The weather is already cold in many parts of the United States this month, which for some may make people think about their favorite music to listen to in these bone-chilling times. For some it may be a bit of doom/sludge and one band that may help to save the day (or make it more blurry) is the trio known as Disrotted, who are almost finished with their next album for Diseased Audio. It will be out sometime this winter but you may have a listen to a completed song, “Brain Death”. It’s a 14-minute blister that you’ll find it hard to pop, or maybe the popping of it is necessary. Pierce it now.
Seattle’s Deadkill are doing a powerful thing by releasing a new video before the end of the year. It is from their current album No, Never! (my review of which can be read by clicking here) and if you want or need to know waht “Shakes” refers to, you’ll be able to see it in detail here. Damn these Washingtonians.
A collection of punk, hardcore, and grindcore bands from the midwest assembled during a very cold season last year and came up with a set of songs they agreed to release as a 7″ single. It’s simply called the Bitter Cold Compilation. The record can be ordered from Diseased Audio while the digital files are through Bandcamp above. If you want your songs fast, loud, raunchy, quick and to the point, you’ll love these songs.
One of my favorite guitarists since high school now has an autobiography to call his own, and if he has been someone who had felt like he could’ve been your buddy at high school (or the cool guy at the record store who would always know not about the cool stuff, but the “next” stuff), you will definitely enjoy reading I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax (Da Capo). If you became familiar with Ian in the 1980’s through Anthrax or maybe with the Stormtroopers Of Death, you’ll know that Ian is a fan of New York City for life, and he talks about his upbringing in Queens. He talks about his childhood, his relationship with his parents, his interests as a kid and what lead to some of his first musical influences. One thing lead to another and he knew he was hooked, but he didn’t realize how hooked he would become to the point where it would become a major part of his life, even though that’s what he wanted. Making music discoveries came a number of ways, with one of the biggest being that of his Uncle Mitch. If there is a moment where the seeds were planted, Ian describes it as being introduced to Black Sabbath’s first album in his uncle’s collection. On this album that he described as acid rock (a term he had not heard of before), he looked at the cover, heard the music, and knew he had to have more. Along with an uncle who appreciated comic books, that also started his fascination with superheroes, which would develop not only into Ian’s own interests in comic book collecting, but also songwriting.
The book continues about getting involved in sports a bit, dealing with friends at school and also discovering the wonder of girls. He touches on problems his parents had but knowing that his music could allow him to get his mind off of the domestic issues and carry him to a new places. In time he’d have his own guitar, an acoustic one at that, before having his own electric, and it was as if you could visualize the transformation from Scott Rosenfeld, Queens rocking kid to Scott Ian, rock’n’roll guitarist. These things lead to him going to clubs, finding new music and bands at record stores, and getting involved with hardcore and punk rock during a time when headbangers and punks would never mix together, especially in New York. These gatherings would eventually head to him gathering his bands together to form a band and in time would help form Anthrax. Even though we know Anthrax as being one of the sources of thrash and speed metal, Ian talks about it as an eventual development, not just through hard rock, heavy metal, and NWOBHM influences but whatever he had felt like bringing into his playing style. The sound was rough yet abrasive and with a level of confidence that didn’t involve him in saying no to anything or anyone, he went out to get his music throughout the city, not being aware that his music would travel much further.
Interesting moments in this include meeting up with the members of Metallica for the first time, getting to know bassist Cliff Burton and becoming a deep friend with Kirk Hammett; meeting up with Johnny Zazula; flying to Europe for the first time to do shows; and meeting with some of his musical heroes during the 1980’s, which included everyone from Lemmy of Motorhead to the guys in Iron Maiden. Outside of the personal friendships, Ian reveals the inside information about the recording industry, how things began as a band releasing their first record on an independent label to being a group-in-demand by a major label to getting advances that were beyond what they were expecting. The thrill was exciting and when Ian brought in his love of rap music into Anthrax’s world for a few minutes, that only helped open the world for them a bit more.
While the 1980’s were very much a peak for the band, the 1990’s began as a world of fantastic adventures for the group but in time, Ian found that not everything turns to gold and that if one thing can get worse, it might lead to what feels like an endless thing of other bad things to happen. He touches on how Anthrax were signed with the same label as Metallica (Elektra Records) with a new singer, had faith with the label only to realize his decisions were disapproved by the label heads, only to lose faith when the label’s decisions lead to less-than-impressive results in terms of sales. One thing leads to another, and it becomes a blame game, trying to maintain the integrity of yourself and the band while trying to let the label know you are the band worthy of the contract. Then for the label to let you know they’re letting you go. While Ian didn’t come from a wealthy background, he admits he had never been rich when Anthrax were at their highest point but to hear him talk about how he was literally scrounging to make ends meet is devastating, especially when I had assumed they were getting attention and selling fairly well. They were selling decently but to be caught within the period when the almighty grunge and alternative music was the biggest thing around, anything metal-related wasn’t doing good for everyone within the community, unless you were Metallica and Pantera. Dealing with the personalities within Anthrax are brought up a number of times, and as someone who was the face of the band and the main lyricists of most of their songs, he was putting his life on the line every day, only to find things around him were falling apart.
There is very much a positive side to I’m The Man, for despite the downside to being part of a rock band and dealing with the business of the industry, he talks about some of the parties and celebrating he did with different bands, finding sexual lust with ladies while trying to balance it with wive #1 or wive #2, and discovering that doing certain drugs is not good for him. There was a time when Anthrax always came off as a very clean band, not exactly Straight Edge or anything like that but unlike Metallica who were the Alcoholica boys, Anthrax seemed to be like their younger fans: comic book readers, movie buffs and nerds, and headbangers who may have done stupid shit at high school. It seems Ian’s primary vice was drinking beer, and it was never heavy. However, the person that changed him as a drinker was Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, and that chapter in a book is worth reading from paragraph to paragraph. In time, he met up with the woman who would become the love of his life, which also happened to coincide with Anthrax’s new level of success.
Throughout I’m The Man, Ian talks about changing perspective not only of his music and career, but his own life, changing priorities and understanding that age and maturity can lead to good and better things. His work regimen was always strong, but it’s balancing it with everything else around him is also what keeps him going, even when there were low points along the way. You might read the book thinking it will be nothing but inside stuff about the band and the recording industry, and it does touch on all of this quite well. It also has Ian looking at the world from a personal perspective, to show how he loves his music but is also someone with a mind and a sense of humor. He isn’t afraid to tell everyone he is still a man-in-the-works, someone whom he will continue to work on throughout his life, and now will pass on his experiences in his life to his son.
As the lyric said, “now we’re Anthrax and we take no shit/and we don’t care for writing hits” and in I’m The Man, we learn how Ian didn’t take shit from anyone, be it his life or his career. It’s a wonderful book that has its share of wonderful peaks and depressing valleys, but it does lead to something positive and eventual good morals to the stories shared. To the man who made me want to find NOT shorts and actually lead me to shaving a rectangle in my stomach so I could have a half-assed version of the NOT shaving on his chest, thank you for your music and efforts behind Anthrax and S.O.D., your efforts will always be honored.
On its way to you on October 27th is a new album (their fifth) by Art Of Burning Water, a band who mix up different textures of metal with doses of hardcore and punk to create something that’s on the level of Buzzov•en, Eyehategod, Cro-Mags, Anthrax, Crowbar, and Alice In Chains. Enough comparisons, the album is called Living Is For Giving, Dying Is For Getting and you may listen to a heavy three minute dose in the form of “At The Hands Of Them”. The album can be pre-ordered through Riot Reason Records and will be available on vinyl, only 300 copies are being made.
When you name your album Please Explode (Relapse), I’m not sure if you should have a song titled “Bear Molester”, but that’s just me, and that’s exactly what Columns did. The group combines performance videos with found footage of unknown drug imagery, and perhaps that’s what is molesting the mind. You’ll have to find out for yourself. Please Explode was released almost two months ago.
For complete unadulterated hardcore punk that runs under six minutes, you’ll want to check out a new EP by Providence, Rhode Island’s Thumbscrews called Life Is Pure Joy. The EP is six songs in length, with the longest song just under two minutes, and it sounds like it was freshly recorded in their garage or basement, but comes off great. trange High House have released the EP on cassette, only 50 copies are being pressed. I hope these guys end up going into a proper studio to record a few things, and even if they’re limited to just three albums or two EP’s and five 7″ EP’s, I’ll be happy.
What I loved about Mannequin Pussy is that while the Gypsy Pervert album begins with a song that sounds like they’re about to beat the shit out of anyone and everyone who dare to confront them, they get into making some powerful pop punk, or at least you hear sweet vocals that are complimented with heavy playing, often done uptempo. They remind me of some of the many bands of the early 90’s fronted by women, be it Sick & Wrong, Maxi Badd, Killsybil, Bikini Kill or 7 Year Bitch. In Mannequin Pussy’s case, the songs aren’t overly political in the sense that they’re fighting for a social cause, but in terms of being social amongst humans, their songs take it to the utmost limit and still push it in your face without giving you a direct slap. “Clit Eastwood” have them getting into a nice 3/4 bluesy ballad, complete with cool guitar solo. The balance between making delicate and sweet songs vs. music that goes in-the-penultimate-kill-but-not-quite is what makes Mannequin Pussy so damn good.
If you’re heading to the Afrofest today in Brooklyn at Commodore Barry Park, you will definitely want to spock the band who call themselves HO99O9. They released two new songs specifically for their appearance at the festival (they’ll be on the Black Stage at approximately 1:45pm), which happens to be part of a newly made fanzine called The Beginning Of The End. To take a look at it, and also check out the two new songs, head to bonescraping.tumblr.com. To hear other songs, click to HO99O9‘s official Soundcloud page.
The moment I hear new Black Pus music is coming out, I get excited. For this round of music, Brian Chippendale is playing around with making music that sounds more professional. In other words, the drums are not pushed completely forward nor are the vocals distorted. “Blood Will Run” sounds like something that would be perfect for a skateboard video or any random sporting event, where the music is meant to push the imagery and vice versa. We generally know of Chippendale putting on that masked persona and having him sweat it out as if there’s no tomorrow but in “Blood Will Run” he is calm and collected, and it sounds nice. If there’s more music from this persona to come, I’m all for it. But for the Black Pus we’ve come to know and love, he offers the 14-minute noise fest called “Total Eclipse” and like its own title, the music is meant to build and build until it covers you to where you’re unable to escape or call to be rescued. Well, at least for the song’s first 11 minutes, as the remainder has him getting loose and free form, uncertain of what he’s doing and why but we dwell in it because it’s Pus of a Black notion.
Oozing Wound are a four piece band who have released two EP’s and recently participated in Adult Swim’s online Singles series last week. While they may be loosed tagged as being metal, the three songs they supply here often go towards something sleazier, or if you want a more certain term, looser. There’s a punk attitude heard throughout, and not just because the word “punk” is in one of the song titles. One can hear the disturbed voltage of bands like Alice Donut, Superconductor, and Eyehategod and go “oh, I know waht these guys are trying to do.” Their own name is perfect for how they perform, and if they choose to continue releasing EP’s or split efforts, I’m all for it but I would welcome a full length album in the very near future.
(The 12″ and MP3 versions can be ordered directly from Thrill Jockey Records.)