Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Victims--...in Blood

So I haven't been posting for the last week or so.  Doing this "job" is difficult enough when you consider the pay scale being $0 a year and how difficult it can be to think of things to say about penises and buttholes when you'd really rather be showering so that your wife will stop complaining.  Just because I spend all my time in front of my computer writing pointless screeds to people I'll never meet doesn't mean I don't understand the importance of personal hygiene.  I know why it's good to shower and shave from time to time; it's just that those times are, for me, few and far between.  And once you get used to the tangy zip of my body odor, it's like it's not even there.  Constantly swatting the fruit flies that follow me around, of course, is a completely different story.

Stuffing your pockets with old, moldy apricots is an ancient Babylonian way of staving off showering.

So I spent my "well-deserved" week or so off enjoying the finer things in life, like standing on a hill above the freeway hitting baseballs into traffic and headbutting raw meat after slamming two pints of whiskey in the back of a burning bus.  You know, fun stuff.  Actually, I spent most of the week playing the new Mortal Kombat on XBox 360.  It's very satisfying and time-consuming to keep pulling dudes' heads off after pummeling them with fireballs and flying kicks, and when I throw in the first complete disc of Dead Space 2 into the mix, it becomes clear that I was sitting in a darkened room dismembering fake things for an entire week.  "Take that, Mom; take THAT, Dad!  SEND ME TO A PSYCHIATRIST, WILL YOU?!?"

Like a boss.  A giant, sweaty nerd boss.

Actually, this morning I was pulled away from my nutritious and balanced breakfast by my wife, who alerted me that the tire on our only horseless carriage had gone flat.  I immediately slid my delicious Honey Bunches of Oats aside (I need the fiber) and manhandled the changing of a tire on my own automobile.  As it turns out, I have a Man Card, but the pinnacle of my manhood hinges on changing a tire on a car twice (the first time was a long time ago) and once catching a giant beetle that my wife was convinced was stuck in her hair (it was on the floor in a different room).

Again, like a boss.

So that's why I didn't post this review this morning, because I was getting my third hole punched on my Man Card by doing something that everybody is supposed to know how to do anyway.  But because I feel so buff and manly, I decided that I wanted to talk about something totally manly, namely my new favorite crust band Victims.

Victims fall in the Dis-suffix style of D-boner wankery, with a more firm lean toward punk rock than metal.  In fact, my iTunes is labeling my Victims albums as "punk," "hardcore," and "129," all of which I can get behind after having listened to them.  Except that "129" thing.  I don't know what that's trying to tell me, and instead of Googling it to see if it's actually a thing, I'm going to speculate that it is and assume that it's some sort of specific genre that I'm not cool enough to know about because I own a car and don't have filthy white dude dreadlocks.  But whatever "129" is trying to tell me, it's probably linked to the fact that Victims totally rules and makes me super happy.  ...in Blood is a whirling D-boner tornado with magnificently crunchy vokillz and those Brian Izzi-style string bends that substitute for guitar solos.  And they keep the punk rock cred rolling with a 7 Seconds-style of run time, with the longest song (by kind of a long shot, too) clocking in at a robust 3:02.

Man that takes me back to high school....

Anyway, I don't have the slightest idea how something like this was able to skirt my music sensors for as long as it did, especially considering my predilection for all things "whirling D-boner tornado," and how open I am about it.  It seems odd to me, as if I inadvertently found some kind of diamond in the rough; however, since this is the Interhole, I imagine there's a legion of fellows cracking their knuckles behind their keyboards in preparation for calling me a n00b faggot and accusing me of being a poser.  Maybe I am, sir, but I'm no n00b.  I've been posing in the hardcore scene back when America Online came on a disc and you paid by the hour for Interhole access, which came at the expense of being able to receive telephone calls on your LANDLINE TELEPHONE.

Also, there were dinosaurs.  And if you're reading this, it's increasingly likely you have no idea what I'm talking about.  But dinosaurs were giant land lizards that ate people and starred in feature films with Jeff Goldblum.  They were like dogs that would eat flesh or step on you because you were tiny--like a bug--to them.  And AOL sucked.

In summation, if you're looking for something as satisfying and fiery as a spicy curry dump and crusty as your underwear afterwards, you should be listening to Victims.  I imagine you are already, because you're so smart and you like things that burn up your speakers like the aforementioned spicy curry dump burns your tender, tender starfish.  Check out Victims on Last.fm, or steal it for all I care.  I'm not going to tell you how to do your thing, and we all know that stealing rules.  Also, you should be hearing Killer, but they've got lots of cool stuff to listen to over there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've got nothing really to post about this week.  Well, let me amend that; I've got a bunch of stuff that I can post about but am busy playing Mortal Kombat for XBox 360 and writing grind tunes while I drink whiskey.  It's a hard knock life.  I think I'm going to take this opportunity to officially take the week off, listen to a couple of band demos and think of things to say about boners.  Check back on Monday for more fun.

Oh, fuck yeah.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where Have All the Diehards Gone?

I've been considering this for a while, and the more and more I think about it, the more and more it bothers me.  With the interbung and it's many, many treasures (i.e. easy stealing of music that isn't even out yet, news and fact gathering that makes being a metal nerd easy and fun, naked ladies, etc.), finding new music to nerd out to is fun and easy.  These days, if you don't want to ever listen to something twice, you don't have to, and it won't cost you even a red cent of your hard earned cash bucks, either.  Obscurity of a band means nothing, either; if you want to listen to them, all they have to have done is put up a recording somewhere and you can find it after you're done stroking your wang but before you pull your underwear back up, and nobody will say "Boo" to you unless your grandma is around or something.  And you really shouldn't be doing that in the living room of a shared living space anyway, bro.  It's gross.

As such, I would never dare say that there are no more metal nerds in the world; that would be ridiculous.  I myself am something of a metal nerd, and can tell you all sorts of not-very-interesting facts about obscure bands that I've never really listened to.  I'm sure that you could bombard me with the same kind of Trivial Pursuit-style knowledge and we could go back and forth until one of us finally slips up and says something about Celine Dion's twins or some shit, and then our corpsepaint would fall off and we'd have to acknowledge each other as Not So Grim That We Don't Know Anything About Regular-People Pop Culture.  But we aren't going to go there.  What I am saying, though, is that I see a very striking lack of Die Hard Fans these days.  Not fans of metal, but fans of BANDS.  Allow me to expound on this.

When I was in junior high and high school, nothing quite tickled me the way that Bad Religion did.  I loved Bad Religion, and I still do.  Most ungrim?  Perhaps, but I think my writeups about Dream Theater and my admission that I don't like Eyehategod should have tipped you off to that fact by now.  But I was a diehard Bad Religion fan.  I bought EVERYTHING that they had, and thought none of it sucked for the entire time that I was an active fan.  I even found virtue in their 1998 clunker No Substance and managed to fully ignore the shitty nature of the follow up, 2000's The New America.  I just pretended like The New America didn't exist. 

They were the best band in the world to me, and I didn't care what anybody said.

These days, though, the Interhole has taught us all to get bored with things very quickly and to be hyper critical of things that we like.  Have you ever heard the old phrase "I liked their old stuff," or "Their demo was better,"?  I'm sure that, like me, you've said those things a million times, but never before have those phrases been so beaten to death by media and the Kvlter-Than-Thou among us than today.  I hear it all the time when I talk to my br00tal br0z.  It goes like this:

Me: "Have you heard the new [band that is frightening to common folks] album?"

Bro: "Yeah.  It was really boring.  I like their older stuff, but this one just didn't stick with me.  I'm really into [more obscure band with a weird gimmick/dumb name/guitar player from a different obscure band with these qualities].  You should really hear it.  It's so good."

Me: "I like to be in the loop with obscurity.  Hit me with it."

[We listen to a recording that sounds like it was recorded by me when I was in high school, on four-track audio cassette recording rig with one room mic]

Me: "I have no idea what that was."

Bro: "It's so good.  Did you hear that riff?"

Me: "No."

And so forth.

Invariably, after about a week, my major bro has moved on to the next thing that he's into, having expended as much energy as he's capable of listening to some obscure band whose riffs you can't hear because of the Neanderthal recording.  Poor technical skills also contribute to this, but I'm on a tangent here.

What I'm really trying to ask: "Is there anybody who likes a band to such an extent that they will purchase everything by that band without having listened to it prior?"

Where have all the diehards gone?

I still fancy myself to be something of a diehard fan of certain bands that exist.  I own everything by Trap Them, most of it bought directly from Brian Izzi at their merch booth at either Emo's or Red 7 here in Austin.  I have 5 (!) CD's, legally purchased, having listened to none of them prior to purchase, and have bought 5 shirts, a sweet trucker hat, and a Seizures in Barren Praise poster that I forced all of the band members to sign.  None of their albums/EP's are boring to me, and they're all amazing in their own way.  I purchase every Intronaut album at a record store the day that they release (this started around the time of The Challenger), and it's only through sheer bad luck and poor timing on my part that I missed the last two times they came through my area.  The same goes with Protest the Hero, whose albums I buy the day they come out without listening to the leaks first because I know that I'm going to get gay all over them.

And there are a few others who are building themselves up to be this way for me, too, including Anaal Nathrakh, Black Breath, Rotten Sound, and GridLink.

What I want to know is, what kind of music are you a diehard fan of?  I am dying to know if anybody out there still has a stable of bands that every album tickles their metalbone on the underside--where it's most sensitive--every time?  I feel that there's a sore lack of that kind of fanhood these days, especially when it's popular and expected that everyone be hypercritical of everything that comes their way.

I don't mean to demean everybody and look down on the way they listen to music.  I mean, everybody but me does it wrong, that's a given and a scientifically proven fact, but I'm not saying that I'm better than you.  I mean, I am, but...

I don't know how to finish that sentence.

Somebody tell me that they have those bands still, too.  Do it in the comments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Scoop 'Em All

I scooped them.

Here's mine (posted April 28).

Here's Invisible Oranges' (Posted May 17).

Here's MTVKorea's (Posted May 17).

Though I get no mention and had nothing to do with Pat Lukens blowing up, I take solace in the fact that I scooped 'em all because I obsessively check my email and have nothing better to do.  But I still rule.

Suck it, MTVKorea.

Gloating accomplished; posting resumes tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Anaal Nathrakh--Passion

I love album preorders.  I'm one of the cavemen that still buys physical media from bands, particularly CD's, because I can play them in my car and rip them onto my iPod, and it gives me the satisfaction of not having stolen a piece of music that I really wanted and will enjoy forever, until I'm some old creeper in a sleeveless Kill the Client T-shirt and my grandchildren think that my taste in music is antiquated and gay.  "But why do you like album preorders?" you are probably asking.  "Can't you leave your stupid apartment from time to time and go to a record shop and buy something like a human might do?"  The answer is, of course, no.  The internet is a vastly superior means for obtaining everything meaningful except wardrobe, which I do exclusively at shows.  But are you looking for venison jerky, organic milk, a cell phone, and a bulk pack of off-brand irregular underwear?  Internets to the rescue!

But the slightly shorter answer to your question is that I love album preorders because labels have apparently gotten kind of haphazard with how they distribute the music.  You see, my numerous drunken emails to people who might work at various record labels were all apparently ignored.  I haven't been issued my press credentials and am forced back into the bushes to breathe heavily and write unsettling emails to my favorite bands demanding things.

But online preorders have become more slipshod in their distribution of albums.  I preorder albums without even throwing my weight around as a boner joke enthusiast and amateur writer with a dumb website, and they show up in my mailbox weeks earlier than the release date.  It's awesome.  This happened in March with my Trap Them preorder (read about Darker Handcraft here), which arrived a full fifteen days prior to the release date, allowing me plenty of time to slap my wang around while listening to it and feeling all superior to everybody else (except, of course, those who found the leak online and just stole the fucking album before I even got it).  Since I thrive on my unwarranted feelings of superiority and self-righteousness, this is a big deal.  And it just happened with Passion, Anaal Nathrakh's latest album and my new favorite thing in the world.

Like so many albums before it, I have spent much of my commute to work listening to the album, just walking around and getting a feel for it.  I listened to it while I walked to the train this past Thursday, while the rain fell in a torrential downpour that soaked me all the way to the bone despite the totally lame umbrella I had unearthed from my coat closet.  It did nothing to protect me!  But I guess that's what I get for using a Hello Kitty umbrella instead of something designed for an adult male with twenty pounds too many clinging to his stretch mark covered frame.

Also, an umbrella that would have accommodated my hangover would have been helpful.

For most people, listening to an Anaal Nathrakh album is like trying to find a suitable mate at a Star Trek convention; it doesn't sound like something they'd like to do, and as soon as it begins, they immediately regret their participation.  It's a veritable futile endeavor.  Not me, though; I'm like the loose girl at the Star Trek convention.  She looks at the ocean of horny and available men as a veritable boner buffet.  It's almost...too easy.  An Anaal Nathrakh album is my Star Trek convention.  Most people would never consider music like this listenable, but to me it's an effortless boner feast.  Without even trying, I can plug my various fleshy holes so that my daddy will finally love me.

Passion is a step forward for Anaal Nathrakh, and sees the band take new risks while retaining the monumental sound and person-being-burned-at-the-stake intensity of their previous releases.  That the band takes the sound of Constellation and pushes it to the limits is impressive, particularly considering how ridiculously extreme they were to begin with.  But songs like "Tod Huetet Uebel" reveal new range to the vokills, with V.I.T.R.I.O.L. revealing that he's capable of doing vocals that don't sound like Japanese torture movies set to music.  The grandiose clean singing is also heavily prevalent, allowing the songs a dynamic range that runs the gamut from "ridiculously loud, aggressive, and fast" to "ridiculously loud, aggressive, and fast but with clean singing."  Standout tracks like "Ashes Screaming Silence" and "Drug Fucking Abomination" showcase the signature towering tone and colossal bite that so endeared me to Constellation.

Anaal Nathrakh have opened the doors to the killbot factory once again and deliver an amazing follow-up to my favorite album of  2009, In the Constellation of the Black Widow.  I've been rocking the album multiple times a day for the last week or so, and I can tell you that it's every bit the boner feast that I've described.  It's probably pretty easy to steal, but you should be a cool dude like me and buy it.  But either way, you should just be listening to the album.  If you're looking for an album that is going to automatically make your coworkers jump to the conclusion that you eat human skin fun, or that will make a Fedex driver insist that he pray for you right there and then, Passion is probably the best place to start.  Anecdotal evidence shows that those things will automatically happen when you listen to this necro slice of awesomeness.

Check out this interview on Invisible Oranges and listen to the music at the bottom.  You'll either be really sorry or...well, you'll probably just be sorry.  Or do the natural thing and steal it.  That's what Google is for.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Since You Didn't Ask Me--Dream Theater's Battle Royale

DT, with Portnoy, a few years ago before their group colonoscopy.
Prog has been on my mind lately, and since I railed about it yesterday, I decided to go ahead and give myself a happy ending by finally weighing in about the Dream Theater drummer search and all the lame old man drama surrounding the band because nobody has ever asked me to and nobody is clamoring for my opinion on the subject.  So here it is.
My love for Dream Theater runs deep and is unflinching, even in the face of my friends calling me a homo and stuff because I have every album of theirs uploaded onto my iPod, including the live ones.  I'm a stone cold prog nerd; I just recently found out that prog is a dead scene, because I called people to stand tall with me as a geek yesterday, and all three people who were actually going to read the article read it by now.  Turns out, my dad and the two other people who read this (one of whom I know hates Dream Theater) didn't surprise me.  I wasn't expecting anybody to, though, so about this I am unsurprised.  But this lame drama shouldn't have even happened.  And I'll tell you why.
The Interbung was all atwitter when Mike Portnoy left/got kicked out of Dream Theater a couple of months ago.  I, for one, was shocked and appalled by the announcement that he would leave/be kicked out of the group, but it's not because inter-band tensions are unimaginable and surprising.  I was surprised because Portnoy at the time had been spending so much time on the road with Avenged Sevenfold, a band about whose shittyness I am outspoken.  They suck.  Like, out loud.  If you're reading this, I'm almost certain that you agree.  Since so many of Avenged Sevenfold's fans are illiterate and spend most of their time rewatching Shrek the Third over and over again, it's powerfully improbable that they would ever find this article, and if they do, they would never be able to decode the siguls and heiroglyphs that you and I recognize as letters and words.
Anyway, Portnoy wanted some time off.  He was on the road for months with Avenged Sevenfold, watching them do blow off each others half-erect penises while they wear dumb hats and stuff.  I can see where that would wear a person out.  But the rest of the dudes from Dream Theater were all like "Naw, bro.  We need to get this new record done and hit the road ourselves.  These Nissan Sentras don't pay for themselves, dude."  They gesture at their "rock mobiles," three 2004 Nissan Sentras with matching license plate frames that say "DT THUGZ LIFE" on them.  And Mike Portnoy is like "Please?" and the reply comes, "Eat a penis, Mike, you're out of the band!"
"You can't fire me!  I QUIT!" screamed Portnoy, tears welling up in his eyes.
"Get out of here before I BEAT YOU UP," shouted John Petrucci, his voice quivering with emotion.
Portnoy runs away, hands flailing about in the air, a series of powerless whimpers escaping his lips.  He runs several blocks away and collapsed behind a dumpster in a 7-11 parking lot.  The sobs overcome him; he cries for hours.  Little does he know that his former bandmates have spent their afternoon in the exact same way, weeping and embracing each other and lamenting the harsh words that were just exchanged.

Or maybe none of that happened.

Anyway, here's my beef.  Portnoy shouldn't have been spending all of his time with Avenged Sevenfold.  They can easily find some swoop-haircutted wang to leave his mother's basement and stay on the road forever.  They shouldn't have even needed Portnoy on the road, and he shouldn't have been wasting his time enabling Avenged Sevenfold to keep assaulting the nation's youth with inferior music and stupid fashion choices.  But maybe the dudes from Dream Theater should have chilled out a little bit.  I mean, that "eat a penis" remark was a little uncalled for, and the rest of the exchange seemed petty and bitter, as if the rest of Dream Theater just felt that Portnoy had misplaced his priorities in spending so long with another band, especially one whose inferior quality could be read as an affront to the prog community.

Just sayin'.

But the biggest question looms: Can Dream Theater make a good album without Portnoy behind the skins?  Most of you just said "They can't make a good album WITH Portnoy," and I understand that it's your right as an American to be wrong.  I love that your inane opinion can be shouted at your computer screen, and I respect freedom of speech even for you, the inferior human who doesn't like Dream Theater.  But shut up now; it's time for the grown ups to talk.

I would make the argument that I have no idea what Portnoy usually does in the studio, but I can say with near certainty that he doesn't write very many guitar riffs or keyboard solos, and I would also argue that if he's such a big potato at arranging and it hasn't rubbed off on the rest of the band, they need to just call it quits in general.  I mean, after 20+ years in a band, if only one member has any idea how to construct a song, they should maybe look into furthering their education at the community college with all the other dum-dums and ne'er-do-wells who didn't take a hard run at high school.  They need to get their brains working again.

Dream Theater's new drummer is Mike Mangini, a very talented and accomplished drummer who has done a ton of amazing things, none of which I have ever heard or even remotely care about.  His discography is packed with recordings that I'll never, ever listen to with notable artists that none of us have even the most superficial interest in.  It'll be...fine, I guess?  The band will be totally fine, and Mike Portnoy will eventually rejoin the band and things will go back to normal for me, with Dream Theater singing songs about somebody's dead dad being his best friend and stuff.  Totally awesome.

Time will certainly tell with Dream Theater's new album that's in the works.  It's impossible to say what they'll do other than put out another release that sounds exactly like they've always sounded.  But on the flipside, we all know that bands shit the bed all the time, often without even losing any members, so we'll have to wait with bated breath and puffy shirts tucked into leather pants to see if any bed shitting occurs. 

Since you didn't ask and don't care.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prog and You

Posting lately has been pretty sporadic, and I understand that many of you are impatient.  "Entertain me with your inane opinions and ridiculous analogies!" you say, arms crossed in front of your most br00tal shirt, stinky beard hanging disdainfully in front of you.  I know, bro.  I know.  But the thing is that my wife and I have been playing Portal 2 and I've been writing music for my grind project, which hasn't left me a lot of room for writing.  Also, I haven't really had anything new or interesting to listen to lately; I was picturing, when I started this crappy blog of mine, that I would be flooded with requests to write up peoples' bands.  "Check out my band.  We r like meshuga crosed with Red cord lol," they would say.  And then I wouldn't constantly be having to examine my iPod and CD collection for stuff to frantically write about.

But that obviously isn't going to happen, so I'd like to talk about something near and dear to me.  Prog metal.

I have lots of crusty friends.  They wear Saint Vitus and Eyehategod and Despise You shirts; some of them have stupid cutoff shorts, which they wear with boat shoes while simultaneously (and ironically) decrying hipsters (I'm looking at you, 8===D).  They don't like prog.  In fact, prog metal is like their kryptonite.  They scatter at the mere mention of it, frantically stuffing leaves and twigs into their ears to thwart the ingress of any and all music that could be associated with James Labrie.

I don't get it.

I, on the other hand, was reared on prog.  I got into metal with almost the sole basis of finding music with the most badass guitar playing available.  The obvious first steps for sick, pointless shredding is into Power Metal and Prog, where wank is the gold standard and the measure of a band can be directly correlated to the steady stream of note-diarrhea that is ejected from the strings of their guitars and the electronic strings of their keyboards.  Prog metal doesn't shy away from the forbidden metal taboos, the things that we as fans take for granted every day.  Smiling on stage?  WHAT THE FUCK?!?  Why is that dude wearing a puffy shirt and leather pants?

Because he's PROG, brah.

Prog does what grind does, but better.  And I'm not talking about grinding, either.  I'm talking about the abrupt, explosive shift in music that occurs in both genres.  Grind will be blasting along, then suddenly, without provocation, we're thrust into the midst of a chugging breakdown or half-time stomp.  Prog does the same thing, but takes a different approach.  In prog, you'll be placidly listening to a part where the singer is singing about a faraway land over acoustic guitars, and then suddenly BOOM, a two minute circus jam breaks out, complete with xylophone patch on the keyboards and jaunty backbeat.  Then WHAM, you're hearing them play blastbeats with sweep picking "riff" and guttural-slam vokills.  And now you're back to the acoustic guitar, thirteen minutes of your life spent on a fantastic odyssey with a group of aging longhairs.

I love it.

I've often fantasized about starting a prog band.  We'd be so awesome; it would be a flurry of keyboard and guitar solo wanking and dumb haircuts and our singer would play the tambourine while the other members traded extended solos.  I might even start playing fretless guitar to make sure that we had a slippery sound that would turn off everybody but the biggest prog nerds.  And hurdy gurdy solos!  I have ideas.  But it's really hard to find a bunch of people who are virtuoso level players at all, let alone players that would be into the whole "puffy shirt and chest hair" scene that I would want to construct.

I've always wanted to be huge in Japan.

But alas, my prog days have sailed, my heyday of listening to two Dream Theater albums a day gone like my thin twenty year old body that I managed to bloat and destroy with booze and burritos (but my colon, however, is still steady and predictable).  But I will soldier forward, buying every Dream Theater album as close to release as possible and listening to every second of it over and over, and I will not apologize.  I love shred.  I love wank.  I love sappy lyrics and ballads that get all fast in the middle so that a really shreddy guitar solo can be shoehorned in.  It's one of my favorite things, and something that I've held with me for years now.  We all have those things, and it just so happens that my guiltiest of guilty pleasure music is played by a bunch of dudes who need yearly prostate exams and occasional colonoscopies.

I often wonder if I'm the only person in the world who loves Gridlink, Trap Them, Tragedy, and Dream Theater.  All of the boners that I've met who listen to Dream Theater always like shitty stuff like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, and they write bad poetry and defend their taste in music by saying "I listen to it because it's funny."  Metal isn't funny or ironic, and listening to something just because it's funny makes you a hipster wang and I don't like that.  Grow a personality and develop some taste and then let me know why you're into metal, you dick.


Anyway, I just wanted to rant about that.  But I'm asking a serious question.  You've seen the kind of stuff that I cover on this blog.  Much of it is quite tr00 and br00tal.  I just admitted to liking Dream Theater.  Is there anybody out there man enough to admit that they also listen to Dream Theater?  Or is prog a completely dead scene?

Is there anybody out there?

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get to listening to my new Anaal Nathrakh album.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Black Breath--Heavy Breathing

This was quite a weekend for me.  My wife was staying in downtown Austin with her sister and our car, leaving me with just my wits, my bicycle, and a whole lotta alone time for four days.  What did I do with this time away from my normal obligations?  Did I get all sorts of meaningful work done?  Sort out my finances?  Take a shower?  Rest assured, my friend, that I did none of those things.  Instead I stayed up late frantically sending emails to people that I know (kind of) demanding all sorts of exciting things from them with varying degrees of success.  This whirlwind of activity was immediately followed by me falling asleep on my couch while watching King of the Hill reruns.  And Friday night, in particular, was a churning maelstrom of me getting home from work at 7:30, having one cocktail in anticipation of my last post (this one), and falling asleep on the couch before 9:00.  I rule!  So, in the spirit of my falling asleep like a baby in a car seat and then blowing off writing this review for an extra two days on top of that, D-beat week concludes with one of my very favorite D-beat albums and my second favorite album from 2010, Black Breath's Heavy Breathing.

Black Breath is one of the bands that I've gotten massively into that seem to have some negative stigma attached to them even before people listen to the music.  I remember when I first saw them live with Converge and Coalesce last April I was discussing them with 8===D, who insisted that they were the worst and should be run out of town on a rail.  Here is a brief transcript of our conversation:

Me: "I don't know that much about Black Breath.  I've heard they're pretty good, though."

8===D: "No way, bro.  They stink and have bad haircuts."

Me: "Okay, so you've seen them live already?"

8===D: "No, but I read on an Interbung forum that some of their members are in a pop punk band."*

Allegations of participating in a pop punk band aside (I don't condone or condemn this kind of musical action, mind you), Black Breath fucking ruled.  It was a whirlwind of death metal-laced hardcore D-beat, with a brief excursion into faux dad-rock bl00ze that totally rubbed me the wrong way.  But I'll tell you about that later.  What was immediately evident was that 8===D had misjudged (and continues to misjudge) Black Breath.  Do they do some weird dad-rock song with screaming?  Yes.  Is it confusing and frightening?  You'd better believe it.  But that song is a grower and not a shower, and the rest of the album is a nonstop tornado of badassery and D-boners more throbbing and sensitive than you're likely to ever see this side of Disfear.  In fact, whenever I listen to this album, I have to make sure that I'm sitting down in a safe place because the rush of blood away from my brain invariably causes me to lose consciousness and hit my head on whatever hard piece of furniture or hunk of concrete is most readily available.

And then it's back to the hospital so the doctor can tell me just how much more damaged my brain is.  That guy thinks he's so smart just because he's got an undamaged brain and a car to drive to work, but I'll tell you what, he's a dick.

And I'm not going back in the cat-scanning machine again, and I'm not wearing that stupid helmet you gave me either.

Heavy Breathing is awesome, and if you haven't heard it, you're missing out.  The lyrics are chanty and angry sounding, with mostly very few lyrics, making it easy to make an ass out of yourself while you ride your bike to work, because if you're like me, you pass the bus station right in front of the junior college that's always packed, and everyone thinks it's so funny that you're yelling "COME!  COME! COME! COME EAT THE WITCH!" while you ride past.  And maybe it is, but if they were listening to the album that I was, they would realize that what I'm doing isn't stupid and distracting at all, it's more cute and awesome.  It's hard not to jam along when you're listening to standout tracks like "Virus" and  "I Am Beyond," and it's even more difficult to keep your James Bond-like cool in front of a bunch of girls who only barely graduated high school when you're rocking my personal favorite "Children of the Horn," your damaged brain sending seizure waves through the corpus colossum in an effort to combat how awesome the outside stimulus is, just like when an epileptic watches those inscrutable Japanese animation cartoons with the flashing colors and mopey protagonists.

And the dad-rock bl00ze number that I mentioned above?  That's "Unholy Virgin," which is the most divisive piece of music on the album, but which should be listened to a great many times before it's written off.  Believe me, at first you'll be flummoxed by the decision to add such an odd song to this album, but once its claws are in you, you'll wonder what you ever did without it.

In other words: "Listen to Black Breath right now!"

Or watch them live here.

*8===D's thoughts and opinions don't represent those of this blog or even necessarily his own, and certainly don't represent fact on any level.  Remember that Todd Jones is NOT A COP.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Not Posting Tonight

I'm not interested in posting tonight.  Yes, I know D-beat week hasn't concluded, but I don't have it in me to post about the last band that rules.  Tune in tomorrow when I reveal the big finish to D-beat week.

And it's amazing, too.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Struck By Lightning--Serpents

I had heard of Struck By Lightning before I ever listened to them.  But I was skeptical because of reasons that will be clear before too long.  Let me give a backstory though, because that's what I like to do, and because I like to waste your time with reasons why I like things.  Eat it.

So one day I was perusing the selection at the local Half Priced Books, a local Austin retailer that buys all of the secondhand copies of Jane Eyre that are available and offers them to the consumer who doesn't know that Victorian-era literature sucks and is boring, but for a discounted price.  Seriously, if you want to find a copy of a book that you'd never consider reading at a deep discount, you should check out Half Price Books.  It's amazing for literature that everybody hates.

But the saving grace of Half Price Books is their music selection.  They buy anything, and I mean ANYTHING, off of whoever manages to walk in the door and appears to not be a home invasion robber without batting an eye.  My fortune is living next to a Half Price Books that benefited from a serious metalhead up and deciding that he didn't want any of his albums that he bought.  I imagine that he got married to some prostitute who didn't like his amazing taste in music and decided to castrate him for her own pleasure, and then made him take the walk of shame into the used bookstore and sell all of his great CD's for virtually nothing.

I can't say that I disapprove of him wholly; I've done some strange things just to make my wife feel like I'm listening to her, which I never am.  But I'll at least nut up and defend my music collection.  Because, seriously, if your amazing taste in music is suspicious to a woman, it's because she's evil and wants to eat your soul.

And seriously, fuck the bitch who set me up to get this album for so little.

I spend a lot of time just parsing through albums at record stores.  I fucking love it.  I like to just look at everything, making note of bands whose names bum me out or invigorate me to keep investigating, and then I buy the stuff that has been recommended to me, or has a cool album cover or something.  And that day, I found Struck By Lightning.

I'm not going to lie to you, fair reader, because it's D-beat week and I love D-beat more than I love my mother, who, though she gave birth to me and did some other stuff to make sure I don't die or whatever, never played drums.  If she had, and gave me the gift of D-beat, I would be forever grateful, but I don't even remember popping out of her vagina, and therefore imagine that it was a perfectly painless and utterly pleasant affair.

Also I was a cute baby.

At any rate, Struck By Lightning managed to revolutionize my world via Interbung at a time when I really needed it.  I took the album home for the low low price of $2 USD (a fucking steal, it turned out), and was immediately notified that the album sucked by 8===D, who had listened to it after seeing the band live and immediately gotten over it because of his amazing powers of getting over things that rule.  But I paid no heed to these things, and I managed to listen to this album no less than one thousand times while I was out on the road for my old job, and an extra thousand times since.

It's incredible.

I"m no proponent of hyperbole (yeah right), but I can say for certain that Struck By Lightning have that certain "it" factor that has endeared me to other inferior bands since I took up the torch music nerdery.  And they won't fucking stop, either.

Serpents is a tornado (too soon?) of D-beat-fueled pandemonium that refuses to stop despite your best efforts to make it do that.  It's great.  It's amazing.  It's everywhere you want to be, which is to say it's IN MY HEADPHONES BLASTING INTO MY STUPID HEAD, and I know that's where lots of people want to be.  It's a very exciting album to listen to.

Standout tracks like "Supercell" and "Tightening the Noose" should be enough to convince any normal asshole that the band totally rules, but if you're skeptical unless I give a dick-related critique to it, well, here you go.

Struck By Lightning makes my D-boner so hard that I've spent the last year using my D-boner as an anvil to forge daggers for my latest interbung-related endeavor, which is Anti-Obama Self Defense Daggers Inc (a Global Stabbing Instrument Concern company).  And before you ask, YES, IT'S THAT FUCKING HARD.

If you've been reading D-beat week all week in anticipation of what stupid things I'll say and somehow enjoying it, you should be listening to Struck By Lightning.  They look like a band of gaywad hipsters:

God damn it, seriously?  A MUSTACHE?  FUCK!

But they rock so hard it'll make your D-boner dig a hole in the backyard and escape, no doubt looking for greener pastures and more massive strokage.  Because it deserves it.

Don't be an asshole.  Fucking listen to this band for fun here or just steal the album because it's easy and actually surprisingly satisfying.  But you shouldn't, because they deserve your money for being so awesome.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dishammer--Under the Sign of the D-Beat Mark

Punk rock is a form of music that, though I believe that it has decayed past the point of recognition as a genre, is near and dear to my heart.  I used to be a punker the way that I am a metal d00d; I didn't dress the part but had a nerdy obsession with finding underground music that nobody listened to, and the less of it normal people could stand to hear, the better it was.  I used to comb through the record bins looking for interesting stuff to listen to, my friends and I coming home with albums from The Missing 23rd, Ill Repute, Conflict, Total Chaos, and myriad other bands with silly haircuts and t-shirts turned into loincloths.  I sort of miss those days of carefree music consumption, where we would trade CD's with each other, somebody's Against All Authority albums being swapped indefinitely for somebody else's Adolescents and Exploited albums.

Sweet, sweet nerdery.  How I....still totally participate in you.

This kind of admiration punk rock is what leads me to Dishammer, the super-crusty D-beat metallers from Spain who put tits on every one of their albums covers.  Seriously, Google "Dishammer" and look at the images.  This album isn't the only one with some gnarly boobage, no sir; Dishammer deals in blackened, thrashy crust punk draped with black and white images of naked ladies.  Exclusively!  And you can totally see bush on at least one of them, too.  It's like I'm 11 and watching HBO After Dark with the sound turned all the way down all over again.

I liked Dishammer before I ever heard them, of course.

Dishammer have all the earmarks of the crossover crust artist, appealing to both punks and metal crusties in equal measure.  Is it Lo-Fi?  It sure is.  The sound is completely DIY and trashy.  It sounds like they recorded the whole album at their practice space and didn't bother to do any mixing, just like my first band's demo tape (which I engineered and produced before I had any idea what "mixing" and "sound quality" were).  Are the drums and guitar riffs masterfully crafted and executed?  Hell no.  As an avid fret-watching guitar nerd wiener, I can tell you for certain that the riffs sound like they, are at times, almost too much for the band.  This isn't a Decrepit Birth album, and it isn't supposed to be; the charm of this kind of music lies in the execution, which can range from clumsy and amateurish to solidly implemented, though the riffs tend to lack ornamentations that would qualify as "flashy," or "impressive."  Because being able to really play your guitar is gay, man.  You don't have time to learn when you're relistening to all of Jello Biafra's spoken word albums and totally agreeing with them because "THIS DUDE KNOWS, man, he's in the Dead Kennedys, but not anymore, because East Bay Ray is a total fascist."

Punk as fuck, man.

But metal d00dz will also enjoy this, because of the black metal-style "hissing pterodactyl" vokills, easy comparison to Motorhead and Discharge, and song titles like "Rusty Coffin" and "Welcome Death," both of which sound totally metal.  Indeed, the entire album sounds like a bunch of friends got together in their garage to approximate Motorhead covers while their pterodactyl record player does the vocals (in this scenario, it's also necessary that the band lives in the same time period as the Flintstones, where pterodactyl record players are as normal as the witty quips made by the record player about what it is forced to do).

"Meh, it's a living!"

And my favorite thing about Dishammer is that, though they are very preoccupied with your raging D-boner (I mean, look at the title of the album), they're also very helpful when it comes to your regular old, meat-and-potatoes, non-drumbeat-influenced boner.  Seriously, have you Googled it yet?  They just throw all sorts of naked ladies into the mix!  It's nice too, because your growing record collection could also double as your growing crust punk erotica collection, or at least give you some solid material to file away in the old spank bank.

Go check out Dishammer here , and if you like it you can buy it or steal it or do whatever makes you most comfortable.  I'm fine with whatever you do, my little lamb.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Disfear--Live the Storm

For the first review of D-beat week, I specifically want to discuss an album that is near and dear to my heart.  I want to talk about where my obsession with the D-beat started.  I want to FUCK SOME SHIT UP.  If you've got any conception of D-beat metal and what it's all about, you're probably rolling your eyes and lamenting my first choice, Disfear's Live the Storm, understanding that it's a really obvious and simple place to start.  I'm not saying that the music is base or substandard, though; fuck that shit.  I'm saying that if you follow metal, there is no more obvious choice for a band to talk about when you mention D-beat than Disfear.

And I don't care.  Because I love it.

Let me give you a  little bit of background for why I'm all about this album.  As I've obviously mentioned a million times before on this pointless blog of mine, in the early days of the Interhole, when Myspace wasn't just an acceptable platform for musical promotion but the PREMIERE platform,  I would read Decibel Magazine for all of my music news.  Blogs?  Blogs were still for homos in those days (please don't point out that they still are, because I know).  Mediafire?  What the hell is that?  You might remember those days too.  They were the salad days of our nation, where people would randomly send friend requests on Myspace with lines that read "Let's be friends, you look like a true juggalo!" and instead of being virus-filled internet pages, they were just people who were really, really stupid.

The year was 2008, and all that stuff I said about it being the salad days of our nation are totally false.  Sorry.

I was reading Decibel leading up to the release for Live the Storm, and they kept mentioning the D-beat.  Like I usually do, I just sat there and pretended like I knew exactly what that meant even though I didn't have the slightest idea.  I HATE RESEARCHING THINGS.  I didn't do it then and I won't fucking do it now.  But one night I happened over to my major dudebro Ed's house; several of us convened and we played doubles ping-pong in his backyard, with one person sitting on his partner's shoulders, each holding a paddle.  Ed's wife was not amused by our antics, but realizing that we are all large drunk men, simply stayed out of the way, understanding that once one of us was injured in the patio ceiling fan or by plunging awkwardly from the top of another 6 foot tall gentleman, we were bound to stop horsing around.  Both of those things happened, and we did indeed decide to stop.

Ed pulled up his laptop and put on music, and our conversation turned to new stuff.  There was talk about Oxbow and some other stuff that I couldn't care less about, and suddenly I had enough beer to admit that I didn't know what D-beat was.  We formulated a hypothesis about what D-beat could possibly mean before Ed did what I should have done months before and just Googled the term.  Once we saw the musical notation for it (the very same picture that headed up the announcement post for D-beat week, no less), I understood.  Then he found some Disfear music to get a good idea about what their music sounded like, and why Decibel would continually refer to them as the "kings" of D-beat.

Nobody was impressed.  Except for me.

It was awesome.

I had my first experience with a D-boner that fateful night; as I walked out to my car, feeling slightly tipsy from a night of outdoor drinking and reckless ping-ponging, my mind wandered to the amazing thing that was happening to me.  My D-boner raged, and in an extended fit of reckless behavior, I ended up slamming that D-boner of mine in the car door.

I expected pain to flare through my body, and the subsequent trip to the hospital to be embarrassing to myself and my family.  But there was no pain.

Do you believe that my D-boner was so rock solid that the door bounced right off of it, like a bullet bouncing off of Superman's D-boner?

Invincibility.  I needed more.

Immediately it became my only mission in life to get Live the Storm and listen to it forever.  I've done a pretty good job at it so far, and I don't intend to stop.  Live the Storm is packed to the gills with awesome moments, from the first notes of album opener "Get It Off" to the last notes of "Phantom."  I can't recommend this album enough; it appealed to my punk rocker friends with it's noticeable rooting in hardcore punk, but maintained a crossover appeal to me and my br00tal br0z with a nice dash of heaviness and the throat-tearing vocal style of former At the Gates frontman Tomas Lindberg.

It might be the best thing ever; I don't want to say for certain that it is, but there aren't many albums that struck me the way that Live the Storm did.  And it reignited my passion for the D-beat, which had lay dormant for so long after my days of punk rocking were officially over.  D-boner jutting out triumphantly in front of me, I resolved to live this way forever, with Live the Storm as my bride, it's lyric book speckled with jizz from all the off-jacking I managed to do over the music.  And with the increasing strength in my right arm, I pledge to keep this train rolling, fevered fits of masturbation and all.

I'm glad my wife never caught me.  That would be...real bad for me.

Listen to Disfear

Addendum to this post:  Disfear's bass player, Henrik Frykman, just passed away this past March after a long battle with cancer.  I was uncharacteristically injured by the passing of a person that I had never met and never would, and it's because of how attached to this music I've become.  My condolences to his family and friends.  Lame.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Welcome to D-Beat Week

Repeat this measure ad nauseum forever.

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking "Hey asshole, I've read all of your posts a million times.  I think you're so handsome and cool and have impeccable taste in music."  Thank you, and you're right.  But I do, however, think that it could be validly argued that every week in D-Beat Week on this blog.

I wouldn't necessarily disagree, either.

However, I've got a shit ton of D-beat stuff that I've been meaning to post about, so I decided that another theme week was in order.  And since my other theme weeks have gone over so swimmingly, it seemed apropos to make it an official week by listening to, talking about, and espousing the virtue of my very favorite beat via my good old friend, the Interbung.

Some of you might be asking, "What is the D-beat?  I don't understand!"  The D-beat refers to the drum beat that was made famous by the band Discharge (there seems to be some disagreement about this on the Interhole, but since I've never heard anything about the other sides of the argument, I assume that they are misinformed, false, ungrim, and faggy).  That picture above is the D-beat notated on a treble clef.  For my non-musical readers, follow your nose to hear the D-beat in action.

That first beat that kicks in?  FUCKING D-BEAT!

Usually the easiest way to identify a D-beat band is by looking at their name.  Usually the prefix "Dis-" will be placed prominently in front of another word with which, according the the conventions of the English language, make no sense.  It's not uncommon for bands to be ham-fisted in their placement of the prefix; take the bands Disfear and Dishammer for example.  The band D.I.S. (who I wrote about in a very early post) is another good example, though officially D.I.S. stands for Destroyed in Seconds.

And since those are the only really good examples that I can think of offhand, I guess you can say that examining the name of a band isn't that good of a way to identify a D-beat band.  There are, after all, plenty of other totally crusty bands that have names that are misleading in the absence of "Dis-" from their monikers.  I guess I could have written that above paragraph like I did, realized that the information I gave was not actually as accurate as my brain suggested it was before I wrote it, and then simply deleted the paragraph.  But I like to give people an insight into my mind a little more often than the average "writer" ever would (and I do think of myself as a "writer," with the word placed firmly in quotation marks).  Also, I don't like my posts to be so short that I don't leave myself enough space to insert penis jokes and references to the myriad dumps that I take.

In other words, I don't like to limit myself to just saying things that are accurate.

Anyway, you'd better saddle up, because this whole week is going to be a flurry of D-boners.  It's going to be a torrential downpour D-jizz.  It's going to be a whirlwind of throbbing, veiny, purple drumbeat-specific boners.

Also, you should expect to see the word "boner" plastered across your computer screen, because it's about to get real bonery up in this motherfucker.

Boner boner boner.  See?

So sit back, relax, and allow me to expose my D-boner to you (but not if you're under the age of 18.  I don't want to have to introduce myself to my neighbors).