Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Be A College Radio Sensation (Or: Flying High)

Flying high again!

This past Thursday night (and, timewise, Friday morning), I had the opportunity to guest DJ on my good buddy Will's radio show, "For the Dead."  As somebody with a relentless need for attention (and a frantic desire to try and be funny on every possible media platform [with varying degrees of success]), I spent the better part of the last year and a half sitting around hoping for the opportunity to hang out in a DJ booth and say things on the radio.  It was very natural for me to do, because like I said before, I require constant attention, and I had been mentally preparing to be on the radio ever since Will got his own show.

Now I need to weasel my way onto the television and into a feature film and my cross-platform domination will be complete.

But as it turns out, there are plenty of rules and stipulations that you have to abide by on college radio that you probably wouldn't anticipate.  There are the obvious rules, like not saying "Fuck," or "Cocksucker," or "Pus-filled rectum," or "Snatch odor" or "Cat penis."  Actually, I didn't know that we couldn't say "cat penis," but luckily the subject didn't come up the way that it normally does in the course of our conversations, so it's okay.  But did you know that you can't say "fart" or "doo doo" or "wigger" on the air?  It's true on college radio!  No fart or dookie humor allowed.  And you can't advise people to do things, like check out a show or website, because those are deemed "calls to action," and the radio station doesn't want to be responsible for somebody going all Glenn Beck and urging their fellow UT students to go murder congresspeople or whatever.

I can actually see why they don't want that, but I had to be dumped on-air because I said "Check it out," about the upcoming Ringworm show.  What a world!

Since I'm such a cool guy, I wanted to help you, my readers, worm your way onto somebody's specialty metal radio show the way that I did.  It's fun, and if you want to beam your inane opinions to people on the radio, here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it.

Step 1: Make friends with somebody who has a radio show.  This can be difficult, because relatively few people have radio shows, but it's not impossible.  Try handing out pork rinds; Will loves pork rinds, and when I give him pork rinds, he becomes very docile and agreeable.  It's like Inception; you have to make him believe that it's HIS idea that you go on his radio show, even though you've been fantasizing about being the next great radio sensation for years.

Step 2: Is the subject eating pork rinds?  That's good.

Step 3: A series of things that you don't understand and aren't privy to the details of happen and you're asked to be a guest DJ on the metal radio show.  Rejoice!

It's just that easy.

I had tons of fun on the radio and I got to listen to some sweet new stuff, too.

Example: You should be listening to Psychic Limb right now, because they rule.

Check out the playlist and find some stuff to steal or whatever; it's all good stuff.

And I think that this is a good place to announce that Will and I are debuting a Podcast very soon, and since it isn't going to be aired on the radio, I get to say "Cat penis," and "semen graveyard," all I want.  I'll be linking to it, obviously, because you want to listen to me talk about stupid metal news and views, and because my voice is so enchanting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Announcement Redux

Tune in tonight at 11pm Central time to "For the Dead," Austin's best metal radio show, which tonight will feature ME, Monsoon Fucking Cobra, spinning my favorite tasty jamz on the airwaves and saying all the stupid things that the FCC will permit.

That's going to be 91.7 FM or visit the website to stream it.  It's going to be fun for me, and maybe you'll enjoy it too.

Tune in, call in, make me feel like a big shot.  Tonight, from 11pm to 1 am Central time.


You know, with all the tech death that I've been listening to lately and the Origin show that I went and saw last week, I've been awash in a sea of note diarrhea.  I love note diarrhea, but it wears on the old ears from time to time.  I mean, how many times can Paul Ryan sweep pick a major triad in one album?  How many times?  Wow, that's a lot.  But over the course of the last couple of weeks, I've been combating the wank with a little bit of musical Kaopectate.

Listening to some DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

I sometimes talk about the olde tymes when I write here.  They sure feel like olde tymes, but when I actually go to date myself, it makes me feel like a total n00b.  I consider Indian to be "my" doom band.  They were my first real exposure to doom metal, and they are the bar by which all other doom bands are measured, and there are only probably a couple that can compare to Indian (Thou and the local ATX band The Roller).  In a tyme ov olde (which, embarassingly enough, turned out to be only three years ago), I was perusing the music selection at the local Borders in Bakersfield, CA.  In those days, the music selection at that Borders held surprisingly kvlt gems of brutality, if only you had the fortitude to comb through all of the Phil Collins records to find them.  I had read about Indian's previous record in Decibel, and one day I was combing through the glut of crap in the music section, lazily picking through looking for something to pique my interest.

Then I saw it: Slights and Abuses/The Sycophant.

What an odd title.

I immediately purchased the album and took it over to my friend Scott's house to do some hard listening and some even harder drinking.  Those were exciting times, where I would get off work around 3 in the afternoon after a solid 11 hour day and immediately go to a friend's house and start knocking back beers and playing billiards.  Though I do miss my comrades in Bakersfield, I have to admit that there is a certain charm to waking up and not being terribly hungover, especially when you have to go drive someplace and do heavy lifting.

Also, I stink less these days.

I took the album to Scott's and immediately threw it on, waiting for the music to transform my life the way that Decibel promised it would.  Scott's reaction was this:

"Do you actually like this?!?"

The answer was "yes."  The unabridged answer was "Shut up."

I had finally found some doom that I could hang my hat on.  It was a liberating experience, though all of my friends marveled at how shitty my taste in music had become.  We had to turn off the album and listen to a 2pac album instead.

It's a good thing I love "Shorty Wanna Be A Thug," so much.

Guiltless does for me what Slights and Abuses/The Sycophant did for me all those (three) years ago.  The slow burn of the crushingly heavy songs remind me that, though I've never gotten into doom metal (too much mongo-style clean singing and meandering song structures for my tastes), I know that it can be done correctly.  It's like having Mexican food in Indiana, and then you make a trip out to Southern California, where Mexicans aren't just on television stealing other peoples' jokes (I'm looking at you, Carlos Mencia) or just generally being not funny (that one's aimed at George Lopez).  It turns out, there are some that make food so good you'll eat it until your butthole literally bursts into flames!  Suddenly you're like "Holy fuck!  Mexican food rules!  Why does all the Mexican food where I'm from taste like they fished it out of the toilet and this tastes like God's unending love with a side of refried beans?!?"

That's my feeling with doom metal.

If you're into fiery pterodactyl vocals and slow burning, suffocatingly heavy songs with sometimes misspelled titles ("Benality" is a little bit confusing to me, but maybe there's a pun buried in there somewhere that I'm to false and ungrim to see), you'll be into Indian, and you'll especially love Guiltless.  It is fast, violent relief from the raging river of note diarrhea caused by tech death.  Just look for the distinctive art style and the picture of the pope eating a dove's head!

Fuck it.  Steal it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Dear friends,

I'm going to be guest DJ-ing on KVRX this coming Thursday from 11 p.m. til 1 a.m. Central time.  If you've ever wanted to listen to me say stupid things on the radio and play all the metal that I think is cool, you should tune in and listen.  If you're in the Austin area, that's 91.7 FM on the dial, or you can stream at the KVRX website from any old where.

Tune in and listen to me say and do things on the radio until they wise up and kick me off!

Monsoon Cobra, Esq.


Spoiler Alert: the "Entity" that they wrote the album about is actually the moon.  It turns out it was all a dream!
I love Origin.  I'm all about technical brutal death metal (or at least I used to be), and Origin is the best technical brutal death metal band there is.  I know what you're saying, too.  You're saying "There not bettr then Wormed lol U sukk."  Shut up, cretin.  Just because I like death metal bands that write good songs and have intelligible riffs and I don't sit around playing Call of Duty: Black Ops all day with a gaggle of swearing ten year olds doesn't mean that I'm not smarter than you.  I actually am, and you should be listening up, because Origin probably wrote the death metal album of the year.  And that's even if Necrophagist finally releases their new album, which they won't, but I think we can all agree that with all the hype and time it's taking Necrophagist to finally put out a new album, the album is probably going to suck.  I'll still totally listen to it, but it's going to suck for sure.

Sorry, Necrophagist.

Anyway, if you're like me, there's nothing quite like an album that promotes that super shreddy note diarrhea that we guitarists love so much, and Entity, like predecessors Antithesis and Echoes of Decimation before it, delivers that boiling hot note diarrhea in spades.  It's like a musical Chipotle burrito; you indulge in the burrito and before you know it you've got the most satisfying fiery hot diarrhea of your life, and all you can think of is how happy you are.  Except in this case, you're firing a boiling stream of shredding riffs and brutal slams out of your ass, ejecting it in an extremely satisfying and seemingly endless cascade of notes.  When it's all done you're drained and satisfied, and you feel like you should go find some milk to drizzle in your buttcrack to try and dampen that residual burn so that you can get back to your day.

You know what I'm saying?

I was a big fan of Antithesis ("Wrath of Vishnu," FTW), and Entity delivers in all the same ways, but better.  Paul Ryan is apparently filled to the brim with widdly-widdly riffs, and if you're unnaturally interested in drummers who can play really fucking well, like I am (I always wanted to be a drummer), look no further than John Longstreth, but I think if you've heard of Origin before that you already know all about that.

It turns out that Origin had another totally sweet album inside of them the whole time, and if you're worried about their new singer Jason Keyser (ex-Skinless [\m/]), have no fear; he rules and has great stage banter.  And I like, as a change of pace, that he would announce the songs in a normal voice so that you could understand what song he said they were playing next.  That's a surprising choice for such a brutal band, but I loved it.

I insist that you listen to Entity, so go steal it or, better yet, purchase it from the shopkeep at your local music store.  Because you know that they haven't seen a person in their store for quite some time, (thank you, Mediafire!) and it's a really edifying experience to make their day by walking through the door and buying something.  Believe me; I did it once and I felt like the greatest human alive, like I had cured cancer or prepaid for a thousand low-income women to have abortions.  
"This one's on the house, lady.  Courtesy of that gentleman sitting over there."  (I nod my head at her nonchalantly)
I'm a humanitarian!


Go steal Origin.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Importance of the $10 T-Shirt: Abysmal Dawn, Vital Remains, Origin and Hate Eternal Live at Emo's

So on Wednesday of last week, I went to check out some brutal tech-death live at Emo's in Austin, TX.  As a relentless and unapologetic fretwatcher, I was duly stoked to see Origin live for the first time, and Abysmal Dawn for the second.  Those two bands are a fretwatcher's dream; Paul Ryan and Charles Elliot are both guitar pornographers for the masturbating fretwatcher, and I got to see them both in the same place.  It was a difficult proposition, too, because after only a couple of songs, your dick starts to get all sore from the abuse that it's taking, but it's really difficult to control yourself.

And now there's a sweep picking passage...*moan*...

The brutality as at Category 5 that night; if the show were a hurricane, Kanye West would be accusing Barack Obama of not caring about black people while Mike Meyers flees the telethon.  It was the real deal.  Vital Remains' guitarist was even rocking a custom inverted cross guitar with light up siguls on the body.  It was the exact kind of guitar that somebody who doesn't listen to death metal would buy if they were trying to get in to a death metal band.

Tony Lazaro: "I'm trying to join this band.  They tour and have lots of goats and pentagrams and things on their merch, and I need to fit it.  I need a guitar that looks like death metal incarnate, and make sure it's pointy!"

Guitar Center employee: (taking a break from playing blues licks) "Right on, let's see what we have.  Death metal dudes like the Randy Rhodes flying-V." (points to one hanging on the wall)

Tony Lazaro: "That's pretty pointy, but I'm looking to set myself apart from the rest of the pack.  Don't you have something with inverted cross inlays?"

Guitar Center employee:  "Actually, we do, but the guitar itself is ludicrously oversized and requires fifteen D batteries to power the light up symbols on the body.  It's completely retarded looking and can barely be played.  Here it is."

(Guitar is unveiled with a chorus of angels singing behind it)

Tony Lazaro: "Now THAT'S pointy!  I'll take it!"

 Luckily Vital Remains is a good band, otherwise this would be wholly unacceptable.

All of the bands played very well except Hate Eternal, whose music I've never understood and whose live show was pretty boring and meandering.  I don't know what it is about Hate Eternal that makes their music fly right over my head, but I seriously have never been able to hear what the big deal is about them.  I was really hoping that seeing them live would change my mind, but the only thing that I could think about was that Erik Rutan was more heavyset in real life than I thought he would be.

Sorry, Erik Rutan.
Origin was amazing, and their new singer knows how to get the crowd all whipped into a frenzy.  This was the first show I've ever been to in Austin that had people crowdsurfing and moshing nonstop.  I go to lots of shows, and the Austin local crowd is pretty laid back, but tonight they wanted to be in the mix, fucking shit up, and everyone else in attendance was happy to help them do a Wayne's World-style crowdsurf.  Abysmal Dawn and Vital Remains were excellent as well, with tasty licks and proselytizing to the crowd about how God doesn't exist and is stupid.

Standard stuff, really.
The only downside to the evening is that the merch was powerfully overpriced.  I went and was perusing the selection at Abysmal Dawn's merch table, and they were selling shirts for $20 to $30.  What the fuck?  I came to this show with an extra ten bucks to buy some Origin merch or something, and you're telling me that every shirt costs double what I have? 

Now I'm sad.
I know this was a big tour, and that these bands play larger club venues on the weekends to thousands of screaming nerds.  Some of those nerds probably have deep nerd pockets, too.  I would have expected to see the merch cost a lot if I went to this show at the Key Club (which is where I would have to go if I still lived in California), but I was hoping for a little bit of a price break at a 300 person show on the inside (read: small) stage of our local larger club venue.  And Charles from Abysmal Dawn was giving me the business about how they needed gas money to get to the next show.  I know that, buddy.  But I make blogger money, which is less than it sounds, and can't just go throwing around Andrew Jacksons like the King of Siam.  So I was forced to buy no merch, because I literally couldn't afford it.

Dear bands,
If you're Iron Maiden or you're playing a legitimate stadium-style venue, you can charge whatever cockamamie price you want for a t-shirt.  I know that you need to make ends meet on the road; I have to make them meet at home, too.  I'm happy to pay for a shirt or a record or something.  In fact, it's one of my life's greatest pleasures.  But don't price things up like you're on the road with Metallica.  I want to give you all of my money and get a couple of things, not just spend $20 on a shirt that was made for a 4'10", obese death metal nerd.  I don't want a wide, billowy belly shirt for $20.  That's far too big of a risk.  Dial it back and make sure that I can justify spending the money, because I, like many other people, want to own all of your ridiculous shirts and stuff.  But you're totally cockblocking us from doing it.

Monsoon Cobra
(on behalf of the Sell Merch at a Reasonable Price Coalition, LLC)

If this show is coming your way, you should totally go see it.  You won't be disappointed unless you want to buy a shirt, and then you're going to be super bummed out.  Follow the link to the dates, and check out the new Origin and Hate Eternal albums, which are really easy and fun to steal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kill the Client--Set for Extinction

I've been really into that show Hoarders lately.  I used to watch it on television when I had easy access to cable (it's been a while though), and I revisited some of the crunchiest and most disturbing early episodes on Netflix On Demand during my failed bid as a salesman (if you are a salesman, I'd like to applaud your strength and the fact that you don't have a soul.  I envy you).  That show is dark shit, man, even by my generous standards, and it is sometimes really fucking difficult to watch.  I find myself yelling at the television on a regular basis, asking the hoarder questions like "Do you really not see the problem with people finding a bunch of mummified rats underneath your garbage pile?" or "You take a dump WHERE?!?"

It's pretty fun, and the closest I'll get to reality television.

The show doesn't make me feel compassionate for people who have this problem, though.  I know that I probably should, because it's a mental illness and is usually a person's shitty and poorly-reasoned reaction to severe anxiety (one of the many perfectly American problems that we face).  But I just can't; it's like looking at somebody who's on fire, and you say "Holy shit, dude, you're on fire!" and the guy says "No I'm not," and then acts like a dick about it for the entire time you put the fire out.

One of the happy side effects of that show, however, is that it motivates my wife and I to get our apartment clean.  I've done several Goodwill trips and gotten a lot of dishes done after watching episodes of Hoarders, and I plan to keep that train a-runnin' (there are a few pieces of furniture that I'm trying to get my wife to let me get rid of because they just take up space).  The other major side effect of watching the show is an inflated sense of self worth.  I get to sit there and smugly judge people from the comfort of my couch, and when I watch what they do on camera when somebody tries to throw away a teddy bear full of bedbugs, I know that my life doesn't suck as hard as theirs.

It might sound horrible, but it's what everybody does when they watch that show, even if they aren't man enough to admit it.

Kill the Client are equally dark and make me feel similarly awesome, though not in the same disdainful, "I'm-better-than-this-thing-I'm-paying-attention-to" sort of way.  Kill the Client are dirty, thick, hateful grind of the first order, and listening to them makes me feel sorry for the rest of the world, that so many people who think that my taste in music is "icky," or "scary," or "God awful," (all direct quotes from my coworkers) will never get to hear this music through my ears.  It must suck to be them, all right.  I always tell people when they get all uppity and annoying about the music that I'm listening to that, if it were all up to me, that this kind of thing would be playing everywhere, from the grocery stores to the bridal shops to under the awnings where the gas pumps are kept.

What a wonderful world that would be for me.

Kill the Client's newest offering, Set for Extinction, has all the markings of being a crusty grindcore record.  Pictures of guns?  Check.  Political and religious imagery?  Check.  Marks of pestilence and decay?  Well, that's a vulture and a couple of rats up there, so I'm going to have to give that a double check.  And what's the first song called?  "No Leaders"?  Awesome.

Super awesome.

The entire album is an awesomely crusty whirlwind of misanthropic grind.  In fact, I like to picture it as the perfect soundtrack to Hoarders, at the point when the family goes "Fuck this, we have to get this crap out of here."  In my mind, Kill the Client starts blasting their hateful screeds over the video of some stupid old woman crouching in her front yard, screaming "Don't throw away my pizza boxes!  YOU CAN'T TAKE MY CATS!  I DON'T CARE HOW DEAD THEY ARE!"  And meanwhile, in the background, you can see CPS shoving her crying children into a car.

"That's my mother's jewelry box!"

"But, ma'am, it's covered in human feces and it's broken.  I found it under an old console television."

"Doo doo washes right off, stupid!  GIVE THAT TO ME!"

(Children in the background) "Mommy!  Help!  They're taking us away!"

This is playing the whole time.

If at all possible, I'd like to encourage you to see Kill the Client live to really get a good idea of what the sound is like.  The record does a good job of recreating it, but the live energy is so much more potent and palpable.  I got to see them live for the first time fairly recently with my homebros in Lions of Tsavo, and the sound is indescribably heavy and aggressive.  If you're lucky, James (the bassist for KTC) will be wearing his cool Bathtub Shitter shirt and you'll get to watch Morgan MacGyver a stationary fan back together using only his wits, a pair of hockey tickets, and some appropriate tools.  Then you'll get to watch Brian Fajardo (also of Gridlink and Noisear), the most unassuming person you'd see walking around, unleash his inner beast behind the drum kit.  It's fucking breathtaking.  And he's surprisingly laid back about when you come up to tell him that you love him and then try to steal his shoes in order to gain his powers.

But I'm sure that happens to him all the time.

So if you're a maladjusted misanthrope like me, you should go check out Kill the Client, because they probably have about as much disdain for people as you do, but they express it in a much more awesome way.  Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go do some vacuuming.  All this talking about Hoarders reminds me that it's time for me to clean everything in my apartment while I scream "I'M NOT LIKE THEM!"  And then the police will come over.

Listen to Kill the Client

Or just steal it.  It's really easy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

You Died (You're Gay)

It is with a heavy heart that I must make note that another of our ranks has lamentably passed away.  Seth Putnam, of the fabled and arbitrarily offensive Anal Cunt, has apparently died of a heart attack.


I remember listening to Anal Cunt when I was just a lad.  At the time it was the most extreme and offensive thing that me and my friends could dig up from anywhere.  One of us had an old cassette tape or something, and we would take every opportunity to blast the shit out of it.  Interestingly enough, none of us actually even liked the music.  To me, it was always a mishmash of garbled, grinding noise with hilarious song titles, and the song titles were what I really gravitated toward.  It's fun when you're a ten-year-old to rock the shit out of songs about retards and peoples' dumb families and buttfucking and stuff, and Anal Cunt never disappointed.

As with the passing of all of our metal royalty, there have surfaced several Seth Putnam stories that are particularly juicy and interesting; indeed, it seems that he was as ridiculous and over-the-top as his music would indicate.  One post over at The Living Doorway seemed to sum him up pretty well (and it has a strikingly similar title as this article), so if you haven't checked that shit out, you should.  It's completely ridiculous.

So, Seth Putnam, I will miss you, but you will live on through all of us when we put on those old cassette tapes that have the name of the band scratched out so that our parents wouldn't immediately throw that shit away.  I raise my proverbial drink (I wish it was literal, but I'm lamentably at work and not at home doing some daytime drinking) to you and bid you adieu.

As a fitting eulogy for the man, I'll leave you with something that my best friend Nick texted me yesterday:

"The singer of Anal Cunt died.  I'm hoping for a tribute album called 'You Died (You're Gay)' or 'Having a Heart Attack is Gay.'"

This is why I want Nick to be alive to do the eulogy at my funeral.

Some other touching memories of Seth Putnam that I've come across over the course of my daily rummaging:

"i remember smoking weed with AC back in '06...they were really gay"

"giving a shit is gay"

"That's the most disgusting name for a band I've ever heard!"
-My wife

This is not to say that he was not a person, of course, and his ridiculously early death reminds us all to live the way that he did, indiscriminately firing racial epithets at people in the audience and calling everybody gay for fun.  My heart goes out to his family.

Godspeed, Seth Putnam.

Send Me Stuff (Like Ichabod Crane Did)

Let me first start by saying that I know that I've been a bit absentee lately.  It's really difficult to keep up a stupid pointless blog about boners while also spending the last 15 free hours doing nothing but playing Dead Space 2 in back-to-back campaign playthroughs.  But that game is awesome, and I've been running a little bit dry on the old laugh-laugh as a result.  I meant to spend yesterday writing and getting lots of material together so that I wouldn't have to scratch out any quickie reviews to make myself keep looking like a legitimate writer.  But since I spent the weekend drinking cocktails and watching Role Models for the second time, I didn't do that, so here's a quickie album review.

I remember when I was very first getting into metal.  It was quite a thing to be discovering an all new world of bands with ridiculous names and frightening album art, particularly after spending years as a slavishly devoted punk rocker.  But my newfound taste for guitar solos and tasty riffs led me to some scary places, particularly in the realm of power metal and metalcore.  You see, Bakersfield, CA in the days of yore was not a bastion of metallic greatness, and we didn't have an indie record store that catered to our taste.  Nobody out there had any taste in music other than a couple of my friends, one of them a frantic consumer of technical death metal (Erik), and the other a music school nerd whose tastes--like my own tastes--were, by and large, "dynamic," and "discerning," which of course translates to "annoying," and "I love the Mars Volta."  That's Ed, and we're two peas in a very pasty white pod

Anyway, Bakersfield was a wasteland for metal.  This was back when blogs were only for nerds who had nothing to say, and long before the prevalence of the "cool nerdmo music blog" explosion that happened at some point (I only started reading on the blogmosphere a couple of years ago, so I assume it happened around that time).  We had to rely on our wits and disposable income to learn about new bands, and metal d00dz in Bakersfield tended to have terrible taste in metal.  All the active bands worshiped Hatebreed, which is annoying by itself, but hardcore dancing was a scourge, and many of the local shows that would be put together ended up being cancelled mid-show because people couldn't keep their hands to themselves, resulting in massive brawls wherein pristine New Era baseball caps flew to and fro, their stickers that had been left on gleaming in the stage lights, while the unlucky owner of the venue frantically tried to stop the carnage from ruining his sound setup.

I never approved of this, but it was all we had.

Anyway, in those days, metalcore was king, and I would dutifully kiss the ring of the king in order that I might have a taste of the sweet, sweet nectar of metal.  I don't miss those days at all.

Scott, the guitarist/vokillist for the band Ichabod Crane, recently emailed me a link to their Bandcamp page, advising me to take a listen even though I might eviscerate them.  Since Scott is up for anything, so am I, and since I'm so happy that people want me to listen to their bands, I'm finally putting Dead Space 2 down for long enough to write this review.  And it just goes to show that if you email me stuff about your band, you're pretty much guaranteed a review on my site, even if it takes a while because I'm being a lazy turd.

The Ohio-based band Ichabod Crane remind me of old times, which is a duel edged sword.  That Scott bills Ichabod Crane as a thrash band (and the tags on the Bandcamp page would indicate the same thing) is a little bit surprising upon first listen.  The first thing that really struck me about the music was that the melodic attack so commonly included breakdowns and/or breakdown-style riffing.  My first listen was confusing; I was doing the dishes and listening to the music, and the only thing I could think of was "At the Gates-style melodic riffing + breakdowns =/= thrash."  That made me sad, but luckily for Ichabod Crane (and for myself), my first impressions of everything tend to be superficial and half-cocked, especially if I listen while I do the dishes.

You see, when I do the dishes, I'm always stumbling upon old containers with leftover lasagna in them, or bowls with crusty oatmeal stuck to the insides, or food particles that I've neglected for long enough that they've reanimated themselves and started a new life at the bottom of my sink.  It's my fault, really, that I spend so much of my time gagging and scraping and justifying the murder of reanimated talking food particles, because I'm a pig.  And my wife has been really clear that, even if the reanimated food particles offer to grant me a wish, I'm not allowed to spare them, because old food that lives in the sink and talks to me almost never tells the truth and has some hidden agenda.  But one day there will be an old hamburger patty that will actually have magic powers, and then I'll finally have a jetski.

What I'm trying to say is that I get distracted if I'm doing the dishes.

Upon second listen to Ichabod Crane, I realize that my first impressions weren't fully correct, but were instead incomplete and overly superficial.  Ichabod Crane are less of a metalcore band than a Skeletonwitch-style Ohio thrash band that simply doesn't have the songwriting chops yet to not have to rely on breakdowns to break up their frantic D-beating melodic frenzy.  Though I do get annoyed with the relative prominence of the breakdown, this isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for me, especially since there aren't any teenagers nearly pummeling me with their meaty fists while the feverishly windmill to make themselves look tough.  Behind that facade of metalcore mediocrity lies a competent band with shreddy riffs (several of them of the "Oh my God that's awesome" variety) and a totally blackened sounding vokill attack.

In other words, the music is a little bit befuddling, but if you're like me, you'll find something to enjoy here.  My biggest piece of advise for the band is this: "If people are doing karate or picking up change during any of your songs, you should change those riffs, because that shit is wrong and you shouldn't be encouraging the nation's youth to be douchey."

Seriously, guys, lay off the breakdowns and you could be great.  Stick to the D-beat!  Make your thrash sound more like this all the time.

And also, I really like the album's closing track, "Hail!"  It reminds me of listening to Abigail at Ed's house in high school, complete with the confusingly alluring falsetto.

Check out Ichabod Crane's Bandcamp page to hear the music, because when it's good, it's pretty good.  But seriously, cool it on the breakdowns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blut Aus Nord--777 Sect(s)

Summer is upon us, and here in Texas, summer means that the bugs are back to ruin your fucking day.  Where I used to live in California, the only things that you ever had to worry about bug-wise were Black Widow spiders, which would lie in wait in laundry room trashcans to come bursting out at your outstretched hand when you went to throw away a dryer sheet, and potato bugs, which are harmless but still manage to be horrifying to look at.  But here in good old Texas, the world of bugs opens before you.  When the phrase  "Everything's bigger in Texas!" pops up, they're actually talking about water bugs, which look like cockroaches but are a couple of inches long and strong enough for you to ride them like a horse.  Look at these things:

My wife is standing on a chair with her skirt hiked up, screaming "Eeek!  EEEEEEEEEEK!"
Since we live right near a greenbelt (to be fair, it's not so much a greenbelt as it is a really giant piece unoccupied land that is overrun with trees and wildlife), we have to tangle with all sorts of buggy travelers as they come sauntering through our hood.  In fact, our apartment seems to be where the apartment's management and the bugs jointly agreed that the bugs could come to die in exchange for being less of a nuisance to the rest of the residents of our complex.  Giant earwigs?  Fuck yeah, go on inside!  Monsoon Cobra will be there to smash you with a sandal so that his wife will get off the counter.  Flying beetles?  I'm sure the Cobra family would love to dispose of your incongruously giant corpse after you flew across the living room and crashed into somebody's face for no reason.
The best bug story happened a couple of days ago, though, where one of the aforementioned water bugs got into the bathroom somehow.  It was about 1 a.m. and we were getting ready for bed.  I was turning off my computer when I hear a bloodcurdling shriek from the bathroom.  I walk in to find my wife being chased around by a giant water bug, and she's on the verge of tears.  After spending a couple of minutes enjoying the novelty of a bug the size of a small dog chasing my wife around our tiny bathroom, I went and got a container and a magazine to catch that bastard with.  My wife is "Eek!  Eek!"-ing on the toilet lid while I track the water bug into the corner and finally trap him.  I took him out on the porch and flicked him out of the bowl onto my neighbor's car.
I mean, I didn't want to kill it because the bug wasn't doing anything, and why should my neighbor have a carport right in front of MY apartment?  Fuck that!

Also, I imagine that smashing one of those gigantos would yield a shitload of guts, which is disgusting.

I'm beginning to become suspicious, however, that the bugs are attracted to Blut Aus Nord's newest fare, 777 Sect(s).  I've been relentlessly rocking this album since I happened across it and picked it up on the urging of a favorable review from Invisible Oranges and the fanatical ramblings of 8===D.  The album sounds like an angry tree full of frightening bugs that want to burrow into your ear and haunt your nightmares forever.  And all the bugs around my apartment complex can hear it and are all like "Hey guys, do you hear that?  It's that angry tree!  Let's go check this shit out!  We can go there and die and our ghosts will crawl all over peoples' skin forever!"  And then they do that.

And there's nothing so creepy as playing Dead Space 2 at 2 a.m. and feeling a spider on your leg, which disappears as soon as you see it, and then you can feel stuff crawling all over you for the rest of the night.  Dead Space 2 is creepy enough without that.

Luckily for Blut Aus Nord, this album is so good that I'll allow the stupid insects and arachnids to use my apartment as a graveyard for the summer.  I have a vacuum cleaner, after all, and I can't get enough of the creepy crawly atmosphere that lies in wait for you during the 45 minutes of 777 Sect(s).  The album starts in the most awesome way, with the dissonant, layered skronk of "Epitome 1" giving you a taste of how angular and rubbery their aural assault can be.  The assault continues through standout tracks like "Epitome 3," whose slippery, slithering riffs (I'm hearing guitar slides?  Seriously?  Awesome) sounds like a listenable John Corigliano movie score for a project that's really dark starring Willam Dafoe.  Spider Nightmare 2: Nightmares of Spiders, perhaps?  Maybe Swallowed by Bees, or Dismembered by A Swarm of Angry Glowing Bugs, the Monsoon Cobra Story?

That last one is about me, but I think it would make a better folk ballad than a movie.

My personal favorite track is "Epitome 5," which shifts back and forth between angular quasi-consonance and thick, dark atmospheres and powerfully dissonant squalls amid the frenzied blasting before getting all sludgy and groovy.  The album finishes out with the dirge-y "Epitome 6," a fitting end to a veritable fever dream coated with a creepy-crawly atmosphere and the most sonically intriguing riffs I've heard all year, and possibly ever.  Invisible Oranges and 8===D, thanks for not steering me wrong.  It's been a while since I could really get behind a black metal album (I don't count Anaal Nathrakh as black metal), and Blut Aus Nord have given me one of the most enjoyable black metal experiences I've even encountered.

Do yourself a favor and, even if you aren't into black metal at all, check out "Epitome 3".  That riff is so awesome!  And if you want to hear the album you can steal it or check out their page, which will give you a little something to whet your beak with.  I actually recommend just buying it (who am I kidding?  Steal it!) and experiencing the sensation in it's entirety for yourself.  It'll make my Top Albums list for sure.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Satanic Family (Brought to You by Ford Truck Month)

The air conditioning in my apartment keeps going out for the last couple of weeks.  It's making me insane; even though I like the hot summers in Austin (I'm much the same as your average scorpion, happy to sit under a rock in the desert heat), I don't like indoor heat.  Indoor heat is stupid, because all that happens when I'm indoors and it's hot is that I get slightly more sweat all over my couch.

And since that couch is relatively new, I'm still in the "trying not to ruin the couch" phase of couch ownership.  It seems like it shouldn't be so difficult to just not ruin something, but I like to eat and drink everywhere in the apartment, which is why the bathroom is overflowing with Cup O' Noodles cups and the disgusting floating dehydrated peas that I refuse to eat.  And why the couch has a bunch of Oreo halves (frosting side, obviously) stuck to the back cushions.

Don't judge me.

The other side effect of indoor heat is that it kind of short circuits my brain (the whiskey doesn't help, either), and this kind of heat-dementia usually produces strange waking dreams and ridiculous ideas.  At least other people think my heat-dementia ideas are ridiculous.  I think they're great.  We all know that reality television is the new big phase in entertainment, the biggest thing since the pratfall was invented in 18-dickety-3 after Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War-era Illuminati stole the word for "sixty."  It's all on the Interbung, people.  But I maintain that current programming kind of sucks.  Sure, it's fun to watch a bunch of rich gaddabouts talk shit about each other to a camera and then have an argument at a five star restaurant, but I grow tired of watching rich and/or sleazy people do their thing pretty quickly.  Unless their thing is MONSTER TRUCKS!

Somebody's Smart Car looks a lot less STUPID ALL OF A SUDDEN, doesn't it?!?  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

But it almost never is.

But my ideas for reality programming are, I think, much more compelling than your average "watch how rich I am" or "washed up celebrities doing things that nobody does"-style competition.  For example, I think America would go crazy for the newest reality drama, "So You Think You Can L.A.R.P.?" coming to NBC this fall.  It's the competition that got America talking about L.A.R.P.-ing again, where they follow a bunch of nerds around a public park for a month and pit them against each other in a series of physical and trivia challenges to see who is the ultimate L.A.R.P.-er.  Who will be the next king of the Cesar Chavez Park in Wilmington, Ohio?  Tune in to find out!

The concept for my favorite idea, though, comes from the metal sphere in which you likely exist if you're reading this.  We're all familiar with the fact that metal exists in two spheres, between which we all move back and forth depending on the degree of our disdain for normal human beings.  I'm talking, of course, about Satanic metal and not-really-Satanic metal.  It's a fact of our lives that metal bands like to reference/approve of/worship/draw cool pictures of Satan.  It's actually something that annoys me the most about being a metal guy, because most people find out that I'm into heavy metal and therefore assume that I sacrifice animals and drink all different manners of exotic bloods from around the world.  It annoys me to be typecasted in this way, but I chalk it up to being something that comes with the territory of having unique and excellent taste in music.

The idea I kept having, though, is what if everything in life broke down in this same way?  What if there were Satanic pop music, Satanic restaurants, Satanic car dealerships?  A Satanic Home Depot for your truly evil home remodeling needs, perhaps?  Then it occurred to me, the perfect place for something Satanic to really take off in real life.

Reality television.

The concept's working title is "The Satanic Family," which will obviously be sponsored by Ford, where Truck Month will save you more money than you ever thought possible on a 2012 Ford F-150, the best selling truck in America.  The idea is that you find a family that is really into being Satanic, kind of like when you see the family of fanatical Baptists or the windy, condescending Atheist family.  In other words, the family would have to identify themselves as Satanists first and foremost, because we all know that when people are cuckoo for belief structures (or lack thereof), they become preachy to the point of being unbearable, even if they're being nice to you.  They would also need to be a sort of nuclear family, preferably with a couple of pets that are always skulking around in the background while the humans discuss how Satan has freed them from the oppression of the Christian pigdogs around a very evil Take and Bake pizza.  The cameras would follow them around their every day lives, taking candid snapshots of what it really means to be a Satanist.  There would be laughter and tears, and everybody would learn how to love again, gathering around the Pentacle drawn on the floor for some wholesome family entertainment that centers on everybody's favorite bad boy, the Prince of Lies.

I imagine that there would be a scene where the son was supposed to clean up after the Friday Family Ritual Sacrifice, but instead sleeps in, much to the father's chagrin.  After they learn how to better communicate with each other, they will go enjoy a Saturday family bike ride, wherein the mother and father will encourage their children to get some exercise and use the time to think about destroying Christ through mountain biking and community service.

It would be a smash hit.

So while I sit back and wait for ABC Family to call me and buy the idea off me for a lot of money, I encourage you to call ABC Family and point them in my direction, because it's very important that America keeps destroying itself through brainless reality television, and I've got the ideas that are going to sell breakfast cereals and 0% financing for 36 months with approved credit.

Either that, or we bring Monster Trucks back into the spotlight.  They're so large and can smash smaller cars!

Fuck Yeah!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

100th Post: It's Hard to Be A Hessian

This is my official 100th post here at Mouthful of Acid HQ, and I'm excited that I've actually been able to make this stupid, pointless thing that I do last for this long.  I was nearly certain that, like most blogs, I would start mine with all the idealism and zealousness that comes with non-profit, unsolicited Interhole "writing," but would soon devolve into me posting pictures of cute cats or meals that I ate every six months or so.  As it turns out, there's plenty of cool music to listen to in the world, and since the Interbung makes listening to it all literally free, I get to keep my iPod fully stocked with new music for the bike ride to work while I try to think of ways to compare what I'm hearing to either a) a wiener, or b) doo doo.  It usually works to take my mind off the horrible hill country and the drivers who see you as some sort of moving obstacle that it's okay to whack with the side mirror of their Ford Fusion as they drive to Starbucks.

That's why I bought a bike helmet; it makes me look ridiculous, but my head will remain intact if somebody is nice enough to just clip me going 60 miles per hour.

The other thing I spend a lot of my time thinking about on the way to work every morning while ignoring my fragile mortality is the state of music that is "popular," or more specifically, "popular to people who describe themselves as being into heavy metal."  I think that we're a very interesting lot, us metal dudes, and it lightens my heart that we encompass all the colors of the rainbow and [something about brotherhood, blah blah blah].  But it seems like less and less that I can get behind trends and new waves of things as they sweep through the landscape of our music.  I maintain that it's because I'm getting older and my inner crusty is starting to really emerge, disdainfully watching people who are younger than me enjoy music that I don't see any real value in.  Also, the people are wearing dumb or ironic t-shirts.  My crusty inner cigarette hanging from my lips, I order up another Lone Star from the bar and stand in the back where I won't get pulled into a mosh pit.

Because I wear glasses, and, since my mom no longer pays for them, I've come to realize how ridiculously expensive it is to be able to see.

Usually on my site, I stick to writing reviews and stuff for things that I like.  I like to pepper in some poorly thought out philosophical questions in the mix just to keep stuff fresh, but mostly I stick to stuff that I like, because if I don't like something, I'm not going to give it enough time for me to think of something really critical and helpful to say about it.  I hear it and go "Lame," and then I stop thinking about it.  But today I want to briefly touch on a couple of things that my inner hesher has been complaining about.

First, Djent is the new Deathcore.  People complain about Deathcore as being generic and lacking any actual style or individuality.  Indeed, it has been the whipping boy genre for people to scoff about on message boards and blog threads and things for quite a while now.  But I see a new trend rising, and you need to prepare yourself.  Because the garbage that bands like Periphery and Tesseract churn out, with their two note riffs and their clean-singing choruses doused with reverb are becoming the new musical pandemic.  Get ready to forget about Suicide Silence forever, because the new wave of Djent bands are all Suicide Silences in nerds' clothing.  These poorly conceived copycat bands to start ripping off all the lamest conventions of radio rock, mashing it together clumsily with Meshuggah's signature syncopated style, and calling it awesome.  It's not awesome.  Periphery isn't awesome.  Tesseract isn't awesome.  Djent just kind of sucks, bro.  And a few years from now after every 13 year old has been in a Djent band (and that's going to happen, too), everybody's going to be like "Muuuuhhhh, I liked Djent a long time ago lol but now it's played out learn some originality," and good old Monsoon Cobra will be sitting back listening to Meshuggah.  Because only they can do it right.

Second, bands going black metal need to stop that.  We all like things that are grim and frostbitten, and one of life's greatest pleasures is to prove yourself more kvlt than somebody else.  It's true, so don't try to deny it.  But taking that kvlter than thou attitude and transferring it into making your existing band a black metal band is annoying.  Were you in a deathrash band before?  And you guys have just changed into a black metal band?  So...I guess you got tired of doing something difficult poorly and decided to do something easy poorly then, right?  I wish I had more specific examples for bands that did this; perhaps I'm just ranting about this because of a couple of bands that will remain nameless.  I liked them, and then they inexplicably went black metal and bummed me out.

Third, I'm tired of production-based discrimination and the buzzword "overcompressed."  Cosmo Lee, of one of my favorite nerd blogs Invisible Oranges, is the most major perpetrator of this, but it's something that's spread to pandemic levels all around the metal world.  Now, I'm not saying that you should dislike something because of raw or fuzzy production; the heart wants what the heart wants, and I'll be the first to be stoked on a poorly produced crust grind demo tape that some drunk dude at a show gave me.  I love crust grind!  And there can be a certain intensity to it.  But writing off modern-sounding production just because it sounds too good seems backwards to me.  "I don't like their new album; it sounds like they can play their instruments, and you can really hear all the riffing.  And the mix is so solid!  What a shitty recording."  I find that people who gravitate toward the down and dirty style of recording have little need to actually hear the music or the riffs, and instead bask in the sound of a melange of fuzzy noise with cymbals crashing and screeching vokillz.  I've enjoyed raw and/or primitive sounding recordings; I don't know why people only want to hear that kind of shit all the time though.

I mean, if you're going to be reactionary against Killswitch Engage, maybe just listen to a band that writes good music.  You don't have to throw away well-produced music with the proverbial bathwater.

I could go on forever about things that bother me, but since I've been sitting on this crap for a couple of days now, I think it's time to stop the 100th post rant and just point out that, since my opinion doubles as fact, I'm right, and if you like Djent, going black metal, or complaining about good production, you are wrong.  Sorry.

Also, if you're under the age of 21, you shouldn't be at any show.  I hate those kids.

No, I'm just kidding.  But seriously, nobody under 21.