Saturday, 27 February 2016

The earth wants us dead

February has been very successful for me, when it comes to music. Finding bands that don't suck takes a lot of time and effort and is pretty damn hard. Although I do not believe in any divine intervention, magic or faith, I must say, that to discover something really good, you have to be very lucky, and the planets have to be aligned in some exact magical formation - luckily discovering music nowadays is much easier than it was 10 years ago, and I have to thank Bandcamp for that. 

Anyhow, besides accidentally finding Swedish sludge masterminds "Suma" (see my post on these guys here), I came across a band from New Haven, Connecticut, USA that go by the name of "Sea of Bones". The band have released 1 EP and 2 full length albums - "Grave of the mammoth", "The Harvest" and "The Earth Wants Us Dead". All of these releases deserve to be noticed, but one of them stands out the most for me, as it quite possibly could be one of the best things I've ever heard. "The Earth Wants Us Dead" is an album, that is worthy to be placed next to the mighty "Given to the rising" by "Neurosis" in your music collection. Muddy fuzz tones and some of the largest guitar and bass riffs of this century, since the heaviest band on the planet - "Buried at sea" released "Migration", are accompanied with primal drumming that of a fashion of "Neurosis", and all of this is wrapped into a neat package of psychedelic soundscapes.

The album starts aggressively and keeps pounding you like a three dollar hooker up until the track #3. On the track #4 things start changing, and the music begins to get more atmospheric and less crushing. Track #5 - "The Bridge" is the culmination of the whole story told by this admirable album and is also my favorite song on the record. That said, it can not be taken out from the context and listened to on its own, because all of the songs building to this track MATTER. After the musical climax, that "The Bridge" has delivered, an almost ambient final reveal track takes you on a 39 minute long psychedelic relaxation journey. Once the track finished playing, I felt complete and maybe even at peace.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Primal screams and legalization of murder


There is one thing, that makes me hate myself, for not being as strong as I would like to be. Having the best lifts of 180kg raw squat, 122,5kg raw bench and 200kg raw deadlift @ 93 kg drug-free, I consider myself being a "flap-dick" and not being worthy of training with the real men in a powerlifting facility. Real men squat and pull over 250 kg, bench over 160 kg raw and overhead press over 120 kg. In my defense, I have not tested my real one rep maxes for quite a while now, but as my 5 rep maxes and 3 rep maxes have increased, I could be entering the dreaded "half-flap-dick" or "one-third-of-a-flap-dick" zone.    

As a part of my self-inflicted exile, I am being forced to train in a commercial gym. Commercial gyms mean bad music, sneaking in chalk and dealing with people of all different sizes, shapes and intellectual maturity levels. Usually the concentration of gym goers vulgaris per square meter peak and reach the critical mass during the first few months of the year. BUT they are necessary evil because, if it weren't for them, the gym I go to would probably cease to exist altogether. NEVERTHELESS it doesn't make these people less unbearable.

Here is my top 6 list of mysterious acts these limp dick, pencil necked, scrawny legged bastards commit on a daily basis:

      6. Arrange meetings in the stretching and warm-up zone. I must say, that it feels kinda bizarre stretching your lower back and having dudes standing all around you - it does remind me of a porn movie setting in a way.

      5. Practice dangerous martial arts in narrow spaces. I mean, do you really have to do your shinobi warrior moves while I'm passing by? Do you? Really?  

      4. Give me an advice / ask me for an advice. This is plain and simple. To give or receive an advice, you have to fucking matter.

      3. Check out their biceps in the mirror after each set they have done. Yes dumbfuck, you just went from having a 20 cm arm to having a 50 cm arm with just one set of a revolutionary and unnameable variation of a curl you did!
   
      2. Grunt and growl during a set...of biceps curls. Ok, I get it! You think that if you are wearing a gold's gym tank top, sweatpants to hide your puny chicken legs and have a shaker cup with your fancy branched chain amino acids, you are automagically a hardcore, world class bodybuilder, that of a level of Dorian Yates or Frank McGrath, and it is somehow acceptable for you to grunt. "Grunt" rhymes the best with "cunt". And "cunt" rhymes the best with "Bronson". 


      1. Do biceps curls/barbell rows/shrugs in the power-rack. This one is an absolute mind bender. Usually when you ask these apes with a human appearance, how many sets they have got left, and tell them you would like to use a squat rack to squat, they don't even seem to understand, that there might just be a slight problem with what they are doing. So to clear the air of any uncertainty - the power racks and squat racks are constructed to help an athlete to unrack a heavy barbell from a predetermined height and guarantee athlete's safety while he or she performs an exercise. I don't know how about you, but I would personally not place the barbell bicep curl in the category of exercises, that should be done in the rack, where one must pick the bar up from the safety pins. Same goes for any type of barbell rows and shrugs. Seriously, it is not as difficult as it may seem:

  • you take the barbell, 
  • you place it on the ground, 
  • you load it with the desired amount of plates,
  • before each set, you pick it up and get into a position to perform the desired exercise.
  • you do the exercise,
  • you place the bar back on the ground.

When CURLING, use the fucking ground instead of the squat rack, you egocentric ASSHOLE, and let people SQUAT!

Sometimes I wonder, what would the world look like, if murdering a person with an IQ score below 100 would be free of any criminal charges...

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Upcoming album by Polacks "Sunnata"

In case if you didn't know, "Sunnata" has announced the upcoming release of their second full length album "Zorya". It will see the light of this fucked up world on April 11, 2016 and it is available for the pre-order on their bandcamp page.

Here is the title track from their upcoming album, which I must say is rock solid, has interesting twists to it and some vague "Yob" influences. 



But let us not be too hasty with the pre-ordering, because we all know, what we can possibly get, when we pre-order stuff...



Meanwhile, if you want to support the band, and not get a dick in a mouth, listen and buy their previous work - "Climbing the colossus". If it is your first time hearing about it, then you have missed out one of the truly great records that Poland has given to the world. It has it all - DIY production, the walls of heavy ass fuzz, not your every day doom riffs, weirdly processed vocals and epic atmospheres. And by "epic", I assure you that I don't mean that fucked up shit slang kids use nowadays. You know, along the lines of "SHwag" and other pointless crap. By "EPIC" I mean a word with a "War of Titans" ring to it, a mammoth of a record, destroyer of the colossus, slayer of the gods... you get the idea.



Swedish sludge/doom/psychedelia gods




If you are one of those unlucky bastards like me, then you probably have never heard of a gang of masterminds called "SUMA" before. I've found out about these Swedish sludge/doom/psychedelia GODS only in the end of the previous week, when I came accross the digital bandcamp collection of a fan that goes by the moniker of "thegreatnausea". Check out his tumblr page as well - the guy apparently is a music journalist and has a pretty decent taste when it comes to music.

The band is very versatile in its sound. If you will listen to all of their releases in the chronological order, you will actually hear, that they are constantly evolving, trying to break the barriers of the sub-genres, experimenting with their sound and tones as well as with their soundscapes and vocals. A few things that stay consistent from record to record, is that most of their songs have the ability to take you into a trance like state and all of their full lengths, splits and EP's have muffled, a bit of a lo-fi production quality of a demo tape, which makes the records sound eargasmic* to me. As for the reference of the production quality, think of "EYEHATEGOD's" "Take as needed from pain" and "Electric Wizard's" "Dopethrone".

This band has a substantial amount of releases, so let me at least cover the full lengths.


Self titled


Unlike their sludgy works in their earlier splits, this record traverses more into stoner doom and even desert territory. It is filled with superb riffs, mind-blowing psychedelic guitar solos, which are just all over the place, "Kyuss" like deserty (I'm pretty sure that is not even a word, but who cares) vibes and outstanding "Sasquatch" like vocals. "Pale rider" is definitely something you would listen to while riding your Harley across the desert. A bad-ass recording.


Let the churches burn 


A much more refined, a lot sludgier and doomier version of their previous endeavour. "Electric Wizard" and "EYEHATEGOD" influences can be heard, but these guys take it to an absolutely new level. If sky is the limit, then this album is on the surface of the Moon!


Ashes


The band have returned to their heavier roots and they sound a lot like what can be heard on their earlier splits, but the drum work is much scarcer, primal and a lot more powerful. Soundscapes are way more atmospheric, and, I swear to gods, when you listen to it, you have no idea, how many people are in this band - it is layered with such a precision, that the noise they make and the raw power output is absolutely ridiculous!

This LP goes straight to my hall of fame of records. If it is too slow and heavy for you, you are probably too young!


Other splits and EP's


I didn't have the chance to get a hold of their demo cd, so I have no opinion about it other than you should definitely check it out!

Try getting a hold of their compilation of splits and EP's called "You're such a disappointment" - it is very good, but too bad it is sold out. 

For some reason bandcamp page of "Tartarus Records" is currently offline, so here is the youtube link instead:


Previously this compilation was located here.

Although all the splits are sold out, you can still buy a few of the digital versions of the splits here:


Now go and buy their music, merch, visit their shows and support these extraordinary men!


* For those of you who are a bit on the slower side of understanding spectrum, let me explain - it is when you experience an orgasm as the result of phenomenal music penetrating the g-spot in your ear canal just next to your eardrum. It is also scientifically proven and anatomically correct!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Leukemia and some honorable Latvian band mentions

It is needless to say that the alternative music... hell...all the music scene in Latvia is an absolute disaster. Although the country has been independent for more than 25 years now, many years of the Soviet occupation and the Iron Curtain have taken it's toll on the older generation of metalheads. The newer generation probably wants to follow their popular idols in modern "extreme", "-core" and "brOOOtal" metal, which is not a bad thing in itself if the songs they put out into the world would not be just a pathetic recreation of what they've heard from the bands they were influenced by. That said the ones that try to be more or less artistic and creative could either do better job at it or are poorly recognized by the community. I tend to think of my band as the latter.

Last friday I went to the alternative.lv yearly music awards. My band wasn't nominated in the final, but as me and the drummer have some friends in that circle, and both of us are terribly out of touch with what is happening in a bit more popular music scene in Latvia, we went anyways to at least drink some beer and catch up with folks. Besides I was fucking pissed that the band "Darrva" was nominated for the award  "best music video of the year". Thank the gods that they did not get it as it would have been a disgrace to all of us. If you haven't seen this pathetic recreation of "Behemoth", here you go:


There might even be a slight chance of Adam "Nergal" Darski getting leukemia again, if he would see and hear this atrocity.
I don't know about you, but I have an unexplainable urge to punch the vocalist in the throat and make him choke to death.

The main event of the evening for me was that the band "Tesa" won the award "album of the year" with their latest release "GHOST" thus restoring my faith in Latvian nation. The album, in my own honest peasant opinion, is their magnum opus - both musically and production-wise. These guys are veterans and icons of the genre here, and along with "Solaris" were the gateway bands to "Neurosis" and "Isis" for me in my early youth. If you haven't heard them, you are ought to do so.



Other than that I thought this might be the right time and place to present you with some of the most honorable releases in Latvian music scene for the past ten or so years...again this is only my exclusive opinion.

Solaris - The truth can only be learned by marching forward

I remembered the first time I got a hold of their 3rd album "Portraits Noires" when I was a youngster...damn, it was THE shit!

Still consider them being one of the best things that Latvia had to offer the world in post/sludge genre. And this particular album was the most mature of them all when it came to the song-writting and structure.




Omerta - Crown of seven

One of the best live bands in Riga to this date.



Pink Elephant - Mellowing

I was introduced to this band by my band's guitar player. I did try to fight listening to them at first to be honest... but, oh gods, never have I been so wrong in my life - THIS IS FANTASTIC!
Have been hooked on them ever since.


The Big Bluff - Self titled

A bluesy rock band worth every cent you pay them.

Besides they had one of the most bizarre live performances I've seen by far.



Burned in blizzard - Riddle of perception

This one song is worth your time and money. The main riff is a killer, I'm getting chills every time I hear it. Maybe I'm just saying this because I was a long time Pantera fanboy, but who knows. 
The rest is a total mehfest of  "Trivium" like vocals and guitars - I mean, why? JUST WHY?


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Ex Helvete/An elephant in the porcelain store/Return trip

I've been to Oslo, Norway countless times - actually even more than I would like to. To say that I feel like at home here would be an exaggeration, but it definitely feels like at my best friend's house. This time was a bit different as I wanted to buy a souvenir/present for a person that I hold very dear to me, and let's be honest, noone gives a flying fuck about souvenirs you get from simple souvenir shops. Since this person was influenced by black metal quite a bit, I've decided to buy something small yet cool and related to the particular genre of music. So I did, what anyone would do in my place - I googled "black metal museum in Oslo". 

It turned out that the old record store "Helvete" which was found and owned by Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth is still open for business, but it had been renamed to "Neseblod Records". On their facebook page they had a picture of candles shaped in the form of the arsoned Fantoft stave church. I knew immediately that is the thing I'm looking for.

Long story short I headed to Schweigaards gate 56 where "Hell" is located and which turned out to be a few (...more like six or seven) blocks away from the hotel I'm usually staying in. As I was getting closer the "nicer" western part of the city started to slowly fade into the "not so nice" eastern part and I started to feel more at home because it reminded me of Riga's centre - the houses were much older, spraypainted, a bit dirty and the roads here are much narrower than in the other parts of the city.

Approaching the designated address I saw a wooden glass door that was covered in stickers. I mean so much, that I wasn't able to see pass the glass. Once I opened the door the Electric Wizard's song "Incense of the Damned" from their latest record "Time to Die" was blasting through the speakers...it felt gooood. The place itself was so minuscule yet it was packed with music related goods beyond what I've seen so far. Cd's, vinyls, casettes, t-shirts, merch, you name it. I mean it is so packed that you have to leave your bag at the counter, not to mention that two people meeting in a doorway packed with cd's is a recipe for a disaster.
The walls here are decorated with relics from the early 90's including band member worn t-shirts, jackets, guitar pedals, rare demo tapes etc. I was already impressed by how atmospheric this seemingly little place was. But the best thing was to follow. The shop attendant let us - me and two other guys that have traveled all the way from Vienna, Austria, into the the basement of "Helvete". It had an interesting vibe to it, but to be honest I've expected something a bit more from the place, although it was an amazing experience altogether. It is definitely recommended if you are ever to be in Oslo and if you are into metal not regarding the sub-genre. 




Soon after my little tour, I had acquired  the "Kirkebrann" candle and thus had completed my quest of finding a fitting present. 





Also I had been presented with an opportunity of buying one of my all time favorite albums by the mighty band "Electric Wizard" - a double vinyl of 1997 "Come my fanatics" (released in 2006 by "Rise Above Records"). I could care less, what other people have to say about this not being the best album Wizard has put out. I find this record to be the gold standard of what "Electric Wizard" stands for.






Judge it for yourself.



My all time top 13 records...so far

That's right top 13. Why? Because I didn't want to be stereotypical and give you an all time top 5, top 10 or top 20. Besides I was a bit frustrated by having to leave out a few of the finest records I've stumbled across just because the enumeration of music albums or any other things apparently is done in fives these days.

The reason, why I'm starting my blog with a cliché of top albums, is simply because I didn't know where to start.

So here is the list itself and as you can see it is in no particular order:
  • Neurosis - Given To The Rising or Through Silver In Blood (it is a really tough choice here)
  • Electric Wizard - Come my fanatics
  • Votnut - Self titled
  • Eagle twin - The feather tipped the serpent's scale
  • Buried at sea - Migration
  • Yob - Atma
  • Menace Ruine - The Die is Cast
  • Sea Witch - So below (demo II)
  • Om - Pilgrimage
  • Dragged Into Sunlight - Widowmaker
  • Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions 
  • dEFDUMp - The Sparkle Has Become A Flame
  • Wardruna - Gap var ginnunga