Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grab Bag of Justice: Righteous Jams of the Last Few Weeks

Before I get started, I'd like to apologize to the six people that read my blog for the the long gap between posts. It's been a busy few weeks (read: I'm lazy), but now I'm back, baby! As such, I'd thought I'd give you a sample of the best stuff I've heard in the last four weeks. Hope you find something you like!

1. Seventh Circle - S/T

2014 is shaping up to be an excellent year for the new wave of so-called "negative" hardcore (While I hate to promote creating even more sub-genre classifications, the recent popularity of this style of music seems to warrant its own name, and "negative" or "dark" hardcore seems a poor descriptor); Baptists will be returning to God City to record their second full length, both Homewrecker and Trap Them will be dropping new LPs sometime this year, and fresh new talent Seventh Circle pop up out of nowhere (nowhere = Belgium)  to crush skulls and eat waffles (they are currently out of waffles).

Like the bands listed above, Seventh Circle successfully blend unbridled fury and technical prowess in such a manner as to  keep the listener in the "Fuck You, Punch Something" red zone without flying off the rails or becoming repetitive. I was also impressed by the recording quality seeing as the band recorded, mixed, and mastered the album themselves. If you dug NAILS' "Abandon All Life", you will dig this.

Check out an interview with the band and full stream of the album HERE

2. Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No

This is straight up the wackiest shit I have heard in quite some time. It is hard  to provide accurate comparison acts, but if Dillinger Escape Plan and Protest the Hero had sex, and Mike Patton from Mr. Bungle watched, that would be pretty awkward/sexy. But just think of the soundtrack!

The musicianship these weirdo Italian prog-wizards put on display is amazing and, at times, almost beyond belief (especially the drums). But despite the musical master class, nothing feels noodily or masturbatory, meaning the songs fee like actual songs and not simply separate chunks of "Look what I can do!" time. Also remarkable is how Destrage are able to successfully incorporate a number of elements (electronics) and stylistic choices (there are some chorus sections that are unabashedly Nu-Metal in composition) that would normally be a massive turn-off. This is clearly music created by passionate people who are very serious about having as much  fun as fucking possible. This may not be for everyone, but you'll be hard pressed to find another record coming out this year that sounds anything like it.

The only video currently available is for the track "Purania" and while it is certainly a fun song, I think it's a poor representation of the full-on crazy-pants-ness of the rest of the record.

3. Ringworm - Hammer of The Witch

Along with fellow Cleavanders Integrity, Ringworm are considered the progenitors of the Metallic Hardcore subgenre, and arguable remain one of its strongest acts. Formed in 1991, Ringworm have toured relentlessly over their long career and released a vast amount of great material. Their influence is present on pretty much every Victory Records album released between 1997 and 2006 (commonly referred to as "The Less-Shitty Victory Years) and almost the entire Bridge Nine catalogue.

Their first full length as members of Relapse Records, Hammer of The Witch is Ringworm at their best - tight as testicles in cold weather and heavy as my heart at the end of Bridget Jones' Diary 2.  Check out the title track below:

4. Conquering Dystopia - S/T 

The term "Super Group" tends to get overused; the moniker used to denote bands comprised entirely of  top-shelf, well recognized talent, but seems to now be used to describe any collaborative effort that involves more than two people who simply play in other bands. In this particular case, there is no questioning Conquering Dystopia's pedigree; guitar work is handled by virtuosos Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) and Keith Merrow, Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster dishes up the low end, and  manning the drums is The Faceless percussionist and relative youngster Alex Rudinger.

Even if it's chock-full of expert shredding, most instrumental tech-death metal releases tend to lose me half-way through as the songs begin to blend together and morph into one extended sweep picking arppegio-fest. By using a far wider range of dynamics, tempo, and song styles ranging from super aggro tech-death to what are essentially power ballads, Conquering Dystopia have created a very complete and satisfying record. Sure, it's a wank-fest, but it's a great sounding wank-fest.

Stream and purchase the entire album HERE

5. Larry David - Grind Your Enthusiasm

What can you really say about a grindcore band dedicated to all things "Curb Your Enthusiasm"? Doesn't it sell itself? Actually, what stands out here is that beyond the hilarious gimmick, Larry David are a fucking top notch grind act and Grind Your Enthusiasm  would be an excellent record start-to-finish even if it didn't include all of the hilarious Curb Your Enthusiasm quotes. Sadly, this band no longer exists and this is their only full length recording.

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, you're probably Larry David.

Alright, that's it for now folks! Remember to start saving now; Record Store Day 2014 is only about a month away!

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