Friday, May 29, 2015

Cancer Bats - "Beelzebub"

If you've read any of my record reviews, maybe you noticed that I make a lot of film references.  Whenever I hear a fantastic song, I start imagining cinematic visuals to accompany it.  And, likewise, when I see a great movie, I can't help thinking about the perfect musical accompaniment that might've made it even better.  It’s how my brain is wired.

The song “Beelzebub” by Cancer Bats recently filled a void in my life that I didn't even know my life had.  In fact, it’s so demolishingly dark, loud, angry, and cathartic that I think it's a candidate to score one of the most fantasized-about yet presently non-existent movie moments in our culture. 

Despite never having been onscreen, this is a scene that's been detailed in comics and novels, filibustered by Patton Oswalt, and discussed with desperate anticipation by millions of sci-fi movie buffs (mostly male) for decades.  And we'll continue to create indescribably impossible expectations for it, no matter how many other media forms poke around its edges, because none of those counts till we actually see it in a movie.

What generationally momentous though wholly hypothetical film scene am I talking about? 

Boba Fett, severely injured but alive, wrenching himself free of the Sarlacc Pit, pissed off and looking for payback. 

Like many fans, I knew my life would be incomplete in a small but significant way until a film containing this scene was brought into existence.  However, I didn’t realize that my private fanboy world was also missing the perfect song to play behind it, until I heard “Beelzebub.”

I recently read a book that put quantifiable numbers to what we of the Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino generation already qualitatively understood without the need for research to confirm it:  Star Wars permeates the hell out of modern culture.  And one of the most reviled events in all of Star Wars (and, therefore, all of cinema) was Boba Fett getting bumped off in the ignominious way that he did.  It was hollow and unsatisfying when I was a kid, and the years since haven't made it any easier to accept.

Fortunately, it’s a death that was never confirmed.  Yes, you can pronounce someone dead without a body, you can even hold their funeral, but there will always be that lingering question... especially if the departed spends the next thirty years becoming one of the most popular characters in the most beloved space-fantasy saga of all time.

I read about Cancer Bats in Magnet Magazine, dog-earing the page and eventually sitting down with headphones to immerse myself in their latest record, Searching for Zero.  When I’m listening to a new band for the first time, I tend to put their stuff on while I’m doing something else, just to see if it’s remarkable enough to capture my attention in a positive way.  By the end of the four-minute opening track, I couldn’t focus on my work.  And by the time I heard the line, “I’ll always be… the jerk that you need,” my brain was reconfiguring my taste parameters to accommodate this meaningful new addition.

This is a band cut from the Every Time I Die cloth, laying down a ripping blend of high-octane rock, throat-scouring hardcore and half-speed stoner metal.  A few days after acquiring the album, while listening to its fourth song, I had my epiphany.

Let me quickly set the stage:

You're the baddest bounty hunter in the universe.  You’ve finally brought in your prize mark, and are enjoying Jabba the Hutt's hospitality while basking in the satisfaction of a job well done—which, for you, equates to standing around looking menacing while everyone else cavorts (because you don't get to be the baddest bounty hunter out there by letting your guard down).

Next thing you know, lightsabers are humming, blasters are firing, wookies are roaring, and, one lucky shot later, jet packs and grappling guns suddenly feel like the most pointless gadgets you could possibly have armed yourself with, because what you really need is a two-foot syringe of imperial-strength, midi-chlorian-enhanced ipecac.

You with me?

Now, music is (of course) subjective, as is every Star Wars fan’s right to assemble his own mental reel of Fett dragging his splintered armor and battered body out the entrance-only mouth of a killed-to-shit-from-the-inside Sarlacc. 

That said, I think we can all agree that it needs to happen.  And what I didn’t realize until recently was that what my soul wanted, as much as it wanted the grievous wrong of Boba Fett’s apparent death put right, was a killer heavy rock song blasting along as the soundtrack to this cinematic correcting of universal events.  I’m talking about a song so perfectly articulated in its power and energy as to forever be linked to the scene, the way “Misirlou” will forever remain inextricable from Pulp Fiction’s opening salvo.

With that in mind, indulge me and hit play on Cancer Bats’ “Beelzebub.”  As you listen, let your internal celluloid start to unspool.  Together, we’ll visualize Boba Fett channeling every escape artist, fixer and jury-rigger from Mr. Miracle to MacGuyver as he fights, squirms, and detonates his way out of the most heinous flesh-trap in the system, wrenching himself back from a bottomless well of slow-boiling stomach juices, cracking past thousands of concentric, downward-angled teeth, and negotiation of a few tons of generator-choking Tatooine sand in the process.  If “Beelzebub” doesn’t seem like the right music for this moment, turn the volume up and start over.  And if you can’t almost feel the acidic stab of ten thousand years of remorseless, alien digestion on your skin when Bats singer Liam Cormier roars, “I'm just as scared of this too, as terrified as you,” maybe you don’t care as much about Boba Fett as we both thought.

The revelation of Boba Fett being alive would be a deeply personal thing for many of us.  And so, if I’m being honest, I’ve got to admit that it’s way too ego-centric to suggest that, just because it works for me, there’s no better piece of music than "Beelzebub" to score the hypothetical scene in which this pseudo-resurrection comes to pass.  I accept that.

If a few people are exposed to Cancer Bats and their killer new album through my highlighting one of their songs this way, I'm happy.   This is a great band who, via a simmering mini-epic of mortal fear and struggle against the darkness, has confirmed for me that a lot more punk-tinged metal bands should slow it down once a while, because they absolutely crush when they do. 

And if, for some of you, “Beelzebub” happens to evoke an Industrial Light & Magic-perfect vision of a Mandalorian-gauntleted hand reaching back from the mouth of nigh inescapable doom, all the better.

- MeteorJadd

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Teepee Creeper – Ashes Of The Northwest

I like it when a band just comes out of nowhere and knocks it out of the park.  That would be Teepee Creeper on this here album.  They've been a secret indulgence of those of us in the Northwest but with this release I think a LOT of other people are going to discover how good this band is.  If there is any justice in the world.

You like your rock heavy, sludgy, a little doomy here and there, with traces of Sabbathian majesty?  Kind of spacey and stonery, too?  Just put a check mark next to all of those boxes and push play on this beauty of an album, and spend the next 30 minutes in bliss.  There's nothing complicated, nothing you have to think about too much with this band, and that is completely all right.  Sometimes you just need to groove to some heavy shit.  Welcome to your soundtrack.

“Far Far Away” opens things up with some crushing heaviness and lyrics about joining the aliens who visit our planet and going, well, far, far away.  “Galactic Oblivion” comes along, kind of sneaks up on you, and then the riff just hits you in the chest like a sledgehammer.  Title track “Ashes of the Northwest” alternates between being just somewhat heavy and being so heavy that you can't breathe.  And those are just the first 3 tracks.

The rest of the album continues in the same pattern, kind of like 50 shades of heavy.  It's all going to fill that spot inside of you that craves the heavy, that spot that needs some sludgy goodness to make you feel alive.  If you need to, you know, imbibe, and then need something to bob your head along to, this will fill that need too, in spades.  I listen to some albums and wonder why this has to be so long.  This one is not long enough.

Go to Bandcamp and search these guys out.  Buy it on digital, buy it on CD, but get your hands on this now.  If they come through your town, make a point to go see them.  These are the kind of bands that we need to support, so they are able to stick around and make more music like this.  More music like this would do the world a lot of good, and maybe, just maybe, we can drive all the pop stars off the planet and just live in a world where dudes like these are the stars.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Therapy? - Troublegum

I got hooked on these Northern Irish pain merchants when their album 'Nurse' hit the streets in 1992. A strange feat indeed since I, at the time, had barely ventured into the realm of heavy, noisey and industrial-tinged punk at all. Come to think of it, I never have since either really. However, 'Nurse' brought something else to the fray that appealed to me and I have been a fan of the band ever since. If that album got me into the band, the 1994 follow-up, 'Troublegum' totally blew me away and became an important staple in the soundtrack of my college years.

What struck me the most of 'Troublegum' is the much heavier approach than on it's predecessor. The punk and industrial parts are there, but have taken a considerable step back which suits the lyrics much better. Always writing and singing about troubled and disturbed minds, that aspect opened up fully here and hit home with me immediately. I mean already in the first track, 'Knives' they sing: '...I'm gonna get drunk come round and fuck you up, I'm gonna get drunk come round and fuck you up and you can't help my life but you can hide the knives'. Hmmm, doesn't get more intense and screwed up than that. Well, continue to listen and you'll hear more tales from the dark side.

To this day, there are two songs I return to first whenever I play 'Troublegum'. The moment 'Unbeliever' burst to life was monumental. The guitar alone is a bulldozer of the mind burrowing into my head to release the demons. And once Andy starts to sing the chains are broken and the lunacy begins: '...Don't belong in this world or the next one, wasting every day to my own end. Feeling awkward, feeling clumsy, hating everything I've ever done before. Then you leave me like the others, leave me too much time on my own, on my own, on my own, on my own'. As if this isn't enough the maniacal 'Trigger Inside' follows right after, and it's even crazier. Therapy? drives up the tempo considerably where the fantastic rhythm work from McKeegan and Ewing are laying waste to everything around them. This allows Cairns absolute freedom to unleash the insanity whichever way he wants to on the guitar and lyrically: ' head, it won't switch off when I'm alone. I got a trigger inside, I got a trigger inside, I got a trigger inside, I get the feeling I've been cheated. I got a trigger inside...'. Beautiful, that's all I can say people...beautiful!

Other very, very goods songs are 'Hellybelly', 'Stop It, You're Killing Me', 'Die Laughing' and an amazing rendition of Joy Division's 'Isolation'. They all follow perfectly with this album's theme of portraying the wretched souls in society, after all their website greeting is 'We Are Therapy? Helping The Afflicted Since 1990. They are also bringing forth acts of shallowness in the name of want and greed. Although released in 1994 these themes are more poignant than ever nowadays. Timelessness, indeed for better or worse.

The nucleus of Cairns and McKeegan are still keeping Therapy? going after Fyfe Ewing left in 1996, some time after 'Infernal Love', the follow-up to 'Troublegum', had been released. The success sales-wise of this particular album has never been matched, but the band has never given up. And they are still making great twisted music. Check them out, you hear!

- Swedebeast

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SERIAL HAWK To Release Their Long-Awaited Debut, Searching For Light, via Bleeding Light Records September 18th; Summer U.S. Tour Dates Announced

Seattle, Washington's crushingly heavy three-piece doom act SERIAL HAWK just signed to Bleeding Light Records and will release their debut full-length, Searching For Light, September 18th. The band's penchant for punishing, building riffs and reputation for bringing live audiences to their knees with a wall of sound has been encapsulated in this long-awaited album, which will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital download. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months, but in the meantime, be sure to catch the band playing the songs live on their summer U.S. tour.

 Watch the official Searching For Light teaser via The Obelisk now at THIS LOCATION.

Searching For Light Track Listing:

1. Desolate
2. Lying In Wait (Listen HERE.)
3. Of Decay
4. Searching For Light

Serial Hawk Spring 2015 Tour

May 22 – Eugene, OR – The Wandering Goat
May 23 – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
May 24 – Redwood City, CA – Bobby D’s
May 25 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Sweet Springs Saloon
May 26 – Glendale, CA – The Complex
May 27 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout
May 28 – Phoenix, AZ – Rogue Bar
May 29 – Santa Fe, NM – The Cave
May 30 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Observatory
May 31 – Bryant, AR – M. F. Metal Music
June 01 – Birmingham, AL – Syndicate Lounge
June 02 – Atlanta, GA – 529
June 03 – Raleigh, NC – Slims Downtown
June 04 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
June 05 – Boston, MA – Cambridge Elks
June 06 – New Haven, CT – Three Sheets
June 07 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
June 08 – Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge
June 09 – Omaha, NE – The Hideout
June 10 – Laramie, WY – Buckhorn Bar
June 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Music Garage
June 12 – Boise, ID – The Crazy Horse
June 13 – Portland, OR – The Know
June 14 – Seattle, WA – Black Lodge
For a taste of Serial Hawk's live experience, watch their 2014 in-studio KEXP performance HERE.

Will Bassin - Guitar, Vocals
Adam Holbrook - Bass
Sean Bulkley - Drums


Greyhaze Records Reissues Trio of Brazilian Black Metal Classics

Greyhaze Records is proud to announce that three classic reissues from the Brazilian Black Metal Underground are now available for purchase. Included are MYSTIFIER's
Goetia (CD & 2xLP), VULCANO's Bloody Vengeance (CD/DVD), and IMPURITY's Into the Ritual Chamber (CD).

The audio for each of the albums has been carefully restored and dynamically remastered. Each release has been repackaged in a way that honors the original artwork.  All three titles can be purchased HERE

Visit the Greyhaze Records Bandcamp page for complete album streams of all three reissues.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bonehunter Set Release Date For Hells Headbangers Debut

Much like they've done with Armour and Evilnight, once again, Hells Headbangers unleashes an underground gem from darkest Finland, ready to take up the heavy metal fight: Bonehunter and their debut album, Evil Triumphs Again, set for international release on August 21st on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats. All too appropriately titled, Evil Triumphs Again is a cryogenically frozen blast from the past, offering obeisance to debut-era Bathory in its unremittingly cavernous atmosphere yet resolutely punk-rocking thrust. Bonehunter hail all forms of evil (a quick rundown of some of the album's song titles include "Acid Fuck," "Succubus," "Burning Skulls," the telltale "Devil Metal Punks" and, of course, the title track itself) and extol these virtues through simple, pounding metalpunk drenched in sulfur and sewage, each anthem crankier and catchier than the last. One listen through and these songs will NOT leave your head - and thus, Evil Triumphs Again! Hear the first evidence of such exclusively HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Bonehunter's Evil Triumphs Again  
1. Messier 666
2. Black Shrine
3. Acid Fuck
4. Burning Skulls
5. Devil Metal Punks
6. Symbol of the Curse
7. Succubus
8. Deviler
9. Evil Triumphs Again

A statement from the band reads: "As longtime fans of Hells Headbangers and many bands from their roster, we are proud to release our first full-length sonic assault under the banner of HHR. With the support of Hells Heabangers, we will continue forging our devilish tunes and to make your ears bleed. This is only the beginning of our triumph, because true EVIL NEVER DIES!"
In other Bonehunter news, the band is slated to play Hells Headbangers' "Hells Headbash - Part 2" festival, set for September 4-6 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Agora Theater and Ballroom. Bonehunter will join other such HHR-affiliated bands as Satanic Warmaster, Profanatica, Archgoat, Midnight, Inquisition, Deiphago, Acid Witch, Destruktor, Black Witchery, Deceased, High Spirits, Deathhammer, Nyogthaeblisz, Demonic Christ, and tons more. More info can be found HERE.


Denmark's UNDERGANG Streaming New Song at Noisey

Denmark Death Dealers UNDERGANG have teamed up with Noisey for the exclusive stream of "Kogt I Blod," a brand new song from upcoming Dark Descent Records release Døden læger alle sår. Check it out at this location.

The band will release its third album Døden Læger Alle Sår on CD and digital formats via Dark Descent Records July 10. The vinyl version will be released on Me Saco Un Ojo Records. Long live the new flesh!

Døden Læger Alle Sår was recorded at Earhammer Studio, California subsequent to UNDERGANG's three-week U.S. tour in July 2014. The new material is a blend of the suffocating and filthy heaviness heard on the band's previous two albums, Indhentet Af Døden (2010) and Til Døden Os Skiller (2012), whilst adding more twists and neck-breaking brutality to the mix. The new album will out just in time for UNDERGANG's European tour with STARGAZER.
1.Døden Læger Alle Sår
3.Kronisk Betændelse i tarmene
4.Ad Ligbitum
6.Lemlæstelsens Kunst
7.Kogt i Blod
10 Det Gør Kun Ondt til du dør

UNDERGANG was formed in the early summer of 2008, with the intent of playing old styled, low tuned and extremely heavy Death Metal. Since the earliest breath of existence took place, the band has always kept pushing their limits and always stayed active, both in the studio and in live environments. The band has released two full length albums - Indhentet Af Døden (2010) and Til Døden Os Skiller (2012) ) - and several smaller releases and splits. They've also done several tours in Europe and the U.S., not to mention their exclusive opening slot for U.S. Death Metal legends AUTOPSY, at their first show in New York after 19 years in May 2012. Since then several other tours were completed in Europe, America, Australia and Japan, thanks to the help of underground networking and various connections.

A. Dødshjælp - Drums
K. Ondsind - Bass
D. Torturdød - Guitars / vocals

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