söndag 24 juli 2011

I will ride the wings of darkness/fuck your blessed trinity

Toxic Holocaust - Conjure & Command
2011, Relapse Records

There is no doubt in my mind that Conjure & Command not only is the crowning achievement of the career of these yanks so far, but also one of the absolute top five metal record to be released this year. It's an album I've been awaiting eagerly for quite some time now. I'd previously heard the leaked track, Nowhere To Run, and was instantly blown away by the simplicity and stripped down-ness of it and I was fucking itching to listen to the rest of it. And now, finally, it's here. And, man, does it deliver. Conjure & Command seethes with truly wicked old school deathrash, bringing to mind such seminal eighties greats as Kreator, Destruction, Venom, Warfare, Sodom and Slayer.

This is what metal used to sound like in the 1980's before it morphed and split into death metal, speed metal and thrash metal. This was before anyone really gave a shit what they called their music, beyond the vague, but perfectly fine, descriptor 'metal'. This is music defined by, but not at all limited to, eighties deathrash metal, so there is never that odd sense of irony and out of place humour that often cripples bands like these. There is never the sense that the band is desperately trying to relive or re-capture some golden era of heavy metal, which is a venture that almost always fails. There is enough speed on C&C to remind one of Toxic Holocaust's earlier releases, for example in raging opener Judgement Awaits You, but also a greater mix of styles and tempos than before. The already stripped down style of their past body of work is now being eaten down to the bone, leaving only the necessary bare minimum, resulting in top notch song writing. The band delivers ten tracks of crushingly intense punk infused metal that very often reminds me of Venom, though several orders of magnitude better. And speaking of Venom; there is an apparent stylistic vocal turn towards a very Cronos-y style of deep growling coming from frontman Joel Grind, which is awesome. Not much else to say except, this is one of the very few metal albums that actually delivers everything the hype has promised.

måndag 18 juli 2011

What is it? Caught in a mosh!

Xibalba - Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias
2010, Southern Lord

On Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dios, Xibalba lays on some thunderously heavy, downtuned hardcore with a huge side order of chugging metal. It all reeks of Hatebreed, NYHC, old school death metal, Slayer and in their heaviest moments, Korn (!). It's all suffocatingly heavy but in a really good way. I'm thouroughly impressed with the way the band manages to bring that massive weight into the faster tracks (like Obituary) without losing any of the heaviness. Despite the fact that I rarely listen to this kind of hardcore/mosh metal, I 've found myself spinning this album quite a lot lately and enjoying the hell out of it, so Xibalba are, obviously, doing something right.

Harm's Way - Isolation
2011, Closed Casket Activities

Isolation is the latest effort from this Chicago-based hardcore act and it contains a singularly effective mix of heavy filthy hardcore and metal. The album is a seething mess of fury and restraint that immediately takes a chokehold on the listener with the churning noisy power violence intro to Scrambled and keeps that grip tight like a vice for the duration of the album. The music only rarely strays above midtempo (often wallowing deep in the swamps of sludgy power violence and doomy metal) but manages to maintain a brilliant sense of dynamic throughout. The album twists and turns from tiny noisy interludes, to almost industrially tinged metal parts (featured most prominently in Becoming) and old school death metally d-beat hardcore and then back again to chugging moshy breakdowns. The band obviously has a great eye (ear?) for detail, which is something that really brings the songs on this album forward and gives them a stronger sense of structure and an added push, be they churning ominous melodies, dissonant twists or awesome drum fills. Closer track, Pretender, is one of this year's best songs, any and all categories.

lördag 9 juli 2011

In on the kill taker

Wugazi! I can't even begin to imagine the warped (stoned?) reasoning behind the decision to do a mashup between legendary acts Fugazi and Wu-Tang Clan, but I applaud it all the same. Stoked to hear the full album. Meanwhile listen to/download these two tracks.

Sweet Release by WUGAZI

Sleep Rules Everything Around Me by WUGAZI