RECORD REVIEWS FROM INFINITE MONKEY NO.2
12th Angel Calling - Demo CDr (PO Box 187, Leeds, LS6 1PH)
Very fucking metal! One guitar player likes to solo. A lot! The only thing that lets this down is that the recording isn't that great but then again it is a demo. If you like your hardcore metallic and mosh then you'll definitely be into this. Saw them live recently and they seem to have improved a lot so it's a name to look out for.
Anodyne - Quiet Wars CD (Escape Artist, PO Box 472, Downingtown, PA 19335-0472, USA)
This is fairly dull and uninpsiring to be honest. It's metallic hardcore with a few flourishes of oddness that is the done thing at the moment but they don't seem to be able to do it that well or innovatively. I'll pass on this one.
Born Under Saturn/Shora split 7" (Snuff, PO Box 5117, CH-1211, Geneve 11, Switzerland)
Heavy music's great isn't it! Shora are from Swtizerland but sound very German if you know what I mean. Chaotic metal with tortured, screamed vocals. If you like the stuff tha Per Koro put out then you'll like this. This stuff just seems to have an extra edge that US bands don't have. The said Born Under Saturn (who are from the US) can match up quite well. If you like stuff like Converge, Systral or Botch then you won't be disappointed by this. Both bands are fairly new I think and they have the potential to outdo the aforementioned bands. Comes on ridiculously thick grey vinyl as well.
BSE/Insult split 7" (Balowski)
Bought this straight after BSE played their set at the 1 in 12. They impressed me that much! Insult played after them and they were great too. Thankfully this 7" more than equal to their live performance. BSE are raging fast hardcore similar to Charles Bronson but with slightly deeper vocals. Insult are similar but have a slightly more grindcore edge to them (never a bad thing!). The cover is a rip-off of that DRI dancing man thing and inside it declares Dutch Thrash On The Rise. You may think that makes them sound over-confident of their abilities but trust me you'll be screaming for more while your ears slowly trickle blood from having played this record stupidly loud. (c/o Roy Meijnen, Imarweg 287, 6709 RX Wageningen, Holland)
Caeser Soaze/Travis Cut - No Prudence split CDs (Fuxony, 142 Springfield Road, Brighton, BN1 6BZ)
This is a turn up for the books - a Travis Cut single that isn't a 7"! For that matter it's not even on Speedowax. What's happening! It's their first new songs in a while I think. They are pop punk but aren't generic Epi-Fat type stuff. Instead it's quite similar to the Undertones I reckon. One of the best pop punk bands in the UK I think. Caesaer Soze aren't quite my thing though. Their ska-punk type stuff and that kind of thing never really does much for me I'm afraid. They put in loads of energy though. Definitely worth taking a chance on.
Canaan - The Time Is Near demo tape (12 Belmont Close, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0HR)
Mosh metal that is quite unoriginal but well played nonetheless. The problem I have with most of this kind of stuff is that bands concentrate too much on mosh sections. The mosh section should only be there to provide brief respite from all the thrash. Play faster dammit! Go listen to Testament, Slayer or Kreator or something and learn to play fucking full on thrash metal fast! You can tell that they listen to a lot of the Belgian metalcore stuff. It isn't Canaan fault that I'm not massively into this kind of stuff because the Belgian bands need to learn how to play fucking fast as well. They could also do with losing the religious imagery thing. I now only accept religious imagery in metal bands if you also wear corpse paint and ridiculously over the top classic metal wear. I saw them live the other day and they were wearing fairly normal stuff so my new rules decree that they must desist from using religious imagery. I found myself getting into them a lot more live as well. Lose the relgious imagery and play a hell of a lot faster is my advice guys.
Canvas - Lost In Rock CD (Household Name)
This was always going to be a good album. Their previous releases had been great and their live performances confirmed that they had some more great songs on the boil. I don't think I or anyone else was prepared for quite how good this CD actually is. Lost In Rock has put Canvas in the same league as Cave In, Neurosis, Botch etc. It's not just good, quite innovative metallic hardcore. It's not just "ooh a British band that can do a great copy of US bands". This is just a plain fucking amzing album, full stop. It took a couple of listens to really get into but that shows how much depth there is in these songs. They use a lot of non-standard issue hardcore instruments like drum machine, violin, flute and turntable amongst others. Yes a few other bands have used them before. Some people might hear the violins and just go "Neurosis" but that's being lazy. Canvas are being truly innovative on here. Damn it, just get the CD and hear for yourself.
Cattlepress - Hordes To Abolish The Divine CD (Hydrahead)
This is just plain sick. Imagine if Eyehategod became a Hydrahead band. This may offend some people but it also sounds a bit like Slipknot or somone but if they really were as crazy and fucked up as they thought they were. Have Hydrahead ever actually put out a bad record?
Cave In/Children split 7" (Mosh Bart Industries, 28 Rue Du Puit Mauger, 35000 Rennes, France)
For some reason all the reviews I've seen of this have completely slagged it off. People don't seem to like the idea of dance remixes of songs. People are generally stupid though! The Cave In side is Kurt Ballou form Converge remixing "Bottom Feeder" from Until Your Heart Stops. It's not up to the standard of the Kid 606 remix of the Locust but it's still good. Too many people are scared of electronic music. It's not like it sounds like the Vengaboys or something like that (actually doing a cheesey house version of a Cave In song would probably be pretty cool I reckon!). Children are kind of wannabe Hydrahead type chaotic metal but aren't that great to be honest. The artwork is fantastic though. Definitely pick this up if you're a Cave In freak. Don't be offput by the 'remix' status of the song.
Cave In - Jupiter CD (Hydrahead)
I can imagine a lot of people will be dissappointed by this because Cave In have completely lost all the full on thrash metal stuff. It now sounds more like Radiohead but then again Radiohead sound more like Aphex Twin now so perhaps that's a bad comparison. Think also stuff like Pink Floyd, Yes or the Pixies. Jupiter is, in short, an absolutely fantastic album that everyone should get. It has an amazingly original sound even though you can tell who they've been influenced by. I love the fact that Cave In have had the fucking guts to make this album. It would have been really easy for them to carry on doing the metal stuff that made them so popular in the first place. If you had any sense at all you'd already have the album and you'd be sitting reading this review going "yes, it is indeed one of the finest gramophone recordings that has graced my ears in quite some time."
Charles Bronson - Discography Dbl CD (625)
Last issue I rave about the 10" and now this has been released. It collects everything they've ever done. Initially I was sceptical about whether a double CD discography would actually be any good. I mean, bands that play ridiculously fast hardcore usually sound good for a 7" and the exceptional can manage a whole album but a double CD could be pushing it. Thankfully all my doubts were quashed. Even the fucking demo material on here is great. They started off a bit slower and more hardcore-punky but get faster and faster as the CD progresses. Amazingly all the songs sound different. Charles Bronson just seemed to have that x-factor that made them more than a sum of their parts. One of the best things on here is the live tracks at the end. Instead of just putting a bunch of live songs at the end they've interspersed the songs with samples from a Slayer live tape! Total genius. The only bad thing about this CD is that it is documented a band that have split up.
Chispa - Obstinator 7" (Per Koro, Fehrfeld 26, 28203, Bremen, Germany)
It's been said many times already and probably will be many times more but German metalcore bands are fucking insane! It's not particularly technical but it is played with a hell of a lot of passion (dare I say EMOtion?). Imagine a death metal band having a nervous breakdown.
The Cole Quintet - Get Off Your Knees The Party Is Over LP (Macgyver, Hoxfelder Weg 71, 46325 Borken, Germany)
This is one hell of an innovative hardcore album. The first side is well played Swing Kids style stuff but the second side goes completely 'out there' and is just one massive jazz song. They get a friend of theirs to do a long saxophone piece and they build the song around that. Obviously the saxophone player isn't upto John Coltrane type standards but is by no means some twat from a ska band. It works really well and is one of my favourite things at the moment. Also the artowrk needs to mentioned because it is ffantastic and makes it look like a jazz album or something.
Creation Is Crucifixion/Unruh split 7" (Willowtip)
Two of the best, innovative metallic hardcore bands team up to crush your puny mind. CIC have an interesting Voivod clinical/technical type sound with a bit of Meshuggah go grindcore elements as well. Definitely not run of the mill. The lyrics are quite abstract, dealing with technology and human-machine relationships. The ambient noise bit seems to tie in really well with the theme of the lyrics having some industrial/computer type sounds in it. Unruh give us a song that is like if Dillinger Escape Plan were a little more straightforward but not less crazy sounding. In fact it could almost be described as emo death metal. It even has a great Obituary style bottom-stringed moshy solo bit in the middle. Emo is also an apt description in the true meaning of the word 'emotional'. The lyrics are about the death of someone obviously very close to the singer. Once you've read the lyrics the pained sound of the vocals becomes a lot more 'real' and emotive. This is all contained in a nice minimal card package. This is a great introduction to both bands and is essential for anyone who likes their music both heavy and original.
Creation is Crucifixion/(Fate Of) Icarus split 7" (Willowtip/The Clairvoyant)
CIC start off all acoustic and mellow but you know it isn't going to last. I think this is slightly older than the Unruh split but it's still essential. They definitely stand out from the crowd of metallic hardcore bands both musically and lyrically. (Fate Of) Icarus sound quite a lot like At The Gates did on their first album. Raw melodic death metal. Not as good as CIC but still pretty good all the same. They finish with some very harsh Merzbow-style noise that I'm pretty sure is a locked groove.
Creation Is Crucifixion - In Silico LP (Scorched Earth Policy, Augartenstrasse 15, 68165 Mannheim, Germany)
I believe this is their first album remixed and reissued for Europe. More sick, technical death metal. Think Carcass, Voivod, Morbid Angel, Brutal Truth and so on. This is definitely not some crappy death-core Earth Crisis-wannabe fake death metal shit. Has anyone in the hardcore scene actually heard death metal? Most of the stuff described as sounding like death metal doesn't at all! Enough of that little rant and back to the music. CIC are able to come up with fantastic innovative riffs again and again. This is way more brutal than you could possibly imagine. This truly will make the tuff guy Hatebreed loving kids shit their pants. As one of my housemates said, this music is just plain wrong! No higher accolade can possibly be given to a piece of music!
Cryptopsy - None So Vile CD (Displeased)
This album was originally released in 1995 but has recently be re-issued. I'm glad it has bee too as it's a fantastic death metal album. It's very technical but without going into guitar-wank territory. 5 years has not dated this album at all and it could quite easily have been a new release. Well worth getting even though the vocalist does call himself Lord Worm! (c/o Ronde Tocht 7d, NL-1507 CC Zaandam, Holland)
Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity LP (Hydrahead)
I am a nerd!
Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless CD (Hydrahead)
This CD will leap out at you when you first see it in a distro box. It's packaged like an old computer game or video box or soemthing. You'll know it when you see it. Kevin commented the other day that he really liked the way that pictures of nature are blended in with the technical style of the text in the booklet. Whatever, it looks good! However, you don't buy a record just to look at it (unless of course you're the kind of sad twat that buys 10 copies of a record just because they each have different coloured vinyl!). The music contained on the CD is grindcore. It's not crappy, badly played, made up on the spot, mildly interesting and original 10 or 15 years ago but fucking boring as fuck now type grindcore. No, this is extremely technical grindcore which sounds like nothing else. It has a really 'spacey' feel, say if Hawkwind played grindcore. Discordance Axis are another band that are pushing the boundaries in extreme music.
DRY - Shoot Up Death 7" (625)
Just in case you had any doubts about what this sounds like they've written "Hardcore punk" at the top of the sleeve. DRY stands for Drunk Rock Youth but don't sound like sloppy drunk punk type stuff. Rather they sound like fast old school thrash. Now there's a surprise for a 625 records release! Not much you can say about this. It's fast old school thrash. You either like it or you're fucking lame!
DS-13 - Thrash And Burn 6" (Enslaved, PO Box 169, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 2UJ)
DS-13 seem to be one of the current thrashy hardcore bands that it's trendy to name drop. They certainly deserve it too. You'll just be spending you're time sitting by your record player just turning it over and over again. Eventually you'll decide to tape yourself doing that leaving you with an entire tape containing just this record. Then you'll be able to thrash and mosh and circle pit around your room like you want to! This record is also beautifully packaged. If you don't like this then you are a lame nu-metal lovign piece of shit.
Dumbstruck - If It Ain't Broken...Don't Fix It 7" (Blind Destruction, Box 29, 82 Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5BB)
I believe members of this band used to play in bands like Heresy and Ripcord. Dumbstruck don't stray too far from the late 80s UK thrashcore sound. Hate filled lyrics screamed over 100mph hardcore. It's fairly generic and to be honest isn't really that essential. Probably good live though.
Get Up And Go'ers - Before You Go 10" (Euphony, c/o Daniel Axelsson, Kringelvägen 10B, 352 44 Växjö, Sweden)
I saw this band at the last 1in12 Hardcore festival and they were fucking brilliant so I decided to get the record. This is some of the best sing a long hardcore I've ever heard. They just had complete rock and roll style. Imagine if you crossed Rocket From The Crypt with Good Clean Fun! Unfortunately this record doesn't contain the covers they do live (Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Sham 69 and Sick Of It All!) but it's still amazing. They take the '88 youth crew style but just turn it on it's head and makes it sound really fresh. Fantastic lyrics, too, which cover all sorts of subjects and aren't moronic 'my crew's gonna beat up yours' type stuff. You cannot fail to love this.
Goatsnake/Burning Witch split CD (Hydrahead)
Stoner/Sludge/Doom. Whatever you want to call this type of music it rocks! The songs last about a million years but I wouldn't have it any other way. I reckon Goatsnake are the better of the two bands having a slightly looser, more rock feel than Burning Witch. It's not an essential release but it's far from being bad. (c/o PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199, USA)
Hocus/Cheerleaders Of The Apocalypse split 7" (Scorched Earth Policy, Augartenstrasse 15, 68165 Mannheim, Germany)
Is there some factory in Germany that exclusively makes sick ass crazy death metal influenced hardcore bands? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. It would be quite easy just to dismiss this as being generic or just yet more crazy German metal bands but the fact of the matter is that it isn't. The brutality continues.
Indecision - Release The Cure LP (Overcome, BP 80249, 35102 Rennes Cedex 3, France)
There's a bit of a story to go with this record so sit down with a cup of tea and relax kids. A few months back Indecision played at Rio's in Bradford which is a big rock club kind of place. We only found out about the gig by accident. Old school golf Ben had been on the internet and looked at the Indecision website and saw that they were scheduled to play Rio's. Enquiries were made and it was indeed confirmed to us that they were playing. Unfortunately for Indecision Rio's had forgotten about such essentials as putting the gig on any of their posters so in the end exactly 11 people turned up to see them. A few people had turned up to see the dire support band who were a bunch of late 20's smartly dressed men playing safe indie rock type stuff. That was the only support band and it was £7 to get in!! Indecision did rock their little arses off even though it did seem faintly ridiculous being in such a cavernous venue with just a handful of people watching. Anyway, we got talking to them at their merchandise stall. Not unsurprisngly for a hardcore band they were selling their stuff stupidly cheap (this record which I will actually review soon was £5) and they were appalled that it had cost so much to get in. They were also quite pissed off at the incompetence of the tour organiser and the venue. It ended up that they slept on our floors because stuff like sleeping arrangements hadn't been sorted out. To sum up they were really nice people and it was a shame they were stuck in such shitty circumstances. Anyway the point of that little piece is that DIY is great and rock promoters smell of steaming shit. If the gig had been sorted out by 'da kids' then you can bet your life people would have known about it, loads of people would have been there, it would have been a reasonable entrance price and stuff like food and shelter would have been sorted out. So remember - don't trust the promises rock promoters make! Actually to be fair Rio's did stump up the guarantee money syaing that they just make the money back on nights like that on club nights. Sounds like stupid logic to me. 'What about the reocrd you tedious right on little shit?' I hear you cry. It's great in a fairly straight metallic hardcore New York style kind of way. It's one of those styles where I can only enjoy select bands and Indecision are one of them. Just playing this makes you want ot go out and buy a basketball vest and get some terrible tattoos! Indecision are a cut above those kind of bands, though. They have explanations of most of their songs and actually have some good points to make. NYHC for emo nerds!
Insult - The Moshpit Is Our Sabbath mCD (Balowski, Haarweg 287, 6709 RX Wageningen, Netherlands)
I had to get this after I was blown away by the split with BSE. Also "The Moshpit Is Our Sabbath" has to be one of the best titles ever! It sounds like old-school thrashy hardcore but with a big death metal influence as well. Every song is great and makes you want to jump about and thrash and mosh! In fact during one song the singer just screams out "Mosh it up!" before the music kicks in again. They aren't reinvented the wheel or anything like that but when stuff like this is done this well originality doesn't matter. I haven't stopped playing this recently.
The Kabinboy/Redneck Manifesto split 7" (Greyslate)
Once again the Kabinboy produce a massively heavy piece of noise that can quite rightly be said in the same breath as Melvins, Karma To Burn or Unsane. No vocals but you don't need them when you've got the huge, pummelling riffs that are simple but remain the right side of samey or unoriginal. Burn your Fu Manchu records this is all you need. Redneck Manifesto are instrumental as well. Their heavy like the Kabinboy but have a more melodic Kyuss type thing going on. The only downside to this 7" is that it's too short with each band only having one song. It's still essential though. (c/o 109, Melrose Street, Belfast, BT9 7DP)
Knut - Ordeal 7" (Snuff)
Isn't Switzerland supposed to be a neutral country? Can't be know as they've thrown up one hell of a contender for World's Most Brutal Band (mid-tempo weight) competition. This is in Coalesce/Deadguy type territory and it doesn't pull any punches at all. Make sure you don't ignore this just because they don't come from the US as they're more than a match for the more popular bands. (c/o PO Box 5117, 1211 Geneva 11, Switzerland)
Locust - Well I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle Remixes Dbl 12" (GSL)
This is a must for anyone into mindblowing music. The Locust make crazy enough music as it is but here they let loons like Kid 606 and Bastard Noise make attempts at pushing their music even further. It's really only one 12" of music with another 12" put in for the sake of being arty. One of the 12"s is just Well I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle on one side and an etching on the other side. Admitadely the etching is very well done but I can't help but feel a little bit ripped off. The actual music 12" itself is fantastic though. The best remix is done by Kid 606. It's basically like old jungle type stuff. No compromises towards being intelligent d&b or whatever. It's just straight in your face beats that'll just plain kick you arse (and forever condemn the idea in your head that dance music can't be extreme and is only the stuff you hear on Top Of The Pops etc). Bastard Noise sound like Bastard Noise and a few other people make weird sounds out of the song. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this if it wasn't quite so expensive.
Melvins - The Crybaby (Ipecac, PO Box 1197, Alameda, CA 94501)
This is one of my favourite albums ever. I've had this quite a few months now and it never fails to amaze me just how good it is. It starts off with an almost completely straight cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. For most bands that would be a completely stupid thing to do but this is the Melvins we're talking about. They are, quite possibly, one of the most fucked up and strange bands ever. Covering that strong straight is what wouldn't have been expected by them. Leif Garret (the US equivalent of Donny Osmond apparently) joins them to do vocals on this song. Yep, expect the unexpected with the Melvins. The Crybaby is an album of collaberations with other artists including David Yow (Jesus Lizard frontman), Hank Williams III, Mike Patton, Foetus, Tool and Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth). What other band could get away with covering a Hank Williams song and getting his grandson to sing on it and get someone from Helmet to provide some steel guitar? What other band could do a 9 minute song of absolute dirge with the lead singer from one of the most popular nu-metal bands literally screaming his guts out over the top? Only the Melvins could. Every single song is completely different, not just from the other songs on the album, but from every other song ever written. Have I made it quite clear yet how good this album is? Seriously you have to get this. As I said it's already become one of my favourite albums ever.
Old Man Gloom - Meditations In B CD (Tortuga)
Tortuga is some kind of offshoot of Hydrahead records and Old Man Gloom is a two man project involving Aaron Turner (Isis/Hydrahead main man). This should give you some idea of where this record is coming from. It is billed as being "A Sound Wave Replication Dissertation On Alien Simian Technology In 13 Chapters". I assume this is a reference to the noise/ropck contained on the CD. The simian theme is carried through the packaging and music in a similar way to the mosquito theme on that Isis ep. OMG are quite similar to Isis in the 'rock' songs but have a lot more noise/atmospheric type pieces. I think it might have been better if they'd completely left out all conventional guitar parts in favour of all out atmospheric type stuff. The guitar parts sound too much like cast off riffs from other projects. If you like Isis/Hydrahead records and also enjoy a good bit of noise the you'd probably enjoy this. Being a Hydrahead related project it also has amazing artwork.
Rocket From The Crypt - Cut Carfully And Play Loud 12" (Flapping Jet)
Oh how Speedo and his gang tease us! You see you actually have to cut the cover of this to play the record (hence the title). The label of side 1 is part of the cover while, at the same time, being glued to the record. In other words, you can't play the record unless you cut the label out of the cover. Anyone worthy of the title 'geek' would have been torn (excuse the pun) between the need to listen to the record and the need to keep it in pristine condition. Maybe I am not worthy of a title like 'über-geek' though. I like to keep my records in good condition but my urge to rock is far greater. It's a record not a museum piece! "What about the music, though" I hear you cry. Do you dare question the might of RFTC? It rocks of course! Descriptions of the music are irrelevant. It's RFTC and you need this like you need all their records.
Shank/Scalplock split 7" (Retribute)
Once again it's white labels on the record from Retribute so the uninitiated would find it difficult to tell each side apart. The lyric sheet helps, though. You can (just about!) make out the lyrics. Also Shank have a very distinctive drum sound. Drums aren't often a thing I pick up on in a record being a guitarist and all. The Shank drum sound really does make them sound quite different to other 1000mph hc-thrash/power violence/violent turbo rock (their description)/call it what you will type band. If you got the last issue of IM then you will know how outspoken they are and they haven't compromised on this record either. Two songs of note are Open Mouth Shout Slogan (about the predicatability and lack of effectiveness of demonstration chants) and Keepin' It Real Dumb (that is a critique of stupidity and hypocrisy in hardcore). Unfortunately the Scalplock side doesn't have any lyrics with it but they occupy a similar space to Shank in their outlook. This record succesfully manages to mix politics with music that just plain rocks. Go get it!
Thrones - Alraune CD (The Communion Label)
This is really difficult to describe. I'm not even sure if I like it or not! This is like Neurosis heavy ambient pieces slowed down and made super bass heavy with a load of weird stuff thrown randomly over the top. It's one of those CDs which you put on occasionaly and enjoy when it's on but can't remember much about it once it's finished. Erm yeah!
Voorhees/Devoid Of Faith split LP (Gloom/Coalition)
Devoid Of Faith print "Death To False Hardcore" in fairly large letters on their side of the insert (which, incidently, is one of those glued together record sleeve ones). That pretty much sums up this whole record. This is hardcore. No emo, no metal, no ska, no pop just plain straight ahead fast hardcore. It's just made for running around in circles and jumping around a lot. Completely generic but done so well and with so much passion that it doesn't matter. I reckon Voorhees are the better band on here especially as they cover Possessed To Skate.
Wat Tyler - I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles CD (Rugger Bugger)
This is a re-issue of a CD which compiled lots of early Wat Tyler stuff. Apparently it was repressed due to demand. Their attempts at being the crappest band ever seem to have failed! Just from the cover you know that this CD is going to rock. It's a drawing of Michael Jackson getting quite personal with his pet monkey. Wat Tyler have also come up with some of the greatest song titles ever: We Pledge Our Allegiance To Satan; It Must Be Boring Being In SNuff; There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Satan; Terry Fenwick's Leg Takes Crack; It's Football Not Fucking Soccer; and Crappy Song For A Crappy Compilation. The lyrics are ace and every song comes with an explanation about what it's about. Wat Tyler try there hand at every style of music conceivable and are wonderfully inept playing all of them. It takes genius to be this crap but brilliant at the same time.
What Happens Next? - Stand Fast Armageddon Justice Fighter LP (Sound Pollution, PO Box 17742, Covington, KY 41017, USA)
What Happens Next? have quite possibly beaten Good Clean Fun in the best knowingly ironic but still sincere old school hardcore stakes. Not like those sort of stakes exist anywhere!! I doubt you could go down to Ladbrokes and put bets on something like that. Even if you could you'd be far better off spending your cash on the record rather than bets. This is one hell of a record. The First Year CD only hinted at what was to come (or what was to happen next - ha-de-fucking-ha!). In fact the first word on this album is "go". You can't go wrong really can you! There's some great song titles as well - "Intercontinental Bandana Union" and "Violent Expression Sexual Repression" spring to mind. Loads of pictures of them jumping around and rocking out adorn the sleeve and insert and the music will make you want to do that too. You don't need originality when music is done with this much passion and style. If you knew what was good for you you'd have got this already.
V/A - Bandana Thrash Vol.1 flexi 7" (625, PO Box 423413, San Francisco, CA 94142-3413, USA)
I remember buying Lookout (I think that was what it was called, something like that anytway) magazine especially for the fact that it had a New Kids On The Block flexi single on the front. Virtually completely fucked it up by not realising that you had to put it on top of another single to play it properly. Remember coming across a Nitzer Ebb flexi once as well. I think I got it free somehow. That was fucking atrocious. God-awful sub-NIN fake industrial crap. The only flexi I've got at the moment is a Skimmer one which is ace but it's slightly bent so one of the tracks doesn't play right. This flexi, on the other hand, is near as dammit perfect! Four ultra-fast thrash hardcore bands or 'Bandana Thrash' as 625 would have it. The best band on here are Lie who have a fantastic vocal style. It's not a generic vocal style and gives the band an extra edge (a bit like the Charles Bronson vocalist gives them an extra edge). Virtually essential if you like fast hardcore.
V/A - The Hospital Radio Request List CD (Sink And Stove)
This is an amazingly diverse CD. It's put out by one of the guys from Soeza. In fact there's a new Soeza song on here which is never a bad thing! I suppose the best way to describe this is to imagine that you recorded all the John Peel radio shows for a month and made a compilation of the best stuff you heard. Loads of styles of music are covered. Everything from Soeza's post-hc jazz stuff too a girl on her making songs (Big Joan) to some dancy type music to some mellow indie stuff that sounds a bit like Portishead. I've never heard of most of these bands and I doubt there's much point listing them. One thing that is consistent with all the bands is a sense of individuality. None of them are following trends or doing exact 'genre'-type music (you know what I mean. Like they're not going "Ooh lets start up a NOFX soundalike band" or "Let's start up an anarcho-crust band"). If I was unfortunate enough to end up in hospital I would be more than pleased if this was played over the radio.
V/A - Uomo Al Mare CD (Biscay)
Got this at a recent punk all dayer in Kingston after the guy who put it out talked me into it. To be honest it's not that good really. It's mostly all fairly dull indie rock passingas emo kind of stuff. There are a few bands on B Core Discs from Spain on this comp who sound quite good. This CD doesn't have a contact address on it but I wouldn't recommend getting it anyway.
V/A - Hydrahead/Tortuga Sampler Vol.2 (Hydrahead, PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199, USA)
Fuck me! A CD with Knut, Discordance Axis, Isis, Cattlepress, Cave In, Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan, Coalesce and Soilent Green on! It's virtually free as well, all you need to do is send them a few dollars for postage. To be honest I did have a lot of this stuff already but there were a few choice finds. Kid Kilowatt have 2 songs on here and the second one is quite possibly one of my favourite songs ever. It could be described as emo but it's just so much more than badly played indie rock. This is another Hydrahead release that is essential.
Fall Project - s/t Dbl CD (Sink And Stove)
Loads of bands spring to mind when you listen to this. Off the top of my head I could mention Guided By Voices, Pere Ubu, Pavement, any number of bands played on John Peel, Massive Attack, Slint or Sonic Youth. Fuck it, lets mention emo bands as well, although this is far better than that. It's just two guys who enlist the help of a few friends to do loads of quite minimal songs. It's a good thing just to put on and just chill out to. If I was going to be harsh I'd say that it might have been better if they'd whittled down the number of songs to fit on just one CD. Very good none the less.
Isis - Celestial LP (Escape Artist, PO Box 472, Downington, PA 19335-0472, USA)
This confused me for ages. You see this is a double LP but on of the records plays at 45rpm. Took me a while to work that out but once I did everything fell into place. Isis are often dismissed as mearly being Neurosis clones. That's totally wrong though. I mean, most people who do that cream their pants over loads of completely generic bands. Isis sound a lot more spacey than Neurosis. I reckon they might have been listening to a bit of Hawkwind when they made this. Shit, saying that will mean all the too cool hardcore kids will avoid this like the plague! Well, if they do avoid this record then they fucking deserve the plague!
John Holmes/Canvas split 7" (Devil Rock, PO Box 187, Leeds, LS6 1LH)
How can a single like this fail? Two of the heaviest hardcore bands in the UK in a head to head battle which I reckon John Holmes just win. The Canvas stuff is by no means bad but it does sound a little bit too much like throwaway songs from the album. John Holmes haven't strayed too far from the sound they had on their album but have become a little bit dirtier and heavier. Fantastic packaging too.
The Kabinboy - The Hated + The Debated 7" (Dropping Like Flys, 109 Melrose Street, Belfast, BT9 7DP)
The Kabinboy are masters of disguise on this single. It's all packaged in brown paper and has no signs as to what's contained within. Dropping the needle on the record leaves no doubt as to who it is though. Fucking heavy riff after heavy riff come rumbling through the speakers. Tedious people will complain about the lack of vocals but you don't need them when there is this much RAWK!
Keelhaul - s/t CD (Escape Artist, PO Box 472, Downingtown, PA 19335-0472, USA)
I dismissed this on the first few listens as being fairly dull but that's because it's quite subtely innovative. The actual sound isn't too subtle (ie big fuck off rumbling riffs and distortion and stuff) but the actual way it changes is. Just think what bands like Deadguy etc would sound like if they had been on Amphetamine Reptile. I dread to think what sort of monster sound this band would create live.
Knut - Bastardiser LP (Chrome Saint Magnus, Am Bhf St. Magnus 10, 28759 Bremen, Germany)
Okay, when the fucking guys from Acme decide to release a record by a band you know it's got to be good. Especially when you consider the fact that the only other thing they've ever released is Systral! Now Hydrahead want to release it as well! This album brings to mind bands like Deadguy, Coalesce and Botch. Not nice at all! It's nice to hear a band that doesn't rely on all out speed to pummel your ear drums. Rather this sounds more like the musical equivalent of being repeatedly smashed over the head with a sledge hammer.
Knut/Botch/Ananda split 10" (Mosh Bart Industries, 28 Rue Du Puit Mauger, 35000 Rennes, France)
I hope by now you know all about Knut and Botch. If you don't then you're plain stupid. Ananda are quite similar as well but not quite as good. This is a live record and as such does suffer a bit in the sound quality stakes but it's still worth getting hold of.
Michael Knight - Slip And Fall 7" (Four Tee Gee, 49222 Fairchild Road, Macomb, MI 48042-4810, USA)
I'll own up now and admit that I initially bought this record because they were called Michael Knight (If you don't know who Michael Knight was then you are truly one hell of a lame person! Go watch Knightrider [and if you don't know what Knightrider is then you deserve to be taken out into the streets and shot]). From the review I'd read in Heartattack I was under the impression that it was straightforward power violence/fast hardcore type stuff. How wrong I was. Bands like the Melvins, Butthole Surfers, the Dicks (I've only heard one Dicks song and that was on that Alternative Tentacles compilation but it does sound a bit like that song. If anyone has more Dicks please tape it for me!) and that kind of thing. I was totally impressed and happy with this. Rather than just another thrash record I managed to get hold of a truly innovative and funky little record. For many months this became a guaranteed record on tapes I did for people. I can't recommend this enough.
Rocket From The Crypt - Dancing Birds 7" (Glazed, PO Box 82006, Columbus, Ohio 43202, USA)
More RFTC stuff which is in keeping with the rest of RFTC's output. It's good but nowhere near as essential as the 12" that's reviewed earlier on. This is just for completists really.
Scalplock - Inculcate The Fear 7" (Retribution, Orchard House, Breeds Rd, Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1EE)
This has been out for quite a while now but Chris was kind enough to give me a copy so I'll review it anyway. If you're not hip to Scalplock yet then you truly do lose. Power violence/fast hardcore/crust/call it what you will type stuff that completely rages. Could quite happily fit in with all the Slap A Ham type bands but because they're British you'll probably look over them in favour of someone else. Again, you lose because Scalplock are ace. There's intelligent lyrics and articles too with the record.
Sultans - Just A Fool That's Down CDs (Swami/SFTRI)
Another side project from John Reis aka Speedo from RFTC. It's sounds like full on rocking pop punk type stuff. This isn't generic Epi-Fat stuff but you can't deny it's pop punkyness. Imagine Scream Dracula Scream era RFTC minus the horns.
Sunfactor/Inside Right split 7" (Speedowax)
Usually I enjoy Speedowax releases. Rich never seems to fail in finding great little speedy pop punk bands. Unfortunately this time he's decided to release 2 godawful 'emo' bands. The first Inside Right song just about sums the whole new 'emo' thing up - it's called 'College Rock'. Very very dull.
Switchblade/Last Match split 7" (La Calavera, Box 385, SE 901 08 Umeå, Sweden)
This is the kind of emo I like. Crazy, chaotic and just plain fucked up. Both bands are influenced by Swing Kids but neither are blatantly ripping them off, just adding that kind of thing to their own style. Not as good as the 10" Switchblade put out a while back but still excellent stuff.
Symbiosis - Government Religion Economics demo tape (Gareth Beckley, 25 Devon Road, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 0NR)
Seemingly one of the most underrated hardcore bands in the UK. Possibly because they don't just play straight ahead stuff and (heaven forfend!) they have some opinions. It's kind of a cross between Born Against and the crazy German metalcore type stuff. The stuff on this tape is quite old now and the new songs they play live are even better. Make sure you check this band out at some point.
Tourist Trap - demo tape (Diego Mocci, Sjaellanddsgade 45 4.th, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark)
Diego gave this to me when his main band (Headup) stayed round my house after they played their gig here in Bradford. He said it was grindcore, really raw stuff like early Napalm Death. I cna't argue with that description much at all. It won't be winning any prizes in the "Best Production" or "Most musically innovative" competetions but it's grindcore and that's the way it's supposed to be!You can also insert words like 'brutal', 'fast' or 'heavy' in this review too.
V/A - Straight Up Records Sampler Vol.2 (Straight Up, Kowa bld 2F, Minami-2Nishi-1, Chuou-Ku, Sapporo 060-0062, Japan)
Straight Up seems to be a fairly varied label covering hardcore, punk, emo, pop punk but mainly hardcore. One band that I need to mention are the Oi Vulcans who seemingly do loads of oi songs about Star Trek! Bands like Bollocks, Youth Enrage and Youth Anthem all sound exactly like you'd expect them to. There aren't any shoddy bands on here apart from when it occasionally strays into emo territory but that's more due to personal taste than anything else. If you see a record with the Straight Up logo on the back you're pretty much assured that it's going to good.
Circle Of Dead Children - Starving The Vultures LP (SOA, Paulo Petralia, Via Oderisi Da Gubbio 67/69, 00146 Rome, Italy)
This is the LP version of the CD that came out on Willowtip records. Willowtip is the home of Creation Is Crucifixion so that gives you a rough idea of where Circle.. are coming from (as well as their name!). This isn't as technical or innovative as Creation though. It's a lot more straight ahead metallic grind. It's still very good though. You don't always need extreme technically to make good music (although it should be noted that Circle are far from being bad musicians - they're just not ludicrously technical). Another winner.
V/VM - Sick Love CD (VVM, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Saw this lot at the recent Termite festival in Leeds. 2 men dressed as a chicken and a devil strawberry with a laptop computer playing hideous distorted noise abortions of pop classics. If you get the chance make sure you check this lot out as they are brilliant. Well the title of this CD is quite correct. Sick Love is a collection of love songs given a full noise treatment by VVM. Angels by Robbie Williams, Lady In Red, Take my Breath Away and many more are all butchered. The results are, at the same time, both hilarious and sick. Imagine if Snuff started listening to Merzbow.
V/VM - The Christmas Pudding CD (VVM, email@example.com)
Their CDs were 2 for £10 so I got this one as well. Again, a prophetic album title. Not unsurprisingly it's Christmas songs that get 'ruined'. Everything from the Frog Chorus to Slade to Cliff Richard. It could be dismissed as mere novelty but who cares. I'm afraid there's only an email contact for them but make sure you try and get hold of at least some stuff by VVM.
Headup - To Change The World Or To Sell The Product? LP (K Town Collaberation, PO Box 578, 2200 Kopenhagen N, Denmark)
This should have been reviewed ages ago but a friend was borrowing it whne I started putting all the stuff onto computer. Anyway, I got given this after I put Headup on in Bradford. If you saw them on their recent UK tour then you know that they play some fantastic NYHC inspired hardcore that's played with a lot of passion. This passion comes through on the record as well. All the songs have great lyrics and explanations and there's a big booklet enclosed with the record. The recording is raw as fuck but I reckon it's far better than all the overproduced toss that seems to pass as hardcore in the US.
Shora - Shaping The Random CD (Grave Romance, Marie-Curie-Hoehe 24-26, 66740 Saarlouis, Germany)
More skull crushing hardcore grind from Shora. They certainly haven't wussed out at all. In fact this is even more brutal than the split with Born Under Saturn. Apparently the split 7" and this CD are the only things Shora have done so fuck knows how crazy they'll get in the future.
Nitchevo - Live In Parkhof CD (No Label, 5 Rue De Tombouctou, 75018 Paris, France)
This is fairly basic ska punk type stuff. Recorded live so it's not that great a recording. There's no lyric sheet but from what I can make out they have fairly political lyrics so they're more in the Citizen Fish vein than Less Than Jake.
Sunn - 00 Void CD (Rise Above)
It says on the back of the cover "Power Ambient Drone. Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results". Couldn't agree more myself! That's pretty much all you need to know. Members of Goatsnake do a few super long feeedback drone masterpieces. A lot of people dismiss guitar feedback but then again a lot of people like Robbie Williams.
Inter - Got My 9 CD (Yoshiko)
This is fairly dull to be honest. It's in that whole Elastica/Ash kind of vaguely up tempo indie rock stuff that NME/Evening Session types are quite fond of and like to think of as being punk.
Brazen - As Floods Decrease CD (Snuff, PO Box 5117, CH-1211, Geneve 11, Switzerland)
This is the kind of emo I like. Not bad indie rock but hardcore with a large amount of EMOtion other than full on hate. Think Rites Of Spring, Spy Versus Spy or Quicksand. It's got the occasional nice sweet melody in the songs which is nicely fucked up by huge amounts of dirt and distortion. Great stuff.
Cementerio Show - s/t CD (WC, Juan L Herrero, Apdo 41019, 28080 Madrid, Spain)
Raging fast hardcore from Spain here. Names like E150 and Los Crudos are often trotted out to describe this lot but they are quite as fast. It's not Corrupted by any menas but it's not hyper-speed thrash. It's got more of a crusty fast paced kind of feel to it. There's a thick booklet filled with lyrics, explanations and translations into English. If you stupidly missed them on their recent UK tour then make up for it by getting hold of this CD.
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