About Court In The Act.

No albums are hosted here. All files must be deleted 24 hours after download, as they are for review and criticism purposes only - provided you follow this guideline, downloading from Court In The Act is legal as per s30(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. If any copyright holder has a problem with their material being posted here, get in touch and I will remove it. Let me know if any links are broken, I'll remove the post to prevent future annoyance, and will attempt to re-upload the file.

Comments make our work worthwhile. If you really enjoyed an album, tell us about it, we'd love to hear from you. If you hated it, tell us why.

Although music is a major part of all of our lives, we all have some form of external life. If there are periods in which no posts are added, I'm sorry, but that's how things happen. Even though I love blogging like this, sometimes I can't muster up the desire within myself to write about yet another album.

I'd like to say too that Court In The Act will never be run for personal profit. This means no advertisement, no premium schemes, and no LinkBucks. Megaupload is used because it strikes a fair balance between ease of upload and ease of download.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Repost: Deicide - Amon: Feasting The Beast [1993]

A collection of Deicide's two demos under the name Amon; the 'Feasting The Beast' and 'Sacrificial' demos. Although very little content here is not on the band's debut, they are still interesting historically.

160 kbps


Iron Maiden - Powerslave [1984]

Prime-era Iron Maiden is essentially like a premium steak cooked rare. In other words, tastes delicious, seems pretty sophisticated for what it is, but still has enough bite to it to make it an absolute fucking feast. Enough with the analogies already. Powerslave isn't Maiden's best album - it's got some filler in it ('Losfer Words', 'The Duellists'), but is still an absolute corker of an album. Seek it down instantly. Or better still, download it below.

128 kbps


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Lifelover - Erotik [2007]

It seems that in this day and age every man and his dog has formed a very strong opinion on Lifelover - apart from me. I think they're good, but nothing incredible. The reason why I'm posting them then? A recent bereavement amongst their ranks is one reason - but also to allow some more of my readership to form an opinion on them. This isn't my favourite album of theirs, but it's probably their most critically acclaimed. Essentially, their sound has elements of (depressive) black metal mixed with the hooks of rock - particularly the likes of The Cure. Not much more needs saying - it's an enjoyable album, but not one you're likely to want to listen to often.

~230 kbps VBR


Uproar - Die For Me EP [1982]

This is a little known piece of d-beat inspired punk from the early days of hardcore. It's quite impressive, especially considering it was released at roughly the same time as 'Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing'. The melodic vocals give it a slight difference from the rest of the pack.

128 kbps


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Weekly album analysis, week eight

Will probably be another short one, as I don't think I've actually listened to much music this week. I may be mistaken though... Also, I'm going to start making 8tracks mixes of the stuff here to put on the end.

To listen to tracks off these albums, check out the mix here . Note that to fulfil the website's licensing requirements, I've added bonus tracks by Steven Wilson and Sol Invictus.

ACxDC - A Sign Of Impending Doom [2005]

Yeah, this is a 2-minute EP, so to be honest there isn't much to say about it. 2 tracks, one of which also appears on the excellent 'He Had It Coming' EP. ACxDC are one of the powerviolence bands who should definitely have released more. With this, however, one can't question the musical quality on display, but with ONE MINUTE of new music, you have to question whether it's really worth it. [6/10]

*********************ALBUM OF THE WEEK***************************************

Fuck On The Beach - Power Violence Forever [1998]

Power violence forever indeed. This Japanese band has long been one of the major purveyors of Japanese punk (along with the more obvious likes of S.O.B.), and this is probably their best-known album. And for good reason - it's an aural assault from start to finish, yet being varied enough in drum patterns and the like to keep things interesting. Probably falls just short of powerviolence 'classic' status, but it's on a par with many albums which are there. [9/10]

Magrudergrind - Religious Baffle [2003]

This is one of Magrudergrind's earlier releases, but you wouldn't be able to tell, such is the level of songwriting maturity on here. Sure, at 12 minutes long, one has to question whether so much 'going slowly' is necessary - and indeed, it sometimes drags - but this is still very worthwhile. As I said, 12 minutes - what have you got to lose? [7/10]

Mystic Force - Shipwrecked With The Wicked [1990]

Progressive power metal is a genre that I've only recently become better acquainted with, but I think I know enough of the genre to say that this is a little hit-and-miss to say the least. There are some absolute crackers on here ('Awakened By The Dawn', 'Silent But Deadly'), but the weaker tracks are really weak, often with nothing to draw the listener in whatsoever - and to pick two of the weaker ones to open and close your album is suicide. [5/10]

Slipknot - Slipknot [1990]

No, not the shitty nu-metal band, this Slipknot are a crossover thrash band who certainly play more than respectable crossover thrash. This was their only release - and it wouldn't be nearly so well-known, I bet, if it wasn't for the notoriety of the other Slipknot, but it's pretty good, and certainly for a time when thrash, and particularly crossover, was in the process of going down the drain for most of the 90s. [8/10]

Vicious Rumors - Soldiers Of The Night [1986]

Vicious Rumors are one of those USPM bands that it took me ages to check out due to my relative noobiness with regards to power metal. And of them? Well, they're good fun, but I can't afford this album the god-tier status that many seem to - they write a chorus, a hook really well, but when it comes to writing music of real substance, it's sadly lacking. Catchy, but often superficial. [6/10]

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Helloween - Helloween EP [1985]

Even within the camps of power metal purists, there is much dispute as to what Helloween's best release is. Many cite either part one or two of Keeper Of The Seven Keys; others prefer the more balls-to-the-wall approach of Walls Of Jericho, or indeed this, Helloween's debut EP. What do I say? Doesn't really matter, they all rule. Why? The songwriting. Let's face it, nobody listens to power metal for the technicality (apart from faggy Dragonforce fans), or the aesthetic qualities. A set of songs here which will make your throat sore from howling the lyrics along with Kai Hansen, and your chest sore from the chest-beating testosterone of it all.

128 kbps


Drudkh - Blood In Our Wells [2006]

Drudkh are maligned somewhat nowadays for 'being no more than a Burzum clone' and thus 'giving rise to all this hipster black metal twaddle'. I feel it necessary here to give full disclosure: I like hipster black metal. Sue me. The point is that this is more than strictly a Burzum clone, and certainly makes more satisfying music than most of the 'hipster' hordes (although naturally there are some excellent bands within the scene). Sure, the vast, feedback-enhanced soundscapes are at times reminiscent of Hvis Lyset Tar Oss in all its glory, but Drudkh do add elements of their own - subtle hints of the folk music of their native Ukraine, and more apparent drums than those who came before them. Are the similarities to Burzum apparent? Sure. Do they constitute all of the music, insofar as to make it not reach an excellent and not wholly derivative standard? Don't be daft.

256 kbps


Friday, 25 November 2011

Mantas - Death By Metal demo [1984]

I'll confess to not being overly enamoured with this demo tape - sure, it's essentially Death, but the fact remains it has the production values of a very early extreme metal demo tape (which is to be expected to be honest!). If nothing more though, it's worthwhile for its historical value.

128/192 kbps


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Godflesh - Streetcleaner [1989]

Those who dispute Godflesh's importance in the shaping of industrial metal are either trolling or just plain stupid. Sure, they sound nothing like the millions of bands nowadays who mix Korn and Combichrist and see it fit to call it thus, but in this is the purest mixture of industrial music and metal that one can find. Streetcleaner is unparalleled in its achievement; unmatched in its pure crushing sound. And none of this forsakes songwriting ability; there are massive 'tunes' in the likes of 'Like Rats' and 'Christbait Rising'. Basically, if you don't have this already, it's high time you do.

~240 kbps VBR


Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave [2009]

I'M FUCKING SEEING NAPALM DEATH TOMORROW!!! Sorry, just had to get that out of the way. Napalm Death are my favourite band, and despite a really weak middle era (from Utopia Banished to Words From The Exit Wound), they have really picked things up since the turn of the century. This album is one of their best since that - perhaps bested only by Order Of The Leech in that group. I think it would be best - every song is great - but it's a little long at over 50 minutes, which is tiring in a grindcore album. Still, long live Napalm Death, and look forward to their new one coming early next year.

~225 kbps VBR


Life Is Pain - Bloody Melancholy demo [2006]

This is depressive black metal at its finest. Sure, it's the sort of thing which is tr00-kvlter-than-tr00-kvlt, being a two-man act's only demo ever, but upon studying the members' other bands, things make a little more sense - Lifelover (bears little resemblance), Hypothermia (pretty similar), Deep-Pression (similar), and Trist (again, similar). This trumps the lot though - its relatively short length stops it from becoming nauseatingly repetitive, a plague which haunts many DSBM bands.

N.B. I think there is an odd sample halfway through the second track - whether this is supposed to be there or not I'm unsure, but it certainly sounds well out of place.

128 kbps


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Judas Priest - British Steel [1980]

Despite the pretty poor likes of tracks on here like 'Living After Midnight' and 'Breaking The Law', this is still yet another Priest classic. People say not to fuck with the Priest, and I'm more than tempted to concur. 'Metal Gods' indeed.

128 kbps


D.R.I. - Crossover [1987]

Those of you who have been paying attention recently will realise that this is the third D.R.I. album I've posted in a short space of time. And so what? I love them. This one isn't quite so classic as their earlier efforts - indeed, songs are, on average, about 2.5 times as long and contain a lot more thrash influence than in the past, but once again, this is still an album that should appeal well to both camps.

160 kbps


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Weekly album analysis, week seven

This one's a bit (read: very) late, and as such I have something to actually write about this week. Without further ado, let the skimming commence!

Asphyx/Hooded Menace - Split [2011]

You've probably gathered, if you've been reading my blog for a while, that I love the split format, and this is no different. Ultimately a combination of two similar but contrasting in essence bands, this displays the more martial approach of Asphyx well, whereas Hooded Menace's plodding style seems to fall a little flat afterwards - although maybe that's because I don't really like the main riff of their track. [6/10]

Dälek - Absence [2004]

I like to think of myself as quite open-minded about music, and I love this. Far from the 'bitch nigga' approach of most modern rap, this is a sociopolitical commentary done in an intelligent manner. It has a little bit of an industrial backdrop instrumentally too, which adds intrigue and ultimately aids the dystopia that I believe their metaphors warn against. [9/10]

Dead Head - Dream Deceiver [1993]

Can't believe it's taken me this long to hear Dead Head - bloody excellent is what this album is, and it shows that not all thrash released in the 90s is bollocks. It does have some variation on the usual thrash 'hit-fast-shout-loud' theme in its slower parts (most notably the main part of the opener). That said, the standout tracks, and in particular 'Unholy', are the faster numbers. [8/10]

Evile - All Hallows Eve [2004]

I like Evile, and this, one of their first releases, is a good example of why. Only one of these tracks ('Killer From The Deep') would make it on to their first full length Enter The Grave (since which their albums have not been as good), and to be fair, it is the standout track. That's not to say the rest isn't solid, and this EP set the Huddersfield lads up well for a good thrash career. [7/10]

Haus Arafna - Butterfly [2003]

Haus Arafna is a German extreme electronic act - I don't want to be more specific as the influence from various forms of electronic music is quite apparent - for most of it, it would seem that the most obvious point of reference is Throbbing Gristle, but there is also a lot of influence from digital and rhythmic noise, power electronics, and even some drum and bass. Vocals range from tortured to clean to an almost shamanistic Swans-like approach, although they are almost always semi-drowned in swathes of feedback. A wonderful and truly original release. [9/10]

Hellnation - Dynamite Up Your Ass [2002]

Hellnation are probably best described by one of the song titles on this 'ere disc - 'I Love Punk I Love Thrash'. Their brand of thrashcore, obviously influenced by all the legendary 625 bands, is just about right for a quick dose of the stuff. It's not exemplary, but what it is is a good (quick) bit of fun that is actually quite well-known by now. Give it a pop if you like that kind of thing. [7/10]

Iskra - Bureval [2009]

I'm a fan of crust, and a fan of black metal. However, often when the two are mixed, they lose some of the repressed, desolate feeling inherent to both - and that's exactly my problem with Iskra. They're well-received in both communities, but I just don't see the appeal, as their approach feels at best good but repetitive and at worst simply vapid. [4/10]

Joe Pesci - At Our Expense [2009]

Powerviolence is a genre I like quite a bit - the problem is that this is just an average example of it. Sure, the song titles and samples are often hilarious, and the addition of a little grind influence is much appreciated, but the production is often poor and at times Last-Days-Of-Humanity-impenetrable, which ruins what could have been a very strong release. [5/10]

King Crimson - Lark's Tongue In Aspic [1970]

Progressive rock is a favourite of many writers of this blog, but not one of mine. There are, however, some albums I love, and KC's In The Court Of The Crimson King is one of them. This disappoints a little - it's far from the quality of the above. However, that's not to say it has no redeeming factors - it does. Namely one, the opening 13 minute instrumental track 'Lark's Tongue In Aspic Part One', which is brilliant from start to finish. The rest of the album is unfortunately quite lame in comparison. [5/10]

Masonna - Frequency LSD [1998]

This is indeed some crazy shit. But what would one expect from Japanoise? This is a lot more chaotic than most noise - harsh it certainly is, but a wall of noise it is not. Masonna includes some... odd vocals (or at least that's what I think they are), and even some (gasp) quieter moments, in amongst the naturally deafening approach of the rest of the album. This is art of the truly avant-garde. [9/10]

Merzbow - Merzbeat [2002]

If there was an accessible Merzbow album, this is it. Ultimately it uses far more standard drum patterns than most of even his later work, and actually plenty of melody (although moreso in a droning sense than in a conventional sense). Naturally, there's still lots of deviation into harsh madness over the top, but it's done in a predictable way which actually accentuates its contribution to the album as a whole. I'm pleasantly surprised. [8/10]

Sancta Poenas - De Dekadentas Dikter [2008]

I was attracted to this after either Hyperborean Cake or Waves Explosions, I can't remember which, described it as 'depressive rock with a little black metal'. Yeah. Also known as 'essentially Konkurs-era Lifelover with a bit more rock thrown in it. It's good, but not great. Recommended obviously for fans of Lifelover, but also later Shining and LIK. [6/10]

Sheol - Painting Black On The Sun [2007]

Melodic death metal that's not half bad. Sure, it does nothing new - in fact, it's very similar stylistically to Dark Tranquillity's Fiction album - but what it does do is make the listener excited and happy like melodeath should. Remember those days when you were just getting into metal (assuming, like me, you're pretty much a newfag)? This is those days. [7/10]

Ultra//Negative - Finally, I'm At Peace [2011]

Ultra//Negative are another project from one of the members of one of my favourite discoveries of this year, Ramlord. Unlike the blackened crust of them, however, this EP is powerviolence in excelsis - it seems the man can do no wrong. Any fans of powerviolence should enjoy this, although I'd recommend it particularly to fans of the more guitar-based stuff than the likes of Man Is The Bastard. [8/10]

xBrainiax - Deprogrammed [2010]

Fuckin' 'ell, this is FAST. 31 tracks in 28 minutes, or 30 in 17 if you discount the 11-minute closer, and not once does it become unpleasant or overwhelming. That in itself is an achievement, but it is astounding when you consider just how little time the band have been honing their craft. This is fast powerviolence/thrashcore, and very good at its style too. [8/10]

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Judas Priest - Unleashed In The East [1979]

This is the best live album of all time. It is unmatched in its sheer awesomeness - the setlist has a certain 'don't fuck with this' air to it (after all, everything Judas Priest released until Turbo was pure gold), and the band are on top form. Rumours of overdubbing are rife, but that doesn't matter - particularly in Halford's vocal performance, this stands over and above even the likes of No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith.

192 kbps


D.R.I. - Dirty Rotten LP [1983]

Raw, unadulterated proto-crossover thrash madness. This is essentially a hardcore record (hell, thrash had barely been conceived at the time of its release), but the sheer speed and crazy approach of it should make it appeal to all fans of the likes of S.O.D., Cryptic Slaughter and indeed later D.R.I.. Some of the tracks on here were later re-released on Dealing With It - personally, I prefer that one, but this shouldn't be passed up on either.

192 kbps


Miles Davis - Bitches Brew [1970]

Fuck me, a double album. I find it appropriate, however, that one of the last batch of uploads for which I will be using Megaupload is massive both historically and duration-wise. Miles made it here - a delightful concoction of his earlier bluesy jazz style and the emergent strains of progressive rock. It's a little bit long for me personally, but I can't deny its genius.

320 kbps


Friday, 18 November 2011

Spazz - Crush Kill Destroy [1999]

This is one of THE powerviolence records. Although the genre was pioneered by the likes of Man Is The Bastard, Capitalist Casualties and debatably Siege, their sounds were atypical of most of the rest of what was to come to say the least. This is still reminiscent of proto-violence at times - blastbeats are few and far between, and deeper vocals are used at times, but ultimately it has the raw aggression and simplistic approach nailed.

192 kbps


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Marduk - Iron Dawn EP [2011]

Marduk are probably the second-best known Swedish black metal band, behind the obvious Dissection. The main difference between them and Dissection is that nobody an hero'd whilst being a member of Marduk. This is their latest release, and it's damn good, and nothing like Dissection. I'm going to stop talking about Dissection. Anyway, it's three tracks and fucking great, with blastbeats and hooks galore.

320 kbps


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Electric Wizard - Dopethrone [2000]

Electric Wizard are sometimes a divisive band - funeral doom fans and bands hate them, due to a feud with Esoteric (I think), yet those who sit back and appreciate the music see this as true beauty. Supposedly better when stoned, but I wouldn't know - it's good enough for me anyway.

192 kbps


Monday, 14 November 2011

Deep Purple - Machine Head [1972]

Whether you like clean vocals or not, there is no question that Deep Purple's Machine Head was revolutionary in the development of metal - the likes of 'Smoke On The Water' gave the genre a little more mainstream credibility after the supposed 'satanism' of Sabbath, and the whole album had a rockin' vibe which, although inferior in my eyes to In Rock, has not been reached often since.

256 kbps


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Joanna Newsom - Ys [2006]

Both defining and rejuvenating a folk genre devoid of any real bite in this 21st century, Joanna Newsom's second record is, by all means, a modern day classic that rivals the spirit of even the most highly regarded songstresses. The songs range from 7 to 16 minutes, each one rambling through page after page of lyrical tales depicting ever-present themes (love, nature, happiness) and sticking to the essentials of ancient poetry, in a linguistic and grammatical sense. The harp and piano accompaniment of Newsom's debut are expanded to a whole orchestra, directed by Van Dyke Parks, fleshing out what was once a bare sound into a dynamic new beast of a unit. Newsom's voice combines the childlike innocence of Bjork with the deific rings of Kate Bush to great effect, creating a balanced response, but not an obstruction, to Parks' incredible orchestration. This really is essential stuff and is personally one of my favourite albums of the modern era, if not of all time. 

224 kbps

Judas Priest - Killing Machine (Hell Bent For Leather) [1978]

Although this was originally released under the moniker Killing Machine, I personally prefer the approach of the American re-release's title Hell Bent For Leather - in the existence of a title track, which is actually probably the best track on a stunning album. This is the point in Priest's career where their original blues rock influence was no longer at all present - I love those albums, but I'm grateful that it ended, because it caused the release of several more Priest classics, such as this.

128 kbps


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Iron Maiden - The Soundhouse Tapes demo [1979]

So yeah, Iron Maiden are probably the best-known heavy metal band that hasn't done a collaboration with Lou Reed. This is their first 'official' demo (you will see why I use the inverted commas in a future post), and it's interesting, if not strictly good. Personally, not being a fan of the self-titled, I was unlikely to ever really click with this, but it's certainly good as a piece of metal history.

192 kbps


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

LIVE REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2011

The seventh year of Damnation Festival, held at Leeds University Student Union, is set to be a good one; aside from the sister festival Deathfest, this is only my second Damnation, but it’s been running since 2005. Some last-minute news the night before lets us know that Decapitated have had a plane crash and have been forced to cancel, but the lineup remains excellent anyhow – plus they clashed with Godflesh, so nobody would’ve seen them anyway!

After a calm bus trip gets us there about 3 hours early, we have time to kill, and so pop into a record shop in Leeds (I can’t remember the name). The original plan was to go to Hellraiser, but it appears that the shop has closed down. A quiet 20 minutes or so there, staring at CDs none of us really plan to buy, gets us in the mood for music, and after a makeshift lunch and some wandering around, looking for a HMV so we can be ‘so cool’ in ridiculing their knowledge of genres (Paramore!? Metal!? Pah!), but instead getting a little lost and having to rely on our alpha male internal compasses. Okay, we asked a student.

Still arriving ludicrously early has its benefits – we are some of the first to see the merch stalls, and pick up a program before they’re all gone. The Earache stall has some excellent deals, and over the course of the day, I pick up Archgoat’s Whore Of Bethlehem CD and a Dragged Into Sunlight t-shirt – the two combined costing a mere £15.

To the music, and opening proceedings are Humanfly. Naturally, being openers, nobody gets too much into their music aside from those who are obviously friends and travelling crew – the only people really ‘losing it’ to their sounds are a couple of headbangers down the front and a hipster in one of those pretentious flat caps to the side of the stage. Admittedly, their music deserved more than this – they play a more-than-serviceable brand of sludgy doom with a little modern hardcore mixed in – imagine, if you will, a clash between Yob, SubRosa and early Mastodon (although admittedly being some way of the heights of those three). Their main downfall is that their vocalist, although obviously passionate, is simply terrible.

Admittedly, having a terrible vocalist can, in some cases, be better than not having one at all, certainly in Cerebral Bore’s case – the lack of a vocalist delays the start of their half-hour set by 25 minutes (at least, I left at that point), which causes mutterings among the death metal contingent at the festival – them and Decapitated were the only two death metal bands to be playing that day.

The reason for my exit was my desire to see A Forest Of Stars, who, like Humanfly, perform on the tiny Zero Tolerance stage. It’s evidently a bit cramped for their many members (somewhere between 7 and 8), but they lose no effect, as their Victorian-themed atmospheric black metal, unconventionally using piano and a violin, comes across a lot better than they do on record. Dressed in their archaic garments, one almost expects an eruption into plainsong as they come on to stage, especially as the first four or five minutes consist of a violin introduction, but once the set proper starts, they quickly rectify those perceptions. They seem to create visual art to a certain extent alongside their elongated songs of dementia – the vocalist is like a man possessed, and the rest of the band move and even headbang with a grace previously unthought-of of in the context of heavy metal.

To those who were there but missed Shining, I feel sorry for you. The Norwegian ‘blackjazz’ quintet’s performance is one of the sets of the festival, inciting scream-alongs to their own mini-classic ‘The Madness And The Damage Done’ and their excellent cover of King Crimson’s ‘21st Century Schitzoid Man’. Their only other song during their 35 minute set, ‘Fish Eye’, proves that it is possible to achieve insane levels of technicality within a song without forfeiting the structure which makes all forms of popular music (using the term very loosely here) so enjoyable. Saxophone ‘shredding’ is brilliant to watch, and frankly, brilliant to hear. Very well done.

Unfortunately, I only stay for three songs of Turisas’ set, due to delays on the largest of the three stages, but from what I see (‘The March Of The Varangian Guard’, ‘One More’ and ‘Stand Up And Fight’), they’re at their hugely fun, sword-swinging, singalong best. They also create the first pit of the day out of the bands I’ve seen (although I’m sure the angsty fans of alt-metal abominations Xerath managed thus too).

The reason why I left early is because I wanted to see the entire set of the aforementioned Dragged Into Sunlight. Perhaps the most sonically extreme bands on the bill, their blend of death, black and doom metal comes across very well in the darkened Terrorizer stage with a ram’s skull staring ominously at you. Metal is not without its gimmicks, and DiS’s is a strange preoccupation with serial killers – they have an intro tape which is far too long, consisting of ambient noises and various recordings of serial killers speaking. They also play with their backs to the audience for most of the set, which is unfortunately somewhat over-pretentious for my liking.

After this, I go once again to the large stage to see Huddersfield new wave of thrash upstarts Evile. Although their set is marred by the terrible sound on that stage, they still create fist-pumping, neck-snapping fun, fortunately playing only one song from lacklustre second album Infected Nations and instead concentrating on their excellent debut Enter The Grave and slightly-less-excellent new album Five Serpents’ Teeth. Rock Band gamers may know them from the presence of the song ‘Thrasher’ on one of the games, which is one of their best, and naturally, it’s a live staple. Although the band need to focus too much on their instruments to do so, crowd surfing is well and truly rampant among... well, the crowd, which certainly gives the security men a little to worry about!

Altar Of Plagues released one of my favourite albums of this year so far in ‘Mammal’, but unfortunately, it doesn’t transfer well to the live arena. Maybe due to the appallingly quiet mix at that point on the tiny Zero Tolerance stage, but also due to their lack of passion in performance. The band are statuesque, as are the crowd. Frankly, if I wanted to hear this, I’d simply listen to the album.

I therefore leave their set a little early to make sure I catch Doom in their entirety. The crust punk pioneers are a little late starting, as is everybody on that stage due to Cerebral Bore’s early delay, but one can easily see their workmanlike attitude from the setting up to the performance itself. No fireworks, no magic, just good, old-fashioned crust, and it hits the spot, with the d-beat sending the crowd wild from early songs like ‘Nazi Die’ to natural closer ‘Means To An End’ (which itself is probably the only song of the day, or indeed genre, to utter the lyric ‘Let’s all be friends!’), visiting my personal favourite of theirs ‘Police Bastard’ along the way. The performance is everything one would want it to be – Doom don’t need ram’s skulls, they just let their anger do the talking, and in so doing play the best set of the day.

Due to leaving Altar Of Plagues’ set so early, however, I also manage to catch the last ten minutes of Chthonic, the previous act on that stage. They may be from Taiwan, they may incorporate elements of Taiwanese traditional music into their sound, their bassist may be a young, scantily-clad buxom Asian woman, but their music is ultimately a nod to recent Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir, which, although fun, isn’t great for creating a fantastic live atmosphere. Their set is passable, but not fantastic.

One of the most anticipated acts of the day, Justin Broadrick’s Godflesh have reunited to basically kick ass with their massive, and hugely influential, industrial metal. I only really know Streetcleaner, their seminal debut full-length, but I’m fortunate as almost half the songs played are from there, including obvious classics like ‘Like Rats’, ‘Pulp’ and ‘Christbait Rising’. The set is deafeningly loud, and may be the cause for my recurrent tinnitus, but bloody hell was it worth it. Godflesh crush all in their way. Amazing act.

And finally, although I’d originally planned to see Ulver, I was coaxed over time into seeing the other headliner – the Devin Townsend Project. Hevy Devy is certainly a wacky character – his flipping hand puppets of the character he created, an alien named Ziltoid The Omniscient, are selling for £15 each at his merch stand – but this means that no-one can deny his brilliance as a showman. It’s a shame, then, that this brilliance is essentially required to save the set, as his progressive take on all things metal (in both music and mindset) is really marred by the stage’s poor sound, not to mention the packed audience which makes it nigh-on impossible to move. Like Godflesh, this set is incredibly loud, but Townsend is veritably a genius, and this shows in his set.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Insane Vesper - Twilight Of Extinction EP [2008]

And back to the black metal. This overlooked gem has plenty going for it, and Insane Vesper on this were one of the most promising bands of the then-emergent modern French black metal scene, although I haven't enjoyed their most recent releases nearly as much. Naturally, it bears some similarity to the likes of Deathspell Omega, but it's a little simpler than them with some adherence to normal song structure.

320 kbps


Monday, 7 November 2011

Weekly album analysis, week six

There's been some delays with this one due to recovering from Damnation Festival in Leeds (a review of which is yet to come), but I hope you'll all forgive me my insolence.

Appalachian Terror Unit/Oi Polloi - Profane Existence [2011]

Both of this bands really fucking get crustcore. Combining standard d-beats with non-standard patterns (y'know, just to mix shit up a little), they create one of the more exciting splits of this year so far. Oi Polloi I knew before - and enjoyed considerably, I must say, but as the more impressive band on this excellent split, I will certainly be looking into Apallachian Terror Unit some more. [9/10]

Ava Inferi - Onyx [2011]

I don't usually like much gothic metal, especially of the female fronted sort, but this, like To-Mera, is an exception. There is an added complexity and panache which is not annoying 'symphonic' elements, and that is what truly sets this album apart from the pack of shit. Whether this is in part due to the legend Rune 'Blasphemer' Eriksen's involvement is debatable - it is certain this sounds little like his other projects past or present. [7/10]

Devil - Time To Repent [2011]

Pure Sabbath worship on offer here - Devil really can craft a riff, and they do so with aplomb throughout this album, which, unlike much retro-rock stuff now, is a reasonable length at 36 minutes. The best track of the album is undoubtedly closer 'Howling (At The World)', in which all the riffs fit perfectly to create a wonderful reminder of just why Black Sabbath are so fucking great. [8/10]

Enslaved - Thorn [2011]

This is Enslaved's second EP of this year, and is supposedly a 'return to old Enslaved'. Is it fuck. Gone are still the epic semi-folky melodies, and to be honest, the whole things feels like a slightly cleaner produced version of 2001's awkward Monumension. [5/10]

Evo-Algy/Taake/Sigh/The Meads Of Asphodel/Thus Defiled - Swine Of Hades [2011]

Although some of these one wouldn't normally associate with black metal (namely Evo/Algy, the ex-Warfare duo), the five bands here fit together very well. It's apparent the varying levels of quality here - Sigh fall well below their usual standards and Thus Defiled are simply boring - but this is a split worth a download or purchase. [6/10]

Fifteen Dead - NecroCrust [2011]

Fifteen Dead play a kind of blackened crust which is quite common nowadays, perhaps its most famed practitioners being Iskra, but they do it in a slightly more aggressive way, including some blasts and the like without losing any of the desolate feel of the wonderful genre mash-up. This EP has three songs and is 13 minutes long, but should sound good to any fan of the style for its duration. [7/10]

Gnaw Their Tongues - Per Flagellum Sanguemque, Tenebras Veneramus [2011]

This is different to all the GTT I've heard so far - it's got far more of a creeping industrial/ambient vibe to it. I certainly feel this will be a grower, but it hasn't leaped out at me yet screaming 'This is a brilliant album!'. I hope repeated listens will reveal more of its mysteries. [6/10]

Hat - Vortex Of Death [2011]

Fairly standard black metal to tell the truth. Hat are certainly one of the less hallowed of the Norwegian black metal pantheon - probably due to their lack of a release back when 'this shit was real' when they formed in 1993. You get what you'd expect - harsh, but listenable production, raspy vocals, a buzzsaw guitar sound, and a mixture of faster and slower riffs. Sounds like a mix of A Blaze In The Northern Sky and Dark Medieval Times. [5/10]

Nuclear Torment - 8 Bit Death [2011]

Videogames are a topic that surprisingly haven't been touched on too much by thrash bands, but Nuclear Torment manage to mix well-written lyrics (at times laugh-out-loud funny) with well-written music here. Within the three songs spread across eight minutes, they showcase many different types of thrash from Sodom to Cryptic Slaughter, but the best part is how well they write a hook, best shown on the title track opener. [8/10]

Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar [2011]

I'm impressed. This is the most I've liked any new folk metal in a while, and it's a DOUBLE ALBUM, for fuck's sake. Solstafir, already well-known to many as one of the biggest metal bands from Iceland, really have excelled themselves here, defining 'epic' well without forgetting the definition of 'interesting'. Expect swathing melodies and shamanic vocals without sounding like Mr. Folk Metal from down the street. [8/10]
Terrordome - We'll Show You Mosh, Bitch! [2011]

Despite the woefully embarrassing title, this is actually a solid thrash album. Certainly ahead of a large number of more recent thrash bands by virtues of the neck-snapping speeds they hit alone, my one main gripe with this is that there aren't really any supernaturally good songs. Good effort from these Polish upstarts. [6/10] 
Today Is The Day - Pain Is A Warning [2011]

I'll admit to being totally new to TITD, and this album didn't leave a great first impression. Sure, it's better than the vast majority of metalcore, due to more interesting riffing styles and more varied vocal attacks (I even sense some black metal in some of the tracks), but I see nothing which really sets the album alight. Maybe longtime fans will enjoy this; I'm afraid I certainly didn't. [4/10]

Vile Intent - Regression To The Mean [2011]

Short, fast, loud, powerviolence attack. It has the slower sections which make bands like Weekend Nachos and Spoonful Of Vicodin more interesting; that's not to say it's yet on the level of those two, but these six songs spread over ten minutes suggest that this band will be able to create violence miracles. [6/10]

Winterwolf/Disma - Split [2011]

Despite the underground pedigree of both of these bands, this split simply isn't all that good. The main problem is the wafer-thin production both sides of the split have, but neither band makes a large impression within their six-minute songs. Winterwolf are usually good, Disma usually great, but if it's recent Incantation worship you're looking for, get Towards The Megalith.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Death Grips - Exmilitary [2011]

This free mixtape from earlier this year drives down your throat the kind of insanity phonies like Tyler the Creator can only dream of. With modern hipster legend Zach Hill at the helm, the album blends the blares of industrial punk with traditional hip hop which leads to more than satisfactory results. MC Ride's screamed lyrics flow so roughly and inadequately he sounds near demonic in his constant, pounding delivery. Zach Hill's drums remain high in the mix for most the album adding a depth and the rhythm that is so often lacking in modern sample-based rap music. On the subject of samples, this album manages to cram in masses of them, from David Bowie to Pink Floyd to Black Flag to The Beastie Boys AND the album starts with a recording from Charles Manson, how many albums can make that claim! Thankfully these high brow samples' presence does not distract from the electronic rawness and delirium that Death Grips base themselves in. This is definitely one of the most original releases you'll find this year and IT'S FREE from their website right now so you have absolutely no excuse not to try it out!  If you want a taster, the Guillotine video gives an idea of what you'll be putting yourself in for...


Download link is on the Death Grips website.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

POST #600: My Chemical Romance - I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love [2002]

'PAH!', you may say, 'My Chemical Toilet fucking SUCK!'. That's a popular opinion, and I'm not going to challenge anyone who holds it. I love this album, though; it's one of the albums which got me into rock music and thus music in general. It's not a deep, 200 minute prog rock triple concept album, nor is it a 7-minute long grindcore demo (attempting to polarize our audience here...). It's simply a damn fine pop album - it has strong elements of punk, and is probably the sort of music that the term 'popcore' originally meant. The likes of 'Our Lady Of Sorrows' and its aggression contrast well with songs like 'Early Sunsets Over Monroeville' and 'Demolition Lovers' and their brooding balladry. If you've judged My Chem on the virtues of 'I'm Not Okay' and whatever that fucking nananana song is, that's fine, but I strongly advise you give this album a shot, particularly if you like pop-punk or screamo. This album is special to me, hence my choice of it for the blog's 600th post.

160 kbps


Burial - Untrue [2007]

Before dubstep became a pseudonym for "avoid this at all costs," it was artists like Burial who were replicating the soul and the grit of British underground music scene. Untrue almost plays as a homage to modern-day England and with tracks like "In Mcdonalds" and "Dog Shelter," Burial hardly portrays his country in the finest edge. This is all for the better though, there's a real spirit to this album that lifts it beyond a typical dubstep outing; it actually feels like Burial, strange as it sounds, has put emotion into his music, a trait so often devoid in the genre. As a record on it's own this is superb, the beats are strong and the relaying of a range of melancholic pitch-shifted samples (spreading from Christina Aguilera to the Metal Gear Solid soundtrack) adds a hidden depth to the music. Robbed of the Mercury Prize 2007 by Elbow, this album has since gone on to become a kind of cult-classic, littered all over various "Albums of the Decade" lists. Though there has not been in album since, tracks like his recent collaboration with Massive Attack show he's not devoid of ideas. I'm sure this will be the only time this blog treks down the dubstep path, and it's probably for the better, but if you're ever to... experiment let's say and embrace dubstep, this is the album for it!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Deicide - Legion [1992]

Being an old-school death stickler, I firmly believe that only this and the self-titled are truly excellent albums made by Deicide. This has a slightly cleaner production, so it's easier to discern some of the more intricate guitar work than on the debut, but it still has plenty of venom, bile, and great songs like closer 'Revocate The Agitator'.

256 kbps


REVIEW: Patti Smith - Horses [1975]

Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine’. Thus opens ‘Gloria’, the opening track from Patti Smith’s seminal debut album Horses. The track itself is actually a cover of a Van Morrison song, originally written for Them, but Smith recreates it – including a reinvention of lyrics to include said opening line – in such an idiosyncratic manner that the song sits quite happily among the rest of the album, well-disguised as a Smith original.

But idiosyncrasy was always one of the main objectives of the then-budding punk movement; a fact which was somewhat forgotten by the better-known English bands after the original rush of ’77. Smith used the lyric as a method of rebellion against the institutionalized religion she felt had been forced upon her; the three-chord progression was the style which came to be known as the ‘punk style’, sure, but by the time the likes of the Sex Pistols attempted to see commercial success past the surprising success of Never Mind The Bollocks, their attempts fell flat – not so much, I believe, due to the lack of another full-length, but more so because the style had had its 15 minutes.

So when the Pistols came stateside, performing just down the road from Patti Smith one night and frontman John ‘Rotten’ Lydon talked about ‘some woman singing about fuckin’ horses’ (or words to that effect), it was evident that they had lost touch with the roots of the movement. The diversity in Smith’s influences is evident throughout this album – for instance, second track ‘Redondo Beach’ takes a bouncy approach akin to reggae, predating ska punk by several years, whereas the first 9-minute epic of the album, ‘Birdland’, is loosely based around a piano ballad throughout.

When she actually becomes violently passionate during a song, therefore, it comes as quite a surprise – the first chorus to ‘Free Money’ comes out of seemingly nowhere, as does the vocal attack when past the introduction to ‘Land’, which for all intents and purposes is the title track. The point is this; although the instrumentation is interesting, sure, the focal point of this album is Smith’s outstanding vocal performance – one which has not since been paralleled in popular music.

This performance demonstrates quite capability the sheer range of Smith’s vocal styles – although upon one’s first listen to the album, one might remember the ‘monkey noises’ during the chorus of ‘Gloria’ and Smith’s tendency to take her pitch sharply upwards at the ends of vocal lines, but equally memorable upon repeated listens are the cavernous vocals utilised in ‘Land’ and the percussive approach used in many verses, which really aids in the appreciation of the quality of the timbre of her voice.

In essence, the variation in this album means that the post-punk genre is here before much of the groundwork of punk itself had been laid down. It may seem strange, a ‘post-‘ genre being spawned before its suffix was fully created, but that is the only way to demonstrate aptly the full level of innovation of this album. This album was, and is, one of a kind. Patti Smith did indeed go on to make more wonderful music with the likes of Radio Ethiopia, but this is by a long shot her best. An absolutely wonderful album.

Download here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...