• Axl Rosenberg


So I’m still finalizing my year-end list for 2009, and now those bastards at The End Records have gone and sent me an album that it definitely going to be a competitor for my year-end list for 2010: Scenes from Hell, an album so delightfully bat shit crazy it could only have come from the mad scientists in Sigh.

Front man (and – full disclosure! – occasional MetalSucks contributor) Mirai Kawashima and company just know how to get into the listener’s mind, and Scenes from Hell makes me see movies in my head, man. And they’re not normal movies, either. They’re operatic silent medieval Spaghetti horror westerns co-directed by Murnau, Lang, and that little girl Roman Polanski ass-fucked, as scored by the Looney Toons in a manner intended to pay tribute to Ennio Morricone. Also, there’s a fair amount of stop-motion animation by the Quay Brothers.

Maybe I’m not making this sound appealing in the right way, but, really, tell me that “The Soul Grave” doesn’t make you wanna travel to a far away planet and fight a dragon with Sean Connery’s accent. That “Vanitas” doesn’t make you wanna set a girl on fire on railroad tracks. That “L’art do Mourir” doesn’t make you wish that Braveheart hadn’t undergone a re-write from Terry Southern, preferably when he was right in the middle of an acid trip.

There’s at least one song here, the seven-minute plus saga “The Summer Funeral,” that I think everyone should have to listen to at least once. If it doesn’t do anything for you, well, to each his own, but really, you gotta at least give it a shot. It is appropriately funereal, but it also feels scary and vengeful and religious… it’s just a haunting piece of work. And Shinichi Ishikawa’s solo… oh, my, do I love this solo. I guess I kinda wish the tone were ever-so-slightly warmer and fuller, but the damn thing is so soulful it’s hard to nitpick. It’s not the flashiest thing ever, it just feels good to listen to. I’ve lost long stretches of valuable work time just listening to this solo on repeat.

Bonus: Eliran Kantor’s cover art is incredible.

Maybe it’s the poster for that movie I keep seeing in my head.

metal hornsmetal hornsmetal hornsmetal hornsmetal horns half

(four and a half out of five horns)


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