Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Kites

Its been a long time since I have been excited about a new heavy hardcore band that I have practically resigned myself to listening to old Snapcase and Groundwork records whenever the mood strikes. All the new heavy stuff is either shite or its straight up metal. Which serves me fine as I like both. But I do miss the sound of those earlier bands and somehow no one seems to do it right or they feel the need to throw in something else to make it "new" that makes it less than what it could have been. I had just about gave up on hope of ever finding something new. Something that would make me wish I could pile up at the front of a stage, screaming lyrics and tossing my self into disarray.

That is, until Black Kites came into my life. Black Kites are the first glimmer of hope that heavy hardcore isnt dead. Residing in New Jersey, the three piece knows how to keep the adrenaline levels pumped without sacrificing what made hardcore good to begin with. They use no bass player and instead utilize multiple amps to produce a convincing low end. The vocals are screamed in a usual manner, though if one had to weigh in on what kind of scream this guy has it falls on the higher pitched side of things. A bit screamier than a lot of the bands of its kind. The fate of the band lies mostly with the guitarist and here is where Black Kites delivers. The guitars (or one guitar, though it sounds like 5 guitars) have a very dirty sound that reminds me of Groundwork or Absinthe. I see this as a wholly positive thing. Then theres the low end, also being produced by the guitars that almost takes the form of some of the stoner doom elements that so many bands love these days. But when this beast is fully firing on all cylinders that low end combined with that dirty sound give it a weight that leaves no question that these songs mean business...

The end effect is something that comes off squarely in the Unbroken, Disembodied, Chokehold, Groundwork style. If you tossed all that shit together and made a shake out of it you would have the Black Kites. The songs have groove, crunch and plenty of momentum to keep a dancefloor moving. Each of these three songs has a certain part that makes me day dream about moshing. Be it the gang vocals of "Our hunger for greed / will bring the end!!" on Selfish Tradition, or the guitar and kick groove about 30 seconds into Sly Fox, right before the whole mess comes crashing into you again, or the bass heavy rumble of Advancement to Ruins second section, these songs just keep on kicking.

Advancement to Ruins is their new album that is about to come out soon on Ride The Fury records. Check out the Black Kites myspace page and check out the Ride The Fury myspace page for any shows and pre-order info. Let me know what you think of these three songs. Consider it an e7". The cover is unofficial, pasted together from myspace and the lyrics are included in the zip.

Tom, the guitar player, used to play in You and I and The Assistant and currently plays in In First Person. All bands worth checking out. The drummer Jay plays in Zhenia Golov. NJHC for the win this time. more later.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Two posts in one week?! Youve got to be shitting me.

Honestly, I am only just able to get back into my blog for the first time since The Swarm post. For some reason my computer at work would not let me connect to blogger. I couldnt even see comments or anything. Pretty budget. So somehow that has worked it's self out and here we are now.

So a few months back I finally decided to check out Damezumari. I had heard the name a number of times and had always intended to give them a listen but somehow time kept passing and when I finally did it was like some sort of revelation. In fact, it was almost biblical in proportions, like Moses parting the Red Sea, the aqueous landscape spliteth apart before mine eyes and there, on the other side was Damezumari, wreathed in white light, beckoning me forth to its aural pleasure, no shame in its eyes for my callous disregard for their ultimate tunage.

And thus it was folks. I was hooked, like Mrs. McCain on painkillers. I just couldnt get enough. Honest to God*, to Yahweh*, Joe Hova* even, I couldnt believe that I had survived without it this long.

Whats all the hoopla about? Well now that I built it up so much I have to deliver some awesome catchphrases and crucial comparisons to lure you into this revelatory glory that is Damezumari. But why, why do you need that? Why do you need my arbitrary pseudo-intellectual, grade school descriptors? When music is this driving and this crucial, isnt just enough that it exists? No! You need to give this a listen and see for yourself. Experience the complex flavors of angst and bliss, the heartfelt words and the twisting spiraling guitars of one Eric T. Listen and make them your own.

In all seriousness though, I am just being campy, Campy Campertons over here. Eric was nice enough to give me the green light to post this up for you guys to enjoy. In so far as I can tell Eric is the only mainstay of the band with a rotating cast of drummers and bass players. Whoever he finds to fill these spots though are some seriously awesome musicians. The songs all lock together in a fireworks display of emotive hardcore music. I believe you can still buy some of their wonderful screenprinted records from the band themselves. So if you are into vinyl than its a worthwhile purchase after you have digested these six songs here. Go visit their myspace and give them a shout and be sure to keep visiting here as I'll have some more upcoming stuff soon.

Credit for the below photos goes to Melissa Robbins.

* Zen and the Art of Face Punching does not specifically endorse God, Yahweh or Joe Hova or any other related deities. Damezumari on the other hand is fully endorsed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Another Wall 7" (1993)

Over the summer I was out having some drinks with my friend Joe at a bar we lovingly call "The Shithole". We met up with some of Joes friends and somehow got onto the topic of hardcore. I believe it began with a discussion about the book Radio Silence coming out soon and Joe mentioned that I did this blog and Glenn got excited saying he reads the blog frequently. I found this awkward as I had never randomly met anyone that read this page and as it turns I got the chance to be excited when Glenn mentioned he used to play drums in a band called Another Wall.

Well shheeeeit! I loved the Another Wall 7", one of the many things I sold, and had recently been on the lookout for so I could relive the glory days of blasting it in my shitty Honda. So Glenn and I ended up having much more than a passing discussion and the result was that Glenn wanted to get me the DATs of Another Wall stuff so I could post it up here. That was agreeable to me, especially if it sounded as good as I remember.

During a hilarious weekend retreat a few months later Glenn produced the converted files of the 7" plus an extra song that was never released. Radio Silence had just come out and we all geeked out to it and put the book to good use. It had seriously been years... more than a decade since I last heard these songs so when I got home I eagerly tossed it on and was surprised to hear that from the first note I recognized every single bit.

Another Wall could be fit into the progressive sort of hardcore scene alongside Quicksand and Burn, but they also didnt really sound like anyone else. Glenn thinks some of the guitars have some of Greg Ginns more experimental qualities, which I think is pretty spot on, especially on the unreleased song, Not A Word. The first thing you'll notice is the metallic leads followed by huge drums. The groove lays thick on this business and the two guitars throw loose yet chunky, stop-start metal riffs all over each other. Drum fills and rumbling low end dominate a good portion of this hybrid metal progressive hardcore beast as well, giving you plenty of room to do your windmills. The vocals are in a kind of spoken sort of singing style that seemed somewhat popular in NYHC at the turn of the decade. I guess I am thinking of Chaka's vocals on the Burn EP, but there is some actual singing too and some pretty good singalong parts to go along with some of the moshier stuff. This is definitely a record you could you could go off to. Despite it not being like Earth Crisis or that scene it definitely has riffs to match the chunkiness of a band like that albeit with a lot more texture to the guitars and a lot less anger in the vocals. All in all a very creative and interesting take on hardcore of that time period that I have yet to see replicated.

The unreleased song is actually the best of the four here. The other three are pretty great too, though Globe was always a personal favorite back in the Honda days. Some of the band members went on to do other awesome musical projects as well. Glenn went on to play in the band Antarctica along with Eric from Christie Front Drive. If you havent heard that stuff yet than it behooves me to tell you to get on that right now. Brian Maryansky, who is actually Glenns brother went on to play in The Van Pelt with the bassist Sean Greene. That is another thing you should really check out. And Chris Traynor later played in the similarly minded Orange 9mm. I am not sure what Luke (voice) does these days, though I feel like Glenn said Luke is a photographer. Luke and Glenn also contributed to the Radio Silence book as well and Glenn currently plays drums for the band Blacklist, who play a dark sort of rock and roll that has a nice Chameleons UK feel to it.

Blacklist is the only band that is active from the Another Wall family tree and you can check them out on their page.

I am going to try to keep up with this page and hopefully get at least one post a week out. Thats not too much to ask of myself. I had gotten very lazy after my last set of deadlines and it should be noted that Xbox is partially to blame.

Thanks to all of you who kept checking back despite my absence. Keep visiting as I have no intentions of closing up shop yet.