Monday, January 31, 2011

Doble Zero - Abre Tu Mente

Apologies for my absence yesterday, little ones, and welcome to our many new seedlings. To make it up to you I've brought you this killer Spanish language psych album by the mysterious Doble Zero. It's a burly slab of swagger, dripping with sweat and menace, towered over by the ominous spectre of the mushroom cloud. The occasional foray into English yields results like the hilarious Chuck Berry bite "Yankee Go Home," at once an homage and a spit in the eye. Enjoy!
Open Your Mind.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When - Death in the Blue Lake

We return to Norway once again, as it our wont in the wintertime, and as usual we've got something pretty strange on our hands. When was a one-man psych/prog/classical/noise act from the eighties who went on to influence the young black metal musicians once they started experimenting with synthesizers, ambience, and weirder things. The first half of this particular album is a twenty minute titular soundscape inspired by a famous Norwegian horror novel of the same name. It's bleak and chilling and those of you familiar with Satyricon's early work may spot some sections lifted wholesale for Dark Medieval Times. Side B is all over the place: Bowie-like robot pop, ritualistic chanting and percussion, yodeling through layered effects and echoes, groaning drones, and a Christmas themed noise piece that could have appeared on The Black Rider.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oi Polloi - T.H.C.

Please enjoy this 7 inch record from Scottish punk hippies Oi Polloi responsibly. Aside from the essential title track we have songs celebrating anonymous sex, satirizing burnt British soldier Simon Weston, and one in German about mustard gas or something.
Meine augen!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saint Vitus - Children of Doom

After the departure of Wino, Saint Vitus vanished for a few years and resurfaced with Swedish vocalist Christian Lindersson and a renewed vitality. Sadly this album was all but ignored when it was released in the early 90's, long after their association with SST and during a time when playing doom metal was the most uncommercial move you could make. The record itself is just stellar, though, a secret treasure buried deep in Saint Vitus' formidable discography. It's bleak, slow as slime, and all kinds of weird. For the first time guitarist Dave Chandler builds thick walls of multiple guitars behind his riffs, lending a suffocating heaviness to the album. Lindersson's vocals, which may require a bit of adjustment after Wino's growl, instead wind through the songs like a charmed cobra. A strong streak of humanity runs through the songs, decrying the destruction of the world at the hands of foolish men.
Children of doom
We are your father

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dead City Radio

Well, wee ones, I'm currently in the middle of a William S. Burroughs-related project on the meatplane and I've decided to rest my poor wrists and eyes and brains by staring at a computer screen, typing overlong sentences as usual, and listening to William S. Burroughs! This is another Burroughs joint populated by many other disparate musicians and personalities I'd otherwise generally ignore, from John Cale to Donald Fagen to Sonic Youth, but all sense of taste and decorum must be set aside when Uncle Bill is in the room; it'll all seem like a horrible prophetic dream once it's over anyway.
Present here is the standard Burroughsian subject matter: priapic lizard men, colorful sticky fluids, drugs from dark parallel universes, catholic symbolism profaned, nonsense syllables strung together in ululant mantras, cheap suits made threadbare from sleeping fitfully, cold war nihilism, etc. The usual, as we call it in the Swamp.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Atlantean Kodex - The Pnakotic Demos

One of my most played albums of 2010 was Atlantean Kodex's ambitious album The Golden Bough, one of those rare records to which the word "epic" can be applied without just meaning "long songs" and "attention-span challenging." This demo recording, released a handful of years earlier, showed them honing their chosen methods to a fine point with which to pierce dimensional boundaries. It's named for the pre-human manuscripts recording the secret history of the universe, having been added to and modified over many millenia, much like the human Bible, albeit on a much larger scale.
Similar perspective-shattering broadmindedness is a key factor here, and I must warn you that the depth and breadth do not begin to emerge until careful study is made. The devoted student will find much to absorb, however.
'neath shadow green and standing stone
Far from the rule of modern throne

Monday, January 24, 2011

Incantation - Upon the Throne of Apocalypse

Well, this was bound to turn up here eventually. As a young Lovecraftian and budding hessian I had the priveledge of seeing Nile and Incantation in a Mexican restaurant nearly fifteen years ago, and it was a life-shaping experience. For one thing, it made me perpetually skeptical of Nile after their two-hour set up time and misbehaving smoke machine lent their set an air of cheesy desperation. For another, Incantation easily outdid them in every conceivable aspect. They were like a force of nature to my young ears, and they were my gateway from slick cartoonish commercial death metal into darker, murkier occult waters. For those unfamiliar, Incantation plays doomish death metal steeped in forbidden knowledge, covered in layers of muck and grave dirt, and downtuned almost to oblivion. There's a vast subsegment of metal bands playing in this style now, from Swamp favorites Hooded Menace and Vasaeleth to Teitanblood and Impetuous Ritual. Still, nobody does it better than these bastards, and they never did it better than they did it here.
Hang high, Torment in the wind

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Zodiac Killers - Most Thrilling Experience

Here's a quick little stab from the Zodiac Killers, a misanthropic short-attention span punk band featuring Greg Lowery of the Rip Offs. It's fast, brutal, mean-spirited, full of self-loathing, and most of the songs are under a minute long. Still, they're catchy and distinct and tuneful in spite of all the bile. Bonus points for that awful MSPaint cover too!
X U Out

(((link fixed)))

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blood Ritual - At the Mountains of Madness

Portland's meat-and-potatoes death metal group Blood Ritual releases an album about every ten years, which means the next one will probably arrive after the Apocalypse. This, their solitary long player from the 90's, is a solid Deicide-influenced blast of filthy riffs, doubled growl/wail vocals, and occult lyrics that betray a slight black metal influence as well. These lyrics tend to be of the more traditional Jesus vs Satan school rather than the more esoteric matters promised by the title, but there's enough talk of strange rites and forbidden tomes of horrible truth to satisfy the Lovecraftian as well. This is stolidly neither of the "brutal" nor "progressive" wings of modern death metal - just straightforward blurry Florida worship whipped up into a bloody froth and poured down the front of your pants.
Sweet Suffering

Friday, January 21, 2011

Witchcraft - The Alchemist

Well, I've been griping quite a bit about my busy life and the shortage of time to spend tending the little zen rock garden I've raked out for myself here in the Swamp, but now we have some time to sit down and properly digest an album free of parasites and superfluous influences. Perhaps you've experienced the death of a loved one, or you've battled a horrid disease. Perhaps you've felt isolated because of your unique perspective, or you're on weird drugs. Perhaps you think doom metal is a black hole of negativity or your head is too far up your ass and your ears are full of human shit.
Frankly, it doesn't matter what's wrong with you. Stop whatever you're doing. Your terminal ennui, your shitty co-workers, your boring internet drama, your expanding waistline and fading tribal tats: all of these can be cleansed.
Walk Between the Lines

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big Mama Thornton - Jail

No time for hyperbole, once again, so have this gritty live album culled from performances at two different southern prisons. Big Mama was the originator of both "Hound Dog" and "Ball and Chain" but, unsurprisingly, much less famous than Presley or Joplin. Such is the way of the world.
Get your head on right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guitar Wolf - Run Wolf Run

This seminal first album by Swamp heroes Guitar Wolf is the only thing that can soothe my aching, addled head right now, paradoxically. This is garage rock at its noisiest, tinniest, ugliest, sweatiest, raunchiest, smelliest, meanest, drunkest, and weirdest. In other words, it's perfect for tonight.
Let's Kick Ass All Night Long!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dishammer - Under the Sign of the D-Beat Mark

One of the overlooked releases of 2010: Spain's Dishammer pound you over the head with nasty, crusty, semen-caked black punk. Honestly there's no point in attempting to describe this sort of thing eloquently, as there are only so many permutations of "skull-crushing" and "paint-peeling" one can reasonably be expected to use, yes?
Turn crosses upside down and make pentagrams bleed in your werewolf chest.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ophidian - Lost in the Halls of a Dream

Well, Swamplings, I'm not sure what to make of this one at all. Blackened Power Metal? Symphonic Italian Melodeath? There's all kinds of things going on here. The opening track, "Drowned In The Stygian Sea/Set In The Enigma Blaze" alternates between pretty orchestrated parts with operatic female vocals and grindy parts with screechy vocals, only to weave the two together with some emo-ish clean singing and death grunts in the background. Next we have the bafflingly titled "The Sarnath's Night," which is mostly slabs of Suffocation/At the Gates streamlined sound but with the female singer wailing away simultaneously with the death vocals, followed by some whispered narration. The other two songs here are equally schizophrenic and overstuffed. I can't find any information about this band at all, save that they share a name with some DJ douchebag and that this is their only release. Ah well, it certainly is strange and charming enough to stand on its own, but I'd love a lyric sheet.
Here come my revengeful desire!
Reply me! Reply Me!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

UFO - Force It

Guitarist Michael Schenker, the only person screwed up enough to be booted from the Scorpions twice, joined UFO on the album previous to this one, Phenomenon. That album marked a departure from the unfocused space rock UFO had played up til that point and edged towards the muscular, streetwise heavy metal they would become known for. On Force It this metamorphosis becomes more or less complete, and this platter should be enough to give pause to those who say they never made solid albums. This kicked off a five year period of productivity and boundless creativity that crashed and burned in 1980, when Schenker, ever the scumbag, was fired. Of course, I'm not saying this album is flawless: UFO had the same tendency as Thin Lizzy and other peers to mix in drippy ballads and the occasional useless cover, but those flaws are kept to a minimum here. Mostly we have solid, meaty heavy metal like "Shoot Shoot" and the underplayed classic "Love Lost Love," an ode to monopede-mania and backstage excess.
Let it Roll

Factoid: the couple on that excellent Hipgnosis cover is in fact Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Irish Coffee

Thick and creamy proto-metal slop from these Belgians on their only long player, this album floats on a layer of hockey rink keyboards and Quaalude delirium. The guitar chases its own tail in great flaming loops as the muffled rhythm section choogles on behind a thick, nasty fog. Of special note are the vocals, which range from hoarse gospelish bellowing to syrupy multiple harmonizing to mushmouthed mumbling, often in the same song. I like my coffee the way I like my rock and roll:
Fucking weird.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Esham - Bruce Wayne: Gotham City 1987

Well, it's been a moment since we've had some graphic, cartoonishly violent horrorcore, hasn't it? Oh dear, lets remedy that immediately. Esham, one half of the notorious "acid rap" pioneers Natas, baffingly assumes the alter ego Bruce Wayne, and proceeds to list in great detail his many horrendous crimes and superhuman sexual exploits. It's a bit overlong, like many albums of this style, full of skits and with most of the good stuff front-loaded. Somehow, though, Esham sounds crazier and crazier throughout the record, increasingly erratic and more dangerous. I still can't wrap my head around the Batman thing either, and Esham's many lyrical riffs on the subject are near gibberish. Still, there's a lot to like here, from the nasty synth skeets to the startling level of uncomfortable detail, if that's your sort of thing...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos - The Prosthetic Cubans

Los Cubanos Postizos is the abstract Latin jazz combo of longtime Tom Waits and John Zorn guitar wrangler Marc Ribot. Sinister cinematic sambas coexist with mellow, percussion heavy waltzes, with Ribot loosely weaving his razor-sharp guitar throughout. Most of these are fractured covers of famed guitarritsta Arsenio Rodriguez, father of the mambo. Not too much to say about this one, just trying to keep the cold at bay.
Como Se Goza En El Barrio

Monday, January 10, 2011

Root - Zjevení / The Revelation

This is the first full length by criminally unheard first wave Black Metal group Root, fronted by the burly Roky lookalike Big Boss. While they eventually evolved into a bizarre Lovecraftian chamber music style (years before this was fashionable), this one is pure primitive blackness, albeit already showing signs of burgeoning ambition and a healthy tongue-in-cheek attitude, quite unlike many of their more serious-minded contemporaries. Not that this album isn't dark and twisted, not at all; I'm just always more inclined to like bands that can poke fun at themselves and their genre whilst still being 100% sincere. I encourage fans of this album to seek out their increasingly esoteric and personal discography (up to a point), or you could just wait for me to eventually post them all.
Two versions:
Czech or English

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Queen & Michael Kamen - Highlander Soundtrack

Bafflingly, the soundtrack to 80's swordplay classic Highlander was never officially released. Numerous fan-made versions have been circulating for years though, with varying degrees of complete Queen songs, Kamen's score, and the incidental (and instrumental) music, mostly written by Brian May. This fairly straightforward version has six Queen originals, mostly culled from sub-par late period albums, about the same number of Kamen tracks, and two inevitable dance remixes. The compleatist may wish to seek out the two-disc version containing every little scrap, but for most this should be more than enough. The Queen songs are mostly killer, too, especially "Princes of the Universe," anti-nuclear war song "Hammer to Fall," and "Gimme the Prize," which features choice samples from that most metal of 80's villains, the Kurgan.
Don't Lose Your Head

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Anaal Nathrakh - When Fire Rains Down from the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as It Has Sown

Here's a good example of a band that I truly love, but only turn to in times of great desperation and grimness. Anaal Nathrakh plays a rabid blend of black, death, grind, and assorted other metals so violently and hideously that only it can make the impending end of the world seem comforting. Lyrically they concern themselves almost exclusively with apocalyptic matters, from the occult to the stupidly self-inflicted, and musically they sound like it's already upon us. Which it well might be, judging by recent events.
We Can Never Be Forgiven

(((link fixed)))

Friday, January 7, 2011

James Brown - The Payback

Continuing with yesterday's theme, and similarly short on time, I give you James Brown's landmark double album The Payback. One can make the argument that soul and funk were almost exclusively singles-based forms until around this time, when expanding song length, thematic continuity, and sustained groove began to overtake radio readiness and the three-minute cap as artistic parameters. Either way, this is definitely Brown's first real Album, a collection of hard-driving, one-or-two-note riffs, a gaggle of back-up singers, and some cinematic experimentation. This shift also brought somewhat to the forefront Brown's burgeoning social conscience and identification with the Black Power movement, as evidenced by the cover art and the tagline “We got a right to the tree of life”.
link removed

Thursday, January 6, 2011

John Prine - Sweet Revenge

I won't lie to you: 2011 has been a huge pain in the ass so far, leaving me precious little time to tend to the Swamp. I missed a day again yesterday due to various giant piles of bullshit, but I have arrived and I come bearing poisonous fruits. This is the stingingly sharp-tongued third LP from wildly underrated country asshole John Prine, who in a perfect world would be a household name. Then again, in a perfect world, he probably wouldn't exist. This album doesn't quite have the subversive, stoned snarl of his first album or the drunken hilarity of the second, but it compensates for this with buckets of bitter cynical humor and lots and lots of amphetamines, seemingly.
Please don't bury me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sutek Conspiracy

Quickly now: Sutek Conspiracy was a blistering hardcore project featuring one Leila Rauf of Saros, Memento Mori and Amber Asylum fame. This is a fan-made discography compilation. You need this, stop reading and download.
I Still Can't Stand Up Straight

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ammit - Armageddon Cobra

It's nice in a way to see that in the first week of 2011 we have received so many ill omens, so many harbingers of certain doom. You'd think that with time growing ever shorter, Chilean apocalyptic thrash gnomes Ammit would want to get to the point a bit sooner, but: first we have a disposable ambient intro. Then, eventually, the amazing song "Triple Headed Demon" (which contains its own, separate intro) concerning some sort of biblical seal opening, or something, with the immortal chorus: "Carnage! Fight! Triple Headed Demon!" Then, bafflingly, another ambient intro track, "Intro: Satan is this Real." Then, a G.G. Allin cover. Then two more ballistic Ammit originals, then an interlude, then a couple more songs, a W.A.S.P. cover, two more songs, and two outros. It's like a deck of ugly tarot cards and a stack of 3x5 English-as-a-Second-Language flash cards shuffled together and set on fire. For fans of idiot savant music like Von, The Shaggs, or Old Skull.
Birds lurking the prey
No glory for the deads

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pure Hell - Noise Addiction

Recorded in 1978 but unreleased until 28 years later, Philly's Pure Hell intended this as the follow-up to their only single, but numerous difficulties, ranging from drugs, personal infighting, sexual misconduct, to rampaging egomania, combined to form an impenetrable barrier to productivity, not to mention racism inside and outside of the punk scene. Pure Hell predated Bad Brains by at least three years, arguably making them the earliest all-black punk band. Hearing it now, though, is a revelation: this album is wildly forward thinking, combining the twin-guitar noisy classicism of the Voidoids with the big choruses and scrappy energy of the Replacements, but already pushing towards the speed and brevity of hardcore. A professed favorite of luminaries like Lemmy Kilmister and Phil Lynott, this is yet another case of boundless potential squashed under the blunt thumb of human stupidity and shortsightedness. And yet, here is the record, intact and bracing 30 years later.
Rot in the Doghouse

Saturday, January 1, 2011

John Zorn - Magick

In this first post of the new year, we find the furthest mystickal and alchemical explorations of jazz misanthropist John Zorn, primarily situated around a five-movement suite based on the Necronomicon. This work ebbs between Zorn's characteristic frenetic scribbling and some moodier ambient moments, at times verging on a sort of Spaghetti western starring Aleister Crowley. Entrancing and repellant.
Thought Forms
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