From the city of champions, Eternal Sleep reigns with an iron fist that attacks full-frontally without a shred of mercy. Their debut release, Dead Like Me is a rampaging powerhouse that smashes its way to the hearts and ears of mosh pits everywhere. While keeping the integrity of the sound, Eternal Sleep also changes the variables to include articles of the noise genre, sampling, and breakdowns that adds an additional layer of re-playability to an already outstanding record.
Eternal Sleep consists of Joseph Sanderson on the vocal aspect, delivering on the guitar is Travis Bennington, on bass is Ben Duty, and behind them is Colin Bennington on the percussion. Together, Eternal Sleep is a quad-headed monster of aggression that perpetually continues on a forward march. From the start of Dead Like Me, Eternal Sleep instantly launches into a flurry of furious intentions as “Small Talk” asks a simple question before sprinting into the music. As soon as “You ready?” leaves the lips, Eternal Sleep wastes no time in bringing in the rush of grinding strings, pounding percussion, and screams that make Dead Like Me, a punishing record from start to finish.
Incredibly angry, incredibly forceful, but also incredibly exciting; Eternal Sleep makes quick, but ultimately substantial use of the eleven-minute run time. From the sudden transition to the following track “Speak : Not Speak,” Dead Like Me also makes a use of transitioning the sound from a blitzing assault, to more of a slowed, but still deadly following. “Speak : Not Speak” uses a large focus on the vocals coming from Sanderson and continues to make another focal point on the chorus where Eternal Sleep shouts in unison “Fuck You… I never loved you.” As if a band could project a middle finger through music, Eternal Sleep switches into a bone-crunching breakdown that finally brings silence to the otherwise overtly style of play.
As the self-titled track “Dead Like Me” starts, it is met with feedback on Travis Bennington’s guitar and a sample of the (1980) movie Altered States, in which character Eddie Jessup begins, “I was in that ultimate moment of terror that is the beginning of life. It is nothing. Simple, hideous nothing. The final truth of all things is that there is no final truth…” Eternal Sleep also samples the (1985) film Brazil in which the character Mrs. Lowery explains, “Of course you want something. You must have hopes, wishes, dreams…” to which Sam Lowry replies, “No, nothing. Not even dreams!” This is the catalyst that brings in the final leg of Dead Like Me.
Ending with an atom bomb of proportions, Eternal Sleep screams, “Rest In Peace” and delivers on all fronts; a punching grind that uses different vocal layers, changes in the percussive play style, and a consistent hammering of the strings. As Dead Like Me comes to an unfortunate close, Eternal Sleep reminds not only Pittsburgh, but the world of hardcore why they are an unstoppable force of nature. The final breakdown of agony that delivers the inevitable silence is more brutal and more crushing than anyone could prepare for.
Franck Dadure & The Fakir Orchestra brilliantly combines both the synthetic recreation of electronic instruments, and authentic instrument sounds together to create a common partnership between the man and the machine. The relationship is almost instantly connected and has a great sense of flow that attaches onto each other. The synthetic moments make for the moments of true intrigue as they draw in the listener with subtlety, only to lead to an ambush of sound as the surrounding instruments join in. The instrumentalists, comprised of Franck Dadure, Dominque Grimaldi, Fabien Duscombs, Frédéric Sachs, Elliott Touzalin, and Daniel Zimmermann. Together, creating one mass of instrumentalists that together, create a new style of jazz.
Dadure also composes film and this translates incredibly well with the sound of Tako Mitsu, the record is entertaining and continues to keep surprises tucked away like a deck of cards. From the start with the self-titled track, “Tako Mitsu,” Dadure uses both vocal repetition and layered sections of horns where Dadure’s BandCamp page explains, “Tako Mitsu is a musical tour that begins in Japan with the singular interpretation of a traditional nursery rhyme, Bangladesh, French and Sweden.” It becomes almost instantaneously apparent that Dadure will explore a broad variety of cultures and sounds as “Tako Mitsu” uses childhood echoes that repeat a mantra of sorts. This mantra continues and is the first substantial instruments that stands out on the title track. When paired with the slick movements of the string ensemble, the proud horns, and the bouncing bass line that is laid down, it becomes a strange mix of eeriness and wonder.
Then as the percussion begins to flood in, the transfers between snare, cymbal, and what sound like handmade percussive instruments like bowls dropping and keys rattling creates a sense of organization. Franck Dadure & The Fakir Orchestra is not quite a free-form style of jazz, but it does pertain to those certain aspects as when the full range of instruments is cranking along like a well oiled machine, the piano in particular will move in a sweeping motion along the keys to create a small, almost controlled chaos within the track. As “Tako Mitsu” comes to a final stopping point, it makes sure to close by falling apart with instruments askew and a transitioning lead synthesizer that brings “Electric Sodium Trumpet” into frame.
Entirely instrumentally driven, The Fakir Orchestra creates drastic changes through each track, but maintains a level of familiarity so that no single track feels out of place or completely astray from the path. As a matter of fact, Tako Mitsu stays consistent with its approaches into the more experimental styles of jazz, even when crafting the authentic styled walls that will surround the sound, Franck Dadure still manages to include the authenticity of physical instruments packed into the electronic aspect. As the music breaks apart and becomes a sudden dash of a pre-loop percussive dance style beat, the band still maintains a large focus on authenticity as well.
In the track, “Le Sémaphore ambigu” it becomes almost atmospheric and reminiscing of a classic style of jazz with a new twist. The horn sections and percussion sections can be taken in a Miles Davis or John Coltrane style, but with the underlying and pushing piano, “Le Sémaphore ambigu” becomes more sinister towards the end of its run time and even as the track ends, the following picks up in similar fashion with “The Road to Almeria.” It is rather menacing, but instead changes to a slithering style of instrumental that relies on cymbal crashes and a focus on switching from subtlety and abrasiveness. Both style choices are effective in creating a constant shifting motion that also carries over into the much softer, more approachable following track.
“L’escalator Qui Plerue” is a soft-spoken giant of piano that creates the bass lines, and a saxophone that wails almost alone, completely standing out from the misty style that the other backing instruments create. It is one of the most impactful tracks on Tako Mitsu as it uses a sluggish approach, but stays fluent enough to stand on its own. The use of minimalistic instruments was a wise choice as it pins the focal point on just two entities, this is a drastic change before “The Grand Telerol Hotel” which resorts back to the usual style of previous, more enthusiastic tracks.
However, a track that truly stands out is “Coke Au Vin,” an incredibly experimental and strange track that sounds nothing like the rest of the album. It acts more as a track that tries to use everything in the vicinity, from big pieces of sheet metal to the clunking drums, the whole track feels like a scrambled mess. As a collective, Tako Mitsu is a powerful piece of jazz fusion that creates suspense and feels like a cinema masterpiece wrapped in a more convenient package.
Black Pus is straight from the dungeons of music where the light never touches the surface. The deepest, darkest sections where most music fans will never even dare to venture into, only true fanatics who like the occasional bone crunching, aggressive punches from music seek out the thrills and horrors of Black Pus’s domain. He is welcoming to few, stand-offish to all, and leaves a trail of busted teeth and misery that follows behind his music.
While Black Pus is unfortunately only a moniker and Black pus is actually Brian Chippendale by day, but Chippendale’s musical background and artistic background is actually much deeper than just Black Pus. Stemming his musical ability from Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer, Chippendale also has written a book, Battlestack Galaticrap Foods, and even directed a movie The Power of Salad, which was a documentary that included Peter Glantz and Nick Noe that follows Lightning Bolt’s time in Rhode Island. Even as Chippendale takes up the Black Pus cowl at night, by day he is a graphic design artist that creates both stencil works and album artwork, Brian Chippendale is truly a jack of all trades that has a much more sinister underbelly than most would see at first glance.
As Black Pus first emerged, 2006 saw the self-released dawn of Black Pus and was, “A collection of ferocious free jazz, multi-tracked on Chippendale’s cassette four track.” Incredibly forceful through his approaches, Black Pus is music for the deaf. The vibrations are so substantial impactful, so detrimental, and so downright ugly that his tracks can be felt and to see Chippendale’s sporadic musical playing style live would seem like a freak show. He brings amps and speakers that are taller than any creature and the one-man drumming machine launches right into an onslaught of distorted yells, tribal-like drums, and loops that rumble stages and crumble buildings down to their foundation. Not only is this style of play instantly recognizable as Black Pus’s own, but it echoes into the limitations of what one person can do. Black Pus sees no walls in his path and has no real barriers, his sound is his own and he imitates no one.
Black Pus is a strange case in the musical world. His musical style is the strangest that I personally have heard ever and he combines both Noise and Punk into a mixing pot of abrasive, aggressive, ugliness that never really shows a sign of peace or silence. Black Pus is truly a monument in impracticality, a beacon of hope in an over-saturated music world, a statue that destroys all limitations and truly sets his own path. Black Pus is a force to be reckoned with, and he desperately begs to crush anything and everything that stands in his way.
Emotions are a pivotal component in an artist’s daily life, they control the exact way that their motive of operation’s direction and display their inner feelings about the world that surrounds them. This is all true, but rarely does an artist capture such a profound topic and contain such a feeling of raw emotion than Blanck Mass does on their newest record, World Eater. The love child of Benjamin John Power, Blanck Mass is an electric journey from the start to finish. Power does an incredible job of steeping to new heights and proving just what can be done with a minimal set of instruments and exactly how Power himself set these limitations as a way to light his comfort zone ablaze, creating an entirely new sound that both creates an enigmatic state, but also balances between beauty and pure fear.
The opening of World Eater grits the teeth and unleashes an incredibly cheerful, but gentle opening that leads the listener into what sounds like a madhouse of sound. “John Doe’s Carnival of Error” is just as the title suggests, it is reminiscing of a child-like wonder that has a substantial amount of draw to it. As the track slowly evolves, it becomes a mix of strange, chopped voices that are near impossible to make out and then erupts into a wall of sound that contains crashing suspended cymbals, synths that fade in from the background to the foreground, and an unexpected segue into a rapid-fired, electronic track that becomes a synthetic mix of both portions of dance rhythms and aggressive punches of bass and snare.
Almost introducing a cult-like consistent pounding from the percussion, “Rhesus Negative” is strength-ridden and brings about Power’s main message that he states on his BandCamp Page. Blanck Mass begins, “As humans, we are aware of our inner beast and should therefore be able to control it. We understand our hard-wired primal urges and why they exist in an evolutional sense. We understand the relationship between mind and body. Highly evolved and intelligent, we should be able to recognize these genetic hangovers and control them…” Power then moves on to say, “The human race is consuming itself…” Even as World Eater does show immense signs of incredible amounts of power and assertiveness through the seven-track record; World Eater still produces signs and sounds of hope for the future as well.
As the third-track, “Please” slides into frame after the frantic style of “Rhesus Negative,” Blanck Mass produces a better spotlight into the minimalistic style that was spoken about earlier. Using reverberated clicks and distorted voices, Blanck Mass illustrates a grand, open soundscape that produces echoing noises that follow the track until the bass lines are introduced. This is when the “Please” can take its mold as the distortion weighs heavily and creates a sense of waves that crash over the track, generating confusion that both collapses and reappears throughout the different sections. Even at the most minimalistic moments, World Eater is still incredibly layered and complex; Power creates moments of beauty that contrast between the moments of darkness and these contrasts work wonderfully. World Eater is a record that will generate a thousand different emotions within the near 50-minute runtime, and is a welcome change as the consistent flow keeps Blanck Mass continually fresh.
Aggression and animosity floods back into World Eater as “The Rat” jumps head first into the foreground and launches an instant assault of kicks that resonate as the pounding bass drums and increases in intensity as playful synths are introduced. Blanck Mass produces a power-hungry animal that borders on constant destruction as the instruments become progressively faster, stronger, and more unsusceptible toward the inevitable end that suddenly bounces into “Silent Treatment.”
These sudden jumps made by Blanck Mass make World Eater so unpredictable, so highly-spirited, and so adventurous that the sound from each track to the next is a completely new experience every single time. Similar to Clams Casino’s sound, “Silent Treatment” is a mix of both hopeful synths and simple percussion that moves between sixteenth-notes and these clam-like synths that open up and displays a much softer side of Blanck Mass. This soft side also continues into the following, “Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked.” While the first portion, “Minnesota” is a noise-ridden and entirely unmusical styled track that instead relies on atmosphere and synthetic motions to then segue into the much easier to follow second portion, “Eas Fors.” More musical than its predecessor, “Eas Fors” continues to use atmosphere and eventually leads to a gentle intermission that focuses on using wind chimes and synth pads which then allows “Naked” to transition the sound with echoing drums and a large focus on tranquility.
The last triple-threat, “Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked” is also the catalyst which leads into the final act of World Eater. “Hive Mind” leaves World Eater on a more than hopeful high note that echoes into the future and begs the question and the answering of human nature and the controlling motions of emotions. Man’s inner beast, that continues to thrive.
Detroit is home to the mecca of the music industry, spanning a long history of both rock, rap, and the obvious, hardcore music that struck harder, moved faster, and took less mercy than any other city in the United States. Able to instill fear into their enemies, Negative Approach formed in 1981 under the guise of John Brannon and Pete Zelewski, and as the line-ups changed and the boundaries shifted, Negative Approach slowly became signed on Touch and Go records and formed several different line-ups before releasing their first, self titled 7” record. With John Brannon leading the vocals, Chris “Opie” Moore on the percussion, Rob McCulloch on the guitar, and Graham McCulloch on the bass, Negative Approach became one of the founding fathers of hardcore music.
Located in the motor city capital of the world, Negative Approach cut their teeth in the hardcore scene by playing basement shows and doing tours with other surrounding bands at the time. One of the biggest movements in the 1980’s, Negative Approach moved in the same shadowy scenes as Necros, Black Flag, OFF! And even The Meat Puppets which while Negative Approach had a short career span before re-launching back in 2006, would still be followed by so many and claimed as to be one of the originators of hardcore music.
Negative Approach 7” comes as a lightning bolt that only lasts two-seconds over nine-minutes long and never shows a single second of mercy. From one track to the next, Negative Approach 7” is a constant pounding that assaults the ears with the power-hungry screams of Brannon and the abrasiveness of the instruments. As Negative Approach performs a mad-man like style on the musical front, the energy levels go through the roof and show no signs of stopping. From the first second of “Can’t Tell No One,” Negative Approach makes it known that they are going to be stomping, kicking, and punching their way through their debut release.
No track present on Negative Approach 7” reaches over the two-minute mark and tracks like “pressure,” “Why Be Something That You’re Not,” an “Fair Warning” are over so incredibly quick that it appears that Negative Approach is following the Get-In-And-Get-Out approach that other hardcode bands of this era were also doing. Negative Approach floods the ears of anyone caught in the blast radius and decides to break down any barriers that stand in their way. Without warning they crush the audience and sprint out just as quickly as they appeared. They personified youth rage and continually delivered a belligerent attitude with their tracks that captured the immense fun that came along with listening and performing hardcore music.
Negative Approach were just one of the many spotlight performers that contained an atom bomb’s worth of energy and the final closing track, “Negative Approach” makes it incredibly clear that the band had no problem giving every ounce of energy into one single movement. As Brannon nearly shrieks into the microphone, “Risk you take are calculated, though you think are all outdated. You’ve done nothing but make me laugh, cause you’re not ready to accept a negative approach, negative approach.” Incredibly hostile, incredibly forceful, but incredible on all fronts, Negative Approach makes for a sucker-punch to the system that begs to be played at high volume and to be moshed to once again, just as it was back in 1982.
Lately I have lost all motivation and want to jump from a 12-story building. I don’t want to write anything, so here is a few bands that I found out about this weekend that I have been digging on. I will most likely go back to doing Misc. Mondays and other stuff like normal but eh…
Thank you for the support and I hope that the people who read this actually take time to listen to the music I write about. It’ll change our little insignificant lives.
First Up on the list is
Sorry for the lack of fun this Monday, but here is a song that pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling about the world and yeah…. I also hate putting my feelings into stuff but whatever. I can say whatever I want to in the physical world and no one can stop me…
Skeletonized is indeed a rare breed of musical style that branches out from the gutters of Pittsburgh to bring an aggressive twist on the one-man band show. Drummer Matt Rappa combines both the authenticity of raw percussion work and various samples and electronics to create an unholy triple threat of emotion, confusion, and intrigue. Throughout his work, Rappa works in both the sporadic movement of jazz, to the complex cadences of heavy bass focused tracks with grooving snare rolls and freeform flow that is impossible to replicate and comes strongly on the ears.
As Self-Titled Cassette Excerpt opens, it is greeted with the simply titled “Side A Excerpt” that begins with near math-rock proportions of wailing horns, pounding percussion, and an assault of noise that floods to the listener and is reminiscing of an unfiltered and never calm style. The random flow, while incredibly un-fabricated and seemingly without direction shows a sincere sense of creating a completely new idea. While taking elements from other sections and genres of music, Skeletonized is able finally wind down and eventually leave the sporadic playing for more of a groove on the second half of “Side A Excerpt.” This is where the sections begin to connect and show a more distinct sense of direction. Even as the second half slowly falls in and out of these sporadic moments, Rappa is still able to bring back the reigns and really hunker down behind the cracks of both the snare and the Morse code like noises that play behind him. Finally, “Side A Excerpt” lets the dust settle with a large amount of feedback and silence before launching back into another glimpse into the pseudo-future of both animalistic unpredictability, and sheer ferocity.
Launching back into the undefined style, “Side B Excerpt” puts an immensely large focus on combining both the horns and percussion, but in a way that lets both instruments have their own spotlight. As the horns continue to wail and what sounds like a saxophone plays through both low grumbles and increasingly bravado style blurts, the percussion follows behind with continuing rolls and smacks on the cymbal domes to give off a complementary feeling between the powerhouse of instruments. Then as the percussion gradually takes the lead, the horns dial back and are instead replaced with these strange and unruly synths that take the backseat to the thunderous bass drums. Skeletonized is more of an experience and the Self-Titled Cassette Excerpt while only a small look into the future of Skeletonized, is still large enough to get a taste of something more.
The public can only look forward to the future of the eccentric, but overly and ultimately incredible work that is Skeletonized.
Unwound holds a special place in 1990’s American Music as they were able to produce such a unique, genre-blending style while keeping a consistent flow of giving aggressive and abrasive tracks, but also pulling back the reigns and showing a softer, more approachable side as well. From the first seconds, Fake Train has a gravitational pull toward a chanting, punk rock style that balances both intrigue from the sparse and singular guitar work from Justin Trosper who also acts as Unwound’s lead vocalist, but also the incoming gentle rain of the bass guitar from Vern Rumsey and the gradual building of Sara Lund on percussion.
Hearing Fake Train for the first time is like stumbling upon a lost treasure that has finally been re-found. Unwound’s Fake Train is quite familiar, but different in its own regards. The biggest or most noticeable change is that while a debut record from Unwound, the production from Steve Fisk and Unwound’s direction is incredible. Fake Train goes through a constant wave of emotion and even at its lowest points, Fake Train still manages to progress and keep every single moving part, still congruent.
The opening track, “Dragnalus” is a somber reflection on the emptiness of daily life and how monotony can be the silent killer. Trosper explains, “My life, your life, this life, our lives you’re so bored with…I don’t feel strange, I don’t feel anything.” This is while Rumsey moves as a pillar in the foreground as his bass rumbles along and creates a clear distinction between the common-misconception of creating just a rhythm section. Rumsey acts above the call of duty and creates his own path that differentiates from both Lund and Trosper. Surprisingly, this is also Lund’s first record release and does an immaculate job with moving around her kit in both a loose and refreshing style. This becomes extremely evident on the following track, “Lucky Acid” where the percussion makes quick dashes between the snare and the cymbals. This style of playing is the catalyst that allows both Rumsey and Trosper to smack back along, creating one of the faster tracks found on Fake Train. “Lucky Acid” is a quickened series of dashes that show little time for recovery as it continually smashes and punches the way to the bitter end where the instruments become a sudden fallen mismatch of random, sporadic playing that falls to eventual silence.
Fake Train changes lanes so frequently between tracks, but amazingly, the true flow of the record never loses focus or becomes hard to follow. Instead, Unwound uses these different styles to their advantage and focuses on making both aggressive pushes like the track “Kantina” where Trosper can nearly yell his lyrics, begging, “wait, wait, wait, wait, don’t go. Stay, please stay, please… Resigned, the sunrise was a lie, was a dream, it’s too dark outside to be alive.” Both Lund and Rumsey support these screams with building sections where suddenly, the instruments become louder and louder and in mere seconds; Unwound is blasting at full force. “Kantina” is also another track where the music can shift and become almost silent. The constant waves that follow the rising actions and the falling fits of breaking down is incredible and is a progressive tool that shifts the focus between every aspect of Unwound’s style of play.
Fake Train then jumps back into the more, straightforward focused style with “Pure Pain Sugar” where the gradual builds are abandoned and instead traded for a lightning bolt of shock where Unwound moves, striking fast and aggressively; wasting no time as they continually pound away with rapid drum strikes, bass and guitar that move effortlessly through the fret board, and vocals that induce the world’s first screaming match with oneself. Trosper exclaims, “Another episode, we laugh, we cry, we’d almost rather die. The pain’s too great, don’t hesitate to taste your own. I feel okay, you want to know how I’d feel today.” This style is also adapted into the following, “Gravity Slips” where a locomotive style build is introduced and then gives way into a classic, punk rock style of track. Fast, abrasive, and unforgettable, “Gravity Slips” is incredibly angry but the short-lived assault is eventually traded once again for one of the most melodic and crawling styles on Fake Train.
“Star Spangled Hell” begins with subtle guitar moves from Trosper that eventually form into a more destructive attack that pushes the limits with substantial amounts of feedback and a sudden shift in power as the track falls into the pit of near silence once again. The waving motion is the most consistent theme of Fake Train as it is always present and challenges the listener in the way that Unwound moves. From the breakneck speed of tracks like “Gravity Slips”, “Lucky Acid”, or even “Honourosis”, to the melodic beauty of “Were, Are and Was or Is,” Fake Train creates a new mold that destroys both the walls of genre, and the walls known about creating a specific sound.