Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Next Step Up - Fall from Grace

Next Step Up
Fall from Grace
Gain Ground

This is the 1996 LP Fall from Grace by the touchstone band in 1990s Baltimore hardcore, Next Step Up. Everything from the Intent to Kill review still applies, but listen to the cover of "Sweet Leaf." Joe Carducci once said that "Sweet Leaf" wasn't a physical rock performance when compared to "Supernaut." If that's true, then Next Step Up render "Sweet Leaf" into a force of nature. Very cool stuff.

Next Step Up - Fall from Grace

Next Step Up - Intent to Kill

Next Step Up
Intent to Kill
Gain Ground

As recommended by Justice Tripp, vocalist of Trapped Under Ice, here's Intent to Kill by Next Step Up. Back in the 90s, this was the soundtrack to many an ignorant Baltimore basement. This was "metalcore" before that term became synonymous with "As I lay Dying." Next Step Up played a perfect mix of Slayer, Obituary, Madball and Warzone. You need this.

Next Step Up - Intent to Kill

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mike Fury's Year in Review

No Funeral recently chatted (by e-mail) with the man of a million bands, Mike Fury. He reflects back on 2008 and reveals his plans for the coming year. Enjoy!

No Funeral: Will to Live played their final show this year. How do you feel about the legacy of the band and its place in history?

Mike Fury: Me personally, I definitely feel that Will To Live made an impact on people and bands across the nation and worldwide as well. Being a band for 10 years, I know WTL's music touched people from all over the globe. Having kids come up to us at shows, receiving emails from fans around the world; telling us how our music and words helped them in their lives, that's pretty deep! I'll tell you though, Rob To Live's lyrics are real, no bullshit! To be completely honest with you, I wish Will To Live was still a band doing the damn thing and had the chance to see the rest of the world but I feel like we went out with a bang and ended it off the right way. There were hardcore bands before WTL started but Will To Live most definitely stands as the first real Texas Hardcore band. I mean, the scene we have now is because of Will To Live. Rob started it in Houston and it just spread from there.

No Funeral: You spent (approximately) two months touring Europe with Die Young this year. Any Favorite cities? What cool bands did you get to play shows with over there?

Mike Fury: Hahaha Damn, I loved all the cites we played but, if I have to narrow it down to my favorites, I'd have to say Reykjavik, Iceland - Moscow, Russia - Budapest, Hungary - Helsinki, Finland - Prague, Czech Republic and, of course, Amsterdam, Holland. Shit, I got to smoke weed there, legally. Ha-ha! The cities I mentioned, they were all amazing shows and not only that but the cities were just beautiful. I still can't believe I went to all those places.

As far as bands go, we played with so many bad-ass bands from over there. My personal favorites were Lighthouse Project (Finland), Deathbed (Finland), Gavin Portland (Iceland), What We Feel (Russia), Cobretti (Germany), Sink Or Swim (Germany), In Other Climes (France), Paura (Brazil), Dead Vows (Sweden), Liar (Netherlands), Action (Czech Republic), Plague Mass (Austria), and of course our touring buddies who we toured with for a month straight: Confronto (Brazil). To all of you out there reading this, please check out all these amazing bands!

No Funeral: Indisgust has had past problems with record companies. Any change on that front? Any releases coming out in 2009?

Mike Fury: I'm hoping that 2009 will be a big change for Indisgust. We've been a band for six years and it's time we start making some shit happen. We're not too worried about getting on a record label because of the bullshit we went through. Our main focus is to record a 6 or 7 song EP at the end of Jan/early Feb. If we come across the right people and who really want to help us out then that'll be cool but as of now we're just going to release it ourselves, which I think would be the best thing to do at this time.

No Funeral: What other projects do you have on the horizon? Playing with any other bands?

Mike Fury: Right now, Indisgust is my main band and priority but there'll be a couple of other projects on the way in the coming year. Me and Rob To Live are starting a new band called 'The Weight of Respect' with James Nealy (Ex-Die Young, Your Mistake), Chris Conflict (ex-Pride Kills), and Parrot (Your Mistake). This band is more along the likes of 100 Demons, Blood For Blood, Integrity....really just straight-ahead in your face. Hopefully you'll be seeing something in early 2009.

No Funeral: What was your favorite record that came out in 2008?

Mike Fury: I would have to say Metallica's 'Death Magnetic'. Being a big Metallica fan in all, I was really looking forward to the new release knowing that they were going back to some of their roots. Once I put the cd in the stereo, I couldn't take it out. It feels good to hear them play fast again. So for all you people who gave up on Metallica, take a listen to this album. I guarantee you'll think twice about it!

No Funeral: Any final thoughts?

Mike Fury: Yo, I just wanna give a shoutout to all my friends, family, and GAMC worldwide who have stuck by me in all my endeavors. Expect to see some big things happen in 2009! Check out Indisgust on Myspace for all the latest news, updates, and upcoming shows. I love you all, Mike Fury

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top 10 of 2008

No Funeral
Top Ten of 2008
“The Hate in 0-8”

Here it is: the stuff that you should have bought/downloaded/shoplifted over the course of the past 12 months. Bravo to those who did. Dissenting opinion? Leave a comment. Friendly discussion is always encouraged. Enjoy the (mostly) MediaFire links. Happy New Year!

Number 10:

Burnt Cross
Carcass of Humanity
Punks before Profits

Burnt Cross emerged, this year, as the band that set the standard for modern peace punk: subdued, solemn, and poetic. Check out the original review here.

Burnt Cross – Carcass of Humanity

Number 9:

Death Magnetic
Warner Bros.

No, it doesn’t sound like the old stuff. Yes, it is lame that they mixed it with the “ear buds” in mind. Yes, this record is brutal. No, Death Magnetic does not suck.

Metallica (apparently has some issue with downloading) – Death Magnetic

Number 8:

Reborn to Kill Again
Metal Blade

I like the way that Bill Bates, of KPFT’s Ejacula show, described this album: After years of selling out, the ding-dongs from the who-know-who bands finally got their shit together and reformed their cool band.

I agree. What you have here is a weird compilation of Overcast material. Several re-recorded older songs, including much of Fight Ambition to Kill, and a few new numbers. Most children of the 90s jizzed over this one.

Overcast - Fight Ambition to Kill

Number 7:

Arson Anthem
Debut EP

After his much-maligned detours during and after Hurricane Katrina, Mike Williams (EyeHateGod) crashed with one Phillip “Anton Crowley” Anselmo, where they got drunk and listened to old punk vinyl. Eventually, Hank III and Collin Yeo got in on the act and the rest is Arson Anthem. Their debut EP, recorded in Houston and released on Anselmo’s Housecore label, is 80s style hardcore that lands somewhere between Poison Idea and Negative Approach. It’s desperate and pissed.

Arson Anthem - Debut EP

Number 6:

No Talk
Invade Iran

KGBeasley (ex-Insect Warfare) dumps the grind, links up with Josh Psycho Wolf and Tom of Montrose in order to produce some of the sleaziest, drunken leather-punk Houston has ever seen. Must be seen and heard to be believed. Counter-culture Nazi!

No Talk – Invade Iran

Number 5:

Book of Black Earth

Blackened death metal played by deranged Seattle maniacs. Lyrically, Horoskopus discusses the astrological origins of Christianity. Musically, it’s keyboard-drenched heaviness by ex-members of Teen Cthulhu and Skarp. They’re on tour this spring with Cattle Decapitation.

Book of Black Earth – Horoskopus

Number 4:

Trapped Under Ice
Stay Cold
Reaper Hardcore

Everything you need to know about Trapped Under Ice can be found in my interview with them. Seriously, go see this band 10Jan09 in San Antonio, when they play with Full Blown Chaos.

Trapped Under Ice – Stay Cold

Number 3:

The Way of All Flesh

The new Gojira is an example of the bar being raised for all metal bands, like Lamb of God’s New American Gospel and Fear Factory’s Soul of the New Machine did years before. This album is becoming a classic before our eyes. Plus, it is some kind of heavy (very heavy, the best kind).

Gojira – The Way of New Flesh

Number 2:

Trap Them
Seizures in Barren Praise
Deathwish Inc.

Trap Them has never heard of the sophomore slump and Seizures in Barren Praise has reached a new level of ferocity with their second LP. It’s the heaviness of Swedish death metal with the bleak prospects of American crust. Grim shit, indeed. Maybe it is Entombed for the new-school, but who cares? Prepare to be killed.

Trap Them – Seizures in Barren Praise

Number 1:

III: Architects of Troubled Sleep

The long-awaited third LP from this decade’s greatest hardcore band turned out to be the band’s unfortunate swansong. Cursed chose to disband after an incident in Europe. The will leave as one of the very few bands that, simply, did not release any crap. III: Architects of Troubled Sleep is possibly their best album (think II) and features my single favorite song by the band, “Friends in the Music Business.” Cursed will be missed.

Cursed – III: Architects of Troubled Sleep

Iron Lung/Hatred Surge - Broken: A Collaboration

Iron Lung / Hatred Surge
Broken: a Collaboration
Unreleased (sort of)

What happens two distinguished champions of modern grind/violence join forces? Pure fucking Armageddon, that’s what.

This EP, which has yet to see an official release, had a small number of “promo copies” available at the 2008 Chaos in Tejas festival and nowhere else. That made it an eBay collectible but fuck that shit, the music is killer.

This isn’t a split. Alex Hughes (Hatred Surge) joined with the Iron Lung members to make some original songs. The results are as ignorant as would be expected.

Broken: A Collaboration has its fast/grindcore parts but this record showcases some sludge that simply embodies human misery. Supposedly, Iron Lung is releasing this 7" themselves in January. Until then, I suppose this will work. Highly recommended.

Iron Lung/Hatred Surge - Broken: A Collaboration

Monster Magnet - 4-Way Diablo

Monster Magnet
4-Way Diablo

This is easily the best Monster Magnet record in over a decade, and probably the best since Dopes to Infinity, 4-Way Diablo isn’t exactly heavy but it retains that borrowed, SST-like rock vibe that was found on Power Trip.

Ed Mundell still rules and, it’s too be assumed, that Dave Wyndorf got over his drug/mental kookiness from a few years ago. Like Death Magnetic, 4-Way Diablo retains the charm of Monster Magnet’s old hate, but it doesn’t actually sound like Super Judge or Spine of God. I would call this record classic rock but Monster Magnet has always had a classic rock quality.

“Blow Your Mind” sounds like a typical Monster Magnet radio single (was it one?) although it and “Little Bag of Gloom” are really the only lame songs on the album. “Cyclone” rules, as does “A Slap in the Face.” An irony here is their Rolling Stones cover sounding the most like Dopes to Infinity than any of the original songs.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a marked improvement over God Says No. This isn’t a good starting point for those checking out Monster Magnet, but it’s an absolute must if you’re a fan.

Monster Magnet - 4-Way Diablo

**Link removed by the Man**

Unpersons - II

Fish Fur/Born to Die

If you’re just getting into Unpersons then (in the infamous words of Money Mike) this long out-of-print LP is “the hate.” This is their masterpiece. Go ask Mastodon. You just know that they’ve heard this record before.

Unpersons is a brutal hardcore band and an influential member of the Savannah scene. Stay tuned for a coming feature on the Savannah/SCaD sound.

I’ve seen this band described as power violence in the past. This couldn’t be more wrong. The music of Unpersons is chaotic, but it’s more akin to Isis rather than Spazz. For my money, this is the sound made by hyperactive stoners. Tell me that you can’t hear the Minutemen influence in “Time/Faded Wallpaper.” The Unpersons sound is all over the map. That’s probably why I dig it.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gojira - The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh

Ah, the mighty Gojira. Where do we start with this one? If you were impressed with From Mars to Sirius, then watch out.

If you haven't listened to this French prog/death outfit, you're probably already familiar with the drill: it sounds like Opeth at times, like Meshuggah at others, and it's overloaded with melody and insane syncopations; only Gojira is unreal, killer-good.

The Way of All Flesh is rooted in death metal but not limited to it. The records has diverse and numerous vocal styles in addition to the artful arrangements. Gojira is a musically-smart band.

The song "Toxic Garbage Island" is an epic. "A Sight to Behold" sounds almost like the sort of thing Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails were trying to do back in the 1990s, but with balls this time. "Yama's Messengers" sounds like Morbid Angel's mid-paced, but not sludgy, moments.

Speaking of "A Sight to Behold", listen to the lead. It's not a solo. It's the lead guitarist playing a lead track that leads the band, but also blends into the mosaic of the song. I love band that can pull that off.

Gojira blasts. They have somber, acoustic passages. They're weird as fuck and heavy as shit. What's not to love?

Here's the Mediafire link. Stay tuned for Hatred Surge-Collection 2005-07 and the Top Ten of 2008, coming up next!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Trapped Under Ice interview

Here's an interview with Baltimore bruisers Trapped Under Ice. This interview was conducted by e-mail with vocalist Justice Tripp. Their 2007 demo is available at the end of the review. Check these guys out when they open for Full Blown Chaos at the Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar in San Antonio on 10Jan09.

Trapped Under Ice

JUSTICE(in bold,vocals) klipa(gutar),sam(guitar),ben(drums),jared(bass)

No Funeral: The Stay Cold EP has an interesting fusion of styles. I hear a mix of NYHC and harDCcore, but there are guitar leads and rock-and-roll riffs too. The combination totally works. What is the band’s songwriting process? Are you trying to stay within genre guidelines, trying to blur them, or are you simply playing the music you create?

Justice: No guidelines really. When we decided to start this band, one standard we made was to never strive for one sound or limit ourselves from anything that we wanted to try. We're all big fans of hardcore, but also we take a lot of inspiration from outside of hardcore music.

No Funeral: I saw the video for “Soul Vice/Reality Unfolds” on You Tube and I really enjoyed it. How did the video come together? How did you hook up with director Kenny Savercool? He did a great job.

Justice: Kenny is a good friend of ours. A few of us use to play in a straight edge band called nickxfury with kenny singing. He's gone to school for film, and has always included us as actors in all his films, so it wasn't unnatural for him to do a project with us. We wanted the video to be simple and hardcore. We're currently working on a music video for "street lights" from the Stay Cold ep. Its going to be be ridiculous.

No Funeral: The vocal delivery on Stay Cold has a hip-hop cadence (of sorts). It’s similar to what Biohazard used to do, but way more subtle. It doesn’t sound hip-hop influenced at all. To what do you attribute this aspect of your music?

Justice: Influence from a few baltimore hardcore bands, like stout and next step up. Hip hop has had a lot of influence on punk rock, especially in the baltimore area.

No Funeral: I understand that Baltimore hardcore stalwart Next Step Up is a major influence on Trapped Under Ice. Please explain the importance of Next Step Up to you and why all the new jacks in Houston should check them out?

Justice: Next Step Up is an amazing hardcore band that did a lot for Baltimore. Without Next Step Up, I'm sure we would sound like a completely different band, if we were at all a band. (Those) Dudes were the realist of their time and continue to live hardcore lifestyles to this day. They had a message that they truly lived, and a lot of which they still live out years and years later. Too many bands today selling shit they cant live up to.

No Funeral: For a city of its size, Baltimore doesn’t have as many bands as you would think. Does Baltimore have a problem with bands moving to D.C., like Houston has a problem with bands moving to Austin?

Justice: Not that I know of, at all. Baltimore is a fairly small city with a decent amount of bands coming out of it. Maybe some of the bands coming out the city aren't exactly appealling to the majority of kids involved at this period. For example, I'm sure most people know bands like Ruiner, Pulling Teeth, Slumlords, and a few others, but bands like Stout, Harsh Truth, Dead End Boys, Surroundings, Alarmed etc... have been doing there thing for a few years now, like A LOT of years. Also, we've got a lot of new bands coming up; check out Brick, Blind the Thief, and Bad Habit. Lots of shitting going on right now.

No Funeral: I’ve been a fan of The Wire since its inception and I’m now fascinated with comparing and contrasting the show to the real city. As a Baltimore City native, what’s your take on the show? Is it good or bad for the city’s image?

Justice: I'm sure it doesn't help the city's image, but its true shit. The city is almost everything the show portrays it to be, but in reality you got a lot of that shit going on everywhere. The whole worlds fucked up. I'm not too into the show, only because I've seldomly had the chance to watch it. I just got cable for the first time in like 3-4 years, so I'm going to check it out some more when I get the chance.

No Funeral: If I’m not mistaken (and if I am, please correct me), you’re first show in Houston was opening for Terror and The Warriors earlier this year at Walter’s. What did you think of the H-town experience?

Justice: It was our H-town first. It was a good experience. We met a lot of cool new people. It was an interesting night to say the least. Legitimately one of the top 3 craziest nights on a two-month tour. I can't wait to make it back.

No Funeral: What’s the next step in the evolution of Trapped Under Ice? Any new releases? Is there an LP on the horizon?

Justice: We just released a split with our good friends from england, Dirty Money. A full US in January to promote that. A new bass player, his name is jared and he's already brought a lot to the band. He's a perfect fit for the band in every way, I'm excited to get out and tour with him. We're currently writting for an LP to be released early '09 on Reaper Records. We've put a lot of time into it so far and will continue to do so until we are completely happy with what we have as a final product. Before and after that is out, we have a lot of plans for touring to promote it; US, Europe, and hopefully Japan and Australia.

No Funeral: When will you be hitting the road again? More importantly, when will you be coming back to Texas?

Justice: In January, we've got a few Texas dates lined up. Like I said, to promote for the split, Dirty Money will be with us, also Full Blown Chaos and Reign Supreme. It will definitely be a good time. Let's make Bitter End play those dates!

Trapped Under Ice 2007 Demo:


Merry Christmas, a new year approaches

Howdy all. We made it through another year. There will be some major changes around the No Funeral compound this year. The major change is the new focus of No Funeral as an MP3 blog. All posts will have accompanying download links. Plus, all of the old reviews will be retro-fitted with DL links.

Also, the print runs of the zines will be strictly limited to 200 copies per issue. What does that mean? Unless you live in the Houston/Austin area or are a frequent mail-orderer, the best way to get a print copy is to leave a comment. Everyone who leaves a comment will be eligible for a free copy of the current issue. I just need your address.

Basically, No Funeral is going to be the same as it's always been, but with downloads and more radness. In the spirit of the Christmas season, here's the first DL on No Funeral:

the best album of the 90s, "Blues for the Red Sun" by Kyuss!