Sunday, October 5, 2014

+HIRS+/Water Torture - Split Review


It's been far to long since I've talked about +HIRS+. Certainly not due to the Philly outfits lack of productivity. It seems every week they have another split tape, record, lathe cut, wax cylinder, whatever coming out. Mostly been sticking with bands close to their own home to split with (APE!, Bubonic Bear, Cocaine Breath, etc), but the very highly anticipated split 7" with Buffalo's Water Torture (which I believe was first announced sometime last year), was finally released a couple months ago to the hungry consumers. Very interesting formatting with this split, one that I really haven't seen before. +HIRS+ start this unholy wax disc off with their new anthem "Fuck Everything", entering with chaotic blasts into a power-stomping bass break. They've really become utter masters at writing incredibly captivating short songs, the +HIRS+ way. You can pretty much listen to any single track on this record and totally understand what this band is trying to do. It just shows that tremendous effort and engineering went into making these songs, at least to me. Since the Bubonic Bear split, +HIRS+ have just sounded incredible, and this records no different. Loud, punching drums, more thunderous bass, layers of intense vocals, it's an excellent display of sound. +HIRS+ give a five song assault before slithering into Water Torture's contribution, in a segue that had me tweaked out for a few seconds. I was curious to see what WT would be toying around with on here, and in a very interesting move they've done a throwback to the raw, micro song template from the split with thedowngoing. Distant, rumbling static looms and transitions these songs, again very raw and basement-noisecore sounding. It's a style that's I find very interesting and sometimes astounding if it's done well, but Water Torture's take on it this time falls just a little bit short. All of these nine tracks sound like little cut n' paste remixes of already existing WT songs, trying to combine both of their biggest elements in a mere few seconds. Entering with a slow, tom-hit riff and then a few more seconds of blasting and vocals. Then more noise. Wouldn't be a problem, but basically none of these tracks stick out for any reason besides then being jarringly short. The two tracks that do the best job with this restricted songwriting style, "Not-Seen" and "Populous" are great, but again leave me wanting more. Thankfully not leaving me stranded and craving more noise, +HIRS+ come back again after Water Torture ceases with four more powerful tracks. The chug monster, "A Very Long List Of Men To Kill" acting as a ground-punching wake up. This "B-side" has +HIRS+ showing off some of their slowest passages and best riffs of the whole record. Closing out with the two of the real highlight  tracks, "Amputated Littered Hand" and "Bong Water Torture". A real proper ending if you ask me. It's good to see with bands toying around with stuff even as simple as track placement. This split has had a lot of hold-ups and setbacks in it's conception. Hopefully everyone has got their copies now. If you don't, I believe it's sold out.


~VII

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Listen To HYGIENE Right Now!

It's that time of the month again. Time to gush over another new Australian band that came out of no where and give powerviolence another swift kick in the butt cheeks. HYGIENE from Canberra, who have actually been around at least since late 2012, are a power trio who deliver some seriously hardcore Vaccine worshipping jams. The Human Hatred attitude runs strong through this bands bright blue veins, it's honestly some of the most well done and faithful rip off  homage to that style that I've heard.

HYGIENE's first EP, "Histone H4" was a semi-rough sounding debut that was already very inspired by the sound of bands like Vaccine, and I could definitely hear a little bit of later Backslider influence in their too. A solid release for sure, but a little lacking on the urgent, blasting performance (in layman's terms, some songs were too long). Their recently released 7" EP, "VOID", takes care of that problem and lays down a fantastically solid 7 and a half minutes of rapid hatred. Improving tenfold on nearly every level on here; the fist flinging blasts are more shoulder popping, the breakdowns are power stompingly groovy, and more vicious and catchy. This band will be one of Australia's elite bands if they keep this up. I do know a deadly split with another brilliant Melbourne powerviolence band is in the works, but it might still be on the hush hush. Stream "VOID" below, and hear the rest of the bands recordings HERE. Pick up a record while you're at it too, they are sure to not last long.



~VII

Fuck The Facts: New EP, New Songs, New Label!


Some of my favorite Canadians are at it again and are going to blow the beginning of Autumn to billions of pieces when their new EP drops on October 1st. I don't think I have to re-familiarize many of you with my affection for this band. One of the best and tightest bands I've had the pleasure of seeing live, and they haven't put out a single dud record in the past decade. The two currently released tracks from their upcoming EP, "Abandoned", do absolutely nothing to get in the way of that streak. These three new songs were originally written for the 2011 album "Die Miserable", but for whatever reason were cut from the batch. Now reworked, re-re-recorded and polished to perfection. 

"Disabused", the 2nd track on "Abandoned", is Fuck The Facts at some of their craziest and tech-heavy. In true "Die Miserable" fashion. Dissonant chord rhythms and eerie/Gorguts-y tapping riffs swarm and carry this whole track, and it's seriously fucking heavy. FtF really haven't sounded this "metal" so consistently in a while, and it carries over into the third and final track, "L'impasse". A song that seems to tell me that they've been listening to a ton of bands like Wormed lately. The way it descends and breaks down, and the incredible harmonics and guitar frapps and buzzes scream insane technical deathy metal. Of course while they seamlessly interject their trademark melodic side. I know I say this with every new Fuck the Facts release, but they really just keep getting better and better. 

And on the last and equally exciting note, the band has officially and completely made themselves a total autonomous and DIY unit by starting their own label, Noise Salvation Records. Of which "Abandoned" will be the first release in a limited run of 100 tapes and digital download. These guys have always had a real thing for doing as much of the business side of this band themselves, and I think that this is a very bold and righteous move for them. Especially considering they had the major label backings of Relapse less then 5 years ago. Just goes to show I guess. If you can do it yourself, do it yourself. "Abandoned" is up for pre-order now (click HERE), and you can stream both of the new tracks below. 

Stream "Disabused": HERE



~VII

Ampallang Infection/Universal Remonster - "Universal Infection" Split Tape


From the epic bowels of Maryland spewith forth a split cassette from two of the states rising bands. Universal Remonster, a band I remember seeing a rather colorful album cover from on Grindcore Karaoke however long ago, do a fantastic job kicking this split off and proceed to kill it throughout the rest of their featured time. This is loud, crunchy, instantly enjoyable grindcore. Stuff that's totally not grim or up it's own ass, but sounds like it could beat yours into a pasty mush. UR tastefully show a lot of the inspirations most modern grind bands use. Some Magrudergrind, a little to a lot of Phobia, for example. But with a touch bit of death metal thrown in the mix, mostly due to the vocals. Actually they sound a lot like fellow Marylandians, Triac. The thick, mid-heavy bassy tone is very akin to that bands most recent stuff. I like this band a good deal now! Ampallang Infection are up next, bringing their own style and interpretation of grind. In a much shorter and tighter package. Heavy drum machine abuse grindcore, and not the Drum Kit from Hell kind either. The kind where the drums are unashamedly industrial and processed sounding (just think of early ANb). I've always been a big fan of taking advantage of how ridiculous and warped you can get using a drum machine (again, ANB), and AI do get to ludicrous speeds sometimes, but they dwell in a pretty interesting realm. Very Cryptic Yeast/Total Fucking Destruction-y, with a lot more melodic riffs, death metal vocals, and a general do-whatever-we-want style that I'm digging. The only real issue I have being that some of the songs seems pretty under developed. In that there's not many good conclusions to these songs, they just kind of end. Thankfully this is resolved with the last two tracks, which along with feeling more complete have some of the best and most interesting sounds on their whole side. Good stuff! Cassette copies are for sale over at Grimoire Records.


~VII

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Full Of Hell's Spencer Hazard On Noise In Hardcore and Some Essential Listens


Hardcore and all it's various interpretations and evolutions is surely no stranger to weird, obnoxious, noisy sounds. To me, noise is and has been a logical progression from the standards of aggressive "musical" music. A bastardization if you will, a rebellion towards the rebellion. Something that early extreme experimental groups like Whitehouse and Throbbing Gristle made their mission statement. It doesn't take a genius to see that noise has made a serious comeback in the hardcore/grind/powerviolence that we listen too. One of the biggest recent forerunners of incorporating
noise in their music is Full Of Hell. A band that has over the years made their noise and more experimental side almost as important as the guitar Mr. Hazard uses. FoH are right on the cusp of releasing a full on collaborative album with legendary Japanoise artist Merzbow, with a bonus second disc of just noise (2xCD will be released by Profound Lore records and the vinyl will be released by A389 and Stab/Repeat November 25th). Guitar player Spencer Hazard was gracious enough to give me his 2 cents how these sounds are utilized in aggressive music today, and gives some essential listens for those who are still new to the genre of NOISE.

~VII
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Recently I was asked by Operation Grindcore to write about how I felt about noise music making its way into more hardcore oriented stlyes of music. Frankly despite me being in a band that relies on noise heavily, I do have a love/hate relationship with the resurgence of bands utilizing it in recent years. I mean noise making its way into other underground music is obviously nothing new at all. Look at the bands that were part of the punk scene, groups like Whitehouse,Throbbing Gristle and NON all started out being tagged with the term. No Wave artists such as Swans and Sonic Youth also disoriented punks in the early 80's. In the 90's bands such as Man is the Bastard, Gasp and Integrity, who were all made up of hardcore kids and punks, took these roots and melded them into their own hardcore bands. Dwid from Integrity even had two power electronics groups back in the day featuring members of the powerviolence band APT 213, Lockweld and Psywarfare. Man is the Bastard even had their own all electronic project Bastard Noise.  Dwid would also use his influence to spread noise to other parts of the underground by booking influential Japanese noise artists Merzbow and Masonna on some of their first US shows. There are also more examples of other bands in recent years taking noise influence and incorporating it into their sound such as The Endless Blockade/Column of Heaven, Water Torture, Eel and a plethora of other grindcore/powerviolence bands blending different influences.This leads me to why I said earlier that I had a love/hate relationship with bands taking these influences. This may be the elitist in me but I feel like a lot of newer bands only take this influence from more recent and popular bands rather than digging deeper into the roots of the noise genre. Too many kids just grab a distortion pedal and a delay and claim to have noise influence after checking out the Man is the Bastard/Crossed Out split. Not enough people are digging and taking influence from stuff like SPK, Nurse with Wound or Hanatarash, or even newer experimental/industrial/power electronics artists such as Prurient, The Rita, Pharmakon or Deathpile. So before you go off calling me an elitist prick, internet poser or asshole nerd, all I'm trying to say is kids should expose themselves to a whole variety of influences and music, especially noise. I still think its great people are trying to expand and destroy boundaries. There is already too much of the same mundane, formulaic music, but don't make an exotic influence a boring and formulaic style. Noise is experimental, so experiment, be creative!

Essential listens:

Merzbow- "Dharma". Released on the imprint of influential label Hydra Head, HHNoise Industries, this is probably some of Merzbow's most focused work. Still using his signature techniques but also
including more memorable loops and rhythms, creating a more enjoyable and less testing listen.







Prurient - "Pleasure Ground". This is probably some of the most trying and emotional noise ever recorded. Not only is it a painful experience sonically, you can truly hear the anguish in his voice as he screams depressed and sexually deprived lyrics. This release also combines some truly unique keyboard work found in his later years mixed with his walls of ear piercing feedback.







Whitehouse - "Birdseed". An uncomfortable listen all around. Using their signature shock values and focusing them more. Utilizing Peter Sotos tape loops and samples plus mixing it with their classic 'Wasp' keyboards, it is truly a bizarre album. This release also features the track "Cut Hands Has the Solution" which consists of nothing but pounding drums and
distorted vocals, giving the album more variety compared to some of their other work.







Wolf Eyes - "Burned Mind". Released on the same label that has released albums from such bands as the Shins, Nirvana and Soundgarden, Sub Pop. This is the period in which a noise group became part of 00's alternative culture. This album combines harsh screams, walls of distortion, blown-out guitars
and other instrumentation, almost giving this album a hard rock feel. Memorable vocals and "riffs" make this album stand out in their extensive catalog.






Throbbing Gristle - "20 Jazz Funk Greats". Marketed as a jazz album in the 70s, listeners were totally taken off guard when they were exposed to distorted keyboards, sound collages, drum loops and
moaned vocals. A lot less noisy then other albums on this list, but just as, if not more important. Truly wreckers of civilization.







~Spencer Hazard

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bandcamp Artist Of The Week: Coffin Birth


Australia's "capital B" Brutal grindcore catalog is on a huge high in 2014, starting with Internal Rot's incredible "Mental Hygiene", and Coffin Birth trailing right along side with their new EP, "Necrotic Liquefaction". This is some real deal deathgrind right here, with a shit ton of Insect Warfare appreciation in tow, "Necrotic Liquefaction" is 10 minutes of grindfuk brilliance. This is some of the loudest and hardest grindcore I've heard this year, they've captured an absolutely crippling sound. Nothing in spared in the wake of this band's songs, perfectly blending in strong death metal sounds, particularly in the vocals. Refreshingly avoiding a lot of the stereotypical "creepy doom" parts or cartoony gore stuff usually associated with this style. As stated, Insect Warfare fans take note. Anyone into BrucexCampbell, Internal Rot must peep this as well. This EP is currently only a name-your-price download, and it must not stay that way. Someone join the support and put this on some much deserved wax!



~VII

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bandcamp Artists Of The Week: Snuff & Kaiju Daisenso


The bloated music hive that is Bandcamp has been saturated with a muck of  disasterous looking photoshopped album art and one-man bedroom grind projects lately. More bands named after random celebrities then I can count. Most of my perusals have began in vain this past year, but a few shining diamonds in the rough have peeked through. The most recent one being Snuff from Los Angeles. Not sure how many other "Snuff's" there are out there, but I haven't heard one that sounds like this! This is brutal west coast blasturbation giving to you with 100% no bullshit. Their most recent EP, "Slow Life Quick Death" is solid grind excellence. The attention grabbing groove intro is done well, showing off the lo-fi and distorted recording well, and then boom, blasting insanity for the next 10 minutes. If you like Nak'ay, Insect Warfare or Internal Rot, you'll dig Snuff.




I'm a sucker for anything Godzilla, so ya' throw some grindcore into the mix and you're pretty much guaranteed to have a mad decent thing going. Kaiju Daisenso is a NY trio featuring ex-members of many bands according to their bandcamp page, the only one I recognize being Unearthly Trance. Their first s/t EP is bit of a mixed bag of grind. You got some thrash riffs, some melodic leads, some early ANb tempo blasts, and Garageband drums!! I recognize those programmed sounds anywhere. It's some pretty interesting stuff, I don't really hear grind of this style very often. And it's cool as hell to listen to a song called "Monster Zero One". My nerdy side digs that a lot. If you like early Triac, Sick/Tired and maybe even Drugs Of Faith, check this out. A 7" version is also available on their bandcamp page.



~VII