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7 years ago
"VOD is very proud and honoured about this release. Excellent minimal and drone recording of Hermann Nitsch performed on the Brucknerorgel linz as well as at the Organ at his private Castle in Prinzendorf at the Zaya, Austria, both in 1986. The original has been released on edition hundertmark in a strictly limition edition (200 copies), absolut famous recording."
WILDILDLIFE "Six"Phew! And that's not even all the bands. It’s gonna be amazing!
We dug the first ep from SF transplants Wildlife, who just so happened to feature our very own Matt in mailorder on guitar and vocals. A blown out tripped out heavy as fuck space rock psychedelic freakout of the highest order. Since then, not only have the band changed their name, to the much weirder and somehow more appropriate Wildildlife but also honed their sound into something somehow more blown out, more tripped out, heavier, weirder, but more importantly, WAY catchier. Hooks and melodies that most bands would kill for, but Wildildlife play it like it’s no big thing, burying that stuff under avalanches of processed guitars, throbbing howling bass pedals, metallic Iron Maiden like riffing, insane chaotic drumming, and a fierce white hot wall of sound.
We were pretty much sold from the first track. Beginning with some simple Adam Ant drumming, tribal and pounding, before the glistening reverbed Big Country guitars come in, all swathed in delay and drifting over the tangled rhythmic chaos below. The guitars build into a serious chordal frenzy, and then a strange haunting, and very eighties sounding hook, and that’s when the vocals come in. Distorted but melodic, a dangerously catchy hook, that somehow reminds us of Gaye Bykers On Acid. Druggy and tripped out, with a cool guitar/vocal “la… lalalalalaaaaaaa” refrain that sticks in your head FOREVER. Wildildlife are usually described as Butthole Surfers meets Black Sabbath, which while flattering, and maybe to a certain extent accurate, hardly do justice to Wildildlife’s cracked pop flecked noise rock heaviness.
Yeah, they’re heavy, but there’s no massive doom riffing or downtuned metallic pummel, and they are definitely trippy, but not in the same way as the Buttholes.
Take the second track, beginning with a wicked tangle of distorted guitar, when the drums kick in, and the band locks into an angular almost new wave melody, and those vocals return, sort of raspy and crooned, echoed by either a high wavery guitar or a falsetto vocal, and they repeat, mantra like, mesmerizing and hypnotic, relentless and seriously tripped out. The drums a constant rhythmic lock beneath the strange poppiness of the vocals and the guitar, before the whole thing splinters into a Hawkwind free rock noise jam, all super effected vocals, total drum mayhem, and thick washes of crumbling guitars and throbbing buzzing bass, eventually petering out into a gorgeous metallic slowcore dirge, everything still wrapped in thick layers of reverb and delay, a gorgeous mournful doomic sonic deathmarch. While some may hear the Buttholes, we’re hearing stuff like the God Bullies, the Cows, Lubricated Goat for sure and still plenty of Gaye Bykers, although all even more souped up and super charged.
The two halves of the record are separated by the longest track, the 18+ minute “Magic Jordan”, which begins as a washed out post rock dirge, all shimmery strummed guitars, echoey Jim Morrison vocals, and a simple stripped down rhythm, Eventually, the band erupts into a massive roiling bout of slow heaviness, that sounds like a way more psychedelic Harvey Milk, with killer angular riffs surfacing amidst the endless black sonic swirl, eventually giving way to 10 minutes of tripped out free folkiness, all warped backwards guitars, abstract percussion, fluttering melodies, haunting disembodied vocals, all sorts of random creaks and chimes and whir and hiss. Which is quickly followed by what is easily the catchiest track on the record. The relatively brief seven minute long “Feed”, with its abstract delayed guitar harmonic feedback intro, giving way to probably the most Buttholes sounding bit on the record, a tense and intense bit of furious drumming, and throbbing bass beneath little flurries of metallic guitar leads, doused in FX and sent swirling over the abyss, while the vocals croon from WAY down in the mix, finishing off with a cool thick chunk of melancholy riffage, massive low end throbs playing out a gorgeous melody beneath the squiggly guitar chaos above.
The disc finishes off with a massive sonic one two punch, two fourteen minute tracks, the first, a super abstract slow motion noise doom lurch, with anguished vocals, sung from the bottom of a well, the guitars and drums offering up jagged little stabs, before locking into a relentless Swans like crush, nearly suffocating the vocals, until the band again lock into an impossible blissed out drone, where the guitar and bass mesh into a nearly M83 sounding wash of fuzzed out psychdrone, before reverting to full on glacial plod until the end.
While the final track, begins with a thick bit of bassy buzz, weaving a hard to define slow motion melody, the buzzing rich and thick and rife with overtones, metallic, electric and lush all at once, eventually joined by a downtuned guitar mirroring that same slow motion melody, eventually joined by dramatic almost gothic vocals, the drums dropping in like brass knuckled fists to the sternum, the band again almost slipping into some intense Swans like doom, before the riffing slips away leaving nearly six minutes of soaring guitar noise, and cymbal sizzle, eventually building to a super dramatic major key coda, all soaring chords and falsetto crooning, like some sort of alien metallic “Star Spangled Banner” (again reminding us a bit of Harvey Milk), before drifting off into a meandering morning after guitar bass post rock fade out.
Way recommended. Noisy and heavy and poppy and psychedelic and fucked up and catchy in a way few bands can pull of. And the one time we caught them live, we were hanging in a hammock, above the stage, IN A BUS, getting rammed repeatedly by the headstock of the guitar as the two axemen dueled wildly in the outrageous confines of the space below. Barring that sort of intimate and surprisingly painful interaction with Wildildlife, this record will definitely serve as an ideal introduction to their damaged and druggy fucked up metallic noise rock space pop, at least until you too can be battered and bruised by these guys in the flesh! Recorded by Aaron from Mammatus, released on the always awesome Crucial Blast, and in some seriously amazing packaging, a super fancy mini gatefold sleeve, thick and full color, with an intense bejeweled turquoise skull on the cover, a fucked up masked dirt faced hatchet flag duel photo inside, as well as a full color booklet with liner notes and a bunch more freaky blurry creepy masked wild(ild)life photos...
ABSU "Mythological Occult Metal 1991-2001"
"The Gold Torques Of Ulaid", "Immortal Sorcery", "The Great Battle Moving From Ideal To Actual"? Are these chapters from a sanity-blasting tome of arcane magicks? Or lectures on mythic history or philosophy? Well, perhaps. But they're also song titles from this decade-spanning double cd collection of Absu tracks. Absu being one of our all time favorite black metal bands... if that's even an accurate description for them, 'cause there's a depth to what they do that seems like so much more than playing corpse-painted dress-up like so many black metal bands get away with. Absu, on the other hand, have definitely done their research. This Texan trio combines the evil old school speed/thrash attack of Slayer with Norwegian-style black metal mystery, adding a immense dose of magickal and mythical erudition and then taking things to a whole 'nother, never-breaking-character, Manowar-esque, Olde English speaking, are they serious or not?? level... They're a whole mindboggling package, a display of "total attention to detail" showmanship (or is it belief?) that utterly wows us, along with their raging musickal assault.
It should be noted that this new double cd is not a "best of". If it was, we'd say that even if you've never heard Absu before, you should check it out, 'cause they're one of the best "extreme" metal bands out there (and we mean "out there") and a "best of" would, therefore, be exceedingly good. Actually we'll say that anyway. But this is really a release for folks who are already fans of the band, 'cause it's a collection of rare tracks taken from various compilations and 7" eps. It also includes some live and otherwise previously unreleased material. So even if you have every Absu album, you don't have some of this. And you need it.
Disc one contains all the tracks from three hard-to-find (we don't have 'em!) 7" vinyl records -- Temples Of Offal, And Shineth Unto The Cold Cometh, and Hallstattian Swords -- plus their song from the the Gummo movie soundtrack, and more. It's all great stuff, from the solo soundtracky synth-scapes of the Hallstattian Swords tracks to the killer Mercyful Fateness of the alternate take of "Stone Of Destiny" from their most recent album, Tara.
Disc two is devoted to covers, live, and unreleased material. You get to hear Absuized versions of tracks by Mayhem (and krautrock's Conrad Schnitzler, since Absu's cover of "Deathcrush" includes the Schnitzler intro that Mayhem sampled on the original!), Possessed, Iron Maiden, and Destruction, most of which originally appeared on tribute comps to those respective artists. There's also four live cuts (worth it for the song intros alone!) and a couple unreleased rehearsal tracks. Again, all stuff any Absu fan can't live without. Just try, you'll die (someday, anyway). And you won't die as happy as you would if you'd had this.
SLOUGH FEG "Hardworlder"
San Francisco heavy metallists Slough Feg (aka The Lord Weird Slough Feg), led by vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi, have built up a deserved cult following over the years, whom we guarantee will NOT be disappointed with the contents of their latest epic, eccentric metal opus Hardworlder, their sixth full-length album. Indeed, Slough Feg's fans should be quite thrilled. And with luck Hardworlder will recruit some new devotees to the cult of 'Feg as well, they deserve it 'cause nobody but nobody makes albums with this sort of peculiar panache anymore these days. Not since the '80s, or even the '70s, from whence the guitars of Hardworlder seem to hail, and there's a heckuva lot of guitar here... memorable riffs and virtuoso solos and Maiden-ized twin axe harmonies... guitars guitars guitars! It's evident that Slough Feg's latest revised lineup (which features a change of drummer, and "Don" Angelo Tringali of cult doomsters Cold Mourning replacing Hammers Of Misfortune's John Cobbett on second lead guitar) has if anything only enhanced the "guitariness" of this band, as if that was imaginable. The Scalzi/Tringali dual guitar teamwork is phenomenal, and both guys peel off leads left and right, not just to impress with the notes they can play but because they simply can't contain their love for the raw beauty that can flow from fully cranked Gibson Les Pauls. They've got the power, and the responsibility, to play like they've taken up the torch of every great heavy metal band from the '70s and the '80s that's fallen by the wayside...
This album's title is a word they coined themselves, referring to the idea of a space-travelling adventurer bumming around on a rough planet in a bad part of the galaxy, a loner toughened by life on a "hard world" -- typified by Gully Foyle, the protagonist of sci-fi author Alfred Bester's 1956 classic The Stars My Destination (read it sez Allan and Andee!!). A book and character which provides the inspiration for the track "Tiger! Tiger!" as well as for the Kirby-esque comic-book illustration that graces this album's cover.
Interestingly, if you Google "Hardworlder", you'll find that Slough Feg managed to come up with a term that ONLY exists in connection with this album. You'll find their website, their MySpace page, their Wikipedia page, the review of Hardworlder in last week's Village Voice (yes, strangely enough, right next to the new Pharoahe Monch and Smashing Pumpkins -- how'd that happen??? The Village Voice says, "Badass sci-fi metal that it's finally cool to listen to"...we've been telling folks that for years...). You might also run across someone else's MySpace page, who goes by the handle Hardworlder -- but it turns out it belongs to an Australian university student who's a huge Slough Feg fanatic. He's gonna be happy when he hears this!
The album's opening one-two punch is hard to beat: the relentless build-up of adrenaline instrumental "The Return Of Dr. Universe" which leads us breathless into the impactful majesty of "Tiger! Tiger!", destined to be considered an instant classic in the Slough Feg canon we're sure!
But the rest of the album is up to that mighty task -- the majesty continues with midtempo maritime lament "The Sea Wolf", and thence through to the doomy riffs of the album's title track, and onward... Hardworlder seems to possess an anthemic, sweeping, saddened grandeur, a more uniform overall feel than its shorter and more schizo predecessor Atavism, although you'll find that Slough Feg sashay down all the (un)usual skyways and byways you might expect from them. The manly, melodic doom-paced epics coexist here with rollicking '70s styled hard rockers (such as "Frankfurt-Hahn Airport Blues", obviously a nod to Atavism's equally boogie-riffed "Starport Blues"). "Insomnia" starts off Thin Lizzyish to the max, but halfway through the band rides into the Halls Of Manowar, and a wordless Viking chorus rings out... The galloping requiem of the psychological tragedy "Poisoned Treasures" (reprised from their split 7" with Bible Of The Devil) will get stuck in your head, as will much more on this impossibly catchy album... And one of our favorite tracks here is the lengthy show-stopping instrumental "Galactic Nomad", with an almost-Allmans level of gorgeous guitar interplay, that could illicit a "we're not worthy" from The Fucking Champs themselves.
And while Hardworlder's obviously working the science fiction angle that proved popular for 'em on their concept album Traveller, it also serves up ye olde Celtic folk in the Slough Feg tradition -- in fact, one of the two (2) cover songs here is a version of "Dearg Doom" by '70s Irish folk-rockers Horslips. The other cover is "Street Jammer", originally by '80s American epic metal weirdists Manilla Road. Both are tributes to Slough Feg's influences in a general, not specific sense, since we happen to know that they'd never heard either band until years and years after Slough Feg's inception. Speaking of influences, if you listen close to "Street Jammer" you'll hear some Chuck Berry licks thrown in not found on the original... and we'll also note that Slough Feg deliberately selected an early Manilla Road song, that's a lot more hot rockin' than what people usually think of in connection with that band. Further, while we're usually more into covers that DON'T sound so much like the originals, in the case of these two songs it's OK that they do since a) they're pretty obscure and b) both still totally sound like Slough Feg could have written them.
Ok, we're rambling, and you get the idea... Hardworlder is another ripping masterwork from a band that will either dominate your metal-addled mind, or you just won't get. We hope you do. 'Nuff said.
WOVEN HAND "Ten Stones"
Oh, how we wish sometimes that we had more time to spend with some of the records we review. In some cases, it's an hour or two, maybe 2 or 3 times through an album, sometimes, unfortunately, it's even less than that. With so many records, it's not always possible to totally immerse yourself, and some music requires that sort of immersion, for it to be fully appreciated, for the sounds to open up, the layers to peel back, revealing the music's beating heart. Such is the case with the music of David Eugene Edwards, formerly of 16 Horsepower, now spreading his dark apocalyptic folk gospel via Woven Hand.
The music of Woven Hand, as is evidenced by past aQ reviews (3 of the past 4 WH albums, well, now 4 out of 5, were aQ Records Of The Week, and when we try to figure out why the other one wasn't, for the life of us, we just can't), is the rare music that moves and inspires, sends shivers down our spines, gives us goosebumps, brings us to the edge of tears, a music powerful and personal, and so so intense. The sounds of Woven Hand, while gorgeous, are also ominous and haunting, the message even moreso. Edwards' lyrics deal almost exclusively with death and damnation, sin and salvation. He, more than any modern performer is the rock equivalent of a revivalist preacher, testifying like his life depended on it, and perhaps it does. The music backing up Edwards' passionate vocals, is a dark swirl of backwoods folk, of gothic rock (not to be confused with goth-rock), sweeping cinematic soundscapes, old time blues, lush and almost orchestrated, strings moan, sweet sad melodies are plucked out on old pianos, or unfurled from wheezing harmoniums. Woven Hand is the sound of some old dusty ghost town, or some strange traveling minstrel, set up on the back of a rickety old wagon, playing for coal miners, and forest folk, lit from below by flickering firelight, shadows dancing behind the band like some sort of mysterious back up band of spirits.
Ten Stones remains true to the first few books in the Gospel of the Woven Hand, from the first few notes, this could be nothing else, Edwards' super dramatic rich velvety croon, the tone of the guitars, those melodies, minor key yet shot through with some sort of hopeful warmth, some ineffable otherworldly glow, the one thing that is different, is just how rocking some of this is, almost heavy at points, the guitars thick and growling, the drums pounding and frenzied, strings singing, but all kept in check by Edwards' vocals. This new found heaviness is not a new direction, just another arrow in Edwards' musical quiver, as many of the songs still slither and crawl through those lost backwoods of tarnished souls and wasted lives, the twang left to drift in wide open spaces as often as it's wrapped around the heft of crunch and bluster. The record does manage to move in unexpected directions, the accordion driven filthy blues jam that is “White Knuckle Grip”, or the moody torch song shimmer of “Quite Nights Of Quiet Stars”, the pounding bluegrass buzz of “Kicking Bird”, but even those anomalous excursions, somehow fit perfectly into the long winding musical road of Ten Stones. The last three tracks finish off things about as perfectly as possible, “Kingdom Of Ice” is total apocalyptic drama, the twang of banjo beneath a buzzing drone, Edwards's spitting fire, “His Loyal Love”, a swoonsome, murky drift of soft smeared guitar buzz, shuffled percussion, and haunting reverb drenched vocals, the entire song wreathed in a swirling gauzy fog, and finally the untitled closer, a deep whizzing, nearly static drone, long tones slowly shifting, thick distorted guitar rumble and sweet soft tones, shimmering and spread out into a kaleidoscopic soft focus blur.
Another stirring apocalyptic missive, from one of the few, true remaining musical prophets, and even if your soul doesn't need saving, Ten Stones will have you wishing it did. Musical salvation is at hand!
MAJOR STARS "Distant Effects"
Here's guitarists Wayne Rogers and Kate Biggars again with their third album under the Major Stars moniker, after working together previously in such similarily-psychedelic bands as Crystalized Movements, Magic Hour, B.O.R.B., and the not-to-be-forgotten Wormdoom. As you might expect from these Terrastock rock heroes, "Distant Effects" features a lot of nimble psych guitar solos, dirty with effects and wanky (very Hendrix like). The drumming, also, is big and bombastic. We like a lot of this, except, as unfortunately tends to be the case with Mr. Rogers' stuff, for the vocals. His lackluster pipes project a sincere indie-boy dullness, without being heartbreaking or special enough to excuse. Aside from that drawback, "Distant Effects" is a fine album for fans of 60's inspired psych guitar jamming (which is what happens a few minutes into each track once Wayne shuts up and the band starts to cook), with a great recording sound and a varied style from song to song, of which there are just four, reaching a bit over a half hour, culminating in the 14 minutes and 45 seconds of "Elephant", which sees the Major Stars really stretching out with some righteous heaviness. On Squealer, where it seems to belong, seeing as how that label is also home to several High Rise and Acid Mothers Temple releases!
GUNSLINGERS "No More Invention"
Woah. What a surprise! See, the German psych/prog/kraut specialists at World In Sound have been responsible for a lot of cool '60s/'70s reissues and comps (Cold Sun, Modulo 1000, Psychedelic Minds Vol.1...) but they also have released some unfortunately not-so-hot cds by a bunch of modern prog and stoner rock bands doing the retro thing, and well, we haven't reviewed any of those based on the old "if you don't have anything nice to say..." principle. Just not worth bothering. BUT, that was until this disc came along. Like we said, a surprise. This Julian Cope approved (Record Of The Month for August '08 on his Head Heritage website) band has come up with a doozy of debut (?) here, a real humdinger from these Gallic guitarslingers. Featuring Matthieu Canaguier on "thunderbass", Antoine Hadhoannou on "prophetic drums", and most importantly, badass-in-chief Gregory Raimo on "guitar & guitar lighter, yaya preach, feedback", this trio's No More Invention sounds something like the French answer to The Heads, or White Hills, or even Mainliner. Utter aggro over the top distortodelic geetar excess. Frickin' savage. SAVAGE. Nope, not at all what we'd have expected from World In Sound. Not only have they found a current signing that's good, in fact great, said signing are also a lot more punk than we'd have thought. Heck we bet these guys grew up on Metal Urbain, maybe even Soggy! The rabid vocals are somewhere betwixt Johnny Rotten and Mark E. Smith, babbling indecipherably. They also remind us a bit of the guy from The Trashmen (if "Surfin' Bird" was a raving, epick 12:50 long biker/garage meltdown blowout kraut jam called "Lighter Slinger Festival", ferinstance). Some other song titles, just to whet yer sick appetites: "Into The Garage", "The Beheaded Motorbiker's Head", "Black Dwarf Man", "Gigolo Albinos", and (uh-oh) "Auschwitz Boogie". Nothing holy here. Simply full tilt, fucked up, freaking out-out-out. Don't come looking to Gunslingers for songs and melodies and suchlike. Come looking for the blinding white lighting of FX overloaded, speed freak amp-sploitation, and the rhythm section rough-and-tumble of mainlined rock action energy, and you'll find it. Timeless stuff, heck if this WAS a '70s acid-punk reissue we would be less surprised. Gunslingers could do battle with the likes of Gaseneta, based on what we're hearing here. Recommended!