Saturday, April 5, 2014

Type O Negative - Dead Again (2000's Era)

Type O Negative - Dead Again 3/13/2007 SPV Records

Dead Again, is a record that is lighter in texture, giving more of a vibrant viewpoint than the brash tongue in cheek Life Is Killing Me (2003) record.

There is an evolved element, while there is a organic vibe of the drums, as the keyboard components are mere touches adding subtle atmosphere. Both the guitar and bass add an accompanied somber finality for the band.

Like Rasputan whom from lore had many lives (if you read the myriad viewpoints), in a almost self inclusive joke the band used this as way to market Dead Again.

Dead Again is like a rebirth, a fresh kind of slate. A new record label, and a new found freedom (to some degree). Yet, underneath the surface felt uneasy, like rummaging through fresh memories stained by a passage of time.

Though TON always used heavier atmospheric pieces of "Beatlesque" tones, while also employing 70's long play song structure, it was Peter's lyrical gait which pulsated forth with Dead Again. Here he uses a completely different complexion rather than the dark tomes from prior work.

There is a loss that bludgeons the listener if they are aware of it. The realities of age, and the resolution of conquering personal addiction. A lot of it I think was because of their infrequent releases. TON didn't really fit into the American radio format, and because of that they existed in a vacuum almost inclusive to their own whim or existence. The single September Sun (which was edited down to fit radio format of 4 minutes) is I think a direct result of this.

Since 1994 I've enjoyed watching this band evolve, watching and reading their many trials and tribulations along the way. Many of the personal and private frustrations were given a twisted sense of humor, yet there was always an honesty about how fucked up being in a rock band.

When Peter Steele passed away in 2010 it was punch to my reality in mortality. I was hopeful for another record, but like many fans Dead Again will be the final record from Type O Negative. Though the immediate ex-members still trudge on with A Pale Horse Named Death, and Seventh Void, the family is strong. Thanks for reading.

B.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li

The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-Li  (r)04/16/2014
Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions

This is a record I wasn't quite ready or prepared to check out. It straddles upon what I've heard before, but I've to come around to it in a different aspect. Letting it play in the background and letting it settle.

Sure, there are songs I am definitely on the fence about it, yes the atmospheric pieces work, but most of the compositions work behind all the crunch and pulverizing scraping of the guitars and full on blast beat work. Jangly is how best to describe the guitars here.

Vocally its a miss for me because of the raspy screeches. I would have liked to have heard more variation. Though there are spoken pieces intermittent through Tekeli-Li, otherwise the music works in a ethereal vibe.

It is thick but also comfortable. There aren't a lot of areas to ply forth as this sound is common, yet the thing that I've come back to is the layering of texture, and emotive presence. Yet I worry about how much black metal has fallen into these trappings. I will admit this is fresh, but still hangs onto what is perceived. Perception can help or hinder, depends on mood.

I am glad there still is this abrasive aspect out there, but I kind of think that some fresh perspective can cure what ails. Great things ahead or more of the same, time will tell with this band.

Tekeli-Li isn't a bad record, but I am glad to know of The Great Old Ones, another France band that I seem to be drawing towards as of late. Thanks for reading.

B.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GWAR and Me

I woke up like any other person getting ready for the day when I happened to read a strange tweet from Devin Townsend explaining Dave Brockie founding member and character personality Oderus Urungus passed away on Sunday March 23rd 2014 at the age of 50.

If I may say is to soon, but I get it in the harshest reality of being in a band where cash is often elusive, hence the often cliche term starving artist.

Being a long time fan (since the 90's) I've watched both the slide and evolution (if you will). The band and the revolving door of characters evolved and tried to compete with a disconnected out of touch music industry that seemed more in line with a disjointed, or disfigured way of marketing them.

It is really cool to see the DIY aspect of this band, though backed by a major label, a lot the work was done behind the scenes.

I am at a loss as to the unfairness about the band, yet there is this uncomfortable reality which followed the band. Dave's over the top personality sometimes influenced indirectly that perception. Yes its true us diehards liked them but it never translated into anything more than televised recognition. I it find curious how the GWAR machine perpetuated this frenzy, but it didn't go very far even with fresh reboot (of sorts with Cory Smoot). Either way, GWAR was always a light in what has become a bland and sterile industry unsure of itself.

Firstly, on a personal level I am gutted. Secondly, like the Type O Negative situation funding dictated whether or not I could participate, and third, Dave's death (I believe) leaves a big hole in the creative and theatrical arena. I am not trying to discount all the hard work that goes into a GWAR show, or what Lordi does, Green Jelly, Mushroohead, or Slipknot to name a few others.

Like those groups, what younger generation of performers is taking the mantel set by those bands? Dave put the strange in weird, that is my take on it. Even with all the of the band members towing the large carcass forth, feels empty now that he isn't part of that. The one thing I could always look forward to was his art, craft, his writings, and design.

I've never got to meet the man, but, we all know someone like Dave, whom is boisterous, obnoxious, over the top, unrelenting, fearless, and employs gobs of cock sureness that inspires or it infuriates. For me Dave's alter ego Oderus is that last stamp of a now fading 80's era of punk and thrash music scene.

Sure there are so many people whom shared wit with the man, yet from all the stories I've read from his RVAnews GWAR, Me, and the Onrushing Grip of Death web blog, his writing sealed an intimate, and personal inside look with my fandom of the band and his alter ego/character.

I will miss Dave and Oderus (whom are one and the same), I will look fondly upon his countless hours of video, interviews, and miserable writings he left all of us with. I don't believe I will mourn his passing because he celebrated it every day by owning it, torturing it, and kicking its ass.

His creativity will always be part of my rough side. I am still stunned by his passing, but I accept it because there is no sorrow, just joy, and ample amount of passionate compassion that is missing in a scene unsure of where it wants to go.

Thank you for all the great music, wisdom, trash, and verbal diarrhea. The world is going to miss your slice of perspective. I already do. Thanks for reading.

B.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Immolation - Unholy Cult (2000's Era)

Immolation - Unholy Cult Olympic Recordings 10/28/2002

Unholy Cult was my first introduction by a Yonkers New York area band named Immolation.

I was completely taken by surprise in the harmonic dissonances of the first track Of Martyrs, and Men.

What followed afterward was nothing I was prepared for. It was an auditory onslaught, pummeling my earlobes whilst never letting up. In years since my introduction (2003) this record has stuck with me.

The message throughout the record evokes a very sad and troubled observation. Part of it relies in a martyred shift of humanities decision about personal choice, which derives more from manipulation, and control (something of a concurrent theme with many of their releases).

There are anti-religious aspects which paint a very negative light to it's ritualism (though it is very much on the surface), but what is underneath is screaming for an untethered freedom to individualism that is unmet due in large part by corrupted institutionalism.

The musicianship is fantastic, which reminds of a lot of spastic jazz, just done with heavy distortion, and effect. If there is one key thing I've enjoyed about this record is the drumming of Alex Hernandez.

He is spastic, powerful, whilst completely changing tempo on whim, while having a slight variation pushed this outside of what I was accustomed to. Some of the songs tend to drift lengthwise but I think that is what cements their style outside of the more modern death metal. Unholy Cult is still one of my personal favorites from the band. Thanks for reading.

B.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Green Jellö - Cereal Killer Soundtrack (90's Era)

Green Jellö - The Cereal Killer Soundtrack March 5th, 1993 Zoo Entertainment

Green Jellö was odd. I was aware of GWAR and the silliness that band used, but Green Jellö were something completely different. At that time I hadn't quite mastered or understood what Arthouse meant, because when I was starting out in the music world so many flavors, points of view, cultural attitudes, and vibes were clamoring for my attention (as it were).

My exposure was via MTV and Headbangers Ball hosted then by Ricki Rachtman with the video Three Little Pigs. I would later learn via a personal acquaintance Green Jellö had put out a music video of the songs which would eventually be released on CD, LP, and Cassette. The whole thing was played in a avante garde theater, with a dusting of kabuki for dramatic flair. 

Some of the material is very crude, over the top, extremely amateur, and very much silly, but the context is extremely blatant if one is paying close attention. Sometimes it can be a bit of a blunt force trauma, but I think it works on the social construction and stigma during that period.

It is my personal opinion that this work straddles a kind of rough, extreme low budget stratus, but the message I feel is always front and center.

This was their first official record release by a major label, whereas I will count this to be their third release as they were doing this form since the early 80's. 

I think Green Jellö play to the familiarity with catchy 70ish riffs, and a sprinkling of a few original numbers. Yes the songs are plain ridiculous, songtitles like The Misadventures of Shitman, or House Me Teenage Rave to name a couple. 

Nothing about The Cereal Killer Soundtrack push any new areas, only that this record came out during a period of change, and I think they hit it hard considering. Yet I've wondered if they really ever got over the hump.

Any success they did have was short lived because of a lawsuit or trademark infringement, something I haven't been clear on with the details, as what is out there is sketchy. 

What happened to the band was a forced name change from Green Jellö to Green Jellÿ, and I feel they never recuperated from this setback.

If you want to see something pretty strange, from a time that is now twenty plus years, I highly encourage you to invest a little time and check out their Youtube channel. Thanks for reading.

B.

Mötley Crüe - Mötley Crüe (90's Era)

Mötley Crüe - Mötley Crüe  March 15th 1994


Seeing that Mötley Crüe is going to hang it up after thirty plus years, I figured on talking about one record that I think stands out from the entire career of the band.

On March 15th 1994, I picked up Mötley Crüe self titled not knowing what was in store. Since I was very aware of the publicized falling out of the band's first singer Vince Neil, and his solo record Exposed, this was going to either work or completely fail.

First impressions was holy shit (besides the obvious), the monster heavy guitar tone, and groovier drums. The mixing, and the production of this record hit me at the right time. Coming out of the darkness (if I can call it that), this album solidified what rock was before it cratered into obscurity in the years since.

Every song on this album I've listened to a few hundred times. I believe has a flow, with a few minor annoyances with the obligatory 'ballads', I feel this record really did come out and surprised me.

Because the record was different, but in adding another dimension of another guitar player (Corabi). If there was one aspect I missed out on it was the Quaternary EP. I didn't have enough to cover the cost.

Otherwise, I prefer this record because (as with my Fight post) this is a fresh experience that doesn't spoil or induce the baggage of prior knowledge. Though members Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, and Nikki Sixx are still present, infusing John Corabi pushes them into having copious amounts of attitude.

The record was hated by almost everyone, partly because of the change of the times (alternative, and grunge). Mötley Crüe tried something different, with a kind of honesty, and truth that ended up being tossed aside for Vince Neil's return. Lastly, I really do despise Bob Rock at this stage, but he really did make a special pocket of time that I still listen to today.

Though I admit I stopped listening to this record a year after, kind of putting it on the shelf as it were, in recent years I've come back to, and I'm pleasantly happy that it still holds up. For what its worth, I love the hell out of the bluesy crunch this record has. Damn cool. Thanks for reading.

B.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Skatenigs - Stupid People Shouldn't Breed (90's Era)

Skatenigs Stupid People Shouldn't Breed

Skatenigs is a group that aptly covers the road map set forth by both Revolting Cocks (RevCo) and Ministry. Sure Skatenigs is very much in line with the feel or composition of both mentioned bands but the material never connected with me in large part because of the alternative spokes, with which at that time annoyed me. I don't hate alternative I just felt that it was being usurped for wider recognition with bands of that period, and I was very much evolving away from that area.

A lot of it I felt was in how obvious the group copied what was already done, yet it wasn't until much later that I began to understand why I didn't receive the material well. I had a real hard time connecting with the record Stupid People Shouldn't Breed as it felt more like a inclusive joke, covering a gigantic ego, exposing a stilted sense of disposable attitude, and being extremely pompous.

There is groove which harkens back to the disco era, but tends to meander a lot. Either I felt it was underdeveloped, or haphazardly put together due to time constraints. In a lot of ways this record made me feel awkward, and stilted.

Having re-acclimated myself to this record I still feel the same as I did then about its message or lack thereof, but the main component I will say here is there are a few decent songs, apt groove, and faux electronic drum beats, but as a whole seemed uncomfortable to get through. Thanks for reading.

B.