Street Sects have quickly become one of my favorite modern music acts. Forming in 2013, they released their two Gentrification EPs the following year. Two years later, we got their explosive debut LP, End Position. This record is nothing short of an incredible piece of industrial music, with all the intensity and passion one could want. Last year, they dropped Rat Jacket, for which I wrote a very positive review here. This EP took a smoother, more melodic approach to things, which I thought worked better for them. They’ve since put out a two-song EP and two splits, one with up-and-coming skramz act Portrayal of Guilt and the other with Curse. All of these songs showed a stronger artistic drive within Street Sects, especially the depressively gorgeous “Things Will Be Better in Hell.” It left me starving for new material. Back in August, they announced they would be releasing their sophomore full length The Kicking Mule, and the good people at The Flenser have provided us early access to the LP. I cannot thank them enough.
Rat Jacket showed that Street Sects weren’t going to be as intense or abrasive as on End Position. Each single between then and now has prepared listeners for a change in sound, finally realized here on The Kicking Mule, to a depressive post-punk approach. Street Sects has never been a very happy-go-lucky act, but things are different now. There are still elements from End Position, especially on the introduction track, “269 Soulmates,” which incorporates much of that projects harsh elements. However, we get some new melodic moments in the chorus. “Suicide by Cop” and “Still Between Lovers” straddle the line between End Position and Rat Jacket, but tracks like “Chasing the Vig” and even “Dial Down the Neon” shocked me in how much they differ from the previous works instrumentally while still doing their core sound justice.
One of the most noticeable adjustments to Street Sects sound is an increased guitar presence. It's especially gorgeous on “Birch Meadows, 1991,” mellow and somber, in keeping with this record’s atmosphere. It picks up speed on “Still Between Lovers,” but its mostly there to add more color to Street Sects’s industrial palette.
I’ve always loved Leo's vocals, and here is no exception: he is varied and passionate, his best work on “Everyone’s at Home Eventually” and “In for a World of Hurt.” His performance was the first thing I really enjoyed about the track when it dropped. “Before it Was Worn” explores his versatility as he builds from his more somber, post-punk style to harsher vocals that recall End Position.
The lyrics, to put it lightly, are super depressing. Street Sects’s are known to sit on the more fucked up side of things, but The Kicking Mule sees them burrow down to the depressing hopelessness that's always lurked behind Street Sects. “269 Soulmates” orders the listener to “Stick it in your vein and don’t think twice about it.” Addiction plays an even more prominent role on this record than ever before. “Everyone’s at Home Eventually” looks back on a life of alcoholism with tangible pain: “Up until I fell down on my fears/Fell down, for fifteen years/I know I wasted half my life drunk on doubt/and now I’ll do without.” Other tracks like “Suicide by Cop” are even blunter and purposely upsetting. See: “I used to think/I’d change your mind/I used to think/You’d save my life/I won’t be missed/I won’t be mourned.”
The LP climaxes with “The Drifter,” a gloomy, catchy, and melodic condensation of all The Kicking Mule does best. Instead of repeating the confrontational tone of End Position’s “If This What Passes for Living” or the epic post-punk of Rat Jackets “In Prison, At Least I Had You,” they opt for a more a straightforward electronic track. Leo sings of a man who’s come to the end of the road, confessing that he's “a worthless piece of shit” and pleading to be buried alive. And it just wouldn’t be a Street Sects record if they didn't include the perspective of a murderer in his final moments of life - in this case, content and unremorseful, even nostalgic, for his life of homicide: “I enjoyed those final moments/When the light would leave their eyes/I would do it all over again.”
If you got lucky with the preorders, you managed to score a copy of The Kicking Mule that comes with a short story Leo wrote to accompany the LP, titled “Black Plastic, White Sheep.” The story follows the protagonist of The Kicking Mule, a detective, and introduces two plot lines: one involving a case, and the other his family life. It's a good read and lends the record an even darker and more twisted context.
Once again, Street Sects stake their claim as one of the most interesting acts in modern music. Personally, I would’ve liked something a bit longer to flesh out the story, because it’s clear that Street Sects have both the musical skill and writing chops to craft a beautifully fucked-up story. The Kicking Mule drops October 26th on The Flenser, and it definitely should not escape your notice.
VERDICT: Street Sects progresses in a surprisingly post-punk direction with their latest ode to all things fucked-up and depressing, continuing to prove their worth as serious musicians.
- Alex Brown
ANLMA- Secular Eden
Secular Eden is coming soon.
In 2012, a progressive metal act formed from the ashes of New York local metalcore outfit We Are Outnumbered. This band was Perspectives, and while they were metalcore through-and-through, their new prog-metal twist showed quite some promise. Over the next few years, they would tighten up their songwriting and change their name again to ANLMA to signify their evolution. This led to the release of their debut EP, Pilot, on New Year's Day in 2016. ANLMA proved that they were one of the stronger acts to come out of the recent progressive metal scene, with a good mix of the more extreme prog of Opeth and Meshuggah and the nicer, cleaner side of things found in Periphery and The Contortionist’s more recent catalogue. Songs like “Kaiju” and “Damnation” remain some of my favorite progressive metal songs of this decade. Of course, there were things that I felt the band needed to work on, but I could see these guys having a very bright future. It’s been nearly three years since, and the group has come back with a brand new concept LP, Secular Eden.
Secular Eden looks into the the process of inhabiting a new world, and the greed that eventually leads to its demise. Right from the first track, “Sentience,” we see the first red flag: the notion that an individual can become God. ANLMA’s characters are always trying to prove that they are the best at what they do. The first lyric of “Alpha Collective” is literally “We are the dominant species,” a sentiment reevaluated on “Grand Inheritance”: “It seems we are not the elite...We thought ourselves to be/All-powerful/Ever-knowing/But now that we are brought to our knees/We crawl at the mercy of…” “Jormungandr” denotes the first steps towards destruction, continually building until the grand finale, when the cost of playing God finally comes to collect, and the world pays.
Sonically, Secular Eden is a breath of fresh air for progressive metal. In a genre that has done everything but progress recently, ANLMA bring a variety of influences to the tracklist. The Pilot EP wore its The Contortionist and The Faceless fandom a little too obviously, but while it’s still noticeable (“Grand Inheritance” takes a very Opeth approach to its acoustics), the song takes a few original turns, becoming more ANLMA than hero worship. Their metalcore roots poke through on “Jormungandr,” and even parts of “Grand Inheritance” in the form of a gnarly breakdown and a guest feature from Peter Rono (Kaonashi.) We also have some pretty jumpy, hyperactive songs like the lead single, “Alpha Collective,” and “The Augury.”
The guitar work, handled by Antonio d’Aquino and Julian Barahona, is always precise, well-constructed, and varied. They can go from playing intense and heavy on “Jormungandr” to sweet and delicate. “Alpha Collective” finds a fitting instrumental match to its euphoric lyrics, and its emotional contrast with “Grand Inheritance” feels natural. There’s a nice groove on this track provided by bassist Dario Baez, which is something I wish mined a little more. Technical metal has a tendency to push the bass guitar to the back, which is unfortunate considering the quality work of most prog-metal bassists. But when this LP settles into its softer, groovier moments, you get a nice peek at Baez’s fantastic performance.
The drum work on Secular Eden is absolutely monstrous. Claudel Meja has had a busy three years between Pilot and working on emo act GaL’s What We’ve Lost. Now on Secular Eden, we see his best work to date. His sense of rhythm on “Jormungandr,” once again, is impeccable, giving the song real teeth. He’s at his best on the proggier tracks such as “Desistance,” where he carries the track through all its different phases, affirming his indispensable role in ANLMA’s sound. His drums sound more natural and hard-hitting on this album as opposed to the electronic drums found on their previous EP, allowing him to explore interesting new textures and beats.
Vocally, ANLMA has upped their game immensely. Sekou Joshua’s vocals on this record are nothing short of some of the most passionate harsh vocals I’ve heard in recent progressive metal, varying from insane lows to gnarly hardcore-style vocals to wild screams. He means every word. Contrasting his performance is Antonio d’Aquino, who has grown more comfortable in his spot as clean vocalist, willing to test out less formulaic patterns and explore his own voice. “Alpha Collective” showcases a beautiful counterpoint between Joshua’s harsh vocals and d’Aquino’s lovely singing. They get quite creepy at points, too, especially on the softer parts of “Desistance,” where he sings lines like “It’s far too cold for nostalgia/To ever awaken now/So please let me sleep with all/My warmest memories” in an eerie, somber tone that sends chills down my spine. They come across far more relaxed and organic than on Pilot, which felt rushed at times.
Secular Eden just feels natural, a totally unforced evolution of the sound ANLMA have been perfecting over the years. This isn’t to say it doesn’t have its issues. The album is designed as a front-to-back listen, which makes it hard to pick out the strengths of individual tracks. Furthermore, I’d only really listen to “Sentience” and “The Augury” on one of these full-album listens. About a half-hour into the project, you realize there’s only the title-track left: an almost seventeen-minute-long behemoth that serves as a conclusion to Secular Eden’s apocalyptic sci-fi odyssey. It’s broken into four parts: “Second Awakening,” “Visions,” “Road to Purgatory,” and “Judgement and Deliverance.”
The first part plays out like a typical ANLMA track: relatively proggy, strong Between the Buried and Me vibes, with a melodic bit part for Antonio to do his thing. An instrumental passage leads into a breakdown to announce “Visions,” featuring a gnarly verse from Andy Reynolds (Shame Spiral) that, in turn, leads into a beautifully-constructed tearjerker chorus. An acoustic break guides us into the gentle “Road to Purgatory.” d’Aquino’s voice builds us toward what is arguably my favorite breakdown of 2018, a panic-chord infested good time that recalls Bless the Martyr-era Norma Jean in its destructive power, signifying the end of the world (for those following the album concept). The final chorus kicks in, plaintively asking, “Will we ever learn?” “Secular Eden” (and Secular Eden) ends with a last breakdown, and the song promptly joins Periphery’s “Racecar” and Between the Buried and Me’s “Silent Flight Parliament” in the league of incredible progressive metal album closers of the '10s. It’s really the only way it could have ended.
In 48 minutes, Secular Eden teaches us the folly of playing God and shows us we have much to learn about our world before we move off the planet to repeat the mistakes we made here. Incidentally, ANLMA also offer us one of the strongest progressive metal albums of the ’10s. You’ll get something out of this record whether you’re into heavy breakdowns or more technical, progressive flavors. I don't know when this record will drop, but when it does, it will be worth the wait.
VERDICT: Secular Eden has everything a progressive metal concept album should in 2018: a strong story and a powerful message performed by passionate, honest musicians.
- Alex Brown
AYO WHATS UP IT’S BEEN A MINUTE HUH. I’M SURE YALL’RE WONDERING THE SAME THING: “OH JEEZ I WONDER WHAT BAND I KIND OF LIKE THIS WALKING ROCK BAND GREATEST HITS MIXTAPE IS GOING TO MAKE FUN OF TODAY?”
LMAO IT’S MY OWN BAND LOL.
FOR THE LIKE 3 OF YOU THAT READ THESE AND DON’T KNOW ME PERSONALLY I’M IN A BAND BECAUSE OF COURSE I AM I HAVE REALLY SEVERE OPINIONS ON THINGS THAT DON’T FUCKING MATTER AT ALL AND I’M 24 AND HAVE A NOSE RING STILL.
ANYWAYS MY BAND AND I HAVE A NEW THING COMING OUT SOON AND FIGURED IT’S TIME TO PLUG AWAY.
SINCE I THINK IT’S LAME WHEN LOCAL BANDS MAKE AD CAMPAIGNS FOR A BANDCAMP ALBUM THAT’LL GET MAYBE 55 PLAYS MAX AND THE LAST REMAINING SHRED OF SHAME I HAVE LEFT HAS MANIFESTED ITSELF AS MY RULE FOR NOT POSTING ABOUT MY BAND UNLESS WE HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER, I FIGURED THE NEXT BEST THING WOULD BE TO HAVE A QUASI-NEPOTISTIC PLUG ON A WEBSITE I DON’T TECHNICALLY WRITE FOR BUT I DEFINITELY GENERATE SOME TRAFFIC FOR, YA DIG. BESIDES WE ALREADY DID SOMETHING LIKE THIS WITH OUR LAST RECORD WHERE Y’ALL PUT IT IN FRONT OF A SPACE BACKGROUND FOR SOME REASON (I’M SERIOUS), I FIGURED “FUCK IT SURE WHY NOT” WHICH IS THE EXACT RESPONSE BRIAN HAD WHEN I PITCHED THE IDEA OF INTERVIEWING MY OWN BAND USING A SERIES OF QUORA QUESTIONS I FOUND THAT HAD A BUNCH OF DOWNVOTES AND SOMEONE QUOTING IT AS BEING “INSULTING” QUESTIONS TO ASK A BAND AS THE BASIS OF AN ARTICLE.
THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIBED VERSION OF HOW THAT WENT OVER. SOME THINGS HAVE BEEN MOVED AROUND FOR THE SAKE OF CONTINUITY, SOME THINGS WERE ADDED AFTER THE FACT JUST TO HAVE A CLEAR ANSWER, BUT THIS IS WHAT WENT DOWN. IMMA HAVE TO TAKE MY CAPSLOCK OFF (RIP) FOR THE SAKE OF Y’ALL BEING ABLE TO READ THIS WITHOUT YOUR EYES BLEEDING.
Scene: The warehouse in Bethany, Connecticut where we practice. The squatter on the top floor is making loud noises trying to get us to be quiet. He’s a dickhead. My bandmates, Sean Walsh (bass) and Mark “Marco” Carotenuto (drums, vocals) are ranting about some fucking mozzarella pasta salad Mark brought with him from Whole Foods. It’s almost one in the morning, a dampness is in the air as we gather around my iPhone. Mark is also, as he often colloquially says, “baked ziti.”
Mark takes a bite of the salad. “Yo tell me this is not blazing. This shit is balazinggg yupppp, with the sauce.” Sean interjects: “The sauce is so good. The sauce yo.” This is the 6th time they’ve brought up the pasta salad since I started recording 47 seconds ago. Mark takes a piece of cheese between his fingers and for some reason begins to sing, “Hold up I’m gonna eat the cheese.” Sean nods in agreement. We begin to argue about whether mayonnaise is good or not (it’s not). We are almost 3 minutes into my recording when we eventually compose ourselves enough to look at the first question.
Step 1*What's the name of your band? What's the origin of that name? Have you changed the band's name before?
MT: Wow, this is a strong one to start with.
SW: The answer to all three is “yes.”
Mark and Sean begin to go through the salad again. Mark pulls a piece of basil from the tub “Yo is this arugula?” he asks.
MC: Wait, what’s the question?
MT: “What’s the name of your band?”
MC: (excitedly) Oh! Lucretia!
MT: I got the name by going through Wikipedia on “random article” when I was like 16. I remember reading about her, the classical/mythological Roman figure of Lucretia--
Mark interrupts me to say “this is so good” before eating more of his salad.
--and thinking, “Oh wow, that’s fucked up. ‘Lucretia’ would be an absolutely awful name for a metal band,” and I just stuck with it.
Step 2*Please list the name, age, school, and respective instrument of each band member.
Mark looks up in genuine confusion.
MC: What’s the question?
MT: (laughing) “What’s your name, you fucking idiot?”
MC: Mark! Marco!
MT: They want the name of the band and the name of the you.
MC: Lucretia, Marco 😊.
SW: I’m Sean, Lord of the Low-End.
MT: Age? We’re all 24, we graduated high school together. Go Gaels Shelton High Forever.
SW: What’s the other question? School?
MT: I guess it’s for kids. Next question was “what’s your respective instrument?”
MC: Guitar! (Mark is a guitar player by trade).
MT: That’s not what respective mea-
MC: DRUMS! They call me bambam.
SW: Bass, but I really just do feedback.
MT: I play guitar and do vocals. I go weeenee and then I go dgugguauaug.
MC: This is stupid. Next question.
Step 3*What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
SW: I consider our genre...tolerable?
MT: A friend of ours once said we were crust punk for people that shop at Hot Topic.
SW: I’m influenced by Franz List. We’re New Age.
MC: Yeah we’re New Age.
MT: The New Age of Riffs.
MC: No. Just New Age.
MT: As for influences for the band? Converge, Coalesce, Glassjaw, Guns ’N’ Roses. Shit like that. Personally, my biggest influence with anything music related is The Chariot. Guitar-wise, it’s like Jim Root and Mick Thomson (Slipknot), Kurt Ballou (Converge), Michael Mason (Gaza, Cult Leader). Also Tim Collis from This Town Needs Guns, and the guys in Six Gallery, but it doesn’t show a lot with Lucretia. I also really like Code Orange Kids and ripping off anything Andy Hull has done (Manchester Orchestra, Right Away Great Captain).
SW: Our influences are drinking beer.
SW: Scoring. And this pasta salad.
MC: Steven Adler.
MT: Anyone besides Adler?
MC: That’s it. Just Adler.
MT: Lil Addlerall.
Mark loses his shit due to this joke about a soundcloud rapper having the name “Steven Addlerall.” Mark and Sean then started talking about how good the pasta salad was for another minute. The day after we did this, I texted them asking what their actual influences are. Here are their texts verbatim:
SW: I dont know I never had an influence besides curiosity and experimenting. If i had to pick a bassist who influenced me I’d say either geezer butler of black sabbath or the boi kc wolf [of The Chariot]. As of recently my inspiration has been through either takeshi of boris or various noise artists.
MC: (In response to my text “besides Matt Bruso [Vocalist, Bury Your Dead] and Steven Adler [Drummer, Guns ’N’ Roses] what are your influences for drumming and vocals”): Idk man lol disclose?
Step 4*How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
MT: Too fucking long.
Everyone voices agreement.
MT: I’ve known Mark since the first day of kindergarten. My mom was like “make a friend” and I saw Mark and thought, “Oh that kid looks like a dork. ‘Hey you like Kabutops? Ight. Bet. Let’s get it’.” I think Sean and I met in 7th or 8th grade.
SW: Yeah, that’s about right, I’d say.
MT: I was fat and Sean had weird hair so we had to get along.
MC: Sean, I don’t remember when we met.
SW: We were in the same cluster in 7th grade.
SW: Yeah, you were in my group when we went to Lake Compounce. It sucked.
MC: Lake Compounce sucks dude.
He holds up the tub with the pasta salad.
You want a sip of this?
Step 5*When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
MT: We started in like 2010ish. I was in another band with Tony [Goncalves, Lucretia’s original vocalist, who quit the band in early 2018]. Everyone quit except for me and him, which is pretty ironic to think about now.
Everyone laughs for longer than that joke deserved.
MC: (Leaving the interview to go to the bathroom) You know why I came in.
We needed someone to play drums and Mark felt bad for us and owned a drum set. Both of which are also ironic now.
MT: Then we broke up for a while when I went to college. We decided to get back together in like 2015, but our original bass player stopped showing interest so we asked Sean to come in
Sean was originally in another band, Blackthorns, but would sometimes fill in.
MT: I remember calling him like, “hey, Sean, wanna be in the Kreesh?” and I heard him stop his car and in a super-serious voice just say, “yes.”
SW: I was in New Haven, I was about to get tacos. I was like (somberly) “yes.”
MC: Yo I’m just throwing this out there, Alessandro [Maione, Sheltonite, friend of the band, Avant-Garde artist/musician] got it in motion. I was with him at our friend Lianne’s house and he convinced me to do it.
MT: Yeah, I remember dude, I was there.
MC: No you weren’t.
MT: Dude, I drove you.
MC: No you didn’t.
MT: Maybe I drove Alessandro. I was there though.
MC: Okay, then what did he give me in exchange for the Lucretia reunion?
MT: A cigarette.
MC: …okay maybe you were there.
Step 6*Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Everyone laughs. Sean refers to us as being part of “Crunch House, LLC.”
Step 7*What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever's available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?
MC: I don’t own a fucking drum kit.
SW: I’ve been using the same bass (a Squier P Bass) for like 12 years.
MT: I’m left-handed so I take what I can get. I like the ESP (an LTD TE-200) I use ’cause it kind of looks like Jim Root’s Telecaster. Originally, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer like Corey Taylor or something, but I can’t sing so I settled with guitar. I don’t give a shit about guitar honestly.
MC: (referring to his salad) I wish I had more of the basil.
MT: Mark has literally texted me 10 minutes before we play asking whose drum kit he’s using for a show.
MC: You want Mark, you get Mark.
MT: Sean, what made you decide “The bass. That’s the one for me?”
SW: Oh, Jim (his next door neighbor) said he needed a bass player and I was like “Oh yeah, I play bass.” I didn’t have one or anything.
MC: Next question.
Step 8*Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Everyone immediately says “Crunch House” as a favorite venue at the same time.
MT: Least favorite? Probably that VFW in Thomaston.
MC: What the fuck was that?
SW: The one with The Crooked Sound?
MT: Yeah I didn’t like that place.
SW: What’s the worst place that we played?
MT: The Cave has good sound but that show we played was kinda dumb.
We played a 4 band bill there where tickets cost $15. One person paid to get in.
SW: Yeah, that sucked.
MT: The Cave is actually a good venue; I like it as a spot, but that show we played was just too much.
SW: I also was, like, dying from a fever, so that sucked.
MC: Yeah, I hated that night .
MT: Tuxedo Junction was pretty bad from the one time we played there when we were like 17, but it’s been out.
SW: I played the Room once and I hated it.
MT: We got banned from the Space in like 2012.
Step 9*Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set playlist?
SW: All of them.
MT: Doomy (“Untitled”/Rat Song).
MC: Our entire set dumbass.
SW: (referring to the salad): Yo, is that a pepper?
MC: What’s the other question? What covers do we play?
Mark begins chanting “Entombed, Entombed” in reference to us frequently covering “Wolverine Blues.”
MT: We did Guns ’N’ Roses, “It’s So Easy” once. “Roots Bloody Roots.”
SW: (referencing 2012 Lucretia): Vanessa Carlton, “A Thousand Miles.”
MT: Yo, back in the day with Vanessy.
MC: Getting stressy with Vanessy.
MT: We were gonna do a The Locust cover but never did.
MC: Yeah dude, it was hard.
Step 10*Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
MT: I’d say I probably write like, 50%-75% of it?
SW: Chris Cornell (Lucretia’s long time recording engineer/producer) ghostwrites our songs. He was in Soundgarden.
MT: It’s collaborative. I’ll have an idea for something and I’ll bring it in to hash out. Normally, I’ll get stuck on a riff, and we’ll draw something out of the air together that works. I try not to get too set in stone about how things sound.
SW: Mark comes in with that boom-boom and I hit ya with the strummy-strum.
MC: Bam bam bam.
MT: As for themes? I used to just write abstract things about being lost or sad and interject it with extremely blunt and direct lines, but I’ve made the conscious decision to stop writing lyrics about being a solipsistic cur about halfway through this EP’s writing period.
MC: I don’t know what that means .
MT: *metalcore voice* Wah. I’m sad. No one’s ever felt sad besides me! Grr.
MT: Sometimes I write lyrics with just stream of conscious nonsense. “Saul Hudson” off the new record was written on my iPhone while watching a YouTube video waiting for my girlfriend to finish getting ready for the day.
SW: You write lyrics for people who write the cool “S.”
MC: (Pointing to himself): Yuuup.
SW: You can’t write the cool S, Mark.
MC: Oh I thought you were saying Coalesce. (Laughing) For real, I thought you were talking about the band.
MT: I do love Coalesce.
MC: No, you know how no one says their name the same way? I thought it was that.
MT: WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME.
MC: No I get it, the cool S.
MT: SOME SORT OF APOLOGY.
SW: Coalesce should change their name to “Cool S.”
Step 11*Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
MT: That was the last question?
MC: No, “what’s the music-making process”?
SW: When Mark and Michael love each other very much.
SW: Lovechild Sean.
MT: Sometimes I’ll just walk around mouthing chugs.
SW: I can be off-time and Chris will fix it.
MC: (attempting to be serious for the first time in this interview that’s been going on for 20 minutes) I would say the process goes like, Mike comes in with an idea. And we (pausing) make it happen, you know? We uhh…you know.
SW: Then we crack the Liberty Bell.
MT: We crack the eggs to make an omelette. I’m the eggs but you guys are the accoutrements .
MC: Yeah, I’m like getting some onions, a little peppers.
SW: The smoked mozzarella from that salad.
MC: So good, dude. That mayo sauce.
MT: Mayonnaise is fucking gross, dude.
SW: Get the fuck out of here.
MT: We basically just make a really good omelette and then some kid with a top-knot comes up to us and is like, “yeah, I don’t like eggs,” but like, we didn’t make it for you, dork.
SW: Mayonnaise makes anything good.
MT: We also record instruments live. It’s easier for us and we’re better at reading each other than we are at playing consistently to a click track. We’ll record guitar, bass ,and drums live and then I’ll add a second guitar; sometimes for parts I’ll add a third with something stupid, like an HM-2 and a fuzz or something. We also usually spend more time getting feedback sounds than we do on recording vocals and shit.
Step 12*What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
MT: It’s always at like, 11:00 p.m. at this warehouse in Bethany.
SW: It’s spontaneous, I guess.
MT: Here’s how the rehearsal system goes: I message the group-chat, “hey you wanna practice this week?” No one responds. Like 4 hours later, Mark will send me a message outside the group-chat like, “so whats good? we practicing tonight?” Then I ask Sean in another message outside the group-chat if he can, and like five hours after, he’s like “sure”. Then I ask the guy who runs the practice spot if it’s open that night and he says “No,” and we do it all over again.
Step 13*How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
MC: That’s a stupid question.
SW: We’re not fucking teenagers.
MC: That’s a stupid-ass question.
MT: There’s more than two riffs to a song now.
SW: We could have just taken a Buzzfeed quiz at this point.
MT: “What kind of pasta are you?”
SW: That pasta salad.
MC: The sauce dude, it’s so good.
SW: The smoked mozzarella .
MC: It’s a real underdog, you know? No one knows it’s there but it’s fire.
SW: The sauce.
MC: We sippin’ the sauce.
They continue talking about the pasta salad for another minute.
Step 14*What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
SW: Finding a time to rehearse.
MT: Losing members, arguing about how things are done.
SW: Getting a drum kit for each show.
MT: Every band we’re friends with breaking up so we can’t use their stuff.
MC: “Hey man, great set, can I use your kit?”
Step 15*What's your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
MT: My only real goal was to open for Cult Leader but The Webster won’t answer my emails.
MC: I want us to be remembered as not sucking.
SW: I want Connecticut to know we score.
MT: I just want to continue the trajectory we’ve had, with every time we release a new thing, a kid I barely know DMs me to be like, “hey dude, sick song, I like it better than your other stuff.”
SW: Be like “no shit.”
Step 16*What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
(Everyone in unison): DON’T.
SW: Imagine if we didn’t do this.
MT: Imagine if we like, liked sports or some shit. Everything would have been so much easier and cheaper.
SW: Imagine if I was athletic .
MT: Come through with the fucking DUNKS.
SW: Like that Lithuanian basketball jersey
MT: The one The Grateful Dead made.
Step 17*How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
MT: We have a Bandcamp.
SW: Name your own price.
MT: We also have a Spotify, but it’s needlessly expensive and like 80% of our listens are on Bandcamp anyway, so I’ll probably deactivate it by the end of the year.
Step 18*Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
MT: Yeah, my aunt Eileen, who funded half of everything I’ve ever done in my life. She helped pay for a lot of our early stuff when we were kids; equipment, recordings. She also is the only person who’s bought the same shirt from us twice. Shoutout Eileen, I love you.
MC: My old boss Emilio.
MT: I guess this is just shoutout corner. Shoutout the Bethany Underground.
SW: Shoutouts to Chris Cornell for being the world’s most patient man.
MT: Shoutouts to Prologues.
MC: Brandon Antoniak’s drum kit.
MT: Kidnapped, Boot Rot. Shoutout Liam Fozzaluzzalazzaazlalaza’s drum kit.
MC: Shoutout to anyone in Connecticut with a drum set, because we’re going to use it. Shoutout to the boy Joe for giving me a set that I never used.
SW: Shoutout to Joe for being the only person to want a Blackthorns reunion.
MT: That’s not true dude, I’m down. I’ll do Adam’s parts.
Step 19*Any last words?
MC: Dokken does not suck.
SW: Wimps and posers leave the hall.
MT: Free Bobby.
SW: We score.
MT: I guess we should talk about the record.
MC: Oh yeah. I thought we we’re gonna talk about like, beating off to the bridge in “Rocket Queen.” But yeah, on a serious note, the new record is cool.
MT: Yeah so our new record, 41.3165° N, 73.0932° W (Blindly I Reach O’ Lord), is coming out pretty soon. It’s the least heavy thing we’ve done, which I find interesting.
MC: It’s still heavy.
MT: Yeah, it’s good, I just think it’s interesting that we found ourselves leaning less towards metal on it.
MC: We write what we write.
SW: I think it’s the coolest thing we’ve written.
MC: Fuck it, you know?
SW: Say what you need to say.
MT: John Mayer rules.
MC: When you type this, are you gonna type my parts like how I text?
MT: Like without using half the keyboard?
MC: You know like, proper grammar but like “wyd?”
Half of Mark’s messages to me asking to hang out is just “wyd”.
SW: That’s proper grammar.
MC: Record’s killer though, seriously.
MT: Yeah, you’ll like it.
SW: We score.
At this point we dissolved into discussing what the rules were for being Lucretia. We came to the conclusion that the only rules were:
1.) Free Bobby Shmurda
2.) Beating off to the bridge in “Rocket Queen”
3.) Hating Ronald Reagan
4.) Being able to recite the ending speech Rambo gives in “First Blood”
5.) Being cool and Scoring
7.) Rock ’N’ Roll Nightmare
Upon our decision regarding “First Blood,” Mark broke out into the exact monologue, word for word, which he had memorized years ago, throwing drumsticks like a prop gun and collapsing on the floor during the line that Stallone did. When he finished he announced that he was overdue for an Emmy. He told me to shut up when I brought up that Emmys were for TV, and he was thinking of an Oscar. As we realized we had come to an end, I noticed a slight change in Mark and Sean’s dispositions. Initially, I thought it was a sadness. I couldn’t tell what brought it on, but then I noticed something. The inside of the salad tub was empty. They had nothing left to take.
New Record Out Soon Dweeb.
Kero Kero Bonito- Time ‘n’ Place
Stream and buy the record here.
Kero Kero Bonito is easily one of my favorite artists that I’ve discovered this year. I really enjoy their mixtape Intro Bonito, and I think that their LP, Bonito Generation, was one of the best pop records of 2016. Their happy-go-lucky sound, Sarah Midori Perry’s multilingual vocals, and the project’s rhythmic musicality make them instantly infectious. Songs like “Break” and “Hey Parents” are genius examples. However, nothing caught me more by surprise than their EP, TOTEP. I reviewed this project back in February, which you can read here. To summarize my thoughts, I absolutely adore all 11 minutes this EP offered. It’s been roughly seven months since it dropped, and I still find myself returning to the whole project. The group decided to take a much darker, more nostalgic turn on this EP, and it really works out in their benefit. The single issue I had with this project was that it could have used one more song. Little did I know then that TOTEP was just a teaser. In June, they dropped a brand new single titled “Time Today,” telling everyone that they had a brand new full length called Time ‘n’ Place coming out soon. Another single, “Make Believe,” was released earlier in September, and then, of course, the LP would come by surprise on October 1st.
Right off the bat on “Outside,” we see Kero Kero Bonito experimenting with noise rock. The group did this on their TOTEP EP, but to open the project with something quite different from their usual sound is bold. This noisy approach shows up again on “Only Acting,” the single from TOTEP and “Flyway,” which follows it directly. Other tracks make time for noisy elements as well, such as “Make Believe.” Most of the instrumental on this record conveys a mood of deep nostalgia. This started on TOTEP but it is definitely amped up. “Dump” and “Time Today” are the soundtrack to long, personal reflection. We have some newer ideas also, like the dramatic instrumental on “Dear Future Self,” which sounds and feels like rifling through a time capsule. Probably the most unique of these instrumentals comes on “Sometimes,” which is entirely acoustic, a kind of optimistic campfire sing-along that Kero Kero Bonito have never before attempted.
Sarah’s vocals somehow manage to work with every single one of these styles without changing too drastically. Back on Kero Kero Bonito’s earlier work, she would change styles quite often between very sugary singing and rapping. Both of these worked very well, but on TOTEP and now Time ‘n’ Place, she’s developed a longing, pensive tone. She stays in her range and knows how to keep up with the tempo and make every song pleasant on the ears. Whether it’s noise-rock or downbeat pop, she turns it into ear candy. I admit that I miss her switches between English and Japanese, but at the same time, it’s clear that Kero Kero Bonito are evolving.
Lyrically, much of the themes from TOTEP continue here. Kero Kero Bonito is no longer the happy go-lucky band they were on their mixtape and debut, but a band concerned with battling depression and ruminating on mortality. Sarah mentions, at one point, that she might not even notice if the sun went down permanently, a familiar metaphor for a troubled mental state; and later, she wishes she could take off like the birds on “Flyway.” There’s a little insight on this sudden tonal change on one of my favorite songs, “Make Believe,” when Sarah tells us that she’s always tried to pretend that things are great, just as on Bonito Generation, but real life has started creeping up on her. This theme picks up on “Dear Future Self,” where Sarah revisits something she wrote to herself a long time ago. It's as depressing as the record gets. We see her reflecting on her youthful aspirations, now with the awareness that not everything is going to be as good as it was then. The last remnants of the old Kero Kero Bonito surface on “If I’d Known,” which has just a twinkle of the fun, electropop-lite that made Bonito Generation so outstanding. It's a little darker, but it still serves to remind us of what the group once was.
Not everything is doom and gloom, though. “Outside” has a pretty optimistic view on life, assuring us that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. “Visiting Hours,” despite being about visiting someone in a hospital, just wants us to help others out. “Sometimes” is truly vital to the LP, telling us that life can suck, but to keep your head up because you aren’t alone, and that life has moments that everything worth it. “Swimming” is literally about how we need to learn to be independent to on order to survive.
“Only Acting” being included on Time ‘n’ Place is one of my very few problems with this LP. I've loved this song to death ever since TOTEP, and I do believe this song was always meant to make an appearance on this LP and not shoehorned in at the last moment to capitalize on unexpected success (see Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott). However, keeping a song that is eight months older than the LP is weird, especially when it was on its own project before. I feel like Kero Kero Bonito could have easily replaced it with something in a similar vein, and the record would have been that much stronger. Keeping “Only Acting” adds to its other problem of length. Once again, Kero Kero Bonito suffer from not including enough material. While this record is significantly longer than TOTEP, its 33-minute runtime just cannot do everything it wants to do justice. That said, I cannot deny that “Only Acting” fits where it is on the tracklist, transitioning into “Flyway” perfectly.
This record closes off with “Rest Stop,” which does an incredible job summarizing everything Kero Kero Bonito have tried to prove with Time ‘n’ Place. The song starts off at a rest stop, symbolizing the little break everyone needs in their life, before going into a bit of a noise craze, ending with Sarah giving advice on how to deal with life’s struggles before cutting her off midway through a sentence. It concludes the LP with a sense of walking into the unknown and being prepared for what life may dish out. I thought Andrew W.K. conveyed the idea of walking into the unknown perfectly, but it looks like someone had already one-upped him. Kero Kero Bonito’s version feels a lot more realistic, and that the thought is cut off adds all the more flavor.
Perhaps jumping on a trampoline won’t solve all our problems as previously thought. Life is a very rough road that sometimes feels like it is going absolutely nowhere. We’ll stop and get nostalgic, which make things harder. Time ‘n’ Place isn’t here to tell us that it never gets better, though. Quite the contrary. There’s a whole life waiting for us outside, and though it seems scary, there’s so much opportunity waiting for us ahead. It’s time we stop being afraid of this unknown and living in the past, and start striving for the future. Time ‘n’ Place is here to remind us that everything will be okay.
VERDICT: Time ‘n’ Place pushes the sonic drive of TOTEP while beautifully describing life’s ups and downs. Kero Kero Bonito have matured greatly over the last two years, and are proving that they are truly here to stay.
- Alex Brown
Stream and purchase on Bandcamp
Saarkoth’s debut full-length Jera is uniquely aligned with the atmosphere of a New England autumn. The tremolo and blast beats in which the band traffic exude a chilly melancholy rather than frostbitten grimness; and although co-vocalists Ellis Arnott and Asa Jones (rhythm and bass guitar, respectively) don’t sound particularly human, their style of vocals isn’t so much unearthly shrieking as it is contemplative gurgling. There’s a mood of waiting to Saarkoth’s first full-length record, of uncertain expectancy and eerie patience preparing to implode.
Aptly, the album begins with “The Coming of the Cold,” consisting of simple repeated picking and ominous sonic miscellanea - echoing cries, the barking of dogs, the whining of infants - before giving way to the surprise of “Beyond the Horizon,” given new life in the re-recording. It, and later cut “Awake in Eternal Sleep,” are revamped from their self-titled demo and greatly benefit from the year or so since their initial recording, and from Saarkoth’s improved musicianship and access to higher production quality. This is black metal, of course, and so don’t expect a pristine mix; but the thicker guitar tone, the careful application of tracking and reverb, and an equally keen ear for the sonic dynamics of both songs make these the superior versions by any measure.
“A Land Divided” is the first proper new song on the record, and it’ rollicking pace and gnarled riffs showcase the breadth of Saarkoth’s development. The demo songs are slower and more calculated, somewhat out of necessity, but “A Land Divided,” and the later “At the End of the River,” are the sound of a confident young band making bold strides on a wider stage. Both songs intercut their frenzy with moody interludes, and even drop the distortion to lose themselves in moodscapes of Opethian strumming before finding their way back to satisfying midtempo climaxes. “At the End of the River” is perhaps the most typical black metal song on Jera, but to hear Saarkoth switch into a more familiar gear comes with its own surprises. The anthemic qualities prevalent on “A Land Divided,” “The Wanderer,” and “Dreams of Emerald” find interesting new context in the more aggressive framework of this song.
Speaking of which: as the album moves into “Dream of Emerald,” it’s worth pointing out the band’s knack for pacing, which was apparent even as far back as their demo and refined on their single release for "The Wanderer." The transitions between the four songs thus far on Jera, and indeed across the album at large, are seamless, tying it together in the manner of the band’s oft-cited heroes in Agalloch and Winterfylleth. The latter’s presence informs every aspect of this song, from its wistful core melody to its epic unfolding, although it’s more in the camp of the former lyrically, ruminating on “an image of nature pocked and scarred,” mourning the ravages of man upon the earth. (Interestingly, this was one of the first songs written for Saarkoth, according to vocalist Ellis Arnott. This would explain why it’s so very Winterfylleth in construction, without being derivative - it’s worship without fawning, a charming homage with a personal touch).
“Dream of Emerald” ends on an ambiguous lilt of violin, and with a spangle of piano, bleeds into “A Wound in the World,” a stripped interlude reminiscent of “The Coming of the Cold,” and on into the excellent re-recording of “Awake in Eternal Sleep.” Like “A Land Divided,” this is a fast and urgent black metal song whose despondent lyrics about exile and unrest make a fitting conclusion to the unrealized ideals of “Dream of Emerald.” “At the End of the River” leads into “The Wanderer,” which, as mentioned, received an excellent single release a couple of months ago. In a nutshell, it’s Saarkoth at their most crowd-pleasing, abundant in melody and conviction.
Jera ends with, well, “Jera,” a seven-minute epic to rival their "The Wanderer" single b-side “Memories of You” in scope and energy. While it falls just short of that song’s poignancy, the title track is a powerful culmination to the record, building from a sparse handful of strings and guitar plucking into a towering black metal opus, equal parts mournful and resolute. The song brings to the fore many of the album’s anxieties, stated and latent alike, regarding the fragile balance between man and the earth tipping toward destruction, brought home by misanthropic proclamations that “My species is here to destroy...In our selfish ways, / we conquered what isn’t ours.”
For those curious, the album title is an anglicization of a Nordic rune, which approximately translates into English as “good harvest year.” In the context of the record, jera and the prospect of a good harvest feels a bit ironic, if not wryly subversive - after all, what can we expect to reap from our abuse and parasitism of the earth as we drain, deplete, and destroy it without regard for the gifts it offers in return? - but to the band, it means something probably much simpler. Saarkoth have been working steadily toward this record, refining their brand of black metal into something distinct and identifiable; planting their seeds and biding their time. Now Jera is here, and I’m happy to say: it’s going to be a good year for Saarkoth.
Stream the LP here.
Brockhampton are the best boyband since One Direction. Forming in 2015, these boys released their debut mixtape All-American Trash a year later, but didn’t really strike the heart of the music world until their Saturation trilogy last year. Normally, when you hear a group put out three full-length projects all within a six-month period, you’d be worried, but last year showed us there’s no reason to worry when it’s the Brockhampton boys. All three of these LPs manage to be their own separate entity made up of music both experimental and forward-thinking, yet also catchy and infectious. This, on top of their progressive message, is when they really hit their stride and connected with an audience around the world. They would soon be signed to RCA Records, where they would start working on their next project, PUPPY. However, things turned sour when allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against member Ameer Vann. There was no room for this in Brockhampton. They kicked out an essential member of their project and indefinitely delayed the release of PUPPY. This was quite the obstacle to overcome, but following a very emotional return on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the group released three singles: “1999: WILDFIRE,” “1998: TRUMAN,” and “1997: DIANA.” These were all great, unique songs that showed Brockhampton could continue as a project, but there’s one thing: none of these songs appear on their brand new full-length. Who knows if these songs are planned for another project, but the way I see it is that they were just teasers of what to expect for the return of the world’s best boyband. After nine months, Brockhampton are reborn with a brand new studio project: iridescence.
Brockhampton sees themselves as very much a new form of their project, which gives them free reign to experiment more than on previous releases. If it’s to be compared to any of their past work, it’s to the very first Saturation. We get instrumental bangers like “NEW ORLEANS” and “J’OUVERT” as well as mellowed-out songs like “THUG LIFE” and “TONYA.” Then there are the more unpredictable, edge-of-your-seat tracks, making use of the increasingly popular tactic of the beat-switch. “WEIGHT” gets quite jumpy even as it maintains its softer approach; “VIVID” is predominantly aggressive. We also see the group sampling one of their own tracks, Saturation’s “BUMP,” as well as Beyonce’s “Dance for You” on the absolutely beautiful “HONEY.” And probably my favorite of the instrumentals on the project, “SAN MARCOS,” sticks with a country vibe and makes it work. iridescence is truly a rebirth.
One of Brockhampton’s biggest strengths has always been the variety each member brings to the table, as each have their own identifiable style. While an argument can be made that all these voices cohere better on the Saturation trilogy, each member still manages to put on display an obscene amount of talent on iridescence. Dom’s opening verse on “NEW ORLEANS” kicks the LP off, establishing an anchor to the past with his familiar technical flow, here and throughout the album. Similarly, Matt Champion provide traditional rapping with a bit more variety than Dom. Because of that, unfortunately, I feel like Matt doesn’t shine as much here as he has before. He has good verses on tracks like “VIVID,” but for the most part, feels a little pushed aside.
Kevin Abstract, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to have too many verses on this project either. But of all the lyricists in the group, he seems to be the most willing to bare himself emotionally, and is able to express emote in striking waus. His verses in “WEIGHT” are top-notch, dealing with his anxiety over his failure as a friend, a member of Brockhampton, and a son. The track “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM” is entirely performed by Kevin and highlights his love for his boyfriend Jaden Walker. The song is absolutely adorable, and there’s an interesting effect over Kevin’s vocals--the group has experimented with autotune before and continue to do so, but this and other vocal effects used on the LP are welcomingly distinctive.
One of the things I looked forward to hearing on this LP was Bearface. He got three tracks to himself on the Saturation trilogy, but that wasn’t enough for me. So when I saw that he was more included on the singles, I took it as a hint that he was going to have a bigger role on this LP. And he definitely does. The great thing about his inclusion is just the change of pace from everyone else, as he is Brockhampton’s dedicated singer--that’s what he does and what he brings to the table. He was a highlight of the singles and continues to shine on iridescence, providing a lot of additional melody on “THUG LIFE,” “DISTRICT” and “FABRIC.” My favorite Bearface moment comes on “TONYA,” which he dominates from the beginning, setting the mood for the rest of the track.
But no two shine more on this LP than Merlyn Wood and Joba. These two have always been the most experimental members of the group, although Joba’s verses on this summer’s singles were lackluster. His verses were strictly about how successful the group has become since their inception, which didn’t feel right for him. All of that is made up for. One of his biggest highlights comes from “J’OUVERT,” where my boy here is straight up KILLING it with a verse that is just as hard lyrically as it is tonally. I don’t think I’ve heard him go this hard since the first song on the first Saturation, “HEAT.” Sampling Lavaman’s “Excuse me?” afterwards was exactly my reaction to how hard Joba goes. Later, he displays a more mellow, emotional side on “SAN MARCOS,” proving his worth to Brockhampton in his versatility. Lyrically, Joba shows that despite the levels of fame he bragged about on the singles, he is still struggling with his own personal issues--see “DISTRICT,” and with its quick “Praise God, hallelujah! I’m still depressed” line. It’s the perfect contrast to those singles, retroactively lending those previous verses more weight.
Merlyn Wood has always been my favorite member. His flow has always been world-class and his voice fits with every instrumental he’s given. In the singles leading up to this project, especially on “1998: TRUMAN,” he quietly proved himself one of Brockhampton’s most outstanding members. iridescence underscores that point. He can go hard as balls on tracks like “WHERE THE CASH AT,” but isn’t afraid to get in his feelings on tracks like “TONYA.” All of these are performed with his signature deep register, but he frequently experiments with his flow and delivery to keep things fresh; he even messes around with some vocal effects, a common theme for every member across the record.
One of my only issues with iridescence is that some of the shorter tracks don’t do enough to warrant repeat listens. As much as I love “WHERE THE CASH AT,” at under two minutes, I can’t help but want more once it’s over. The same applies to “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM.” It’s an adorable song, but it’s a mere 90 seconds. I also don’t really feel anything towards the interlude, “LOOPHOLE,” which reminds me of the skits peppering the Saturation trilogy. For the most part, though, Brockhampton really hit it out of the ballpark. This also marks the start of their brand new trilogy, The Best Years of Our Lives, so I am very excited to see where this goes.
VERDICT: Despite a rough year, Brockhampton have shown they are very far from done with iridescence.
- Alex Brown
Pig Destroyer. What’s not to say about them? After a rocky debut LP with Explosions in Ward 6, these guys put out three of the most celebrated grindcore LPs in history: the beautifully grotesque Prowler in the Yard, Terrifyer, and Phantom Limb. These three LPs are nothing short of absolute genius, pushing the grindcore envelope damn far. These guys arguably innovated the genre more than anyone before or since, even compared to legends like Napalm Death and Terrorizer. However, in 2012, they released Book Burner which, while met with praise from critics and fans alike, I found not to my liking at all. Pig Destroyer tried being more groovy and incorporating breakdowns, but it’s a mostly forgettable showing--a shame, knowing how incredible the previous three efforts were. In between then and now, though, the guys incorporated a bassist, which had me very excited for some beefed-up groove work. But all three of the singles leading up to Head Cage left me feeling…weird. My reactions weren’t entirely negative, but I didn’t really know how to feel. It was clear Pig Destroyer were going for a more metalcore approach, which I think is a highly commendable switch to attempt so late in a career, but I knew I needed to hear the rest of the LP to form a proper opinion.
One thing that needs to be said right off the bat is that this is NOT a typical Pig Destroyer record. There is very little that resembles their previous records past the first two tracks. “Tunnel Under the Tracks” is a typical noisy Pig Destroyer intro, featuring the Gold Room masquerade music from Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining (Contrary to MetalSucks’ claim that it’s the Monolith theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey,) leading into the grindy “Dark Train.” A great way to start off the LP for sure, but also where the familiar Pig Destroyer cuts off. This change was notable during the singles, so it was safe to assume that they were going to continue in this new direction. Luckily, this allows the singles to sound more comfortable in the context of the rest of the LP. Pig Destroyer’s groove elements were definitely a work-in-progress on Book Burner, but they've sharpened up on this record. “Army of Cops” is such a groovy track. The ending gets a bit awkward, as if JR didn’t really know how to match his lyrics up to the track rhythms, but the song feels more natural overall in context. “The Torture Fields” starts off with some sick blast beats and straight into some rhythmic madness. I just wish the outro was a little more inspired.
That’s the biggest problem Pig Destroyer has instrumentally right now: they don’t know how to end. Most of these songs are filled with interesting material, especially with the addition of John Jarvis on bass, but the outros are almost uniformly boring, like Pig Destroyer searched “how to write a groovy outro” and went with the most generic options. That said, the punky “Mt. Skull” is a relatively technical song with a super tasty final breakdown, indicating that Pig Destroyer aren't totally out of ideas on that front.
J.R. Hayes is as dynamic a vocalist as he’s ever been. His typical style on Head Cage consists of gritty, punkish screams, interspersed with some growls on “Terminal Itch,” and the minor pitch variations on “Trap Door Man” and “Concrete Beast.” his range isn't as insane as it was back in the day, but it’s a good reminder that J.R. remains a commanding vocalist. The downside, however, is the lyrical content, which is where things really hurt. J.R. is renowned for his morbid poetry, some of the best lyrics in the genre, so to read these groaned is a special kind of disappointment. Admittedly, they can be quite catchy, like the lyrics on “Army of Cops,” but they are repetitive and fashioned around the groove, and can't survive without the music. The worst example I can point you to is “The Adventures of of Jason and J.R.,” which is just embarrassing. This song is supposed to be a ridiculous story about running from the feds, but it's a cringeworthy kind of humor that makes the track an uncomfortable listen. It's a letdown from the man who wrote “Starbelly,” “Forgotten Child,” and “Natasha.”
Luckily, the best of Head Cage is saved for the last two tracks, which will go down as highlights of Pig Destroyer’s career. “The Last Song” is the most ambitious song on Head Cage, starting off with a mean-ass bass lick and some crazy noise supplied by Blake Harrison (who I feel is kind of underutilized on this LP) before launching into a nasty, punk-edged ripper. The lyrics vibe like earlier Pig Destroyer and see J.R. experimenting with his voice a little, too. The finale, “House of Snakes,” opens up with an 80s heavy metal-style riff that pays homage to acts like Judas Priest and Metallica before dropping some nasty sludge metal. The lyrics on pretty poetic as well, so it’s clear that J.R. still has the chops. I wish he would’ve used them more often this time around. It’s an incredible closer, and leaves me relatively hopeful for Pig Destroyer’s new direction.
Pig Destroyer has always had some trouble releasing things in a reasonable time-frame. It’s hard to justify the six years between Book Burner and this, especially when it's so choppy in places. However, it does show some creative strides, which is admirable in such a veteran act. If you are disappointed in Pig Destroyer for straying from their grindcore roots, enter Head Cage with open ears and accept it for what it is: a fun, groovy metalcore LP.
VERDICT: Pig Destroyer’s sonic change has its issues, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun 30-minute listen.
Lorna Shore - This Is Hell
New Jersey deathcore band Lorna Shore has been in the headlines frequently the past few months after some lineup changes and Lil Uzi Vert was caught moshing to their catalog at a show in Philadelphia a few months ago. Upon Tom Barber’s departure from the band, we learned through the grapevine that CJ Mccreery (ex-Signs of the Swarm) had taken over his position. Skepticism had gotten the best of me, and I assumed that CJ was ditching the slamming-core sound he was known for to jump into the blackened-core sound Lorna Shore perfected on their last record, Flesh Coffin.
“This Is Hell” not only silenced my worries in almost every aspect but also blew me away. I was greeted immediately by everything I fell in love with previously,with the elements of Signs of the Swarm I had fallen in love with over the course of their two records splashed in. You can tell that Lorna’s focus was to maintain the darker Flesh Coffin style while adding some more slam-influenced breakdowns to compliment the addition of CJ’s vocals, as they are drastically more intense than what Barber brought to the table. Standouts consist of both De Micco and Deffley’s abilities to create some of what I consider the best riffs in deathcore. Archey is still an absolute monster behind his drum kit, providing machine-gun blast beats that could kill everything within a two mile radius. I cannot believe the synergy of this band, who have achieved almost god-tier standing in my eyes.
If there is one complaint to be made about the new track, it’s that as of now, it is a standalone song to listen to until they make their way into the studio to record their first proper full-length with Mccreery on vocals. If you were worried that Lorna Shore was going to slow down, you were wrong. They are coming for you. “This Is Hell,” literally.
Stream and buy the LP here.
Thou are a five-piece doom metal band who have been recognized as one of the few remaining metal bands to really live off the original DIY-punk ethos. This is shown in various forms, from all their splits to adding shows on tours that allow younger fans to see them if the other show in their city is age-restricted. Sonically, however, these guys are about as agonizingly heavy as doom can get. It’s filled with a dense atmosphere of dread and gut-wrenching screamed vocals. It’s been about four years since their last LP Heathen, which was one of my favorite metal LPs of that year, and Thou decided to do the unthinkable: release three 30+ minute EPs over the course of three months. Each of these three EPs showcase a different side of Thou. The House Primordial was a droned-out mix of sludge and harsh noise. Inconsolable saw Thou take on dark-folk, and the last of the EPs, Rhea Sylvia, was a bit of a “return to form” for Thou. With these three EPs out, Thou decided to take the extra step and release Magus.
If there’s one thing that lets you know this is a Thou record, it’s how absolutely punishing it is. It’s crazy to imagine that, on top of releasing music in this vein for well over a decade, they’ve released 90+ minutes of music within the three months leading to this LP, and yet they still come through with a 75-minute monster that feels as fresh as ever in both sound and atmosphere. The opening riff to “Inward” welcomes you into Magus’ house of suffering, a 10-minute opener that lets you know that it’s not going to stop. You will find moments of beauty subtly woven into the brooding doom assault, as well as t tracks like “Sovereign Self” and “In the Kingdom of Meaning,” which feature some of the most elegant clean vocals I’ve heard in this genre. Provided by Emily McWilliams, they perfectly contrast the Bryan Funck’s hellish screeches who sounds, more than ever, like his suffering is absolutely unbearable.
Check out lyrics like “The one locked in the carapace of frustration and loathing,” and the transparent vitriol of a line like “We’ve got nothing but hatred.” Alongside these lyrics of absolute despair is the occasional silver lining to these dark, noisy clouds, such as “To breathe life into the organ of hope...” We also see Thou take on some topics of social relevance, such as on “Transcending Dualities,” which tackles gender dysphoria - sometimes bluntly, with one lyric reading “Our gender is disorder.” The song goes through a journey of “limitless choice.” “Elimination Rhetoric” deals with fighting the patriarchy: “Awake, awake from the misogyny-fueled fever dream...” It’s beautiful that amid Thou’s existential dread, we can still encounter tracks with a very strong message about deconstructing toxic societal norms.
The three EPs Thou released prior to this bleed into Magus in one form or another. Rhea Sylvia pretty much lays out the blueprint of Thou’s sound, showing us the doomy, heavy, nihilistic band of their last four LPs. While the cleaner vocals have been a part of Thou’s discography for some time, much of the melodies they provide, as well as the acoustic sections spread across the LP on tracks like “Sovereign Self,” sound as if they were ripped straight from Inconsolable. The three “interlude” tracks, “My Brother Caliban,” “Divine Will,” and “The Law Which Compels,” reproduce the dark, droney, noisy sounds we heard last on The House Primordial. The best elements of each EPs are here in top punishing form.
As much as I dug Heathen, and despite Thou’s knack for hypnotic guitarwork, I felt like there were moments where it ran a bit dry during it’s 75-minute run. While there surely are moments of Magus that could have probably used a bit more going on in the instrumental, specifically on “Greater Invocation of Disgust,” this LP’s is more consistent and better-paced over the course of its runtime. Even “Greater Invocation of Disgust” is pretty decent in itself, its only issue that it does nothing out of the norm for Thou, and that it’s followed by the standout “Elimination Rhetoric.”
All of this leads up to the grand finale of the LP: the 11-minute epic “Supremacy.” “The Law Which Compels” builds up to itsa melancholic onslaught of doom. Lyricall, it’s a bit ironic: while it does address the idea of becoming larger than life, it’s more interested in exploring the downsides of such a mentality. It ends the LP with the phrase “Remain alone” for a reason: victory isolates us. Through all the pain and suffering, victory only leads to a different kind of pain, a point shoved in our faces as we reach the outro of this track which progressively gets noisier and heavier, leaving us with a reminder that this dread is not going to leave anytime soon. Thou won’t let it.
VERDICT: Thou show us triumph in depression and vice versa on their latest 75-minute colossus. Magus is a must-listen for fans who fancy doom and gloom in their music.
YO WHAT’S GUCCI JOHN BELUSHI? IT’S BEEN A MINUTE SINCE I’VE DONE ONE OF THESE BECAUSE TBH I FEEL LIKE ITS BEEN PRETTY QUIET ON HERE SAVE FOR LIKE THE 3 RANDOM SINGLE WORD NAME METALCORE BAND REVIEWS CESAR’S DONE AND THE OCCASIONAL DECIMAL RATED DEATHCORE-ADJACENT THINGS THE KID WHO OWNS THIS WEBSITE DOES
LMAO YO WHEN’S ALEX COMING THRU WITH MORE FIRE TAKES PLEASE DO REVIEWS WHERE YOU’RE NOT ON THE TOILET DAWG IT’S KIND OF WEIRD I KNOW NEW YORKERS DON’T GIVE A FIZZUCK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT THE REST OF US ARE AWKWARD SUBURBAN KIDS WHO WERE RAISED CATHOLIC SO WE’RE PRETTY TERRIFIED OF BODILY FUNCTIONS. WE NEED YOUR GUIDANCE OR THE SITE FINNA GO THE WAY OF ONE DIRECTION (READ: 5 DIRECTIONS LMAOOOOOO)
(DAKOTA, CESAR, ALEX, BRIAN, AND OTHER THE ALEX., THE WHITE GUY)
I FIGURED SINCE IT’S BEEN A MINUTE I’LL JUST HIT YOU GUYS WITH A “WHAT’S BEEN ON MY RADAR FOR THIS YEAR” THING BECAUSE IDK ITS 3/4th OF THE WAY OVER AND I ONLY GOT SO MANY JOKES TO SPIT ON YOU. YO LMAO THIS IS THE QUICKEST I’VE EVER GOTTEN TO THE ACTUAL ARTICLE IN MY HISTORY AS A GUEST WRITER WHO WRITES FOR THIS WEBSITE MORE THAN AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE WHO ARE LISTED AS STAFF LMAO YO I’M A WRITER AT LARGE OR SOME SHIT WORD TO GLENN O’BRIEN I MISS YOU CHIEF RIP
THINGS I LISTENED TO BECAUSE THEY WERE TRENDING THAT I DON’T HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT:
ASAP ROCKY – TESTING: I LOVE ASAP BUT THIS RECORD KIND OF CAME AND WENT WITH NO FANFARE. ROCKY DOES BEST WHEN HE’S ON HIS OWN, THE SONGS WITH THE GUESTS ON THEM ARE THE WEAKEST PARTS OF THIS ALBUM SINCE ROCKY TENDS TO TRY AND EMULATE THEM TO A DEGREE. IT’S ADMIRABLE THAT HE’S WILLING TO EXPERIMENT AND MAKE OTHERS FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE, BUT I CAME HERE TO LISTEN TO A GUY BEING CHARMING WHILE SAYING HE’S WEARING SHOES THAT COST MORE THAN I MAKE IN A YEAR AND THAT HE’D SLEEP WITH EVERYONE I KNOW AND I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO GET MAD AT HIM.
KANYE WEST - YE: EVERYONE SEEMS TO SAY IT’S EITHER AWFUL OR AMAZING, I THINK IT’S JUST OKAY. THERE’S SOME COOL PARTS BUT JUST AS MANY CRINGY ONES. THE PART WHERE KANYE IS LIKE “I HOPE MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T LOOK LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN WHEN SHE GROWS UP BECAUSE THEN GUYS ARE GOING TO OGLE HER LIKE I OGLED HER MOTHER” LITERALLY MADE ME GO “YIKES THAT’S REGRESSIVE” OUT LOUD
ROLO TOMASSI – TIME WILL DIE AND LOVE WILL BURY IT: IT WAS OKAY. @ PEOPLE WHO LIKE DEAFHEAVEN: SORRY. DON’T @ ME. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
WOLF KING – LOYAL TO THE SOIL: SOLID RELEASE BUT NOTHING CRAZY. I WISH MORE PEOPLE LIKED WOLF KING BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT THEM OR ELSE THEY’LL DISAPPEAR OR SOMETHING LOL. THEY FINALLY GOT A BASS PLAYER ON THIS RECORD WHICH IS SICK. THE GUITAR PLAYER WHO SOUNDS LIKE THE GRUNTING GUY FROM HARMS WAY AND THE VOCALIST WHO SOUNDS LIKE THE DUDE FROM THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA WORK TOGETHER REALLY WELL VOCALLY, AND I ALWAYS WILL BACK HARDCORE KIDS PLAYING EXTREME METAL.
CONVERGE – BEAUTIFUL RUIN: OH WOW ANOTHER CONVERGE RECORD THAT’S REALLY GOOD. SHOCKER. IT’S JUST B-SIDES FROM THE DUSK IN US BUT CONVERGE CAN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG.
VEIN – ERRORZONE: YO IM JUST GETTING THIS OUT OF THE WAY BECAUSE EVERYONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET HAS LISTENED TO VEIN AND ITS ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE IS AT LADY BIRD LEVELS FUCKING BROLIC WITH THE WORSHIP. EVERYTHING HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THIS ONE ALREADY SO HERE’S A FEW POINTS I’M GOING TO MAKE THAT I FEEL HAVEN’T BEEN MADE:
PORCHES – THE HOUSE: TL;DR: THE LEAD SINGLE FOR THIS IS A SONG CALLED “COUNTRY,” WHICH IS LEGITIMATELY A PERFECT SONG, 10/10, SOUNDS LIKE THE FEELING OF THE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE, REST OF THE RECORD IS TRASH AND I HATED IT. HERE’S A PIC THAT I WAS COMPELLED TO MAKE AFTER LISTENING TO IT.
JESUS PIECE – ONLY SELF: OKAY SO A FEW MONTHS BACK I MADE THE BOLD DECLARATION THAT I EXPECTED THIS ALBUM TO BE THE DARKHORSE PICK FOR “UNEXPECTED ALBUM THAT EVERYONE FREAKS OUT ABOUT” AND EVEN THOUGH THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN IT STILL IS PRETTY GREAT. JESUS PIECE HAVE THIS REALLY INTERESTING DYNAMIC GOING ON WHERE THEYRE A DEATHCORE BAND BUT NO ONE REALIZES IT BECAUSE 1.) THEY DON’T SUCK AND 2.) THAT’S LITERALLY THE ONLY REASON. I DID AN EXPERIMENT A FEW WEEKS AGO WHERE I PLAYED A JESUS PIECE SONG AND AN ACACIA STRAIN SONG SPEED UP x1.25 AND ASKED PEOPLE WHICH WAS WHICH AND A SHOCKING AMOUNT OF PEOPLE (ML WRITERS TOO) GOT IT WRONG LOL. ONLY SELF IS THEIR STRONGEST RELEASE SO FAR AND REALLY SHOWCASES WHAT THEY’RE ABLE TO DO AS A BAND, IT’S FILLED WITH THE KIND OF STOP-START BREAKDOWN-COMPILATION-VIDEO-TYPE RIFFS THEY’VE ALWAYS DONE BUT THIS TIME THEY’RE ABLE TO KEEP MOMENTUM BETWEEN THEM AND NOT HAVE THEM FEEL LIKE DIVERGENT SECTIONS PIECED TOGETHER WITH RECKLESS ABANDON. THERE’S A SEGMENT IN “CURSE OF THE SERPENT” THAT STRINGS TOGETHER A SCRATCHY PERCUSSIVE SECTION INTO A MORE OPEN TRANSITION INTO THE WHOLE “BIG FIGHT RIFF” PART, WHICH THEN REINCORPORATES AND REINTRODUCES THE PREVIOUS SECTIONS BUT WITH A LOOSER FEEL, IDK I’M NOT A MUSIC DORK I CAN’T DESCRIBE IT WELL BUT WHAT I’M GETTING AT IS “OH WOW THEY MADE A ‘WELL PLAY THE BREAKDOWN BUT SLOWER’ THING SOUND GOOD BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY FUCKING THOUGHT ABOUT HOW TO MAKE IT SOUND NATURAL.” THERE’S ALSO A COUPLE SONG WHERE THEY HIT A KEG WITH A BASEBALL BAT AND I PROMISE YOU I’LL NEVER GET SICK OF THAT.
LILY ALLEN - NO SHAME: LILY ALLEN IS A PRECIOUS ANGEL AND A GIFT TO HUMANITY BUT SHEEZUS FUCKING SUCKED AND WAS PEAK BUZZFUCKERY AND EVEN SHE KNEW IT, SO IM GLAD THAT SHE PUT OUT A REAL “I’M A SINGER HERE’S SOME BALLADS” ALBUM BECAUSE THAT’S KIND OF THE POINT SHE’S AT IN HER LIFE RIGHT NOW (READ: A SINGLE MOTHER IN HER THIRTIES). THE FIRST HALF OF THIS ALBUM FEATURES SOME KIND OF MEH BUT NOT BAD TRACKS BUT THE SECOND HALF REALLY IS IMPRESSIVE. SONGS LIKE “PUSHING UP DAISES” FEEL LIKE A NATURAL MATURATION OF HER PREVIOUS WORK, WHILE SONGS LIKE “THREE” AND “FAMILY MAN” (WHICH IS MY FAVORITE SONG ON THE ALBUM) SHOW A PRETTY NEW SIDE TO HER AS AN ARTIST. I DON’T THINK THIS ALBUM IS A MASTERPIECE OR ANYTHING BUT IT’S A LOT BETTER THAN I WAS EXPECTING AND IM REALLY GLAD FOR HER :^)
ON THE FLIPSIDE I REALLY DON’T LIKE “TRIGGER BANG” THO, SINCE I’M NOT CURRENTLY WEARING A NIKE TRACKSUIT AND HOPPING A TURNSTILE. GRIME RAPPERS TALK LIKE THE FUCKING BLUE MEANIES DUDE LMAO THEY’RE LIKE
“MAN LIKE TYLER GONE MAD WITH THEM FEET PON ME CREPS INNIT. IM GASSED UP BRUV. SKREWFACED. BOUT TO DUPPY UP WASTMAN PROPER YEAH”
DUDE ENGLISH PEOPLE AREN’T EVEN REAL LOL.
CODE ORANGE - THE HURT WILL GO ON (I COULDN’T FIND A FULL ALBUM LINK SO HERES ONE TRACK FIGURE IT OUT ON YOUR OWN YOURE A GROWN UP NOW):
YO SO APPARENTLY PART OF THE DEAL WITH THE TIMELINE WHERE WE GET A TEEN TITANS VILLAIN AS PRESIDENT WAS THAT WE’D ALSO GET THE FIRST CODE ORANGE RELEASE THAT WAS COOL SINCE SIDE A OF I AM KING.
AS MOST OF YOU WHO KNOW ME PERSONALLY ARE AWARE, I’VE HAD AN ONGOING LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH CODE ORANGE (KIDS) SINCE 2012. IM NOT GOING TO GET INTO THE REAL DETAILS IN THIS ARTICLE AS TO WHY I CAN’T TAKE A BUNCH OF ART SCHOOL KIDS WHO I’VE SEEN CRYING IN THEIR UNDERWEAR SERIOUSLY WHEN THEY STARTED BEING TOUGH FIGHT GUYS, BUT EVERY RUROUNI KENSHIN SPEECH JAMI GIVES DURING TIHC VIDEOS MAKES ME FIND THEM EVEN FUNNIER. YO THIS GUY LEGITIMATELY YELLED OUT “I SEE A LOT OF FUCKING COWARDS. I SEE A LOT OF SPIES” DURING THE BUILD UP TO THE BREAKDOWN IN ONE SONG LMAO.
ANYWAY, 5 YEARS AFTER RELEASING LOVE IS LOVE//RETURN TO DUST, WHICH IS ONE OF THE BEST HARDCORE DEBUTS IN HISTORY, CODE ORANGE PUT OUT FOREVER WHICH FUCKING S U C K E D. I KNOW EVERYONE IS DEFENDING THEM LIKE “OH YEAH CODE ORANGE IS BLAZING NEW TERRITORY WHAT OTHER BAND SOUNDS LIKE THEM RIGHT NOW?” BUT LIKE LOL YEAH NO BANDS SOUND LIKE CODE ORANGE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE EVERY BAND THAT SOUNDS LIKE THEM BROKE UP IN 1998.
ANYWAY WHEN I SAW THAT THEY RELEASED THIS EP I WAS LIKE “YO I KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO DO SOMETHING WITH COREY TAYLOR LOL” AND ALSO “WOW IF 2012 ME KNEW THAT COREY TAYLOR WOULD DO A SONG WITH THE GUYS WHO DID ‘MY BODY IS A WELL’ AND I’D ONLY HAVE A LUKEWARM FEELING ABOUT IT HE’D BE DEVASTATED” BUT THEN 2018 ME GOT THE SHOCK OF HIS LIFE WHEN HE LISTENED TO THIS AND IT ACTUALLY RIPPED.
DON’T GET ME WRONG, THIS ISNT NEARLY AS GOOD AS THEIR –KIDS ERA STUFF BUT IT STILL IS LEAPS AND BOUNDS ABOVE ANYTHING OFF OF FOREVER AND HALF OF THE SONGS ON I AM KING. “3 KNIVES” IS KIND OF THE PERFECT REALIZATION OF WHAT THEY WERE GOING FOR ON FOREVER (READ: FEAR FACTORY WITH BREAKDOWNS) AND THE ENDING BREAKDOWN IS ACTUALLY INSANE. THE SONG WITH COREY TAYLOR IS PRETTY GOOD TOO, IT’S BASICALLY JUST A MARILYN MANSON SONG IN DROP B BUT I LIKE IT. COREY DOESN’T ADD THAT MUCH BUT IT’S STILL COOL AND HE’S IN THE GREATEST METAL BAND OF ALL TIME SO I’M NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT HIM BEING IN IT. THE LAST SONG IS JUST ANOTHER REMIX OF A SONG THE GUY WHO LOOKS LIKE CODE LYOKO ALREADY DID LIKE COME ON SHADE DON’T YOU HAVE TO TERRORIZE THE CYBER CHASE KIDS OR SOMETHING?
POST NOTHING – NEW EMOTIONAL FASCISM: A LOT OF BANDS I’M FRIENDS WITH RELEASED ALBUMS THIS YEAR. THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. CLEVER LYRICS, GOOD PRODUCTION, LOTS OF MOSH PARTS SPECIALLY FORMULATED FOR PEOPLE IN MOSH RETIREMENT TO POWERFULLY NOD THEIR HEAD TO. CHECK IT OUT OR BE A POSER, THE CHOICE IS YOURS
LITERALLY JOHN MAYER’S ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY
(JUST GO TO A BARNES & NOBLE THEY’RE PROBABLY PLAYING “YOUR BODY IS A WONDERLAND” RIGHT NOW)
JOHN MAYER IS SO FUCKING SICK LOL. I’M DEAD SERIOUS I’VE BEEN FUCKING JAMMING TO SOME J.M. A LOT RECENTLY. DUDE CAN BELT AND IS ONE OF LIKE 3 CELEBRITIES THAT’S WORTH FOLLOWING ON INSTAGRAM FOR REASONS BESIDES JUST BEING LUNATICS. IF YOU DON’T FEEL YOUR LIBIDO SHRINK IN TERROR AT JOHN’S VOCAL PERFORMANCE IN “GRAVITY” YOU’RE KIDDING YOURSELF MY GUY.
HERE’S A MEME I MADE THAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE GO VIRAL FOR MONTHS NOW LOL:
CULTURE ABUSE – BAY DREAM: CULTURE ABUSE’S LAST RECORD PEACH WAS A PRETTY DECENT PUNK RECORD. I SAW THEM PLAY AT A VENUE IN WEST HAVEN (YOU KNOW THE ONE) AND ONE OF MY FRIENDS REFERRED TO THEM AS BEING “GIRLFRIEND-CORE” WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT ‘ILL NEVER BE ABLE TO FORGET AS LONG AS I LIVE. THIS RECORD BORED ME TO TEARS AND I TURNED IT OFF AND PUT ON THE LIVE VIDEO OF COALESCE PLAYING MICHIGAN FEST TWO SONGS IN. HERE’S A CONVO I HAD WITH MY FRIEND ABOUT THIS ALBUM.
(I ONLY USE LOWERCASE IN MY PERSONAL LIFE)
MOUTHBREATHER – “DOLLMEAT”
SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY – “SYSC/SGKF SPLIT”
CHAMBER – “HATRED SOFTLY SPOKEN”
(IF YOU’RE READING THIS WEBSITE YOU ALREADY HAVE THESE DOWNLOADED)
IM DOING ALL THREE OF THESE TOGETHER SINCE THEY ALL FALL INTO THE SAME CATEGORY OF “BANDS I LIKE THAT ALSO SOUND LIKE SOMETHING I WOULD HAVE LISTENED TO WHEN I WAS 16.” I’M ALSO PROBABLY JUST AS SICK OF WRITING RIGHT NOW AS YOU ARE OF READING SO LET’S JUST DO THIS IN A LIGHTNING ROUND FORMAT:
MOUTHBREATHER: SOUNDS LIKE CONVERGE PLAYING AFTER THE BURIAL SONGS. LOTS OF BREAKDOWNS. SOME ARE COOLER THAN OTHERS. THERE’S A PART WHERE THERE’S A BASS BREAK THAT’S SUPER HEAVY BUT THEN THE BAND COMES IN AND IT LOSES ALL ITS IMPACT. BESIDES THAT, THIS RECORD IS SHORT AND HEAVY AND SOUNDS MORE LIKE VEIN THAN VEIN’S NEW RECORD DID LOL. ALSO THE VIDEO OF ALEX BROWN PITTING TO MOUTHBREATHER MAKES MY HEART BURST WITH JOY.
SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY: THIS BAND REFERS TO ITSELF AS BEING “SASSY” WHICH PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE WAS ALREADY AN ACTUAL MOVEMENT IN THE EARLY-MID 2000s. I REALLY LIKE SYSC. THEY REMIND ME OF DUCKDUCKGOOSE MIXED WITH CANADA SONGS-ERA DAUGHTERS. EVERY BAND I LIKE IN 2018 NEEDS TO GET COMPARED TO DAUGHTERS IT’S THE LAW.
CHAMBER: THE BEST OF THE SINGULAR-WORD-NOUN METALCORE BANDS IVE DISCOVERED USING THE VALUABLE RESOURCE KNOWN AS “CESAR’S INSTAGRAM STORY.” I’LL BE COMPLETELY FRANK WITH YOU GUYS: I’VE BEEN SICK OF PANIC CHORD METALCORE SINCE 2011 SO ITS REVIVAL IS REALLY NOT GELLING WELL WITH ME LOL. THIS BAND DOES IT WELL THOUGH. I LIKE THE LAST SONG WHERE THEY JUST PLAY A LAMB OF GOD SONG LOL. I HOPE THEY PUT OUT MORE THINGS SINCE THIS WAS SICK AND THEY APPARENTLY HAVE JACOB LILY FROM DWELL AS A VOCALIST NOW AND HE’S INSANE (RIP DWELL YOU WERE TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD).
I WAS GOING TO PUT SOMETHING ABOUT HOW I MISSED OUT ON TWO ALBUMS LAST YEAR SO I WASN’T ABLE TO INCLUDE THEM IN MY TOP TEN LIST BUT IT BASICALLY WOULD HAVE JUST BEEN “EMPLOYED TO SERVE’S WARMTH OF A DYING SUN IS HEAVY AND THEN IT ISN’T AND IT’S COOL AND I LIKE IT.” AND “BLIS’S NO ONE LOVES YOU IS SAD AND EMO AND WOULD HAVE FUCKING CRUSHED THE SCENE IN 2014.” SO I DIDN’T LOL (CHECK THEM OUT THO THEY’RE GREAT).
YO SINCE WE’RE ALREADY COMPLETELY LACKING ANY STRUCTURE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT HERE’S A TOP 5 LIST OF WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR:
5.) THE THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS ANIMALS ACOUSTIC ALBUM. I HAVE A DEGREE IN A SOCIAL SCIENCE AND WEAR GLASSES SO NATURALLY I LIKE SOFT SONGS WITH ACOUSTIC GUITARS DOING TWIDDLY SHIT.
4.) THAT HORSE THE BAND RECORD WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET LAST YEAR BUT DIDN’T. I KNOW IT’S OUT THERE GOD DAMN IT. THEY DID A CHRISTMAS SONG TOO WHICH WAS OKAY BUT ITS LYRICS ARE KINDA DUMB EVEN BY HTB STANDARDS AND I’M WAITING FOR THE NINTENDOCORE REVIVAL TO HAPPEN EVEN THOUGH I’M PROBABLY THE ONLY GUY WHO STILL LIKES IT.
3.) THAT BAND THE THREATS’S NEW RELEASE SINCE THEY’RE STATISTICALLY THE CLOSEST THING TO THE CHARIOT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW (EVEN WITH THE TWO MOST VALUABLE THE CHARIOT MEMBERS NOT BEING IN IT).
2.) THE NEW CULT LEADER RECORD THAT THEY RECORDED IN A WEEK LIKE 4 MONTHS AGO AND HAVEN’T MENTIONED SINCE.
1.) WHATEVER THE FIRST BAND TO SOUND LIKE THE BREACH ALBUM “IT’S ME GOD” BUT WITH BETTER PRODUCTION PUTS OUT.
WIMPS AND POSERS LEAVE THE HALL. *FORCES YOU TO LEAVE HALL*