Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Great Song: "Fiend Without a Face" - The Misfits - 1999

While I hold the current Misfits line-up at arm's length and warily await Devil's Rain, I have never been ashamed to profess my admiration for the Michale Graves-led incarnation of the band. Cuts from the Crypt was a great posthumous odds-and-sods roundup (staggering that it's now a decade old with virtually nothing noteworthy from the band since) with several outstanding tracks, the absolute best of which is "Fiend Without a Face."

With both music and lyric credited solely to Michale Graves, this track, along with "Bruiser," was recorded for the band's cameo in George A. Romero's Bruiser. And this is a Graves track through and through. The tempo, the dreamlike lyric, the 50s rock hybrid hooks (think "Saturday Night")... it's original rock encompassing the sound Only could only pay homage to on his Project 1950 covers record.

Jerry offers little by way of specifics in the album's liner notes: "'Fiend Without a Face' took Mike about a week or two of throwing it around until complete. Doyle helped with the ending." Seems to me a killer track tied to a film by a horror master would merit a little more commentary and I would love to hear Graves' insights on this number, one hell of a great song.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chaos of Forms - Revocation - 2011

Chaos of FormsThere is no way I am going to be able to do Chaos of Forms justice. I simply lack the vocabulary to put into words how very superb Revocation's latest record is. And maybe that's the best description: dumbfounding. Dumbfuckingfoundingly good.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worth the Effort: Slaughter the Weak - Jungle Rot - 1997

Slaughter the WeakAh, 1997. I wish I could say I was listening to Jungle Rot back then. But, no, I was dirt poor in Chicago and could barely afford groceries, still subsiding on my music collection from college, nothing newer than two years prior. But somewhere someone wiser than me said "fuck the frills and fads - and food" and laid down money for the new Jungle Rot record, Slaughter the Weak, which, at the time, was just their sophomore release. So it took me well over a decade to catch on. But cracking open a beer, kicking back and cranking the volume, I can close my eyes and my sins of ignorance are forgiven. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zappa.com to Overcharge for Vinyl They Couldn't Give Away

I am a Zappa completist. And, for the most part, I am very satisfied with many of his releases, even the posthumous ones. Sometimes, though, the Zappa Family Trust reaches too far. This time around it isn't a questionable studio sessions or second-rate live snippet, it's a bunch of old promo LPs from their Barking Pumpkin label, featured as "in original shrink wrap." So, promos nobody wanted. And, for five of these seven titles, albums nine out of ten record buyers don't even want on CD.  And check out the prices:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Metal to Minneapolis: Revocation, Chthonic & Gigan

Had a relatively short trip this evening comprised of about an hour at the airport and a two hour flight. I've learned to make the most of this time and take advantage of the opportunity to close my eyes, put on the headphones and absorb some full albums, undistracted by the usual day-to-day routines.

Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic LandscapesI started out with Gigan, who is appearing with Jungle Rot in support of Immolation on their tour this fall. I had never heard of Gigan before the tour was announced and just picked up their most recent release, Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes. Wow. I hadn't read up on Gigan before and, given their namesake, expected some sonic version of the buzzsawing Godzilla villain. Maybe that's what I got (or maybe they sound more like Megalon would). This is very dischordant, loosely structured, almost psychedelic death metal. They definitely build tension here and there and some magnificent fragments emerge (and disappear quickly) but really just amble through soundscapes with a multitude of effects, tempos and layers of music. To be perfectly honest, this is, hopefully, the type of thing that comes across much better live than on record.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Rick Derringer Key in Facilitation of Libyan Rebels' Imminent Victory

Gorilla Monsoon proclaims, "It's almost over, Ghadafi. Really, your days have been numbered since 1985. History has been made!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gloom - Job for a Cowboy - 2011

Gloom - EPHow many riffs can you pack into fifteen minutes? About 6,004 if you're listening to Job for a Cowboy's magnificent Gloom EP. Mercilessly fast, heavy and hooky, Gloom pummels the listener with the absolute best Job for a Cowboy has offered over their brief but increasingly impressive career. I am a big fan of the EP format and Gloom is the epitome of the effectiveness of the mini-album, condensing the essence of Job for a Cowboy into an ultra-concentrated shot of raw, brutal power. Now Haunting the Chapel has a companion on my shelves to challenge even the finest full-length albums.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One-Off Wonder: Seasons of the Witch - Gotham Road - 2003

Much like the great sole entry from Graves, Web of Dharma, Michale Graves' Gotham Road project was extremely short-lived and produced a single EP, Seasons of the Witch, during its fast and furious lifespan. Evolving from Graves, Gotham Road starting sharing demos online of re-recorded Graves numbers along with some new originals around 2002. The EP appeared via website mail-order in 2003 and featured the following tracklisting:

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Discoveries: Scar of the Sun and Amorphead

I really feel for a lot of bands. There are thousands out there, working their asses off and doing all they can to get the sound out. I generally avoid Facebook or ReverbNation as I find both can be overwhelming for the web-impatient antisocial person that I am. Even this little blog, though, draws a lot of band follows on Twitter. True, most drop off after a day or two if not followed back but I do my best to check out some tracks by anyone who follows me. Two international acts that have made a great first impression just this week are Greece's Scar of the Sun and Italy's Amorphead.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In Waves - Trivium - 2011

In WavesWhat a shitty couple of weeks for new releases. First Powerwolf bit, now Trivium blows. In Waves has been highly anticipated with predictions running all the way across the spectrum and I am saddened to admit that I now side firmly with the naysayers. In Waves is a terrible album. So very bad that, in my opinion, it utterly kills Trivium's momentum.

In Waves strips away anything and everything that was interesting about Trivium and fills in the gaps with soul-killing overproduction, repetitive and uninspired melodies and bursts of faux-heaviness that feel like forced afterthoughts. Somehow the band have become less than all the imitators who have followed them. How did they fall so spectacularly from the more-than-fine Shogun? The lead-off title track was a fitting preview of things to come and is easily the heaviest number on the album. And it was nothing to get excited over. If anything, it was great cause for concern. And upon the realization that there's nothing else as good to follow, In Waves feels so very, very empty. There's not a single noteworthy lyric and if the album has a theme, it has to be "Trivium for Dummies," coming across as a lazy sampler of sorts of the sounds that one may expect to encounter on a Trivium album without a single number even approaching the best that any one of the band's other records has to offer.

In summary, there's not a single thing here that's challenging. It's a mindless, soulless radio-ready set of anthems that will sound pretty good on a souped-up Accord's stereo system. With In Waves, Trivium have basically crafted a decent Foo Fighters facsimile. Guess they may be the next Metallica after all.

Havok 2011 Tour Dates - with Exhumed, Goatwhore & Cephalic Carnage

10/26 – Gallup, NM — The Juggernaut (no Goatwhore)
10/27 – Amarillo, TX — Sorority House (no Goatwhore)
10/28 – Oklahoma City, OK — The Conservatory
10/29 – St. Louis, MO — FuBar
10/30 – Chicago, IL — Reggies Rock Club
10/31 – Detroit, MI — I-Rock Nightclub
11/1 – Columbus, OH — Alrosa Villa
11/2 – Rochester, NY — Montage Music Hall
11/3 – Toronto, ON — Wreck Room
11/4 – Montreal, QC — Les Foufounes Electriques
11/5 – Trois-Rivieres, QC — Rock Café Le Stage
11/6 – Quebec City, QC — L’Agitee
11/8 – Worcester, MA — Palladium
11/9 – Brooklyn, NY — Europa
11/10 – Trenton, NJ — Championship
11/11 – Wilmington, DE — Mojo 13
11/12 – Baltimore, MD — Sonar
11/13 – Charlotte, NC — The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
11/14 – Atlanta, GA — Masquerade
11/15 – Tampa, FL — Brass Mug
11/17 – New Orleans, LA — Siberia
11/18 – San Antonio, TX — Korova (as part of Goregrowler’s Ball w/ Suffocation)
11/20 – Flagstaff, AZ — Orpheum Theatre (no Goatwhore)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blood of the Saints - Powerwolf - 2011

Blood of the SaintsMy whirlwind love affair with Powerwolf has come to an end. I wondered, just a few posts back, how deep the well may be for Powerwolf and the answer: about two albums deep. And those two albums were Return in Bloodred and Lupus Dei. Bible of the Beast made a decent first impression but beneath its sheen it lacked the hooks that filled Lupus Dei. Blood of the Saints is even heavier on the sheen - and even more shallow in terms of lyrical content, hooks and concept worn thin. It's a damn shame, too, as this band was so much fun. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what's wrong with Blood of the Saints and maybe that's because there isn't anything - just nothing very right.  

The theme, if there is one beyond werewolves (and, kinda, vampires?), is religion, I suppose. There's a lot of organ on Blood of the Saints, anyway. "Sanctified with Dynamite" is a respectable opener and holds its own with Powerwolf's prior material. From there on out, though, it's downhill. And less a slide than a boring coast: we've been here before, we've heard this, what else is new?

I know I have previously praised Powerwolf for their excess and demanded "more of the same." Blood of the Saints, though, comes across as a copy of a copy of a copy. The clarity lessens, the details blur. The same sound exists and is easily identifiable but I challenge anyone who has enjoyed their previous records to name a single track apart from "...Dynamite" that they'd like to hear again. Worse than being an outright stinker, it's just boring. All bark, no bite.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Misfits announce The Devil's Rain, release cover art

Misfits.com sent out an announcement for a new studio record, The Devil's Rain, scheduled for October 2011 with more details to come "next week." I am guessing the lineup for the record will remain the most recent three-piece with Jerry Only, Dez Cadena and Eric "Goat" Arce (formerly Murphy's Law and many others).

I will simultaneously state that I am incredibly pessimistic about this new record, I am angry that Jerry Only continues using the Misfits name and legacy to support what has become a solo act (can he really not at least dig up the likes of Bobby Steele and Arthur Googy? Maybe call it the Missed-Fits?) and, finally, that I will still be buying this as soon as possible as I simply cannot help myself.

The item's Amazon.com page offers a lot more info than the band's website:
The Misfits return with their long awaited, first full-length release of all-new, original material in nearly a decade! Rooted in the horror and sci-fi themes their audience craves, "The Devil's Rain" showcases 16 fiendish, soon-to-be Misfits classics including "Twilight of the Dead", "Dark Shadows", "Curse of the Mummy's Hand" and the title track itself, "The Devil's Rain". Produced by Ed Stasium, (who's credits include the Ramones' "Road to Ruin" and "Too Tough to Die", as well as the Misfits' 1999 release "Famous Monsters"), the album showcases a jaw-dropping, two-panel front/back cover painting featuring the rebirth of the band's iconic "Fiend" mascot in an epic setting rendered by Arthur Suydam (known for his immensely popular work on the Marvel Zombies series, among others). The packaging, designed to emulate a CD sized gatefold LP, also features some incredible new Misfits portraits shot by the legendary Mick Rock. Rock's imagery (which includes Bowie, Iggy, Queen, Debbie Harry, and the Ramones to name a few), has become part of the very fabric of rock 'n' roll. Having also served as an on-set photographer for cult-movie classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", Rock lends a perfectly suited eye to view the band's surrealistic and highly theatrical persona. "The Devil's Rain" is not just a continuation of a historic legacy, it's a total reboot ushering in a new era of terror. In a sense, it's the debut album from the legendary Misfits of this decade. From fans of their classics, to newcomers discovering the band for the very first time, "The Devil's Rain" sets the bar, and redefines the ferocity and melody that has made the Misfits omnipresent and immortal.

John Tesh, Ahmet Zappa and Dweezil Zappa give us "The Wizard"

Undoubtedly shared over and over in many, many places this still remains one of my favorite TV moments of all time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

10cc: Art for Art's Sake

It's really hard to discuss 10cc without coming off as, say, a Steely Dan or Zappa fan (guilty, both counts). To earnestly love a band and simultaneously feel an almost compelling need to convince others that, if they have patience, they may acquire a taste for it. And all this coming from someone himself who has said more than once that he doesn't like to work at music in any way.

Well, I've already started digging the hole so here goes anyway.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New & Upcoming Releases and Reissues - August 16-September 6, 2011

I know there's a hell of a lot more coming out than what I list in these posts but this is what I'll actually be buying the next four Tuesdays:

Chaos of Forms - Revocation - August 16, 2011
Chaos of FormsTheir third full-length and follow-up to their big label debut, Existence is Futile, I have high hopes that Chaos of Forms will be another modern thrash classic.

In Concert 1970-1972 - Deep Purple - August 16, 2011
In Concert 1970-1972This is a reissue on Eagle records but will be new to me. Two separate BBC In Concert recordings from, of course, '70 and '72, In Concert is supposedly a more fiery - if less stellar sounding - alternative to Made in Japan.

Live in London - Deep Purple - August 16, 2011
Live in LondonAnother reissue (and another new to me), Live in London captures my favorite Coverdale/Hughes lineup and captures a complete 1974 show from the only British tour of the Mk 3 incarnation (Mk III: The Final Concerts will also be reissued on August 16 as well).

Sensory Overdrive - Michael Monroe - August 23, 2011
Sensory OverdriveI haven't kept up with any post-Hanoi Rocks solo work but this one has been popping up here and there and caught my attention to the point that I'll need to check it out. I believe this has been out overseas for almost six months.

Whitesnake & Northwinds - David Coverdale - August 23, 2011
WhitesnakeDavid Coverdale's first two solo records will finally see domestic reissue this month courtesy of Eagle Records. Looks like they'll be getting a lot of my money this month.

Rocked & Ripped - BulletBoys - August 30, 2011
Rocked & RippedI know almost nothing about this record other than a) it's apparently a covers record and b) it's on Cleopatra. This is when being a loyal BulletBoys completist really, really starts to hurt (also noteworthy that while I have committed to this purchase I am still on the fence regarding the same day releases by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lil' Wayne).

Down on the Bikini Line - Johnny Corndawg - August 30, 2011
Down on the Bikini LineI have never heard of Johnny Corndawg. But with a cover like this and song titles like "When a Ford Man Turns to Chevy" and "Silver Panty Liners" I cannot fathom how this could be a bad investment.

Takasago Army - Chthonic - September 6, 2011
Takasago ArmyI only recently heard Mirror of Retribution and think these guys are pretty damn interesting (Taiwanese melodic death metal - why not?). I plan to pick that one and the new release up at the same time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Infected - Hammerfall - 2011

InfectedHammerfall has been a part of my regular listening rotation for several years now. I started collecting their records around the same time I dove into Blind Guardian, just after the second Demons & Wizards record, Touched by the Crimson King, landed in 2005. I was really looking forward to Infected to see where the band would go from 2009's No Sacrifice, No Victory, their first with guitarist Pontus Norgren and a step further away from the Accept-style heavy rock of Threshold and closer to ultra-melodic (even for this band) power metal. Infected, despite its zombie plague-styled layout, continues down the same path, provides more of the same from Hammerfall and, if anything, circles back to the Accept/Priest/Scorpions arena.