album review

Buzz Osborne is nothing if not a music survivalist.  The man is just about the only synonym for The Melvins, the band he has maintained for the better part of thirty years.  For a man and band that came to fame on the consistent recommendation of Kurt Cobain some twenty years ago, King Buzzo has done an excellent job of turning himself into a cottage industry.  He’s worked with the best musician, been part of innumerable projects and produced more material in that time that nearly all of his contemporaries.  The ongoing legacy of The Melvins continues with the band’s new

If we can all agree that Black Sabbath was the first true heavy metal band then heavy metal as a genre has only been around for slightly more than 40 years. And, if we use the traditional definition of a "generation" as being a 20 year period, then we are nearly a quarter of the way through the third generation of heavy metal music.

The story of Exodus is becoming nearly as lengthy and weighty as the biblical book of the same name.  Shoot, with the return of Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza to the ranks, there’s even a New Testament comparison, which is the obvious parallel to the parable of the prodigal son.  However, the more things change the more they stay the same, and Exodus remains forever an integral piece of the fabric of American thrash, existing as both part of its living past and revitalized present.

There is a common association between the macabre themes of violence and isolation and the power and uncommon fury of heavy metal.  Yet, punk and rock share many of those same ideals, occasionally cloaked in subtler themes.  We’ve seen the near-crooning of Glenn Danzig and the leather emotion of the 69 Eyes.  Enter into that mix a new twist on the old theme, Canadian band Nim Vind.

Have you ever received a gift in a "fake box"? You get a gift, thoughtfully wrapped in festive paper and you tear it open to reveal that thing you've always wanted; a new play station or an Ipod or whatever it is the kids long for these days. You open the box to expose the true contents... underwear or something equally unsatisfying. Has this ever happened to you? If it has, you'll understand how I felt while listening to the new full length from Hang The Bastard, "Sex In The Seventh Circle".

When bands like High On Fire, who lead the way in the world of sludgy stoner metal, get praised to the hilt, I'm often left confused as to what it is I'm missing out on. That particular brand of metal, with fuzzed out guitars and riffs upon riffs, taps into the primal need for heaviness that so many metal fans have, but seldom shows the care for songwriting that I dare say is necessary, no matter how heavy your band is. Stoner metal is called that for a reason, because it was long noted that being in an altered state was necessary to either play or enjoy so much of it.

At this point, attentive readers are well familiar with the career of Texas Hippie Coalition thus far.  For those not yet initiated, here’s the vitals in brief – a band of badass, sauntering Texans made a band that lives to the fill the gap between Pantera and David Allen Coe (a gap briefly filled by the Rebel Meets Rebel album as well, let’s not forget.)  They’ve just dropped their fourth album, “Roll On” to the world, featuring the recording debut of guitarist Cord Pool.  With all that said, here we go.

Certain phrases don't appear to make any sense. We hear them, and even without letting our minds pour over the intricacies language can convey, we instinctively know there's something wrong with them. I'm reminded of this as I prepare to listen to Khold's “Til Endes”. The album is described, in the accompanying literature, as 'groove-laden black metal', which is one of those things that doesn't sound like it should be. Black metal is the antithesis of groove, a frosty concoction of pain and misery, with no time or patience for such endearing qualities as 'groove'.

Orange Goblin have toiled in the metal circuit for a long time, longer than most suspect. It’s coming up on twenty years since their debut under the name “Our Haunted Kingdom” on a split EP with Electric Wizard in 1996. In that time, singer Ben Ward, a larger than life figure who was once described on these pages as a combination of Ozzy Osbourne and Al Snow, has captained his band, which has much the same lineup as ever, through the dark corners of metal’s underground and established a solid, respected career.

Of all the things that perplex me about the current state of music, maybe the most difficult to fathom is how power-pop, a genre that is about nothing but making catchy music for you to sing along to, became an underground genre. These purveyors of sunny, feel-good music have become vampires to the mainstream, surviving in the shadows that thrive on message boards in the deep recesses of the internet. There was a time when power-pop was huge, as it should have been, but somewhere along the way music fans have apparently decided they don't want their music to be enjoyable. Go figure.