Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Moody Bastard

"do not geet impatient...vee are on zee vay..."
Been doing a lot, music-wise, the last couple of days (aside from sorting through very angry emails from very passionate Dr. Acula fans - who would have guessed tossed-off filler spurred on by a funny magazine photo would get more responses than anything else to date - and in such a short span?).

And regarding funny photos, I was really hoping to have a review up for Powerwolf's Blood of the Saints by now but it's still en route and I downright refuse to try to give it its first listen via youtube. I don't know what method of shipping was used but am guessing it is coming via steamship across the Atlantic from Romania, embedded deep in a dog crate filled with Transylvanian soil (how do you properly transport werewolves, anyway?). Either that or some dude in a Kentucky warehouse has yet to pull it and drop in the USPS mailbin. I'd rather imagine the former to be true.

I have downloaded Job for a Cowboy's Gloom EP and they are really, really starting to grow on me. The first records were decent listens but, frankly, rarely come off the shelf as they do little for me to distinguish themselves from much more interesting alternatives (with the exception of their high point, Genesis). Gloom is a fierce four songs for a measly three bucks through iTunes and is worth twice as much, easily.

I did manage to get my hands on Hammerfall's Infected and, for fans of the band's earlier work, rest assured that, despite the new cover aesthetic, this is no significant departure. It's rock-solid and delivers exactly what you would expect from this long-running Amon Amarth "archenemy:" massive riffs, majestic soloing, and classic power metal vocals.

"hey, do you guys know 'black stone wielder?'
fuck it. let's just play something
with the washboard again."

Speaking of Amon Amarth, I unintentionally wound up with a good portion of the Winds of Plague discography today. I spent my lunch hour at Best Buy, searching in vain for anything that came to mind. I went in hoping for anything by Immolation (The Metal Advisor's write-up on Majesty & Decay plus my ticket in hand for their show on October 14 with the almighty Jungle Rot both dictate that I need to educate myself thoroughly on the band across the next few weeks) and, of course, there was nothing to be found. I wanted to grab the latest Candlemass Epicus Doomicus Metallicus reissue and found only Candlebox. Really, Best Buy?  Still?  And two copies? To be fair, they also had one Cannibal Corpse record on the shelf but, again, I have been visiting this particular Best Buy since 2001 and that CD has been there every time. I also wanted to grab the Death reissue for a friend and found only Death Cab for Cutie. Autopsy? Nope. Not even Audioslave. Instead something called "Au Revoir Simone." Merde. Decapitated? Nope. Decemberists and Dead Weather. I like many different kinds of music but, as I browsed through the shelves, it seems like the primary music they now stock consists of bands who are poorly dressed in vintage clothes and make very intentionally, embarrassingly consciously "retro" rock music. It has gotten to the point that if it is in an eco-friendly digipak and doesn't have a skull on the cover somewhere I am reluctant to even give it a look.

Decimate the WeakSo - long story a little shorter, I went album by album until I came to some artwork that looked at least a little promising. It wasn't good but had a demonic samurai standing on a pile of bodies and came from Century Media. So I grabbed Winds of Plague's Decimate the Weak. And then, behind it, another CD with some ogre and a knight facing off with swords. And that's how I also got Winds of Plague's The Great Stone War about eight seconds later. It looked like a really poor man's version of Amon Amarth and, lo and behold, the first vocal track I heard, "Anthems of the Apocalypse," sounded just like that. To be honest, listening through the entire record, it went off in some directions I didn't anticipate and I actually really look forward to playing it through a couple more times as well as The Great Stone War.

11 Tracks of WhackFinally, it feels worth noting that despite all these heavy metal sounds rotating around this week, the album I keep returning to has been Walter Becker's 11 Tracks of Whack. I don't know how many hard rock and metal fans are also into Steely Dan but I am willing to bet there are more than a few who understand exactly why this fits in somehow. I love the meticulous complexity of the Steely Dan records and the fact that Becker and Fagen were able to just pile on hook after hook. Becker always struck me as the slightly sloppier of the duo - the Mr. Kidd to Fagen's Wint for any Bond fans - and 11 Tracks of Whack, while still a perfectly prepared record, has a raw, emotional edge that Fagen's solo records - and anything by Steely Dan, for that matter - lack. It's nice to spread out a bit in the listening and, in the end, good music is good music, regardless of what label is applied to it. If you're into Steely Dan, even a little, track the Whack down. Just don't expect to find it at Best Buy.

1 comment:

  1. You can't expect to find anything halfway decent at Best Buy. The two BBs closest to me have absolutely nothing worth purchasing. I almost picked up the new Queensryche album, but opted against it because I figured it would be terrible. As per my suspicions, it is god awful. Avoid at all costs. Hopefully you have a good independent shop close by.

    Anyway, I hope you finally got a chance to hear Immolation. Majesty & Decay is a very good album, but Close to a World Below is the record I see all the fans clamoring about. That's next on my list.