Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Prophecies - Azathoth

Obscure Italian doomish black metal from the eighties, Black Prophecies are distinctly in the Venom/Von/Hellhammer school of evilness-before-talent. With vocals and rhythm buried behind a wall of fuzz, all that shines through is the rumbling low end and the occasional tupperware tom roll, punctuated by clanging cymbal crashes. In short, this could have been played by gnomes who snuck into your kitchen and banged it out on your pots and pans as you slumbered in ignorance.
Don't feed the gnomes.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Skepticism - Stormcrowfleet

Busy, busy days here in the Swamp, lately, but I must set aside some time to care for my little Swamplings, oh yes. Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet is debatably the first "funeral doom" album ever. Doubling the minimalism and measure slowness of their forbears, from Black Sabbath to Candlemass, Skepticism added heavy organ, mallet-played marching drums, and mystical chanting, effectively creating their own sub-genre and pushing the outer fringes of heavy metal into strange, ominous territory. Resonating at once blasphemous and pious, timber-rattlingly loud and subtly beautiful, Stormcrowfleet is a must for fans of Thergothon, Moss, Catacombs, and the like, even though none of those bands sound quite like this one.
At the swamps
Mist is rising

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sam Gopal - Escalator

Little-known British psych band Sam Gopal, named for its founder, perhaps would have been forgotten if not for the inclusion of one Lemmy Kilmister in the first line-up. Young master Kilmister would soon jump ship for Hawkwind, and later Motörhead, and the second iteration of this act (not included on this recording) fizzled quickly without him. It would be easy to write this off as a novelty because of Gopal's tablas, which replace the drums entirely, but the airy sound allows Lemmy's already-hoarsening vocals and ridiculous hippie-dippy lyrics plenty of breathing room. This fact, combined with the brevity of the album, make it a pleasant trippy interlude in between bouts whatever foul noise you're all out there filling your skulls with.
You're Alone Now

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Angantyr - Hævn

Angantyr of Denmark play a furious, haughty and regal form of black metal seemingly descended directly from Bathory but mixed with some unique atmospheric touches such a a cello whirling crazily to keep up with the guitars on the first song, "Et Varsel Om Død." Lyrically the seem (judging from unreliable old Google translate) to be focused on Danish history: named after the first Danish king and foe of Chrisitanity, they long for a return to supposedly simpler pagan times. Nothing too earth shattering there, many black metal bands concern themselves with identical themes, but the particular nautical bent to this album has charmed your host, what with my soft spot for sea monsters.
Re-released (with a cooler cover than this) by Northern Silence earlier this year. Buy one here.
Blod For Blod, Liv For Liv

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bo Diddley - Big Bad Bo

A thousand pardons, swamplings, but tonight finds your host unreasonably surly and uncharacteristically tight-lipped. Much fooferall has been made recently about Bo Diddley's "Black Gladiator" album, which fuses 60's psychedelia with the man's traditional gangsta rock braggadocio, as if it's the only record he ever released in the style, just because it's been recently re-released on vinyl and has a cool name. Here's an equally succinct LP in the same style. I'm having a hard time typing and pontificating, due to my throbbing headache and general misanthropy, so let's make this brief and to the point:
He's Got All My Whiskey

I promise not to be so foul-tempered in a couple of days, but just listen to this in the meantime. The wheels of the universe continue to spin; all will be right.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vortex - Colours From Out the Emptiness

We've got another squirmy bit of Japanese metal on the plate tonight, and no matter how many times you stab this one with a fork, it won't stop wriggling! Mysterious tech-death savants Vortex paint hallucinatory hell-scapes with their music, an elaborate calligraphy of brutality writ larger than can easily be comprehended. This one's a real brain-twister, the total opposite of yesterday's cock-puncher; it rarely settles into a riff or idea for long, preferring to twist and twine inward in impossibly complex knots, before occasionally unraveling out into the beyond and back. I suppose that eye-singeing awful cover is an attempt to render the alien hues from "The Colour Out of Space," which the title of this album mangles wonderfully, but there's a lot going on below the skin besides your standard Lovecraftianism: the first song references Japanese Noh playwright Zeati Motokiyo, Egyptian god of air Shu, and satellite surveillance (and briefly slips from ESL into German). The odds are good that this is a concept album of some sort, but I can find little trace of this band's existence, let alone a manifesto, so who knows? Make up your own.
I know your name - The hate
The waste - The aged ape

Monday, November 22, 2010

Strawberry Path - When The Raven Has Come To The Earth

This is another 70's psych/blues joint from Japan, containing members of the more famous and more proggish Flied Egg. I haven't much to say about this one except that I've been listening to it every day for a couple of weeks, sometimes more than once. It's really, really good and despite the psychedelic elements is more whiskey than weed (well, except for "Mary Jane on My Mind").
Maximum Speed of Moji Bird

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sump - Autumn Blood

Sump play frigid lo-fi black metal featuring one guy from White Medal, which ought to give you an idea what you're in for with this one, although this is even more hissy and noisy. The primitive squealings of misanthropic hillbillies running loose about the English countryside.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Drags - Stop Rock and Roll

Here we have an unreasonably ugly, primitive album of ham-fisted, nihilistically funny garage noise, suitable for the brain-damaged and all you glass-is-half-empty types. As a wee lad I saw these people play, eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses, in a pitch-black ice cream parlor, illuminated only by the swirling red and blue lights of the cop cars outside. To me, that's what this album sounds like still: a wall of tinny fuzz radiating out of the darkness, poisoning your ears and making your hair fall out.
Iron Curtain Rock

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aldebaran - Voz De Aldebaran

Aside from the fact that they share a name with one of our favourite doom bands and the orange giant star circled by the dreaded King in Yellow, and the fact that this demo is from Portugal in 1994, I have no information at all on this mysterious cassette (not even a cover). I've been listening to it quite a bit lately though, it's a kind of rocking punk sound (in Portuguese) that somehow reminds me certain of a southern Florida sound from the 80's and 90's, especially The Eat/No Fraud/Fuckboyz. Without knowing what the man is singing about, I can tell you he certainly sounds like he means it! You might want to crack open a beer and pour it all over yourself while listening to this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone

Even wilder than yesterday's post, but somewhat connected, is this collection of Morricone music played by frequent Blind Idiot God collaborator John Zorn. Dialing up the old master's eclecticism and fondness for strange voicings and aural collage, Zorn twists these varied movie themes into bizarre new patterns, weaving a wobbling skeleton of chiming bells, booming percussion, and breathy gibberish. One part menacing spaghetti western, one part no-wave jazz, and one part cartoon violence, braided into a fine silken rope and swaying in the desert breeze.

Once Upon a Time in The Swamp

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blind Idiot God

From deep within the bowels of the SST back catalog comes Blind Idiot God, an instrumental experimental metal band named for the Mad Demon Sultan swirling oblivious in the roiling nuclear heart of the universe, ringed by hideous pipers dancing and trilling. In keeping with this, the noise they create is decidedly non-linear and deliberately unpredictable, swerving wildly from atonal clatter to dubbed-out black vacuums of space to passages of fragile, terrible beauty. This wild stylistic flailing is held in check somewhat by the bands roots in the hardcore scene, which helps prevent the album from sounding like the mathy crossover metal bands that followed in the wake of this debut, who often mistake complex arrangement for actual songwriting, for conveying depth and dynamic and more nebulous, nameless concepts. To these ears, many modern explorers of this type of transcendental hypno-metal such as Krallice and Orthrelm owe a debt to these gentlemen, as do I. So shall you.
Ye blind idiot, ye noxious Azathoth shal arise from ye middle of ye World where all is Chaos & Destruction where He hath bubbl'd and blasphem'd at Ye centre which is of All Things, which is to say Infinity....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wrangler Brutes - Cassette

Oops, I seem to have missed a day again. Oh well, let's post something extra-tasty to make up for it. Wrangler Brutes was the short-lived project of Sam MecPheeters, of Born Against and Men's Recovery Project notoriety, with members of weird bands such as the Monorchid and Skull Kontrol. Fully embracing niether the hardcore-turned-dada of BA nor the synthesized bloops and bleeps of MRP, Wrangler Brutes teetered on a precarious balance of bass-driven rhythm and scraping, almost abstract guitar noise, with McPheeters howling madly atop it like a crazed baboon. Idiot savants or history's greatest monsters?
You decide

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unaussprechlichen Kulten - Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis

Crusty Chilean ESL death metallers Unaussprechlichen Kulten sing entirely within the orbit of the Cthulhu mythos, and are obviously well versed and fervent. I haven't but precious moments to type, so I'll not mince words: this album is crucial to your understanding of the universe. Further growth will simply cease until you absorb this precious nourishment, for your minds and many wriggling tentacles.
The Black Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Youngs

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Nightmare

I was at a bit of a loss as to what I was going to post today, so, off the top of my head, here's a 45 rpm single off of the first LP by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Britain's technicolor psych band led by the eponymous gibbering madman, Arthur Brown. Their debut is now firmly cemented in the firmament of early, highly influential rock weirdness, and while this song may not be quite up to par with the legendary and enduring "Fire," I have a soft spot for it. Thanks to our reliable commenter Kai, I've been delving deeply into the whole caped-charismatic-madman sub-genre exemplified by Screamin' Jay Hawkins; our Mr. Brown is an excellent example. In fact, said LP contains one of the finest covers of "I Put a Spell on You." While he may not be sporting a cape in this photo (which is from the Japanese version, obviously), it surely must be one of the most protean examples of corpsepaint extant. It's worth noting that once the band broke up, two of these men went on to form the notorious Atomic Rooster.
Why is it so cold out here, so cold?
Let me in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Speed, Glue & Shinki - Eve

Speed, Glue, & Shinki was a heavy power trio led by guitar wizard and drug enthusiast Shinki Chen, the so-called "Japanese Jimi Hendrix," and rounded out by American drummer/vocalist Speed and Japanese bassist/inhalant expert Glue. Three of the seven songs here are boldy pro-intoxication and the remaining four have a wicked contact high just from the hazy ambiance. Shinki had put out a solo album prior to the formation of this combo, but as a group this was their only legitimate release. Apparently Speed's lifestyle and unsavory personality were enough that the two Japanese gentlemen wanted nothing more to do with him. Post facto, Speed released an album under the group's name, but this was a strange Frankenstein of an album, with him playing and singing over Shinki's discarded tapes. Nonetheless, all three of these albums are classic, full of exuberant psychedelia and gritty tales of the day-to-day street life of a thuggish burnout with poetry in his black little heart. Surely these other two records will surface in the Swamp at some point, but this is without a doubt the strongest, most focused, and most essential.
Someday we'll all fall down.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Equimanthorn - Nindinugga Nimshimshargal Enlillara

I've a nekronfession to kultivate, myswamptendersapplinga, imma try and maintainamagate some repromobation on the alchomuggahhohl: decanting the indefatigable - buttsinceHallowmoween yr hummblehost experimence ein liifamachange: sacred riitumal uv iinebrNATION slowly-liike serpenmetiine arounden that cerebellum. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Nindinugga Nimshimshargal Enlillara wgah'nagl fhtagn n'shit.
The Cold Mystic Winds Of Nanakanisurra (Dwelling South In The Crimson Desert: Roba El Khaliyeh)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Screamin' Jay Hawkins and The Fuzztones - Live EP

Screamin' Jay Hawkins, of course, is the mad godfather of horror rock, and the Fuzztones are hirsute garage revivalists now approaching their fourth decade of activity. This brief EP from 1984 captures four songs from a live performance replete with Hawkins' trademark weird gibberish and profanity and the band's prime, organ-heavy psychedelia. Not much else to say about this one except "Some father's son is gonna get a furburger."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gardens of Grief / In the Embrace of Evil

We've really been stretching the limits of our thematic mission here in the Swamp lately, partially to keep thing interesting for my lovely readers, but also to ensure that we shan't run out of material soon. However, we don't want to lose sight of our goals, yes? In keeping with this, I present a split compact disc reissuing both At the Gates' Gardens of Grief and a compilation of works by their larval band Grotesque. I'm sure you all know At the Gates well and I do not feel the need to pontificate on their legacy at the moment (you may not possess this early demo cassette recording). What we are really here for is the Grotesque material, specifically "Spawn of Azathoth." This song is a flawless tribute to our Mad Demon Sultan and the surrounding music is no less stellar. This is really an under-appreciated, sparkling black gem in the crown of heavy metal, and essential to all true cultists.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires

Take a long, careful look at that cover: dub wizard Scientist and his monster-hunter crew tooling through the Swamp, blasting strange reggae music from his speakerboat to the horror and confusion of the array of classic Universal monsters that lurk there, doing who knows what. Present on this album are a morbid gallery of musical Frankenstein's monsters, thematically concerned primarily with vampires, mummies, and zombies, with occasional nods to other archetypes. Dub, like much music created on the fringes of cryptic subculture, is nigh-impossible to accurately describe, and similarly daunting to listen to for the uninitiated. Much of it is the aimless noodling of fried-minded headcases, but at its pinnacle it is transcendentally weird and can wreak permanent mental change upon the unsuspecting. If the stars are right, mayhaps this can happen to you.
Your Teeth In My Neck

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spawn Sacs

The one and only vinyl release by Chattanooga/Miami's ferocious blacked out punk maniacs Spawn Sacs (named after some strange fishing apparatus), this six minute seven inch record contains four original tunes full of spite and slobber and one doom-crying apocalyptic Bob Marley cover, which sounds strange, I know, but it works. For years Spawn Sacs were the toughest, pants-shittingest band in the south, hiding stolen cases of whiskey in their van and distributing homemade Spawn Sacs condom to impressionable young children. There are more recordings than this, and once I have them in my sweaty grasp I will surely share them with you; in the meantime enjoy(?) this brief spasm of puke and cowbell, and next time you're in Chattanooga, ask around. Rumors are there's still a closet full of them somewhere. For the record, I've seen other versions of this elsewhere on the internet but these are properly tagged, 320k mp3s.
Congratulations, you're dead.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Celestiial - Desolate North

One thing among few that the farthest, bleakest extreme reaches of heavy metal has in common with the string of balmy islands off of our continent's western coast: the double I. Maledictiih, Mortiis, Mütiilation, Celestiial, Hawaii... What I'm getting at is that it's freezing here in the Swamp, and I'm trying to think warm thoughts. Celestiial plays funereal doom of the sparsest, most glacial variety. Distant, doppler-effected drums crash aimlessly in isolation, whilst whole notes ring out and blend into swirling Aurora Boreali, enchanting but difficult to focus on. The sound of tweeting birdies is merely an hallucination of your frost-bitten mind; it's actually the sound of ice forming inside your ear canals. Your only hope is that whiskey bottle, and it's looking awfully low...
Lamentations in the Citadel of God

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Høst - På Sterke Vinger

Salutations, Swamplings. Tonight's early chill and threats of snow put me in the mood for some frosty windswept psychedelia. Norway's Høst ("Autumn") somehow stumbled onto the Thin Lizzy formula of dueling lead guitars contemporaneously with their Irish fellow travelers. This album was released in 1974, the same year as Lizzy's seminal Nightlife, which introduced the sound to British heads a few years before Iron Maiden made it a staple of the newly formed heavy metal scene. Like both of these bands, Høst also maintains a fearsome rhythm section, with a bass style that anchors the songs and a drummer that propels them perpetually forward. I also hear traces of underrated American band Dust too, another favorite here in Swamp town, especially in the epic sweep of the songs and the mathematically complex meter shifts. Yes, this is perfect for the mood in the air right now; let the winter come.
The album title, of course, means "On Strong Wings."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

S.O.B. - Don't Be Swindle

This, wee one, is the first LP by Japan's Sabotage Organized Barbarian. One of Japan's first practitioners of grind, S.O.B. perfected a unique thrashy sound replete with stop-on-a-dime spazzouts, mid-tempo creeping, and nigh-unintelligible shout-along choruses. In addition, some of their records featured guest spots by such grind luminaries as Lee Dorrian and Shane Embury - a fine pedigree for any band playing this style. Sadly, original vocalist Tottsuan became one of a long line of Japanese subway suicides in 1995. S.O.B. continued without him into strange experimental directions, but in my mind this LP perfectly sums up their early sound and radiates personality, humor, and rage in equal parts.
Let's go Beach!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Seemingly the only thing recorded by this anonymous Finnish combo, we have here four strange blurts of primitive and surprisingly sophisticated black metal with sheets of burnished bronze guitar flash and numerous subtly layered, varied vocals, from the familiar blackened croak (which reminds me a bit of Peste Noir), to pitch-shifted chanting and female choirs of jubilant gibberish low in the background. Whilst this may sound fairly standard-issue on paper, the actual songs are memorable, haunting, and blood-chilling. We shall never see another release by this quickly defunct act, but this brief self-fulfilling prophecy stands as a marker on their pile of stones and skulls.
Rivers Flowing Blood
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