Emperor - IX Equilibrium
Crikey, what have I done. What if I like this. How am I going to explain to people. I'll go straight to Hell.Those were some of the thoughts that went through my mind the first time I ever bought a Voivod album, which was the most "extreme" thing I'd bought until that point. But what did it matter anyway. It was only people's idiotic preconceptions based on something that they actually knew little about. So what if "they" didn't like it. It wasn't about them. It was about me. Course I loved it, and I didn't go to Hell. I went to England instead. Oh lighten up, it's supposed to be fun. And I swore that I wouldn't prejudice myself again against something based on fear of what others thought. Until I bought this. Never got into death or black or whatevermetal. I don't own a single Cradle Of Filth item. Why? Because in everything I've read about the genre, usually from people who love it, it's strikes me as being populated by a bunch of pricks with ideas that shouldn't have even been conceived. But I'm doing that again, judging on what others think and produce. Not the music. And as I keep saying, it's the music that counts. So, I've taken then plunge and bought an album. This one. About to take my first tiptoes into the murky depths. God, I'm going to Hell. (Sorry for the blasphemous contradiction there). Anyone wish to join me?
So, what's it like in here. Waaarggghhhhh. It's fast. Fast. Fast. And accessible. Strip away the bollocks imagery that surrounds all this, and we have thrash, we have melody, and we have orchestration. All in the same song usually. And the vocals, though gruff are acceptable in terms of being able to make out the majority of what's being said. Looking at the lyrics helps as well, but hey, it does for anything. Except for when you're looking at the wrong lyrics.
There's double bass drum work aplenty. And I love double bass drum work. Though it has to be said that this gets a little tiresome in that although it's there and it's fast, it seems to be almost a constant speed throughout the album. Variety has been sacrificed (sorry) for the drummer setonconstantkill mode. Some different patterns would've been nice. Oooh, and I just stumbled one of those piercing high note things. Which reminds me I think of why I deviated a little from metal over the years. Some of the high notes bands do are not good. Make you cringe a bit.
So that's the music in general. I'd describe it as orchestrated thrash, cos it allows me to avoid the stuff that I have bad pre-conceived notions of.
And sorry, but any band that uses the old church bells intro, as The Warriors Of Modern Death does, is competing against Sabbath, Metallica and AC / DC in the what you're expecting next stakes. It's just not a wise move. Doesn't mean the song is bad, it's just not a wise move.
Course, I can't tell if this is actually a good album within the genre because I know little about the genre as a whole. But then, if you're already into it, you'll know what you think and whatever I reckon is of total irrelevence to you. If like me you've not dabbled before, well, it's not as scary as I thought. The politics and imagery might be hard to stomach these days, but musically, well, if you ever went down the Slayer path, then this isn't so much of a diversion. Not sure that I'm going to become close friends with death though. There's so much other stuff to become aquainted with. And as for the imagery, well the Manson clones and Chinowannabies look dumb as well. We all do. Itís part of being human.
See you in Hell. With a $3 bill y'all!. Waaarrrrrgh.
Available on Candlelight.
Fu Manchu - Eatiní Dust.
And now it's time for the honourary stoner CD. And the first thing to note for me was the sheer relief that when I popped this thing in the cd player it came up with a time of only 35 minutes for the 8 tracks. Which after the Sleep 52 minute 1 track album was a bit of a relief I can tell you.
And as I'm listening to opening track Godzilla, the name running through my mind is actually the Rollins Band. Which in the not taking any drugs scheme of things is pretty strange for an alleged stoner band. But it's nothing to do with that and totally to do with the drone of the music and the "limited" vocals of Scott Hill. But when you consider the Sabbath influence in Rollins, and the Sabbath influence in this music isn't maybe as surprising as it first seems. Meanwhile Module Overload stomps along and Living Legend has a riff that brings to mind the heavier sludgier moments of Soundgarden.
Although those names, Sabbath and Soundgarden crop up in my mind quite often, it feels a lot more lo-fi and fuzzy than either of those bands, and Iím not sure if thatís necessarily a good thing. And the songs for me donít quite cut it, like the title track or Mongoose, although more like Shift Kicker could get me a lot more interested. Thereís an upturn in pace that is most welcome, and itís more direct than some of the other tracks. But ultimately this style of music can often leave me pretty cold, and though not cold enough to be on the morgue slab, this one doesnít set me raging with fire in Hell. One for the purists maybe?
Available on: Manís Ruin Records
Organ Zine #61.
Itís back. Organ is back as a zine, picking up where it left off. If youíve never seen it before, well, this time itís an 80 page A5 zine. Cut and paste. But those are the unimportant points. Whatís important is the style itís written in and that thereís so many reviews of demos and unknown stuff. Itís what makes it useful, interesting, a resource in producing your own zine. Interviews in this one are with Cay, Pornorphans (who of course I now want to hear) and The Cuban Boys. Ok, well I donít agree with everything in this zine. But itís all those reviews that make it. Thereís about 5 pages of zine reviews alone. Youíre not going to agree with everything Sean Org writes because itís a pretty eclectic mix. I know there are some reviews I totally disagree with, but hey, thatís the beauty of it all isnít it. And despite the interview with Cay in this here zine, Iím not ready to proclaim them the best band in the world. Not even in the UK. But hey, everyoneís got an opinion. And anyway, this one comes with Organ Radio #8, a 20 track CD which features two tracks from the wonderful Sack Trick (have you bought the album yet? Why not???? Go on, do it. You know you want to). In fact the whole CD is a showcase of Org releases, including Cynical Smile, the soon to be released Little Giant Drug (canít wait), the chaotic madness of the Cardiacs (who you should check out, especially lovers of early Mr Bungle), Dream City Film Club and a whole host more. And all that for only 2 quid.
Contact: Org Records Ltd, Unit 212, The Old Gramaphone Works, 326 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BZ.