Saturday, September 28, 2013

Clutch – From Beale Street to Oblivion

Here's the latest in the new (old), banned reviews: Clutch's 2007 opus From Beale Street to Oblivion. I published the original post a few weeks after the release of Strange Cousins From the West, so that's was I was alluding to in the opening paragraph. Speaking of which, what did I say back in 2009?

From Beale Street to Oblivion

Clutch is a prolific band. As a matter of fact, as I write this, Clutch just finished writing, recording and releasing a new double LP. Okay, they’re not that prolific, but they keep pumping out new records. I was going to call From Beale Street to Oblivion the new Clutch, but that’s no longer true. So, here’s a newer Clutch album from 2007.

From Beale Street to Oblivion shares the metallic racket of the self-titled album but it retains the demented, smoked-out blues-rock Clutch crafted during this past decade. It’s the perfect mix of this band’s old and new sounds.

Is it better than Blast Tyrant or Robot Hive/Exodus? They all rule. Where have you been? Clutch is one of the all-time greats and all of their material is mandatory listening.

So, did anything change between then and now? Oh, yes. Yes, things changed for Clutch.

Beginning in the Fall of 2009, a track on the LP (number six to be exact) unexpectedly started climbing the charts. With "Electric Worry", Clutch scored a Top 40 hit after 19 years of slugging it out in dive bars and van tours. "Electric Worry" peaked at #38 on the Singles Chart while From Beale Street to Oblivion reached #4 on the Independent Albums Chart and #52 on the Billboard Top 40 Album Chart. Not bad for some weirdos from Maryland.

...And it wasn't just hit singles and album sales. All of the sudden, Hollywood fell in love with Clutch; starting with this album. They were marginalized or flatly ignored to this point but things changed after "Electric Worry." First, the video became a hit on MTV. You've seen this before, right? Somebody did. It's sitting at slightly under six million views.

The single was used in commercials for the video game Left 4 Dead 2 and the TV series Memphis Beat. It was even used as the goal-scoring song by the Vancouver Canucks.

...And it didn't stop there. Proving themselves no one-hit wonder, Clutch has had two songs featured in AMC's The Walking Dead ("The Regulator" and "Gone Cold"). "50,000 Unstoppable Watts" and "Escape From the Prison Planet" are frequently used as bumper music on talk radio shows across the country. Clutch was featured on an episode of the reality show Ace of Cakes (the vocalist's sister is one of the bakers). They've had over a dozen singles appear on video game and movie soundtracks. Basically, Clutch is one of those overnight success stories that was two decades in the making.

So, what's changed in four years? Clutch broke into the mainstream. They did it without selling out and they deserve every iota of their success. As Clutch proves conclusively, it ain't over until it's over. Never give up.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Neurosis - Souls at Zero

The legendary Souls at Zero album by Neurosis is the latest in No Funeral new/old/banned review series. Originally, this was a test run at ripping MP3s from my own vinyl. I guess that's what pissed off Neurot Recordings Inc. to the point where they had the post removed. Just as well. There wasn't much of a review in the original text. For posterity's sake, here's what I said back then...

************************************************************************** Neurosis
Souls at Zero
Alternative Tentacles

I'm still working out the kinks in my new vinyl transfer program so, until this thing is running 100%, I'll be posting a series of classic albums. The records in this series will be ripped from the original vinyl and uploaded onto MediaFire by me. Be sure to grab these.

First up is Souls at Zero by Neurosis. It was the first vinyl 12" I ever mail-ordered. I thought it appropriate that it be the first to get ripped and uploaded.

Neurosis - Souls at Zero

. **************************************************************************

That didn't really say anything, now did it? Let's take another whack at Souls at Zero.

This album was the last time I genuinely heard a new AND original idea. Usually, when you hear a new band or song, you can trace back the influences in your head. "They sound like Pantera mixed with Travis Tritt", or something of the like. When it comes to Neurosis, where and how did they dream this up? Souls at Zero melted my brain out of my head when I was in high school and heard it for the first time. All these years later, it still stops me in my tracks. This is one of those album I have to listen to in its entirety.

I suppose that it's worth mentioning that I got to see Neurosis back in February at Emo's. Except for when they closed with "Locust Star" off of Through Silver in Blood, there was no pit. The whole crowd stood there, jaws agape, watching this band play; and play they did. It was a good mix of songs from all their album, although I don't think they played any Pain of Mind era stuff. Brent Hinds of Mastodon calls this the Neurosis Effect. If you just walked into the room, you'd immediately think the band was having a bad show; until you realize that the entire crowd is actually pay attention. Life kind of stops until the set is over. I believe hypnotic is the appropriate word.

The full album is available for streaming below. Click on it to find out what the big deal is...


Gallo Speaks...

You guys know Grant Gallo, right? He's from around the way. He's down for brutal music. He works on 6th Street, so he witnesses all manner of throw'd off shit on a daily basis. Gallo is one of the last legit people in Austin who's doing this rock-n-roll thing for the "right reasons*."
Gallo wrote a brief essay that echoed many of the thoughts going through my own head. Read what he said below. Read his original post here.

I am SO FUCKING TIRED of seeing person after person after fucking person on band pages arguing with each other in the comments threads. Is making some dickish point, about some shit that probably doesn't matter, to someone you probably don't even know really more important to you than whatever band it is you have taken the time out of your day to like and read posts from? REALLY?!
THIS, more than anything, is what I see to be the cause of the "dying scene" everyone keeps talking about. True, heavy music fans really don't make up too high of a percentage of music fans in our country, but we are never going to move forward if all we can do is fuck with each other about petty bullshit that won't even be remembered in a week.
I realize that some things people say are ignorant and should be argued or addressed, but much more often it's two kids trying to prove who is more badass or who is more metal or hardcore or kvlt or more what the fuck ever. Enough of this shit, it's time we become a community again as fans of heavy music, because fans of other music damn sure aren't going to understand us. Anyone with me?

Here's a picture of Grant Gallo chillin' hard.

Now, let me be clear... I LOVE arguing about music but I love the Rhodes Roundtable/debate club aspect of it. Think of me as a mobile heavy metal think tank. Not only do I love arguing about metal, I absolutely love making smart-ass comments about everything and anything. But that is not what Gallo is talking about.

I believe what Gallo is addressing is the team/gang/groupthink mentality that has infiltrated not only underground music but nearly every aspect of life at this point. Everyone wants to "win", reason and logic be damned. Yet, none of them have any clue what to do once they've "won." Better yet, what the hell is anybody "winning?"

Music is an art form, not a competition. There's room for everyone, even the bad stuff. Bad is subjective. Taste is subjective. The objects of Gallo's rage have clearly forgotten this (or never learned it in the first place). No Funeral has always held the perspective that it's a much better use of everyone's time to highlight the good stuff and to ignore the bad stuff, rather than waste time slamming it endlessly. There's room to have fun when criticizing and analyzing rock and roll but this misguided, relentless negativity has to go.

Metal is only one aspect of life. The social appeal is that we, the headbangers, can relate to each other through our culture in a way that is not possible with members of conventional social norms. In other words, we all have to spend most of our days with people that don't get this music and would rather see it thrown into the sun. Let's all agree to not make life needlessly complicated for each other by slamming bands, slamming other people, and being a general nuisance. At least two of us in Austin are sick of this attitude and I imagine that thousands of others share the sentiment.

I suppose that's enough of an emo trip for today. We've all got to get back to work. Or, like Mayor Quimby, we've all got better things to do.

* = There's no dictionary definition of the "right" reason to be involved in metal and hardcore but I define it as treating this music like a performing art. It's not an excuse to score free drugs, free women, avoid 9-to-5 work, and generally live in a world of delusion; but you wouldn't know that from walking around this dump of a city.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pig Destroyer – 38 Counts of Battery

Here's another new/old review. This was originally posted in the Spring of 2009 but "The Man" (as we discussed him yesterday) yanked down the entire post instead of just removing the link. Sigh...

What did I say back then?

Pig Destroyer
38 Counts of Battery

I check the downloading statistics everyday, so I know exactly how psycho you guys are for Pig Destroyer. I also know how much you’re going to dig this album. 38 Counts of Battery is a discography containing some of Pig Destroyer’s early material. This is pure grindcore terrorism with the hatchlings that would become JR Hayes' lunatic lyricism. 38 Counts of Battery features the Pig Destroyer sides of split EPs with Isis and Orchid, the Explosions in Ward 6 LP, the Pig Destroyer demo and a Dark Angel cover from a never-released thrash covers compilation.

While Explosions in Ward 6 may be eBay fodder these days, it was unmastered and sounds like doo-doo. Those songs have been mastered for 38 Counts of Battery and many of those same songs turn up on the Pig Destroyer demo. Of all the material on this CD, I must confess that my favorites are the Carcass covers originally featured on the split with Isis. The final song on Explosions in Ward 6, “Pixie”, is a window into the future of Pig Destroyer, in addition to simply being ahead of its time. You know you need this.

Pig Destroyer – 38 Counts of Battery

What's changed since then?

The only changes have been positive. Pig Destroyer's stature as one of the all-time, heavyweight champions of grindcore has only solidified over the years. I am proud to say that I "nailed it" concerning the lyrics. If you read the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame article about Pig Destroyer's Prowler In The Yard album, guitarist Scott Hull is quoted as saying the best thing to happen to Pig Destroyer was when vocalist JR Hayes stopped reading Chomsky and started reading Proust. Yep, I noticed it back then and I couldn't agree more.

Here's the album, sort of. It's posted to Youtube one song at a time but the next song automatically begins when the last one ends; just like a CD. In theory, it should work the same way for you. We'll find out...

Here's how Miley Cyrus pissed off the entire city of Detroit

Rhodes Scholar and cancer researcher Miley Cyrus made another "uh-oh." This time it was in that Rolling Stone interview (I'm sure you've seen the cover by now). The long-story-short: She said, "Detroit’s where I felt like I really grew up." As you can imagine, the Motor City did not see the humor in this statement.

I really hate saying something supporting or defending Miley Cyrus but that quote was taken out of context. Sure, it was a poor choice of words but we're talking about someone with a sixth-grade education (or its Hollywood equivalent). Aaron Foley of the website Jalopnik really breaks down Miley's faux pas and what it means for Detroit residents. Read his take here. Basically, Cyrus is the latest in a long line of celebrity-types who have all made "derogatory" statements about a city that going through a really hard time. Detroit has been drilled harder by the Great Recession than any other city and it's collectively tired of jokes. This is all reasonable except for one tiny, little detail.

Cyrus essentially said something positive about the city. She got a tattoo on 8 Mile Road. She went to clubs in Royal Oak and the Renaissance Center. As far as "growing up" is concerned, the first time you get chased down the street by a for-real-ass Detroit crackhead, well..., that's a learning experience for everyone. Miley Cyrus digs Detroit in a roundabout, backhanded way.

...and she's not alone. I dig Detroit. I've got many friends up that way and, other than the snow, I wouldn't mind living there at some point in the future. Yes, we all hate Hollywood and any excuse to slam a moron celebrity is a good time, but it's not called for in this case. Everyone calm down and let a dum-dum have the time of her life. Instead, let's take a look back at some of Detroit's greatest hits...

Cold As Life opening for Blood for Blood and Pitboss 2000 @ The Magic Stick:

Walls of Jericho bring the Motor City hate to Wacken in 2009:
Here's the video for Black Dahlia Murder's single "Everything Went Black":

You should know this song...

Oh yeah, these guys are also from Detroit.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Strife - In This Defiance

As you may have noticed, "The Man" jumped my ass about all those free MP3s. In all honesty, that was one of the main things causing these huge delays with the No Funeral website. I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep going if a certain president and his administration were going to keep screwing with the internet, but I persevered.

This website has always been about sorting the good rock music from the ocean of garbage out there. Raising awareness is the point; not giving or getting free stuff. That means, for the most part, the gravy train is over but I still stand by my reviews. Over the next little bit, I'll be reposting the reviews taken down by "The Man" but making any necessary changes in perspective. After all, these were written over three years ago.

Today's lost review is of Strife's 1997 masterpiece
In This Defiance. Here's what I said back then...

In This Defiance

Strife was one of the original Big Three on Victory Records. They are often erroneously called the West Coast Earth Crisis. If they were anything, Strife is the West Coast Snapcase.

Maybe Strife gets compared to Earth Crisis because of their views. I never got caught up in that stuff. I do know that, musically, both Strife and Snapcase are the straightedge sons of Helmet. Of the two, Strife hits a little harder. This is due to Strife driving a dump truck full of mosh to every gig. Listening to the breakdowns of In This Defiance, I can only imagine how violent their shows were back in the 90s.

This is a pretty cool record for tough-guy mosh, but be warned. You will hate In This Defiance

Strife - In This Defiance


What's different now? Nothing. Strife still kicks ass. I'm not sure what I meant by the final sentence of the review; I chalk it up to being stoned at the time. Other than that, this is every bit as valid in the 2013 No Funeral universe as it was in 2009. Also, that link doesn't work (obviously) but I've got something just as good...

The Wasteland (Vol. 1)

Tuesday. Whatever. There's no unifying theme (not even a redux (for those that get the joke)) today; just some nonsense I've observed...

If you ever listen to Dudley & Bob (sometimes it can't be avoided), you know that these are two washed-up, former comedians who trot out the same tired routine day after day. It's typical "zoo crew" garbage but they accidentally talked about something half-way interesting today (the Broken Watch Theory, hard at work). They were talking about the creepiest music video in the history of mankind: "Into The Night" by Benny Mardones. It's a lovely, tasteful, yacht-rock-style ballad about pedophilia. No big deal. The Dudley & Bob host who is the broken-down alcoholic, I think that's Dudley, actually admitted to being a fan of this song. Here comes the horror in 3... 2... 1...

Speaking of horror, here's a reunion no one asked for: Veruca Salt are back! To be fair, they did have a few decent songs. Here's one of them...

Ha! Remember when bands used to get budgets for stuff? Yeah, that video was terrible, but what a chorus...

Travis is down with this whole Nirvana nostalgia thing.

The Austin police are going to shoot your dog. Don't believe me? Click on this link to read 82 articles by the American-Statesman about the APD greasing the family pet.

...But it's not all bad news. The Pirates are going to the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds was on the team, so that's something, right? Oh, there is one more thing: Trap Them still kicks ass.


Monday, September 23, 2013

This is what passes for metal these days?

I'm going to kick off this week by ruining your Monday. Where to start...

In a world polluted with unnecessary and deceptive press releases, I found the cream of the crap this morning. Some band in Georgia called Issues (never heard of 'em) kicked out its drummer, CASE SNEDECOR. Having been kicked out of Issues, Snedecor issued (ha!) the most whiny, spoiled-brat press release in the history of mankind. The original post is here, but the portion below is the matter of concern:

*************************************************************************************************** I'm not exactly sure why I'm writing this, other than the fact that apparently I've been nothing but trash talked by my former band. I was kicked out of Issues because apparently they didn't think I was a "good enough" drummer. It was so embarrassing because for awhile I honestly believed this to be true. Well honestly, the reason I was kicked out is because I disagreed with someone in that band so much, that he said if I was in the band, he wouldn't be. The BAND told me this. He is a key writer so I got kicked out. "SUPPOSEDLY" I can't play Hooligans up to par. The most popular video of Hooligans that everyone saw live with me just so happened to be the night I was the sickest I'd ever been. So later down the road this member used it as leverage to "prove" his point. The new drummer, Josh, who was my friend, went to dinner with me after I was kicked out and told me that he was offered the position. He then asked me if I'd been paid my promised pay from the band. I said no, and he said he would make sure that happened (never did). I told him to join the band because my experience was something I could have never had elsewhere and he said "I don't know why they want me, your feet are better than mine." So I'm going to start this part by saying Josh is an unbelievable drummer. He's better than I am but he's also got 3 years on me. My house was where Issues lived while in GA and practiced. When we got home from tour, my parents had sold the house and moved to where we couldn't practice or all stay. Josh has a house with a studio. People from the band moved into his house even before I joined. Why not have your roommate play in your band? Couldn't hurt your chances of a place to stay. Also, they had nothing more to "gain" from me. I never got my royalties that I'm contracted to, merch cuts that I was promised, or even a sorry for completely screwing me out of a career. They can say I screwed myself all they'd like, but I know for fact that I can play those drum parts and I think most the people that saw me with Issues can attest to that. And to all of the doubters, I'd gladly post a video of me playing Hooligans whenever I can get a camera on me. I'm posting this because I've been BEGGED to tell the truth of my departure. It's possible they'll come back with some post about my inferiority at drums or something else insulting, but this is the honest truth and I feel much better now that I've actually written it out. Continue to support them, because I honestly believe most of them are good people. But just know that not everything is cut and dry. Don't dramatize this, just take it for what it is. I will not talk about Issues anymore on social networks, I'm done, this is me burning the bridge. I promise. I love you all. ********************************************************************************************************************

The two sections in bold were highlighted by me. Let's tackle the second section first. So, the band lived in your parent's house and, when your parents moved (presumably to distance themselves from your former horseshit band), you got kicked out so the band could then live in the new drummer's house? Is that the information I'm supposed to take away from that paragraph? Wow. That's some first-class, rich-kid bullshit. Get a job.

The previous paragraph is the one that concerns me. The "sickest" he ever played was in the video for "Hooligans?" I sincerely hope he's not talking about this video of them I found of "Hooligans", filmed in San Francisco.

Oh lord...

I see a rap-metal band with a DJ in 2013. I see a six-man line-up (just like Linkin Park). I see a rapping singer and a screaming singer (just like Linkin Park). I see a miserable excuse for avoiding 9-to-5 work (just like Linkin Park). Most importantly, I see a drummer who was mixed down by the soundman and was essentially replaced on stage with a programmed drum beat broadcast through the PA.

Being proud of that performance is like being proud of winning the bronze at the Special Olympics. Sure, you get an "A" for effort but it doesn't stand up against the real deal. Want to see some real drumming? Here's Frost from Satyricon...

Sorry if this post came across a bit harsh but the unholy combination of no talent and a sense of entitlement had me running for the nearest toilet.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Politics? I got ya covered.

I know what you're thinking. "Two posts in the same year? No way." Well, yes way. This probably doesn't qualify as a proper post; It's more like a PSA. If you don't know, I do a radio show with Houston/Little Rock activist Rocky Reidel called MindSplinter Radio. We've got our podcasts, old episodes, essay, and other nonsense posted on the website. You can also reach us on Facebook. MindSplinter Radio deals with socio-political issues and has a far more serious tone than No Funeral. I bring this up because I posted an article today about mind control and microwave weapons that you really should read. So, check it out , hit me back if you have any questions, and keep it brutal. Speaking of brutality, it's YouTube time...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Read my reviews and columns on

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not dead; nor was I running Anthony Weiner's failed NYC mayoral campaign. I've been busy in Austin doing rad things like getting my AutoCAD certificate.
In case you haven't noticed, No Funeral hasn't been updated in a millions years (because that has always been a problem with this website: posting too often). I'm still writing but I'm doing a lot of freelance work for other folks. The material of which I'm most proud is over at Here's what you've missed:
I take the new Vampire Weekend LP apart at the joints.
The new Sabbath rules does the new Clutch
Justin Timberlake is a terrorist
The new Nails LP rocks pretty hard
but not as much as the new EyeHateGod
Here's my take on the Hard N Heavy Grindcore Special
...and the battle royale, KING810 vs. common sense.
I've got more new material on the way and I've got much more older stuff to post. I'm eternally getting caught up. You know the drill by now...