Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just got out of the hospital, working on the Mutant Ape tape.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


A celebrity news website interviewed me about my recent SWEX release "ADDICTED TO WINNING," which focuses on Charlie Sheen. Check it here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Double Dare" NES

What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"I Can Remember"

Well, I made it through 10 minutes of this. Can you make it through my whole video?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Required Listening of Pioneering Legends

My friend compiled this list, I will credit him by name if I get the OK to do so.

THROBBING GRISTLE - Second Annual Report
WHITEHOUSE - Right To Kill
M B - Symphony for a Genocide
M B - Endometrio
SPK- Slogun
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS (whatever from the 80s)
HIJOKAIDAN - viva angel
AIRWAY - Live at Lace
CCCC-early stuff
INCAPACITANTS - any early stuff
MSBR -s/t lp

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Atrax Morgue "Omicidio" 7"

Everyone likes new music by dead people. Look at how many albums Tupac sold after he died. I try not to let the fact that Marco Corbelli is dead have too great an effect on whether or not I like his music, but in a way it def adds something good to the sound. The fact that in his life and in his music he had a strong infatuation with death and hospitals, and then went on to kill himself off, it makes his music all the more creepier. His later music really captured the essence of the feeling of being inside a hospital at night, and the tracks off this 7" from Bloodlust!, one unreleased from 1997 and one reprint from 1995, do this is well. These tracks are a little more professional sounding than other tracks from around those years, and they def made me feel uncomfortable, so in other words they are good. I'm not a huge fan of the over delayed vocals, but the electronics on a whole are just great. Extremely moody and cold, slow and repetitive, it's a top-notch Atrax Morgue release. There's nothing out there quite like Atrax Morgue, and there probably never will be. Also this is in an edition of 500 so you should have no trouble getting your hands on it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

aTelecine - "Cassette Tape Culture" LP (Sasha Grey)

I am not going to go into the debate about how Sasha Grey has used her celebrity status to sell a noise record. I don't really care about the subject. And, I believe SO, SO many noise artists use their "status" to sell tapes, and Sasha Grey is just taking it to an extreme. And it's an "extreme" music, right? (Hell, it's not as bad as her tape, which cost $125, now THAT'S exploitation of her fans, hmm is maybe someone getting back at an industry that "exploited" her...? haha, who cares). Well, this album isn't extreme, I'll say that much off the bat. Even as a fan of Sasha Grey the fuck toy, I'm not impressed by this album. It felt thin, but not in a "reserved" kind of way. It has a few moments, sure, but overall falls pretty flat in my book. Holy shit the last song on the first side needs to die forever, just a repeated bassline prog with partyish room record background. in case youre curious, "I came I saw I departed" is just what you hear in the sample looped for however long it is, and its by far the longest track on the album (and by far the harshest, still not harsh by normal standards). the song "auon (live)" had potential to be being legitimately haunting (all reverb/echo pitch shifted ritualish vocal chants), but in the context of the rest of the album it doesnt come across that way. There's a lot of ambient/easy listening-sounding stuff on here, and thats not my cup of tea so its not really fair for me to judge its quality. i really hate shit-talking music, usually if i dont like something i just wont say anything at all. But i found the arguments on this entire thread interesting and relevant to what a LOT of the artists out there are doing to sell their shit, just in different circumstances and to varying degrees. Another thing I feel the need to point out is I guess because it had Sasha Grey's name attached to the band I was expecting a bigger budget release. Nicer than most releases, but still its kinda pixelated artwork, like it got run through too many computers, and the solid colors are not totally solid, forget what that term's called, when theres tiny white dots between the purply-gray color; theyre not very richly printed i guess. Same goes on the center sticker. I think to a lot of people this would be a big waste of money. I'm very fortunate that the NOVELTY of a porn star i'm into making noise (and i use that term generously with this album, this is kinda almost a dance album or something in a way) is appealing to me, and even I think thats pretty fucked up that thats the only reason i sorta like it, but whatever I think that kind of appeal is ok for me every now and then. It will def be fun to play this for non-noise fans who are into Sasha Grey, just for the novelty.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two of My Earliest Builds, From When I Was a Lad

The larger one is one of my first oscillators I made way back when. The smaller one (another early build for me) was made from a BOSS DS-1 PCB; a punk band had been at my house about 4 years ago and left their pedal there, and I couldn't get in touch with them, so I bent it into what is essentially an oscillator with toggles between three waveforms. Wow, haven't done bending in ages. Anyway, I start the video with just the one, then run the second through the first (it came up a little quiet on the camera's crappy mic), then run that chain through part of my setup (not on cam). By the way the sounds around 2:30 are me smacking my setup with my hand, something was not properly grounded and it was responding to it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Jackal" NES Gameplay/Commentary

"Jackal" Konami 1988. Part of my "Things That Are Underrated" theme. Port of the 1986 arcade game. As I mention many times, I consider this an overhead version of Contra. Sorry for being so dull on the commentary, I had just woken up after getting only a couple hours of sleep for the night. Awesome gameplay, perfect difficulty, super fun. What else is there to say?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drove By A Car Accident, Saw Body on the Street

I was on my way to a doctor in upstate NY today, and traffic came to a halt because an 18-wheeler totally fucked a sedan. There was a ton of cops (a lot more than in the picture), it looked like the medics didn't get there yet, and there was a body laying on the road amongst piles of debris. Luckily I had my phone and took a picture as I drove by. Its a bit of a Magic Eye to see the body in the picture, its next to the cardboard boxes.
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Sound Art vs Music and Why I Don't Upload the Albums I Review

If you're looking at this blog right now, there's a good chance you only found it because you're trying to download some free music, and are disappointed because you don't see any links to rapidshare or mediafire. Well, for one thing, I only review music/nes games/etc., that I have physical copies of (except in very rare cases), so I can give a thorough and fair review of the complete package, and so I can make me opinion of whether or not it's worth the precious cash. Second, there's a million other blogs where you can download from. If you are totally new to this, I've found the best ways are to type into google: "artist" "album" followed by the words" blogspot" and if that doesn't work try adding" rapidshare" and/or "mediafire" to the search query, and another good way is to use, a site that searches blogs for rapishare, mediafire, and most other hosted files. Also, I encourage people to purchase albums/games/whatever whenever possible, and there are a few reasons for this. Obviously, supporting the people who made it, blah blah blah, but on a more personal level it adds to the excitement, its more fun to get a sought-after tape in the mail, to be able to touch it know the artist touched it, than it is to download a sterile file. Compressed mp3 files are also significantly shittier sounding than the original tape/record, and is not presenting the sound in the way the artist intended. Another really really important factor is that owning a physical copy adds to the longevity of the album. Mp3's get deleted, get lost among countless folders of porn, harddrives crash, computers just fuck up. Records and tapes are pretty tough and have good lifespans, better than cds which I always scratch the fuck up. NES games, safe in their grey shells, have rediculously long lifespans and can take absurd amounts of abuse (still always need some twiddling to get to work, but any skilled nerd knows they can always get em going). Check out this video of a chick with an super hot voice trying to destroy a copy of smb/duck hunt, and the cart takes so much damn abuse and still plays fine: . So if you have a real copy of a tape/record/game, you know you're still gonna have it thirty years from now, assuming you want to keep it. I know for a fact that most if not all of the Mp3's I have will be gone 10 years from now, either by means of upgrading to a new computer, or if my computer gets all fucked which is more likely the case. In many ways I wish Mp3's were never invented, but I will say they are good for previewing something before deciding to buy, but to me and many many others, Mp3's dilute the thrill of finding exciting new music. When it takes you forever to track down an album you really want, its a rush to finally nab it, like Elsa from "The Last Crusade" finally getting her kraut hands on the holy grail. It also is a sign of commitment, if you love music/games/whatever, you should be spending your money on it instead of pot. On the other hand, sometimes I do download Mp3's. Sometimes there are albums that I like, but don't believe they deserve the price tag attached. This is often the case when a record has been made expensive for reasons more closely related to the band being "hip" because it's "hip," not because its good. When this is the case, even if I do have interest in the album, will be the one reason for me to doanload and not purchase. It's always a balancing act, you have to question if the music itself is worth the pricetag first, and then take into account the rest. Unless of course you are more interested in owning a little piece of art rather than owning something to run through your stereo, if the tape is of great interest for non-musical purposes, which is fine and appropriate in some cases. I'm not a huge art person by any means, I mean I like to draw and do layouts and paint warhammers, and I appreciate good album artwork that complements the music, but for me if the music is good it becomes art within itself, so I never put much weight on extramusical qualities of an album (concept, who made it, when it was made, etc), but that's just me, and I fully support those who will buy a tape filled with shitty music but incredible" art" qualities, because to me its just like buying any other piece of artwork, like a scuplture or a painting, except the format is a tape/record. Because, like I said, I'm not a big art collector by any means, I have little I interest in purchasing these types of albums, so for me I judge an album 90% by what comes through the speakers, 10% by extramusical qualities. Obviously this presents some problems, particularly within the noise/experimental music I listen to, a genre saturated by non-musicians making sound art. Its a genre that requires no musical skill to make something great (although I am NOT saying it requires no skill, but I think we all know that even the best noise makers often have little or no knowledge of music theory, and would fail outside the unpitched genres unless they can REALLY apply themselves in non-musical artistic way (consider Bone Awl, and also consider Bone Awl if they made the same music they do but without any of the aesthetic/conceptual elements they apply to their whole package, like if they didn't call themselves a bm band, it's all a very fine line). Sometimes even these non-musicians make great recordings, not even accounting the artistic intentions, because the process of noise music making is a very level playing field. It requires no knowledge outside of knowing how to operate gear, and even someone who has a mastery of music theory quickly learns that is possible to create great noise music without applying any music theory while making it. Of course, that also may depend on whether you wish to create a noise "song" or wish to create something more akin to an aural painting, and in the case of a" song," an understanding of form and phrasing could potentially be helpful, but is still not required. I know I've gone off on a wild tangent, I'm writing this from the car on my way to a doctor in upstate NY so it's a long ride with nothing to do, but anyway I was talking about paying for music rather than downloading. Oh I guess the point I was trying to make with all this noise-art talk is that in terms of these tapes/records that are art first, music second, that downloading instead of purchasing can ruin a huge part of what makes the album worth having. In summation, if you are the type of person who only downloads and never pays for music, for one thing you should be supporting the artists, especially within underground music, but I can understand not wanting to have to pay huge amounts for not-so-mind-blowing music. If an album is currently impossible to track down, or is way out of your price range, that's when the inevitable question of "should I download it" comes up and the question is most important. If an album is crap and you don't really care too much about it, and you wouldn't pay for it anyway, just download it who cares. But if it's something you really really want, you know that you'd rather have the real thing than some shit download, but I guess what I'm getting at is it so good you'd be willing to obtain it by any means necessary, if price is out of your range, do you just go ahead and download it or do you allow it to remain a personal holy grail, something that may take months, years even to ration the funds for, knowing it will make it all the more special when you finally get it in the mail? It's the toughest choice, because once you download it and listen to it in that form, you can never un-download it, never un-listen to it, and so you're initial listening experience, often but not always the most magical moment, will forever be marred by not hearing the album in its original, intended form. At the same time, I can understand how most people just dont want to pay for music, that music belongs to no one and should be freely available for all and not just the "elite" few who can either afford to pay out the ass or are savvy enough to nab up records before they become unobtainable. Sometimes it can be absurd. Last week when SS sent out their newsletter with the new Volahn live LP, I got a notification on my phone about the email and immediately went to the SS site to order the record, but my internet went down for half the day and I couldn't order it. When my connection was back up, of course the fucking thing was sold out. I really really wanted that record, don't want to have to wait for the repress, and was generally pissed off. I know this record is gonna pop right up to $75 on discogs, and I know I'm not gonna be willing to pay that much for it. What do I do? I also know I would massively prefer to hear it in original format vs download, but at the same time I want to hear it NOW and might just download it. We'll see. Anyway, while I have really nothing against folks who exclusivley download music, I'm not gonna promote it here, because I think that while it does a lot of good, it does a lot of damage too.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Ren and Stimpy "Season 1-6" DVDs and "Lost Episodes (Adult Party Cartoon)" DVD

I decided that today I'm going to make a bunch of posts dedicated to things I think are massively underrated, perhaps well-received but for some reason never successful, or things that were once quite popular but have now unjustly fallen into obscurity. I know the first thing you're thinking: "Ren and Stimpy is not underrated. Everybody knows it rules and knows it had a massive influence on modern cartoons, and it has a huge cult following." All these are true, but there's one little fact we can't ignore: it's not on TV. Not on any channel, satellite and others, not even a single episode a week. For godssake, even "Minoriteam" is still being aired. I would kiss [as] if they added this show to their roster; it would fit so perfectly into their repertoire, and ideally it could replace their constant airing of those fucking tired-as-hell "Family Guy" episodes I have grown so incredibly sick of. So by this standard, R&S is def underrated at this moment in time. Another thing that piqued my interest in writing about R&S is the glorious return of "Futurama." With season 5 coming to a close recently, it made me think a bit about when R&S had made their "comeback," and why it failed. Although not as great as the originals, the new 'Futurama" episodes and the movies before them did a lot of things right: they got all the original voice actors, they kept everyone (mostly) in character, didn't change the animation style aside from adding a bit of detail, and overall didn't really change the show too much. "Adult Party Cartoon" radically altered R&S, didn't have Billy West on board (crucial), had all new artists, and obviously made the show very blatantly "adult," even though many of the new episodes were written back in the early 90s. I think the jump to making the show raunchier was the primary downfall. The show was already very raunchy and very very adult back in the day, it was just more cleverly disguised and subtle. The subtle innuendos and "I can't believe they just did that on a kid's network!" moments were among the best parts of the original show. When I watch classic R&S now, I never for a moment feel like I'm watching a show for little kids. It so masterfully breaks down age-barriers, thanks in no small part to the transcendental themes of the show. Actually, let's talk about the transcendental elements for a bit. As R&S was a major, major part of my childhood, def my favorite show then and still my favorite show now, I was always drawn into the transcendental mentality R&S presented, even if I didn't know it when I was little. I mean just look at this blog; a review of a Bone Awl tape next to a review of "Saved By The Bell" trading cards! This is not something I do on purpose to be "quirky," these are the things that I really like, and I don't care if my interests seem conflicting by other people's standards, I like what I like and I don't give two shits how schizophrenic it makes me look, and I don't give two shits whether something is "cool" and "hip" or whether being into something will never get me laid again (which I think is most people's fear of exploring unpopular territory, but really it's a stupid fear because it's not nearly as true as you'd probably believe). If I want to completely smash up every window and piece of furniture in a college dorm living room with my shit-faced friends one night (true story, that was what resulted in the third school I was expelled from) and then play a quiet game of "Settlers of Catan" board game with some friendly geeks the next night, I'll do it. I can't help liking what I like, and I deny nothing, and I base what I like on nothing other than my gut feeling. I really think that watching VHS copies of R&S over and over and over as a kid implanted this "nothing is off-limits" mentality I have come to embrace, to at least explore every facet of everything, never thinking even for a moment whether or not people will think I'm "cool" for being into something. That would be my nightmare, to live based on the way others perceive me, to me that would be such an unfulfilling life. R&S sometimes live in a 1950s ranch house and are human-sized and are essentially human, sometimes they are a dog and a cat looking for a human owner, sometimes they are 3 inches tall living in a small patch of vegetation, sometimes they live in a boot, they lived inside a cow once, they lived inside a rotten whale carcass once, a spitoon once, they are fireman, rubber nipple salesmen, pro wrestlers, hosts of a nature show documentary, space cadets millions of years in the future, homeless, sometimes they are the main characters, sometimes not, sometimes they are characters from classic stories like Robin Hood, Ren has played Hitler, Stimpy has played Elvis, sometimes they are elderly, sometimes babies, sometimes they play the role of themselves, stars of "The Ren and Stimpy Show" as a show within a show, sometimes they survive things what normally kill someone, other times they are cautious as if death were a very real threat, the way Ren and Stimpy are drawn is unique to every shot, their bodies get distorted and from shot to shot it sometimes looks like completely different artists' interpretations of the same character. Time and eras do not exist, they all blend into one, but primarily the universe of R&S is set in a mix of the 1920s through the 1970s, but never allowing the time period in which the show was produced to ever be apparent. I could go into so much detail about how R&S has influenced pretty much every adult cartoon you see today, but it's too long a list to go into. Instead I'll make some mention of some things R&S did that you don't really see much today. For one thing, shows today rely heavily on stock animation (recycling animations), R&S didn't just hand-draw every single animation, and every animation was unique, but they went so far as to John K inspecting every single facial expression/animation, and if he ever saw an artist draw an expression that looked to similar to any expression they ever used, he'd make the poor guy redraw it. And another "joke" about Spumco was that John K only hired hot girls whenever he hired a woman. Fact is, this is not really a joke, it's totally true and that rules! I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hiver Noir "From the Dead Times of Depression" LP

Eagerly awaiting my copy of the HN/Black Joy cs to arrive, the first new Hiver noir release in almost 5 years, I thought I'd say a few words on the repress of "From the Dead Times Of Depression." I've never owned a physical copy of the original tape, but I have seen the artwork, and I have to say the SS reprint really gave this album a proper and more suiting visual overhaul, and this great work really deserves to be on vinyl. The record just feels damn good to hold in your hands, the artwork stamped onto a sheet of paper glued to and half wrapped around a card sleeve, blank black center label sticker on the wax, scratched-off faded ink forming swirling, bleak repetitions of patterns, song titles are barely visible as if the record has been sitting in someone's attic for 50 years, it all comes together so perfectly with the music. This is the obvious reason this band rules: it's depressing black metal, but it's not Depressive Black Metal. How this 2-man team did this is through mastery of their craft and understanding of their instruments and of the genre in which they play to a degree most are incapable of achieving, it's got that "to think outside the box you have to have complete and full understanding and mastery OF the box" level of skill. There is nothing that sounds like this band, if you've never heard this band then you've never heard these riffs before (which can not be said about 99% of all forms of pitched music), they are so fucking original and creative it makes me want to pick up my guitar and want to never play again at the same time. There are really no set rules or formulas this band follows. At times climbing, modest tremolos over quiet blasting, sometimes bright warm arpeggios punctuated by syncopated drum rhythms, soft to explosive build-ups of tensions leading to crashing atonal waves, gorgeous interludes of fuzzed out, lazily picked arpeggios under angelic tremolo leads, sometimes feedback becomes the lead melody, the record starts off with a repeating phrase that literally sounds like the record is skipping on a loop, the drums sometimes go into militant marches, atonality collides with consonances head on even within a single phrase, hatred bounces off of quiet introspection and interweaves into glorious clouds of joy, it starts, it stops, tempos break and change, drums are overpowering at points when a band would typically put little emphasis on drums and barely audible at other points where bands would typically depend on a strong drums, guitar levels cut in and out at the drop of a hat, sometimes repetition goes on and on and other points the phrases change up in rapid fire, vocals retain a subdued backseat but make their presence known when needed, the bass gets super overblown for whole segments and just kinda honks its way through, whatever they do next in a song, the one thing you can't do is predict it. Listening to this band is like watching a painter make a picture without telling you what he's doing, and every time you think you've figured out what the painting is of, he adds another brush stroke, sometimes a tiny detail, sometimes a grand sweep across the canvas, and you realize you have no idea where he's going with it, and in the end you're still not sure what the painting is of, but you sure as hell like the colors and form and you sure as hell enjoyed watching him paint it. The drum patterns and guitar melodies are so atypical of black metal, yet retain all the key elements of raw bm, this band should appeal to fans across the spectrum of the vast umbrella spectrum of "black metal." This is a mandatory listen for anyone interested in one of the most exciting and most jaw-dropping things to be happening to this genre in the last decade.

Alcoholic Rites "Metal Alcoholico-Destructivo" 7"

Oh, look, they have a song called "Cirrosis," which I'm assuming is south of the border speak for "cirrhosis," how appropriate for me. Well, I can't really read the language, but I recognize some of the words from the lyrics, "muerte" is death, and I see "violence,""brutal," "irreversible brutal" or something. Yeah, this isn't making me feel any better about my illness. Anyway, this band is great, def one of my favorite black thrash acts. I love Iron Bonehead's name, it's so accurate. This is such bonehead music. Just tapping your feet to the music, makes you feel like a brainless metalhead, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is a fun, energetic, killer band. Yeah, I wish I didn't actually HAVE cirrhosis so I could listen to this while drinking, because with thrash that's the intention, but oh well, I'm still having a good time.

Rademassaker "Reanimation of the Ancient Demons" 7"

There's something I find so humorous about this 2-man German thrashy black/death band. Maybe it's the fact that they use so much cowbell. Maybe it's the fact that they use d-beat. Maybe it's that they are just bass, drums, and vocals. Maybe it's the cartoon demon penis on the cover. I think it's all those combined plus the fact that the record sounds something like if Frankenstein's monster learned how to play death metal. I think I find it funny because it's real "head-banger" music. Oh wait, my oxy just kicked in. That's why everything is so funny right now...

Entre Vifs "Heavy Duty" cs 1989

Heavy duty is right! This is the kind of tape that you really want to blow your eardrums out to. It sounds incredibly heavy on the scrap and power tools, but I believe they use much more electronics than one might think to replicate the scrap sound. There is so much movement and such a wide variety of assaulting, crashing noises coming at you in rapid succession it's almost dizzying. It must have taken forever to make this nearly-hour long tape. Amazing, one hour and I don't think they recycle a single sound. As for harshness, this is up there, I like a HN album that can makes your ears bleed without resorting to super high-pitched screeches. A lot of source sounds come through, which give it a good concrete grounding. Not really a dark HN, but def a powerful one. This tape is pure fucking power. Take a jackhammer to your forehead and thats what listening to this tape feels like, and I mean that kinda literally as many many of the sounds on here are rapid-fire machine gun blasts of a repeated sound, of course for only a couple seconds and then it's on to the next wacky sound. Highly recommended.

Get Hard "The Doctor" c20 Out Now! (SOLD OUT)

I made this tape before/in the early stages of when I got sick, and never released it due to my illness, but now it is finally officially available. 20 mins of disturbing power electronics, limited edition of only 30 copies. Doctor = vocals, patient = electronics. This release marks the conclusion of the Sharking Target Tapes label. Not for the weak.

$7 ppd, send paypal orders to:
jakevreeland [@]

Abigail / Fastkill "Far East Necromancers" 7"

Abigail has always been a mixed bag for me, they're blacker than most thrash bands but not as black as most black thrash bands. Did that come out right? On this record they are def on the even less blacker side than they normally are, but that's OK because they really fucking shred it! Boosted by a session guitarist to take care of leads, this record is a bit riffier than typical Abigail, and I think it works really well. The solos are fucking sailing, the main riffs on the two songs kill, and they use leading tones to get back and forth from verse to chorus, which strangely lots of black thrash bands forget about. The second song, "Prophecy of the Evening Star," sounds like they were listening to "2 Minutes to Midnight" right before they wrote it, you'll know what I mean when you hear it. Fastkill, one of my favorite non-black thrash bands, bring more Japanesiness to the table on the record, but sadly with only one original song (the second is an Agent Steel cover). I have to say I don't really like Fastkill's track on this record as much as on their LPs. Actually it's about the same quality as their second LP but much much less technical, it's about as technical as the first LP, but it just doesn't have the same relentless killer punk magic of "Infernal Thrashing Holocaust." Yeah, Abigail really took the lead on this one.

Accersitus "In The Walls of Eryx" CS

It's no secret I'm a pretty big dork. But hey, it's never once interfered with getting hot chicks, so what the hell do I care? And being a big fucking dork, I inevitably fell into the Lovecraftian mythos. True, there is a black metal band named after every single Lord from The Book Of Fifty Names, and every single one of The Seven Gates and every symbol from The Book Of Calling and from The Book Of Entrance and every Zonei Seal have seen their way onto album covers, and the lore of the Magan, Maklu, and Urilia texts have been the basis of lyrics for countless bands for years. Accersitus show a bit more dedication, every song references obscure and not-obscure elements fromt the mythos, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" is stamped across the sparse insert ("Cthulhu waits, dreaming," roughly, you think they could have selected a more obscure phrase given the obscurity of some of their song titles), and the only two images present, other than a barely visible photo of the two (at the time) band member, are what I believe is the Seal of Tiamat and the Sigil of Pazuzu. This minimalist approaches only further draws you into the belief that this band takes the occult seriously, whether in reality it's a joke to them or not is irrelevant, because the use of such little imagery only further emphasizes the importance of what they choose to show. This is a very very personal tape. Mid-tempo ERUSBM, very primitive and straightforward, yet dark and evil, driven by 4/4 with some not-so-fast blasting and occasional drumming outside the spectrum of a primitve bm band, heavy reverb on vocals, sloppy, sometimes mildy slow tremolo sections like a slower and sloppier Ildjarn+Nidhogg collab, actually overall in many ways it's like a slower Ildjarn, but then again what isn't a variation of Ildjarn in usbm today anyway? It's not really a good idea to say that Accersitus is for Ildjarn fans, it is still quite quite different, don't put too much weight on my comparison to the Ildjarn+Nidhogg collab, for the majority of this tape it's quite different. Anyway, back to the personalness of this tape, for one thing the insert is photocopied on cheap computer paper, although well put together/laid out, and the insert is nice and "long," 5 tape-widths + the back tab, one-sided, but hardly cluttered. I like a tape that feels like it was made by a pair of dudes in their bedroom, and while this is more often the case than not, it doesn't always shine through, but this tape def takes you there. Actually fairly melodic for primitive erbm, some thought went into the songwriting, it unfortunately slides into some heavy riff-oriented parts which don't always line up properly, but all is forgiven when you take into account the overall mood of this tape. Cheap ass synth intro/outro fits OK, def the most technical aspect of the tape, could have done without it to help boost the on-the-fence degree of primitiveness. Recommended.

Cult of Daath "Doomed By The Witch" CS

This is one of those tapes you order and forget you bought until it shows up in your mailbox. I've always felt like NWN! puts out a tremendously wide variety of musics, which I guess is inevitable when your catalog reaches a certain size and you need to be able to satisfy a wider range of audiences to keep your business afloat, and I actually really like that THEY do that, I think THEY do it well, but it is generally dangerous territory, running the risk of spreading yourself thin. Anyway, this band is of that breed of bm/death similar to Blasphemy and Axis of Advance; shiny leather, wrap sunglasses and goatees, ha ha. Not really a genre I ever got into much, but I like it from time to time, if I'm the right mood. I never really liked Axis of Advance, it just stretches "brutality" a bit thin and comes off too much like a modern grind act. Something about going so fast with the blasts and playing ultra down tuned super fast palm-tremolos just lose crushingness for me. That's why I like Cult of Daath more (but don't get me wrong, this tape is not going to see much rotation on my stereo), they keep the tempo right for a black/death band, it's not so fast it does that "wall of brutality," sound which is a concept I think has failed within itself. It is still indeed focused primarily on the concept of tremolo progressions over blast beats, separated by big slow chordal crushes, so it is still very much standard fare for its genre. I won't make any comparisons to this band and Blasphemy, because they're not in the same league and it's not fair towards either band. Actually maybe a better way to describe this band is like a slowed-down Krieg with more major chords. This tape is very cleanly recorded and I think, for this particular album, it works better that way. It has a refreshingly thin sound to it, it's not nearly as low-ended as its contemporaries, think early 90s Blasphemy sound style. There's a stupid and unnecessary acoustic interlude which should have been thrown out the window. The highlight is most def the third song which shares the name of the tape, called "Doomed by the Witch." It takes cues from Death Angel-like thrash, but implants a very noble, glorious, "on the field of battle with sword and shield against the goblins" vibe. Sadly too short, it had a refreshingly bright attitude, bright in the sense of victory when your enemies are slain. From that point on the tape shows some more thrashy influences, but not nearly as well executed. If the whole tape sounded like the third song I think this album would be something somewhat special, otherwise only for black/death maniacs.

Triple NES Gameplay/Commentary: "Kid Niki," "Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest," and "Time Lord"

Too many music posts in a row, I needed to mix it up and play some good old-fashioned shitty games.

"Kid Niki Radical Ninja (Kaiketsu Yancha Maru)," Irem 1987 NES, I chose this game blind and man was it a stinker. I understand this game saw some success in Japanese arcades, but if this NES port is any indication I can't really see how this game wasn't gutted just to use the cab as a play fort. How this game spawned Jap sequels I do not know. At the very end I figured out to hold "B" + DOWN to throw, I think, the sword, and I think that's how you beat Death Breath.

"Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest," Konami 1988 NES, has been, in my opinion, criticized way way too harshly, thanks in no small part to James Rolfe. Rolfe is, without a doubt, a true genius of his craft and I respect everything he does, and in particular I feel he never grasps at straws like certain other rip-off reviewers out there, meaning he doesn't try hard to make a game appear shittier than it really is. "Castlevania 2" has been a point of debate with regards to this for some time now, some agreeing with Rolfe, while others even go so far as to say it's their favorite in the series. Granted, I will def agree this is my least favorite "classic" Castlevania game (I would go so far as to extend my definition of "classic Castlevania" up to and including "Symphony of the Night," although SOTN was def a bridge between the old and the new) but I wouldn't say it's my least favorite in the series, not by a LONG shot. The N64 games, the retarded fighting game, and some of the handhelds were much much worse and had next to nothing to do with the original concept. Flawed yes, "Castlevania 2" is still very playable and still fun, so don't buy into all the hype until you try it.

"Time Lord," Rare ltd. 1989 NES, this has to be the most average game ever made. I really don't know what else there is to say (one point of note is I am almost positive the code for this game would later be transformed into Battletoads, because it undeniably feels SO much like Rare's impossible frog game). If you took any 100 random NES games, and ranked them in quality, I guaran-fucking-tee you "Time Lord" will sit exactly at number 50. It's almost a skill within itself to make a game so painfully average, so incredibly normal. This game is the equivalent of a Minnesota teenager.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

K2 "Souls Are Kontroled By Molekules" CS (1993)

It's difficult to really amass a decent collection of early-90s K2 albums because the prices just keep going up, so this one and the "Noise Tournament Vol. 2" 7" are the only mid-career ones I've invested in so far ("Noise Tournament Vol. 2," with De Fabriek, is going pretty cheap now at around $20). This is the 7th release on Kimihide's Kinky Musik Institute label, and it is what he calls a "recreation" of the 6th release, "Autopsy Soundtrakks," which is going for fairly cheap right now. I haven't picked up the 6th one yet, and I probably won't considering I know that the 6th and 7th are essentially one and the same, so I can't offer much insight, or any insight I guess, into the differences between them. From such a legend in the field there are always high expectations, and the early work of these legends will always be heralded as "the better stuff." If HN is judged by its degree of harshness, this tape isn't K2's high point, but if judged by quality alone regardless of how scathing or not scathing it is, it is a damn fine tape. This tape was among the first after Kimihide's hiatus, and was among the earlier to incorporate what would become his signature use of scrap. It still utilizes the delays so common is his 80s work, and has the familiar K2 "gears churning" repetition of that classic "sound like a steel mill in operation" sound. There are plenty of bleeps and bloops, too, as well as some deranged keyboard work. The form is dynamic and gets all over the place while retaining the centricality which is key to creating a cohesive song. Def dark and mean, but by no means harsh if compared to other music makers of that time, very introspective-sounding, typical of K2, but the music def gets in your face, it doesn't sit quietly in the mind. Quality quality quality.

Sleeping Peonies "Rose Curl, Sea Swirl" CD

You have to be careful when stepping into the world of non-violent black metal. It's a world I generally avoid, but every now and then I'll hear something I like. English band Sleeping Peonies is def the kind of band you have to be in the right mood to listen to, if you want hatred, chaos, and noise you won't find it here. This is happy person music. In other words, you'll need a fistful of drugs to really get the most out of this. In many ways this is a pop album, it's "feel good" music. What I like about this band is it is very freely composed, there are no laws or rules it follows, and shows a good deal of genuine musicianship and theoretical understanding, which is def not a necessity to making great black metal, but your brain needs to hear some complex and richly detailed compositions every now and then. Then again if that's what you need it's probably a safer bet to throw on some Shoenberg and let your ears run wild with some *true* genius, the kind of genius that comes from pure prodigy talent coupled with decades of studying composition as a craft and allowing the quality of the craft to become the art in itself, but that's not the point here. As for instrumentation, I really wish they used live drums, it's the one thing that kills this album for me. Although the programming exhibits some interesting ideas, and finds a nice balance alternating from speedy blast beats to technical intricate advanced patterns, the executions falls a little on the flat side purely due to the nature of electronic drums. The guitar sounds mix up a lot, it is certainly not a single static tone throughout. Running the gamut from broken arpeggios to suspended chordal sweeps, the distortion of the guitars is all over the map, from soft lo-fi fuzz to clean to chunky lo- and hi-fi. Also somewhat unique to this band in the realm of black metal is there are real basslines pretty much throughout, so if your brain craves a single contour melody it will be pissed off at this. I find the basslines they use to be hit or miss, sometimes greatly adding to the primary phrases and sometimes detracting. And another thing I find it necessary to address is that the layout/font/etc of the insert is just atrocious. I really believe they could not have chosen an uglier font. The pictures inside the insert are just as retarded, some hipster-faggot girl sitting in front of a pink barn? What looks like a run-of-the-mill "indie" college kid's dorm room with little artsy pieces of paper hanging from strings from the ceiling? God, no comment. So do I recommend this CD to black metal maniacs? Probably not, well, I guess it depends on what type of maniac you are. This is def something different, it's probably most accurately described as a happy-sounding Depressive Black Metal with many experimental qualities, so if that idea appeals to you I'd say give it a try. If it's anything it's something a little different.

Kuxan Suum "Kinich Ahau" CS

Kuxan Suum is a rather mysterious, "elite" part of the Black Twilight Circle. I don't know which band(s) in the BTC share member(s) with this band, but if I had to guess I would say Arizmenda because they sound the most similar. Kuxan Suum sounds like a spacier version of Arizmenda, with less emphasis on having a driving rhythm section throughout and more emphasis on creating sweeping aural landscapes punctuated by a more standard Depressive Black Metal form, and Kuxan Suum's melodies use much longer notes than Arizmenda. I should avoid writing this whole post as a "Kuxan Suum is Arizmenda with ____ and without _____" because I do not even have evidence the two come from the same musician, but I would put my money on a bet that they are. The whole BTC is all inbred anyway. In the land of Depressive Black Metal, a sub-genre so oversaturated and so full of shitty bands, Kuxan Suum stand out in many ways. I don't particularly like bands of this genre, and they're really a dime a dozen, but I did like this tape. The drums have a certain brutal quality which is often lost in most depressive bm bands. The tape has a long intro, which I consider to be just as much the meat and bones of the tape as when the drums kick in and start blasting through, and the intro is absolutely spilling with delay. If you get pissed off by excessive delay use, you'll probably hate this tape. Long, ultra-reverbed pained screams scatter across the melancholic-yet-not-harsh soundscape, this tape brings a little but of new light onto the atmospheres possible within depressive bm, it has a bit of that Volahn-esque sort of classical Spanishy-sounding melodies, but again with delays all across it, so it could potentially be a turn off to certain ears. Of the BTC it's not my favorite project, I think I prefer Arizmenda for my BTC Depressive Black Metal needs, and it's certainly not as good as Volahn, but if you like BTC bands you'll like this.

Absurd "Promo '99 - Sonnenritter" CS

I was fortunate enough to come across this extremely rare tape for pretty cheap on eBay, and I think that with regard to the place we are in now in black metal it is very important to revisit the work of this band. Although their ideologies are both timeless and also outdated by today's standards, the music itself will always be timeless and is extremely relevant to what's been going on in black metal in the last 10 years and today. Absurd exemplifies hatred through aural means, the simple, straightforward message of the chords they select, the pounding march of the drums, and the passionate vocals tie together to make what is still the most hateful-sounding music of all time. Absurd proved that hate comes not from 270 bpm blast beats over pitch-adjusted grunts and palmed tremolos on strings down-tuned to B, but from simple messages and a true belief in what you do. If you were to ask any modern bm band today doing the minimalist/punk thing about what influences their music, you will be guaranteed to hear the name Absurd come up. Granted, Absurd is one of the best-known bm bands of all time and have influenced countless sub-genres within black metal, but the direct link between Absurd and the bands gaining steam today is undeniable. This is no revolutionary fact I am bringing up here, it's common knowledge that the mark of Absurd has returned in a major way, but for those out there who have not made the connection yet, it's never a bad time to reinvest in a classic, especially one that has so much relevance to today's music.

Rotten "Thrash n' Roll" 7"

Mexican thrash punk, what's not to love! I wanted to post a few great non-Black Thrash records before really diving into writing about the 8 million black thrash bands I want to write about. Thrash has become a bit of a confliction for me, given it's really a drinking man's genre and now that drinking has given me cirrhosis (which in turn gave me an extremely rare variation of a somewhat uncommon form of hepatitis) I can no longer be a drinking man. Just pop dope. Does dope work with thrash? Hell yeah, fuck you it works with anything! So when it comes to thrash I've found black thrash to be my niche, but, primarily due to extremely low prices because it's not exactly in style right now, I've accumulated a mass amount of non-black thrash, and this is the difference between the two for me: black thrash is about the violence and the morbidity of violence, while non-black thrash and thrash-punk is about the violence and the fun of the violence. Rotten def bring the fun. The lyrics from the third song on the record sum this band up pretty well: "Killer guitars, killer vomits / Necropounding are blasting the empire of man / Give me another beer, give another lick / Alkoholik Rites, c'mon bitch suck my dick." Awesome. Riffs are super trashy, plenty of slimy melodies and finger twisting, super fast and pissed-off, this would be a great soundtrack for riding your rusty hog across a desert highway at 120 mph. It also feels rarer and rarer to find a non-post-apoc throwback thrash punk band, so that's another plus for the band, but who can deny the fun of the post-apoc bands? This band is all about the elitism and anger towards outiders, but they do it in a pretty funny way (this might be in part because English is clearly not their first language), and their seriousness of it makes it both even more funny and even slimier. A great thrash record needs great energy, killer riffs, and bucketloads of filthy attitude, it's all here.

Raspberry Bulbs "Finally Burst...With Fluid" CS

I remember I was with my friend when he bought this tape a year ago when it first came out, and we went right back to his apartment and threw it on, and I remember saying, "I really couldn't sit around listening to this all day," but over the next day or so it occurred to me that my every thought was pervaded by the ridiculously catchy riffs of this tape. I could not get these damn songs out of my head. When my friend left me alone in his apartment for a while, I had to put "Finally Burst..." on just to try to please my brain's constant nagging to do whatever it would take to get the songs out of my head. One thing I really think makes this tape pretty great is the way the bass is mixed in; it def overpowers the guitar, and is extremely clean (distortion of course, but not noisy is what I mean). The guitars have a great thinness to them, slightly out-of-tune to make ordinary progressions sound fresh. To me this is an entirely different listening experience than Bone Awl, which I know many will disagree with, and I can understand why most people would probably disagree with me. It's true that in one way the two bands are slightly different means to the same end, but when I listen I can't help but be taken to a separate place. Obvious differences are RB play with much less energy and have more formally structured and more rigidly structured songs, following a much more traditional structure in terms of layout. The chaos just isn't here, the strumming is rigid, and the repetition is much much less emphasized. I'm not denying the links to Bone Awl, though, and I won't even go through them because any idiot can figure it out for them self, and if you're a fan of Bone Awl and haven't heard this band yet, I'd still def highly recommend it. If you haven't been listening to any truly "catchy" music lately, here you go, this'll do it for you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Furdidurke Guitar Tab "First Song Off CW Tape"

(Note: I don't know why I said it starts with a perfect fourth, it's obviously a minor third. Opiates + music = don't listen to me). Today I worked a little bit on trying to figure out how to play the first song off of the CW Furdidurke tape. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment. Also, can someone please tell me the name of this song? And please don't tell me "Untitled," I got that much. If the tab looks all screwed up, try adjusting your screen resolution to 1024x600.

Artist: Furdidurke
Song: "Untitled" (???)
Tab: JV
Standard tuning



Play A(intro) once
Play A2 once
From here on play A1 followed by A2, repeating
Play B once, in the same rhythm as the A section
Play A2 once
Play C, C-1st Ending, C, C-2nd Ending, repeat

Bone Awl / Furdidurke "Split" 7"

I'll clear up that this record is not exactly a re-release of the tape from 06; the two original Bone Awl tracks have been replaced with a single song, but the Furdidurke song is the same as on the CS, so whether or not you want to track this one down depends on how much of a Bone Awl maniac you are. Why they did this I do not know, I think Furdidurke should have re-recorded their track to make it a complete package, but that's how it goes. So if you don't have the CS, def pick this up for the Furdidurke, it's my second favorite song of theirs and worth the price just for that. "Main Song" is a bit more introspective and moodier than laters, but still has the creative charm and atypical harmonies you expect. Less energetic than the valiant battle hymns of their CW tape, it's cool to hear Furdidurke's not-so-bright side. Also, I don't know if it's just me, but watching the record spinning plays serious fucking tricks on my eyes, the sticker just has their name written across it, but as it spins the ornate lettering swirls into the craziest shapes, and looks like it's moving on its own. Yeah... So OK the Bone Awl side, like I said it's just one song now, it's actually a bit more technically dynamic than their usual stuff. I guess I should compare it to the two original tracks that this "RP" replaces. I actually like the new single track better, it's a bit crushier and the riffs are a bit catchier, but you can tell the song came either came from the same recording session as the two originals, or they did a damn fine job of recreating the originals' sound quality. Still retaining the repetitive monochrome marking their sound, here's what they do on this: There's an A, a brief B, and a C which is a hair shy of being a variation of the B, and the C goes through several variations, so it looks something like ABC1C2C3, and the A is about equal in length to all the C's. What's interesting about this is while the A guitar remains unchanged throughout, the drums switch between two distinct patterns, and then in the C, the drums remain unchanged throughout while the guitar goes through variations. So it is a very symmetrically laid out song, what I wonder is how aware Bone Awl was that they were doing this, creating something that is visually symmetrical in an abstracted form, or if this was by chance. A lot of the early modernists of the late 1800s-early 1900s experimented with idea of music that has unique elements to the notation itself, I'm thinking in particular a Russian piano solo called "Promenade" by a composer I'll have to look up later (it's not Mussorgsky's or Kuramoto's, it's someone else), and it was a pair of treble clefs that when you play the left and right hand you get this incredible floaty, atonal muck, but when you play hands separates each line is actually the brightest sweetest sounding little melodies, and the song also used a centric tonality, which was relatively new at the time, wrapping it into an extremely symmetrical form on paper. I'll try to find my sheet music later and scan that piece onto this blog, or just tape myself playing it or something, it's a pretty cool connection to the Bone Awl song's structure. Everything is one.

Ashdautas "Where the Sun is Silent" CS

I really would like to just be able to talk about this tape and not have to talk about all the fucking nuances of the social status of this band. It's almost like I can't, though, like I have some obligation to defend the shit out of it, because there is so much negativity towards the "ideals" of this band (and whether or not this is a "joke" band, which I think that even if it started out that way, at this point it is irrelevant) and to the whole BTC, that really has no bearing in the grand scheme of things, for instance is it fucking good music or is it fucking bad music, we have come so far away from asking these questions. Well, I guess I'm already getting into the fucking debate/side-choosing, but I think ultimately I'm more pissed off at the debate itself than the actual opinions. If you'd prefer not to have to go through all this stupid bullshit, just skip down halfway through this post and just read about the tape itself, that's what I would probably prefer to do. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, Ashdautas have earned themselves a dubious reputation as one of the premiere "fake" bm bands, and people tend to either be very for or very against this label. It seems like very few don't really give a shit whether a bm band is "true" or not, which makes perfect sense given the genre's long-running emphasis on tradition and respect, which I believe are qualities that have strengthened the genre more than hurt it, but problems arise when you get a great band like Ashdautas and it becomes the butt of an elitist joke. Black metal needs elitism, it's one of the defining aspects that makes the genre so special to us, but I can't help but be pissed off when that elitist mentality turns against one of the most exciting new things to happen to the genre. We have to accept that things are changing, we live in a world governed by post-post-modern self-important hipsters and art fags who are judged by how good they describe themselves as, and the influence is everywhere whether we like it or not, and change can be a good thing even if the current thought process doesn't appeal to traditionalists, it's the fact that things are evolving that we need to embrace. Why is it people only see Ashdautas for its extramusical faults and totally ignore what's coming out of the stereo speakers? It's disgusting. Also I really don't agree with it. I think this band is black as fuck, that the music totally speaks for itself and the rest should be viewed as a reflection of THIS, not the other way around. I think art in black metal is such a despised thing because it represents a conscious effort and thought process in a genre where apathy and raw emotion, such as unrestrained and unfiltered hatred, have always been key ingredients. Look at 90s bm, it was all made by people who used to play in the bands of the 80s, thrash/death/etc. So now look at the bands of today, it's either gonna be the guys who did the bm thing in the 90s, in which case we're talking aging people, or it's gonna be the kids who were making punk/hardcore/pv/etc. Of course you're not going to get purely goat-fucking maniaks today. Maybe I'm going to deep into this. Maybe people just hate this band because someone said they used Kool-Aid instead of real blood in some ritual and now everyone thinks they're childish. Who the fuck knows. I'm bored of this, I'm gonna just talk about the tape now and ignore all the bullshit. My oxy just wore off, I'm in a bad mood, I wish I didn't waste it ranting on some dumb shit. Whatever. OK so let's see what we got, first thing you see when you buy an album, before you can even pop it in your stereo, is the artwork, so I'll start there. Well, it comes with a patch, the standard BTC runic thing, not as clean a symbol as Volahn's, but still nice and mystical. I gotta say I've always loved the font this band chose, it has a very kind of "pretty" elegance to it, yet retains the necessary griminess and overblown over-photocopied sloppiness. I'm a little put-off by the actual Ashdautas logo itself, not the rune, it just doesn't seem to match the music. It's a little too standard fare death/black "evil" generic illegible. Decent minimalist cover, it def takes me to a sort of strange and creepy place. So this is very much a hardcore-influenced album in a sense, but at the same time that is not a totally fair statement, and you could hate hardcore and still devour this album. The hardcore elements I think that would be most likely to put people off are things like twinkly arpeggiated segments, creating a mood of mournful introspection, found between the bursts of violent enegry. These are what may make or break it for the listener, depending on taste. The "violent bursts" are very well executed to me, they capture a very deep form of anger very unlike the kind of chaotic energy found on bands more along the lines of Bone Awl. This album is extremely melodic, low-ended, and relies heavily on dissonant tremolo leads over chaotic, often dynamic blast beats. There's a lot of creativity and dynamics going on here, and lots of starts and stops, meaning expect to go from interval-switching-rich tremolos over blast beats right into a broken down, softer and subdued arpeggio with no drums, then into a 4/4 with long suspended tremolos, and the form is somewhat in the vein in all the songs. When it comes down to it, it's the mood that will determine whether or not you're into this. There are so many instances on the tape of "elegant misery" presented through calculated aggression, and very few, if any, representations of pure primal rage. Another thing that may make or break it for you is the vocals are throatless high, more anguish-based and strained than angry and hateful. This tape really presents a hatred towards oneself, not towards others. If you have not yet explored the BTC, this would be a good entryway, along with Volahn, and is a stark contrast (while at the same time they're oddly related) to the other things that have become popular in bm nowadays. On that note, I don't know what's going on with the Ashdautas/Bone Awl split, but I really really hope SS gets on that soon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Macronympha "The Spectacle of Ravishing Our Maidens" CS

Yes! Macro, where to begin. Honestly I'm no expert on the subject, but everything I've been told about Joe and Rodger has been so. fucking. cool. These are BAAADD dudes. I've never heard a Macro album I didn't like, and this one is perhaps not their best, certainly no "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," but damn is it good. And not to mention for a 1995 Slaughter Prods. tape it's going for relatively cheap nowadays, which is always a big plus for me. The clear tape, stamped with a slender golden sticker depicting a medieval era torture scene of a guy getting his guts pulled out, has been dropped into an oversized shiny silver bag with the cover art barely glued on (if you have trouble telling from the picture, it's two chicks: one lying down spreading her pussy, while the other girl spreads her pussy and squats over the first). God, Macro makes sex SO unappealing, I'm glad my brain doesn't get off from stuff like that. It's amazing how an image as beautiful as a girl giving another girl head can be made so disgusting by these filthy "musicians." I guess that's the magic. I couldn't really live off of pure filth, though, it's better for me to just visit every now and then for the novelty of it all, but I think I would have a panic attack if my life dissolved into the bleak coldness of Macro's ultra-gritty lifestyle. And on that note, I need to address my thoughts on extramusicality and whether or not it should be such a defining factor in the quality of a band. I am quite vocal on my personal opinions that things such as who made the music, where it was made, conceptual approach, and aesthetic all take a big back seat for me, and when it comes down to it I'm either gonna like something or not based purely on what comes out of the speakers. Often, I prefer to know NOTHING about a band, and just let my imagination run wild and craft the music makers into what I fantasize as my ideal for that particular band, elevating the musicians into an almost supernatural, inhuman state, as if the music simply exists because it exists, it wasn't the work of some average guy. And more times than not my opinion of a band is only marred when I learn more about the musicians behind it. This is not the case with Macro. Yes, their music is amazing on its own, and I would still love it even if I knew absolutely nothing about the redneck retards making it, but in this case, rare for me, the band is seriously elevated by the extramusical elements, particularly the fact that Joe and Rodger are such dirtbag trash heaps. And I think the main reason for this is that it all matches up. The artists are sleazy and gritty. The song titles and artwork are sleazy and gritty. The music is sleazy and gritty. It all comes together so fluidly and completely. And it's so fucking dark. The whole package screams out "mentally sick" in a really messed up and disturbing way. It's not, "my mind is sick because I get depressed and have ADHD," it's more like "my mind is sick because I like raping animals." One of the song titles on this tape is called "Having Sex With Mother." Fucking scum low-lifes. Well, I don't know them personally, so I can't really confirm what I'm saying is 100% true, and I do enjoy exaggerating, but we've all read the Banana Fish interview and we all kind of get the gist, right? I remember when my friend first showed me that interview and I thought, "Holy fuck, are these people real? I don't even want to get near them." I'll never forget the first thing he said to me when he described Macro to me for the first time, and it was something along the lines of "Dingbats making incredible music." It's so true, and it's a goddamn confusing miracle of nature that these people make such good HN. Compare it to the other giants, Masonna and K2, people who are clearly intelligent, artistic-minded folk, and somehow you're still getting the same degree of quality. Maybe it's the grit and grime and harshness so intertwined into the Macro lifestyle that gave them the boost and translated so well into their sound, or maybe under all the drug-addiction and apathy there lies a pair of geniuses, but I have a strong feeling the latter can't really be true. But with song titles like "Golden Haired Thrash Fuck," it's hard to imagine that there was really much of a planned out, art-faggy approach to this band. I think ultimately they just love the dirt and bathe themselves in it, and what you get is a peek inside the mind of someone who has the potential to kill you, rape your dead body, and then proceed to go out and score some dope like nothing happened.

White Medal "EP" 7"

We all know evolving a genre is a good thing, but it feels like at this point all we do is take other genres and mix them together and call it progression. We have to get out of this dead slump belief that everything has been done already and there's nowhere left to go. When J.S. Bach died everyone thought that music had reached its climax and there was nothing left to do, and then Mozart and Beethoven took the reins and completely broke down all preconstructed barriers and brought musical complexity to a completely new dimension (technically we still haven't surpassed the quality of the Big 3 classicalists yet in any genre, but I'm hopeful). And look at how many new forms of music have emerged in the 200 years since then. How about how much new music has emerged in just the last 50 years? To say that everything has been done, and that it was OUR generation that was so fucking brilliant that we were the ones that got into every possible nook and cranny of music development and left no stone unturned is just shallow. This is such a fucking wrong and self-important mentality and we should be ashamed of ourselves for being such megalomaniacs. Do you really think that 100 years from now there won't be new genres of music that we could never have even dreamed of? Do you think that 200 years ago, when they said everything in music has been done already, that they could have predicted rock and roll? Jesus. What we have to come to understand is that we have no way of predicting what music will sound like in the future, and we have to accept that it will be something we could have never imagined. It's the same as the technological singularity theory, that we've predicted that within the next 50 years we will have developed AI capable of logical reasoning and the ability to teach itself, but until that happens it is absolutely impssoible to predict or even imagine/comprehend what the next big technological leap will be. It's a tough fact to face, but we're not as smart as we think we are. Anyway, I do appreciate when bands try to push things in new directions, even if it just melding two genres together, despite my hateful rant. It's still good in an experimental way, because there's a chance it could lead to a unique sound which could then in turn be crafted into something of its own, which is how all musical genres have developed. Alright, enough being an asshole, let's talk about this White Medal record. I'll preface this by saying that I am going to tear into this record a bit, and it's mostly because I am very fond of Mutant Ape, which shares its member with White Medal, and I was kind of expecting more from him. First, I like the minimalist artwork very much, the empty inner sleeve, and I like the name of the band. I like records that look clean and iconic, almost like I have that little building itself from the record's cover in my shoebox, not simply a record, if that makes any sense. Song titles are stupid, "Chance" and "Northern Mist," just boring. Alright so this is a 90s style hardcore record presented in the form of pseudo-black metal, but I guess almost all bm today is "pseudo-black metal" anyway. Laden with octave chords and structured around building up suspended tension and releasing it into crystallic twinkles is the basic premise. The intro to the record sounds so fucking much like Godspeed's "BBF3" I had to go dig the record out of my closet and throw it on just to see if it was in fact a sample White Medal used, but, no, it was just a blatant, blatant, borderline copyright-infringement rip-off. I didn't analyze it fully, because I'm not really that interested, but the difference between the two is a matter of one or two alterations to the arpeggios. That aside, White Medal has some pretty strong points on the record, particularly the foreboding atmosphere created through layered octaves over long snare rolls, and I have to say the drumming is quite good and creative. This is def not for everyone. It's basically Orchid if they decided to make black metal, right down to the late 90's high-pitched squeaky screaming, so there's something to think about what that means to you. On the one hand no one likes to see a genre die, but in this case the best thing for that late 90s hardcore was to just fucking let it die, and maybe let it re-emerge in 20 years when it's no longer the epitome of un-hipness and can be appreciated for the truly complex nuances of the musicianship found within the free-flow and thought out music of some of the better bands, particularly in regard to the creativity of the drumming. But this won't occur until the shackles of its clumsily childish aesthetic can be seen through and maybe this won't ever happen until music stops being a vessel of valuing one's coolness, but whatever, there were still tons of things about that genre that really sucked, too. It's major downfall was that it was too hip, and whatever's hip at the moment is going to be considered the lamest thing on the planet the exact moment something new comes along, until the cycle repeats and it goes from "outdated" to "really old," and can be viewed without the stigmas of its past status. Anyway, that's a long way off and I'm thankful for that, but I can't lie and say I wasn't feeling at least a bit nostalgic to hear it again, be it in a new, black metal context, because it reminds me of careless days in high school smoking pot and not being sick, some of my fondest memories. Yeah, but still I'd rather hear progression towards a new end, not towards a blend of a dead genre and a genre desperate for some new life.

Black Majesty (Nor) "Seventh King of Edom" 7"

First off, this is not that Aussie band by the same name, this is a one-man project by the Nord HBM, who is probably better known for his work in Mare and Kaosritual. With FMP's debut somewhere on the horizon, I wanted to give thorough respect to this band, because in a world where black metal is becoming closer and closer to pop-punk with sunwheels, it's important to remember that there are still some great acts out there doing the more traditional thing. This is one of the few *truly* satanic, Left Hand Path bands you can find, and it comes across in an almost unsettling vivid way through the presentation and "musick" of this record. The first confusion some people may have regarding Black Majesty is the swastika in the logo. This is not a swastika, it is a sauvastika (it rotates left instead of right), which is in many ways even sketchier a symbol. The packaging for this record is fucking incredible, the layout inside the sleeve is so elegant, tidy, and effective in conveying the spiritual and ritualistic purposes of this recording. I like the selection for the cover art as well, it is reminiscent of medieval-style "bizarre" but with 2-point perspective. The simplistic and straight-forward layout, even to the sticker on the record-center, says to you "This music primarily is a means of practicing magick, not entertainment." When you listen to this slow, doomy, chanted (no screaming), synth-tinged record, you really feel like you're deep in a cave somewhere trodding through a long drawn-out Saturnian ritual. You may find yourself banging your head to Black Majesty, but is clear that that is not his intentions. This music is made for lighting candles and meditating, and lyrically it is all chants and religious verses, so lots of calling out names of various occult figures and lots of lines that end with "!". This is not to say the record doesn't have its share of rockin-ness. The beats are punishing, not technical or cheesy, but really powerful in a trance-induced way. There's even a double-kick section that somehow manages to NOT come across like what you would expect from typical double kicks, it retains the rhythmic balance necessary to be truly "evil" without being truly "generic punishing metal," and that's what I find most impressive about this band.

Gaming Table for WH40k

(Click pic to enlarge)
I made this table out of layered sheets of polystyrene mounted onto plywood, each cut using a 1950s jigsaw my late grandpa gave me. The lava river, craters, and overall bumpy textures were dug out by spraying copious amounts of paint into puddles and allowing it to eat away at the polystyrene, dissolving the material. I used the jigsaw again to create the fault lines, this time only using the tip of the saw. A layer of "stone" textured spray paint went on first, and then I highlighted the fault lines with a lighter-colored "stone" textured spray. Craters were sprayed with a "crackle" black spray paint. Lava is scab red, and will be highlighted with some oranges and yellows later, as well as filling the ravine with water effects so it's not empty. The pillars are carved polystyrene with "stone" textured spray. The vegetation is fake plastic branches from Michael's. Next step is to add bridges and small outpost-like structures.

"Chainsaw Warrior" Board Game (1987)

I just got my copy of CW in the mail today, ordered from another BGGer. First off I would like to point out my biases: I like trashy, dirty, fast games, I like GW, and I like pulpy 80s sci-fi themes. So yes, CW already had it's foot out the door into my heart. The theme is fucking perfect and gritty as shit, like an 80s B action movie: cheesy main character tough guy in leather, big junky grungy guns, and a ton of "attitude," the type of thing a typical young boy thinks is cool, which IS cool. I can not in good conscience say this game is good. This game is plain bad, and I think most anyone who plays it will agree with me. However, it has it's charm, or rather extreme lack thereof, and, yes, I will be playing it again. This is how it works. You roll up a character in a similar fashion as a Fighting Fantasy gamebook (i.e. this will determine the difficulty of the game, and you will have to use your best judgement in rolling up fairly). You receive a slew of random weapons, armor, and devices. Gameplay consists of flipping a card, which will usually either be an enemy, trap, or nothing, and moving the time track 30 seconds (you have 60 mins to finish the game). You divide the deck into 2, placing the "end card" in the second deck. Some conditions may make you restart the game, but if you completed the first deck, you restart at the second one. Combat is simple, roll 2 dice for the enemy and yourself, add modifiers, and either the enemy is dead or you get a wound. If you are wounded, roll on a chart to determine temporary effects of the wound. You are also given a chance to use a gun at the start of combat, and sometimes during combat. Traps test your reflex skill, and are more likely to advance time rather than wound you. You also have to worry about radiation and "zombie venom," which are picked up from fighting certain enemies and sometimes through traps. The goal is to come across "the darkness" card, an especially powerful foe, and kill him/her/it, and then you have saved New York from some underdeveloped space warp plot (which has MANY discrepancies with the 40k warp, it's best to just assume the lores are unrelated, even if you ARE coming across foes called "Chaos Agents"... Yes, yes indeed, this game is hard. Really hard. Don't expect to win often. I beat the game on my 5th try, with 1:30 left on the clock, 2 HP or "wounds," and 2 clicks away from dying of radiation. It was intense. There is a lot of randomness to success in this game, but to be quite honest, it didn't feel like it was playing itself. It just felt really, really difficult. Here's some things I hate about this game: 1. "Mutant Things." These guys suck. Just encountering them (not even fighting them!) causes you to suffer d6 radiation. On average about 13 radiation will kill you, so it's very possible that just by coming across 3 of these guys will cause you to automatically lose. Why is there NO chance of avoiding radiation? Sure there's ONE item in the game that can divert this, but even that item causes you problems when you use it. Anyway, 2. The chasm. Don't have the hook and rope? Sorry, gotta restart. Didn't get to the second deck yet? Sorry, gotta start ALL over. I hate that card. Just throw it in the garbage. So what's good about this game? Why am I probably gonna be playing it again tonight? This game is fast as hell. People have said it is sluggish and has annoying managing, but I am under the opinion it is quite the opposite. After a couple playthroughs, I was flipping cards, rollin bones, and advancing time practically in one graceful sweep of my hand. I found this game VERY fluid, once you get the hang of it. It is pure, non-stop action, and for what it is, it kills it. I like this game. I have noticed people complain about the bookkeeping in this game. Seriously? Yes the idea of having the 20 numbered chips and replacing them every time is a stupid idea, but I did not once use those chips. The first thing I did when I read that was I found an old d20. Problem solved. I found the bookkeeping to be minimal, the item inventory was slick and easy to keep track of (compare this to AH or Runebound, for example), and all stats are kept neatly in one place. I almost never referred to the rule book after the first play through. So would I recommend this terrible but oddly-fun game? Not to everyone, no. This game typifies a certain breed of Ameritrash that would turn off most, and honestly, you'll know whether or not you want this game just by looking at the box art.