Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mourningside - Confessions Of Disbelieve

One day my friend Lars showed me the myspace site of a band, that, in his words "is a total Disembodied worship", Mourningside AD (actually I don't know if they have that AD now, or not anymore or whatever, because on the cover of my 7" there is no AD). Although Disembodied is probably a huge influence for this band they also remind me of other great 90ies bands, Mean Season for example or even Chokehold. Saying that, you should know what to expect: grooving, hard hitting Hardcore with a super heavy, metallic edge. The lyrics cover mostly personal topics, with a depressed but always combative undertone and a relation to political topics as well: "...we must come to the conclusion that we're on the brink of destruction. Liberation must be gained. Until we're free." (from "Life Deceived"). The production is perfect, not to "vintage sounding" and far away from beeing too slick, just as your favourite releases from New Age records for example.
Maybe Mourningside AD can't stand the comparison anymore, but it just fits so well; if this 7" would have been released 1995, it would be a sought after item now. Excellent stuff which makes me waiting for more! This 7" (released on Hard Press Records) should be avaible at your favourite mailorder or record store, get it.

Mourningside AD on

Seed Of Pain - Blindfolded And Doomed (Review)

I already own this record for a while and wanted to review it all the time, but I always felt (and in a way, still feel) too incompetent to express this piece of art in proper words. A record of this monumental greatness isn't easy to describe, because it offers so much in so many layers, you really have to take your time and dig deep into it to discover everything. Anyway, I'll give it a shot:
Seed Of Pain from Lucerne and Zug (Switzerland) is a band I was into since the first time I heard of them. We played with them in Mannheim, and at that point (which was in late 2007 or something) SOP perfectly played Hardcore in the vein of Über-bands like Burn and 108, and I was always impressed by Samuel's guitar playing (and his collection of effect pedals hahaha). And although they, even at this time, were (and of course still are) better musicians and song writers than most other Hardcore bands, they have kept such a refreshing "don't give a fuck" attitude. They don't have 12 different shirt designs and, most important, they don't act as if they want to be the next big thing by any means. Although they easily COULD, and that makes them great alone.
The gatefold LP (released on Cobra Records) looks from the outside like a Hardcore LP, like a good one though, just a b/w picture, you can't see really much, some fingers, something that looks like black paint spilled over the photograph itself, that's it. Open the gatefold, now it doesn't look like a typical Hardcore, or Metal, or Punk record at all. Just the lyrics, printed black on a plain white background, and nine photographs that look as if arranged by accident, showing things like an embryo, a hand, a foot, a brain, a box, and some stuff I can't perceive. So the inside of the gatefold makes you think about it, at least it does that for me, why those pictures, what's the relation to the songs etc.?
Describing the music without perverting it is nearly impossible; you can still hear that the backbone of it is Hardcore like the aforementioned Burn or 108, the second mainstay is heavy music like Neurosis for example. Those two components are fused and held together by elements of Post Punk, Industrial and Shoegazing, add loads of samples, countless layers of guitar tracks, reverb and delay effects (among others) and sometimes instruments like a piano or a mandolin to get at least a small picture of what to expect.
The record starts with a poem by Gottfried Benn and builds up a tension that lasts until the final, fading notes of the last song. My favourite track maybe "Blindfolded", because it features vocals of Remo Helfenstein from the Swiss Post Punk outfit Les Yeux Sans Visage, whose voice perfectly matches the music and athmosphere, so perfect you'll get the chills.
If those four (sometimes five) guys would give a fuck about it they really could be big, not necessaraly in the (anyhow quite limited) Hardcore scene, but really in bigger spheres. They are one of the most exciting, refreshing and greatest bands anyway. 
Seed Of Pain on

Blind To Faith - The Seven Fat Years Are Over (Review)

Although I'm not a big fan of "featuring members of...", in Blind To Faith's cause it's somehow justified, since we have here dudes of Rise & Fall, Amen Ra, Reproach and Insult, so you know that these guys know how to play Hardcore. Uh, I forgot, in an interview I read that BTF don't like Hardcore (...), so, they know how to play Punk Metal. And in fact they really do.
This 12" was released on Holy Terror Records, comes with sick looking artwork and is played from the inside, which may cause trouble on certain record players. At least the needle doesn't fall off at the end of each side (which it does for example on the first Dropdead LP haha).
The music could be best described as the bastard child of early Ringworm and Eyehategod - mean riffs, the speed varying from super fast blast beats to super slow sludgy rhythms, venomous vocals, a heavy, raw and dirty production - this is certainly the ugly face of Hardcore that has nothing in common with 99% of what is labeled as such, in so far it's really more Punk Metal that Hardcore. After 16 minutes it's all over and I know you'll flip over the record once again to repeat this nightmare.

Blind To Faith on
Holy Terror Records

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Acrid - Bombs Of Death Split 7"

Just in case that you brush you teeth with a steel brush, and stick large nails up your nose because you "somehow like" the feeling, this is for you.
Acrid should be known; their musical output is the meanest and ugliest way to play Hardcore, in a way they are to Hardcore what early Mayhem were to Metal: a punch in the face. The production's super raw, you barely hear any riffs or anything remarkable, most of time you just feel like getting hit by a train. The songs on this split 7" are not any different; before you realize what's happening to you, it's over. Your daily dose of "poisonfree powerviolence". IMO more interesting, due to the fact that those two are the only songs they've ever recorded: Bombs Of Death. BOD are basically Spazz, Assück and Struggle members, kicking out super heavy, mean Thrashmetal-Hardcore-Crossover, musically not unlike current bands like SSS or Municipal Waste, but without the "fun" content. Everything's about heaviness, darkness and brutality. It's really a bummer that those two songs (clocking in at 3:10 minutes) are everything this band ever recorded. I'd love to have at least a full EP of that.

Info about this split on the No Idea records site

Overstand - Kali Yuga (Review)

First post in 2010, I'm sorry I've been a bit lazy the last weeks, but on the other hand I'm not so lazy in dealing with the rest of my life (that basically means: my studies), I don't know if that's an excuse but I'll try to update the blog a little bit more often again. I still have tons of decent records flying around here that deserve a post, and some ideas of bands to interview are stuck in my head as well, so there are still things to do. 
For now, I'll concentrate on the first CD that was sent to me to review since the glorious Final Expression times, which is a cool fact alone. The band: Overstand, from New Jersey, with three members of Charge, if that means something to you. As far as Shawn informed me, this CD features songs that were originally released on a 7" on The Essence Records from the UK in 2008, on a Split 7" with SIRENS from Germany on Cobra Records, and five new jams. The label GAOTU (Grand Architect of the Universe) Records is Overstand's own label, that get's them 10 DIY scene points from my side already.
So let's focus on the music; as a nice coincidence, just in the very moment I'm sitting here and writing this, the sun shines through my window for the first time since, I don't know, September 2009 or something haha. And Overstand's music perfectly fits the mood I'm in now. The foundation of Overstand is classic, tight Hardcore á la Cro Mags and Bad Brains, mixed up with loads of cool stuff from quite "unpunk" music like reggae or funk, infused with a lot of bluesy rock riffs, so that the result sounds like Bad Brains jamming with War Hungry. Maybe a weird comparison, but I think it fits. The production's perfect for this music, with a warm guitar sound, groovy bass, clear drum sound, so nothing to complain here either.
The CD comes in a really cool looking case made out of screen printet paper, with a big, copied inlay with nice live shots from the band and the lyrics. Another 10 DIY points. I love that.
The lyrics cover different topics like skateboarding, politics, friendship, being yourself, freedom etc., and a lot of lyrics seem to inspired by Rastafarianism, that's at least my impression when I read words like "Babylon System", "Jah love" and stuff like that. So there's definetly some religious content to the lyrics, but not in way it would disturb me. It's more about being positive, and making the best out of your life, and even though "Jah" isn't my cup of tea, a can accept it, as long as it doesn't mean dedicating yourself to organized religions whatsoever.
To sum it up, if you're into eclectic hardcore and miss that so many bands don't have a positive message these days, go and try Overstand, you probably won't be disappointed. When I listen to this stuff I want it to be August, my skateboard, and a decent skate spot to destroy. And not too many records give me that desire anymore.

Overstand on