Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Heresy - 1985-87

I picked this up in Lisbon from the amazing Carbono record store which had a whole load of awesome vinyl encompassing the whole range of the heavy music spectrum. There were some real gems in there, I could have spent hours trawling their racks and brought home a hundred records, but I settled on some vintage Napalm Death as well as this little beauty.

The design and packaging is what you expect from an Eighties demo compilation, all black and white, cut and paste layout, and some great live shots on the sleeve. It also has one of my favourite album covers ever, I even have a patch of it helping hold my jeans together.

The first side opens with 'Never Healed', all ramshackle drums, buzzing guitar and incomprehensible yelling. Brilliant.
'Deprived' pulls no punches with it's immediate grinding three-chord progression, the drums and vocals racing to keep up. 'Mentally Conned' is all bouncing bassline until the drums and feedback cut in. This is one of the longest songs on the record, and is a bit more varied than the rest, the guitar alternating between between chugging along and a loose, squalling punk riff. It's fucking great.
'Blinded By Power' sounds like every other song until about 30 seconds in when the blastbeats hit, showing just how good these guys were at swinging between punk and proto-grind.

A fast blast of an instrumental gives way to 'Cries Of Wind' which has the first 'guitar solo' of the album, a strangled cry from the wrung neck of the fretboard. 'Disfigured World' opens with an almost nice intro, all tasteful hi-hat work and chiming guitar, which only serves to make the second part of the track seem so much harsher when it bursts into full-blown cacophony.

Another recording of 'Never Healed' opens up the second demo, which continues with 'Despair' and 'Deathbiter'. Deathbiter is another of those deceptive tracks which starts out calm enough (well, by comparison) before erupting into chaos. About halfway through they go into this groovy little section that actually gives you time to breathe before they sprint to the end ofthe first side.

The B side opens with 'Anguish of War' from the same session as the last couple of track, but it's 'More Blood Is Shed' from this demo that really stands out. It's the longest song on the whole record, much slower paced, with an almost thrash vibe to it. The playing on this track is much tighter now that they're not all racing against one another, it sounds great, though about a third of the way through it completely switches gears back up to hyperspeed, before closing out with a Metallica-esque riff. Yeah, you read that right.
'Dead' is the last track with this line-up of the band, before things go downhill in my opinion.

The next line-up features a different vocalist and guitarist, and I'm just not that into these tracks, specifically the vocals and lyrical content. They sound just like the countless knucklehead hardcore bands of this era, the apoplectic screech and apocalyptic words of Reevesy scrapped in favour of a 'less metal' approach according to the liner notes. Yeah, not into that idea at all.

I absolutely love the really early stuff on this compilation, but with the line-up change on conscientious about-turn in style towards the end, I lose interest. I haven't checked out any of the later recordings, as to me they just wouldn't measure up to the first incarnation of this band.

It turns out that Boss Tuneage records sells pretty much everything Heresy ever put out, you can snag this compilation from them here:

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Iron Witch - Single Malt tape

I originally bought this tape back in March of this year, then kind of disappeared to Europe for a few months, arriving back to find this little parcel of filth waiting for me. No fucking around, time to give it a whirl...

It hisses to life with 'A .45 To Pay The Rent' which, as just about anyone else who has heard this band also mentions, is pure EyeHateGod worship. By no means a bad thing, obviously, since there's been a drought of EHG releases for over a decade now. Anyway, that's what they do, and they do it damn well. Though the titular gun reference is a bit daft for a band from North-east England, and not the Southern swamps.

The EP's title track 'Single Malt' is a much catchier affair, while retaining the tortured Mike IX-esque wails. The main riff is downright boogie-able though, and shows they might let their other influences come to the fore sometime in the future.

Third track 'Booze Blues' is endless feedback with a song buried in there somewhere. When they eventually get going, it's great, but even NOLA's finest don't use that much feedback! This track is a tortured dirge of a thing. Fucking horrible. In a good way.

'Jailhouse' is another decent groovy one, but it's final track 'The Cruelty of Mankind' that does it for me.
I like my sludge of the truly trudging variety, and this track's extended intro is just that. Lovely stuff.
About halfway through they kick up the tempo, but it soon crashes back down again to a crawl.
Filthy feedback ends the tape as it began.

These guys might not be the most original band going, but if you like your sludge dirty, howling and feral, get into 'em. If I get the chance I'll be attending their Sheffield show in December with fellow up-n-coming UK doom hordes Conan, Slabdragger and Moloch.

You can get this on cassette from Opaqus here:
Check out that distros other releases, loads of obscure shit, some of it pretty damn good.

If you're a prick that doesn't pay for music, you can download it for free from the Iron Witch bandcamp:
Though they have a 'pay-what-you-like' option too, so any eccentric millionaires reading this, make them rich enough to fund their whiskey habits.

Noothgrush / Suppression split 5"

Noothgrush were the band of my summer. I'd quit my job, packed up all my possessions, and dropped out of life to go bum around Europe for the summer and finally catch all the European tours and fests I was sick of missing out on. I got to see some of my favourite bands that I never thought I'd get a chance to see, some of them even twice. Sleep, Thou, Jucifer, Discharge, The Obsessed, Nasum, Pentagram... but Noothgrush were one of the biggest deals.

I got to see their first ever European show at Heavy Days In Doom Town fest in Copenhagen, as well as a tiny club show at the Hafenklang in Hamburg. They totally blew me away both times, yet both times I stood at the merch table foaming at the mouth with frustration because I couldn't buy any of their records due to
A: lack of money to spare. If I got an LP I couldn't get dinner.
And B: no space in the backpack I would be lugging around for months for records to go undamaged.
Which was frustrating since they had pretty much every release they've put out on vinyl, stacks of self-titled LPs, a box of Failing Early Failing Oftens... it broke my heart. They also had a neat little 5" split that came with it's own jigsaw puzzle which I wanted for sheer novelty value. But I refrained, saved my money, and regretted not buying anything the whole time I was away.

So first call when my money had almost run out and I had to come back 'home' was to buy the records I'd been unable to get on my trip. Top of my list was the weird Noothgrush puzzle. Turns out including jigsaws more than double the price of a record, so I settled on just the split.

Noothgrush contribute one track 'Flee From Hunger And Disease', which also appears on the Erode The Person compilation. It's two minutes of the creepiest, crawling sludge, an utterly hopeless ode to mankind's fear and hatred of itself. So y'know, classic Noothgrush.

Suppression's side is one track of fucking bizarre noise -'Cyanide (Iceman)'- before leading into a more straightforward grind track - 'Amputated Brain Stem'. The grind track is mixed all in the red and sounds pissed as fuck. It ends with the NWA sample "Daaaamn that shit was dope!"
Not much more to say!

This split was meant to be released in 1998 but hasn't seen the light of day until now, and I'm glad it finally came out. It's short but most definitely sweet, in it's own twisted way. Highly recommended.

UK/EU folks can get a copy (with or without puzzle) from Blow The Reactors:

USA/Canada dudes and dudesses can get theirs (and the self-titled LP) from Fuck Yoga: