COREY MITCHELL’S MARCH 2012 BLEEDERS’ DIGEST (THE “IT’S ABOUT F*CKING TIME” EDITION) – PART 2
To recap: March 2012 was FUCKING STELLAR!!! Here’s the first half of my March 2012 Bleeders. I listened to 202 releases. There were 30 Bleeders. Fuck…
As usual, there will be bands on my Meh’ers and Blowers lists that you guys may like. I could care less if you think I’m an idiot for not liking them. I’d rather hear why you think those bands deserved to be ranked higher. Be an advocate, not an asshole.
To Part 2!
Here are the March 2012 releases (Part 2) that got under my skin, burrowed their way into my brain, made my ears bleed, or simply tickled my unmentionables:
MARCH ’12 BLEEDERS
These are the keepers. I expect to spin these throughout the year and longer.
Mencea – Pyrophoric (Indie Recordings)
Meshuggrooves minus the annoying complex time changes. This is modern melodeath metal that strives for killer atmosphere and strong songwriting over tweedly-deedly-djenty-dee. This five-piece Greek machine self-produced lots of subtle guitar atmospherics, super aggressive low-end lead vocals, and crunchy guitars that lend themselves to ferocious headbanging. With nods to the aforementioned Meshuggah, Gojira, Lamb Of God, Textures, Opeth, and, most noticeably for me, Nader Sadek, Mencea is sure to be a huge hit with many MetalSucks readers. It’s death metal without the pulverizing headaches that can come with some of the overwrought blastiness of it all. And at eight songs and 40 minutes, these guys don’t wear out there welcome at all.
Meshuggah – Koloss (Nuclear Blast)
Alright, so what about the real deal? These guys have become the descriptor du jour for metal journalists when explaining a huge portion of today’s so-called metal bands, and for good reason. But are they still relevant after 23 years of releases? HELL YES!!! Has the new crop of “djent” (BLAH!!!) upstarts usurped the masters? FUCK NO!!!! And, in a brilliant move, Meshuggah comes forth with something that is downright accessible. Yes, you can actually find headbangable rhythms to latch onto and not feel like your neck is suffering from Tourette’s. I know that most metalheads praise Meshuggah, but I also know that just as many of you still don’t get the fascination. It’s understandable, what with the fucked-up rhythms, the seemingly one-dimensional vocals, the almost-industrialized guitar tones, etc. But you shouldn’t think of those traits as detriments, but rather assets. And now, they actually warm up their seemingly inapproachable sound with more basic patterns, livelier guitar tones, and pretty damn straight-forward drumming from the brilliant Tomas Haake. Koloss is so good that I would direct a Meshuggah-virgin to this record first, just to get their panties a bit damp, before moving on to their much more complex catalogue. Smart move from true seasoned veterans.
Ministry – Relapse (13th Planet)
If you read my interview with Al Jourgensen earlier this year, you already know that I am a long-time Ministry fan. Got into them with Twitch. Went back and dug the With Sympathy technopop. Was floored when they went more industrial metal. I’ve had a friend play in the band (Adam Grossman), become friends with another member of the band (Paul Barker), am acquaintances with other members of the band (Mike Scaccia and Casey Orr), interviewed them 20+ years ago (well, Jourgensen, Barker, and Trent Reznor as the Revolting Cocks), and have basically championed every move Al and Company have made throughout the decades. I can honestly say that I believe Relapse is an awesome record. It combines the best of each Al-era (excluding With Sympathy, of course) from industrial metal to sludgy doom to thrash. It has the political attitude you would expect from the out-spoken Jourgensen, but he also delves into more personal issues than ever before. Fans of LOR&H, TMIATT2T, and Psalm 69 will not be disappointed in the least. Relapse does not equal the pinnacle reached by that legendary triumvirate, but it can rest comfortably right below them.
Moonless – Calling All Demons (Doomentia Records)
Doom from the land of Mercyful Fate!! This Danish four-piece conjure up their best Black Sabbath homages/worships and somehow spin them to make it all musically pertinent for the 21st century. Throw on your rattiest denim bell bottoms, let that whiteboy Afro sprout full-flower, down two extra bottles of aluminum bathtub moonshine, and spark up some Indian bhang to get into the right mindset. Then just sit back and let the Iommi-like riffs, courtesy of Hasse Dalgaard, wash across your mind for this stoner’s delight of a debut album.
Mordax – Violence Fraud Treachery (Ultimhate Records)
Another solid entry from the land of Lars (AKA Denmark) as this Copenhagen quintet sets the world afire with solid thrash/death metal with tasteful melodic overtones. Solid riffery, in the pocket percussion, and aggressively guttural, yet discernible, vocals. It comes with the positive imprimatur of one Mr. Dan Swano, producer extraordinaire (Opeth, Bloodbath, Hail Of Bullets), who also lends back-up vocals for the track “Monarch Of All.” In fact, I believe I’ll let Mr. Swano’s praise speak for itself: “Mordax is clever! They understand that simplicity is more brutal than a million notes per hour upon layers of inhumanly fast kick drums, Mordax have a groove to their stuff and an attitude that jumps right out the speakers and punches you in the face! Less is Mor…dax!!” Heavy simplicity over wankersturbation for me any day.
Naglfar – Téras (Century Media)
Swedish black metal has a distinctively different taste to it than does Norwegian black metal. Think a more blackened flavor with a nod towards melodeath ala early Dissection. Naglfar has been one of the leading purveyors of Swedish BM since the early ’90s. After a five-year absence, the vets return with a solid slab of Dissection meets Marduk by way of Viking Metal. Hell, there’s even a dash of Satyricon (and Monty Python) on the headbanger’s delight, “Bring Out Your Dead” — catchy chorus and all. This is an extremely strong effort featuring solid drumming from session player Dirk Verbueren (Soilwork, Aborted, Devin Townsend Project) that ventures into old school blast-beat attacks, moody atmospheric dirges, and unadulterated fistbangin’ mania!
O.S.I. – Fire Make Thunder (Metal Blade)
In the early to mid ’90s, industrial metallers Machines Of Loving Grace (MOLG) were one of my favorite bands of any genre. They took the trappings of their pigeonholed genre, but meshed with it a ballsy alt-prog rock sound that elevated them above their peers in my estimation. O.S.I. remind me A LOT of MOLG. This internet duo, comprised of Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos and ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore (both bands of which I have never been a fan), also employ Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison (ex-DT drummer Mike Portnoy pounded the skins on the band’s 2003 debut). They take the MOLG blueprint of sparse electronics, punchy guitars that cut through the electronica, and an effective, but limited-range vocals, courtesy of Moore, to wring out a wealth of emotions not usually present in prog (or industrial) music. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the instrumental track “Enemy Prayer” could have easily added to one of the best soundtracks ever recorded, Wang Chung’s To Live In Die In L.A. Seriously. That is a big compliment.
Overkill – The Electric Age (Nuclear Blast)
I feel like I say this every month, but I’ll say it again. Thrash ain’t dead! And as long as New Jersey vets Overkill walk the planet, thrash will never, ever die. Never sold out. Never compromised. Never pussed out for wider acceptance, Overkill delivers the goods once again on this, their sixteenth album! I’m a fan all the way back to their debut, 1983’s Feel The Fire, and can honestly say that these fucking guys just keep bringing it year after year. If you’ve heard Overkill, you either love ’em or hate ’em and usually it hinges on whether you can stomach Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s high-pitched Udo Dirkschneider-esque vocals. Again, I dig ’em. Nothing new here, so if you’re looking for “innovation” or “growth,” time to look elsewhere. If you are looking for an evil, bass-tinged thrashstavaganza, you’ve come home (in the gutter) to the right place.
Primitive Weapons – The Shadow Gallery (Prosthetic Records)
Fuck, I wish this “album” was longer than 25 minutes. It’s so goddamn perfect that I simply want more, more, more! Imagine, if you will, a sloppier Quicksand, a more pissed off Eyehategod, the pained skateboarders from Unsane’s classic “Scrape” video, and an embittered Page Hamilton remembering just what it used to feel like to Strap it On and you get Brooklyn’s Primitive Weapons. Yes, it’s NYHC meets sludge infused with the best of ’90s alt-metal that will surely confound the uninitiated amongst you. Hell, there’s even some Morphine-style saxy grooviness to it, minus the saxophone, if that makes any sense!? For those of you who need more modern reference points, think Isis, Dillinger Escape Plan, Kylesa, etc. Fucking great record that could use at least four more tracks. Bonus points for lead singer David Castillo coming across as a raging Joe Spinell Maniac
Rise And Fall – Faith (Deathwish Music)
Okay, so I might have been a tad premature in my Part 1 of my March Bleeders’ Digest when I declared Exalt’s record as the best hardcore album I’d heard so far this year. Rise and Fall’s third release may just eclipse that one. Of course, since this is modern day hardcore, there are going to be a few similarities between the two bands, namely influences from Poison The Well and Converge. But R&F are also not afraid to go Entombed on your ass, but more interestingly, they delve into some old Jesus Lizard territory as well. The first four songs are short sharp shots of pure hardcore adrenaline with most of them clocking in at around two minutes apiece. By the fifth cut, “Things Are Different Now,” the pace slows down a bit and the post-rock experimentation starts to creep in. Incidentally, I believe this is where the record really begins to take off and separate itself from the usual generic hardcore crap out there these days. A heavy, solid, and varied entry that helps continue the evolution of HC.
Secrets Of The Moon – Seven Bells (ProMedia GmbH)
German Black Metal trio Secrets Of The Moon reveal even more layers to this under-appreciated genre by stripping things down to the bare essence of the hook (inside joke to the boys in 16Volt, if you’re reading out there). Scaring listeners from the Tom G. Warrior side of all things black as opposed to the Norwegian perspective, SoTM dip their bloody wicks into the Celtic Frost/Triptykon end of the pool. Of course, having Mr. Warrior (sorry, I still can’t bring myself to call him Mr. Fischer) on the mixing boards helps steer the funeral ship in that particular direction. These German pros offer up a more doom-laden BM with occasional nods to Dark Forest, Satryicon, and my favorite modern-day BM outfit, Bergraven. With semi-clear vocals, actual choruses you can sing (or shout), and some welcome blast-beat free drumming, Seven Bells is all about solid songwriting, actual hooks, and darkly beautiful atmospherics layered across the top of everything. A strong effort.
Total Annihilation – Extinction (Firefield Records)
Yet more evidence to prove my theory that Thrash Ain’t Dead!™ These Swiss thrashers combine the best of the second-tier Bay Area thrash sounds (Forbidden, Testament, Exodus) with early Germanic thrash (Destruction, Sodom) and add in some very Jamey Jasta-like grunting vocals to make this throwback thrash album somehow seem modern. A full frontal twin-guitar attack, peppered in with some tasty solos (“Alone In The Dark”) make for some sure to be crowd-pleasing fist bangers. Throw in some nods to death metal with the drums and you have 21st century thrash the way it should be delivered — bitter, bouncy, and furious.
Tyrant Of Death – Re Connect (self-released)
Last year, I professed my hatred for Djent. This year, with bands like Mencea, I may have to start singing a new tune. Especially if the likes of this mainly one-man project, Alex Rise, AKA Tyrant Of Death, is involved in the music-making process. It also does not hurt one iota that this is heavily steeped in industrial, which is right in my wheelhouse. This, to me, is where Fear Factory should be, instead of continuing on with the good cop/bad cop vocal pooftery that Burton C. Bell still clings to rather obscenely. This is the future of Metal Machine Music, the soundtrack to your reprogramming, and the aural equivalent of an Event Horizon intra/outer-space massacre. This will excite fans of Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad, while simultaneously keeping old school industrial coots like me who were into Skinny Puppy, Numb, and Download, happy. Okay, The Matrix samples are a bit dated (13 years since the original!?!) — or, are they more pertinent now than ever before? Take a spin and find out for yourself.
Vulture – Oblivious To Ruin (Innervenus)
One of the many benefits of working with Philip Anselmo is that I have become a huge fan of his record label, Housecore Records, and the acts he has signed over the years. One of my favorites is New Orleans denizens of slooooooooooowwwww sludge, haarp. Vulture combines the best of the haarpish slomentum along with some fucked up horror film samples/eerie chants similar to Philip’s own work in Christ Inversion and Viking Crown. The result is a doom-laden venture that could be used to score the Luka Magnotta corpse dismemberment/necrophiliac defilement video that is currently making its way around the internet these days. Slow, painfully hard to stomach, but something you just can’t keep your demented (eyes)/ears off of. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, just know that Vulture is dark, vicious, and headache-inducing, in the best way possible.
Wizard Rifle – Speak Loud Say Nothing (Seventh Rule)
Experimental metal usually bores me. I could name a list of bands that many of you here swear by that I simply cannot stand. But I’m not here to make enemies — to each his own, and all that kumbaya shit. What I can appreciate, however, is an act that tries to stretch the boundaries of a particular sub-genre, or sub-genres, as this Portland, Oregon duo successfully accomplishes on their debut outing. The sub-genres in question here are doom and math. It’s Dillinger Escape Plan, minus the wankery, force fed down the throat of King Buzzo’s Melvins. You don’t spend 85% of the album trying to figure out the rhythms, but instead, place your head down, bob it to the ever-present hooky grooves, and then marvel at the quirky fucked-upness spewed all about the place.
**SUBSCRIBE TO COREY MITCHELL’S MARCH ’12 BLEEDERS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY. IT’S FREE!** (includes Part 1 and Part 2)
If you subscribed to my March ’12 – Part 1 playlist, please check back as Part 2 is now included!!
Sadly, Ministry (13th Planet), Naglfar (Century Media), O.S.I. (Metal Blade), Primitive Weapons (Prosthetic), and Tyrant Of Death (self-released) are not available on Spotify.
I’m keeping a label tally throughout the year for Bleeders that don’t appear on the #1 streaming service:
BLEEDERS, BY LABEL, NOT ON SPOTIFY
Century Media – 4; Metal Blade – 3; Prosthetic – 1; 13th Planet – 1; Feast Or Famine Recordings – 1; NoiseArt Records – 1; Napalm Records – 1; If These Trees Could Talk – 1; Tyrant of Death – 1
Good points throughout the record, but not enough to make we want to revisit it.
3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal; Absence Of The Sacred – Come Hither O Herald Of Death; Acoda – s/t EP; AEBA – Nemesis, Decay Of God’s Grandeur; Aethara – Disconnected; The Alligators – Time’s Up, You’re Dead; Anamnesis – Prometheus EP; Angelwitch – As Above, So Below; Artweg – s/t EP; Ascend – When All Hope Fades EP; Astrohenge – II; Aura Noir – Out To Die; Austere – Casserole Of Nonsense; Baalsfeuer/Imperator – Schwarz Metall Division Odinwald split EP; Belie My Burial – Pale Beyond; Black Messiah – The Final Journey; Bloodline Severed – Letters To Decapolis; Borknagar – Urd; The Burial – Lights And Perfections; Casketgarden – The Estrangement Process; Cause For Concern – Dying City; Chemical Tomb – s/t; Cold Hand Of Malice – Negligence; Common Dead – Diatribe; Constrain – Reflections EP; Dark Covenant – Eulogies For The Fallen; Dark Empire – From Refuge To Ruin; Dathura – Je suis un monstre EP; Daybreak Ends – A Second Chance To Fail; De Lirium’s Order – Veniversum; Deals Death – Elite; DEPth – Waiting For The Waves EP; Depths – Resurgence; Depths Of Hatred – Aversionist; Desultor – Masters Of Hate; The Divided – For Tonight We’re Strangers EP; Dol Ammad – Cosmic Gods Episode I: Hyperspeed; Dwellers – Good Morning Harakiri; Elmsfire – Thieves Of The Sun; Elysian – Wires Of Creation; Enthroned – Obsidium; Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent; Evenoire – Vitriol; Exidium – Avarice; Exilia – DECODE; Eyes Wide Open – Revelations EP; Fall Of Eden – The Warrior; Fallen Horizon – Resentment; Fester – A Celebration Of Death; The Firstborn – Lions Among Men; Fjorsvartnir – Legions Of The North; Flying Colors – s/t; Folkstone – Il confine; Fungus Inc. – Gettin’ Drunk & Spreadin’ Spunk; Furyon – Gravitas; God Forbid – Equilibrium; Gorod – A Perfect Absolution; Gun Barrel – Brace For Impact; Hail Spirit Noir – Pneuma; Hammer Fight – s/t EP; Hatedotcom – Fragments Of Scare; Heidevolk – Batavi; Hemina – Synthetic; Heroes Will Fall – Defying The Parable; Hour Of Penance – Sedition; Impending Doom – Baptized In Filth; In The Shadows – Epitome Of Calm EP; Insain – Spiritual Rebirth; Invader – s/t; Iron Maiden – En Vivo!; Jumping Jack – Trucks And Bones; Klone – The Eye Of The Needle EP; Last Kingdom – Chronicles Of The North; Lavellion – Fuel To Fire; Leach – Blindfold; Leaders – Now We Are Free; Legacy – With Peace In Mind; Life After Death – Scum Of Society Forever; Locked & Cocked – I’m A Criminal; Lord Mantis – Pervertor; Lord Of Mushrooms – Perspectives; Lullacry – Where Angels Fear; Mad Max – Another Night Of Passion; Maerzfeld – Tief; Massive Assault – Death Strike; Modern Day Escape – Under The Gun; Monolith – I, Misanthrope EP; Nightqueen – For Queen And Metal; Ørkenkjott – Ønskediktet; Our Last Enemy – Wolves Of Perigord; Oz – Vinyl Tracks; Pale Divine – Painted Windows Black; Pandemonium – Misanthropy; Progness – Eyes Of Insanity; PropheXy – Alconauta; Purified Hatred – First Demo EP; Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival, 1983; Revel In Flesh – Deathevokation; Revenge – Scum Collapse Eradication; Riastrad – Driving Into The Sun EP; Sadistik Forest – Death, Doom, Radiation; Scorned Embrace – Enclosures; Seas Will Rise – Disease Is Our Refrain; Shadowmind – World Gone Mad; Skarthia – Retaliate; Soulbound – Towards The Sun; Soulfly – Enslaved; Sound Of Thunder – Out Of The Darkness; Spawn Of Possession – Incurso; Stahlmann – Quecksilber; State Of Decay – Of Grief And Divinity; Step In Fluid – One Step Beyond; Steryle – Endless Winter; Stick To Your Guns – Diamond; Stigmhate – The Sun Collapse; Suru – Catharsis; This Ending – Systematic Worship EP; Thunderkraft – Totentanz; Unsane – Wreck; Waterdown – Into The Flames; The Way Of Purity – Biteback EP; Wretched – Son Of Perdition; Xandria – Neverworld’s End
Adestria – Chapters; Adrenaline Mob – Omerta; Akoma – The Other Side; Axel Rudi Pell – Circle of The Oath; Bang Tango – Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt; Before Their Eyes – Redemption; Bejelit – Emerge; Blaze Bayley – The King Of Metal; Blinded By Faith – Chernobyl Survivor; Bloodline – Calm Before The Storm; Boney Fiend – Dead Chicks & Draft Beer; Crawler – Knight Of The Word; Crimson Fate – Tierra Quemada; Crossover – Pythagorized; Dead By Dawn – The Sound Of Your Demise EP; Deadiron – Out Of Rust And Ruin; Deathaction – The Diaries; Ekstensio – Lupaus EP; Float Face Down – Exitium Verum; The GBS – Rapehearsals; Heaven Below – Falling From Zero; Hells Heaven – The Game; Hysterica – The Art Of Metal; I See Stars – Digital Renegade; Immortal Guardian – Super Metal EP; In Your Silence – We Poisoned Ivy; Killer Klowns – Rollercoaster Ride; Make Me Famous – It’s Now Or Never; Mind The Gaep – Get Ready For Tonight; Missing Pride – The Last Days Shall Be Red; MyChildren MyBride – s/t; Navigator – An Idea Of Home; Obsession – Les jeux sont faits; One Year Later – The Sound Of A Broken World; Orcumentary – Praise Gor-Nacular! EP; Relinquished – Onward Anguishes; Shear – Breaking The Stillness; Sigh – In Somniphobia; Skull And Bones – Conspiracy, Aliens And Nazis; Jeff Scott Soto – Damage Control; Staal – Rambokniv; Unisonic – s/t; V3ctors – s/t; Vendetta – World Under Fire; Viikate – Petäjäveräjät; A Vital Message – Distances EP; Whispering Tales – Echoes Of Perversion; Xerxes – Our Home Is A Deathbed
MARCH ’12 MISSES
Was not able to get my grubby little hands on these platters.
A Liquid Landscape – Nightingale Express; Barren Earth – The Devil’s Resolve; Formloff – Spyhorelandet; Germ – Wish; Hellsaw – Trist; Melvins – The Bulls & The Bees; PanzerBastard – Gods, Thugs And Madmen; Pharoah – Bury The Light; Redeemer – First Degree; Tribune – Elder Lore/The Dark Acts
BEST MARCH ’12 RECORD
Tyrant Of Death – Re Connect
“Because death is not ready yet”
2012 TOP 15 EARLY INCLUSIONS
Let’s see if they make the final cut.
Abysse – EN(D)GRAVE (March ’12)
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives (March ’12)
Primitive Weapons – The Shadow Gallery (March ’12)
Tyrant Of Death – Re Connect (March ’12)
*The 11th Hour – Lacrima Mortis (February ’12)
Ribozyme – Presenting The Problem (February ’12)
Acheode – Anxiety (January ’12)
Desecravity – Implicit Obedience (January ’12)
*Suicidal Angels – Bloodbath (January ’12)
Vita Imana – Uluh (January ’12)
*Bleeder of the Month
New Metal Releases Listened to this year – 463
Bleeders – 53
Meh’ers – 294
Blowers – 116
Top 15′ers – 10
**Some of these releases are possibly late 2011 sets, first-time U.S. releases, re-issues, 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.