Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ygolonac - Strange Aeons

Apologies for the unexplained absence for the preceding fortnight, gentle ones, but rest assured that posting will resume with gusto upon the arrival of the new year.  In the meantime, share with me this horrid lump of coal that I found in my inbox.  Another mad one man metal band in the mode of Brown Jenkins or Aarni, this Ygolonac seems fixated on the fictional grimoires of the Mythos, from what can be deciphered from the song titles and the band name.  Ygolonac is the lord of the perverse and sadistic, the only Old One outside of insidious Nyarlathotep capable of taking human form, and notorious for the ravenous mouths screaming for blood from his palms and groin, traditionally cast in the role of curating the library of suppressed tomes which tend to drive mundane minds into madness.  Ramsey Campbell's brutal and bitterly funny "Cold Print" is perhaps the finest Lovecraftian story produced in the seventies, and while the retro vibe of this nasty debut is probably meant to transcend time and space, I can sense a little disco cokestache under all the noise, maybe just slowed down 800x.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Individual Thought Patterns

Chuck Schuldiner (May 13, 1967 – December 13, 2001)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ennio Morricone - Red Sonja

Yet another long-out-of-print soundtrack that has been repackaged several times in packages of dubious quality and legality, Ennio Morricone's Red Sonja is a haunting piece of majestic oddness.  Combining the epic bombast required for the material with his usual penchant for strange sounds, nonsense vocals, and unusual instrumentation, Morricone deftly mixes with hordes of wind instruments with 80's synth pads, spooky choirs with thunderous junkyard timpani.  I'm not positive which version we have here, and we are bereft of song titles, but it hardly matters;  let the music entrance you, and pay no heed to the blade at your throat. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yob - Elaborations of Carbon

Well, Swamplings, I apologize for the brief lapse in posting once again, but I have squeezed out the end of another wild week and I should note that I might not have endured without the help of Yob's new album Atma.  Yob is one of the longest running and most potent doom acts in the world, and remains a group of genuinely nice people amid a vast ocean of douchebaggery.  I'm not going to post Atma - you should just go buy it - but instead have this first LP, another album that simultaneously encourages spiritual reflection while pelting the listener with anvils from space.  I've been waiting all day to say this:
Take this Yob and shove it

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rudimentary Peni - Cacophony

Well, we arrive at the 500th post and so I give you Rudimentary Peni's aptly titled Cacophony.  Notable as not only one of the most vital and well known works of Lovecraftian music but also as one of the most insane, terrifying things ever committed to wax, it is largely responsible for my fascination with the Mythos and therefore for the existence of this Swamp.  A sharp departure from the band's bleak anarcho-punk sound and long held to be an account of Peni frontman Nick Blinko losing his mind, these songs seem like random fragments stitched together and pasted to a padded wall inside a cell.  

There a hints of punk and hardcore, shimmering instrumental exploration, drinking songs, collages of mad noise, multi-tracked gibbering, morbid story-songs, threatening doggerel, and references to (and jokes about) nearly every facet of Lovecraft's work.  Much of this is driven by Blinko's horrific vocals, which range from cheeseball operatics to metallic growls, from snotty punk taunting to inhuman gurgling, often simultaneously.  Famously, one interlude is composed of a choir of clacking, gnashing teeth; another is a melange of wheezes and death rattles.  It's hard to believe it all came from one man.  The album is overstuffed, impenetrable, and baroque, in sharp contrast with the minimalist path the band followed afterwards - it's as if all the horrid knowledge in the universe flooded out from between Blinko's jaws.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Mummies - Play Their Own Records!

The Mummies were the ultimate lo-fi garage punk noise act, partially a nutty monster novelty group but also the best band playing in the style, hands down.  There's a lot more than just caveman rock here too: surf, bluesy vamps, biker anthems, spooky haunted house themes, instructional dance numbers, and frat rock classics, all smashed up into one glorious fucked up mess.  This first LP is only the beginning of a long stretch of classic material, but it's as good a place to start as any.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep

The great grandaddy of all horrorcore rap, Gravediggaz' 6 Feet Deep fused the skewed, dusty funk of Wu-Tang onto Addams Family organ and a lyrical prediliction for horror theatrics, although in contrast to what followed, many of the songs are tongue-in-cheek, goofy, and digressive.  Containing two members of hip-hop veterans Stetsasonic and RZA from the newly-famous Wu-Tang Clan, plus the late Poetic, they initially formed after being screwed by Tommy Boy records in various ways.  What at first was a one-off spleen venting became a movement in underground hip-hop, with a legion of horror obsessed freaks taking to the 808 and mirroring the rise of underground death metal in the early and mid-nineties.  I've made a little game lately of comparing landmark albums in the respective genres; let's call this one Mental Funeral.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poison Idea - Feel the Darkness

Here's another one that helped cultivate the Swamp we lurk in: Feel the Darkness by Poison Idea.  One of the few hardcore to bands to be legitimately terrifying in their day, Poison Idea consistently put out the best and toughest records of any punk band for years, peaking with this one.  Lacing their sinister, complex hardcore with greasy blues and classic rock riffs, they practically kick their way into the room through your speakers, stomping all over your shitty record collection.  Singer Jerry A. tackles what seems to be the day-to-day grind for the band: drugs, crime, cops, and alienation, and behind the punk doggerel he sneaks in quite a bit of bleak poetry.  Literally, the heaviest band on the planet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deicide - Legion

Another crucial piece of your narrator's youth - Deicide's Legion is a classic or crazy, evil death metal merging cartoon Satanism, Lovecraftian cosmic horror, and a level of heaviness heretofore unheard.  The track "Dead but Dreaming" is an important piece on the map of Lovecraftian metal, one of the best known and earliest.   Legion clocks in at just under thirty minutes, but packs more brutality and nihilism into that short time than a dozen albums by lesser bands.  It's easy to forget in light of later shenanigans, but at one time Deicide was the evilest, hardest band in the world. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Roky Erickson - The Evil One

Counting down to my 500th post and perusing the archives lately has brought to light some glaring oversights, albums I haven't posted yet that form the backbone of my musical taste.  Many of these (this one included) have remained un-posted because I listen to them so much that I can't imagine life without them.

The first one that came to mind was The Evil One, the most well known and arguably the best album by Roky Erickson.  I have posted many Roky albums here before and casually assumed that anyone perusing my little Swamp would at least have a passing familiarity with the man.  A huge percentage of albums on here are directly influenced by him, and many others have a spiritual kinship in their themes of paranormal phenomena, struggles with madness, and weird gibberish.

Lyrically, Roky draws from vintage horror movies and urban legends as much as he uses early rock n' roll's predilection for mantra-like refrains and cribbed blues motifs.  Musically, it's basically Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley squeezed through a proto-punk meat grinder.  Creedence Clearwater Revival's Stu Cook played bass on and produced much of this album, lending a layer of cosmic hillbilly mystique to a record already doomed to obscurity.

Of course now Roky is known as an essential part of any rock fan's collection and he continues to produce new material, against all odds, but this is the pinnacle.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Necromass - Abyss Calls Life

From deep within the swirling mad vortex that calls itself Italian Black Metal, Necromass mixes in some primitive death and doom sounds with their typically melodramatic hate opera.  The over-the-top foppery of most Italian metal is subdued here, replaced with a cool restraint that makes the wilder moments that much more potent.  Much of the album grooves along at a nice mid-tempo gallop, punctuated by twin leads and unpredictable mood swings.  Vocalist Charles Blasphemy (what a name) growls with gusto as well, more in the style of the Swedish death scene than the typical second-wave tortured wail.  Another forgotten treasure from the underworld, brought to you with nothing but contempt and malice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Three 6 Mafia - Mystic Stylez

Gravediggaz beat them by a year, but the debut album by Three 6 Mafia is perhaps the defining moment of horrorcore rap.  The filthy low budget production, the predilection for violent imagery, the revenge fantasies and the murky, cobwebby atmosphere that define the genre are all here in copious amounts.  Roughly equivelant to Scream Bloody Gore, the record still sounds menacing, vital, and prescient.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Antonius Rex - Zora

While we're on the weird outer rims of heavy metal, let's stop over in darkest Italy, home to many truly bizarre bands of all sub-genres.  Antonius Rex, the brainchild of Jacula leader Antonio Bartoccetti and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Doris Norton.  Of their many simultaneous projects, this is the darkest and most explicitly occult, enough so that they were dropped by their label and forced to self-release it in limited quantities some years later.  Mixing the baroque organ fugues and jazzy psych of Jacula with a cinematic adventurousness influenced by Goblin and Morricone, with the pair's sometimes distracting vocals and breathless narration kept to a minimum.  This version is a recent reissue containing the extended track listing of later versions but with the original, suppressed cover art intact.  One can hear influences on occult rock modern bands, especially Blood Ceremony, but nobody has the freeform batshit wildness of this monster.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Old Ones - Manfred

I've been sifting through the archives this week, spurred on by sickness and cabin fever,  eventually arriving at a pile of poorly tagged, low quality mp3's of The Old Ones. Downloaded years ago from the baffling 9 Productions website ( seemingly a relic from 1994 but sporadically updated with new information, despite being 90% perpetually "under construction"), The Old Ones are a classic example of a one-man project driven by sheer love and madness, content to languish in obscurity and bereft of shame or self-awareness.  Existing for years on the same fringes of doom populated by Aarni or Brown Jenkins, this anonymous Czech fellow continues to make music under this moniker - there is another album and multiple singles, and a sequel to this semi-full length is promised sometime this year.  This one is a bit of a mess - I corrected the incoherent tags as best I could, but the volume is wildly erratic, the guitars are tinny and muffled except for the occasional solo, the vocals are too loud, and the drum machine is laughable.  Still, crazy-eyed ambition and enthusiasm go a long way in bands like this, and The Old Ones have no shortage of either.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Possessed - Seven Churches

As the end of another exhausting and wild week draws to a close, I find myself drawn to this seminal album from the legendary Possessed.  Much like Venom's Black Metal record, Seven Churches basically spawned an entire genre of heavy metal, in this case death metal.  Not that it existed in a vacuum, but the degree of ugliness, spite, and heaviness expressed by these high school lads was unprecedented, and a huge influence on the first generation of DM bands, especially Death.  I'm too drained to expound any further, and it shouldn't be necessary anyway - just sit back and feel the hate roll over you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dope on the Scarecrow

I've been an Angry Samoans fan for over fifteen years, and as time grinds on I find myself beginning to understand the later, stranger work of fucked up front man Metal Mike Saunders.  I mean, Back From Samoa is an all time classic, and even the second album STP Not LSD seems less baffling and more amusing and memorably nutty in hindsight.  By the time this weird seven inch record arrived in 1996, the rest of the original lineup was long gone, as were all of their replacements - in fact, this is just Mike on guitar and vocals.  

Saunders was one of those characters too fucked to play drums but charismatic enough to be a "singer," like Joey Ramone or Iggy Pop.  The first Samoans show was as the opening band for Roky Erickson, and his twitchy shadow looms long over their style: surreal, horror-movie influenced lyrics and a complete lack of self-editing, combined with a youthful enthusiasm for weird drugs and fifties pop.  Once Mike's bandmates had jumped ship he was left with the name and without anybody to tell him NO.

So we arrive years later at this thing.  Side one is a loose parody of the John Cougar Mellencamp song "Rain on the Scarecrow," but instead of lamenting the plight of the modern farmer, it's a jab at recently croaked Grateful Dead slob Jerry Garcia.  On the surface it seems like an anti-dope song, but Saunder's long history of drug abuse is obvious not only to those aware of the band's career arc, but also to anyone with a pair of ears and a copy of this record.  The flipside is a similarly warped cover of "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground, likely cribbed from Roky's cover, which fades into another Coug joke. 

So why does this record exist?  Saunders is no stranger to drugs, and sports a giant mane of hair that probably stank worse than The Stooges.  He can barely keep his guitar in tune and both of the songs he's parodying are old news, even in '96.  The answer is in the grooves, though, I can feel it.  Better listen to it again...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cryongenic - Celephaïs

Here's a bit of pompous, low-budget symphonic black metal from Germany's Cryogenic, paying homage to the Lovecraft story of a doomed city locked in a vicious cycle of death and rebirth for all eternity.  Defined by cheap synths, phony choral vocals, rubbery drums, and a sort of cardboard epicness that makes me think these guys are probably LARPers in their spare time, Celephaïs has a certain charm that makes up for its lack of atmosphere or audible guitar.  For fans of Bal Sagoth or Septic Flesh, especially the kind that likes to make armor out of soda pop boxes and duct tape.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Nameless Dread

Well, the gateway to Mediafire seems to be closed temporarily, so I must improvise tonight's entertainment.  I thought this timely with the passing of Bil Keane, creator of the widely loathed Family Circus.  Though numerous parodies of his maudlin creation existed, often with his blessing, only the now-defunct Nameless Dread was actively suppressed, presumably after touching some dark nerve in Keane's soul.  Fortunately I have many of them preserved in my private archive and now I shall pass them along to you, dear ones.  Presumably normal transmissions will resume tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fishing with John

This is the soundtrack to the cult television show "Fishing with John," starring John Lurie.  Taking the loose framework of a PBS nature show and twisting it into a hilarious beatnik riff on culture shock, cryptozoology, manliness, booze, frenetic dancing, and the nature of sport, the six extant episodes stand as one of the weirdest TV experiments ever.  With guests like Tom Waits, Willem Defoe, Dennis Hopper, and Jim Jarmusch, and wild expressionist music by Lurie's many amorphous jazz combos, it's settling nicely right now with the mixture of whiskey and cough syrup fueling your helpless narrator's feverish battle with Mother Nature herself, also nicely reflecting the over-arching theme of the show.  Perhaps tomorrow will find me more lucid, or perhaps floating face down in an icy bog somewhere.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Aggressive - Predator's Arrival

Just stopping by for a moment to drop this bizarre monstrosity on you before it's too late.  Columbia's Aggressive play an oddball mutant thrash, musically more in line with the gibbering weirdness of The Accused than the more meat-and-potatoes nuclear stuff most retro-bands are ripping off these days, with a wild vocalist and hints of gang-chorus hardcore, proto-death, grind, and NWOBHM.  All of this, plus one of the best album covers of the year.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spvcxghsztpvrrp - Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6

Miami's teenage horror rapper Spaceghostpurrp has released what may well be the year's darkest and strangest mixtape,  Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6.  Sounding like it was recorded on a tiny, busted cassette player and liberally slathered in Godzilla and Mortal Kormbat samples, and as murky and uncommercial as any deliberately obscure black metal kvlt, this bloated monstrosity is a purple smear of ugliness, a robotussin stain on the plush carpet of hipster rap.  It's anti-social, unfiltered, and wallowing in sociapathic obscurity.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gorilla Angreb

Copenhagen's Gorilla Angreb played a ragged, boozy mix of old L.A. punk in the style of X and mid-nineties garage scum.  Once again the lyrics are impenetrable to me but the sound and sentiment transcend my limited faculties, speaking the universal tongue of rage, sweat, love, and spittle.  This is their entire recorded discography minus some live material, and essential listening for keeping out of the cold.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Törr - Armageddon

Behold, Swamplings!  Tonight I bring you another classic from the first wave of black metal, Törr's Armageddon.  Unsurprisingly there is a large debt to Venom, from the primitive stomp of the music to the horny cheeseball sense of humor.  All of the lyrics are Czech, but it doesn't take a genius to tell what they're singing about: Sex, Satan, and Doom.  A wide variety of songs, abundant sampling and experimental noise, and a lecherous leer give the album a distinct personality, and the thrashy heaviness it counterbalanced with catchy songwriting. Its' the kind of album that makes you want to sing along, even the if the words are in a foreign language and probably terrible anyway.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shub-Niggurath Please

Vader - Out of the Deep
Morbus Chron - Red Hook Horror
Necromandus - Nightjar
Arkham Witch - Dagon's Bell
Briton Rites - A Meeting in the Woods
Orchid - Eyes Behind the Wall
Noctum - The Seance
The Wounded Kings - Return of the Sorcerer
Innsmouth - The She-Goat Quandary
Portal - Omnipotent Crawling Chaos
Abgott - Book 3-The Eye of Yog-Sothoth
Vasaeleth - Wrathful Deities
Necronomicon - Dreaming of the Old Ones
Thergothon - The Twilight Fade

Saturday, October 29, 2011


In keeping with the spirit of the season, let's all listen to Acid Witch's superior second LP, Stoned.  This album was easily one of my favorites last year, and still gets frequent rotation in the Swamp, especially this week.  Acid Witch explores the sort of death/doom purveyed by Coffins and Hooded Menace, but in contrast to the dark and cryptic vibe of those bands they explode with technicolor gore, like a Suspiria-inspired marker set by Lisa Frank found in the cheap costume aisle of your local grocery store, the kind that get you high as hell.  With festive seasonal gusto in the lyrics and a warm layer of horror-movie organ to fend off the foul weather, and several trippy digressions into cinematic abstraction belying the knuckle-dragging facade, Stoned glows like a pillar of green flame rising from a distant pile of corpses.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Immortal - At the Heart of Winter

Just stopping into the Swamp for a brief moment, long enough to leave you my favorite album by the unkillable tyrant kings of the frozen fjords, Immortal.  The songs on this one are a bit longer and more varied than on their earlier material, and yet this is one of the records where Immortal's roots in thrashy first-wave black metal really shine through as well.  Plus, there's the all-time ESL classic "Tragedies Blows at Horizon."  I will attempt to remain among you until Halloween, but duty beckons...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tales From The Underground

I'm too busy listening to the new Tom Waits album and drinking this big greenish jar of weird herbal moonshine one of my neighbors here in the Swamp gifted me to post anything worth reading at the moment, but enjoy this five-album series of rare and forgotten songs by the old man himself.  Some of this re-surfaced on that box set from a few years back but you'll find many strange little toys in this pile, oh my.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Germ Free Adolescents

X-Ray Spex's neon dystopia of plastic airtight repression was flash-frozen in time on Germ Free Adolescents.  Notable right off the bat are the squealing, in-and-out of tune saxophone and the distinct wail of singer Poly Styrene. Poly's obsession with consumerism, disposable culture, and the air-conditioned nightmare informs her lyrics, but her soulful voice and sharp sense of humor keep it cheerfully surreal.  The band released one more album after this, but it was underwhelming and overshadowed by Styrene's growing mental illness, UFO sightings, and adoption of Hare Krishna.  Sadly, she died earlier this year after recording a fairly promising handful of new songs.  Still, this album stands as tribute to her Orwellian love and pessimism for the human race.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Downer Rock Genocide

Here's another comp of British proto-metal, vaguely themed around an end of the world scenario.  I picked it up because I recognized a couple of bands on it: Necromandus, whose Lovecraftian "Nightjar"  is a staple on these sorts of compilations, and Bram Stoker, the spooky organ-heavy psych band responsible for the classic "Born to Be Free."  There's lots of other tasty bands here, like Red Dirt, purveyors of noisy blues-thud with a vocalist who sounds like a talking dog, and the cosmic weirdness of the Flying Hat Band.  This the perfect soundtrack for a cold grey day of whiskey drinking and teeth gnashing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Colour Haze - Tempel

Sweet Merciful Crap!  What a week.  Posting may be sporadic until the first of the month, wee ones, as your old Uncle Abdul is doing double duty outside the Swamp - burning the brazier at both ends.  All that will fit inside my enfeebled ears tonight is this soothing mystical album from Germany's premier desert rock band, Colour Haze.  Inspired by the power trios of yore and the powerful unnameable forces of the space-time continuum, the cosmic yawn filtered through flange and fuzz, they coax the listener into an out-of-body voyage through the four elements of matter and the various states of consciousness. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Norrsken was the short-lived band primarily remembered today for the two groups who formed from their ashes: Witchcraft and Graveyard.  This ought to give you a good idea what to expect on this apparent bootleg - a heavy-lidded hybrid of Sabbath doom and thuggish psych rock in the Blue Cheer mode.  Contained herein are the "Armageddon/Little Lady" single and the Hokus Pokus demo, along with two comp tracks, covers of Blue Cheer and Trouble's "Psalm 9."  To make things more confusing, there's also another demo (not included here) called Norrsken with a whole different batch of songs than this.  "Little Lady," you'll note, contains an excellent passage of Joakim Nilsson's whistling skills, which were put to great use on Graveyard's killer Hisingen Blues from earlier this year.  There's a bristling, apocalyptic vibe palpable here, an ominous cloud of teenage hormones and pre-millenial dread.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Muddy Waters - After the Rain

Muddy Water's Electric Mud was arguably the first example of post-war bluesmen adapting their sound to the burgeoning psych scene, and unlike many of his contemporaries, Muddy fully embraced the style.  After the Rain, the follow up album, gave Muddy a chance to compose in the style and adapt some of his older riffs and motifs.   Consequently the songs are a bit less far-out, but noticeably heavier and grimier.   With sidemen who played for everyone from Earth Wind and Fire to Miles Davis and early flower power group Rotary Connection, he brews up a potent stew of soul, jazz, rock, funk, and weirdness, stretching the limits of the blues and slicing razorlines in it with his slide guitar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hawkwind - The Chronicle of the Black Sword

Finally, a quiet night in the Swamp with which to gather my thoughts.  At the end of another week of madness I must alter my state of mind with the aid of The Chronicle of the Black Sword.  Few people have love for mid-80's Hawkwind, but I am one of those few - at least for this album.  A concept album grounded squarely in Michael Moorcock's Elric cycle, the tone matches that of its source material - brooding, expansive, iconoclastic, and unrelentingly grim. Moorcock's albino swordsman was a loner anti-hero, an alien among his own people;  by 1985 Dave Brock was the only original member, a relic from another era.  

Still, the album sounds fairly in line with the times - as heavy as contemporary records by the crop of aging first-wave metal bands inspired by Hawkwind back in the day, and mercifully mostly free of cheesy eighties production.  Granted, there's a bubbly synth here or there, or the occasional too-long guitar noodle, but it's not like the group were ever particularly known for their restraint and focus.  Brock's vocals sound a bit strained and haggard, too, but this adds a weight and world-weariness to the proceedings, fitting with its downbeat lyrics and bleak worldview. 

Interestingly, the band performed the album in it's entirety on the tour, with an elaborate stage production and Moorcock himself narrating.  I haven't watched the recently released DVD, but there's some wild and hilarious videos out there for perusal.  They're a million light years from 1969, but the interval has only made them weirder.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peter Wyngarde - When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head

Tonight we have the mad album When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head by British TV actor Peter Wyngarde.  Originally commissioned by RCA to cash in on his popularity, it was released and quickly withdrawn a week later.  Presumably nobody had actually listened to it prior to its release.  Instead of the requested set of easy listening tunes, Wyngarde delivered a series of wild, pervy spoken word rants, backed by wild free-form noise jazz, tribal drums, lustful moaning, and shouts of exultation.  It's practically impossible to describe the myriad fragments sufficiently, and it boggles the mind to think of how this got made in the first place.  One of a kind, for sure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Arkham Witch - On Crom's Mountain

At last, a new release from Arkham Witch!  I'm breaking my own no-new-releases rule once again here due to my excitement over this album.  Straddling the line between the old-school Lovecraftian doom of Simon Iff's other project Lamp of Thoth and the NWOBHM-informed approach of like-minded bands such as Christian Mistress, On Crom's Mountain isn't deep or particularly dark heavy metal.   Instead, it's a fairly upbeat, joyous drunken celebration of crusty rock n' roll, ragged and righteous.  Of course, there's the requisite Lovecraft/Howard lyrical leanings, along with some witch and viking-related material, and some more cryptic sentiments.  It's still gestating in my ears, as I've only listened to it a scant handful of times, but even now I must go crack another beer and loosen up the old neck muscles - It's tough to headbang and type at the same time.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vader - The Beast

Poland's unkillable death metal O.G.s  Vader put out a tough-as-nails album this year, Welcome to the Morbid Riech, which I highly recommend.  This record, from 2004, finds the band in a more eldritch mood than usual, with a pronounced Lovecraftian bent to the lyrics and an obsession with the black abyss of the sea.  The music, of course, pretty much just sounds like Vader always does: thrashy first-wave death metal with Piotr Paweł Wiwczarek's hoarse throaty bellows booming over the top.  You can't go wrong with a Vader record, unless you're an asshole.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pussy Galore - Exile on Main St

Partially a sneering repsonse to Sonic Youth's continual threat to cover the Beatles' White Album and partially a genuine love letter to the original from Pussy Galore guitarist Neil Hagarty, Exile on Main St is a nasty, profanity-filled screaming match recorded on a shitty boombox and released on limited cassette (and eventually vinyl), a squealing, out-of-tune hate fuck for your tender ear-holes. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bruce Dickinson - Chemical Wedding

Here's an esoteric gem from Bruce Dickinson's uneven solo career, a mixture of prophetic and allegorical material based on the writing and painting of William Blake, and Rosicrurianism's secret rites and alchemical preoccupation.  On top of being a world class fencer, aviator, novelist, and heavy metal singer, Mr. Dickinson is a serious student of the occult, and he explains the album in depth here far better than I could.  Many of the lyrics are cryptic and abstract, though, allowing one to come to one's own understanding and relationship with the album.  Musically, it's pretty straightforward and solid Maidenism (Adrian Smith is the primary guitar player) aside from a few excellent cameos from Swamp veteran Arthur Brown and the occasional modern screamy vocal accent.  The patient disciple will discover multiple layers of meaning and depth, and the casual headbanger will find a bunch of kick-ass heavy metal.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Orion - Country

Jimmy Ellis was an obscure rockabilly singer who was blessed and cursed with a singing voice eerily similar to that of Elvis Presley.  After Presley's death he assumed the identity of Orion, mysterious masked country singer, who bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain supposedly dead singer, wink wink nudge nudge.  As gimmicks go, it a weird one - for one thing, Ellis really does sound almost indistinguishable from Presley, and the production closely matches the slick proficiency of Elvis's seventies output.  But on the other side, Ellis received a slice of the wildness that was Presley's later years - not to mention legions of crazed fans' misplaced obsession.  He soon abandoned the persona altogether and took to touring and recording under his own name, unsuccessfully, before retiring to open a convenience store in Alabama, where he was tragically gunned down in a botched robbery.  It's a weird music business story for the ages, sad and ludicrous and, not surprisingly, the source of some good goddamn country music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eibon - Entering Darkness

Eibon, not to be confused with the Phil Anselmo/Fenriz band, is a French doom act named after Clark Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon, a tome of great and terrible power.  Fittingly, the music they play is hypnotic and repulsive, a black tar pit full of bones.  Sludgy vocals alternate with frenzied, barely audible sounds of panic and madness, as if the narrator was slowly losing his mind.  The occasional blast beat/tremolo part crops up from time to time, but only to heighten the weighty slowness of the rest of the album.   A must have, one of my favorite releases of last year.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Make Love

After the first night of real usage of my new ridiculously loud tube-based amplifier, my weary ears can take no music, so we must make do with this hilarious audiobook from the hammy king of b-movies himself.  A combination of standard memoir and hyperkinetic radio play, Bruce and a legion of his associates take you on a dark, boozy journey through the various rungs of Hollywood life, from straight-to-VHS hackwork to the smashing up of Richard Gere's antique vases.  Slapstick, romance, self-reflection, fear and loathing, and of course piles of corny jokes all weave seamlessly into the narrative, brought to life with sound effects and broad caricatures of the many people Mr. Campbell has crossed orbits with over the years.  A sight for sore ears.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Salem Mass - Witch Burning

Greetings, toad people!  Returning from a rock n' roll sabbatical, I bring you this lump of red-hot occult proto-metal from Idaho's Salem Mass.  Released in 1971, this strange hybrid of the Manson Family vibe of Coven or Black Widow with the groovy psychedelic thud of Captain Beyond.  Soulful, over-the-top vocals and the trippy organ percolate over a surprisingly funky foundation of rubberlegged bass and cowbell-happy drums.  This is another in the long line of occult rock that gave birth to today's crop of mystic longhair bands dancing naked in a circle, praising the dark forces of the universe.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deceased - Supernatural Addiction

Alas, wee ones,  I must away forthwith for a day or two!  Focus your minds together on this, my favorite album by Virginia's unkillable death/thrash misanthropes, Deceased.  Supernatural Addiction is perhaps my favorite among their peerless discography (although one can't go wrong with any of their various albums).  Loosely themed around various notably works of short horror, from the glorious "The Doll With the Hideous Spirit" from Richard Matheson's famous "Prey," and its bloodthirsty Zuni Fetish Doll, to "Dark Chilling Heartbeat" based on Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."  Each song is a gem on its own, but taken as a whole they add up to a Tales From The Crypt-style anthology of horrid tales of revenge an comeuppance. 

The music?  Ah, yes.  This isn't the most brutal Deceased record by a long shot, but the ambitious texture and range are breathtaking, unfolding from the crusher opening of "The Premontion" into a complex mix of not only death and thrash but hints of psych, punk, doom, and weirder territories.  Even the longest songs are perpetually forward-moving and fat-free, anchored by the excellent and instantly recognizable vocals of drummer King Fowley.  Deceased is one of those bands like Slough Feg or Primordial, seemingly content to stake out their own plot of metal soil and crank out album after album of quality music, impervious to trends and inertia.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Max Frost and The Troopers - Shape of Things to Come

Max Frost and The Troopers were the fictional rock band from the early psychsploitation picture "Wild in the Streets."  There is some mystery regarding exactly who play on this album, as the members were credited to match characters in the movie, but it is widely believed to be the work of pioneering psych/surf band Davie Allan and the Arrows with lyrics and vocals provided by Paul Wibier (of biker movie soundtrack fame).  The title cut will be instantly recognizable to fans of the Nuggets series, and the other songs generally follow that formula: three minute snatches of psychedelia-infused garage pop with soaring harmonies and concise structure.  There's actually quite a bit of variation among the songs, though - one can feel Wibier playing around with various styles and ideas, perhaps assuming that the album was more of a novelty than a genuine artistic endeavor.  This seems to be his approach in general, now that I think about it, but it's not without merit: sometimes studio musicians and professional songwriters, liberated from the need to write actual hits, can come up with some soulful, mind-expanding stuff.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

The "Priest" They Called Him

It's been a moment since I dropped any William S. Burroughs material, so have this ten inch record of Uncle Bill reading his excellent short "The "Priest" They Called Him" with the squealing guitar background created by one Kurt Cobain.  A harrowing tale of a junkie at Christmas, a pair of severed legs, and the immaculate fix, punctuated by Cobain's "Silent Night"-based noise wall, this little miracle is as ultimately hopeful as it is nauseating.  Sweat it out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jag Panzer - Tyrants

This classic first EP from Jag Panzer contains a Nam-as-apocalypse anthem, two songs about the crushing power of heavy metal, a song about Conan battling iron statues come to hideous life, and another sword-and-sorcery romp about besieging a citadel.  The epic "When Metal Melts the Ice" is, without a doubt, one of the Most Metal Songs of All Time.  Musically, Jag Panzer would evolve into slick power metal, but this first release is raw, thrashy, and wildly over-the-top no-modifier metal from a time before sub-genres walked the earth.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jack Starr - Born Petrified

Not to be confused with the guy from Virgin Steele, this Jack Starr is a Texas-bred rockabilly outsider and monster-movie director, famed for his dark, twisted music and larger-than-life persona.   A marvel of ingenuity, this album reflects the duct-taped mentality one would assume prevailed upon his seemingly lost filmography as well: glaringly home-made, using an old bathtub as an echo chamber, varying wildly in quality and length, at once charming and unsettling.  Given a dusty ambiance by the tinny, distant sound and Starr's nasally wail, the songs float among a sea of hiss and ectoplasm, sounding a good thirty years older than their sixties vintage. 

It's the little seat-of-the-pants details that really give the record depth - for example, "Done Away With the Mean Old Blues" contains a middle passage that sounds like Starr playing piano with one hand and slapping his leg in counter-rhythm with the other.  Occasionally the recording descend into frenzied gibberish worthy of Men's Recovery Project at their most obtuse.  Other moments offer pure, fragile beauty and joy.  And then there's the songs about vampires and shit, those are good too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

El Ritual

El Ritual is arguably the first and most important Mexican psych band.  I don't know much about them and I'm too sick to fake it, so just enjoy the groovy satanism, heavy drums, and soulful Spanglish.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Briton Rites - For Mircala

Greetings, dearies!  I have once again returned to the Swamp, and am back among you.  Today I have for you one of the great unheard doom albums of the last year, the debut album from Georgia's hirsute Briton Rites. Effortlessly evoking the dark history of doom metal without sounding artificially retro or atavistic, For Mircala is a loose concept album centered around vampirism and Lovecraftian dimensional bleedthrough.  I have a particular weakness for metal bands with literate and diverse sources, and these chaps certainly deliver on that front: the title cut is based on a pre-Dracula vampire novel; "The Right Hand of Doom" is grounded in a Robert E. Howard short story starring his demon-hunting Puritan, Solomon Kane; several other are grounded in Hammer Horror flicks and pulpy supernatural melodrama.  Musically, it owes a heavy debt to the doomier side of NWOBHM, like Witchfinder General of Pagan Altar, with killer vocals from Phil Swanson (of such Swamp favorites as Hour of 13, Seamount, and Atlantean Kodex) and guitars by Howie Bentley of legendary Georgia metal band Cauldron Born.  More importantly, every song is memorable, catchy, and tough - no pretty stuff here, just doom and blood and haze.
Related Posts with Thumbnails