We came to this episode with no preconceived idea or particular direction discussed at the outset – except for what the first track would be. The result, we like to think, feels very much like a live set, probably more so than any other episode so far (by the way, feel free to hire us to DJ at your birthday party or wedding, christening and bar mitzvah ceremonies). Which means there is a lot of free flowing raw energy and a general sense of in-your-face metal. You can almost smell the stench of sweat and beer invading your nostrils. This is a GOOD thing! A bit more thrashy too this one. So move away the furniture at home and prepare to SLAM IT LOUD (no helicoptering or windmilling or whatever stupid kids are doing these days)!
We’ll be back with a vengeance on July 8th. Go watch your “Death Wish” DVDs and be prepared.
Click for show notes and a complete tracklist.
“Metal Church”, from “Metal Church”, by Metal Church: what a fucking great song this is. The first minute alone is just one of the best EVER in metal. And basically there are no real flaws to pick on here (maybe a bit more bass in the mix?). It’s just a full-throttle succession of great ideas that make bodies thrash about with pleasure. Not a second is wasted, and it feels like three concert encores encapsulated in five perfect minutes that won’t leave your brain alone.
Three decades on and Obliteration doing the same with “The Distant Sun (They Are the Key)”. They can do everything with this song: slow, fast, hard, moody, it’s a full plate of metal goodness. No stale moments here. All four members get a piece of the action and excel in it whatever they do, be it the tight and thick rhythm section, the classic and fat free solos or the impressive and raspy commanding voice of Sindre Solem. With just three albums under their belt, these Norwegians from Kolbotn (home to Darkthrone) are already displaying an enviable maturity, both in composition and execution. And although knowledgeable and obviously debtors of the classics (including punk ones), they can mount a fresh and modern sound, mastering mood and tempo. “Black Death Horizon” is a fucking great album and these lads deserve whatever good comes their way.
Next up, it’s Root! These guys have been putting out records for over 20 years but *still* lack the proper acknowledgment. It’s not all about Norway when it comes to late 80s/early 90s black metal, you know? Hell, one can even say that Master’s Hammer “Ritual” LP was the first true second wave black metal album and they are from fucking Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia)! But we digress. Root made a very unique, very occult and archaic brand of black metal back in their first years and the fact that the band sang in their mother tongue made things all the more exotic (there is also an English version of the first album). Big Boss’s vocals are imposing as fuck. We would go to war with that guy for sure.
Razor is still one of the coolest bands to hear and enjoy TODAY if you give two shits about REAL METAL! Their sound hasn’t aged a day. “Evil Invaders” has a timeless “take no prisoners, take no shit” attitude and we won’t stand here listening to you bashing Razor in any way, shape or form because they lack ballads, acoustic intros, dubstep or whatever people seem to enjoy nowadays. Take your 17 min long prog metal epics and fuck off! This is 100% foolproof GODDAM FUCKING METAL!
More punk influenced death metal with “Agony of the Damned”, from Toxic Holocaust’s fourth studio album (and the first where Joel Grind delegates recording performance on other band members instead of doing all the hard work himself). Perhaps “Conjure and Command” will not go down into history as one heck of an album, but this track has as good and heavy a riff as anyone’s out there!
Now… Todd. These guys are probably unknown to most, but they surely deserve more recognition than most bands around! We first got to meet them at a London gig in 2003 and we were blown away with the insane performance of band leader, raving maniac and Viking-like Craig Clouse. “You sound like Texas Chainsaw Massacre!”, we told him after the show (not knowing that the guy is indeed from Austin, Texas) and the good news is that their records mostly achieve to capture the rawness of the rage-filled live performances. Part Black Sabbath, part Motorhead with lots of hardcore, noise and doom influences in the mix, Todd’s universe is more indebted to Bukowski (think lots of booze, prostitutes and drugs) than to the sometimes cartoonish imagery of Metal. They’re not active anymore as far as we know, but that’s no excuse to not go and listen to Todd IMMEDIATELY (Shit & Shine, another project from Craig Clouse, also deserves a listening). They’re good enough that we will back with more in the future, probably sooner than not.
There are Hellhammer/Bathory/Darkthrone copycats, and there are Hellhammer/Bathory/Darkthrone bands that actually know what the fuck they’re doing and become bigger than the sum of its parts. Tangorodrim. Punk-influenced black metal GODS! Enough said.
As for Black Magic… well, 2014’s “Wizard’s Spell” goes through a journey of old heavy/speed/thrash/black metal like we didn’t thought was possible in this day and age. Seriously, if you grew up listening to late 70s and 80s metal bands and enjoy listening to new acts playing old styles like they own them while still retaining a distinguishable musical language we assure you: this is your album of the year.
Catch your breath. Or, perhaps more advisable, hold it as you listen through the trailer of the vomit inducing “The Worm Eaters” just before we meet some “Warriors of Ice”. Got to love the buzz saw guitar sound and dry production of Voivod’s debut album. These Canadians sounded like probably anything else at the time. Pure thrash delight.
Le’s end this goddamnit! Thrash/Black metal heroes Nifelheim are no masters of subtlety, which is exactly why we thought they would be perfect to close things up. What we have here is a marriage between the good ol’ cult 80s speed sound and early 90s black metal. Just, you know, for good measure. Symphonic black metal be damned!
- Metal Church | Metal Church (USA) | Metal Church, 1984 http://www.metalchurchmusic.com/
- The Distant Sun (They Are the Key)| Obliteration (NOR) | Black Death Horizon, 2013 http://obliteration.indierecordings.no/
- Upálení | Root (CZE) | Zjevení, 1990 http://rootan.net/
- Nowhere Fast | Razor (USA) | Evil Invaders, 1985 http://razorband.com/
- Agony of the Damned | Toxic Holocaust (USA) | Conjure and Command, 2011 http://www.toxicholocaust.com/
- Cracker Jack Asshole | Todd (USA) | Purity Pledge, 2004 http://shop.southern.com/todd-purity-pledge-vinyl/
- My Intentions | Tangorodrim (ISR) | Unholy and Unlimited, 2003 https://www.facebook.com/tangorodrim
- Thunder of the Undead | Black Magic (NOR) | Wizard’s Spell, 2014 https://www.facebook.com/blackmagicnorway
- “The Worm Eaters” trailer, 1977
- Warriors of Ice | Voivod (CAN) | War and Pain, 1984 http://www.voivod.com/
- The Devastation | Nifelheim (SWE) | Nifelheim, 1994 http://www.nifelheim-official.com/