Final Fright – Artificial Perfection


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.

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“Hacker Metal” by Brett Stevens on Perfect Sound Forever


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.

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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.

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Some bands perfectly encapsulate a sound and an era through the appropriation and development of an existing idea. Van Halen fascinated the mainstream with his take on tapping and his twist on virtuosity which had existed for centuries on various string instruments. Iron maiden took the harmonies from Thin Lizzy and adapted them for their long narrative epics. Suffocation took the slow thrash metal staccato riff and completely changed its use by using them as breakdowns. While those three bands are heavily associated with their respective techniques that have been used by all sorts of bands, Suffocation has spawned multiple subgenres that are all terrible and are completely eluded by the original intention.



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Hailing from Finland and one of the leaders of the short lived Finnish scene that delivered some of the greatest music to ever grace the twentieth century and that genuinely scared most “metalheads” as this was truly an intellectual movement that retained the essence of metal while completely deviating from the norm musically. It is very hard to regroup these bands into a specific style but the closest connection between them is their ability to complete deform common scales and patterns with strategically chromatic notes.

Demigod had a strong understanding of how to make songs with a limited set of complex ideas and how to convey themes of apocalypse and human decay and the role a strong individual within that apocalypse. “As I Behold I Despise” is the first track after the intro and sets the frame of mind of what’s to come after through it’s use of a recursive melody that is always changing, blistering tremolo riffs and hyper active drums that don’t steal attention but empower the guitars.



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Endless War : The Similarities Between Metal and Wrestling


Wrestling is the oldest sport in existence. One can find it in any culture on earth, Egyptian hieroglyphs depict various techniques, Islam recognizes it as one of the main sports for preparation in combat and European knights trained extensively as a lot of armored fights quickly become tests of who could pin who to be able to deal a finishing blow with a dagger through the gaps in the plate armor. Throughout the years wrestling has proven to be the best art for all forms of combat as every region in the world has at least one form of indigenous wrestling.



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Heavy Metal Heroes: JFC Fuller and Alexander the Great

The British historian JFC Fuller brought a metal outlook to both his military career and his career as an historian. As clear-sighted observer of reality he was able to understand the physical and moral implications of the forms of human conflict. He was one of the leading minds in the early development of the theory of mechanized warfare. As a military officer he saw active service in both primitive and modern conditions – this gave his writings as an historian and military theoretician a solid grounding in real-world experience. His experiences with strange foreign cultures and his knowledge of the occult gave him a keen moral insight that shines through in his books. Fuller looks at history with a clear eye for effective outcomes; however, the men who had the courage and genius to effect these outcomes he romanticizes and lionizes as the heroes they are.



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You know your nation has reached peak sadism when kids are using the shooting deaths of their classmates to catapult themselves into celebrity stardom.  That means the time has come for frequent, merciless, rapid fire sadistic metal reviews.




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Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis (2016)

These dudes are from New Zealand. Cross A Perfect Circle with Vader, Fear Factory, and Immolation and you get Ulcerate.  Taking a listen to this band, I want to thank your country for Dead Alive, but cannot help but think this album begins with an instant headache.  I love the mid range DM vocals, and feel that they are really strong.  The guitar comes across as missing something. At the 3:37 mark the guitar starts coming through with some darker, catchier moments.  I cannot help but think the drums are a bit over-processed, and are being a bit overplayed. The snare sounds cool, but the double kicks are a bit distracting.  To its credit, these songs are unpredictable. However, they could use more of a hook.  There is a bit of a 90s industrial thing hidden in there, along with a little bit of Immolation off-balanced riffs.  You have to listen real hard to hear it, but it sounds like bass distortion with a pick on the low end, adding some gnarleyness.



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