Murder Construct – “Mindlock” (Disrupt Cover)

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Murder Construct recently released as a single their contribution to the Undead: A Tribute To Disrupt album of cover songs honoring this well-known crust band. While this is a faithful cover, it adds a few layers on top of the original that keep it from becoming boring and inject the personality of Murder Construct into a standard for the post-1980s punk movement.

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“C” Is For Average

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Metal was born of the fusion of heavy rock, horror music, progressive rock and the nascent proto-punk movement. The history of rock is the history of rebellion and rule-breaking: from Friedrich Liszt making his strings break live at key moments on purpose, to Jerry Lee Lewis lighting the piano on fire, to the Beatles with their hairstyles and jackets which were radical for the time, to the Doors being suggestive on the Ed Sullivan show, through Hendrix burning his guitar, to Kiss being super-sexual and painting their faces, to Black Sabbath who sang about Satan and magic, to Metallica who combined neoclassical with thrash and had a hard-partying image, to Slayer’s seemingly outright Satanism. Metal is about taking things one step further, breaking the rules and being unique. Not about following them.

Good music aims for a grade of “A” by experimenting and breaking the rules, but in doing so, takes the chance that it will get an “F.” Think of good music as Icarus: he flies toward the Heavens (or in the case of metal: towards hell) aware he is taking a big chance. He may well crash and burn to the ground in pursuit of his musical ideals. It’s a risk Icarus is willing to take.

Today we have way, way too many bands following all the rules of their genre, and not enough acts pressing ahead. When I look at my local scene it is clear that the bands who have stayed together a long while, while following the rules of their genre, are the bands who have been most successful. Most of these bands have decent music and are listenable. But its not stuff I want to listen to more than once, or see live more than once. This is the curse of local bands: competent, good at following trends, but not so good that they break out and become emblematic of those trends.

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Alluring – The Room (2013)

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The Room provides a relaxing, tranquil listen. The opening trope is slightly clich├ęd in mood and form but it works well in context and creates a relaxed hallucinatory vibe. A lush analogue chorusing effect with solid low-end sound makes the introduction a seismic force in addition to a musical one.

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Violent Opposition – Violently Enforced Poverty (2015)

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Violent Opposition presents a one-man grindcore assault that upstages the milquetoast nature of recent underground music. This one musician plays the Jesus out of each instrument with raw pure aggression. The bass and drums are punchy and give the recording a lot of energy and verve. His song names are realist and take a strong stand against empire and against state sponsored violence.

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Ossarium – Onward (2013)

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Ossarium is a simply a bucket of fun. Lots of simple Grave-style 90s death metal riffs with some occasional wacky but catchy keyboards. Abundant driving mid-tempo grooves and a nice, heavy snare drum keep intensity throughout. I dig how the drummer doesn’t overdo it but keeps things nice and steady. Continue reading Ossarium – Onward (2013)

Why Heavy Metal Lost The Culture War

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There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.1

Many metal-heads think that metal died out as a genre because it went corporate and lost its edge. Undoubtedly more commercialized metal appeared, as it always does whenever a genre becomes popular and therefore, profitable. There is more to it than that, however, as larger cultural forces and schemes were at play.

The question of commercialism arose because there was a bridge between power metal/jock metal (e.g. Korn) and more old school thrash metal (Metallica/Slayer) which was never gapped. This paralleled the gap of a decade earlier, when the gap between metal bands like Motorhead and hard rock bands like Van Halen divided the fanbase between album listeners and radio listeners. This gave rise to entire subgenres like black metal, death metal and grindcore which were deliberately designed to avoid having large-scale commercial success. That in turn triggered the rise of the 1990s version of glam, grunge, which was basically slowed-down indie-rock influenced hard rock.

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#MetalGate: Embrace, Not Censor, The Violence Of Video Games

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Way back in 2002, Take Two Entertainment released an extremely violent and controversial game called State of Emergency. It was similar to their Grand Theft Auto franchise because the character could roam freely and rampage, indulging in murder and mayhem.

State of Emergency increased the violence in Grand Theft Auto to the point where you could run through the mall killing everyone with a flamethrower or cut off heads with a Samurai sword and then beat other people up using the decapitated head as a club. Extra points are given for destroying windows. The entire game is basically a violent, destructive and nihilistic riot.

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