Sunday, January 29, 2012

Metal Massacre 2012: Acheron • Dismemberment • Prosanctus Inferi • The Conquering • Beneath the Sea - January 28, 2012 - The Shrunken Head, Columbus, Ohio

I guess I'm going to start this one completely out of chronological order and may well ramble a bit, too. It's not that I don't appreciate Acheron. I am thankful we have a metal act with some history and some heft right here close to home. I am thankful that they obviously undertook a labor of love to pull together a show like last night's Metal Massacre at the Shrunken Head because, for eight dollars, anyone in attendance got a hell of a lot of entertainment. That said, the headliners did not do it for me and, three or four numbers into their set, I hit the street.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dismemberment announces new track, exclusive artwork from Denied Salvation

Dismemberment have announced a preview of their upcoming EP, Denied Salvation, on their Facebook page. The band reports they have masters in hand and that the new track, "Perpetual Malice," (with exclusive artwork by Tony Karnes) will be up on their Bandcamp page February 1. That's Wednesday, motherfuckers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mid-Week Miscellany: Acheron, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy & More

Lamb of God seems unavoidable this week. They're seemingly every other song on Liquid Metal and, while I have nothing against the band, I've never felt compelled to buy an album and nothing I've heard so far convinces me to do so now. A few random tweets last week between myself and James Fiend led me to dig out some old Cure albums and this week has largely been a detour from the heavy stuff of late and instead has been a descent into Goth rock moodiness (but still punctuated by some good old Satanic metal, of course).

The Cure was a band I followed very fervently at the height of Disintegration-era mania at the end of the 80s. I cannot pretend to have been on the bandwagon much earlier and jumped off again after Wish and its shiny, happy "Friday I'm in Love" landed just as grunge exploded. In that brief interim, though, I grabbed much of the backcatalogue and two of the band's early records, Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Faith (1981), stuck with me for a long while through many a shift in listening habits. Seventeen Seconds always struck me with its spare and hollow sounds (and a killer single in "The Forest") and Faith fed the gloomy melancholy that latched me (and probably every other kid in the 80s) onto this music in the first place. I know the next step of Pornography stands as the culmination of the momentum started here and I won't deny its status as the first real classic in the band's oeuvre but I always felt as if these others were somehow mine and, rediscovering them this last week, it still feels that way.

And while I was pulling the Cure off the shelf, I also grabbed some Sisters of Mercy. Floodland, to be specific. Another I grabbed late in the game, this one became a staple of my rotation circa 1992 as I tried my damnedest to woo any freshman co-ed with excess eyeliner using a copy of Peter Murphy's then-new Holy Smoke and any chemicals that could be had. While the hazy listening sessions didn't usually end as I desired, someone along the way left a copy of Floodland in my room. I transferred schools and never returned the CD. Good old pre-internet days left this band and Andrew Eldritch's colorful history a mystery to me and, what's more, I had no idea that the Mission, whose Children I had been toting around for a few years at this point, were ever in any way connected with the Sisters. At the time I quickly fell for the more metallic Vision Thing but, over the years, Floodland has shifted back to favorite status. "This Corrosion" may well be what I request to be played at my funeral (I love the idea of a lush, Jim Steinman-produced 11-minute goth hymn/synthpop to keep folks shifting in their seats).

I have not, though, completely lost my focus this week as the long range forecast seems to show that travel will be just fine to drive to Columbus and The Shrunken Head for their Metal Massacre 2012 this Saturday evening. A showcase of Ohio-based metal, the event features a few bands new to me; Beneath the Sea, The Conquering and Prosanctus Inferi, as well as the incredible Dismemberment and Satanic metallers, Acheron. I knew Acheron only by name and reputation (they're not fooling around with this shit) and decided to brush up with a purchase of their most recent record, 2009's The Final Conflict - Last Days of God. It's a heavy concept, an apocalyptic "Cerberus War" waged between the three major religions, fueled by the Satanic "Wolfen Society." It's a powerful, crisply-produced, mid-tempo churning record and rocks fairly well. The subject matter doesn't offend my sensibilities though I do get a bit turned off when bands take themselves this seriously. On the upside, though, bands of this ilk often have spectacular t-shirts...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland - Rush - 2011

I am a Rush fan and a Rush completist but not a Rush fanatic. There's some kind of distinction between those somewhere, illustrated in the amount of time it took me to get to their latest release, Time Machine. While I made both the CD and blu-ray release day purchases they stayed wrapped in cellophane for weeks before I found the desire to crack them open and fully digest yet another double-live set from a band who, in recent years, puts out a hell of a lot of double-live sets. I've got to say, though, that despite my ho-hum approach to Time Machine, it is a pretty good - though not great - experience.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"We do it because we're fans of metal" - An Interview with Dismemberment

l-r: JD, Luke, Taylor, Jacob
photo by Matt Day Photo, provided by DISMEMBERMENT
Anyone willing to engage me in conversation on music for any more than five minutes has probably heard of Dismemberment. Anyone into the live metal scene in Ohio has undoubtedly heard of Dismemberment. Luke Shively (guitars/vocals), Jacob Shively (guitars), Taylor Emerine (drums) and JD Henderly (bass) provide a blackened thrash assault that is absolutely thrilling and, personally, I'm proud that they're based here in the Buckeye State (out of Laurelville/Circleville, about 40 miles south of Columbus or, in the geography of metal, about halfway between Columbus and Skeletonwitch).

With one incredible EP, The Condemned, under their belts and another on the cusp of release, Dismemberment continue to share the Ohio stages with some of metal's most respected names: Revocation, Havok, Skeletonwitch, Immolation, Jungle Rot and Mayhem, just to name a few, and will feature alongside Acheron, Prosanctus Inferi, The Conquering and Beneath the Sea at Metal Massacre 2012 at the Shrunken Head in Columbus on January 28.

Good guys that they are, Dismemberment were generous with their time this weekend and took a few minutes to answer some questions for gogmagogical and share some insight into what has to be one of the most exciting new bands I've heard in years.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Death, Dismemberment and more: My 2012 Metal Wishlist

With Relapse Records' upcoming double-live Vivus from Death due on February 28 and already ordered, I started browsing Amazon as well as various mags and have planting the seeds for a 2012 pre-order wishlist. Just a tiny fraction of what's on the way - at some point this year...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Worth the Effort: The Art of War - Vader - 2005

Some post-holiday record store browsing led me to a little Vader EP from 2005, The Art of War. Absolutely appetized for more Vader as a result of Welcome to the Morbid Reich, I have had the eyes open for more material by the band and snatched this CD up with no hesitation. With six tracks, I didn't know if it would be an EP or full-length and really had no idea what The Art of War would contain. Turns out it's got fourteen minutes of music, two instrumental/intro tracks and about seven million riffs. Want tight, precise, loud blast beats and teeth-rattling rumbling low end?  You're set. Want solos? "What Colour is Your Blood" tears it up. Want evil vocals that don't require a lyric sheet read along? All set. The best EPs often serve as a distillation, an unsullied shot of all of a band's finest qualities and The Art of War comes across as just that (based on the one album I currently know which is, of course, one hell of an album).

The Art of War is an absolutely marvelous slice of death metal and, reading up after my first listen, apparently out of print. Insane. I don't know the catalogue well enough to say that this hasn't been tacked onto another full-length but believe all tracks are exclusive to this EP with no recycled/reworked/rehashed maxi-single BS happening here. I do know that I can easily recommend paying the $12+ used copies are currently demanding on Amazon (or the dedicated can dole out the $35-40 a new Japanese import appears to cost). I've only dipped a toe into the Vader pool and I don't know if I am just lucky or if it's all this damn good. Here's hoping. It'll be fun finding out. I just ordered Sothis, Litany and Impressions in Blood. Next: gotta catch these guys live when they make it to the USA.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Defense Of: that album...

Trying a new post in anticipation of any 2012 stinkers as well as the ocassional argument for some of the lesser entries on my shelves. There are some albums that are simply indefensible: The Nutley Brass/Jerry Only Misfits lounge album (bested (worsted?) only by Only's album of originals, The Devil's Rain). On the other hand, six months later I'll still stand by Morbid Angel's newest (and, yeah, I didn't hate St. Anger). There is always going to be some dude out there who claims Music from the Elder is the best Kiss album, In Through the Out Door is superior to Led Zeppelin II or that David Lee Roth's contributions to Van Halen are superior to Sammy Hagar's. That's all just crazy talk. Nothing here is intended to shock or create argument just for the sake of being contrary. In fact, none of these records probably stir much emotion in anyone anywhere. They are, however, some often-overlooked LPs from bigger, badder catalogues that I am hoping someone else out there may also be enjoying from time to time in place of the established classics. Three I found on my playlist this week from the end of the '90s: