Friday, August 29, 2008

Brooklyn Cat House Show


I am little late on this one. Yesterday was busy as hell and last night I went for a beer with some co-workers before completely crashing. Needless to say, it was near impossible to wake up this morning. Thank god for summer Friday. Actually, this is our last summer Friday. back to the grind. The slow grind of fall into winter. Hey! Maybe we will actually have some fall foliage this time around. I dont know about you but Fall has always been my favorite season.

So, the show I went to on Wednesday was awesome. It was at the Brooklyn Cat House in my old hood of Bushwick, Brooklyn. I went on the solo tip, despite feeling like I might skip it. I had been excited to go since the beginning of the month though, so I woke my sorry ass up and biked out there. Always nice to get a good bike ride through the ghetto in.

The bill: Blue Letter, Algernon Cadwallader, Towers, Dead Letter Auction, ...Who Calls So Loud

To start off, I got there and didnt know anyone so a generous and happy looking gent by the name of Tank was very friendly and talkative with me. This led to a comfortable feeling and I ended up meeting a bunch of really cool people. I have a number of photos that someone took. Her name is Teesa and she took some great shots. I had asked her if I could use them and have not heard back so I am using them anyway. If this is a problem, just say so and I will pull them down. You can go see the rest of her shots on flickr. I only chose a few for space reasons.

Blue Letter played first and they were okay. They had some good crunchy, hard parts, but I wasn't really familiar with any of their stuff so I was an innocent bystander. The guitarist had a pedal set up that would rival Radioheads, My Bloody Valentines, and Mogwais pedal set ups. It was actually kind of funny. I have no pictures of them and I couldnt find a myspace for them either, so youre just gonna have to take my word for it. I would be interested in hearing something in the future.

Algernon Played next. As was to be expected, they were wonderful and fun. A sweaty sing along. All good vibes. Peter, Joe and Tank smiled and played with ultimate abandon and everyone else smiled too. Joe is a sick guitarist and pulls off all the parts with ease. I was happy to purchase one of the LP's from them, as I didnt expect them to be on sale in the US yet. Apparently there are multiple versions of the LP. Everyone who like Algernon should make a point to go see them live. A very fun and inspiring show in a very personal set up. Learn the words and sing out loud.
Algernon Cadwallader @ Myspace

Towers were next and I regrettably inform you that I missed them. WHAAAAAT!!! Yeah, I was bummed. They only played for like 10 - 15 minutes, but apparently they were awesome. I heard them start and I was having a good discussion about painting with someone outside. While I regret missing them, it was also nice to have a good conversation as that is half the reason I was there. Also painting is something that has been resurfacing in my life so it was some good synchronicity. Here are the pics of them anyway. Towers is an awesome band, so check them out for sure.
Towers @ Myspace

Dead Letter Auction was next. I also had not heard them before, but they apparently hadnt played together in 4 years. So this was a sort of reunion for them. The members have been in a number of other good bands since then, including Bullets In and Burial Year. They rocked though. Passionate, screamy post hardcore style with some short songs and some longer songs. Everyone seemed very into it and it made wish that I had heard them back in 1998. Though that was around the time I kind of fell off. Heres to rediscovery! Message to DLA: keep playing music!
Dead Letter Auction @ Myspace

Lastly, ...Who Calls So Loud played. This is the second time I have seen them, and while last time was good, this time was even better. Guitarist Dave was pretty sick but you would never have known as everyone was locked in and they played a powerful set. it was a bit loud, but knowing their songs made it easier to appreciate the volume. If I wasnt familiar with them I may have felt differently about it as it would be hard to discern the melodies. They opened with Sleeplike which is an amazing song.
They also had their new 12" record from Protagonist Records and it looked amazing. I ordered mine so I have to wait a bit, but it was cool to know what it looks like. Made me that much more excited for it to arrive in the mail.
...Who Calls So Loud @ Myspace

So that was that. I was super excited that I went and like I said, I got to meet a bunch of really cool people. The vibes were all good and the hosts, John and Brooke, were very friendly. If you live in the city and you get a chance to go to one of their basement shows than I say do it. A fairly quick bike ride home closed the night for me.

Tomorrow I am going to see Portraits of Past with Ampere and Off Minor at the Cake Shop in Manhatten. It is a very small place and word is it is definitely going to sell out. PoP played a surprise show last night, Thursday, with Dead Letter Auction and Towers and while I really wanted to go I couldnt justify it in light of responsibilities. PoP is playing tonite at Death By Audio in Brooklyn with Dead Letter Auction and Ampere as well, so if you are game then go check that out.

I will be at tomorrows show (Saturday). I am hopefully meeting with some people so if anyone else is going, give a shout and maybe we can meet up too.

Either way, whatever your plans are, have a great long weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Slipknot - s/t (1989)

I know you motherfuckers want to hear this. If youre me, then you saw this shit on the Rev catalog and saw the CoC reference and wondered what the hell it was. If youre me, you saw the cover artwork and thought "what the fuck?!". Clearly the odd man out on Revelation catalogue. This EP, if youre like me, is something you some how skipped over...

How, and why did I skip over this? I owned everything off the revelation catalogue up to Sensefields self titled reissue of their demo. I mean, everything, minus Warzone. For some reason I never got into Warzone, and before anyone cries foul, just remember that I am me and not you. Warzone didnt do it for me. Its up for debate but I may eventually warm up to it. Back to Slipknot...

Someone on the comments recently said, "Slipknot?!"

Yeah... Its not what you think. Slipknot...yeah. It has its connotations... and before I completely demonize myself, I would like to add that the first Slipknot album... the current Slipknot album or band.... whatever... the 9 piece, clown mask wearing sons of bitches... they wrote a few good metal riffs that shouldnt necessarily be ignored, they just shouldnt be lauded for it. I mean, they dressed like fucking clowns for christ sake. If you want to be taken seriously, then dont dress like a goddamn clown. Ask the Insane Clown Posse. Clowns are associated with balloon animals, perverts and John Wayne Gacy. But this is Slipknot circa 1989, from Connecticut. This Slipknot is 4 dudes playing raging, thrashy hardcore, that pretty much anyone who likes hardcore is gonna dig.

A commenter from the blog Crucified For Your Sins (proper link to follow...) said whatsup the other day and I went to visit and saw this there. I instantly jumped at the opportunity to finally, after 17 years, yes, that long, finally to check it out. This officially came out in 1989. It was one of Revelations first batch of releases, falling just around the time of Gorilla Biscuits seminal Start Today. Well, clearly I was too addled by Youth of Today, Judge and GB to quite wrap my head around a shitty cover of what looks like a faceless, dreaded guy and a CoC reference. CoC is Corrosion of Conformity, for those who want to know, and maybe it was because CoC wasnt the thrashy powerhouse that they once were at the time I first came across this, but it just seemed easy to pass by. Damn was I wrong.

Now, this isnt gonna change any lives. At this point in time the sound employed in this recording has become a staple of hardcore. Crusty, thrashy, dirty sounding hardcore. Add to that a less than stellar recording and you have an officially awesome hardcore record. Though I would hesitate to venture anywhere near the term "D-Beat" I would willingly compare this to a band like Tragedy, but with much more of an old school vibe. Thrashy is the key term here.... Dirty too, and thats all because of the crappy recording which goes towards the positive side of things. If this record was recorded well, I think it would be basic and boring... What did Revelation say in their blurb? It was something to the effect of "dont leave them alone with your pets.." Something to that effect.

While maintaining a general old school hardcore sound that was rampant at that time, Slipknot managed to imbue just enough of a scathing sort of sound to make this stand out in current times.... If only they knew at the time that so many bands would ape this style. (I am looking at you Capitalist Casualties, Scholastic Deth... I am onto your game... and I like it.)


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This has been floating around in the ether lately and at first I hesitated because Man is the Bastard has the ability to sometimes be amazing and interesting and other times just come off as as pile of muck. Add to that my aversion to live recordings and this show would have never been enjoyed to the extent it has in the past two weeks. As it were, I decided to at least check it out. It was recorded in 1992 and that tends to be my favorite of the MITB stuff so maybe its pretty good.

Well, the results are in, and its pretty freaking rad. The sound quality leaves something to be desired, but then again so did many of their recordings. After all, sound quality is not the point when it comes to stuff like this and all it takes is one listen to the first song to see that the power is still extremely evident in this recording. As the opening statement says, "we prefer to make it more imaginative and harder" and that is one reason why I would go on record as saying that this is now my preferred choice of Man Is The Bastard material. Aside from the apparent hardness present in these songs you get some illuminating (and often downright funny) descriptions of the songs meanings. These often times are in the form of one voice remaining calm and lucid while another sounds downright militant. This is all fitting for the MITB aesthetic as many fans would already guess.

Like I said, this has been floating around on the nets and some of these songs ended up on the "Uncivilized" 7". If you havent heard it then do yourself a favor and grab this and give it a thorough listen, because as I stated, a lot of these songs are performed awesome and they do come off as "more imaginative and harder" then their recorded counterparts. If you have heard this then the only thing I can offer is that I split up the tracks into their respective parts for easy perusing.

I was looking for some pictures and I couldnt really find anything worth reposting, but I found an interesting interview with Eric Wood. He waxes on about various relations with other bands, different splits from that time, wanting Keith Huckins (from Rorschach) to play guitar for them and general philosophies that most would find interesting. You can find that here on the Housepig Records site. Also, here is a mostly full discography of all the Man Is the Bastard stuff and all related projects.

Here is the tracklist, as it appears in iTunes. ^_^

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hard Stance - Face Reality (1988)

Hard Stance were a straight edge hardcore band from California in the late 80's. Their sound is fairly typical of the sound from from out there. Old-School-ish mid to fast tempo hardcore. Done mostly pretty good.

I hadn't heard this EP until more recently. I had known of the bands existence for some time. Like a lot of people know, it's the band with Zach Del La Rocha in it. And that's cool. He plays guitar like he did for Farside shortly after. That was a brief moment before his rise with Rage Against The Machine. The bands pedigree is deeper than that. The connections are many and some of the bands that these guys have been involved in might be more the reason for the interest in this EP, than just Zach De La Rocha. The Haworth brothers went to play in State of the Nation, a really good post-hardcore band. The drummer went to play in Chain of Strength, continuing the Hard Stance sound and aesthetic (read hard-line straightedge), but with more of a NYHC youth crew influence. And one of the two brothers were in the band Farside who played more of a rocking punk vibe. I guess we cant forget Inside Out, which is an amazing EP and is probably ubiquitous at this point, but No Spiritual Surrender is a classic.

Thats mostly what I have known / learned. It's cool to finally hear this EP and while it doesnt hold a candle to members later projects it is a cool entry into the history of Hardcore. People had requested this too, so this ones for you. We should talk about Outspoken after this. They were a great Cali hardcore band from this time.

You know what the best thing is?

I was drinking a beer while doing this post.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chino Horde LP

Another feel good hit of the summer. I admittedly was late to the Chino Horde party. Although I loved (and still do love Current) I somehow never really got around to listening to the Horde. I think others can probably pay better homage to this one than I can, but needless to say I have been rocking it out recently and I am falling in love with it and the song Arson is so great that everyone should just stop what they are doing and listen to it right now..

Chino Horde were somewhat similar to Current in sound although they threw a bit more of that good old rock and roll into the mix. Imagine rock and roll being played with the passion of Rites of Spring and you are damn near close to the unbridled splendor of this record.

I was looking up some info on Chino Horde and I came across the Towncraft website. It seems to be a sort of chronicle of the Little Rock, AR music scene and has some really good anecdotes of Chino Horde shows and other related topics from people that grew up there or travelled with the band. You should go check it out and listen to this record while you do.

Thats is all folks. Reflective moods and the slow descent of the summer into fall. Does anyone else feel it? The days get shorter.


One last thing. I am looking for the LP version of Stop It!! - Self Made Maps. It is OOP, but if any of you have it and are willing to part with it hit me up. I absolutely love the artwork on it and the CD packaging just doesnt do it justice. If any of you havent heard that record than you are missing out. Easily one of the best records of the past few years...

Sevens - 777

Hey all!

Not much going on over this way. A failed attempt at a Sinaloa show occurred in which I biked out to my former nemesis neighborhood, Bushwick, to soak in the shadows and scratch my head, wondering where the show was actually happening. Turns out it was cancelled, but unless you frequent Viva La Vinyl or other lesser known places you wouldnt have known this as no one made any mention of it on Myspace. I guess I am archaic or just not in the know, but either way I got a really good work out biking out there and back in high gear. I am attempting to resurrect my knee from its damaged slumber. That old story another day...

For today, and in honor of the amazing weather we have been experiencing in NYC, I have been listening to the soulful grooves of DC's Sevens. Sevens were the Sullivan brothers, Mark and Bobby, Chris Farral, drummer of Hoover, and Josh LaRue from the Sorts. The web is more complicated than that, of course, and if you like a good read you can check out Gabbagabbahey's Hoover Genealogy over at Hardcore for Nerds. He has been chronicling the diversity of styles that the members of that amazing band went on to propogate and continue to do to this day.

It should be noted that this release features Joe Lally playing bass and was released on his record label Tolatta. I am not sure how the instrumentation breaks down here. I guess Mark is playing drums on this release? So that leaves me to wonder what Chris Farral played as he was drummer for The Sorts and Hoover. Regardless, though I dont have much of a frame of reference for this 7", it is an awesome little number and the song "Hammer" in particular is a really good jammy sort of track that would sound good outdoors in the summer. If you ever liked Rain Like The Sound of Trains then its a good bet you will like this as well. Sweat it up and enjoy Sevens.

Proven Hollow posted this a ways back, and as he is a self proclaimed Sullivan brothers fan you should check out his original post for some more info. I just want to spread this one around...

Friday, August 08, 2008

HeartattaCk 7" Reviews

I was looking through some old issues of HeartattaCk Zine and remember reading a lot of these reviews back when these issues came out in the mid 90's. I used to be so pumped to read a great review and then actually find the 7" at the local store or order it via mailorder. Zines were definitely a big part of spreading info around during the early to mid 90's and if it werent for people like Kent McClard a lot of hardcore would have gone unnoticed. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Zines are the unsung heroes of hardcore for that specific reason.

I thought I would let Kent McClard and Co. do some of the reviewing today. These 7"s are all amazing and they all got reviewed favorably. I am sure many of you have these in one form or another, whether it be the discography or the mp3s, but I thought it would be cool to view them from the eyes of the people that were reviewing them at the time they came out.

Theses Zines were found as pdf's on Operation Phoenix Records. They have full scans of many different zines including Maximum Rock and Roll, Flipside, HeartattaCk and more... They also have a great section of flyers and a music store. Be sure to give them a visit.

Click on the image to download the 7". Apologies if the reviews are hard to read. I had to fit them in this column so I hope they arent too hard to read. All original covers are saved in the mp3s themselves. Enjoy! Have an awesome weekend. Next week I am going to jolt you with a massive cliché. ^_^ b.l.e.n.d.7.7...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fuck Metalcore - A ZAFP Compilation

I dont know why, but I hate the term "Metalcore". I mean, it's not that offensive in reality, but it seems to send a little twinge of disgust throughout my bones whenever I hear it. This I cant ignore. I also cant ignore the fact that metal colors so much of the music I have been listening to for the last 20 years. So needless to say, this term pops up often.

The funny thing is I am all for abbreviations. I am all for making up new words, hybrid words, nonsense words. I am all for changing the meanings of words at random and for no other reason than they seem funny or fitting at once point or another. So with that, why would I rather hear "Metallic Hardcore" as opposed to "Metalcore"? It seems like a logical abbreviation...

I chalk it up to music journalism and its perversion of most things good. Of course, I am treading the waters of music journalism by writing these pages and I am most certainly a pervert, but I think that leads to something different. What is it about music journalism that tends to make a mockery of things? Well, the crux of music journalism attempts to grab onto something new and fresh that will attract readers and thus you end up with a number of people that are either on the fringe of a scene or music movement and even more people that have no ties whatsoever with whatever thing they are covering, yet they are qualified to comment on such under the right of free speech and the ass-kissing realm of self aggrandizing music journalism which permits them the misnomer of "taste makers". For once I would love to hear someone start off an article by saying, "Well, this isnt really my scene and I know very little of the machinations of said music styles, but as an objective observer I have the right to make my comments and as an employee of this magazine I have the ability to have these comments published". Or something to that effect. Obviously this would never happen as the readership of said journalist depends on his all knowing sense of what is cool, hip or the next big thing; his or her ability to appear ahead of the curve. But wouldnt it be nice if people practiced any amount of honest to goodness truth instead of the constant stream of colored smoke being blown up our asses on a daily basis?

"Metalcore", while inherently not a bad term, has taken on a sour taste to many who have stood by and watched hardcore and metal grow into the current age. I attribute this to the wrong people talking about things without a sense of actually knowing about what they are talking about. Pitchfork Media is the best at this as they disguise their complete lack of knowledge with lengthy aphorisms and who's who lists in obscure 70's garage rock/jazz fusion/avante garde/insert esoteric genre here... I still read it on occasion, but I never really get a good sense of what anything is supposed to sound like as the best they can muster is some comparitive review where X is like Y having sex with B and C is dropping tabs of acid whilst Q is off in the corner masturbating to church photos. In this case X = Current cool new band, Y = Philip Glass or something even more obscure, B=Joy Division, C=the Zombies and Q= David Bowie. Its ridiculous and I highly doubt that any of these people even know what they are talking about. I certainly dont! But I am digressing at a seriously fast rate. Metalcore was made a bad term by the same people who claimed that Nirvana saved punk rock (without actually sounding a shred like any punk band I have ever liked) and that continuously label My Chemical Romance and Dashboard Confessional "Emo", when neither even sound alike and neither sound like anything that ever could have been called emo... Whew!


So I made this compilation. Its all Metal and its all Hardcore. It's ferocious and I hope if it does any single thing, I hope that while listening to it you can transcend all genre terms and see these bands on their own ground, for their own accomplishments, beyond anything that has labels and see it as music, powerfully made and powerfully delivered. The cover is an actual effects pedal for guitar. I think its pretty funny that this exists. I bet I will get crucial crunch if I purchase it. Obviously the pedal doesnt say "Fuck" on it, but thats my fitting addition.

1. Stigmata - Hands of God: This is kind of how this whole comp began. Buske posted the awesome album Heart Grows Harder by Troys hardest, Stigmata. I was immediately taken back to college when I used to think they ruled. It's been a number of years since I broke out anything by them and when I put on Hymns of an Unknown God I was inextricably blown away. These guys are incredible and this is seriously bad ass song.

2. Converge - Dead: Of course I couldve put on any number of Converge songs but aside from this one fitting wonderfully after the ending of the last track it also reminds me of that same time in college when this was one of my most favorite things. I love the shitty vocals in the beginning with all the octave chords, I love the bark you can hear as the music ramps up and from there on out its ridiculous breakdown after ridiculous breakdown. These guys do not disappoint.

3. Overcast - For Indifference: There are many good Overcast songs, but this one is chock full of riffs and different tempos. Some of the changes dont even make sense at first until your knee deep in a psychotic mosh part and then you look back and see how it all made sense getting from point A to point Hell. The ending riffs in this song are terrifyingly awesome.

4. V.O.D. - D.T.O: Yet another song that reminds me of college. While Suffer might be their coolest track, and Through My Eyes might be their scariest track, D.T.O. (Drop the Oppressor) is definitely their toughest track. This track takes no shit. You look at it the wrong way and you will get beat down with a thousand tons of brick heavy riffs. You like F-Bomb, you got it! What the fuck, I cant breath"... Awesome elementary lyrics that are perfect for singing along and some really cool drum patterns. Similar to Brian Fair from Overcast, Tim really knows how to hit both sides of the spectrum in the vocal department, and he does this without seeming forced or cheesy. Like I said, this track will kick your ass.

5. Dillinger Escape Plan - Abe The Cop: Even though each release makes me less and less interested in this band, their first 3 song offering, Under The Running Board, is still a favorite in the Zen household. Everything they went on to do was perfectly encapsulated in those three songs. Amazing guitar wankery, jazzy breakdowns and a complete and utter disregard for whatever hardcore and metal claimed to be. It's no wonder they helped spawn a new sub-genre of the hardcore scene as many of these sounds that arent ripped from Converge's repertoire are wholly original ina metal or hardcore format. The section when he screams "White Lights, Mad and Maniacal!" is pretty much one of best mini breakdowns ever.

6. 108 - Killer of the Soul: I used to think Songs of Separation was the best 108 record, but as I get older and the more I listen to them it becomes increasingly evident that Threefold Misery is just incredible in comparison. SoS is still amazing in its own right, but the flow of this record is great. So I was going to put the song Woman on this comp, but decided that Killer of the Soul has the same ideas set forth in a much more metallic way and played with about 100 times more fervor. Vic Dicara can do no wrong on the guitar.

7. Bloodlet - Eucharist: If it isnt obvious in the first few seconds why I picked this song then you have to replay it instantly. Yeah, of course Bloodlet were an amazing metallic hardcore band, invoking terror filled visions of world crazed with religion, but listen to that bass line that starts off the song! I love the way he bends it at the end of the measure and then the guitars come ripping in, not unlike the popular Powell Peralta skateboard graphic. This song also gets extra points for extra thick distortion.

8. One King Down - Defiance: I suppose More Hate Than Fear or Absolve wouldve been obvious choices for many, but Defiance has a few key points that not only make it badass but make it hella more metal than the other tracks. First, the baddass. Derek is one of my favorite drummers of this style. He plays hard as hell and he pulls out some awesome fills. When Rob sings, right before the breakdown, "And their lies, Burn me ALIVE!!!" Derek comes in with THWAP-TH-TH-THWAP-TH-TH-TH-THWAP!!!! hahaha!! Its so fucking awesome I want to stage dive out of the 8th floor window! Now thats all well and good, but check the guitar solo at the end. Its amazing, with twinges of eastern melodies. Michael has stated that he was massively influenced by Mike Maney from Stigmata and it shows in this solo. Awesome ending to an awesome song.

9. Snapcase - Filter: I always think of Snapcase as the kings of this style. Probably because they were my favorite band for some time. I remember the first time I saw them live in Brewster, NY. It was with Shelter and I had a concussion that I recieved a day or two before (I dont recall how I got that one, but maybe this will help explain why I forgot) So my mom says "be careful" like any good mom would, so I laugh and go to this show that is guaranteed to be a simulated fist fight between friends, complete with full on riot style stage dives. So Snapcase is playing and they play this song (again with the ridiculous drum fills!!!) and people are hanging off the pipes in the ceiling and everyone is going completely nuts and I am freaking out in my own way, hopping up front and screaming "Intent to Survive!! To Sift and Purify!!!" and I get a massive kick to the dome. I can only assume that is was unintentional, but man it was a wollop. It didnt matter, I raged on, dizzy and sweating and absurdly happy, even by my standards. It was amazing. Amazing and Awesome and ridiculous. haha!! I have pictures from this show. I'll have to dig them up.

10. Dissolve - The Ultimate Nullifier: This is a new track, but not so new as it was written in 2000. Dissolve have finally released their promised record, Caveman From the Future and if you like any of the above bands then this song is going to rend you flesh into little pieces for easy consumption. The vocals in this one are deranged and even a little disturbing. The whole song is like one amazing breakdown that will have you ready to take on the NY Giants, one to eleven and you may have a chance of winning.

11. Starkweather - Shards: How could you have a Fuck Metalcore compilation and not have Starkweather on it? I dont even know what to say. Starkweather is another band that seems to get better with age. I didnt appreciate them enough when Crossbearer came out and as I have grown older I feel like every single song is a psychotic journey into one mans personal hell. The song writing and time changes on this song are unbelievable. Its not even so much the time changes as much as everything is just so tight. These guys mustve been a sight live.

12. Unbroken - Blanket: I had a hard time picking one song here and I eventually chose this one based on a number of things. For starters the opening riffs drip of Slayer lust. This is never a bad thing. What makes this even better than Slayer is the fact that these riffs come out at a half time drip that makes the whole seethe with darkened terror. "I see no help, I just see us" leads into another amazing riff before ending the song on a blistering note. These guys were a sight live. Watching an entire room of people flip their shit while these guys played damn near every good song they ever wrote was an experience I will not soon forget. I have a few awesome pictures of this show and I have to find them along with the others.

13. Integrity - Hollow / Psychological Warfare: So, you guys like holy terror, right? I figured a double dose from the kings of holy terror would serve everyone right. I dont think their much I can say about this one other than the bass line that opens Psych Warfare is great and totally reminds me of what made Micha: For Those Who Fear Tomorrow such an awesome track.


I intended to only put 13 tracks on this comp. I kinda weasled out an extra track by combining the last two, but they work perfect with each other. By doing this I left off a ton of great bands that deserve mention, including but not limited to: Earth Crisis, Chokehold, Undertow, Groundwork, Brothers Keeper, Soulstice, Cave-In (early stuff), Corrin, SevenYearsWar, Disembodied, Coalesce and others.

If my business was only to make mixes I would make a part two and include all of the above bands, but for now this comp shall suffice. You can tell me what I missed, but you cant deny the awesomeness of the bands already present.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Overcast - Fight Ambition To Kill

As the crow flies, Massachusettes has created some damn good metallic hardcore. And though I truly love Converge, apple of my eye, Overcast has always been in the running for most punishing metal disguised as hardcore. Though shorter lived and with less releases Overcast has never had a dull moment. I will attribute this, in part, to Brian Fair. The man has the coolest metal voice ever. From his actual singing voice to his unbelievably brutal howl, every time this man opens his mouth, a wonderful blackness spews forth, one that is both cathartic and frightening. If demons exist they would listen to Overcast.

It wouldnt be fair (no pun intended) to give all the credit to Brian Fair. True, the man has pipes worthy of the darkest shrines (and dreads to make Jah jealous) but the band is incredible. Wrenching their way through maze like compositions of off kilter timings, blast beats and furious sludgy breakdowns sure to give the geriatric crowd a kickstart to heart. Fight Ambition to Kill is a perfect example of their complex riffing and awesome rhythm section. So often, though, complexity tends toward a general lack of hummability. This is not the case here. This album is chock full of hooks and amazing grooves. If you have any pulse you will most likely want to jump out of your skin and stage dive off the top of your house. Repeatedly. The breakdowns are sick. Sick!

Well, as of the past few months it appears that Overcast is not so short lived. Despite members going on to Ozzfest sized metal bands Shadow's Fall and Killswitch Engage they have found it in their embittered souls to grace the world with their presence once again. Someone said recently that metal was once the saving grace of hardcore, but now it seems Metal is taking that crown back, since the over abundance of "metalcore" bands has polluted and watered down what was once a vital sound. So what better time for Overcast to make a comeback and show both camps how its really done.

A quick check on their myspace page shows that not only has the whole band reunited to play some shows in the North East, but they are doing so in conjunction with a new release on Metal Blade records called "Reborn to Kill Again". The retribution this band has always deserved is finally coming to them. Its gets better though. Turns out that Overcast will be touring with legendary NY hardcore band Dissolve (to me and anyone who liked them at least). If you know Dissolve then you know that they bring a hurting that fits perfectly with Overcast. The only thing that could make this better is if they added Starkweather to the tour. I think people would be dropping like flies at every show if that happened today. Nonetheless! You, as hardcore fans, owe it to yourself to get into this band, get the new release and go see the show if you can feasibly make it.

Overcast w/ Dissolve and guests.
Aug 21 2008 - 7:00P @ School of Rock - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Aug 22 2008 - 8:00P @ Valentine’s - Albany, New York
Aug 23 2008 - 8:00P @ Living Room - Providence, Rhode Island
Aug 24 2008 - 7:00P @ The Showcase Lounge @ Higher Ground - South Burlington, Vermont
Aug 29 2008 - 7:00P @ The Palladium (Upstairs) - Worcester, Massachusetts
Aug 30 2008 - 7:30P @ Bobby Allen’s - Waterbury, Connecticut

Which leads me to my next point. I dont drive. I dont even have a license. I respectfully lost it years ago and have never attempted to retake my driving test. So, who wants to take me to one of these shows? ^_^. Gas money and other accoutrements can and will be provided by me. Leave me a comment.

This photo taken by Bruce Bettis at Go check out his awesome photography.

Before I go. It should be mentioned that Dissolve was also around during the days of Overcast and has played a lot of shows with them. They too have recently released a new record called Caveman of the Future on Trip Machine Laboratories. It is absurdly good and any fan of metal or hardcore will call it their favorite in no time. You can buy it at most big distros, including Very, RevHQ and Interpunk.
For the time being you can go over to Aversion for samples from the new album and you can get their old album and the EP at An Attitude Exhumed. Essential.

Lastly, I have another comp in the works. That was supposed to be todays post, but I copied over the wrong stuff to my iPod this morning. Check back tomorrow.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Unionsuit - Demo (1996)

Okay, this may or may not mean anything to anyone, but this demo kicked my ass back in 96. My friend Brendan from college was and is from Massachusettes, so at the time I thought anyone from Mass was automatically in some club where every cool hardcore band from the state was automatically made known to you at an early age so you could reap the beneifts of face melting hardcore (Converge, Overcast, Dive anyone?!). Hydra Head records was just getting under way in these days and had nothing of the exorbitantly priced, yet astoundingly beautiful gatefold 2xLP released with foil printed artwork and lazer that shoot out the sides and vinyl that shimmers 50 different colors under normal light. These were the days of cut and folded sleeves and the early days of Aaron Turner.

So Brendan arrived to school in Vermont, fully formed with hardcore glory and a cassette of this here Unionsuit demo. (Also the Petitioning the Empty Sky 7" which was the reintroduction of Converge in my life. Converge MK II, we shall call it, wherein Converge slaughters the mighty Slayer on the alter of Metal and claims the crown as their own with vicious blends of death metal riffage and hardcore breakdowns. But that is not the point) No! Unionsuit is the order of the day. Just as it was back then, I frothed over the idea of anything cacaphonous with shredded, hectic vocal stylings, not unlike the milieu of San Diegos finest.

I was really into this demo, though I never copied it. Fast forward to now. 10 years later I get a hankering to hear Unionsuit. Especially knowing the Aaron Turner went on to form the mighty Isis. Now memory is faulty, especially after living in Vermont for two years, but I swore that Unionsuit was nothing like Isis. I searched for confirmation. Discordant guitars and dual screams pierced my hopeful dreams as I searched out this infamous tape in MP3 form. Infamous only because, not only could I barely find mention of it, but it seems that Mr. Turner himself is "embarrassed" by the mere existence of this tape. Maybe this is because Mr. McClard gave it a mediocre review in HeartattaCk. Maybe its just because his ultimate goal was to become the king of sludginess and then give it up for a taste of the post-rock crown. These things I will never know. What I do know is that my search continued until I found the Unionsuit 7" on Second Nature Recordings. This was a start.

Right off the bat, it was clear I was treading in the proper waters. DC-ish guitars with Converge-ish breakdowns and an overall metal/emo hybrid were apparent. But it wasnt as good as I remember them being. I chalk this up to it not being the demo, which mine ears were seething to hear. A year after this discovery and still no luck, until... a guy, by the name Endverse, says "Yo, Homie! I got dat shit!" and I can only respond with skepticism. Could it be true? Does he really have the mp3s of this extremely elusive cassette?

You already know the answer, dont you?

ps. Its not "as good" as I remember, but its definitely pretty cool. Check what I am pretty sure is guest vocals by Jacob Bannon on the 4th track. Nice. Spread this tape around, someone send it to Aaron Turner and tell him not to be afraid. And know this: I made the cover art. The original cover art was much cooler. If anyone has OG artwork please send it over.