Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Top 10, or 8

1. Destruction – Thrash Anthems
What do you do when the quality of your early output gets overshadowed by poor production values and drumming that sounds like Stephen Hawking tap-dancing with bags of ping-pong balls on his feet? You take your new drummer into the studio (one of the most solid thrash drummers on the planet) and RE-RECORD THEM. An interesting route for a ‘best of’ but this record couldn’t possibly deliver any more than it already does. Not to take anything away from the quality and nostalgia of the original recordings from these Germans but the updated versions of these tunes really allows their greatness to be revealed. The drums and guitars are so loud and in your face that they might as well be in your mouth and Schmier "I'M SO PISSED UFF"'s vocals are proof that a ridiculously tall, leather clad man can still sound terrifying with shreaky vocals. I find it very difficult to not raise at least one arm in the air when listening to this record.
Hey guys, how do you want this thing mastered?
Um, louder zen anyssing ulse und zee planetz.

2. Mors Principium Est – Liberation = Termination

Not even the electric-circus, white-button-down-shirt, white-pants, white-leather-cockroach-killer shoe, gold-chain, guess-jeans-belt-buckle, bass-thumping intro to the ‘Animal Within’ from this record can deny how awesome this band is. To some it’s pretty standard melodo-death-thrash but these guys have more shred in them than something with a whole lot of shred in it. All three of their releases have had at least 5 to 6 ‘YES’ songs which, if ya don’t know, is a remarkably high average. The main guitar player / song-writer chappy has left to pursue the arena-ready stampeding success of solo instrumental music which is a crying shame but he did a hell of a job in releasing three great MPE records.

3. Pig Destroyer – Phantom Limb

Pig Destroyer? No thanks, I’ve heard they’re good but I’m not that into grind. HEY WAIT THIS ISN’T GRIND.
One guitar, one drumset, and a very talented lyricist. I’m embarrassed to have so quickly dismissed them in the past. This record kills from start to finish with flurried blasts and grooved out glory.

4. Black Dahlia Murder – Nocturnal

Zach Gibson / Drums: Hey guys, I’m like the only good member of this band and the only reason Miasma was any good was because of my drum performance eff you to the max I’m out of here.
Black Dahlia Murder: Hey cool man, you were sloppy live and did nothing but complain the entire time anyway. Oh apparently you’re an arrogant prick too. No worries though as we’ve since replaced you with Tony Laureano, oh wait, we mean Kevin Talley, nope, make that Pierre Langlois, haaaang on, no here we go, Yo Shannon Lucas, why don’t you leave All that Remains and come help us destroy the rest of the modern American Thrash scene on our new record.
Shannon Lucas: Sounds good.
You ever heard a heavy metal waltz? Track 2.
1 – 2 – 3, 1 – 2 – 3-, puh – nih – shing.

5. Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog

Finally an album to counter that weird uncle of yours and his fondness for ‘world music’. Guess what, Paul Simon’s Graceland came out a looong time ago and those Putumayo Kenyan Jambalaya collections aren’t going to add the flavour to your collection you seem to so desperately desire. Nice multi-coloured vest by the way. Dear Sam Beam, thank you so much for evolving in a way that came as a complete surprise yet seemed to make a shocking amount of sense at the same time. The melodies and terrifyingly strong and the instrumentation is awesome. Also, the cut on there about the Buzzard smothered my face with a smile instantly.

6. Between the Buried and Me – Colors

Haha yeah we were just kidding when we released that completely unnecessary tribute record ‘The Anatomy of’ last year. I mean, we couldn’t have made it any less interesting if we’d tried, considering every song pretty much sounded exactly like the original with the exception of good vocals. BUT YAY have fun with Colors because we’re still crazy nerds who will throw in Vaudevillian and Country & Western sections into 11+ minute metal / prog blends freshly pureed for you to probably not completely appreciate.

7. Radiohead – In Rainbows

There was a time oh so many years ago when I lived and breathed Radiohead. You know, back in the mid 90’s when I actually bought cd’s. How interesting is it that now, over 10 years later I actually got this record legally but still didn’t pay anything for it. Sure, a generous move by the band but it wouldn’t have been possible if myself and a few other million people hadn’t shelled out for their previous releases. The ‘pay what you want’ thing was kind of like having a friend win the lottery and offer to take you out to dinner while giving you the option of covering the tip. The real thrill of this record was its announcement roughly 10 days before the release. I gave up on them after Kid A when Metal got all possessive, asking me tediously jealous questions about who else I had been hanging out with and why my clothes didn’t smell of greasy hair and ‘someone else’s Right Guard’. I’m not the devoted fan I once was but the song ‘All I need’ is almost enough for In Rainbows to make this list alone.

8. Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971

Oh hi, I’m Neil Young and I’m on stage at Massey hall. I released After the Gold Rush last year and will be releasing Harvest next year. I’m currently 26 years old. Guess what, that pretty much makes me more talented than you’ll ever be at anything in your entire life. "This next one isn’t quite finished yet, it’s called ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’". Yeesh.

Honourable mentions

Coliseum – No Salvation
I can’t justifiably include this record in the numbered portion of this list because I don’t actually own it yet. I am including it simply because after seeing them live at Sneaky Dee’s this summer I fully expect this album to be a monster. The singer and sole guitar player had four Marshall cabinets on stage and the drummer was absolutely amazing. The songs ripped in their hardcore / metal way and it was great in every way possible. They also have the coolest merch designs this side of Missoura.

Meshuggah – Chaosphere

This record was released in 1998 but since no band has topped the battering turbine of clattery caustics that is Chaosphere it will remain on any top list I compose out of spite and obnoxiousness.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Post Organic

They released my favourite record of last year and
I've mentioned them several times.
Their bus crashed a few days ago while on tour in Russia severly injuring Covan (vocals) and Vitek (drums). Vitek passed away this morning.
He was remarkably talented and only 23 years old but despite his age and the ages of his bandmates, they, and he were already veterans of the scene. He was a young adult in death and they were a band of near children when they released their savage debut, Wings of Creation, in 2000.

One more time for Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


They’re back, which more importantly means he’s back. “He” of course being Dirk Verbeuren, or more popularly known around my headphones as Le French Fury.
The “they’re” also implies that a new Soilwork record is soon to be released. The entire record is currently streaming on their myspace, and based on my quick and unfair scan they seem to be continuing on into their happy-mid-tempo’d and keyboard smothered nice scream sundaes. If that sort of thing doesn’t sound appealing to you, and if you weren’t a huge fan of Stabbing the Drama (I was) you’ll probably just continue ignoring them in disappointment that they’re not just recycling Chainheart Machine. Whether or not you’re interested I would still recommend at least listening to The Pittsburgh Syndrome which is the apparent equivalent to STD’s Blind Eye Halo and Stalemate. In other words, the fast one, or, drum party yay.
If you follow these guys at all you may remember a studio video of Dirk once again proving why he’s one of the cleanest, fastest, and grooviest drummers in the biz. Turns out that that video was for this Pittsburgh song and it was a welcome change to actually hear the music behind the mashing (and the kicks for that matter). I’ve included that video below and if you’re as (pick your adjective) as me you can actually attempt to sync the video with the song. Think of it as a game. I did it, not as a game though, for seriousness. But then again, I’m super cool.
The video only lasts until midway through the lead which is a shame because the end of the song has a few arm storms. His right hand is typically frightening lightning fast and equally irate with his hi-hat and if you listen to the album version of the track you'll get to hear how impressive his feet are during the verse section. The beauty in Dirk’s playing is his subtlety and how flurried moments can slip by without a listener picking up on them. The songs aren’t showcases for his abilities but if you’re specifically listening for it you can’t help but be blown away. As far as I’m concerned he has some of the best feel and smoothest playing ever recorded.
Highlights (album version):

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Some really unimportant things to mention are that Jori decided to leave the band after 7 years and 3 albums. This is a shame as shortly before that Jarkko also decided that he would no longer perform live with the band. Apparently things will be ok though as Karri and Tomy have been brought in to round out the lineup. Sadly though, after all that, Joona has also since decided to leave. I’m sure all of this is devastating news to someone but that someone is probably not you. What is important is that while Mors Principium Est doesn’t seem to have the ability to keep a steady lineup (or actually play live shows) they did release one of my favourite metal releases this year. Also, if you’re not from Finland, you may find Finnish names funny…feriously.

I’ve written about this band before but felt that seeing how I’m so inconsistent and pathetically lazy in finding things to post about I might as well just cover them again. To choose them isn’t a random decision though because as I said, their new release (Liberation = Termination) just kills.

The songs are still fluffed up with keyboards and the odd techno beat but I’ll gladly suck that up and trade it off for the absolute shred fest that comes with it. To be honest, after three albums from these guys I’ve come to accept the keyboards for their ability to set up tremendously heavy sections. There’s even a tune called Animal Within that opens with a straight up Honda Civic ready thumper and upon first listen I almost unknowingly threw on a pair of snakeskin pointed cockroach killers and puked in my hat but the guitar lead that Jarkko unleashes completely makes up for it. It’s peel-out fast and seemingly never-ending. This is most likely the reason he’s decided to stay with the group but not play live. One can only imagine that attempting to perform that solo on a nightly basis would likely result in death. Or severely cramped fingers.

As compared to the previous two albums the vocals are finally pushed up and thankfully uncompromised. The leads have also finally been turned up a bit as well which rules because these guys are some of the best as far as execution and composition goes.

There are two songs (The Opressed will Rise & Sinners Defeat) from the new record on their Myspace that are great examples of what these guys are all about.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Ah, it’s good to be back. I’ve been itching to post for months but web access is non-existent when you’re rescuing endangered plants from the Mariana Trench. Oh of course I’m kidding. Who the hell would want to rescue anything?

Well I’m back from my hiatus of doing what I normally do in my day to day existence just minus my previous inconsistent postings, but I’ve been listening to something lately that I’m actually legitimately shocked I’m promoting.
I always build up to some lame reveal don’t I? Not like you couldn’t have figured it out by the picture anyways.

Pig Destroyer. Grindcore. What the hell am I doing listening to grindcore. The genre is alright but I never listen to it. Mostly because I can’t stand listening to it. Incessant blast beats, guitars that sound like they were amplified with laundry baskets and belch bucket vocals aren’t typically my thing but this record is really cool. You’ll have to go to their myspace if you really care to hear anything but it’s worth it. Also, don’t be fooled by the length of the two new tunes up there. For the most part the standard length on the record is, you know, a minute. What they’ve done to set themselves apart though is thankfully mix in solid double-kick grooves and what sound to my ears like some actual old-school riffage. The vocals are pretty ferocious too.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Whale Riffer

It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing for this site. I really do. I think the problem is that my enjoyment doesn’t necessarily reveal itself until I’m about halfway through a new post. I suppose I’ve also been having inspiration issues lately, pretty lame. Thus is the cycle of metal. I mean, I can’t keep writing about the same bands over and over and it’s pretty rare that a new one comes along that I feel the need to devote enough time to educating myself about to the point where I feel comfortable posting about them. I guess there’s nothing stopping me from posting daily stuff about current stories but there are enough sites devoted to that so it would seem kind of cheap.

What am I trying to say exactly?

I don’t know man, that you’re lazy?

Sure, probably. I’m not going to say that it’s hard but…

…but, just finish the post.

Fine. Remember my top 10?


Gojira, the French band. Remember them?

Yeah, From Mars to Sirius. Seriously, how awesome is that record.

Ridiculously awesome. Honestly, some of the best production I’ve ever heard. The drums are so huge and solid.

I know, and the vocals? Talk about a delivery. I mean, you notice when good vocals are good or the opposite, when you just can’t get into something, but this guy…

…unreal, so much conviction. Would have liked to have seen him record them, pretty amazing that he was able to put himself in that headspace in a vocal booth. It sounds like he wanted to eat the wood from the walls.

It’s conscious too which is refreshing. I guess if you think about it it wouldn’t be that hard to draw that much aggression from environmental subject matter. And let’s be honest, whales make for some heavy duty imagery.

That sounds dumb, I know what you mean though.


It’s also pretty cool that they pretty much cornered the market on that pick scrape across the strings thing. You know, when you rake your pick from the high E to the low E? Close to the bridge? SCREEEAAAAW.

Yeah, it’s wicked. Zakk Wylde does that thing too but these guys actually incorporate it into the riffage, it’s not just some trick, it’s really in there and part of the song.

Oh man, I know. Like that section 2 minutes into the tune “The Heaviest Matter in the Universe”? Where the riff falls into that bulldozer grind? And your ears keep getting tweaked by that, that SCREEEAAAW.

It rules.


It’s funny too because since this record came out other bands are starting to use it more and when I hear it I just think, ‘man, they’re ripping off Gojira, from a record that’s less than 2 years old’. Talk about getting something right.

Yeah, like Chimaira.

Definitely, I mean, you know I think that last Chimaira record was pretty cool but that new song they have? Resurrection? They go into a big slow riff at the end and bring in what to me is already known as the Gojira scrape. It’s like, c’mon guys, people know.

You speak the truth.

Yes I do. I’m going to watch that live Gojira video of ‘The Heaviest Matter in the Universe’ now.

Good idea.