Final Fright – Artificial Perfection

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Hailing from Italy, Final Fright play ripping speed metal right out of the mid 1980s. Established in 2010, the band played covers, released the demo Abusive Grindhouse in 2012 and now in 2015 present us with their first full-length album, Artificial Perfection.

Unabashedly retro in their choice of style, Final Fright feels completely at home and does not try to impose modern conventions on the language of this particular brand of speed metal. Neither is the band copy pasting from particular acts. Artificial Perfection sounds like a someone learning and dominating a foreign language. When this happens, the music does not come out sounding like a cardboard front disguising something else, but the artists are able to express themselves as native speakers in the lingo of the genre.

But speaking a language does not necessarily imply you have something worth saying. So it is that the honest and proficient handling of the musical language by Final Fright is satisfactory and even enjoyable but unexceptional all the same. People looking for bouncy, authentic speed metal in a different mouth and voice but offering nothing different will find this is a fantastic release for them.

“Hacker Metal” by Brett Stevens on Perfect Sound Forever

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I wrote an article about the cross-influence between hacking and heavy metal. It covers the use of alternative media, like BBS and AE lines, to convey a hidden truth that is shared between metalheads and hackers. The article is entitled “Hacker Metal” and it is published in Perfect Sound Forever webzine.

For those who remember the early web, Perfect Sound Forever is an e-zine that started in 1993 and has run continuously since. It derived its name from an early Sony/Philips ad designed to convince people to switch to compact disks, and covers all forms of music including a fair amount of metal.

In search of the ‘perfect album’

The mainstream media finally asks a good question:

People love to talk about music. A story about Ken Caillat’s new book covering the inside story behind the Fleetwood Mac album, “Rumours,” had several readers gushing about their own favorite albums. Seems there are all kinds of “perfect albums” for all kinds of tastes.

Take a look at what readers said, and then let us know what “perfect albums” pop up into your mind. Do people still think albums are still a big deal? And, for that matter, what are the qualities that make a great album? – CNN

Other than the fact that I agree with Paul Ledney that perfection does not exist (or rather, to be perfect must be imperfect) I’ll bite. A perfect album is one with a concept that holds it all together, consistent songwriting, good quality and that takes on important topics or emotional changes. It has to be something you can throw on again and again and not get bored.

  1. Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
  2. Slayer – Hell Awaits and South of Heaven
  3. Deicide – Legion
  4. Sepultura – Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation
  5. Incantation – Onward to Golgotha
  6. Pestilence – Consvming Impvlse
  7. Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion
  8. Enslaved – Vikinglgr Veldi
  9. Summoning – Dol Goldur
  10. Beherit – Drawing Down the Moon and Electric Doom Synthesis
  11. Demigod – Slumber of Sullen Eyes
  12. Bolt Thrower – …For Victory

These are the kind of albums that people should aim to emulate, not the trendy flavor-of-the-day black metal or indie rock hybrids!

Jesu – Why Are We Not Perfect

Jesu – Why Are We Not Perfect
Hydra Head, 2008

Justin Broadrick demonstrated through his early works a desire for that moment of unitivity when the conscious mind and emotions synchronized. Through Godflesh, and later Techno Animal and Final, he showed a passion for bringing colossal structures to bear on moments of quiet contemplation. With Jesu, he resurrects his music outside the ghetto that extremist offerings can be, and melds into post-rock disparate influences from industrial, shoegaze, noisepop, and so forth. Jesu, protean as all Broadrick projects are, in turn twisted from more radiantly noisy to its current softer state. On “Why Are We Not Perfect” Jesu moves the slider closest to shoegaze and pop, losing much of the more complicated structuring and sound that made earlier Jesu challenging. This gambit may prove risky: many in the post-rock fanclub would like to leave behind what so rigidly defines rock and brings the moths to its one-size-fits-all dose, and “Why Are Not Perfect” drapes its nearly ecclesiastical encompassing layered sound over the exuberant shuffle beats of rock/pop. Song structures are not linear but follow a verse chorus pattern culminating in a serenity like the moment after a surf crashes on the beach when water lapses into absorbent, silent sand. Less jagged distortion and cleaner, plaintive emo vocals guide each song and sounds elide smoothly from abrasive feedback to silken, reminiscent of shoegaze classics like Medicine and My Bloody Valentine. While this EP satisfies as a taste, and an exploration, this reviewer hopes Broadrick abandons the past — and doesn’t relapse into his influences — so he can keep exploring the seemingly erratic, intense jigsaw song structures he served up on the self-titled Jesu debut.

Hipsters Fetishize Cassettes

Compact cassette music sales rose 140% over last year. Wow, noise, and flutter! How quaint. Hipsters have declared their love for a format that, unlike the vinyl LP, does not even sound particularly good. The most commonplace Dolby noise reduction systems in most cassette decks cause immense loss of high end detail. Most hipsters collecting cassettes can’t even find a player with a properly aligned tape head. Most will probably be using ghetto blasters or Talkboys as they were six in 1992 when Home Alone 2 came out.

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Martire – Martire (1991)

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As the continent was before Britannic penal colonization, Australian black and death metal scene was and is still mostly an undeveloped desert of unexceptional crossover thrash posturing as “war metal”, blackened cheeseball beer metal, AC/DC clones with unclean vocals, and experimental technical deaf metal/post-hardcore/jazz fusion hybrids. Martire rode forth from obscurity to restore fruit and flower to the wasteland, fertilizing the barren bush wielding fire and sword.

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Thy Invocation of Hell Reprint

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Malaysian label Afterlife Productions has restored and reprinted Southeast Asia’s first black metal zine, Thy Invocation of Hell. It’s packed with interviews from tons of legendary bands, all conducted in their early and formative years, before wannabe rockstar egos and commercialism took hold. Buy it. From the label’s Facebook page:

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Sangreal Impressions

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Article by David Rosales.

Condor surprises us in their last album, Sangreal, with several different advances of stylistic explorations. While Duin constituted a formalization of the finding that was Nadia, we could expect that the next step to be taken should be precisely this expansion of a consciousness which had only recently become aware of itself. Even though Condor’s music projects a very traditional image, the final result has turned out unique, both in its character as it is shaped by consistent melodic preferences, and in its methodology, which enabled veritable compositions to come into existence from powerful riffs and inebriating tunes.

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