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.
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.
This band has been around for two decades. I recently found out about them and recommend the album Ruined from 2014.
If you would enjoy a fusion of Cynic and Satyricon, you should enjoy this. Some of the tracks are less effective than others because the band is experimenting with different song arrangements and techniques. The core of this band is killer chord progressions which are very melodic and form a basis for adding riffs to a song without randomness. The bass guitar playing is most excellent throughout. The vocals are simply effective in context with nice rhythmic placement but fairly generic texture. I give Ruined an A-. I had to deduct a point because there was one track I disliked, “Prey.”
- “Not Competent”: Drummer has some unusual time signatures like early Cynic. This is a great mix on this recording. I like how you can hear the bass guitar. The feel of the double kick drums lacks a bit of groove. There is a great amount of variety in the guitar parts and some nice melodies. The leads early on sound like a Satriani jam slowed down or something. The vocals don’t add much to the recording, but they do not harm it either. And he does a great job of singing in the right spots and not over-doing it. It’s a bit mellow and understated for a black death band, and that actually makes it more relaxing and pleasant to listen to. The riff changes are pretty smooth. However, they lead to surprising places. And the songs suck you in and then end before you are ready for them to. Which keeps me listening to the next track.
- “Redacted”: Here’s more of a tight blast beat type intro with a mellow Killing Joke styled guitar riff over it. Now we finally start hearing some thrash and it rules, but then we get stuck in some doom mire before thrashing again. Around the three minute mark we start to get into some utterly awesome late 80s thrash guitar riffage, but with death metal highs. Then a sudden surprising uptick into a blast-beat outro.
- “Ruined”: An alternate time-signature intro which doesn’t seem to fit in well. Followed by A Perfect Circle Type Riff and then back to the intro again, and then soloing. Not so sure about this tune. Skip.
- “Prey”: A mysterious sounding intro riff which is very enticing. Followed by a double kick groove with a really unusually beautiful sounding chord progression with some nice bass touches also. This song has a very nice riff progression overall and it takes you deeper and deeper into its reality.
- “Wasting Games”: Horror film score-like catchy grinding intro riff rules. Killer slow groovy, heavy riff with some Danzig styled vocals. Nice! Followed by a blast beat. WTF?! This is F’ing weird progression and it conquers. This song should have been like first on the album ha. More hard rock, but different riff (plus blues solo) after that. Oh yeah mama!
- “Orthodoxy”: Grainy whiskey inducing into. Starts to get kind of apocalyptic with a dreary tempo. This song is kinda chill. It’s smooth with a charcoal flavor and its on the rocks. Not sure about going straight into the blast though after that. Oh well. Its a cool riff though at least. Picks up into insane blasting and jazzy chords. Thinking this track would have been better split into two separate shorter tracks. I dig them individually, except for the 6/8 time riff because I hate A Perfect Circle and stuff like that. But that’s over quick and we get a radical sounding simple riff which triumphs. This song is very interesting overall.
- “Downturn”: This song starts with a Gothic sounding blasted riff which is neat. The second riff has a Swedish death metal beat and it rules. I am now wishing they had used that beat way more on the recording because it rules. Around the 1:25 mark there is an extremely nice epic black metal riff which is simply unusually Gothic and melodic sounding. Nicely done. I am confused to why they ruin that mood by putting the technical jazzy stuff afterwards. But then back into black metal riff with Swedish beat again, and at that moment I am loving it.
One band I was really super impressed with live was Decomposition. I got to open for them at On The Y club in Sacramento about five years ago with a death metal band I was in called Condemned to Live. That’s a key underground place to play up there.
The Room provides a relaxing, tranquil listen. The opening trope is slightly clichéd 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.
These sludgy noise rockers from Phoenix show potential, but ruin this release by having too much reverb and weird noises getting in the way of the songs. This album is too ambitious for its own good.
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.
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)
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.
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.