Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seasons Are Going And Going

Final Exit are without question one of the most highly praised noisecore/grindcore bands from Japan, maybe even the world. Their progression from the days of making simple grindcore rooted noise, to nowadays making, man I don't even know how to describe it. The sheer unhinged, chaotic catharsis of a musically proficient maniac? All I know is that their mastery and technical performance floors me. It's the perfect blend of shitcore noise and great musical talent. What many consider their magnum opus, the mini-album "Seasons Are Going And Going...And Lives Go On", was reissued last year on a lavish gatefold single-sided 12", by the outstanding SPHC. A label that has become quite a common face on this blog.  All copies were pressed on black vinyl, 33RPM.

I played this record at my job the day I got it, my manager was the only one working who got to hear it, along with any customer lucky enough. My manager turned to me when it was done and said he didn't quite like it, amazingly. In his paraphrased words, they sounded too goofy and there wasn't enough serious craftsmanship to latch onto. It took me back, in my own perspective, as someone who does love this bands music. Eventually it did make me realize that to many, unfortunately, they will undoubtably come off as nothing but a joke. It's hard to not empathize with it, and in some respects that opinion holds true. This is truly off the wall music, it's batshit, bonkers. It'a a grinderized smatering of literally a million different genres. Changing keys, tones, riffs, tempos, genres, everything and anything seamlessly at the drop of a hat. The over the topness can easily lend itself to parody, but this is also what makes "Seasons Are Going And Going..." and Final Exit, so brilliant. They embrace this complete ridiculousness, wink at you just enough, but lay it down so well that it does a 180 and becomes truly exceptional again. 
On top of that, this is a band that is comprised of musicians of real musical talent! These song are so tight and perfectly performed, it's astonishing. You could make ties to bands like John Zorn's Naked City. Another band that created noisy, frantic compositions played with by musicians of expert skill levels. Yet Final Exit remains in a league all of their own, especially in the grindcore/noise world. The duo line-up most likely helps with the tightness. Both Ryohei and Hisao are locked into each others movements and shifts, honed from years of playing. Also unlike most other noisecore, "Seasons..." is recorded very, very well. Every little bit of detail shines through purposely and effectively. It's noisecore done unlike any other.

A noisecore concept album in the loosest sense, "Seasons..." is made up of 12 tracks, named unsurprisingly after each month of the year. It definitely stands as some of Final Exit's strongest material. The attack on your musical senses is incredible. Lasting just short of 11 minutes, and using every valuable second of that time to cram in as much shit as possible. "January" opens with the familiar no-riff guitar noise and crazed drumming, before veering off into straight up Van Halen double tapping. Then more noise, then OSDM riffs, then everything you can imagine. Surf guitar, hand claps, Iron Maiden riffs, metal slams, clean guitar, power pop, it's utter chaos. In the case of the titular "May" track, the band couldn't resist and made a sugary pop-rock instrumental (I wonder why people think this band is silly?). The track "September (Be My Baby)" is a masterpiece shitcore anthem that I hope to see live some day. It's so good, it's so tight, so impressive. It's wonderful. 

SPHC painstakingly recreated the colorful and lavish artwork from the original digipack 3" CD this was originally released on in 2008. Credit is certainly due to Derek/Rage For All Records for originally releasing this monster to the world. Everything has been replicated on the gatefold jacket, even the center label looks like the original CD label. The only thing that changed is the spine, which now includes the full album title and the SPHC brand. And the new thank you's for the vinyl reissue in the gatefold.

You can pick this up from SPHC obviously. Get it!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Great Equalizer

The long anticipated 10" full length from Connecticut grindcore heavies Gowl, is inching closer and closer to its release with this limited cassette of the record. Which has now been given the name "On Our Feet Or On Our Knees". Previously, demo versions of some of these songs were released back in 2015, also on tape. Now that I've heard the full thing a few times,  I'm happy to say Gowl is back with maybe their strongest release. "On Our Feet Or On Our Knees", the cassette version, was released in a run of 50 copies on True Freak Records.

I love Gowl, quite a lot actually. I think they're one of the more unique and powerful units in the whole Mid West grindcore scene. Given that, I expect them to bring a lot of "oompf" to the table when they put something out. Their unique blending of purposely noisy and chaotic recordings, death metal riffs, creative drum work, twisted grooves and faster than normal blasts make them a stand out band for sure. It's a sound that completely won me over on the "BLURRR" 7", and thankfully their trademark style is beefed up on "On Our Feet...". I'd say that this is definitely Gowl's clearest and most refined recording to date. A perfect sounding session for this next era of the band. That being said it's still a distorted, atonal mess, in the best way. Seth's bass rumbles ruthlessly over the equally bass heavy guitar riffs, the vocals buried like a man screaming at the end of a cave. Through all the murk, lies Gowls undeniably good song craft and they use a plethora of different styles on this album. Gowl songs have a lot of moments that grab me and stick in my head. Unintended(?) hooks shall we say. Masterful, brutal and to the point riffs that have a bit of their own secret sauce in the formula. They aren't afraid to slam into purely enjoyable heavy, slamming riffs, or a fist pumping, stomping, D-beat song. Majority wise though, this record is full of brutal riffs and drums, played together in ways you wouldn't normally hear it done, and I commend Gowl for it. Serious grindcore that knows how to be infectious. They also throw in a few surprising few second long songs into the tracklist, which always pleases a noisecore person like me.

The whole album plays on both sides, no A-Bing this one. I like that way better honestly, I really enjoy hearing this all the way through without flipping it. You can totally tell when the A-side is supposed to end though; a noisy track that mixes in twisted radio frequencies and harsh sounds. The cassette dub sounds killer, I can only imagine how good this will sound on shiny vinyl. You gotta love that signature, checkered pattern. Gowl always maintain an interesting aesthetic.

So far the band doesn't have it for sale, maybe they sold out already. But I know you can find it in a few distros. Google it.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

The ABC's of Noisecore

If I ever posted an official "best of 2016" list on any blog platform last year, you were bound to see this record placed firmly near the top spot. A brilliant noisecore split released by the always reliable SPHC, one that is a sure fire way to make most newcomers take a moment of pause. Two bands, Anal Butt and Cunts, both with monikers that are bound to spark reflex chuckling, or disgust. The latter only used drums and vocals. Sounds like something that only a basement dweller would vibe to. Me personally, I'm in love with it. One of the best slabs of wax I've heard in a few years. The newly released official pressing (I'll get to that later) is pressed in a run of 250, all black vinyl. 33 RPM.

Anal Butt not only have one of the best bad band names ever, but they're also a band that pulls of brutal, knuckle dragging noisecore with a tweaked sound perfectly. Spearheaded by SPHC label owner Dan McGregor and Co., I've heard him say that this is the best thing he's done. And while I haven't heard the bulk of his discography, I'd have to say this would be hard to beat. The sonic assault that Anal Butt bring on their side is crushing, warp speed, kaleidoscopic, and embraces the best of the genre's unapologetic stupid qualities. Standard instruments are used; drums, bass, guitar and vocals, and the general sound is nothing that groundbreaking. However, the editing and attention to detail in the recording, dare I say the arrangements of it, are just excellent! The session starts with a good chunk of short, crudely edited song bursts that begin with stick clicks. Eventually everything gets noisier and noisier, growing and getting more claustrophobic. Vocals are doubled on top of each other and the bass sounds like it's literally frying from the distortion. Simply brilliant editing and cutting out certain instruments at certain times, or letting everything die out for a split second to just explode again with more blasts and noise! Next thing you know there's a generic hardcore breakdown riff with Patrick the Starfish vocal grunts. It's such a joy to listen to every time, I always notice something different.

Cunts is a noisecore duo from Japan that have been around for over a decade, and have been a band that have been a treasure to fans of the underground. Their releases are sought after, and I'm fortunate enough to own only a couple items. The drill here is only vocals choking with high gain feedback, and drums. Bada bing. Cunts is a band that takes noisecore to almost it's most bare bones and neanderthal. Their recordings however always showcase the sheer brutality a duo like this can bring, and their half of this record is no exception. It's mastered so fucking loud, the feedback almost makes you feel like your ear drums are getting stabbed. The drums supply all the punch and force they need, they're performed absolutely perfectly. Blasting, grooving, polka beating and stopping all at just the right times. Ucchys non-stop screams and yells are so relentless they almost have a hypnotic quality. I'd say they're the best band doing this style of noisecore since World, easily. Definitely not as heady or conceptual as World, but they certainly are no chumps. It's so damn good, I cannot recommend it enough.

The record is packaged in a single-sided fold-over sleeve with this small insert inside. All of the regular press have large hole in the center.

Now back in the summer of 2016, I got to perform with Anal Butt and Sedem Minut Strachu, and I was able to pick up what was unbeknownst to me at the time, a test press! A run of 50 TP's were made for the tour, and I feel very lucky to own it. The test press version is virtually identical except it has a small center hole and no insert.

You can pickup this record at SPHC, what are you waiting for?


Friday, February 10, 2017

Live After Fuck Off!

Not satisfied with simply releasing a split 7" together, the two noisecore legends of new and old paired up yet again last year for a split tape of new "studio" material. Seven Minutes Of Nausea and Sedem Minut Strachu. The latter band owing 7MON almost everything, from their name, to the logo they use. All touchy, rockstar attitudes about a bands own sacred aesthetic are kicked beyond the curb here. This is noisecore, we're all dorks in this side of the musical spectrum. Fuck music, rockstar is a fuck. They say imitation is a form of flattery, but both these bands are definitely friends beyond the rackets they make and decide to release together. It's a tape of beauty. This cassette is probably limited to like 100 copies. Released on K.A.Z., a label run by Rado of 7MS.

 Seven Minutes of Nausea have really been kicking ass lately on their new recordings. I thought the split with Sete Star Sept was fantastic, and the brilliance continues on this tape. 7MON sludge through 193 tracks of pure, old school noisecore mastery. No frills, nothing cutting edge, just frantic desperate music with great lyrics and chaotic blasting. Mick Hollows vocals sound like the wonderful, classic Mick we all know and love. Introducing almost every track with the title, and gargling every word that he decides to put to paper. The guitars are basically a feed back mess. There's a big use of deep, powerviolence style grunts that I really liked a lot too. All around wonderful stuff, loved it.

Sedem Minut Strachu's side is another satisfyingly lo-fi, old school sounding chunk of noise. A band that people who read this blog know I hold near and dear. Fuck structure, fuck riffs, 7MS slay on their half in their characteristic manner. A consistently gross bass rumble permeates all 56 tracks, it sounds like the microphone is dying trying to pick up all the sounds being made. The session is very similar to the split 7" these guys did together earlier actually. 7MS seem to really want to play as many short tracks as they can when they pair up. I can see why, given the legendary influence 7MON made with their insanely choppy songs. Another great solid recording from my favorite band.

The packaging is what really seals the deal on this one. It's a classic, fold out cover with all the lyrics to 7MON's songs. Reading their lyrics is always a great touch. I don't know if many people know that they actually do write these out.

Expertly painted tape.

Noisecore lives!!!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hypnic Meat

There's tons of really quality, filty noise coming out of the midwest. Old news to anyone with an eye on the underground. The noisecore genre has grown massively in the past several years, and this tape is a great pairing of some really good projects that have come up. Hypnic Jerk from Michigan, and Horse Meat from Texas. Released in an unknown amount of Strangle and Amuse Tapes.

Hypnic Jerk never skimp out on sheer, unfliching brutality. The recording is a blown out bombshell recording, the fidelity is less than zero. It would almost be considered a straight up harsh noise recording if there weren't splash moments of cymbal crashes and strained vocals. Pretty sure during this recording Hypnic Jerk was just a drums and noise equipment due. A different sort of line-up then the usual noisecore affair, and they pummel you with it. Thirteen fast moving, chaotic noise tracks. Insanely harsh stuff for noise creeps.

Horse Meat is a solo noisecore project that uses a drum machine, and give another winning recording session on their side. Instantly winning me over with an excruciatingly long, overblown sample from one of my favorite movies, "Basket Case". After about a minute and a half of that, the blasting begins and I loved all seven tracks of it. Kinda reminiscent of 7MON when they used a drum machine, but Horse Meat actually has some parts that do resemble riffs (as free as they are), and don't play microsongs. The vocals are also diverse and fun, going from caveman "ooouurgh's", to cracked screams and some pitch shifted gutterals. Awesome project!!

The tapes sound great, and the layout and graphics are perfect. Strangle and Amuse definitely sticks to a solid look with their releases. The painted tapes do in fact play great, and they look dank as well.

Find this in a distro some where, I believe the label is sold out now. You snooze you lose.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Beast World

I think it was SPHC themselves that said something to the effect of; "if any band could bring world peace, it would be Sete Star Sept", and it's kind of hard to argue with such a wholesome claim. Whenever 7S7 comes into town there's a sort of kinetic excitement that fills the air. The unifying excitement that one of the grind worlds most beloved bands (and probably most popular noisecore band, period...ever) is about to unleash a whole new level of racket. And a chance to pick up numerous new splits and limited tapes from their merch table . I had the joy of seeing them for the second time this summer at the LA Onefest, and their performance was definitely worth the long, long wait (after numerous set-time changes and configurations). As usual, 7S7 have had an incredible amount of split releases come out this year (the split 12"s with Godstomper and 7 Minutes of Nausea are some highlights). However, SPHC has also released a new studio album! I'm pretty sure it's their first since "Visceral Taverns". "Beast World" was released in a first run of 500 copies, all black vinyl, 33 RPM.
The A-side of "Beast World" plays and sounds like the tried and true Sete Star Sept that I know and love. 23 songs in about half the minutes, recorded in Baltimore by an SPHC affiliate. Brutal, frantic free grindcore, and some of their best material to date. Kiyasu's and Kae are both on the top of their game here. Like "Visceral Tavern", they give us more of that we're familiar with, but everything here just sounds a bit stronger. There's quite a bit of spots on the A-side where you could swear that these individual song blasts were composed, which only makes their talents as improvisers really shine. The occasional "real riff" or build-up helps give this a more fluid motion instead of just being a cascade of impenetrable noise. It's an incredibly strong first half.
But man, oh man, does this shit really get taken to a new level on the B-side. This B-side may be my favorite thing that 7S7 has done ever. Kae and Kiyasu switch duties, and what explodes after an innocent little ring of chimes, is amazing. Shitcore, free drumming and shouted English profanity, it's just so incredibly fun and perfect. Some of my personal highlights on here, "Bitch Ass Motherfucker", "Fuck Face", "Shit Head", actually no, this whole side is a highlight. You really do have to buy this record to hear how incredible it is for yourself. When I got this, me and my band listened to the CD 3 times in a row when we were driving. I was lucky enough to see them perform with Kae on drums and Kiyasu on vocals at the LA Onefest too, and I felt incredibly fortunate to witness it.

Once again, Sete Star Sept do not disappoint with the album cover. They've always managed to have great artwork that perfectly represents their recordings. The cartoony, over the topness of "Beast World" is such a joy to look at. It has a weird "Adventure Time" look, which I also appreciate (I've been binging on it lately). SPHC packaged this record in an impressively strong jacket, with full-color, glossy artwork. They always give this band a great package. No lyric sheet, obviously, and no other information is given besides what's on the back. Edit: recently Dan/SPHC and I got in touch, and he sent me (among other things) the beautiful insert that was not ready at the time of SSS's 2016 West Coast USA tour. Here it is now!

I highly recommend picking this up, one of my favorite records of the year. Buy it HERE!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fuck A Job

Another new split 7" self released by NY's Waves Crashing Piano Chords project. Joining up with the bad mushroom trip noisecore mess that is Michigan's Farting Corpse. Another pairing of bands that seems somewhat strange at first, but is another great showcase of friends supporting friends, and sharing a release based on equal appreciation of each others craft. WCPC, is an artist that is appreciated more in the Midwest more than probably anywhere else. Footage of the Harshfest sets are pretty big examples of this. WCPC's antics are seemingly celebrated down there. It's the only region I can see where getting punched in the head with a microphone or having a whole bottle of blue Faygo sprayed in your eyeballs is a highlight of a show. This split 7" was released in a run of 230 copies, black vinyl, 45 RPM.

Waves brings us a completely new song on their side, entitled "I Like You Better". Opening with subtle sounds of movement for a few seconds until the sharp squeal of the trademark microphone feedback clicks on. The track is typical WCPC, not a ton of new things to highlight here. The vocals are appropriately tough and antagonistic, and the sudden stops of silence between the words "I...Like...You...Better!" is a nice little bit of composition. The song ends with about a minute of manipulated mouth noises, which is a sound I think I would like to see Sean work with more, it works. Not the strongest track in the Waves catalog, but still solid and enjoyable.

I admittedly only own one other release from Farting Corpse (the possibly unofficial split with Penis Geyser), so I'm not entirely familiar with a lot of their recordings. The 25 tracks that they perform on their side is something I know I really enjoy though. This band is freak out, psychedelic, gutter noise sound vomit. Custom guitar/Kaossilator noise swirls and skrongs over warp speed hyper blasts and heavily manipulated vocals. Little bits of what sounds like cut-up edits pop up at the end of some of the tracks which give it even more of a frantic sound. This recording is that hypnotic, repetitive kind of brutality that you just get lost in and let it do whatever it wants to your eardrums. It's over in the blink of an eye though, they waster no time with the three and a half minutes they have. I've heard of this band performing for almost a couple hours before, I hope I get to see them live someday.

There is absolutely no info about any of the bands on this release. 

You can buy this split HERE!