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Karma Never Forgives "Corrupt State" CD

Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 @ 6:18am » permalink

Karma Never Forgives - Corrupt StateI had been wanting to get my hands on something from New Jersey's Karma Never Forgives for a long time, but had no idea that they actually had a self-released three-song CD EP available for sale already. (And have since last year!?) A random Google search last week informed me of its existence, so of course I ordered one immediately, and primarily for two crucial reasons:

1. Former members of Agents of Man!
2. Former members of Elements DEC!

The members have also been involved with For the Love Of…, I.D.K., Maximum Penalty, One 4 One, and a number of others, but I absolutely fucking love Agents of Man and Elements DEC. As many New Jersey bands as I flip out over, none are more important than Agents of Man and Elements DEC. (And Train of Thought, which, shit, I suppose one of these guys was in Train of Thought, too! There's crucial reason #3!) And let me tell you, Karma Never Forgives is already right up there with those bands on my flip out list, because all three of these songs absolutely rule, and quite honestly feel like a second coming of Agents of Man to me. They've got that same perfect blend of heavy, metallic hardcore and emphatic melodies with amazing vocals that can effortlessly shift from great singing and catchy choruses to more of a standard shouting/yelling or whatever. Killer riffs, memorable songwriting, I love every second of it. These cats need to get a full-length happening pronto. If Karma Never Forgives goes as criminally underappreciated as the other bands I've gushed about above, then I fucking quit. If people are too stupid (again) to realize how amazing this shit is, I just can't handle it. I don't get truly excited about "new" bands very often anymore, but I'm going crazy over this EP!

$7 might feel a tad steep for a three-song EP, but that includes shipping, and personally I'd have paid $10 without a second thought, because every song is gold and anything with former members of Agents of Man, Elements DEC, or Train of Thought is absolutely mandatory for me. I should've had this thing in my hands the day after it went up for sale!

Purchase:

@ Ripface Invasion (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

Integrity "Thee Destroy+ORR" CD

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011 @ 6:02am » permalink

Integrity - Thee Destroy+ORRAnother gem from the increasingly prolific Integrity and Holy Terror Records, this collection offers up 12 tracks/40 minutes of music from the band's "Rob Orr era"; compiling the songs from the forthcoming "Detonate Worlds Plague" 12", the "We are the End" EP, the "7.17" compilation, and the splits with Rot in Hell and Creepout – plus a few other odds and ends that include a rather interesting 34-minute interview. Both the new and the previously released tracks herein highlight Integrity's recent turn towards a rawer, grittier take on the shorter, more explosive songwriting approach of the "Systems Overload" days, but there are also new occurrences of the experimentation present on "Humanity is the Devil"/"Seasons in the Size of Days" coming back into the fold as well, which is fucking perfect as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to imply that the band is repeating itself, as that's simply not the case, but it's undeniably cool to hear these suggestive connections to their past efforts. Among the more experimental pieces, "Sermon Thirteen" utilizes sampled (I think?) vocals over a combination of classic Integrity lead runs and a number of G.I.S.M.-like rhythms, while "We Have Helped Others Escape" actually brings back the old school Psywarfare approach – blending in samples of air raid sirens and obfuscated vocal effects with rugged, rumbling noise textures. Among the other tracks that I hadn't heard before are an acoustic instrumental take on "Waiting for the Sun (To Burn Out My Eyes)", and a true-to-form cover of Zouo's "No Power". The interview is equally awesome, touching on everything from the band's early history, inspiration, and creative process to tales of studio engineers being forced to tone down the harshness of the "Systems Overload" mix (against the band's wishes), among tons of other tidbits. Good stuff.

Integrity "Detonate Worlds Plague"

The disc is packaged in a slim cardboard slipcase covered in the band's patented use of gloss printing, and is available for just $6.66, so… you can't go wrong! Pre-orders for the "Detonate Worlds Plague" 12" also include "Thee Destroy+ORR" CD (not to mention the 12" on transparent purple vinyl, which will be limited to 250), so that's another option for you…

Purchase:

@ Holy Terror Records (CD)
@ Holy Terror Records (12"/CD/patch bundle)

The Beast and Tortured Dog…

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011 @ 5:57am » permalink

The Beast and Tortured DogTwo obscure metal bands have been completely blowing my mind lately, and I have one of the many mixes that Fenriz has made available online to thank for it. In this particular mix, from a portion of his DJ set at the 2009 Metal Merchants Festival, he included a track from the 1983 "Power Metal" EP by a New Jersey band called The Beast (Pre-Ripping Corpse!?). And that track, "The Beast", is one of the most ridiculously catchy songs I've ever heard in my life:

The Beast "The Beast"

Don't be misled by the fact that the EP is called "Power Metal", because the band's style is really more of a Motörhead-ish, hardcore/punk-infused take on catchy, energetic metal… and it fucking rules!

Reading more about The Beast led me to discover that they also appeared on the "Born to Metalize" compilation in 1984 (and released at least one demo in 1986, but I've been unable to find it) alongside Sneak Attack (NJ), Hades (NJ), and a New York band called Tortured Dog. Terrible band name, I know, but holy shit are they responsible for this infectious gem (I apologize for the skips in the YouTube track, most versions of this song that are floating around are flawed):

Tortured Dog "Can't Run From Evil"

According to The Metal Archives the band never released anything beyond the three tracks on this compilation, which is a damn shame, 'cause this song in particular has been stuck in my head for weeks now with its insanely hook-y brand of traditional metal.

I typically don't promote downloading complete releases for free, but from what I can tell both of these records are out of print and rather rare (or at least the copies you'll stumble upon on eBay, etc. aren't exactly priced within a reasonable range), and it drives me insane that there's so much amazing music out there that you can't get your hands on through honorable means. That being said, The Devil's Music has made The Beast's "Power Metal" 7" available, and you can find a non-skipping rip of the "Born to Metalize" compilation LP over at Lockjaw.

Throat "Licked Inch Fur" 12"

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 @ 6:32am » permalink

Throat - Licked Inch Fur"Licked Inch Fur" is the latest four-song EP from top-notch Finnish noise rock act Throat (released by At War with False Noise, Kaos Kontrol, Made in Kansas, and Verdura Records), and somehow it's even better than the "Adult Situations" 7" that I wrote about three months ago. I mentioned last time that the band seems to draw frequent comparisons to 16, Unsane, and Fudge Tunnel, but regardless of whether or not I agree with that, I will say that this EP puts Throat right up there with those highly regarded acts in terms of overall quality level. Surging rhythms, plodding basslines, eerie feedback, ringing dissonance, harsh vocals… it's all here in fine form. The songwriting has an unexpectedly dark heaviness to it as well, and that definitely pays off. And it's all wrapped up in an excellent recording that keeps everything sounding warm and natural – giving each element its own breathing room in the mix. Awesome, awesome stuff. Just check out the track below for proof. There's absolutely no reason why fans of this particular style shouldn't be absolutely flipping out over this band!

Throat "Piggie"

Purchase:

@ Kaos Kontrol
@ Verdura Records

After Oblivion "Vultures"

Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 @ 6:24am » permalink

After Oblivion - VulturesIt's been a little over three years since I wrote about the last demo from Bosnia and Herzegovina's After Oblivion, but their technical, melodic death metal that's highly influenced by the legendary Death remains firmly intact. They've secured a heavier recording this time out that gives a hint more prominence to the basslines and thickens things up in general, but in terms of the songwriting and performances I'd say everything's pretty much dead on with where they were headed on "The Carnal Form". Expect tracks dominated by high-energy riffing delivered through crisp guitar work and fluid solos, followed relatively closely by pulsing bass and efficient percussion. The band's rhythm section isn't as creative as those for which Death is remembered, but there's no denying the similarities in overall atmosphere between the two bands. I can't make much sense of why these guys haven't been scooped up by a label yet. The sneering vocals are higher-pitched than average, and can be an acquired taste to some degree, but… that's not a significant issue at all. I get used to the vocals within the first minute, and everything starts to fall into place just fine. There have been a good number of moderately successful bands over the years that have basically borrowed 90% of their approach from Carcass, so what's wrong with a band that immediately brings to mind later-era Death!? Nothing, that's what! Hopefully After Oblivion will have better luck moving forward. I'd definitely like to hear what they could do with a full-length album…

After Oblivion "Vultures"

Apparently you can email the band at [email protected] and receive a link to download the tracks for free, but they just got physical CD's made up as well, so be sure to ask about ordering information if that's your preference.

Artillery "By Inheritance" CD

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011 @ 6:57am » permalink

Artillery - By InheritanceFor a few months now I've been trying to get back to writing about older gems again (at least once a week), and I've finally pulled it off! Artillery formed in Denmark in the early-80's and released two decent albums of relatively rugged, aggressive thrash before unloading "By Inheritance" via Roadrunner Records in 1990, when all of a sudden – BAM – it's almost like they became a different band. The production values, the riffs, the solos, the vocal performance, everything took a step up and gelled together perfectly on this absolute masterpiece of thrash. I know a lot of people think that the early- to mid-80's was the height of the thrash wave, but I find it extremely hard to argue against the top-notch quality of 1989 – 1991, and albums like "By Inheritance" play a big role in that. This kind of material proves that thrash can be loaded with completely badass riffs but still be just ridiculously catchy. Expect tons of palm-muted gallops, atypical dual guitar harmonies that almost have a Middle Eastern feel to 'em, super slick clean passages, and the fucking vocals are so great on this album, I can't even tell you. The dude blends traditional metal wailing with a weird, raspy edge that initially feels like it might be irritating, but really it just beefs things up and makes for some incredible choruses. Pretty much every time I listen to "Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)" it gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

I never say enough about the music anymore, but that's because I don't think it matters. You can listen to a couple of songs and make up your own mind. I feel like the real "service" that I offer is pointing you in the right direction to hopefully discover music you might not have heard otherwise, so… see what you think!

Artillery "Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)"
Artillery "Bombfood"

Artillery has reformed a couple of times since originally calling it quits in 1991, but to be honest I haven't checked out any of their albums since "By Inheritance". If that's a mistake, someone please let me know, heh.

"By Inheritance" is one of the many classics that has been rightfully reissued by Polish label Metal Mind Productions, so it's still relatively easy to get your hands on the CD. And you should…

Purchase:

@ Amazon.com
@ CM Distro

Activator "Unfortunate Lovely"

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 @ 6:43am » permalink

Activator - Unfortunate LovelyThe "Unfortunate Lovely" EP from New York's Activator was recorded a few years ago and originally slated to be released by Definitive Jux, but when that didn't work out it was eventually released digitally by Afro-Punk instead. What I love about Activator is that here in the early-2010's they remind me of the type of band that I would've heard on some completely random hardcore compilation in the 90's and flipped out over. In fact, if you told me this stuff was recorded in 1998 or something I would absolutely believe it, because the production has a raw, live-in-the-studio type of sound to it that totally reminds me of those days as well. The core of their approach is something of a metallic hardcore base with lots of uniquely melodic riffing and great vocal patterns that really work some energy into the songwriting, but then you'll also spot some totally unexpected death metal riffs, awesome solos, etc. – so there's definitely a lot going on here. There are little bits and pieces that feel familiar, but I sure as hell can't think of any bands that sound like this, and that's an excellent trait to achieve, especially in this day and age. Stream the entire EP below via Bandcamp and hopefully you'll pick up on what I'm talking about:

The band is preparing to record a full-length now, and I certainly look forward to hearing it. In the meantime, the EP is available as a free download, so check it out and keep your eyes out for more down the road:

[DOWNLOAD] Activator "Unfortunate Lovely" (@ Bandcamp)

Kali/Ultimate Blowup split 7"

Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2011 @ 6:46am » permalink

Kali/Ultimate Blowup - splitMore explosive grind from Germany's 7 Degrees Records (this time with the help of #1 Dad Records, Idoneum Bello Records, Incursion Records, and Spastic Fantastic). Kali (Canada) kicks things off with six tracks generally powered by frantic speeds, high/low vocals, and a couple of slower, pounding tempos for good measure. There are no gaps in between the songs either, they just cave in to a bit of feedback and then keep going. The primary vocals are snotty, bitter high-end yells, and that works well with the overall energy of the tracks. Ultimate Blowup (Turkey) then follows with eight songs of their own take on an extremely similar sound. There's a little more differentiation between the high/low vocals, and both vocalists have a little bit of an unusual ring to their voices, but otherwise the approach is damn near the same, so it's a great match-up. Both bands also utilize production values that are perfect for this style: Balanced yet rugged, unpolished without losing detail, etc. At 14 tracks in only 11 minutes, I'm not sure what more to say here. If you're a fan of fast, energetic, grinding hardcore/punk that likely would've been right at home on Slap a Ham Records 15+ years ago, I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy the hell out of this split…

Kali "Bloodsport"
Ultimate Blowup "Fact and Resolution?"

The 7" is limited to 310 on black vinyl, 110 on blue vinyl, and 110 on green vinyl, and as always you can contact 7 Degrees Records directly for ordering information in addition to using the links below…

Purchase:

@ Incursion Records
@ Just Say No! Records
@ Per Koro Records
@ Spastic Fantastic