COREY’S JUNE 2011 BLEEDERS’ DIGEST
Last year (and the year before) I got way too busy with this thing called life and missed out on a lot of quality music. I am here to rectify the error of my ways, month by month.
Here are the June 2011 releases that got under my skin, burrowed their way into my brain, made my ears bleed, or simply tickled my unmentionables:
JUNE ’11 BLEEDERS
These are the keepers. I expect to spin these throughout the year and longer.
Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions
Do you love Angela Gossow’s voice or do you hate it? This seems to be the most divisive factor in regard to Arch Enemy these days. I actually fall into the “I don’t really have an opinion” category per Ms. Gossow, which may also explain why I’ve never really gotten into AE. I’m not sure if her voice has grown beyond her usual minimalist range or if the band’s songwriting has gotten tighter, but I dig this album. Melodeath with an emphasis on the MELO, mainly from the guitar interplay of the Amott Bros, that combines for memorable riffs that will surely get you humming while you bang that head that doesn’t bang. My favorite tracks are the more mid-tempo scorchers “Bloodstained Cross” and “Cult of Chaos”.
The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual
I’ve never been a The Black Dahlia Murder fan. Always underwhelming to me on record, and even more so live (despite their completely unfounded reputation for supposedly kicking ass — I’ve seen them live three times), TBDM’s success has always baffled me. Too much At The Gates worship/thievery, not enough originality and/or experimentation. I have to say, though I may be late to the appreciation game, I kind of understand it with this newest release. The standout reason for my shift in attitude comes as a result of the magnificent guitar work on display by Brian Eschbach (rhythm) and new lead guitar recruit Ryan Wright. More tech-deathy this go-round with tons of shit hot solos for your personal edification makes this TBDM’s best release ever. Also, it helps to wipe that ATG smell off their persons and begin to finally develop into their own entity.
Black September – The Forbidden Gates Beyond
This 2010 Prosthetic re-release got Axl’s dander up awhile back over the band’s name. I honestly don’t think he was truly upset, but rather yanking everyone’s chains. Yeah, it’s not the most considerate of names, but c’mon, this is metal. “Offensive” is our middle name. Fersatansakes, look at the name of the band that precedes this one. Anywhooo, Black September pulls off a fairly decent blackened death/thrash debut that has some solid riffs, nice off-cadence vocals by the second female vocalist to appear on this month’s Bleeders’ list in Jen Pickett Black, and some almost groove-metal head bobbing guitars. Not the most original, not the heaviest, not the doomiest, but pretty good stuff if you’re looking for a diversion from all of the big names that released albums last month.
Cerebral Bore – Maniacal Miscreation
Groovy grindcore death metal with yet another powerful female throat shredder, Simone “Som” Pluijmers, at the helm. While Som’s presence is sure to generate plenty of ink, her band is a beast. These guys pull off Suffocation-like precision riffing, add in plenty of seizure-inducing grooves, and a toss in a buttload of fun — yes, I said FUN! — quirks such as Dimebag horse-squeals, Neil Pearty cymbal dinks, and galloping bass runs. In reading other reviews on the internet machine, I noticed a preponderance of Som slams, as was the case with the other female vocalists I’ve mentioned. This is fucking ridiculous, especially in the world of grindcore/death metal’s reets and roars. Som does an excellent job bringing the heavy and is a perfect complement to the CB boys’ stellar musicianship. Now if she would just lose the baseball cap and let everyone know she is a she, life (death) will be good.
Jungle Rot – Kill on Command
Enough of this ultra-proggy-techy-wanky death metal already… I simply want to Eat, Kill, Fuck, Repeat!! These long-time Wisconsin Death Metal vets bring the groove back to the ever-increasingly wankified genre and stick it down your throat and expect you to lick its balls simultaneously. No frills, meat and potatoes, bread ‘n butter, whatever the hell you want to call it, Jungle Rot will simply get your ass moving, your head banging, and your fists pumping. Oh, and producers take note — this is easily one of the best sounding heavy albums of 2011. Every instrument sounds crisp, yet HAF, the drum sound is spectacular, and the vocals sit exactly where they are supposed to. It was produced by the band and “audio mixer” Chris Wisco.
Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka
Way back in 1989, I had the pleasure of meeting Earache Records’ Digby Pearson at the CMJ Music Convention in New York City. I was out there trying to push a thrash/death metal band that I managed called Dread to the likes of Combat and Roadrunner while Pearson was ready to make a huge dent in the heavy music world, starting with a little compilation record called Grindcrusher. I was lucky enough to be bestowed a copy by Digby of this life-altering gem that featured notables such as Napalm Death, Godflesh, Morbid Angel, Terrorizer, Carcass, Repulsion, Bolt Thrower, and Entombed. I have a feeling had Looking For An Answer been around back in those days, Pearson would have gladly added them to the Grindcrusher comp. What else needs to be said? Be sure to check out the entire album streaming over at Crustcake. Oh, and I’m quite sure Axl won’t like the title of this disc either.
Of Mice & Men – The Flood
Yeah, yeah, I know, metalcore blows and swoopy haircuts are for scene dicks. Honestly, as a 45-year-old Old Fart, I could care less about the “scene” rules or metal etiquette. I have never been metal-looking in any way, shape, or form and have never given a rat’s ass about such inanities. I simply want to hear good fucking music. Which I’m sure leaves many of you wondering why the hell I have a band with the former lead singer for Attack Attack! on my Bleeders list? I mean, I was one of the first people in the metal blogosphere to express my undeniable hatred for that metal atrocity. Well folks, all of that is out the window because the new OM&M is high quality butt rock metal. Good cop/bad cop vocals, breakdowns, everything we all hate here around the MS Mansion is on full display. But…somehow, against all better judgement in the world, this record works. Great production, strong guitar work, clean vox that don’t nauseate — there’s really not much here to complain about. Makes me wish I was a 15-year-old headbanger in training again with little to no common sense and only a minimal amount of jadedness. Let the hate commence….
Origin – Entity
Do you have a friend who hates Technical Death Metal? If so, give him or her this record and tell them to STFU! Origin will pop that cherry and then have the recipient beg like Sasha Grey for a sweeping arpeggio bukakke. Eh, sorry for that graphic. HAF, of course, but also percolating with an uneasy undercurrent of real, honest-to-goodness songwriting ability this time around, Origin hit another full-lengther out of the park to follow-up on 2008’s seminal Antithesis. You know the drill by now — insane guitars by MetalSucks Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarist Paul Ryan, adrenaline-injecting bass runs all over the place (in this case a good thing) by Mike Flores (the true standout in the band IMO), and blast-mastery by drummer John Longstreth. Sure, Origin tends to get a case of Helmet-itis (wherein every song starts to sound the same after a few spins), but they do vary it up somewhat with some exemplary mid-tempo grooves throughout the record. Now, if I can just figure out a way to get over that Satanawful clicky drum sound.
Seven Sisters of Sleep – Seven Sisters of Sleep
SSoS, AKA, “tobacco, opium, cannabis, betel nut, coca, datura, and fly agaric,” is named for the 1860s “drug classic” book of the same name by Mordecai Cooke. These SoCal vets bring stoner thrash to the forefront with this roughly 20-minute explosion. Lifting from the best of the Melvins, Helmet, and early Poison the Well, SSoS lull its listeners into a doom sludgefuck state of mind only to knock the chair out from under them with some old skool Black Flag hardcore. Schizophrenic in the best way possible.
Symphony X – Iconoclast
Bloated, symphonic (of course), pretentious overblown hoo-hah that goes against everything I believe metal should be, yet there is something undeniably awesome about the newest Symphony X bombasticilicious Excaliburian strokeganza. Its heavier and crunchier than previous SymX releases and induces plenty of fits of headbanging. I especially like that for a ProgMetal album it focuses more on the metal and less on the prog. There are some drawbacks — lyrically, it’s yet another silly Matrix-ian technology run amok concept album, and singer Russell Allen, though in possession of some magnificent pipes, tends to ape Ronnie James Dio too much for my liking. Not my normal cup of tea, so the mere fact that it appears on my Bleeders’ list speaks volumes.
Good points throughout the record, but not enough to make we want to revisit it.
Aenaon – Cendres Et Sang; The Air I Breathe – Great Faith in Fools; Alestorm – Back Through Time; Amorphis – The Beginning of Times; Ancestors – Invisible White EP; The Francesco Artusato Project – Chaos and the Primordial; Bloodbound – Unholy Cross; Debauchery – Germany’s Next Death Metal; Degradead – A World Destroyer; Ed Gein – Bad Luck; Fit For An Autopsy – The Process of Human Extermination; Freedom Call – Live in Hellvetia; Fucked Up – David Comes to Life; Gigan – Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes (almost a Bleeder…); Hammerfall – Infected; In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading; Karma to Burn – V; Moon – Caduceus Chalice; Necrodeath – The Age of Fear; Sister – Hated; Tombs – Path of Totality; The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction; Vanna – And They Came Baring Bones
A Pale Horse Named Death – And Hell Will Follow Me; Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here; August Burns Red – Leveler; Evan Brewer – Alone; Burn Halo – Up From the Ashes; Crashdiet – Generation Wild; The Crimson Armada – Conviction; Elevate I Am – The Ghost Eclipse Sessions; Falconer – Armod; Fullforce – One; Lake of Tears – Illwill; Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra; Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus; Night Ranger – Somewhere in California; Pain – You Only Live Twice; Queensrÿche – Dedicated to Chaos; Riverside – Memories in My Head EP; Scar of the Sun – A Series of Unfortunate Concurrencies; Seven Witches – Call Upon the Wicked; These Hearts – Forever Ended Yesterday; The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost (I guess I’m boycotting anything with Ghost in it this year!); Wolverine – Communication Lost
Was not able to get my grubby little hands on these platters.
Ancient VVisdom – A Godlike Inferno; The Android Meme – Ordo AB Chao; Barn Burners – Bangers II: Scum of the Earth (big fan of their last album!); Bohren and der Glub of Gore – Beileid; Brent Hinds Presents: – Fiends Without a Face and West End Motel; Dr. Midnight and the Mercy Cult – I Declare Treason; Elitist – Fear in a Handful of Dust; Engineer – Crooked Voices; Faces of Bayon – Heart of the Fire; Fair to Midland – Arrows and Anchors; Futur Skullz – s/t; Gentleman’s Pistols – At Her Majesty’s Pleasure; Helms Alee – Weatherhead; Höllenlärm – Hellish Noise; Isis – Live II: 03.19.03; Isis – Live III: 12.17.04; Job For A Cowboy – Gloom EP; Khann – Erode; Misguided Aggression – Flood the Common Ground; Nordvargr – Re-Awaken; Pharaoh – Ten Years EP; Planks – The Darkest of Grays/Solicit to Fall; S.O.S. – I Owe You Nothing EP; Shraphead – Blind & Seduced; The Soulless – Isolated; Sourvein – Black Fang; Turbid North – Orogeny; Tyr – The Law of Thyrm; Various Artists – Afterparty Massacre Soundtrack; Verah Falls – All Our Yesterdays; VoiVod – Warriors of Ice Live; White Wizzard – Flying Tigers; Xibalba – Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias
BEST JUNE ’11 RECORD
Looking For An Answer – Externo Treblinka
“Nacir. Consumir. Morir.” – (Born. Consume. Die.)
BIGGEST JUNE ’11 SURPRISE
What can I say, but Of Mice & Men. I have never been a “modern” metalcore fan, especially since I always associated bands that combined heavy metal and hardcore punk to to be true “metalcore” and which include such luminaries as Cro-Mags, Crumbsuckers, D.R.I., early Corrosion of Conformity, Cryptic Slaughter, and Suicidal Tendencies. These also happen to be some of my favorite bands of all time. This 21st-century bastardization that has become known as “metalcore” leaves me feeling empty inside, barring a few exceptions such as Poison The Well and Alive or Just Breathing-era Killswitch Engage. So, the mere fact that I can give the proverbial thumbs-up to any band that features a former member of Attack Attack! is nothing short of miraculous. Will I remember one song off this album in 2012? Doubtful. But, for now, it works for me.
BIGGEST JUNE ’11 DISAPPOINTMENT
I know, I know…let the hate flow. I love Devin Townsend and have done so long before I ever heard of MetalSucks. Hell, I was a fan of the guy back when he sang for Steve Vai. But this, man, I don’t know. Let’s just say the heavy of Deconstruction didn’t quite connect with me and the quality of quietness of Ghost falls far, far below that of the majority of ambient/instrumental music I listen to when writing my books. As with Justin Broadrick last month, I have no doubt Devin Townsend will do it for me once again in the not too distant future. Please?
2011 TOP 15 EARLY INCLUSIONS
Let’s see if they make the final cut.
Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (June ’11)
Jungle Rot – Kill On Command (June ’11)
Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka (June ’11)
Origin – Entity (June ’11)
Also, I want to add Inquisition’s January ’11 release, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, to my potential Top 15ers Early Inclusions list. I keep revisiting this one and digging it more and more every time I listen to it, despite Dagon’s croakals.
Inquisition – Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (Jan. ’11)
Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed (May ’11)
Infestus – ExIst (May ’11)
Nader Sadek – In The Flesh (May ’11)
Olde Growth – Olde Growth (May ’11)
Wormrot – Dirge (May ’11)
Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe (Apr. ’11)
Signo Rojo – promoalbum2011 (Apr. ’11)
American Heritage – Sedentary (Mar. ’11)
KEN Mode – Venerable (Mar. ’11)
Of Legends – Stranded (Mar. ’11)
SubRosa – No Help For the Mighty Ones (Mar. ’11)
DevilDriver – Beast (Feb. ’11)
Horned Almighty – Necro Spirituals (Jan. ’11)
Tuck From Hell – Thrashing (Jan. ’11)
Metal Releases Listened to – 301
Bleeders – 96
Meh’ers – 108
Blowers – 97
Top 15′ers – 19
PREVIOUS MONTHS’ BLEEDERS
**Some of these releases are possibly late 2010 sets, first-time U.S. releases, or sneak peeks of upcoming albums.**
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.