Also, when I pitched the whole "Song of the Day" concept here about a year ago, a few people seemed into it. However, now a reality at No Echo, pretty much no one reads 'em. Bummer. Carlos and I really enjoy writing those posts, 'cause they're a fast and fun way to (hopefully) get a wide range of different music in front of curious listeners, but… most of the time they just fade into obscurity without any significant activity. I'd love to get any feedback from readers as to why those posts aren't particularly interesting, and what (if anything) might happen to make that section of the site more appealing?
Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 @ 10:02am » permalink
If you happen to remember the very early days of this site—when I would cobble together loads of content on various scenes such as Estonia, Finland, Brazil, etc.—you might dig yesterday's all-Macedonia content at No Echo:
Though they've been taking longer and longer to complete, for my money these last two "Grab Bags" have been getting better and better, so hopefully people are diggin' 'em, 'cause they're a lot of fun to put together.
I might as well throw in a few more plugs for No Echo, too, as I don't know how many people who used to read this site follow myself or No Echo on Twitter or Facebook, so…
We're steadily racking up reviews, interviews (I've even started to conduct a few again myself), songs of the day, and lots of killer features, too—in addition to loads of other content. So please do check it out and spread the word if you like what you see.
It'll have some of the type of stuff I've done here over the years, plus some new twists, so hopefully people will dig it. I'm excited about it, and have been having fun putting together content here and there over the course of the past month, so check it out and let us know what you think. As always, I'd appreciate any feedback, good or bad. And if you like it, please help spread the word!
Posted on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 @ 1:47pm » permalink
For the handful of people who responded to the last post (thank you, by the way), and anyone else that might care: I lied about resurrecting the site this month. A new project is cooking up that's actually going to be much, much cooler. Everything's still in the early stages and probably won't really kick in for another month or so, but… I'm looking forward to it. More news when it happens!
This has got me half-thinking of "resurrecting" Aversionline next month, in yet another altered format that anyone may or may not give a shit about. Perhaps a "song of the day" (or every other day, or few days, or week) type of thing? I don't know. I'm also supposed to write about the Atlas Shrugged discography CD… if Trip Machine Laboratories ever opens their webstore back up!?
Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2013 @ 5:02pm » permalink
We had so much fun the first time around that it looks like Birkir and I will be shooting to post a new "Mystery Grab Bag" each month over at Halifax Collect. December's edition just went online earlier today:
Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012 @ 6:06pm » permalink
For what I think is only the second or third time in a little over 12 years, I'm going to take a hiatus from the site. It's been a tough decision because this time it feels like it could end up being a permanent thing, but I need a break. On the one hand, I don't really want to quit, so I might surprise myself and miss it, but it's also felt like more of a chore lately, which has been frustrating. I'm well aware that as my quantity has drastically decreased over the years, the quality has diminished to some degree as well, so lately I've started to realize that this site is essentially "just another blog" now, and unfortunately I don't have the time or energy to make it "something special" again. I've always kind of assumed I would just keep going and going, but longevity alone isn't necessarily worth striving for. I just need to step away for a bit and see what happens.
That being said, I'm grateful to everyone who has ever submitted something for review (even if I didn't write about it), sent me an email (even if I didn't have time to respond), posted a comment, or just come back and read what I've had to babble about for so many years.
Rot in Hell/Integrity "Black Heksen Rise" split 2×7"
Posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2012 @ 12:00am » permalink
At this moment in time I can think of no better combo for a split than Rot in Hell and Integrity, compliments of Thirty Days of Night Records. I mean, this must be right up there with the Integrity/Mayday split in terms of absolutely perfect, wholly appropriate pairings. Rot in Hell kicks things off with the crunchy rhythms, droning lead melodies, scathing vocals, and scorching solos of "Erebus"; before a stark change of pace via "Life Becomes a Desert Around You" – which utilizes faint singing underneath a repetitious lull of acoustic guitars, violin, and sparse percussion. Surprisingly epic. They never fail to impress, and these are two of their finest tracks to date, without a doubt. Integrity then follows with "Waiting for the Sun to Burn Out My Eyes", which transitions seamlessly into "Black Heksen Rise". Both compositions see the band's trademark sound permeated by somewhat more of an obvious Japanese hardcore influence (more so in the former) through raw, driving power chords; explosive solos and crazy tapping runs; pounding midpaced breaks with just the right amount of eerie melody; etc. These concise and explosive EP's have found Integrity cranking out some of their fiercest and most powerful material as of late, and I'm all for it.
The records are housed in a black and white gatefold 7" sleeve with an 11-page booklet secured to the inside of the right panel. The last two pages contain lyrics and such for the Rot in Hell and Integrity tunes, while the remaining nine consist of a cryptic, essentially text-free "comic book" of Dwid's trademark illustrations and obscured, textured graphics. The second 7" is billed as "a caustic narrative of the book read aloud by Dwid Hellion", but it's really so much more than that. Its three tracks/11-and-a-half minutes strike me as a combination of Roses Never Fade and early Psywarfare with some additional twists. First up is an alternate recording of "Waiting for the Sun to Burn Out My Eyes", which adds whispered vocals and faint wisps of distortion to the acoustic version that appeared on the "Thee Destroy+ORR" CD. "Process of Prayer" then follows with lightly distorted spoken passages mixed right in against ominous, faintly melodic low-end drones. The flip side contains the 7+ minute "Where Does the Fire Come From", consisting of half-whispered/half-spoken vocals amidst lurching dark ambient swells and crunches of distortion, not to mention barely audible acoustic guitar and assorted other abstract textures. Excellent.
Before I was finished with my first complete listen this set had already worked its way into being one of my favorite splits of all time. It's just that good. Here's a little proof thanks to YouTube (check out snippets from the second 7" through Amazon.com or iTunes):
After a lengthy pre-order phase, just a few copies remain (directly from the bands). I'll be shocked if they don't sell out soon, so you'd be foolish to sleep on this. For everyone else, it's also available digitally…
Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
From Trip Machine Laboratories comes this vinyl reissue of Most Precious Blood's six-song demo from way back in 2000. The digital download also includes the band's cover of Slayer's "Necrophobic", the original version of "So Typical My Heart" (their last recording with Tom Sheehan on vocals, from early-2003), and a 33-minute live set recorded at CBGB's in 2002. The core of the release is the demo, which contains six short songs (all under two minutes) of unique metallic hardcore that draws from a wide range of influences – where you've got tracks like "The Knot", with its slightly more discordant take on fast-paced traditional hardcore; the midpaced post-hardcore dissonance of "Carry the Lantern High"; and the rhythmic grooves and winding bass runs of "Song of Siren". "So Typical My Heart" is my favorite track, though. A little more melody but still really heavy, raging energy… it's just an incredible tune. As expected the live set has pretty raw sound quality, but it's fairly listenable considering. When they're running full-on the guitars can get lost a little bit, but it's not bad. The set consists largely of Minor Threat covers with about 10 minutes of Most Precious Blood material towards the end. The sleeve contains old photos, lyrics, and brief song explanations for the six tracks from the demo, plus some liner notes by Tom Sheehan, reflecting on his time with the band. Good stuff. I hadn't listened to Most Precious Blood in a while when this showed up, and I've been reminded that I should really pull out their albums more often…
As mentioned above, the vinyl includes a digital download with tons of bonus material. The 7"s are limited to 1,000 copies in various combinations, and clear/black haze and straight black vinyl are still available…
Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
"What a Plague You Are" is the debut LP from Providence, RI's Weak Teeth (released by Flannel Gurl Records and Tor Johnson Records), offering up 11 songs in about 24 minutes. I guess you could refer to this as weirdly aggressive melodic hardcore with emo/"screamo" leanings. It's interesting because there's something about this material that really does possess that early- to mid-90's D.I.Y. emo/"screamo" vibe, but there's more to it than that, and the more I listen to it the more unsure I am of how to accurately describe it. After "With Love, From the Great War" (a pretty epic intro with acoustic guitars, samples, and spoken vocals), for the most part the tracks revolve around fast-paced and high-energy chord progressions with some loose/jangly riffing here and there, while the vocals tend to stick with strained yelling. Almost every song runs less than two minutes, but then closer "Blue Skies, Shit Life" all of a sudden shifts to 9+ minutes – combining the band's usual fare with slower, plodding instrumental passages and more musical exploration. Despite the often sarcastic song titles the lyrics are always serious, and the band definitely comes across as sincere and heartfelt. Whatever you want to call it, it's really, really good. I'm not saying enough here, but… listen for yourself and see what you think. I, for one, am glad that bands like this still exist in this day and age.
We are completely alone. Trace the end in our fossils, nothing to blame but our need to fuck over and feed. Fiending, buying, occupying. You're dead already, walk around. You're suicidal and depressed. Convince yourself you're not a mess, you're nothing. We are animals thinning out the herd. Non-biological germs. Man is a virus as far as the earth is concerned.
The LP is available on green or black vinyl, or you can grab mp3's for just $3…
Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
This relatively quick 26-minute split LP (Which I believe was self-released by the bands?) sees Salt Lake City/Provo, UT's Maraloka (featuring current and former members of God's Revolver and Parallax) teaming up with Denver, CO trio Cannons. Maraloka kicks things off with three tracks of generally somewhat sludgy, slightly rocked out, essentially "metal" (but not in a particularly traditional sense) material with strained shouting/yelling vocals. The tracks are built largely upon solid riffing with just the right amount of melody, but I'm especially excited about the awesomely dissonant "Thechne", which heads in a different direction that strikes me as comparable to a more restrained and straightforward Parallax (anything even remotely reminiscent of Parallax is a very good thing). Awesome. Cannons then follows with four tracks that fall into sort of a noise rock meets "screamo" type of approach. Expect loose, angular riffing; a hard-hitting and dense bass presence; plenty of tactfully hectic percussion; and vocals that combine shouting, screaming, speaking, and arguably little hints of singing. I'm not very historically informed regarding this general approach, but it's something that always catches my ear when done well, and as far as I'm concerned Cannons' take is absolutely top-notch. Both bands utilize similarly rugged yet balanced production values that work quite well for their respective deliveries, so that's another plus. As usual I'd definitely like to hear more from both bands, so I'll have to keep an eye out for more down the road…
The vinyl is limited to only 220 copies, so act fast if you'd like to get your hands on a copy. Or, you can just score mp3's for a mere $5.
Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
From A389 Recordings comes "End of Time", the debut EP from Montreal, Canada's Enforcers (featuring former members of A Death for Every Sin and Final Word). Expect six tracks of unstoppable metallic hardcore that seems to be highly influenced by the late-80's/early-90's golden age of NYHC. Gruff vocals over chugging midpaced rhythms, fast-paced power chords and thrashy picking patterns, a few flashy leads and the occasional clean break, etc. The finest moments kind of come across with a "Best Wishes" meets "Urban Discipline" kind of vibe (and obviously that's fuckin' great), with a more straightforward and modern vocal approach, and of course contemporary-styled production values, too. Everything's clean and crisp, with super crunchy guitars and an absolutely massive bass tone. Good stuff. As with many bands of this nature they're clearly not trying to break new ground, but if you can nail the formula this well and so effectively capture such a classic sound, there's no reason to potentially fuck it up with experimentation or outside influences. I'm sold.
If for whatever reason you're not interested in a physical copy, it's just $2.50 for mp3's from the label, so… get to it.
Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
The latest from Finland's Throat (released by Kaos Kontrol) is the two-song "Pee" 7" – offering up about eight more minutes of their superb and sinister noise rock. Expect dense, winding bass runs; "skronk"-laden riffing with just the right amount of odd melody/dissonance; dashes of searing feedback; lightly distorted vocals that veer from snarled shouts to fairly aggressive screams; etc. As with all of their releases the production is aptly rugged and nicely accentuates the texture and atmosphere of their approach, while the cover art has a really strong visual aesthetic as well. I hate to keep it so brief, but there are only two songs here and I've written about this band a few times in the past, so what more do you need? Longtime fans of this style should really flip out over this band, man. You just can't lose with these guys. The first two tracks below are samples from the 7":
The vinyl's limited to just 330 copies, so don't sleep on placing an order if you're interested…
Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
From a whopping five cooperating labels (Ash From Sweat, Carucage Records, Lilla Himmel, Ödebygd, and strictly no capital letters) comes this succinct split 7" offering up one track apiece from Wits End (Norway) and Perfect Future (Maryland). Wits End kicks things off with the nearly six-minute "Wounds" and its loose, jangly, angular riffing and frantically shouted/screamed vocals coming from all directions. The production is even rawer and more stripped down than their past efforts, with a slightly thin, distant ruggedness to it. Perfect Future then follows with an untitled five-minute piece of their own, which is shockingly similar in both style and production values. The vocals toss in a hint more variety (a little bit of singing, etc.), but both of these bands are basically as authentic as you can get in terms of nailing that classic "emo" sound of the early- to mid-90's. You know, the bands that were bursting blood vessels from screaming so intensely at 12 people in a filthy concrete basement in the middle of nowhere, selling unmarked black 7"s with nothing but a screenprinted piece of cardboard out of the back of a busted-up van after the show. If you have fond memories of those days, you should totally flip out over this stuff. I'm always looking forward to more along these lines…
The vinyl is limited to a mere 350 copies, so make the grab while you still can…
Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
"Moonchild" is the self-released sophomore EP from Stockholm, Sweden's Morito Ergo Sum, unloading four lengthy tracks of moody doom in 31 minutes. It seems a little strange to name an EP after a cover song (the title track is an interpretation of a King Crimson tune), but… hey, whatever works, 'cause this is some very promising material, and I really dig the overall sense of balance the band achieves. The compositions are built around slow, pulsing tempos without crawling along at a snail's pace; the production's got a good sense of warmth without relying on that 70's kind of sound/influence (great bass presence, too); everything feels nice and heavy without coming across as forced or oppressive; and the somewhat restrained, monotone singing doesn't go the over-dramatic route, either. There's something very natural about the atmosphere of the whole affair. Toss in some tactful added strings (Violin?), chilling clean passages, and sleek melodic leads (which get surprisingly energetic on occasion), and you've got yourself a winner. Nicely done…
Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012 @ 3:00am » permalink
I believe "I Want Nothing" is the debut EP from Lowell, MA's My Fictions (released by Flannel Gurl Records), blending a number of different influences amidst its five tracks in 20 minutes. I guess you'd say they're building upon a base of melodic/metallic hardcore with a pretty significant "post-rock" edge and some "screamo" tendencies. There are a few surprisingly chunky rhythms; bursts of frantic speed with hectic drumming; shimmery tremolo picking with light effects; and some dark, somber clean passages. Three of the four band members contribute vocals, most of which are various degrees of screaming, at times layered for added effect. As a whole this material is certainly more crisply recorded and tightly performed than most bands that flirt with a "screamo" type of aesthetic, however. "Fortune Teller" even cranks out some of that zippy alternate-picked riffing that always catches my attention, though opener "Same Grave" is by far my favorite of the bunch. They're working with a good sense of energy and emotion throughout, and those are always the most important factors for any band operating within this general realm. Very cool. I look forward to hearing more…
The 10" is limited to about 150 on black and about 50 on grey, and vinyl copies include a digital download. If you don't care about physical product it's available as a free download, too, so… definitely give this a shot!