Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RE-UP: Flawless Victory - Nuestra Herencia

Flawless Victory
Nuestra Herencia
2006 demo

Laredo's Flawless Victory, in the years since this demo's release, has become one of the premiere moshcore acts in Texas. Here's the original review of Nuestra Herencia. These dudes are still going, so get out there and support this killer band. Coming to a town near you, whether you like it or not.


RE-UP: Pungent Stench - Club Mondo Bizarre

Pungent Stench
Club Mondo Bizarre
Nuclear Blast

I was listening to Club Mondo Bizarre while it was uploading and was impressed again, 15 years later, at how solid this album really is. I can't tell if this is their best album or if it's Been Caught Buttering (coming soon). Either way, Club Mondo Bizarre kicks all kinds of ass. Read the original review, click the link below and decide for yourself. Stay tuned at the end of the album for four instrumental remix tracks.

Pungent Stench - Club Mondo Bizarre


RE-UP: Frightmare - Midnight Murder Mania

Midnight Murder Mania

Portland's Frightmare is still kicking around the Northwest, yet lesser-talented bands are still better known and sell more records. There's no justice in this world. For those who don't yet know Frightmare, it's gore-soaked, 80s-horror-movie-obsessed death metal with grind tendencies. Read the original review for more information and don't miss out on this kvlt record. For vinyl freaks, Emetic Records released a 12" LP version of the album a couple of years ago.


RE-UP: Insect Warfare - Endless Execution thru Violent Restitution

Insect Warfare
Endless Execution through Violent Restitution
625 Thrash

Finally, available in its entirety through No Funeral, it's Insect Warfare's second EP (and first CD) Endless Execution thru Violent Restitution. In the (almost) two years since the band broke up, Insect Warfare's legend has grown even more. The World Extermination LP was just reissued through Earache and Decibel magazine named it one of the top 10 all-time grind records. Insect Warfare is one of the most respected and beloved bands to ever crawl out of Houston. Here's the original review of Endless Execution thru Violent Restitution and the interview with Beau and Rahi. Of course, the new mediafire link is below. This is recommended for everyone.

Insect Warfare - Endless Execution thru Violent Restitution


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yatagarasu (interview)

An Interview with Yatagarasu

Although detrimental at times, technology has changed the human experience forever. It has infected life in ways unimaginable a century ago. That said, humans trying to infect technology with their humainty was inevitable.

Based in Huntsville, Texas, the enigmatic Yatagarasu blurs the line between programmed, electronic music and DIY punk's fierce independence. Yatagarasu recently swung by the No Funeral Compound for a visit and was kind enough to chat for a spell. Yatagarasu is an inspiring, iconoclastic artist worthy of your valuable time.

Come see Yatagarasu live, with Realicide, Hexcrusher and more, on Sunday April 5, 2009 at the Crazywood Gallery on Sam Houston Ave. in Huntsville. The show is $4 and starts at 8 p.m. Stay tuned at the end of the interview for Yatagarasu's 2008 album Lobster Mage.

No Funeral: Where do you find the meeting place between the pre-programmed video games sounds and the 12 notes in the musical alphabet? It’s almost like musical alchemy. Are you more melody-driven or rhythm-driven?

Chris Yatagarasu: I program all the video-game-style sounds myself (using software called Famitracker, or midiNES), so I’m able to get pretty much any note or sound I need. Usually I come up with a riff on my 8bit (SID 6581) keyboard, program an NES part and then write a drum machine part around it; so all the sounds are being reproduced off of the hardware each time the song is played.

I’ve done sample-based music with some other projects, though I’m not nearly as good at it as say, Xrin Arms or Vankmen. Sometimes, in Yatagarasu, I use the NES’s built-in sampling for bass lines. That “musical alchemy” thing definitely comes into play here. There’s only five pitches you can shift a sample to within the NES’s internal hardware. Often you have to resample in a different pitch for each note you want, or write a song around the five pitches the NES will give you!

No Funeral: What sort of rig did you use to record Lobster Mage? What are you using to play live?

Chris Yatagarasu: I used a Commodore 64 synth for the basslines, and a Nintendo with midiNES for everything else but the drums. Everything went into distortion pedals, and drums were provided by two Jomox drum units. I ran all that into a mixer, and then sent a mono output into my computer and recorded the music as a single track.

I pretty much just transplanted that entire setup to every show I played this year. Now I am working on reducing my setup to something I can fit into a small box. I need to find a creative box.

No Funeral: What role did video games play in the development of the band?

Chris Yatagarasu: I have this fascination with the old NES and Commodore programmers. The idea of creating something people want to spend time with using only 32 kb of memory, it fills me with awe and joy. That’s what I want to do - to make something interesting out of very little. In this case, it’s a stack of obsolete, consumer electronics. Trash to some, but refashioned to do something new. Also I still get totally inspired by game music – namely that by Tim Folin, Martin Galway, Ramiro Vaco, Genesis games and Konami NES stuff.

Also I am a proponent of games for their own sake. I think they provide an imaginative counterpoint to an often difficult life. As long as you keep them in moderation I don’t think they are negative or wasteful. I actually waste a lot of time playing games, though.

No Funeral: The song “Plasma Train” sounds like it is influenced by grindcore. How has grind and other atypical subgenres shaped Yatagarasu?

Chris Yatagarasu: Ha, yeah, a few years ago I got really into noisecore/blastcore bands like Senseless Apocalypse, ASHIAIP, early AC and Final Exit. I was totally obsessed with it for awhile and started a grind project called Crovac. Some of that transferred over to Yatagarasu, but I wanted more to do messed-up song structures over raw speed for Yatagarasu. Naked City was my main inspiration in this respect. Also the guitar/drum counter rhythms Assuck does effected how I write parts.

No Funeral: What are the challenges of being a progressive electronic artist in a place like Huntsville? What are the unseen advantages? Does being here feed or impede your creative process?

Chris Yatagarasu: It’s tricky to get shows in Huntsville. The bar owners generally won’t take a chance with music that isn’t rock. It’s really silly to me.

On the plus side, Huntsville is out of the way enough to where you can just focus on practicing without a lot of distractions. Also, I’ve found that even though people into this stuff are few and far between, they tend to be more down-to-earth and likely to care about what you’re doing in a profound way.

No Funeral: Yatagarasu will be touring the East Coast during April and May. Is this your first trip back East? Are you looking forward to any cities or venues?

Chris Yatagarasu: I played in Georgia and North Carolina a few years ago. I’ve never been to the Midwest or New England, though, so I’m pretty excited/nervous.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing a lot of my friends in Atlanta and my brother Adam in Athens. Asheville, North Carolina should be really rad. I’m playing a house show with Daniel Francis Doyle and some local NC friends.

No Funeral: Will any other bands be touring with you? Yatagarasu will be playing several house shows. Are the DIY punks down with the electro-madness?

Chris Yatagarasu: I want to do a show with some electronic hardcore bands like Realicide and Xrin Arms and some more “traditional” hardcore bands. I wasn’t able to set up a show like that in Texas this tour, but I still want to someday.

I played one show this winter in Oklahoma with this young hardcore band called HRG. I think my stuff was something new for the people there, but we all had a good time. It seems to me that many punks think electronic music is a gimmick or scam. However, when they give it a chance and see what I’m about and that I’m not riding a trend or trying to hustle them, some kinship emerges.

On this tour I am meeting up with Realicide, Ultimate Optimist, Bubblegum Octopus and Radio Shock at various points for some tour friendship action. All these are comprised of good dudes who are doing truly unique electronic stuff.

No Funeral: Where are your releases available? Any label interest? What’s the best way for people to get the records and check out the band?

Chris Yatagarasu: Right now, the Lobster Mage album is available from Stickfigure Distro or from me via the myspace. I have a new album coming out next month on Stickfigure’s sublabel Earth Shaking Rhythms. That will be available on my tour, or on the Stickfigure site. I’m also putting out a collection of older stuff on my own Sketchlife label.

If anyone is interested in Yatagarasu, they should hit me up, I like to keep up with people who are into it.

No Funeral: With some ill-defined record producers, who coast on reputation (Lil Jon, Clinton Sparks, Timbaland, etc…), modern technology in their hands is akin to giving a spinning wheel to a mule; to paraphrase Lyle Langley. What is your process of creating music in this medium, as opposed to simply manipulating software?

Chris Yatagarasu: I think there are people doing creative things with a lot of different hardware and software. I want to point out that Timbaland is a chump particularly for ripping off a European chiptune guy for one of his Nelly Furtado hits! Unbelievable!

But anyway...

Even sub par music – if you do it with synths or sequencers - is interesting to me. Software is so ubiquitous that seeing some weird box making music is like a breath of fresh air. I am trying to find a medium between ease of use and distance from a computer. Right now I sequence on my comp and then offload the product to sequencers and microchips to manipulate live with distortion and skipping.

No Funeral: Lyrically, what topics are covered my Yatagarasu? Does the band employ any certain aesthetics or motifs?

Chris Yatagarasu: Lobster Mage ended up being about predestination, ruined friendships/love interests, and generally how pointless life feels. But I think that working hard on things you care about makes life worth living, and I hope that is expressed in the music and that it offsets the lyrics. This idea was more overt in an EP I did with another project, Hexcrusher. The new Yatagarasu stuff I’m working on is kind of dork-power. Like, saying that social anxiety and a love of abstract stuff doesn’t invalidate you as a person. Not giving in to the idea that you only have one option in life: work at something you hate and medicate to kill the pain. Or the idea that moderation is the only answer to this problem, b/c it’s not. I think the real answer is EXCESS in productive stuff that you love.

No Funeral: Is there anything else you want to tell the people?

Chris Yatagarasu: Hit me up if you are into this stuff, or are interested in NES or game music. If you are in Huntsville and doing outsider art or music, don’t get discouraged. There will always be at least one person out there who is interested in checking out your stuff (me).

Lobster Mage

Yatagarasu - Lobster Mage


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Phobia – Means of Existence

Means of Existence
Slap-a-Ham/Deep Six

March almost ended without this month’s dose of Phobia. To make up for that oversight, here’s the masterpiece from these SoCal grind terrorists. Means of Existence is beginning-to-end tough. On this record, Phobia incorporates samples into the songs in addition to using samples as bumpers between songs; which I love. It’s one of the best grind albums ever made. That phrase gets thrown around so much, but it’s actually true here. If you were to rank every grind album ever made, Means of Existence is in the top five.

Record collectors should probably skip this paragraph. I had the original, Slap-a-Ham pressing of this CD but I lost the case once-upon-a-time while moving. The Slap-a-Ham CD is a $100+ eBay item; for the CD! The original LP is so expensive, only the five richest kings of Europe can afford a copy. I still have the actual CD. In fact, the original CD was the one that got ripped to the site. In spite of this loss, everything worked out. A few years later, I snapped up the picture disc reissue on Deep Six Records at the mighty Vinyl Edge Records in Houston. I love this album and you will too.

Phobia – Means of Existence


Rorschach – Autopsy

Gern Blandsten

In the big picture of NYHC (read: Tri-State HC), New Jersey’s Rorschach were an anomaly. They also turned the hardcore scene on its collective side, nationally. They were not Agnostic Front-style beatdown hardcore. Nor were they Lower-East-Side, activist hardcore, although they did frequently play at Manhattan’s famed DIY venue ABC No Rio. Instead, Rorschach played a discordant brand of hardcore, as heavy as any metal band, but with the musically adventurous spirit of post-Damaged Black Flag. In short, Rorschach is responsible for virtually all the weird hardcore made since the early 90s.

Autopsy is a discography featuring most of the material released by Rorschach: the Remain Sedate and Protestant LPs, split EPs with 1.6 Band and Neanderthal and four compilation tracks. The band’s music is simultaneously hyperactive and morose. Charles Maggio’s voice has the same desperate quality of The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow. Fans of useless hardcore trivia will be thrilled to know that, following the demise of Rorschach, the members later played in killer bands like Deadguy and Kiss It Goodbye. Drummer Andrew Gormley would later move to Seattle and form the ungodly Playing Enemy.

Of the two LPs on Autopsy, Remain Sedate is faster and more discordant than Protestant, which has a thick sound and almost veers into sludge territory. If you’ve never heard Rorschach before, this is the favorite band of all of your favorite bands. If you already know Rorschach, then you already know what’s up. This one is a must have.

Playing Enemy broke up this year. It's a bummer but, on the other hand, Autopsy sounds as fresh as ever. -Brian No Funeral, 21Dec13.


Pungent Stench – For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh

Pungent Stench
For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh
Nuclear Blast

I hope you death metal freaks are ready for the freakiest death metal band ever. Believe it or not, Pungent Stench’s debut LP For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh is actually the mildest of their releases. It wasn’t until the next album, Been Caught Buttering, that Pungent Stench incorporated the porno/sexual/S&M vibe to their aesthetics. It also wasn’t until Been Caught Buttering that Pungent Stench started playing death-n-roll. For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh is, for its time anyway, pretty standard blood-and-guts, Carcass-worshiping death grind; with a killer album cover by controversial photographer Joel-Peter Witkin.

My copy of For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh is the original Nuclear Blast pressing from Germany. In addition to being record nerd fodder merely for its rarity, this pressing comes with a host of bonus tracks. Tracks 11-17 are Pungent Stench’s side of the split LP with Disharmonic Orchestra. The Extreme Deformity EP comprises the final three tracks. It’s hard to believe that Pungent Stench’s tamest album includes songs like “Embalmed in Sulfuric Acid” and “Blood, Pus, and Gastric Juice” but, trust me, it’s all downhill from here. More Pungent Stench is on the way (much more). Take the Pepsi Challenge with For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh.

Pungent Stench - For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh


Isis – The Mosquito Control EP

The Mosquito Control EP
Escape Artist

If you’re only familiar with newer Isis material like In the Absence of Truth, this one is going to shock you. The Mosquito Control EP features the intricate melancholy of strange hardcore bands like Kiss It Goodbye with the crushing heaviness of Christdriver and mid-period Neurosis. There’s nothing on this EP that’s even remotely “Tool-like.” Personally, I prefer the sound of earlier Isis material like this record and The Red Sea (coming soon) and I wished they had kept pushing in this direction. “Poison Eggs” is one of my single favorite songs ever. The Mosquito Control EP is recommended for reefer-heads and folks who know what’s up.

This was requested at the behest of No Funeral writer DC the Medic. He said that he needed to hear something heavy because life in the ATX has got him down. Look what you Austin posers have reduced him too!

Isis – The Mosquito Control EP


Nile – Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka

Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka

Nile’s Relapse debut is not only one of the label’s best offerings, but it’s the standard of modern death metal. After a glut of crappy, crappy bands in the mid-90s, Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka reestablished death metal as a viable genre. Along with other death metal revisionists like Cryptopsy and Dying Fetus, Nile basically saved this music from extinction.

Instead of another blood-and-guts horror motif, Nile, through band leader Karl Sanders, focuses on the brutality of life in ancient Egypt. The motif was ground-breaking at the time and the band still employs it today. Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka was the first Nile album featuring guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade, making it the first release with the classic line-up.

If you’re still not enticed, maybe this will light your fire: human-skull drumming and thigh-bone flutes. Yeah. Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka is the first in a string of classic albums by Nile. Ithyphallic has already been posted and the rest of the Nile discography will appear on this site eventually. Highly recommended.

Nile - Amongst the Catacombs of the Nephren-Ka


Friday, March 27, 2009

Zyklon – World ov Worms

World ov Worms

This band has Emperor connections out the wahzoo. Samoth (as Zamoth) and Trym play guitar and drums respectively. Original Emperor drummer Bard “Faust” Eithun wrote the album’s lyrics. Emperor rules, but what about World ov Worms?

This is an Emperor-style black metal attack with very slick production. The bands describes themselves as blackened, modern death metal. I don’t hear any death metal on this record at all. I hear an 80s thrash influence (Hirax, Dark Angel, etc…) and the kind of industrial overtones that appear on Susperia and Katatonia records. I can picture a coke-addled Trent Reznor signing this to Nothing Records back in 1994.

I take that back. “Storm Detonation” sounds like a death metal song, in a Beneath the Massacre sort of way. Whether or not World ov Worms is contemporary techno-thrash is for you to decide. Either way, this record is a worthy debut album from metal legends starting over. Get this.

Zyklon – World ov Worms


Remembering Never – God Save Us

Remembering Never
God Save Us

I listened to God Save Us immediately after reviewing The Oath that Keeps Me Free and I was struck by the similarities between the two bands. Remembering Never and Earth Crisis are both vegan, straight-edge bands, but it runs deeper than that. Both bands play metal-influenced hardcore, with Remembering Never leaning close to pure hardcore than Earth Crisis.

While both bands are heavier than Oprah, Remembering Never amps up the intensity even more than Earth Crisis. Remembering Never’s love of Tupac Shakur is mentioned multiple times in the liner notes. The Tupac influence isn’t musical or even lyrical. Instead, the band borrowed Tupac’s humorless artistic focus. God Save Us (like pre-All Eyes on Me Tupac) is not good-time party music.

Lyrically, Remembering Never tackles heavy subjects like suicide and animal liberation. Musically, they play like a faster Hatebreed with shades of Burnt by the Sun. Listen to God Save Us if you want to get beaten up by your headphones.

Remembering Never – God Save Us


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Crisis – The Oath that Keeps Me Free

Earth Crisis
The Oath that Keeps Me Free

Legendary (and now reunited) straight-edge, metalcore titans Earth Crisis recorded a live set in Dec. 97 at Hungry Charlie’s in Syracuse, NY. The show was a benefit for guitarist Kris Weichmann’s ailing father. The recording of that evening became Earth Crisis’ live album The Oath that Keeps Me Free.

The set is mostly material from Gomorrah’s Season Ends and earlier. This is a terrific snapshot of Earth Crisis, right before MTV came calling. The album’s sound quality is superb. On that particular night, Earth Crisis BROUGHT IT.

This is a moment for all the 30-something straight-edgers to rejoice. Don’t worry, freaks, mosh junkies and weirdoes are also invited to this party. The three songs Earth Crisis plays to close the show are devastating. This is highly recommended.

Earth Crisis – The Oath that Keeps Me Free


Monday, March 23, 2009

RE-UP: Byzantine - The Fundamental Component

The Fundamental Component

Here's a fresh mediafire link for the first Byzantine LP. It suck that they broke up (or whatever it is they are now) but they never did recapture the magic of this record. For more information, please read the original review. Also, singer/guitarist O.J. is not down with the Byzantine demo collection the Crash Music just released.

Byzantine - The Fundamental Component


Vision of Disorder – Imprint

Vision of Disorder

Coming up, Long Island’s Vision of Disorder bridged the Tri-State gap between the NYHC tough-guy hardcore and the discordant, jagged North Jersey metalcore. VOD was the middle ground between bands like Outbreak and Underdog and bands like Deadguy and Rorschach. VOD played this role so successfully that they ended up on Roadrunner. With the release of Imprint, Roadrunner tried aiming VOD towards Ozzfest glory. It sort of worked, but mostly didn’t work. The Limp Bizkit-loving, late 90s Ozzfest crowd wasn’t ready for anything that sounded even remotely close to Deadguy, even as lightly as VOD did. Long-story short: VOD was a pretty good band that took a ride on the major label merry-go-round and was destroyed by it. Well, sort of. VOD reunited a few years back for some live shows, but it ain’t the same.

I don’t normally give much consideration to metal and hardcore producers. This isn’t that kind of music, you know? The bands play their own music and are responsible for themselves; unlike, oh, I don’t know, any modern rapper who needs an army of keyboard-laden “producers” to make him sound tolerable. I bring this up because D. Sardy produced Imprint. Sardy recorded Far’s amazing Water and Solutions album and, here, he’s crafted the most powerful of VOD’s albums.

Anton Crowley does guest vocals on “By the River.” He’s even credited with his real name. Yes, even after all these years, I still have to give him shit for that. Even if Roadrunner considers it a disappointment, Imprint is one of the better records from a period when “metalcore” meant Earth Crisis.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Job for a Cowboy – Genesis

Job for a Cowboy
Metal Blade

Before we dive in, let me say that I hate Doom as much as you do. I think Job for a Cowboy’s debut/breakthrough/whatever EP is a cheesy piece of garbage; which is why Genesis impresses me so much. This goes beyond pig-vocals. After getting signed to Metal Blade and going through a couple of line-up changes, it appears Job for a Cowboy entered a period of self-reflection. They took seriously this opportunity of theirs and turned in a devastating first LP. Genesis separates Job for a Cowboy from the deathcore mass. If you don't believe that this band has left its peers in the dust, then check out "The Divine Falsehood" and tell me exactly (exactly) how this band doesn't rule.

Genesis is a thoroughly contemporary album that is mindful of its death metal legacy. On their Lambgoat tour blog, The Faceless expressed their desire to be accepted as a death metal band, not just as a scene band. I get a similar vibe off of Genesis. In this respect, Job for a Cowboy reminds me of Death. They started out sounding like everyone else and then they figured it out. Job for a Cowboy has figured it out.

The vocalist dropped the inhaled pig-vocals for a Corpsegrinder-style delivery, which suits the music much better. The guitarists have mastered Dino Cazares-style right-handed picking and mix it with some cool palm-muting techniques while keeping the noodly crap off the record almost entirely. Like Suicide Silence, deathcore isn’t an appropriate label for Job for a Cowboy. Suicide Silence calls their music doomy, nu-metal grind. This sums up Job for a Cowboy as well.

As much as the deathcore trend sickens me, I’m down with the nu-metal influence and the direction these bands are taking it. They’re all influenced by the cream of the nu-metal crop, particularly Korn, Slipknot, and Fear Factory. I’m sorry but if you don’t like Korn, Slipknot, and Fear Factory, even just a little, what the hell is wrong with you? If you don’t dig the style, that’s fine. If you like metal though, how can you not like those three bands?

What’s more, the “deathcore” bands that I like (Suicide Silence, Job for a Cowboy, ABACABB) do not mimic their inspirations. These bands are doing something new by mixing seemingly clashing influences. Where have I heard that story before? Oh yeah, the grunge bands. You couldn’t mix Black Flag and Black Sabbath until Nirvana rode that pony over the rainbow. I suppose, now, that you can’t mix Slipknot and Napalm Death, except that several bands already have. Don’t be lame. Get Genesis.

Job for a Cowboy - Genesis


Queens of the Stone Age/Beaver – Split EP

Queens of the Stone Age/Beaver
Split EP
Man’s Ruin

When those B-sides compilations claim to feature rare tracks, this is what they’re talking about. The mighty Queens of the Stone Age worked with artist Frank Kozik’s Man’s Ruin label frequently before the label closed in the early 2000s. This is one of many EPs QOTSA recorded for Man’s Ruin and they all remain in legal limbo due to creditors, liquidations, etc… Anyway, when they say “rare tracks”, that’s code for “music business bullshit and the consequences of such bullshit.” This is an outstanding record that doesn’t deserve the treatment it’s getting.

This is where people like me step in, freeing up the music to actually be heard. Did you know that QOTSA recorded their two songs for this record in 17 minutes on April Fool’s Day 1998? Of course not. You need the actual vinyl or CD to read the credits to learn that. I think of this operation as replacing radio, since modern radio is ten degrees of useless. This is not a replacement for the real thing. It’s about getting people, interested in this style of music, to be able to indulge their own intellectual curiosities. America is still about that, right? It’s a shame that it’s even come to this at all.

Sorry for the ranting. I felt that needed to be said.

Each band on this EP contributed two songs. The first QOTSA song (“The Bronze”) is good, but the second song (“The Ain’t the Droids You’re Looking For”) is really good. You know? Beaver is a rocking band from Amsterdam that seems to embody every stereotype of a band from Amsterdam. This EP rules.

Queens of the Stone Age/ Beaver – Split EP


Pig Destroyer – Live in Grand Rapids

Pig Destroyer
Live in Grand Rapids
27 July 2007

For Pig Destroyer, a band that doesn’t tour, playing outside of its native Washington D.C. area is indeed a rarity. Generally, the only way to see this amazing band live is to live on the East Coast or to attend one of the large metal festivals held around the country. If you’re like me and you don’t have the disposable cash to jet off to Philly for the weekend, I’ve got the next best thing.

This is a high-quality live recording of Pig Destroyer’s set at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mich. The set list is pretty cool, considering this was a show in the summer of 2007. It’s mostly songs from Prowler in the Yard and the split EPs that became Painter of Dead Girls. In other words, it’s Pig Destroyer dishing out grizzled, old hate. I can’t tell if the fourth member (keyboards) is playing with them or if the samples are being run from the soundboard (or wherever). If anyone knows for sure, please, leave a comment and enlighten us all. For as much as you maniacs have loved Terrifyer, you folks should freak over this. Come ‘n get it.

Pig Destroyer – Live in Grand Rapids


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RE-UP: Soilent Green - Pussysoul

Soilent Green

Here's Soilent Green's rare first LP, released on the notoriously sketchy Dwell Records back in 1994. How has this not been re-released by now? The rights to the album must be tangled up in some form of legal hell. Please enjoy the original review from No Funeral magazine, along with a fresh mediafire link. If you're wondering, Ben is the vocalist on this album, not Glenn Rambo. This was the first record from Soilent Green's "classic" line-up. Click on the link to read more.


Dysrhythmia – Pretest


Pretest is Steve Albini-engineered, instrumental weirdness from Philly’s Dysrhythmia. I guess the best reference point is Black Flag’s instrumental masterpiece The Process of Weeding Out. Indeed, this band has a serious hard-on for Black Flag but I hear more. I imagine that Dysrhythmia has just as much love for Greg Ginn as for Black Flag. I can clearly hear the influence of Confront James, Gone, and Ginn’s nine million other solo acts.

That’s what Pretest sounds like. Apart from the Black Flag factor, this album is more in line with other contemporary instrumental acts like Pelican and Houston’s To Scale the Summit. Pretest doesn’t sound like anything from the 70s (thank the Lord). “My Relationship” almost sounds like a down-tuned Minutemen song and, not coincidentally, it’s the shortest song on the album. People into AmRep and Touch & Go stuff will dig this.

Dysrhythmia - Pretest


The Haunted – The Haunted Made Me Do It

The Haunted
The Haunted Made Me Do It

This is not only the best record from The Haunted, (let’s go ahead and get this out of the way) it’s the second-best At The Gates record. What’s more, (let’s get this out of the way too) I love Marco Aro’s voice sooooo much more than Peter Dolving’s voice. It’s not that Dolving’s a bad singer, I’m certainly glad that he returned to the band on rEVOLEr, but Aro is the shit.

I could go on and on about this album. The Bjorler brothers have never sounded tighter. M. Jensen rules. They go from those huge, soaring melodies to those kick-in-the-crotch breakdowns so effortlessly. No wonder there was a tidal wave of pretenders after this came out. CAN’T TAKE THE FUCKING PAIN! BURY YOUR DEAD!

The Haunted Made Me Do It is one of this decade’s best albums. It’s one of the greatest Swedish Death Metal albums ever, even if it’s not pure death metal. This is the best shit ever. The Haunted Made Me Do It is highly, highly recommended for anyone alive or anyone who has been alive at some point.

The Haunted – The Haunted Made Me Do It


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bleeding Through - This is Love, This is Murderous

Bleeding Through
This is Love, This is Murderous

By now, I imagine everyone is at least familiar with this album and I bet most of you have it already. For the uninitiated, This is Love, This is Murderous is the album that sent Bleeding Through to the front of the metalcore pack. This is the record with that staple of the new Headbanger’s Ball, “On Wings of Lead.” It may have inspired some genuinely shitty music, but this is a killer album. Think of it as this decade’s version of Life is Peachy.

This is still my favorite Bleeding Through album but I must confess that I like them all pretty much equally. All of their albums have some critical flaw and this one is no different. Aside from the inappropriate and tacky Boondock Saints samples, Marta didn’t play keyboards on this record. Yes, that’s her in the band pictures but Molly played keyboards on This is Love, This is Murderous. This is indeed unfortunate as Marta is a talented pianist and Molly is not. You be judge. All nonsense aside, this album rules.

Bleeding Through - This is Love, This is Murderous


Choke – Whatever Happened to Mark Twain’s America?

Whatever Happened to Mark Twain’s America?
Choke Music

Lafayette's Choke is an unsung band in the NOLA musical legacy. They didn’t actually live in New Orleans but they gigged with all the greats like Crowbar, Acid Bath, Soilent Green, etc… Back then, Choke was a peer of all those legends. It’s a crying shame that no one outside of Texas and Louisiana has ever heard of them.

Released in 1999, Whatever Happened to Mark Twain’s America? is a powerful slab of imaginative stoner-hardcore; sort of like Weedeater hanging out with Drowningman. Of course, this record has all the Acid Bath-isms that you would expect. I tell you what; no one this side of Mortician does samples this well or thoroughly. Choke even sneaks a Bon Jovi-style vocoder into “Revelations of Genesis.” Whatever Happened to Mark Twain’s America? is a cult classic from this killer, kvlt band. Recommended for all fans of Southern metal/core.

Choke - Whatever Happened to Mark Twain’s America?


Sunday, March 15, 2009

RE-UP: Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain
Reprise/Relapse/Warner Bros.

I love Blood Mountain. Does anyone remember the hoopla over this? Well, it's two and a half years later and the world hasn't ended. I don't think the indy vs. majors dynamic quite plays out like it used to. I feel weird saying something nice about Warner Bros., but Mastodon has earned all of their success. Linkin Park, they are not. Anyway, please enjoy the original review of Blood Mountain from issue #2. Let me just say that Mastodon was so awesome at the 2007 SXSW. Didn't get to see it? Here's a taste. It ain't the same as being there.

Mastodon - Blood Mountain


Candiria – 300 Percent Density

300 Percent Density
Century Media

Brooklyn’s Candiria was once poised to take over the metalcore world. That did and didn’t happen but, either way, 300 Percent Density was the band’s crowning achievement. Much has been made about Candiria’s jazz influence and rightly so. The full-on NYC hip-hop incorporated into mosh-tastic hardcore without even a hint of any Limp Bizkit-isms is truly something to behold. Hell, Candiria is the only band to pull this off (sorry E-Town). I sort of feel dirty for calling them a hardcore band, like it's demeaning to the band's abilities. Candiria is so much more. The musicianship on this album is stellar. 300 Percent Density is an album that history won’t forget. Am I comparing it to a timeless classic, unappreciated in its own time; like Moby Dick? Kinda...

If you’re tracking down Candiria’s hate, it’s 300 Percent Density and The Process of Self Development (which will be coming here soon, stay tuned). Everything that happened to Candiria after this record, including the music they released, is yet another rock and roll tragedy. Let’s not think about devastating van wrecks, shady record labels and lawsuits right now. You can read about that later. Let’s just enjoy the unfuckwithable radness that is 300 Percent Density. Highly recommended.

Candiria – 300 Percent Density


Napalm Death – The World Keeps Turning

Napalm Death
The World Keeps Turning
Toys Factory

Here’s a strange CD. I bought this several years ago at San Antonio’s almighty HogWild Records and I’ve never seen another physical copy of this album except for mine. The text is written in Japanese with some English translations and, despite there being a huge Earache logo on the back, I’m inclined to believe this was an Asia-only release by Toys Factory. Then again, I could be wrong.

Although nerds like me geek-out on the collector rarity aspects of records like this, the CD itself is a compilation of previously-released Earache material. The World Keeps Turning features six tracks from Death by Manipulation, The World Keeps Turning EP, the three-inch single that came with Utopia Banished, and the Live Corruption EP. This is recommended for Napalm Death completists. I’m not sure how well this is going to translate in the downloading age but, then again, I’m the one with the record. Seriously though, this is killer stuff from the Barney/Jesse line-up. You need this.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

RE-UP: Acid Bath - Demos 93-96

Acid Bath
Demos 93-96

I can't think of a timelier RE-UP post than Acid Bath's demo CD. Here's the original review. For all the love that Eyehategod gets (and rightly so), I still think of Acid Bath as the premiere act of Louisiana metal/hardcore. Take a listen and judge for yourself.

Acid Bath - Demos 93-96


Dead Horse – Boil(ing)

Dead Horse

Boil(ing) is the ultra-rare, final EP from H-town metal legends Dead Horse. This six-song CD, filled with Dead Horse’s signature resin-ated, beer-soaked Texas thrash, includes “Eaten by the Grey” and “My Dog the Prophet”; both reworked versions of songs from the Feed Me demo.

Feed Me was the last Dead Horse recording with original member Mike Haaga, meaning Boil(ing) was the first (and only) appearance of Scott on guitar and vocals. Actually, if you want to get technical, Scott is still appearing, along with Dead Horse band mates Ronny and Greg and DRI’s Kurt Brecht, in the totally rad Pasadena Napalm Division. Check out the final document of their old band as you go out and support the new band, Pasadena Napalm Division. They’re gigging around the Houston/Austin/San Antonio area. Recommended for Texans.


RE-UP: The Warriors - War is Hell (Redux)

The Warriors
War is Hell (Redux)

Here's another post in the RE-UP series where I repost old reviews from the No Funeral magazine with high-quality mediafire links. Today we have the classic debut LP from California's The Warriors. Here's the original review of War is Hell (Redux). Not much has changed in the last three years. This album still rocks. Genuine Sense of Outrage was a bit of a disappointment but what are you going to do?

The Warriors - War is Hell (Redux)


Ol Dirty Bastard – Nigga Please

Ol Dirty Bastard
Nigga Please

When compared to Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Nigga Please is a decidedly more commercial affair. On this one, Ol Dirty Bastard took the modern hip-hop route, complete with “hot producers” and a keyboard-overdose. That said, only Ol Dirty Bastard could turn the major label process upside-down. Let me also say that this is the greatest album cover, ever. Ever.

The album’s most famous producers The Neptunes created Ol Dirty Bastard’s biggest commercial hit, “Got Yo’ Money.” By all rights, this guy should have had zero commercial hits. Yet, here we are. I don’t think Elektra quite knew what they were getting themselves into with the ODB. Ol Dirty Bastard is the black GG Allin (and vice-versa). If you get that, then you’ll get why this album rocks so much. You will never see an entertainer like this ever again.

Ol Dirty Bastard – Nigga Please


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ol Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

Ol Dirty Bastard
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

First off, RIP to tha ODB. How much is this guy missed?

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version may be the greatest rap album of all time. Like all Wu-Tang solo albums, the rest of the Clan shows up as guests so it’s basically just another Wu-Tang album. What makes this one special is the singular, collaborative vision of Ol Dirty Bastard (lyrics) and the RZA (music). These two, away from the full Wu-Tang effort, produced magnificent results. Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version is similar to Straight Outta Compton, in that both were written like rock album, with a heavy concentration on the musicianship, yet both are unmistakably hip-hop in aesthetics. I wish all hip-hop was like this.

You can’t have a discussion about rap’s all-time greats without mentioning Ol Dirty Bastard. Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version is up there with Ridin’ Dirty, Ready to Die and the other elite hip-hop albums. Highly recommended.

Ol Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (part1)

Ol Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (part2)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fugazi – In on the Kill Taker

In on the Kill Taker

All things being equal, when you hear the phrase “hardcore punk”, Black Flag should be the first thought in your head. If there were any justice in this world, Fugazi would be the second thought. This is a band that does everything right. Everything. In spite of Minor Threat’s lingering legacy, it’s not like Fugazi is above criticism. It’s just that… there’s nothing to criticize, negatively, about In on the Kill Taker.

There’s plenty to praise (lyrics, songwriting, pricing, ethics, vocals, drums, etc…) and that’s the point. Listen to “Rend It” and you’ll get what I’m talking about. All bands should strive to be this good.

Fugazi – In on the Kill Taker


The Faceless – Planetary Duality

The Faceless
Planetary Duality

The Faceless plays super-technical, super-fast death metal with industrial tinges and a vicious progressive streak. The members of The Faceless are all accomplished players for their young ages. Planetary Duality is prog in the same sense as Dream Theater but it’s undeniably death-fucking-metal. I can’t think of an album that has combined the two this well since Focus by Cynic.

The keyboardist is also the back-up robo-vocalist. Beyond that, I’m not sure what he does in the band, and I’ve seen them live twice. Anyway, there’s a keyboard on Planetary Duality somewhere (allegedly).

Speaking of live, The Faceless wrote an entertaining blog during the band’s recent tour with Meshuggah and Cynic. Check it out.

The Faceless – Planetary Duality


The Sword – Gods of the Earth

The Sword
Gods of the Earth

Gods of the Earth is the second LP from The Sword. This album has launched Austin’s masters of fantasy paperbacks and reefer into the stratosphere. Even Lars Ulrich digs it.

I’ve been a fan of The Sword since the local band/Emo’s days. I’ve also defended The Sword for the same length of time. This band is not false. It’s the groove of Sabbath, the precision of Iron Maiden and the ass-kicking stomp of Kyuss all rolled into one. If you don’t dig Gods of the Earth, then you’re the one who’s false.

The Sword – Gods of the Earth


Monday, March 9, 2009

Depressor – Symbols


San Francisco’s long-running Depressor started out as Fear Factory/Godflesh-style robo-crunch but evolved into a crusty, power-electronic hardcore band. Imagine Doom mixed with Skrew mixed with Neurosis.

Although Symbols is indicative of the band’s later sound, Depressor is more than just the sum of its influences. The album has all the earmarks of industrial music, yet Symbols remains defiantly punk. Depressor takes elements of existing styles and forges them into something original. Isn’t this exactly what good bands are supposed to do? Depressor never really got theirs back in the day. Don’t miss out now.

Depressor – Symbols


Friday, March 6, 2009

RE-UP: Infest - Discography

Deep Six

Infest rules. If you don't know, here's yet another chance to get on board. This discography CD (still technically unreleased from Deep Six) has been covered before by No Funeral. Here's the review of the discography CD and the review of Infest's Mankind 10" from issue #1. Infest is as real as it gets.

Infest - Discography

As Eden Burns - The Grand Celestial Delusion

As Eden Burns
The Grand Celestial Delusion

Houston’s own As Eden Burns hits the metal big time with The Grand Celestial Delusion, the band’s Willowtip debut. These guys play melodic death metal that comfortably resides on the corner of At The Gates Ave. and The Black Dahlia Murder Blvd.

While it won’t destroy you with its earth-shattering originality, The Grand Celestial Delusion will impress you with its proficiency and craftsmanship. As Eden Burns does tend to get lost in noodly-scale-riff hell. This is a very young band still consumed by its influences. Once the band finds its own voice, watch the fuck out. Darkest Hour would be wise to start checking over its collective shoulder. This is a solid debut.

As Eden Burns – The Grand Celestial Delusion


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stampin’ Ground – Carved from Empty Words

Stampin’ Ground
Carved from Empty Words

English bruisers Stampin’ Ground deliver exactly what you’d expect on Carved from Empty Words. They play Slayer-worshipping metalcore that you’ve heard a million time before, but they play it very well.

While it’s a solid album, with the song “Officer Down” as a stand-out, the startling lack of originality displayed here can’t be ignored. Walls of Jericho, Most Precious Blood, pre-Victory Darkest Hour, All Out War and Vision of Disorder are just a few of the bands that “influenced” Stampin’ Ground. They’re a more than proficient band. No one’s saying anything about their abilities but, if you want another album by a band mimicking the previously mentioned, here you go.

Stampin’ Ground – Carved from Empty Words


The Toadies- Feeler

The Toadies
Interscope (put this on the shelf 12 years ago and it’s still there)

This is awesome! It’s the lost Toadies album!

After the platinum success of Rubberneck, The Toadies recorded their second LP Feeler in 1997. Interscope Records, in its infinite wisdom, decided against releasing the album. Minus a stray Buzzfest appearance here and there, The Toadies largely disappeared until 2001’s Stars Above/Hell Below (also awesome). The came the break-up, the Burden Bros. and the reunion without bassist Lisa Umbarger.

I remember that, during this 97/98 period, Austin’s 101X would play “Waterfalls”, calling it a new, unreleased track. I suppose that was partially true. The moral of the story is that no one should sign with a major label. The majors have a long history of pulling this kind of shit. Don’t let it happen to you.

The Toadies – Feeler


Gojira – From Mars to Sirius

From Mars to Sirius

Gojira’s The Way of All Flesh was named #3 in last year’s No Funeral Top 10, but this record is a real treat. From Mars to Sirius was the breakthrough album that placed Gojira at the metal foreground.

The Faceless stole their robo-vocals from this album. I’m not saying that Gojira invented this vocal style (wasn’t it Zapp & Roger?), but the way The Faceless use the robo-vocals on Planetary Duality, it’s clear that they lifted it from this album.

From Mars to Sirius is more of Gojira’s soaring-melody, Meshuggah tech-metal. It’s just as good as The Way of All Flesh. My educated guess is that, starting with From Mars to Sirius, Gojira is in the middle of producing a run of classic albums, ala Metallica and Slayer. They’re not done yet.

Gojira – From Mars to Sirius


Cattle Decapitation – Karma Bloody Karma

Cattle Decapitation
Karma Bloody Karma
Metal Blade

Cattle Decapitation matured on this record. Karma Bloody Karma sounds like it could have been an early 90s Earache release. Gone are the tongue-in-cheek Locust-isms that plagued the band’s early material. Earnest, technical, punishing grindcore has replaced them.

Obviously, Carcass plays a huge role in the Cattle Decapitation sound. Unlike most Carcass-worshiping grind bands, who immaturely cling to the medical aspects of the band’s lyrics, Cattle Decapitation has embraced Carcass’ ironic vegan stance. Like Carcass, the members of Cattle Decapitation are vegans and the band’s lyrics take aim at animal cruelty and the unhealthy American diet. Also, guitarist Troy Oftedal’s playing is clearly inspired that Carcass’ Bill Steer. Cattle Decapitation is a genre-leading band, pushing grind into new directions. Karma Bloody Karma is highly recommended for the intellectually curious.

Cattle Decapitation – Karma Bloody Karma


Brujeria – Matando Gueros

Matando Gueros

Brujeria almost single-handedly created MXDM. The brainchild of Dino Cazares and Juan Brujo, this super-group featured embers of notable metal bands like Fear Factory, Faith No More and Napalm Death. Their lyrics and aesthetics concerned the outlaw culture of Northern Mexico.

Matando Gueros is crawling with drug-trafficking, satanic mysticism and a healthy distrust of government authority. The album is full of Napalm Death-style death/grind con frijoles y arroz.

A mild controversy surrounded the early days of Brujeria. Due to major label pressure from the members’ other, more successful bands, they originally played under pseudonyms. Unfortunately, they assumed the identities of the Matamoros massacre perpetrators. No, Brujeria isn’t a bunch of satanic drug gangsters. The hysterics of the Reagan/Bush era are kind of funny in retrospect.

Brujeria – Matando Gueros


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Madball – Hold it Down

Hold it Down

This unstoppable hate was the last album recorded with the old Madball line-up. Guitarist Matt Henderson and drummer John Lafatta left the band in 2001. The next/current Madball line-up, beginning with the NYHC EP, is different enough from this version of the band to draw a distinction. With that in mind, I view Hold it Down as the bookend of Madball’s early period.

Hold it Down continues with the classic Madball sound of hip-hip-tinged NYHC. Unlike most bands, Madball’s hip-hop influence is actually musical and not aesthetic. It’s the same vibe that Trapped Under Ice has right now. Plus, “Show No Fear” is the meanest song ever written. Highly recommended; like you don't know already.

Madball – Hold it Down


Whitechapel – This is Exile

This is Exile
Metal Blade

Our society frowns upon stereotypes and generalizations, and for good reason. They are flawed, if not outright incorrect. “Everything” isn’t awful; be it people, food, cars or anything else.

I mention this because of the frequency in which deathcore albums have been popping up lately. This isn’t a sound that’s appealing to me, but it is to others. Thinking back on past trends, good bands always emerge from them. Not many folks would question the talent of System of a Down or Jimmy Eat World. Some of these deathcore band have to be good. It would be irresponsible to ignore deathcore solely based on preconceived notions.

As with all trends, some deathcore bands are well-meaning plagiarists, some bands are actually good and most of them are scam artists avoiding 9-to-5 work. Whitechapel is firmly in this last group. This is Exile is filled with warmed-over riffs that were spliced together with Pro Tools, not to mention the false-ass blastbeats. It’s a disaster.

Here’s the final breakdown (ha!) of the deathcore situation. Following this post, No Funeral will resume with its regularly scheduled programming. Also, This is Exile is recommended for no one.

Suicide Silence, Job for a Cowboy = actually worth your valuable time

ABACABB, Animosity = pretty good, getting better

Whitechapel, As Blood Runs Black, Impending Doom, All Shall Perish, Emmure, et al. = AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE

Whitechapel – This is Exile