Yeeeaaahhh…

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007 @ 11:14am » permalink

So… as of tomorrow I'll have been doing this site (in one form or another) for eight years. A lot of people don't know that. Weird. I'm still really trying to hold out for 10. We'll see.

Anyway, I had originally planned to get back to all-out posting this week, but yesterday I had a crippling migraine and was basically unable to function for the vast majority of the day, so I got nothing done (and I generally do all of my writing on the weekends). I've been suffering from migraines for about two years now, but lately… man, they've been life-ruiningly miserable. I mean, they've been bad before, but they were actually sort of getting "better" for a little while. "Better" as in "I was only having two or three a month". But for the last few weeks I've been getting them damn near every two or three days… and the (extremely expensive) pills I pop aren't really working as well as they used to either. It fuckin' sucks. Especially because I'm more sound-sensitive than light-sensitive, so I don't want to listen to music when I'm in migraine mode.

It's pathetic. I can't jog. Stepping off a curb or coughing or sneezing can set me off. Shit, lately, even tapping my feet (which I usually do incessantly) or nodding my head can do the trick. I'm in hell.

If anyone has any bright ideas, I'm all ears. And yes, I've already spent thousands of dollars on various tests to ensure that I'm allegedly not going to drop dead of cancer or an aneurysm or anything "serious". But I'll try anything at this point!

In the meantime, here's a semi-appropriate old gem I hadn't heard in a good eight years or so. I loved this song in 1995, but sold the disc somewhere along the way:

Misery Loves Co. "Happy?"

I'm not sure if anything else on the CD still stands the test of time today, but I just grabbed the entire album off eMusic this morning before my downloads for this month expired. I guess I'll find out…

Trap Them and Terror…

Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2007 @ 6:54am » permalink

Trap Them - Seance PrimeThe latest release from Trap Them (and their first for the mighty Deathwish Inc.) is the "Seance Prime" EP, which blazes through five songs in about 15 minutes. Formed by ex-members of Backstabbers Inc. (who I was actually a big fan of despite not listening to their material too much over the years) and December Wolves (who I was never really into despite their being rather curious), this is the first time I've actually heard the band, even though I've had their "Sleepwell Deconstructor" full-length in one form or another for a few months now (I'm fucking weird, don't ask).

On their MySpace page they describe their own niche as "grindcore rock 'n' roll with the Sunlight Studio sound", and while I hate to keep referencing what bands say about themselves so much lately, that is, yet again, a fairly accurate assessment. And it's fuckin' good, too! You wouldn't necessarily think it would make sense to take a foundation of Black Flag meets D-beat and toss in a bunch of old school Swedish death metal, but once you beef it all up with that gritty, raw-yet-powerfully-crisp Sunlight vibe… that seals the deal right there, man. It works. Killer layout and intriguing lyrical approach, too. The lyrics basically seem to be set up like a short story or something like that, and you've sort of got to see for yourself to fully understand what I mean there. The band definitely has a strong aesthetic working in their favor, so I'll be curious to see how that was playing into their earlier work as well. Good stuff…

Trap Them "Pulse Mavens"

Purchase:

@ Deathwish Inc. (CD)
@ Deathwish Inc. (7")

Terror - Rhythm Amongst the ChaosMuch like Madball, Terror is one of those bands where you pretty much know what you're in for, and they never really disappoint in that regard. So the recently issued "Rhythm Amongst the Chaos" EP on Reaper Records drops five new tracks of straight-up, no bullshit metallic hardcore in less than 10 minutes – including a cover of Breakdown's "Kickback". And I'm thinking I might prefer Terror on the EP format, because "Lowest of the Low" remains my favorite Terror release to date, and as short as it is there's something about the material herein that seems to harness a more consistent level of energy – striking that perfect balance between fast, traditional hardcore and anthemically pissed off midpaced grooves. Recorded by the band in their own studio, the production is slightly rawer than that of their full-lengths, but I think that actually pays off in a sense, because it doesn't sound "off" or anything (Just needs more bass guitar!), and it really fits what they're doing. Like I said, for the most part you should know exactly what the fuck you're getting here, and in my book, it delivers.

Terror "Rhythm Amongst the Chaos"

Purchase:

@ Reaper Records
@ RevHQ

Sofy Major/One Second Riot split 10"

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007 @ 7:48am » permalink

Sofy Major/One Second Riot - splitThe second proper release from Sofy Major is a split 10" with fellow Frenchmen One Second Riot, and I'm not entirely sure if it was self-released by the bands or if there was a record label involved (Manak from Sofy Major was kind enough to hook me up with a CD-R of the tracks, so I haven't seen the vinyl itself). Sofy Major kicks things off right away with three tracks of their "screamo"-esque attack of harsh riffing and frenzied screams accented by churning midpaced surges and subtle hints at melody tucked away amidst all the layering. I'd say they might be streamlining their songwriting approach just a touch, as somehow this material feels a little more focused than before. I don't know, there's still a caustic and chaotic edge with lots of changes throughout, but there also seem to be more frequent areas of tangible force that give the listener something to latch onto, and I like that a lot. One Second Riot then follows with three tracks of their own, and it's rather interesting material. I had never heard the band before, but they're a duo primarily utilizing drums, bass, and vocals – with electronics and samples creeping in on occasion to add additional accents. Stylistically what they're doing is a good match against the Sofy Major portion of the split, though One Second Riot's approach is obviously much more spacious. The songs are a touch slower and longer, but still possess noisy elements and a similar sort of energy. Despite the fact that you can tell they're a duo, they do utilize space very well, and a lot of the bass work really does come across more like what you'd be accustomed to hearing from a guitar. A very cool split, overall…

Sofy Major "It Burns Away"
One Second Riot "Die Elektrish Leben Maschine"

I'm not entirely sure what the best way to get your hands on the record is, so I'd recommend contacting both Sofy Major and One Second Riot on MySpace to inquire about ordering information.

Bracewar "Juggernaut" CD

Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 @ 6:50am » permalink

Bracewar - JuggernautBracewar is from right here in Richmond, VA and has been around for awhile now, but "Juggernaut" (on 1917 Records) marks the first time I've ever actually heard the band. I haven't gone to a show in two or three years now, so I don't really have much of a clue as to what's going on locally anymore, and I tend to run a little behind on such matters. But this is an extremely solid offering of fast, frenzied, furious hardcore that actually has a bit of a "powerviolence" kind of tinge to it in some ways – though the songwriting is more explosively energetic and memorable and the recording is tighter and more developed than what most would expect from that type of association. There's a great balance of blasting speed and light chug, the vocals kick ass and have a dated sort of hardcore/punk bitterness going on, the pounding basslines beef up the core of the mix, and the overall songwriting comes across as familiar without lacking creativity – which isn't exactly easy when you're primarily dealing with minute-long blasts of hardcore, you know? Initially I thought this was the band's debut full-length, but then I realized that all 12 tracks only add up to about 14 minutes total, which could damn near fit on a 7", so… I guess this is an EP!? Whatever you want to call it, it's awesome, so… check 'em out and see what you think.

Bracewar "Calling Out"
Bracewar "Afterthought"

Purchase:

@ 1917 Records (CD)
@ 1917 Records (LP)
@ 1917 Records (mp3)

Severe Torture "Sworn Vengeance" CD

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 @ 7:45am » permalink

Severe Torture - Sworn Vengeance"Sworn Vengeance" is the fourth full-length from Dutch death metal act Severe Torture (their second for Earache Records), and to be completely up front with you I almost didn't even bother listening to it. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed Severe Torture's work in the past, but I don't actively keep up with the death metal genre anymore. While I know there's some solid shit out there these days, I just tend to stick to my old school classics as far as this realm is concerned. But I was cleaning up and sorting through some CD's the other day and when I came across this one I happened to spot a little note on the back about there being a limited edition first pressing that includes a Cro-Mags cover ("It's the Limit", if you care), so I figured I had to give this fuckin' thing a shot.

When you're faced with an album called "Sworn Vengeance" from a band called Severe Torture, especially one that includes song titles like "Fight Something" and "Buried Hatchet", you can't help but want the thing to kick ass, you know? Of course, I wouldn't call this a modern classic or anything like that, but as expected based on the group's past work this is a solid offering that sees the band continuing to distance themselves from the heavily Cannibal Corpse-inspired characteristics of their earliest output. Of course you can expect gruff, low growls and a good amount of gnashing blasts, but they're slowing things down a touch more these days, and more often, which pays off big time in my book because the riffs get a little more breathing room: And that means more meatiness, more atmosphere, and – in the best case scenarios – more feeling. Is it groundbreaking in any way? Fuck no. But the riffs are strong (there are some killer slow/midpaced winding dissonant runs throughout), the songs are strong, and the recording's strong, so that makes for a perfectly better than average death metal record.

Oh, and the Cro-Mags cover? Not bad, not bad. The vocal performance is pretty damn cool. They follow it up with a cover of Entombed's "Eyemaster" as well. Good stuff.

Severe Torture "Countless Villains"
Severe Torture "Buried Hatchet"

Purchase:

@ Earache
@ The End Records
@ eMusic

Perth Express "s/t" CD

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2007 @ 6:54am » permalink

Perth Express - s/tThe latest (and best release to date) from Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records is a self-titled "discography so far" CD (the band is still active, after all) from underrated German metallic hardcore/punk bruisers Perth Express Рcompiling 23 tracks for damn near an hour's worth of material (and few duplicates Рonly the last four tracks from the band's demo appear elsewhere on the disc in re-recorded form). And I guess these dudes are just admirably fucking productive, because represented are their "s/t" LP from 2006 as well as their "s/t" 10", split 7" with Hellstr̦m, and demo from 2004. They're also yet another band who inadvertently describes themselves frighteningly accurately on their MySpace page:

We like down-tuned guitars, we like His Hero is Gone, we like heavy parts, we like Botch, we like fast and in-your-face hardcore, we like Left for Dead, we like blast beats, we like Unruh, we like melodies, we like Tragedy, we like noise, we like Converge…

Seriously, that about nails it. Throw all that shit in a blender and give it a great recording with just the right amount of grit and polish, then deliver it via an array of quick one- to two-minute shots as well as longer, darker, and more diverse compositions that run past three to four minutes, and you've got yourself a fuckin' keeper. Awesome riffs, powerful production, energetic songwriting… this band's got it all. The disc is also handsomely packaged on the D.I.Y. tip in a recycled matte black cardboard digipack with hand-screened artwork in metallic gold ink. The lyrics are all in German, but there are one-line descriptions of the content for each song in English, and thankfully the approach seems to be more personal than political, though such elements do seem to present themselves here and there.

I know I don't currently keep up with everything as much as I tried to years ago, but I'm pretty damn surprised that I had never heard of this band before. If they were from the US (especially Portland or Memphis) they'd probably be fucking "huge" (by hardcore/punk standards – think His Hero is Gone in their heyday). Check this shit out:

Perth Express "Neverending Einbahnstrasse"
Perth Express "U-Turn"
Perth Express "Liebeskontrolle"

Purchase:

@ Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records

Deathkiller "New England is Sinking" CD

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007 @ 8:30am » permalink

Deathkiller - New England is SinkingI've been sitting on "New England is Sinking", the debut full-length from Connecticut trio Deathkiller on I Scream Records, for way too long now. I first popped the disc in several months ago with absolutely zero idea of what to expect – and therefore, honestly, not particularly expecting much – and was pretty impressed by their extremely diverse brand of what would best be tagged as "post-hardcore" for any sort of reference point. Musically you can definitely hear bits and pieces of bands like Quicksand and Helmet and shit like that, but at the end of the day Deathkiller doesn't really sound like those bands at all. The songwriting puts forth a nice blend of that staple post-hardcore dissonance over pounding heaviness and punchy distorted basslines, subtly melodic/catchy accoutrements, atypically rocked out bursts of force, and then some. But it's a really surprisingly focused album, too: 13 tracks in less than a half-hour, with just one song surpassing three minutes in length (and barely), so… they definitely tend to keep the energy level up there so that everything moves right along. Not bad at all… so hopefully some of you will enjoy it as I do.

Deathkiller "Idle Worship"
Deathkiller "Carlos D is in My Top 8"

Purchase:

@ RevHQ
@ Very Distribution
@ eMusic

Glorior Belli "Manifesting the Raging Beast" CD

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007 @ 9:19am » permalink

Glorior Belli - Manifesting the Raging BeastA few years ago, during the height of my immersion in black metal, I checked out the debut album from yet another incredibly promising French act, Glorior Belli. It was a solid album, and among those with an incredibly admirable visual aesthetic tied to its musical merits, but I've barely listened to it since that time because I felt that there was this very weird characteristic to the album where all of the drumming sounded completely erratic and unbalanced – almost as though the drummer was in his own twistedly nightmarish world that had absolutely nothing to do with what the rest of the band was doing. So I don't know if I should be thankful for the fact that there's a different drummer performing on "Manifesting the Raging Beast" – their Southern Lord-released follow-up – or not, but there is, and among other things that really seems to make one hell of a difference in terms of the focus and overall listenability of the material.

Certainly not as "out there" as some of their French counterparts in terms of what it takes for black metal to be a little out of the ordinary, this album sees Glorior Belli thickening up and subtly polishing the production values to just the right degree, while the overall atmosphere explores a hint more of those slower and more winding dissonant riffs that always tend to stand out and grab more attention amidst whirlwinds of speed and unhinged ferocity. There are a number of relatively straightforward arrangements and riffing techniques at work throughout, but this time around everything is executed with a very calculated level of quality: The music itself, the performances, the recording, the graphic design… and the lyrics as well – which it's worth noting are curiously artistic and creatively high-minded in a way that, at least to me, avoids the almost pompous disposition of certain comparable outfits:

"Forever abused…" softly sings the plague. Still a voice divine can sing, and this incomparable beauty still adorn a rotten heart – my own where the poison shines and boils. And in each note; emotions flung aloft with fevered pace. The music of my soul is sung with tainted grace…

It may not be a groundbreaking piece of work in the end, but as I've said before this is not a genre particularly driven by invention. These eight songs/40 minutes demonstrate a noticeable shift towards the true power and feeling that Glorior Belli is capable of achieving, and that's certainly a respectful progrssion. Very nicely done…

Glorior Belli "Severed From the Self"

Purchase:

@ Southern Lord
@ The End Records

Robots and Empire "Omnivore" CD

Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 @ 7:56am » permalink

Robots and Empire - Omnivore"Omnivore" is the second full-length and third release overall from Poughkeepsie, NY's Robots and Empire (their first on Trip Machine Laboratories), though I had never heard of the band at all until earlier this year. I'm not sure why that is, but to be completely, brutally fucking honest with you, I've gotta wonder whether or not terrible artwork has been a contributing factor to the band's less-than-focal position out there? No offense intended whatsoever, but god damn, man… I really don't dig the visual aesthetic here at all, and a quick glance at the prior CD covers posted on their MySpace page just leaves me shaking my head and wondering what the hell these cats are thinking!? Because this is a great record! You'd never expect it based on how it looks, but… shit, I mean, the band delivers!

The succinct "bio" on their MySpace page also touches on the general basis for their sound:

Robots and Empire is the ferocious result of four kids from Poughkeepsie, NY who spent time amassing days upon days listening to a ton of post-hardcore records that came out of the east coast in the mid- to late-90's (Quicksand, Into Another, Orange 9mm, Cast Iron Hike, Unsane, Giant's Chair) and a ton of "space rock" from that same time period (Failure, Hum, Chavez, Shiner, the Deftones)…

And you can definitely pick up on a number of those influences throughout the disc, but it's more than that. It's… weird, and, well… much heavier. There's an unexpectedly dense, dingy sort of stoner/sludge factor hovering over the recording, which definitely adds a unique touch to the range of dissonant textures and melodies that would indeed be otherwise more linked to that "post-hardcore" realm – therefore twisting up the end result into something darker and more menacing that truly sounds like a beast of its own. But it's a wild ride overall: 14 generally short tracks (most are two or three minutes apiece) in 45 minutes, traversing churning heaviness and pulsing basslines, borderline catchy hooks, stripped down power chords mashed within odd time signatures and oddball structural shifts, noisily fuzzed-out lead drones, and an array of vocal techniques that rather effortlessly sweeps across all kinds of dynamics without ever shedding its backbone of actual, quality "singing".

I don't know, man… when all is said and done I guess this is another one of those perfect examples of the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" argument, 'cause this shit kicks ass. I really do think that a lot of the people who read this site will dig this record quite a bit. I hope so, anyway!

Robots and Empire "Gamma Ray"
Robots and Empire "Pure Shit"

Purchase:

@ RevHQ
@ Very Distribution
@ Interpunk

Meltdown and Violation…

Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2007 @ 8:43am » permalink

Meltdown - DemolitionEven more so than the Bitter End disc I posted about last week, another surprisingly metal-influenced release (Just check out that cover art!?) from Malfunction/Deathwish is the "Demolition" EP from Boston's Meltdown, which runs through five songs in about 15 minutes and is loaded with churning midpaced breaks amidst, well… straight up thrash metal riffs galore, really. The vocal style and the fact that the songs are all about two to three minutes apiece keeps things rooted in a hardcore sort of framework (which teeters on a Cleveland kind of sound on rare occasion), but riffing-wise the influences definitely seem to rest more with a variety of metal-based outfits, from early Slayer to more of a crossover type of groove/tempo variation. I haven't heard their first EP, so I'm not sure how this compares stylistically or in terms of the playing/production style, so I'd still cite some room for improvement as far as tightening things up a touch, but there's some definite potential here…

Meltdown "Iron Chains"

Purchase:

@ Malfunction/Deathwish (CD)
@ Malfunction/Deathwish (7")

Violation - PossessedAnd yet another somewhat similar (though stronger) release is the debut EP, "Possessed", from California's Violation, on 1917 Records. Here's another band that's got a great handle on how to fuse those chunky NYHC types of influences (as well as a few hints at the more European take on NYHC, ala True Blue or bands of that nature) with thrashy picking patterns and surprising little fits of melody – not to mention a relatively differentiating vocal performance – without sacrificing any energy or songwriting quality. There's just something about this material that really does the trick for me. They're certainly not reinventing the wheel, but despite the fact that the bulk of the influences swirling around in here are pretty standard, the end result doesn't particularly sound generic to me at all, and there's a great sense of power within the surging breaks of the song structures. I don't know, it's just great shit, I'm lovin' it! Can't wait to hear a full-length from these dudes…

Violation "Stranglehold"

Purchase:

@ 1917 Records (7")
@ 1917 Records (mp3)

Bitter End "Climate of Fear" CD

Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2007 @ 7:44am » permalink

Bitter End - Panic of FearI would never in a million fucking years have guessed that they were from San Antonio, Texas, but indeed that is the case for Bitter End, whose debut full-length, "Climate of Fear" (out now on Malfunction/Deathwish), chugs through 11 tracks of absolutely stellar late-80's/early-90's NYHC worship. And when I say "NYHC", what I mean is, "Remember all those badass old NYHC records that were totally influenced by thrash metal…?" Yeah, that shit… which it just so happens that I fucking love: Shitloads of crunchy midpaced power chords and thrashy picking patterns, sick riffs, fiery little lead breaks, a solid sense of energy with just a little tinge of melody here and there… it's great! I mean, god damn, they cite some of the standard big-name influences (Agnostic Front, the Cro-Mags, Leeway, etc.), but then they also start breakin' off names like The Icemen, Dmize, Outburst… shit, they might as well have thrown Social Disorder in there, too! And the even crazier thing about it is that these guys are in their early-20's! Some of 'em are a full decade younger than I am! Insane!

And they really take the entire aesthetic seriously, man (I'm surprised they didn't just pack up and move to New York), because this is one of those records where you can just look at it and know it's gonna kick ass. It totally looks like Nuclear Assault's "Handle With Care" or something like that, and you just don't see cover art that looks like this on many records that have come out since that late-80's/early-90's timeframe. But what really seals the deal are the fucking vocals, man! Holy shit, I mean, where the fuck has this guy been hiding!? Finally a fucking frontman that understands that, yes, it is possible not to shout exactly like everyone else on the planet, and no, you don't have to go terribly far out of your way to differentiate yourself. It's because of the vocals that this record sounds so motherfucking convincing (and dated, but in the best way possible). What can I say? I'm impressed. Sure, there's a little room for improvement (though this is already a huge step up from their EP)… but fuck, these guys are the shit. I'm all over this. This album is definitely the one that kicked me in the ass to start catching up on all the metallic hardcore I've been missing out on lately, but I just don't see it being possible for any other band in 2007 to get more props from me from a stylistic/influence point of view. These dudes know exactly what the fuck is up.

Bitter End "The Higher"
Bitter End "Climate of Fear"

Purchase:

@ Malfunction/Deathwish

Irreversible "Sins" CD

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007 @ 7:54am » permalink

Irreversible - SinsHaving never heard of either Atlanta's Irreversible or their label Hero Entertainment before, I honestly didn't expect much from their debut full-length, "Sins". I don't know why, there's no particular reason, really – that's just how it goes sometimes. So that probably has a lot to do with how stunned I was when I first checked out their music. I was probably expecting something a little more standard and/or geared towards Swedish-y sounding metalcore… I don't know, I just wasn't expecting this: More than an hour's worth of pulsing, pounding, crushing, "Neurisis" styled bludgeonings over the course of 11 tracks that range from minute-or-two-long experiments in shimmery "post-rock" clean passages and electronics to 10+ minute bruisers that beat you over the head with plenty of burly, doom-laden power chords and subtly sludgy, southern-tinged textures. You'll of course notice that I've already dropped the dreaded "post-rock" term here, but such influences are a touch more streamlined within the confines (or lack thereof) of this material, which creates a greater sense of balance than usual and plays out rather nicely – plus, the powerfully dense yet impressively crisp recording certainly helps things along in this regard. It all amounts to a surprisingly sinister and oddly emotional jaunt that seems to atmospherically connect with the band's concept-driven approach. After all, their bio begins:

In less than six years, the Earth is due for a radical change. According to the Mayan calendar and the incredibly accurate Timewave Zero software, in the year 2012, the planet will reach a point of great awakening – a new permanent shift of consciousness. The collision between human nature and the human ego is already taking place, bringing the entire human race closer to an omega point that cannot be undone…

I'm sure some will complain that the general whole of the band's style isn't particularly original, and I can't exactly argue against that, but there are definitely elements of what they're doing that stretch beyond their obvious influences, and at the end of the day the quality and feeling of the music they're creating certainly stands on its own. Nicely done, and I'll be curious to see where things go from here for Irreversible…

Irreversible "…And Beyond the Infinite"
Irreversible "Blackness That Spread"

This one only seems to be available from the band and the label through their MySpace pages for the time being, so check those out for ordering options.

Ambitions "Stranger" CD

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 @ 8:34am » permalink

Ambitions - Stranger"Stranger" is the debut full-length from Connecticut's Ambitions on Bridge Nine, and is among a recent string of releases from the label that breaks away from the more traditionally heavy, aggressive and/or old school styled hardcore for which they're known. The basis for the riffing herein kind of builds off of that zippy, energetic sort of Shai Hulud type of thing, but fused with more of a "pop-punk" sort of sound ala Dag Nasty or something like that as opposed to the heavier side of things – so when combined with the vocal approach (singing, though not exactly in a full-blown sense) the end result sort of comes across as a more technical (and less catchy) take on the kind of relentless melody exhibited on the latest Ignite album. It's a pretty slick balance, because there are some obvious hardcore influences throughout, as well as a few standard post-hardcore textures scattered around, but the little fits of metallic chugging and such really don't come across as "metal" at all within such a blatantly melodic framework. Breadth of influences considered, the songwriting can be a touch one-sided when all is said and done (I think a hint more vocal variety and emphasis might do the trick), and it certainly won't be for everyone, but there's a lot of promise here. I'm all over the subtle complexities of the dissonantly textured riffing with all of the dual guitar interaction and whatnot, and that kind of thing always catches my attention and gets me curious… so it'll be interesting to see where they go with this delivery in the future.

Ambitions "Sinking"
Ambitions "Postscript"

Purchase:

@ Bridge Nine

Intronaut "The Challenger" CD

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 @ 8:42am » permalink

Intronaut - The Challenger"The Challenger" is the latest EP from the mighty Intronaut on Translation Loss, offering up about 15 minutes of new material (in three songs) backed up by five live tracks (recorded in 2005 and 2007) and a remix. I'm not particularly interested in the live tracks here, though they sound fine, since I've never really had much interest in listening to live performances of songs that I already have via studio recordings, so… I'm only touching on the first three tracks herein. While I enjoy everything Intronaut has released to date, I have to confess that I still prefer their debut EP, "Null", over everything else, and I guess that all boils down to the sheer force and impact of the songwriting. A few more of those shimmery "post-rock" (or "post-metal", or whatever the fuck people like to call that stuff) types of textures and influences are continuing to seep in these days, and I'm just not wild on that style, but it's definitely worth pointing out that those elements never dominate what this band puts forth. The bulk of the material is still jammed with fucked up time signatures and complex arrangements full of chunky, churning rhythms and mangled dissonance, and there are always moments of brilliance tucked away throughout their work – often highlighting the jazzy technical skills of what is undoubtedly one of the most badass rhythm sections out there, period. I think I'm almost getting to the point where I'm sort of torn up over the fact that these guys are so fucking talented, and at their best ("Fragments of Character" off the "Null" EP, I always say it and I just must, 'cause that's a one-in-a-million fucking masterpiece right there) they can strike that fucking nerve that so, so, so few bands are capable of – where the aggression and the melody all gel perfectly into one focused, emotionally crushing whole – but they so frequently do so in 15 – 30 second spurts, as opposed to maintaining a level of consistency and power throughout. I don't know, what can I say? This isn't their best work, but it's solid, and I'm a fan… and knowing what they're capable of? I'll never stop listening…

Intronaut "The Challenger"

Purchase:

@ Translation Loss
@ The End Records
@ Relapse Records

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