Medulla Nocte / Freebase - From One Extreme To Another.

You've got to be excited about this haven't you? Yes, you have. It's a chance to hear some new Nocte, albeit in a somewhat limited manner. Still, it's new Nocte. Get my drift. But first it's three tracks from Freebase. I've seen them a couple of times, and hear various tracks on various compilations, and so I'm looking forward to the album, whenever it is eventually released.

First track is Body About to Burst which to these years is a metal monster. It chugs along, powered by a riff and rhythm section that wouldnít have been out of place in one of the "big four" thrash bands. The reason I say that is if this is an indicator of the album, which according to the sleeve notes here is due in November, then this could well be the introduction into hardcore for those into chuggy thuggy metal but havenít yet taken a bite. Itís good, but hardcore? Well, the link feels tenuous to me. At least as tenuous as it should be. They then cover the Nocte's All Our Friends Are Dead, and being that it's a great song, they manage not to fuck it up. Doesn't quite feel the same intensity as the original, but I didn't expect it to. Sounds like thereís some slightly different things going on in there to the original, and I donít think itís got quite the same pace. They finish up their 3 track stint with Beneath Contempt, which is slightly more groove based than Body About ... and is a touch more hardcore sounding in the riff. But athough hardcore, Freebase to me deal in a slightly more metallic style than the Nocte with Markís gruff vocal finishing things off.

Medulla Nocte. The Nocte. Nothing For Second. It's been pulverising in their gigs all year now, so it's nice to finally be able to sit down and look it fully in the face in the comfort of your own room. Or work as it is at the moment as I'm listening to it and typing this. And be scared shitless by it. Crikey, I probably need to take that "wooargh fooooook" out of the thesis. It's the band pushing back the boundaries for themselves. It's intense but refrained. No, it's not refrained, it's I dunno, it's them but it's more. "I'm sorry" hollers Paul, something he shouldn't be. Sorry that is. Not when youíre producing sounds as awesome as this. It twists, it turns through different time changes, it riffs and it grooves, it nuts you in the face. To me it's the sound of a band who could now truly make the transition to real headline status. I mean, I didn't see them on the Soulfly dates, but for me, this is the sound of a band who could go face to face with the Seps, Soulfly, Machine Head and all of them, and then laugh as those bands run crying into the sunset. They need the support of course, they probably need American accents, but they are easily good enough. Support. Elevate this band to the status they deserve. Man is this a fucking great track? Yes is your answer. Itís 5 1/2 minutes of majesty.

It's time for them to now repay the compliment by covering a Freebase tune. And Trying to Change is it. Unlike the Freebase cover, I'm not in the position of being overly familiar with the original. Which may or may not be to my advantage. From the Freebase perspective it's good, because this stands up well to the Nocte treatment. Though it kind of pales in comparison to Nothing. Did I tell you what a great track that is? Well it is. And finally we reach A.C.A. My god, Patton better watch out when he flexes his more extreme tonsils, and Mr Lombardo can watch out on the drumming front, cos Jammer is after him. But thereís more to this band than those two. Neal conjures up some classic riffs, and it sounds as though heís becoming slightly more adventurous, and new boy Mark seems to have settled into Bones shoes on bass quite nicely.

Outstanding release, well worth the fiver it cost. And it's always entertaining to read what Glasper writes somewhere in the sleeve notes of all Blackfish releases as well. One good band, one utterly great band, and a label that will hopefully continue to flourish and give UK bands a chance.



Noisegate / Charger

Rugeley Red Rose

May 21 1999

Well, if you've been following this weeks little escapades (what d'ymean you haven't?????), then you'll know the situation. I was late starting out. More footage to the floorage, and the chariot Murc does it's best to become a time

machine rather than just a car. And somehow this time I manage to arrive with all of 2 minutes to spare. Which this week has been something of a result.

So, Charger are about to start. First time I've seen this lot, and the impression that is left is of another band from the school of Sabbathesque music married with hardcore vocals, albeit of a more digestible format than Iron Monkey. But there's a similarity there. And although there's some variation, a little singing at times, I'm still reeling from the System gigs this week and the proof that you can have extreme vocals but also variation and melody. So it's probably unfair to judge others until I get that out of my system (sorry. Been a long week. Lot's of driving y'know). I don't know the names of the songs, but there was one, played just after the band had said "we can't play that. It's 45 minutes, and we only have half an hour" that has a cracking dual guitar riff in there that sounds harmonically evil. Or something like that. It jumped out at me anyway. The songs are long drawn out pieces, and I need to sit down and make friends with it before I can fully decide whether it's going to be friends with me. Which is lucky in the grand scheme of things, as they've got a release coming out on Undergroove Recordings very soon now. Though I can do without another band going for the feedback enriched ending a la Soundgarden years ago, Iron Monkey and others too numerous to mention, as they often put on funeral lists.

During Noisegate's set, they announce that they've signed a deal with Earthtone 9's management, and have an album recorded and ready to release. Which is good news. And the music from it dominates tonights set. I did my customary action of making a mental note of the titles, only to leave the note behind when I left the venue. If someone finds it, would they be kind enough to return it to me. Ta.

Musically it should sound excellent, though I have a feeling already that it's going to be "too much like Pantera" for certain high profile magazines. Like it's ok for American bands to sound like each other, but not for UK bands to. Uh huh. I see the logic in that. No, I really do. To an extent it's a good old fashioned gig. And maybe there's where the only problem I can see lies. Vocalist Nick tries hard to get a rapport going, and indeed manages it. But what he's saying is a bit cheesy and lame to my tastes. But there again, I personally think Phil Anselmo is a bit of a t!&t when it comes to stage banter, that Max Cavalier (nope, I MEANT to spell it that way) and his "fuck shit up" gets very boring, and that only the Ozzmeister can get away with the "let's go crazy". And those only work in a packed venue, which despite the decent turnout, well, the best one I've seen in the 3 times I've been here, this place isn't. Packed that is. There's songs such as Low, Stripped (I think), and I reckon they said the album is going to be called "By Any Means". It would be good to see them on a decent support slot with the chance to perform to a good turnout ready for this. Then the banter may work better. At the moment, musically and vocally it's pretty much there, can't fault it much at all. Let's just hope that the good old UK apathy doesn't strike once more.

And you know what, and I swear this is the truth. When I got home and stepped out of the car, MURC put it's hands on its hips, dipped the hip and looked me in the eye before saying "Dave, what the fuck are you trying to do to me. I'm not a bloody time machine. We need to talk." Gulp. Not even me car loves me now. I promise, next week I'll try to get the timings right.