. Which is why the Wreck Center, which fits that description neatly(?) with its run-down atmosphere and greenhouse qualities is the ideal locale for music made by degenerate fuck-ups for degenerate fuck-ups, at least two or three of whom are rocking Neighborhood shit shirts (local respect woowoo). If you buy your own beer and don’t get drunk enough, at least 5 other people will hand you some backup cans to keep your mana running high. Speaking of high, you’ll also get smoked up at least once or twice. Bad place to be if you’re edge, actually.

 

Far from edge, Norwood’s Deathstate soundchecked with vocalist Dan Roshin drumming —and quite well, may I add— with a nip and a can of PBR. Great way to set the tone for what was to come, as their fusion of elements from The Faceless’ dark carnival tech-death, Cattle Decapitation’s brutal grind grooves, Eyehategod’s evil blues, and some Mike Patton-esque clean vocals made for a musically engaging set that spurred on the first rolly-swivel chair mosh I can remember seeing in my years of going to shows. And the fact that I’ve seen a guy circlepit in a wheelchair —twice— before I’ve seen a rolling-chair throwdown in a space like this is one for my mental record books.

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Following a metallic bastardisation of advanced musical techniques were a roiling, churning sea of heavy sound waves provided by Heptagua, who do the small band/big sound approach with only two members. Try and stop people from throwing down when most of your songs go no faster than glacial melting pace, since sludge is about 80% breakdowns if you’re liberal minded enough.

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As you may guess, it went from hot enough to make you sweat to simply sweaty within minutes. One particularly rowdy attendee couldn’t seem to stop throwing elbows to save his own life, or the lives of those catching them in the chest/face, for that matter, myself included. His other antics included lightly slapping everyone as he circled the pit, and running back and forth like an out of control Pong ball, using the walls and the people standing against them as paddles ad infinitum. I didn’t sense any malice, only stupidity as he failed to realise that some people don’t enjoy being hit even if they’re “asking for it” by being next to the pit. I guess he got the “violence and chaos” he sought, even if it was almost all self-created.

 

I’ll spare you the ongoing drama and just tell you that this guy spent the second half of Heptagua’s set and the whole of INTHESHIT’s set arguing passionately about why he shouldn’t have been ejected from the venue, and sneaking back in through one of the many entrances only to be rebuffed and start the whole process over again. He was finally allowed back in for Lord Almighty, and fortunately did seem to have calmed down, if not just a little bit so he wasn’t attacking people with cameras in their hand or trying to flatten bystanders.

 

Continuing the actual review: INTHESHIT’s schizo grind never fails to get that murderous impulse inside every human to stir, if not fully awaken, because fast and heavy music is the sountrack to murder on par with your least favourite rapper. Vocalist Ian’s guy-trapped-in-a-safe-underwater-rapidly-losing-oxygen style meshes seamlessly with the hardcore on amphetamines drumming of ex-Today Is The Day/Anal Cunt drummer John Gillis, the dual guitar attack of Eric (NSF) and Seth, and the mostly inauduble (but I’m sure it’s also lethal) bass of John Belmonte, also of NSF. A strange soup of tempos that ceaselessly bubbles and threatens to spill over into the part of your mind that enjoys melody, the ease of their demanding performances certainly gives credence to the name of their 2013 EP Born To Kill. Born to blast, more like.

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Closing up shop temporarily in their own camp, Lord Almighty’s brand of progressive black metal hasn’t been active for very long. Their Metal Archives page shows that they formed in 2013, and what year is this? They have thus far only released one EP, though its half-hour running time gave them adequate material with which to flesh out a whole set and cap off this exploration of all things heavy just right. It’s a shame that their ‘back to the woods’ Black Metal is taking a (hopefully) brief hiatus, but if anything, they at least brought a little beauty to the dilapidation. The olfactory profile of the Wreck Center on this night in particular not only was home to the aroma of evaporated perspiration, weed/cigarette smoke, B.O. and fumes of spilt alcohol, but a welcoming and hospitable space for people that like to just get loose with friends and strangers alike when something rockin’ is playing, and that’s good enough for us. Come back soon, Lord Almighty.

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Substance(s) Consumed: 1 nip Jim Beam, at least 3 beers, 1 or 2 bowls. It gets hard to remember these things.

Pics by Zana. She rules: I think she is Nosir Idontlikeit but I can never be certain in this quantum reality.

Third Time’s The Charm: Maryland Deathfest, Thursday and Friday

It finally happened. I had a good, no, GREAT time at Maryland Deathfest. Would’ve been better if I could have seen Garm’s unibrow rustling in concentration, but still, fun. Absolutely free of poorly thought out drinking binges, interpersonal drama, God, and other messy things that prevent you from living like a human, I’m glad to report a success story where I not only saw most of the bands I cared to see, but also was fuckin’ FIERCE in , goddamn. Lookin’ and feelin’ good are only two parts to the complex and variable happening that is America’s biggest metal/hardcore party of the year, but it’s easy to forget that when you’re crying and/or puking, and I’m glad to say I only did the latter once, and it was a party puke making room for more party as opposed to an “I hate myself and will try not to do this again” puke. Awesome. Now let’s talk about some shit.

Thursday

There’s not much to say bandwise about Thursday, because fuck New York traffic. Slapshot got it right, they shouldn’t apologise for that shit. Just take a look at this monstrous eyesore I got treated to at the Port Authority station.

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A motherfucking Cake Boss Café. Reaffirms misanthropy like little else. The icing on this cake of fuck is the presence of televisions airing the damn show to the lobotomised patrons. And don’t get me wrong: my brief sojourn to Times Square allowed me to bear witness to a lot of other unspeakable horrors including a strip club/body sushi bar/steak joint (unholy!) but it pains me to even think of the massive overcrowding and overstylised tomfoolery that is that den of iniquity. It takes 30 minutes to get out of that gods accursed necropolis, even with clear traffic, so avoid at all costs all the time. Now that I’m done bitching about long bus rides (and it was long), I’d like to take a moment to give a HUGE shoutout to a certain Peter Willis for setting me up with a couch to crash on the entire MDF weekend, via couchsurfing.org. Highly recommended if you can’t afford a hotel or just don’t want to deal with one anyway. This guy saved my life, and unfortunately I didn’t think to get a picture with him, but here’s his dresser clandestinely snapped pre-cleanup because he’s a party animal.

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To Baltimore natives, Modelo and Natty Boh are water, and Strong Bow Cider is their apple juice.

So without further ado (and I’m not even sure about the ado), I made my sweet little way to the Ram’s Head, and I must say it’s a tad fancier than I would have thought, being called Ram’s Head. I had in mind a bar shitty enough to be Deathfest material, but that was only the bowels. The outside has a fancy ass fountain with lights that make it look like Vegas or someshit. Too cool, dude. And it’s near the most brutal Holocaust memorial you’ll ever see.

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Isn’t that fucking metal? And not just because it’s cast in iron or whatever, but because it’s a bunch of bodies burning, twisting, writhing, and melting in spiritless agony. Forever. Fuckin’ rad. Boston’s glass tubes full of steam can’t compare.

Appropriately in the mood for Coffins after some rituals near this most blesséd monument to misery, I stepped face-first into the sludge.

The embodiment of dark, slow and heavy, and a direct genetic predecessor to Winter’s death/doom monstrosity, Japan’s Coffins is a contender for one of the most disgustingly oppressive metal bands out there. And they’re actually good at what they do, too. The distortion serves not as a cover-up for being shitty musicians (they aren’t), but creates that foreboding grave-like atmosphere we sick fucks need to feel alive. Now one member heavier after moving Ryo from drums to frontman and getting a new stickman during the making of their punishing new album The Fleshland, they brought out plenty of hits from the hellish Buried Death, my personal favourite (though suspiciously missing “Cadaver Blood”, why?). You’d be amazed at how fast a crowd can get moving even though the music runs like a tank draped in human bodies. Easily one of the more brutal pits of the weekend. Nearly lost my shit —as in my possessions, as you know I went ham— but it was totally worth it. “See you tomorrow”, Bungo or Ryo quipped as they signed off, with a smile.

Following with another hard C to the jaw, Nawlins’ own Crowbar came up to the plate and delivered sorrowful Southern sermons to our congregation of freaks.

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There they were chugging along dutifully onstage, I’m looking at guitarist Matthew Brunson as the blues flowed freely, and suddenly there’s a scrawny-looking guy feeling the fury of Kirk Windstein’s foot to his face. Now everyone’s mind is in “what the fuck?” mode for a moment, and conflicting accounts of the “what” rose faster than weeds outside a shitty project building. Apparently a fan got onstage, got tackled by security into Kirk, which then prompted Kirk’s “what the fuck” mode, and subsequently a violent reaction that was probably not needed, in light of the whole Randy Blythe kerfuffle. Despite this hiccup, however, they finished their set like gentlemen, and all was well. No clue what happened with the guy that undoubtedly still has a shoeprint in his forehead, but I hope that wasn’t the highlight of his weekend. I mean, aside from that, the set went well. I made a man of myself by throwing the shit down during “Cemetery Angels” in a goddamn blue miniskirt. Get on that level, chumps.

Switzerland’s Triptykon was supposed to headline, but due to the sudden and tragic death of band friend and artist, H.R. Giger, and the subsequent scheduling of his funeral, they couldn’t make it, though the MDF XII shirts tell a different story.

Friday

Good Friday indeed! Oh the wonderful tales I could tell you about successfully defeating homophobia by simply walking away from loudmouthed dumbasses, or I could just review bands, which is a better idea, actually.

So, this is the second time I’ve seen New York’s Castevet here at Deathfest, and like their hometown, I’m not sure why it’s considered such a hot item, even though it has elements that I like. I enjoy their post-hardcore tendencies more than their Black Metal ones. Weird, ain’t it? I would have stuck around to hear more of Mgla (who are doing far more interesting Black Metal, straight as a shot of Beefeater), but I wanted to A) familiarise myself with the walk to and from the Baltimore Soundstage, because I would end up going back and forth. A lot. Like, more than a kid at a Gorilla Biscuits show, or someshit. Why do they do this to us instead of using the perfectly good former Sonar Compound for a shitshow, the only attraction being that beers were $3 rather than $6? Fuck logic.

Anyhow, yes, Creative Waste from Saudi Arabia, pretty decent. They’ve got the novelty factor of being one of the only known Grind bands from that country for obvious reasons, though they could stand to be more creative in the years to come. They’ve got potential, however, and it’s sweet they could make it out to the US and do stuff. After a bit of getting wasted, I walked back to check out Ruins Of Beverast, and I honestly found their brand of Teutonic Black Metal a tad dull. I swear one of their songs was repeating the same section over and over and over and over until I finally realised it, and then, as if to fuck with me, suddenly it changed. Is this what it’s like having a bad trip just to snap back into reality and find your loved ones dead? No? Completely off-base? I mean, I like atmosphere and all, but I didn’t come to Baltimore to be lulled to eternal slumber. That’s what got me in trouble the last two years.

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This picture with Fizzle D-Dizzle happened at some point around that time, because Ruins of Beverast is the soundtrack to a selfie break.

Following that was Necros Christos, and I must say, golf claps to having the most evil sounding bands play in the bright Baltimore sun. The irony was lost on nobody, I hope. They were decent enough, I remember, but nothing truly stuck out. Yep, the drought of interest was alive, but luckily Lake ACxDC was nearby to quench my thirst for some hard-hitting PV. Since it was still early in the day and not everyone had warmed up, you can guess that the pit was live, but not entirely lit up. Their caustic mix of standard Powerviolence and wacky fun-loving Grindcore makes for some good Christkillin’ tunes, indeed.

A second helping of Coffins was on the menu, and boy was I hungry for more topsoil.

Legit, Coffins could have played all four days and I’d have no problem with that at all. This time around they played more of their “fast” songs, meaning those with more mid-paced tempos, and even “No Saviour”, featuring some blastbeats, which, in my Coffins listening experience, is quite a rare treat. This, however, only proves that the band is not a one-trick pony, and is capable of devastation at several different speeds. Efficiency is terrifying; just ask the Nazis. Not a band to repeat themselves too much, the only returning tracks were “Evil Infection” and “Altars In Gore”, the latter of which made the dance floor shine. With sweat. And beer.

Turning 30 just last year, Norway’s Taake has never been in the U.S., because playing shows in America is not Black Metal, or something. Hoest even decided to wear a robe rather than go balls-out, which would make more sense, given that the weather’s pretty nice around those parts at this time.


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Controversy about telling someone to “go suck a Muslim” —something Creative Waste would probably not appreciate— and all other bullshit that has lead to people falsely pinning the NS tag on them, Taake is probably one of those bands that you hear about more than actually hear. Having exposed myself to some of their music, I can say with certainty that it is good Norwegian Black Metal, and controversy be damned; those riffs are ice fuckin’ cold, son. I’m not terribly familiar with much of their music aside from the hilariously awesome banjo solo on “Myr” from Noregs Vaapen, but I hope this means that they can come back sometime without me having to pay hundreds of dollars. Also, I saw this dead bird on the sidewalk, and someone had removed it by the time I went back out of the Lot.

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They didn’t take the dog shit, though. Guess that would’ve been gross.

Having to dash in the midst of the fog to catch the almighty Capitalist Casualties was a painful, but necessary decision for me to make. If I even missed a minute of their set, I probably would have missed two or three songs, and that is, I assure you, not entirely an exaggeration.


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Think the singer and bassist don’t look PV enough? Here’s their guitarist:

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Now THAT right there is the face of fastcore.

Blistering, impossible hailstorms of insane start-stop tempos, rapid-fire vocals and scathing guitars that straddle the line between an all-out Thrash attack and condensed hardcore ferocity, and I suppose you’ve noticed that I’m fanboying so hard I can’t even stop using ad-words. I’ll be up front and say Capitalist Casualties was one of the main draws for me this year, alongside Coffins. With a 40 minute timeslot, I estimated that they’d play at least 10 songs that I knew. I overshot it by three or four songs, but still, good enough. The fact that they played “Selfish Parochialism” nullified the fact that they didn’t play “Violence Junkie”, or more from their split with Man Is The Bastard, but I seriously can’t even bitch, because when else am I gonna see Capitalist Casualties on the Beast Coast? Geekin’.

The madness was far from over, as Italy’s grind virtuosos Cripple Bastards were up next to ruin any semblance of a face remaining from the previous assault.

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Ranging in styles from faithful three-chords-and-the-truth punk rock to blasting grind, to fret-melting death metal, Cripple Bastards are certainly not short-sighted in their brutality. I’d know what they talked about if I spoke Italian, but I get the feeling that it falls in line with socio-political vitriol, as grind is wont to do. From Assück to Discordance Axis to early Extreme Noise Terror, grind has many flavours, and Cripple Bastards brings a whole plate of goodness to the genre. Just thinking of Italy makes me hungry because I’m fat. Speaking of fat, I got a free Yeungling from some guy.

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Best 6 bucks never spent.

After my lower back was adequately punished by Punx Aerobics 101, I took yet another long walk (and it got longer every time) back to Edison to catch At The Gates, no big deal.

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Alright, so I lied, pretty big deal. At The Gates is only one of the most legendary Melodic Death Metal bands that actually still plays Melodic Death Metal. Who does that shit anymore? Not In Flames, I can tell you that much, even though I love them to death. But yeah, to see the fucking pit surge during “Terminal Spirit Disease” is like a breath of fresh air for MeloDeath. Some dude even got into the circlepit with a camera in hand, and somehow it didn’t get broken. What a man. He’ll put a baby in me one day. The most pleasant surprise of the set: they actually played “The Beautiful Wound”. Holy shit; I thought I was the only person that cared about that song for some odd reason. Killer doesn’t begin to describe it. With fear, I kiss the burning AWESOME.

Following that with the atmospheric as hell black/death/doom two-piece meal Bölzer made for an odd contrast, but it was pretty chill, despite being given the distinct feeling that I had been launched into empty space.

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Not much I can say about these guys, unfortunately, but they’re good, so check ‘em, if you want. I saw this guy’s jacket, too.

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California’s most likely to be sued for medical malpractice, Impaled, however, was what my ears had their hearts set on at that hour. I intended to catch some of Enthroned, but they took too damn long to set up, and ironically enough, Impaled also were taking ages to set up, and thus started ten or fifteen minutes late. But fuck it, it’s Impaled playing The Dead Shall Dead Remain, in full, with dudes dressed as doctors, Hæmorrhage style, crowdsurfing/moshing in ‘blood’-spattered lab coats and surgeon masks. To add fuel to the spiritual bonfire of Bacchanal celebration, the infamous MDF Party Brigade struck suddenly with a bunch of glowsticks, inflatables, and other goodies, as you can sorta see here.

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One second, it’s just Impaled playing, the next, it looks like someone turned on a garden hose that shoots little plastic things you should never, ever, ever, eat.

I drank with the doctor you see in this picture, he’s pretty chill. I already forgot his name, though, because whiskey. And this little cute alien dude, even though this picture is from Saturday.

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All hail Dollar Tree, for it is America, and America is good.

Then I went and caught some Incantation, and I must say they’re not quite as slow as I expected, since I believe some of their members had been in Disma, and lemme tell ya, that band’s pretty slow. I kinda liked it, but would have preferred if vocalist John McEntee (also known for his work in Mortician and live stints in Immolation) didn’t insist on trying to sound “evil” even though song titles like “Emaciated Holy Figure” do that well enough. Sounded like a damn cartoon goblin. How brutal. Not shittalking, it was just ridiculous, being referred to as “sick fucks” two or three times in a 10 minute span. Good night.

 

In the Nervous Light Of Monday. Circle Takes The Square at the Middle East, Boston

Circle Takes The Square existing in 2013 wasn’t a concept I was entirely in the circle about. But indeed, they’re still alive and screaming; Their aethereal, inhuman beauty as humans magnified by their rage and conviction as expressed in a dithyramb of post-everything expression, with a semi-operatic flair for all the natural drama of reality to boot. What a great way to spend Veteran’s Day.

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Having to take care of some other business outside, I was unable to catch the openers, being melodic sludge act VYGR (though I did enjoy their set at deafheaven), emoviolence supergroup United Nations -ostensibly associated with members of  Converge, All Pigs Must Die, Thursday, and Pianos Become The Teeth, to name a few – and activist/conscientious (I think that’s what they’d call it?) rapper B. Dolan, from Lovecraft Country, Rhode Island. However, the intensity, well-picked (however imperfect) setlist of Circle Takes The Square and the low price (only $14? Yup) made it all more than worth it.

While the explosively epic “Interview At The Ruins” would have been my first choice for an encore rather than “Non-Objective Portrait of Karma”, which I feel ends with a squeak rather than a poetic whisper, the setlist was overall well chosen. My preference of the outing from this jam session was the better tracks from mathcore/emoviolence leaning As The Roots Undo, including “Kill The Switch” and “In The Nervous Light of Sunday”, that have their oddly catchy sections and brutal vitriol enough to inspire thrashing in the space around you. Despite some people aimlessly shoving any bodies unfortunate enough to meet their arbitrary pinball motions, I feel that any acts of violence committed are justified. One must make a great attempt to be elegant about it, however. This isn’t Hatebreed, people.

Tracks from the new album, Decompositions: Volume One, fell largely flat and overblown, but they were still decent pieces of music by a band playing an art form that has many imposters but few stalwart enough to attempt a pure, if not well-produced, version of screamo. The short and heavy “Spirit Narrative”, the unfocused but promising “Enter By The Narrow Gates”, and the caustic “Singing Vengeance Into Being” were highlights, where the remaining songs were highly reminiscent of GlassJaw’s recent release entitled Coloring Book; they build up throughout the track to an unsatisfying climax, failing to truly live up to the energy it could potentially unleash. A slightly more aggressive version of At The Drive-In would be a good way to describe it.

Taking the natural evolution of a band into weirder territories into consideration, CttS has not made an erroneous step forward. After all, in the 8 years since 2004’s As The Roots Undo, they’ve undergone many molecular reshifts, and human attitudes toward things change, including their view towards what kind of band they were in the past. With that being said, let’s hope that skramz or screamo or post-hardcore or whatever you wish to call it, sticks around for as long as people are too sad to stay within the well-defined limits of punk. Go listen to Optimus Prime and cry about the lack of activity in your favourite genre.

Ramlord – Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom: A Sordid Revue

If you’ve ever read more than 10 posts on this goddam wordpress thing I refuse to use the “b” word for, then you already know who Ramlord is, you God-fearing sheep. It’s high time you introduced your soul to them for blackening if you haven’t already.
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You may have thought I was kidding with that whole business in the opening statements, but I’m really not gonna go over their specs again, since I’ve done it already countless times. I won’t even tell you where they’re from (hint: It’s Hell), so suck it, man. It’s not important, but the music is.

Ramlord, since their inception in 2011, haven’t quit exciting depressed and depressed-leaning people worldwide with their ethereal yet uncompromisingly heavy take on Blackened Crusty Sludgy D-Beat Stenchviolence. It’s brutal, though not in the sense of slamdance ignancy in the pit. It’s brutal in terms of being trapped in an ice cave where the only exit is a glazed shaft that is impossible to climb with human hands, stark naked, covered in cuts and sores encrusted with frozen blood and pus, awaiting your slow and agonized death by passing out of existence as your internal organs freeze and shut down. It’s nihilistic, bleak, and fucked up on heroin in a blizzard with only a sparsely studded denim vest and not even a threadbare blanket to its name. And it’s very good.

Right from the opening of “Nihil Fucking Lifeblood”, which wastes no time in getting started with a chord progression that’s at once beautiful and melodic, yet thrives on the energy from interruption by heavy chugs. It flawlessly creates the atmosphere of hopelessness and misanthropy that the band has perfected since their debut Stench of Fallacy, and builds off of their 10-minute epic, “Affliction Of Clairvoyance” from a split with Texan icemongers Cara Neir. There are few, if any pauses in the beating the band gives in their surprisingly melodic attack. “Weakness” opens with freezing tremolo and blasting that is sure to appease Black Metallers who believe they aren’t Black enough, and throws in a tunefully constructed punk groove at the end for all of those who revel in filth and mid-tempos, with this track being followed by three songs under a minute long but just as punchy as any of their longer cuts. The only real gripe (should one even want to call it that) I have with this release is that the closer, “Extinction Of Clairvoyance”, is not quite as massive and catchy as “Affliction”, but I’m really hopping that the psychic madness does not cease, because it’s looking to be a great saga of depression and brooding hatred that I can’t get enough of in my already broken mind. It doesn’t care if it’s catchy, and for that I respect it.

I could go track-by-track, but it would just devolve into me saying “Damn, this breakdown’s heavy as fuck” or “This song makes me want to stab myself in the heart with a hypodermic needle full of grade A dope in the best way possible”, so I won’t, just know that there isn’t a bad track or moment on it. Listen for yourself and write your own damn review if you’re unsatisfied with this one, poser.

The whole album doesn’t let up, musically or lyrically from the themes of addiction, death, and hate. The themes are superbly handled by this most malodorous power trio. Vocals that sound like galeforce winds reborn with a throat full of ashes, rumbling bass that serves to accent the sublime audio crystalline daggers created by the not-too-intricate yet not-too-simple guitar work, and drumming that keeps the pace at wolves’ pace. There’s equal part beauty and horror in death and despair, as exemplified by music of this type. Read the lyrics and get sad that you’re not this creative, or something.

10 No Gods/Masters out of 10

For fans of: Ilsa, DarkThrone, Buzzov*en, Deviated Instinct, Welkin Dusk

ALBUM REVIEW: STRONG INTENTION

Razorblade Express (PATAC Records)

Give them the Maryland seal of quality while the ink’s still wet, fellas, because that state can do no wrong as far as quality extreme music. From the Deathgrind virtuosos MISERY INDEX, to the indomitable DYING FETUS, and the fast growing Hardcore act COKE BUST, it’s safe to say that STRONG INTENTION will naturally follow suit and be awesome. the only thing I’d change about this release is the cover art, but that’s a rant I’ll save for someone more judgmental than I. SI have been around since the mid-nineties, but mysteriously haven’t gotten as big as their  aforementioned contemporaries. Something went highly amiss, as their mixture of CHARLES BRONSON/SPAZZ style Powerviolence with the new-school Thrash sound that’d find a home on the latest TOXIC HOLOCAUST joint, alongside a hearty dose of Southern fried Sludge should have hooked this godless country by the nose.

This EP immediately opens up with its title track, a Sludgy number with Mike Williams of EYEHATEGOD infamy performing the bulk of the vocals. It dips in and out of a Thrashcore inflected MAGRUDERGRIND vibe, which is honestly something I didn’t think that Mike Williams would ever sign up for, being accustomed to muggy, heroin induced grooves that can only be properly born south of Virginia. Mike’s on top form as far as sounding angry and acrawl with various diseases, so this change of speed actually suits him, and I’d like to see him (and any other willing Southern Metal vocalists) try it more often.

“Messiah Whore” begins immediately with the musical equivalent of artillery rounds entering your home while you sleep. Here they also showcase a bit of Death Metal influence as well as their dirty brand of what I’ll dub Grindviolence, with punishing blasts and sporting a riff that sounds not unlike some I’ve heard on EXHUMED’s Anatomy Is The Destiny. The breakdown is highly reminiscent of some I’ve heard by MISERY INDEX, which is not odd, as bands in that area seem to swap sounds as bored teenagers sexually transmitted infections.  A solid track overall, and probably one of the standouts.

“Holes In The Wall” boasts a more straightforward Crossover style; think of the vocalist of BANE if he jammed with the band members of PUNCH and MUNICIPAL WASTE. The riffs that kick in at the very end are probably the most melodic thing to happen on the album, as they point towards SI’s ability to lock into killer grooves.  I was a bit sad to see this track end so abruptly, as it promised a bit more variation from a mental nailbombing, but instead leads to the next track.

Mike Williams appears also on “3rd Space Gorilla Generator”, which is a title that shall give me nightmares for years to come. Pure DADA. This one’s a bit more by the numbers Hardcore, with the vocals being more like Jay Randall of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED. Aside from a small Sludge section where Mike steps up to the mic to howl in pain, it’s pure circle-pit mayhem.

“Rat Factory” continues the vocal tradition of the last track, which gives me the impression that either the vocalist’s larynx morphed over the course of the EP, or someone else stepped in due to an unfortunate neck-related incident. Curious indeed. This track is the second shortest, but packs a helluva punch, with a breakdown at the end that could knock down buildings.

“Slaughter Intelligence” is quite similar to the last track, but ends much more abruptly at only 54 seconds as opposed to “Rat Factory”s even minute. It makes me almost go against my very instincts, which aren’t a fan of the slow, 3-4 minute down-tempo tracks that Hardcore influenced bands usually toss in, often at the end of their releases, but this band actually made me hunger for one. Yes, EPs are short, but this was almost demo length, and was the equivalent of being given a handy when you expected whole night in Paris. That was gross, and I sincerely apologize.

The Verdict: It becomes more of a teaser than an actual appetizer for an album, but overall it’s still a sweet treat from the balmy climes of Maryland.

GRADE: A-

I’m Excited For Maryland Deathfest. How About You, Fuckface?

You Can Touch It. Smell It. Taste It, So Sweet.

It’s that time of year again, and this here dude has for too long sat back and missed enormous festivals pass him by, and has developed a strange habit of speaking in the third person. For fuck’s sake, the only Metal Fest I can claim viewership of is New England Metalfest, and that was only one of three days, so I’m not sure if I should count that yet, though this year promises to be different if I get my way. Not even having little knowledge of the sound of almost half of the bands is a discourager, I want in, and I can say I was in. Kinda like that hot chick everyone wanted to bang in high school, but never really could. And no pictures of hot chicks will be posted for all you powerviolence jocks. So to subject myself to admonishment and humiliation, here’s a list of the bands I’m excited to see for various reasons, excluding the ones on Thursday since that day’s sold out as your mother’s crackwhore ass.

Godflesh, Napalm Death, Nasum, Ghoul, Macabre, Brujeria, Morbid Angel (heh), Winter, Haemorrhage, Dragged Into Sunlight, Cokebust, YOB, Saint Vitus, Electric Wizard, Suffocation, Backslider, Cough, Rwake

This includes bands I’ve yet to listen to but hear great things about. And we stoke the flames of a potential inferno within which Maryland will be consumed! Any pitiful mortals who have space in a car for myself and a traveling companion are certainly encouraged to speak now or forever hold their tongue in a jar of formaldehyde. Much appreciated.