Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Album Review: Putrefied Beauty - Promo 2010

I feel like I'm going to get into a gender discrimination lawsuit with this one...

Brutal Italian chicks.

For the most part, the world of metal is dominated by men. There are talented female musicians scattered about--Liz Buckingham of Electric Wizard; the Japanese, all female (possibly now one male guitarist) grindcore powerhouse Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation; Mel from Fuck the Facts, just to name some of my favorites--but metal is predominantly hairy, sweaty dudes. So when I first heard of an all female brutal death band I was skeptical but decided to investigate further not only to see if the band was any good but to see if these females could hold their own in one of the most thematically depraved and openly misogynistic genres of music.

First, this is more technically oriented rather than slam oriented brutal death, although there are a few slams (but they don't come close to those of bands like Devourment). Second, the musicianship on this album is superb. The guitar work is technical but not to the point of being annoying or boring. The drumming is extremely precise and technical as well--it's not all just blast beats and gravity blasts. The vocals are not all that guttural but they fit in well with the rest of the music. And surprisingly, if you listen closely, you can actually hear the bass! All in all, these girls can hold their own against their male counterparts within the genre, even having more to offer listeners than perverted audio samples and ball(or ovary)crushingly heavy slams (don't get me wrong, Kraanium and Cerebral Incubation are two of my favorite slam/brutal death bands, so I have no qualms if that's what a band brings to the table).

This Italian brutal death quartet's 2010 promo is a solid addition to the brutal death genre. There is enough variety across the four tracks to keep it entertaining and not get bogged down in repetition. Odd time signatures, technicality, and catchy riffs are not issues for these musicisti. My only qualm with this release is that it's too short, clocking in at just under 15 minutes, but it's called a promo and not a full length for a reason. If this album is at all a representation of what these donne are capable of, I anxiously await future releases.

You can stream the entire promo as well as two other tracks on their MySpace.

Friday, February 18, 2011

V





Unearthly Trance is a doom trio from New York, New York. The band is composed of lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Lipynski, drummer/backing vocalist Darren Verni, and bassist Jay Newman. They formed in 2000 and are currently signed to Relapse Records. The New Yorkers’ fifth and newest album, V, was released on September 28th, 2010 and is described on the album sleeve as “electric, urban funeral drone.” I can hear the drone influence on many of the tracks, but I’m not really sure where the “funeral” comes from, considering this doesn’t sound anything like the funeral doom I’ve heard in the past. V sounds like a pretty straight-forward sludge album to me, with some drone influence. Genre-placement aside, V is a pretty crushing album. I think the band is at their best on the more up-tempo tracks like “Current”, “Sleeping While They Feast”, and “Into a Chasm.” The slower tracks are still good, but a lot of times they don’t hold my interest as much. The tracks “Physical Universe Distorts” and the album-closing “The Leveling”, while still very heavy, don’t really match the intensity of the rest of the album. The vocals are kind of a mixed-bag. While I do think that the screams go well with the music it’s when the vocalists try to do more than just scream that they end up sounding kind of like James Hetfield, which isn’t something I want on my sludge albums. Fortunately, they use the cleaner vocals pretty sparingly and they aren’t unlistenable anyway. The production is top-notch, it’s very polished but doesn’t take away from the intensity of the album. I would recommend this album to anyone that is a fan of sludge, drone or doom in general. It is by no means a genre-changing classic, but people who like their metal slow and heavy will definitely enjoy it. You can order V from the Relapse Records web store.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Face Off on Syfy - Episode Three

This week's episode starts with the contestants talking about last week. As the contestants talk to the camera it is revealed, not surprisingly, that everyone hates Frank. Next come a few clips of the contestants existing in their locked down habitat and it is obvious that there is a romance brewing between Megan and Conor. Great. This won't make the show less enjoyable by adding unnecessary drama or anything.

More after the jump.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Salome


Salome is a three-piece sludge band from Virginia currently signed to Profound Lore Records. On their 2008 self-titled debut they play sludge the way it's supposed to be played, pissed off and fucking slow. The vocals are done by Katherine "Kat" Katz (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and she does a great job, she reminds me of a less guttural Runhild Gammelsaeter of Thorr's Hammer. If I had to compare their sound to another band I would say they are similar to Cough, but less sprawling. An interesting note to make is that like Pig Destroyer and Black Cobra, Salome proves that bass isn't always a necessity in the world of metal to be sufficiently heavy. My favorite track on the album is probably the opener "The Vivification of Ker" which plays off the same riff for most of the song, but also sprinkles in some stoner influence near the end. "Black Tides" and "White Tides" complement each other very well. The former has some post-rock vibes at the beginning (at least until the vocals kick in) and the latter is just crushing the whole way through, with some of the more up-tempo riffs on the entire album. The album closer "Onward Destroyer" can become a little tedious at times when there isn't much going on and it probably features the album's weakest moments, but it is still a fitting ending to the album. This is the first release I have ever heard by Salome, but they are definitely a band I plan on paying attention to in the future. You can download the album on their Last.fm profile for free or order their new full-length Terminal on the Profound Lore web store.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Evolution of Nicolas Cage's Hair

I have nothing else to contribute to this, so I'll just let it bask in its own glory.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Devourment Videos

Back on November 21st I went to a concert at DC's Rock n Roll Hotel to see Devourment, Vital Remains, Dying Fetus, and Cannibal Corpse. The show was really good besides Vital Remains almost putting me to sleep. It was really packed and the crowd was going insane; there was a pit going for the entirety of Cannibal Corpse's set which came close to two hours. It was awesome seeing Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus live, but, since I'm such a big fan of brutal death, I was most excited about seeing Devourment. They sounded amazing and got the crowd going--I even jumped into the pit for the end of "Babykiller." Anyways, my main reason for starting this post was to share some short clips I took on my phone (pardon the shitty audio and video quality) during Devourment's set.Videos after the jump. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Face Off on Syfy - Episodes One and Two

Since I'm a week behind on this show, I'm going to lump episodes one and two into the same post.


Last week Syfy premiered a reality TV show called Face Off where twelve special effects makeup artists compete in challenges for the grand prize of $100,000, a year's worth of makeup supplies, and an ambiguous prize of something that will jump start their career. I got super excited when I first heard about this show because special effects makeup is my biggest personal interest when it comes to film making and I plan on applying to Tom Savini's special effect makeup program at the Douglas Education Center once I finish up the year and change I have left in DC.

More about the show after the jump.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

City and Colour "Body in a Box"

Body in a Box

Do you like funerals? No? Me neither. They are sad, long, and completely unnecessary. They just drag on and on, tears are shed, and a loved one's remains are shoved into the ground. Sounds like a terrible way to spend a day. Unless your family member or friend was kind of a dick, they probably don't want you to suffer just because they're not around anymore. (To my friends, I want you to suffer so hard you combust, just so you know.)
Dallas Green of City and Colour understands this, as evidenced by "Body in a Box", the fourth track off City and Colour's "Bring Me Your Love" album. When I first heard the song on a train ride from Maine to Boston in 2009, I immediately set my iPod to repeat and just stared through the window at some good ol' Maine trees passing by as Green's solid vocals, simple but effective guitar, and great harmonica swam through my brain leaving little bits of wisdom behind. By the time the New Hampshire trees were looking back at me from outside the window, I still hadn't heard the fifth song on the album. Same story for when the trash and mediocre graffiti in Massachusetts blurred by.

You can't help someone when they're dead. They're gone. They're never coming back. I'm sure you know this, most people do, but most people don't live like they know it. The fact is that death is all around us, we are aware of its inevitability, but we always treat life like there's gonna be that one more day, that one more chance. At some point, there are no more days and chances, they're out, the clock stops ticking. There are going to be things you forgot to tell someone before they went, and that is just a part of life. And that is okay because life is about the things you did and said, not the things you didn't. When that blood stops pumping and that brain quits, just step back and let them go.

"There's a funeral procession on the highway,
Traffic screeches to a halt.
There's people searching for a better way,
To live their lives, oh-oh,
'Johnny lived a good life' you'll hear them say,
As tears of sadness soak the ground.
The reaper crept and took his breath away,
In the middle of the night, oh-oh.
We celebrate the lives of the dead,
It's like a man's best party only happens when he dies.
We gather 'round to pay our respects
While their souls are still searching for the light,
Searching for the light."

Let your friends and family find their light. Perhaps there is only darkness, but that isn't the point. Death happens. But don't let it sneak up on you. And even more important, don't let it bring serious amounts of debilitating regret into your life. Your loved ones wouldn't want that. Celebrate with the living. Let the dead go in peace.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace" by The Mountain Goats

I'm going to take this 'review' in a direction I don't intend on taking very often when contributing to Sleaze and Scream. If you want to skip my bullshit, the song link is at the bottom.

"You son of a bitch," a man said, watching himself speak to the cracked and dusty mirror in the yellow-tiled bathroom of a run-down motel off the interstate. The rain beat down on the windows like a swarm of bugs hitting a windshield, splat splat splat, in a semi-musical pattern. A different man in a dirty and wrinkled suit struggled, tied and gagged on the shag carpet that was surely covered in more human fluids than the blood dripping from his mouth. "It didn't have to be this way, you know?" the first man said as he came out of the bathroom, picking his fingernails. He casually walked over to the man on the floor and gave him a swift kick to the stomach, drawing a pained cough that could be heard cracking and gurgling blood through the cloth. "We're going to Mexico, you and I, we're gonna have fun. Well, I'm going to have fun, you're going to die."

Early the next morning the two were off in a light blue sedan that had rust spots along the sides like polka dots of age and 'character'. The rain that had stopped overnight started up again, giving the desert even more life. The desert offered its gratitude in the form of bright magenta flowers dotting the barren landscape. "I'm going to drive 'till the rain stops," the driver said to his still tied-up passenger, "and then keep driving." A soft-rock song crackled through the radio as he fiddled with the knobs. He didn't know the words, but he tried to sing them anyways. The rain beat down harder on the windshield and birds flew in circles above.

"Well, I'm not sure how I'm going to get across the border with you all tied up," he laughed, one hand casually on the wheel and empty eyes looking over, "so, I guess I'll just kill you and dispose of your body before the border." The passenger whimpered. "That isn't very manly of you. But you were manly enough to fuck my wife. So you better stop being a bitch." The passenger started crying. "You stop crying right fucking now!" he screamed, knuckles white on the wheel, swerving slightly as the veins on his temple flared blue. The man slowed down and pulled over while taking deep, deliberate breaths in a failed attempt to relax. He pulled a needle out of the front pocket of his coat and pulled up his sleeve and tied off his arm, blasting off. As his mind became cloudy, it became suddenly clear. "It's time," he said, smiling.

As the sun set behind the dusty hills, painting long shadows on the desolate landscape and leaving behind large swatches of orange and pink above the horizon, the sedan drove off. In its wake a bloody mess of flesh, bones, dirt, and a business suit...
'High as the clouds now, flying. Drive 'till the rain stops, keep driving...'