Fucking anime, man. It's weird, colorful, uncomfortable, and hard to get into. I was never a fan outside of the Miyazaki movies and a few select shows like Trigun, Dragonball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist. The latter of which is the theme behind this new band, Human Transmutation. When this EP was sent to me, I was instantly intrigued with the possibilities. I thought there was gonna be some sci-fi weirdness in the riffs and maybe some interesting musical textures. To keep with the theme a bit. So I'm listening to it, and yeah, this is definitely based on Fullmetal Alchemist. Every one of these 6 tracks opens with come sample from the show, and they lyrics and song titles also borrow from it. Musically, it's machine drum grindcore a la early Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Good drum programming all around, but everything else is so blanketed in distortion that it's near impossible to pick anything out. The vocals are very up-front in the mix, and the guitars are so fuzzy and dirty that I can't make out any riffs. The drums offer more interesting part than the guitars on this! So, all I'm left with is a 4 minute blur of drums, guitar noise and anime samples. I definitely think this project can do way, way better and has some potential. But I wouldn't ever listen to this again after this review. Maybe next time guys.
(Disclosure: Human Transmutation sent me a download for review)
A few months ago I was sitting around thinking to myself; "Boy, I really really love the band OSK. They're so cool and awesome. But I just wish that I could have all their music in one place, like a compilation CD of sorts. So I could have their music on my computer and be able to listen to them on my iPod all the time. That would be swell". Well apparently my thoughts traveled throughout the cosmos because a little while later it was announced that the always excellent To Live A Lie records was putting together the compilation CD I wished for. Smiles for days, people. In my opinion, OSK are one of the most criminally overlooked grind bands going today. Listening to this comp shows that not only does this Canadian trio have what it takes to blast with the best of them, but also the incredible consistency in quality throughout their existence. The songwriting is phenomenally strong, and displays a bit of variation from track to track. Like the metallic tremolo picking in the track "Empty White Box", the upbeat grooves in "Arm Yourself", and the heavy sludge riff influence in "Creeper", "It All Means Nothing Now" and "Lie Through Your Teeth". It really sounds like each song was tweaked with and constructed, instead of just blasting out grind riff after grind riff. I really have no qualms with this band, or this compilation. It's consistently excellent with little to no dull moments. The last few tracks of quite obviously of lower recording quality, but they only take up about a minute and a half of this 20+ minute comp. Crazy good band.
Sidetracked's previous EP, "Uniform", is perfect fastcore. It's a raw ear assault made up of whirlwind drumming and fuzzy distorted guitar riffs. The result was a 2 1/2 minute release that was as aggressive as it was addictive. Now, several months later we have "Forfeit", one of the many releases Jay and company are releasing on the world. Right off the bat, there's an obvious increase in recording quality. The guitars and bass are much more metallic(in a metal magazine, they would say the guitars have a "buzzsaw tone"), and the whole delivery sounds a lot more controlled. There are also few uncommon song-types on this release; it opens with an instrumental, there's a noise blaster, a Nasum cover, and a song that I can only describe as just being the breakdown to 80's hardcore song. But while "Forfeit" sounds excellent and the performances are top notch as usual, to me there's just something crucial missing from this release. The frustrating thing is, I can't put my finger on what that thing is. I've listened to this EP many times, and every time something just keeps me from getting fully into it. True, it is a very short release, but I can usually always latch onto something with any fastcore release like this. It's probably not very smart for a review to be this vague, but I'm unfortunately unable to explain myself any further. I'm definitely gonna be giving this a lot more spins, and see what more I can uncover!
I don't claim to have supreme knowledge of music, or that I know of grind record there is. But I do think that I'm pretty well versed, and I have heard a lot of damn fine records, some of which a few of might not have heard before. All of these records mentioned below are ones that I consider to be of supreme quality, and that I think don't get talked about enough. Who know's, maybe I'll introduce you to something new.
Parlamentarisk Sodomi - "Har Du Sagt "A" Får Du Si "Nal": My favorite one-man grind band, without a doubt. This crusty, grindcore behemoth of an album is just a full on assault to your ears. But not in a "it's so raw and lo-fi it's painful to listen to" type of way. Instead, this album is a masterfully produced and executed piece of work that opts to hit hard with it's riffs in addition to its prefect production sound. Pretty much amazing in every way!
Mindless - "Human Conditioning": This record did get a lot of well deserved praise when it was released in 2010, and it bears repeating. This record is a devastating piece of down-tuned, sludgy powerviolence. Not as much Infest worship, as the name would suggest. Soupy and distorted-bass heavy production with a Dystopian aura around it. Plus it features what I consider to be the best vocals Faiza Kracheni has ever spewed out.
Gadget - "The Funeral March": I just got this record a few days ago, and I loooove it! While this was released several years ago on Relapse Records, Gadget(and this album) haven't really gotten a whole lot of praise, at least to my knowledge. Hopefully the recent vinyl re-issue and their new album will help them break out some more. I can make comparisons to bands like Rotten Sound and Nasum, but Gadget have enough of their own sound to keep them from being another clone band.
Suffering Mind - "s/t": Suffering Mind's 2010 full-length is pretty much a perfect grindcore record; it's under 20 minutes, it has great riffs, rabid dog vocals, a tight snare sound, and it ends with a Phobia cover. Bada Boom! I can listen to this album and enjoy every single track, each one is a blaster. The lack of low-end might bother a few people, but I still think that this is a damn fine grindcore album that you all should hear!
Psychic Limb - "Queens": I've sung this albums praises a few time on this blog, and named it my 2nd favorite album of 2011. But just in case some of you didn't get the message; Listen.To.This.Album.Now! Beyond amazing and phenomenally enjoyable, Psychic Limb are able to kick more ass in 9 minutes than most bands are able to in half an hour. It's short, it's oh so sweet, and more people need to hear it!
Good news everyone(Futurama>The Simpsons btw)! Some of my favorite Canadians have been nominated for a Juno Award! Basically the Canadian version of the Grammy, Fuck The Facts awesome latest full-length album "Die Miserable" is up to win the "Favorite Metal/Hard Music Album of The Year" Juno Award. Along with fellow Canadian heavy music champions KEN Mode, Devin Townsend, Cauldron and...Anvil(do people still care about them?). It's really to see FTF get some recognition of this magnitude, best of luck!
PS: check out the new BIIPIIGWAN album "God's Hooks", which was recorded, mixed and mastered by Topon Das. It slays!
Code/Error, the sure-to-be-amazing-already-jizz-in-your-pants-worthy grind supergroup comprised of members of Maruta, Noisear and Wormrot have given us an all to brief and all to rough teaser of their music. All we can see is drummer Daniel Morris's hands blasting away, with some guitar riffs breaking through the harsh distortion. Fingers crossed for some legit recordings soon. Check it out!
Also, a split with the band Morphic Lapse is in the works! Can't wait!
Fuck yeah, new BrucexCampbell music for my ears! These new songs are for an upcoming split 7" with Line Up Your Lies, which I think is going to be released by Give Praise Records. Very excited for this release, since BrucexCampbell know how to tear shit up down to a science. I just hope that they don't keep those ridiculously long pauses in between the songs. Check it out!
I'm so glad Antigama are back, and apparently stronger than ever! Along with the split with Noisear and The Kill, they are also apparently working a new EP entitled "Stop The Chaos". Both are expected to be released sometime this spring. Below is a video of their new drummer Pawel Pawulon recording drum tracks for the EP. Honestly, I'm pretty bummed that founding drummer Krzysztof Bentkowski is out of the band. I always refered to him as the "Neil Peart of grindcore" cause of his great technical ability and all the unusual percussive sounds he added to the band. Pawel is no stranger to the extreme music scene though, playing with many many bands(including the Polish band Vader), and judging from the video he'll do just fine with Antigama!
Breaking news, and a huge congratulations to our homies in Noisear for signing to the "forward thinking metal" label Willowtip Records. Willowtip might seem like more of a tech/death metal label, but they've been welcoming to many grind bands in their existence. Most recently and notably, fellow tech-grind(and sadly defunct) bands Defeatist and Maruta. No word yet on what exactly Noisear will be releasing through Willowtip, but I'm guessing it's that EP that they've been talking about. Congratulations again!
Big news from Baltimore bruisers Eddie Brock! Fresh off of releasing and awesome split with Lapse and playing the A389 Anniversary Bash, they have in fact signed to A389 and are going to be releasing a new 7" sometime in March. Crazy cool news from a band that totally deserves all the benefits. They're streaming a track from the EP "Brain Squad", which you can listen to here.
What could be better than a new song from Noisear? How about the added bonus's that said song will be featured on an upcoming 3-way split with Antigama(!) and The Kill which will be released on Haunted Hotel and Selfmadegod Records, AND it features Mitchell Luna from Maruta on vocals. Pretty fucking sick right? I personally can't wait for this split, and the few other new Noisear albums/EPs to come out. Listen to the song, entitled "Endless Reincarnation" on their Facebook page here.