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Joyburner "s/t" CD

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2005 @ 8:10am » permalink

Joyburner - s/tA few spinoff emails regarding the Worlds Collide post a couple of weeks ago reminded me that I really want to post some Four Walls Falling at some point. But when digging around tonight I found this Joyburner EP and decided to go with that instead, as it's far more obscure. If you like it, I seriously doubt you'll ever be able to find a copy of the CD for yourself unless you live in Richmond, VA and stumble upon one in a used/local leftovers bin or whatever, because there are only like four mentions of the band on Google, just one return for the record label, and none of 'em say squat! Hell, if I wasn't from the same city as these guys I doubt I'd ever have heard of them either, regardless of the Four Walls Falling connection!

Anyway, yeah, the band featured Bo and Taylor Steele of Four Walls Falling and released this mere four-song EP on Centrifuge Recordings in 1996. The style isn't entirely removed from what Four Walls Falling was doing towards their final days (granted the similarities are loose at best), but it's certainly way more melodic and consistent – sort of like a dark and heavy yet non-aggressive sort of emo/post-hardcore sound without much of a metal influence at all. The mix is a little unbalanced and the vocals are definitely an acquired taste, so those unfamiliar with Four Walls Falling might not give a shit, but I quite dig this EP and feel like it's worth it for the first track alone. I always loved that fuckin' song, and it still hits me pretty hard today. But the more I'm spinning this shit tonight the more I'm digging the other three tunes, too. Ahhh, memory lane…

1. "Fool Suck"
2. "Heat Stroke"
3. "Falls Apart"
4. "Love Toy"

Devastation "Idolatry" CD

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2005 @ 2:26am » permalink

Devastation - IdolatryYet another example of why I love me some god damn thrash metal. Devastation hailed from Corpus Christi, TX and released three records from the late-80's to the early-90's. Their debut wasn't that hot, their sophomore effort was much better but nothing to write home about, and then it happened: "Idolatry", most definitely one of the finest examples of ridiculously beefy and true to form thrash metal following the 80's heyday of the genre. Now, they weren't the most original band on the planet (this record in particular is often compared to Dark Angel for a reason), but there are no snoozers within the eight tracks that make up this album. The band was all about riff after riff after riff in slightly long songs averaging five to seven minutes apiece, bordering on early death metal influences at times, but never going quite that far. And if there's one thing I love, it's a pedal to the metal thrash track with a two-minute intro of nothing but thick, dissonant guitars and churning picking patterns. This record's full of that shit, too. Seriously, this is without a doubt one of the last great thrash records that hit the streets before grunge devoured metal, and these guys never got even close to the level of attention they deserved. It was actually hard to choose which two songs to post. "Forsaken Hatred" was the easy pick as it's the definitive classic of the disc (the intro alone is pure gold), but "Legacy of Faith" is energetic as fuck, even though the title track's burly midpaced chugging and textbook acoustic intro won out in the end.

If you dig real deal thrash metal and these tunes don't make you go apeshit, you're an idiot:

Devastation "Forsaken Hatred"
Devastation "Idolatry"

Like many releases on the once mighty Combat* label, this disc was remastered and reissued in Europe a few years ago with a handful of live bonus tracks. I actually haven't picked up the reissue yet because money's tight, but the Cyclone Temple remaster was so strong that I ought to stop slacking and grab that shit while it's still readily available:

@ The End Records

*As an aside, I'd just like to send the most enormous "Fuck you." of all time out to the shitwad morons at "Combat" (and I use that designation quite loosely) for recently relaunching the label in order to cash in on the bullshit deluge of metalcore nonsense currently plaguing the scene these days. To even attempt to consider the notion that one of the greatest thrash labels of all time (once home to fucking Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Death, Dark Angel, Forbidden, Possessed, Devastation, Cyclone Temple, god damn Venom… and tons more) will be the new home for fucking bullshit tripe like Horse the Band is absolutely disgusting and inconceivable. A complete and utter disgrace to the legacy of the label. And even more so what with so many contemporary bands who are deserving of an established label to call home making a solid run of retro thrash in the proper sense. So fuck you, fuck your silly new logo of a panther eating a tank (What the hell!?), and fuck your limp-wristed roster of shamefully embarrassing metalcore. You make me sick, and I hope this endeavor tanks in the most financially disastrous manner possible for all parties involved. Fuck you, fuck you very much, and goodnight.

Plecid "s/t" CD

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2005 @ 7:27am » permalink

Plecid - s/tPlecid's self-titled CD was the first release for the super "kvlt" (and with good reason) Ajna Offensive in the mid-90's, around a decade after its original release on cassette. This band is just obscure as fuck, and their entire existence is basically shrouded in mystery (this CD, their only "official" release, contains absolutely no shred of contact information or documentation regarding anyone whatsoever). I can't even remember how I got this disc. I know I was into some of the other projects related to Ajna at the time, and I had some mutual friends with those cats, and later even ended up being in touch with the band directly (unbeknownst to me at the time), but my memory's foggy on how it all came to pass.

Anyway, they only released three cassettes in the late-80's: A self-titled tape in 1986, an untitled cassette in 1987, and "Industrial Gems" in 1989 (details on the latter are spotty, I've only seen it mentioned once by the artist behind Plecid). After that it was tracks on the "Unbecoming" compilation CD (Freedom in a Vacuum, 1989) and the "Perpetual State of Oracular Dream" compilation LP (Anomalous Records, 1989). That was all she wrote.

Years after the release of the first cassette on CD, it became more openly known that Plecid was David Woodard (who may or may not have had co-conspirators), a shadowy gentlemen who specializes in several forms of musical composition – not to mention dabbling in numerous occult-ish activities, not the least of which has been building Dreamachines and Wishing Machines. But the dude's a legitimately interesting character. Just check out his bio and do some digging, it's wild shit.

The style that Plecid explored was a strange mix of weird ambient noise, "darkwave", goth, and a bunch of other stuff that I know very little about. The results vary, but this track absolutely kills me, and honestly makes the rest of the project's recorded material seem pretty timid, if not underdeveloped. If all of the tracks reached this level, the full-length recording would be an absolute masterpiece, no doubt.

Plecid "Leave"

As an aside, I used to do David Woodard's website years and years ago, and had planned to release a Plecid/Psywarfare split 7" in the late-90's. Very regrettably that never happened as the Plecid camp faltered on decisiveness, and at the time Woodard even denied that he had anything to do with Plecid at all, and was masquerading as an intermediary. It has since come to pass that he apparently views the post-1986 releases (I think a European label did it up on vinyl, too) of the self-titled cassette to be bootlegs, but… who knows for sure?

If you're interested, this otherwise out of print disc is another that's on sale for absurdly cheap at Relapse as we speak:

@ Relapse Records

A lot of you are probably going to hate this post, but this song is fucking phenomenal, so get over it!

Worlds Collide "s/t" 7"

Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2005 @ 4:59am » permalink

Worlds Collide - s/tTwo Victory Records releases in a row? What the fuck? Well, I pulled out this lesser known DC metalcore act's full-length, "All Hope Abandon", the other day, and basically all it did was remind me that, "Shit, their first 7" was fucking incredible." So I pulled it out, and thus a new post was born…

Say what you will, I like traditional hardcore as much as the next guy, but despite the fact that metal is dealing hardcore a severe death blow right now, in the early-90's it was the saving grace without which some of the genre's finest records wouldn't have been possible. This two-song EP from Worlds Collide dates back to 1992 and was the seventh release for the then burgeoning Victory imprint, and was right up there with Integrity's "In Contrast of Sin" 7" before it as by far one of the most metal based records on the label. Expect nothing but churning power chords, intricate picking patterns/chord phrasings, and plenty of ripping metal riffs – with a couple of scorching lead runs towards the end of "Object of Desire" (their finest composition overall – an absolute classic in my book). I flipped out when I first heard this record and I still love it to this day. Their other material doesn't hold up quite as well over time, but these two songs are still totally energetic and powerful. A true must have for any fan of the classic metalcore scene of the early- to mid-90's.

Members were later involved with the almighty Damnation A.D. (of course), Battery, Better Than a Thousand, Face the Enemy, and Bluetip, among others; but this 7" shouldn't be overshadowed by their post-Worlds Collide résumés in any fucking way! These cats were really ahead of their time with this shit, and the vocals definitely sound really unique even today. Check it out:

1. "Object of Desire"
2. "Absolute"

How can you not dig that shit? The 7" is of course quite the hell out of print, but you can still grab the songs on CD from the "Victory: The Early Singles 1989 – 1992" collection (upon which this EP absolutely crushes every other band), so dig around for that should you feel so inclined.

Deadguy "Fixation on a Coworker" CD

Posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 5:40am » permalink

Deadguy - Fixation on a CoworkerSo, as mentioned, I had a handful of people suddenly request some Deadguy, and here's some Deadguy. Having never been terribly fascinated by the noisier and more caustic side of the metallic hardcore genre, I have to give credit where due and state that "Fixation on a Coworker", the band's first and only full-length, did pretty much light the spark for this entire genre in 1995. It's actually quite surprising how infrequently the band gets mentioned these days with regard to the sheer number of acts biting off from that basic framework – though it's just as well, because unlike Deadguy, most of those groups eat shit.

You probably know the drill: Members from the almighty Rorschach (classic), No Escape (who I really ought to be posting about, since their split 7" with Turning Point is essential), and Lifetime; members later went on to Kiss it Goodbye and Family Man (the latter of which has yet to properly release any material); etc. (Playing Enemy is also often billed as an ex-Deadguy outfit, but I believe they're simply ex-Kiss it Goodbye. Yes? No? Anyone?) But rather than the typical and generally hollow "crazy go nuts" approach that's so popular today, Deadguy was much more of a genuine article: Creating viciously intense material that harnessed far more emotion and feeling, not to mention diversity… and a hearty dose of hyped up Amphetamine Reptile influences. Strong lyrics, too!

Deadguy "Doom Patrol"
Deadguy "Riot Stairs"

I'm surprised people are having trouble finding this record, overseas or not, as it's still easily available. If you're interested in new copies, RevHQ has some sort of weird limited edition repress with screenprinted alternate artwork. (Say what?) But anyway, I'd also definitely recommend their first two EP's, which are damn solid and available on one handy CD (I still need to pick that fucker up myself, come to think of it). Screw that "Screamin' With the Deadguy Quintet" crap, though. Recorded sans the two most crucial founding members, it's simply not the same… and I never could get into it:

@ RevHQ.com
@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

Kiss it Goodbye is actually back in action now, apparently planning scattered shows later this year, while Family Man is allegedly recording a handful of songs to be released this year as well. So… if you dig the tunes above, keep an eye out for all of that, too.

Aversion "Fit to be Tied" CD

Posted on Monday, July 11th, 2005 @ 2:33am » permalink

Aversion - Fit to be TiedNo, the name of my site is in no way associated with these guys. That being said, there have been numerous bands called Aversion over the years, and this in particular is the little known California crossover act that was around predominantly in the early-90's. I really don't know shit about 'em, but they did three records in '91 through '95, with "Fit to be Tied" dropping in 1992 on Restless Records. I never bothered with their third disc, but this one's significantly stronger than their debut, offering up 12 tracks in 34 minutes that range from fast and energetic crossover thrash to quirky midpaced metal riffing – generally with a snotty mix of yelling/singing that kicks out some wickedly fast vocal patterns. Of course, as with most west coast acts of this style, the band definitely tossed in some humorous/lighthearted elements at times, but that wasn't their focus at all.

The strange thing about this disc is that the band was basically billed as a duo, with Christian Fuhrer on vocals and Dash on guitar and vocals (studio musicians were credited as handling the rhythm section), and I never really understood what was going on there. Then again, it's no surprise that information on these guys is scarce, 'cause they got very little attention when they were around, and almost no one remembers 'em these days. Not that this record is some sort of lost classic, it's not, but still… this is a solid disc that has a lot of raging songs on it. But I have no idea when they formed, no idea where they ended up, no concept of their background or history, etc.

Hell, they probably owe their entire career to Headbanger's Ball, because I specifically remember when I was 15 years old seeing their video all the time for a couple of months (and Ricki Rachtman would regularly sport an Aversion t-shirt as well), but it still took me a really long time to find the cassette. In fact, I was still spinning this fucker on tape up until last year, when I finally decided to upgrade it to CD. Here are three of the strongest tracks, more indicative of the band's catchy, energetic side:

Aversion "Hung"
Aversion "Let it Go"
Aversion "Bratattack"

I know, it ain't D.R.I. or Cryptic Slaughter or whatever, but it's a damn enjoyable listen (especially for having come out years after the crossover boom), and you can find this shit all over the place for under a buck, so… have at it:

@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

Thanks for keeping the comments and email coming. I should be getting around to honoring some more requests soon. Hopefully the people asking for more "thrashcore" and crossover action will dig these tunes?

Sörskogen "Mordet i Grottan"

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2005 @ 7:12pm » permalink

Sörskogen was a regrettably short-lived side project spearheaded by Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth, with some help from Dan Swanö (from Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, and a million other amazing bands), centered around the basic sound of lush, laidback 70's progressive rock – and going so far as to sing all of the lyrics in Swedish (quite a nice touch, I might add). It's been stated that they only recorded one song together, but I'd put money on the fact that I've read in various sources over the years that two to four songs were originally laid down. Sadly only one, "Mordet i Grottan" (which translates to "The Murder in the Cave"), was leaked around on the internet, and it seems that the others were indeed lost forever. I was holding onto a clip of this track for years (I believe I first heard it in 1998 or 1999, but I can't find any solid documentation as to when it was actually recorded) before I finally scored the full-length version a couple of years ago… and hot damn is this one beautiful track. But then again, I would expect nothing less from the union of two of my favorite songwriters of all time! I mean, let's face it, Swanö is an outright musical goldmine, so to toss him in as a backup for the chief visionary of what is probably the single greatest metal band of this age? Where do I fucking sign!?

That they never properly released the Sörskogen sessions causes me great physical pain. I flipped out in a major way when I first heard this song, and it still moves me to this day. The vocal work is impressive, but the fucking solo? Shit, I can't get over it. Astounding. How can people this talented so nonchalantly treat such amazing music as some sort of random afterthought that's not viewed in a very serious light!? I mean, hands down, this composition is simply brilliant. The chorus was recycled with altered English lyrics and some additional instrumentation in Opeth's "To Rid the Disease" off of the "Damnation" album, but that's probably about all anyone can ever hope for as far as anything wearing the Sörskogen name actually seeing the light in fully developed form.

A damn shame, but at least this track survived to be thoroughly enjoyed by many…

Sörskogen "Mordet i Grottan"

Nyctophobic "Insects" CD

Posted on Monday, July 4th, 2005 @ 7:12am » permalink

Nyctophobic - InsectsSince the Tomsk-7 went over so well a few weeks ago, here's some more excellent contemporary grind. In my opinion, one of the finest grindcore releases of this decade. Germany's Nyctophobic has been around for well over 10 years, and their most recent full-length, "Insects", is chock full of raging grindcore in the classic sense. Think the churning backbone of mid-period Napalm Death without so much death metal, combined with the crusty hardcore/punk edge and searing vocal tradeoffs of a band like Phobia. Plenty of efficient speed, tons of massive of midpaced breaks, burly low growls, vicious high screams, and excellently focused songwriting… this one's got it all.

The band is apparently still active, so I'm stunned that they haven't released a damn thing in the last five years. I pulled this one out earlier in the week on a whim and was sure that when I went digging I'd found out that the band had either called it quits or released a couple of other records that slipped under my radar, but that's not the case. Anyone know the story there? Let me know.

Nyctophobic "Co(g)-existence"
Nyctophobic "Walls of Seclusion"
Nyctophobic "They"

Coincidentally, since I guess people are just dumb enough to have not paid attention to this disc when it came out five years ago, Relapse has the fucker on sale for $3 as we speak. If you dig the above mp3's, you'd be foolish not to take 'em up on that steal of a bargain:

@ Relapse Records