Archive for July, 2010

To Kvlt To Be Tr00 #2

Posted in To Kvlt To Be Tr00 with tags , , on July 18, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

It’s time for another “To Kvlt To Be Tr00.” Click on the above picture for a far more legible and magnified version of the the above comic strip.


Bloodbath – “The Wacken Carnage” review

Posted in Bloodbath, death metal, DVD review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Playing at the biggest venue in metal, Wacken Open Air, is a fantastic accomplishment that many bands can only fathom. To perform for nearly 70,000 roaring metalheads in your first live gig is truly a unique achievement which few bands can claim. Swedish death metal outfit Bloodbath is no ordinary band however. Touted as a conglomeration of death metal elite, Bloodbath lives up to the reputation. The live band consists of drummer Martin Axenrot (Opeth, ex-Witchery), bassist Jonas Renske (Katatonia), lead guitarist Anders Nyström (Diabolical Masquerade), vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), and guitarist/vocalist/drummer/microphone technician/costume designer/all-around-badass Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, Katatonia).

To commemorate their first, and reportedly last, concert, Bloodbath released a DVD entitled The Wacken Carnage. The DVD features a handful of tracks from each of their previous releases, including several from their debut EP, Breeding Death. Without hesitation, Bloodbath opens the concert immediately bringing forth vivid memories of old school death metal bands such as Entombed, Dismember, and Suffocation. Akerfeldt makes this ode to old school death metal apparent when describing the goals and aspirations of Bloodbath. ‘Brave New Hell’ starts off with a classic drop beat on drums, which the band affectionately calls the “Stockholm Beat,” and ‘Furnace Funeral’ contains a rendition of Entombed’s ‘Left Hand Path’ guitar solo.

Fans of Åkerfeldt in Opeth must be forewarned, for Åkerfeldt drops the guise of a tender-hearted proghead; instead, he sounds as if he came straight from hell on a demonic mission. While not overly adventurous, the instrumentation on the DVD is accurate, aggressive, and blends perfectly with Mikael’s demonic vocals. Tremolo picking and blast beats are plentiful, but not overused. Renske on bass is barely audible at times, but this does not necessarily hurt the overall quality of the performance.

The latter half of the album contains the most important tracks, those which truly display Bloodbath’s passion and knack for creating top-notch death metal. ‘Bastard Son of God,’ a blazingly fast track which forces me to headbang, showcases Bloodbath’s songwriting talent. The scream issued by Swanö and Åkerfeldt before the last chorus of the song ranks as one of my favorite moments in metal. ‘Breeding Death,’ although over a decade old, is still fantastically vicious, with both gut-wrenching passages of brutality and inviting melodic lines. The encore, ‘Eaten,’ is a very appropriate way for the bloodstained band to end their set. Inspired by the infamous case of internet cannibalism (Google: Armin Meiwes), ‘Eaten’ is clearly the fan favorite, and rightfully so. The track is simply a wrecking ball, nothing too technical, but devastating nonetheless.

Most songs on the DVD seem to present as a combination of Dismember’s Like an Everflowing Stream and Entombed’s Clandestine with less emphasis on lead guitar. While Bloodbath is clearly trying to reminisce and pay homage to the Swedish bands that produced classic death metal, they create a unique, memorable sound via precise and passionate musicianship.


Naked City – “Torture Garden” Album Review

Posted in album review, avant-garde, Grindcore, Jazz, Naked City with tags , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Pleasure through pain is an experience oft connected with the BDSM fetish scene, with the term “algolagnia” specifically used to describe this sort of kink.  How fitting it is then, that Naked City’s Torture Garden, with its album art taken directly from a Japanese BDSM porno, tackles this specific perversion in both concept and sound.

Whoever thinks that jazz is limited to the “elevator music” played off dusty old 10”s has never heard Naked City’s destruction of not only jazz music, but the overall restrictions of a typical musical band: consistent song structures, verse or chorus patterns, and lyrics.  Perhaps a big “fuck you” to these musical standards or an ode to Naked City’s hardcore/grindcore influences, the songs on Torture Garden are incredibly spastic and sometimes contain three or more genres within one sub-minute grindcore track.  Notable pieces include “N.Y Flat Top Box,” a primarily country music song whose twang is interrupted by hiccups of blast beats, “Cairo Chop Shop,” an aptly-named romp that serves as a brief yet disturbing glimpse into the Egyptian underground, and “Kaoru,” with a musical box lullaby strangely evocative of the prologue from Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander.  This genre hopping style can be dizzying and definitely a turn-off for the casual listener.  But then again, when has avant-garde jazz/grindcore hybrids ever been aimed at the masses?

Most commonly labeled as “too loud” or generalized by the layman as “screamo,” extreme metal and grindcore somehow find a target audience that hears something compelling hidden behind the cacophonous sound.  Seemingly, Torture Garden is an experiment in this idea.  If we can derive enjoyment from this music that breaks most, if not all, musical standards and should prove a “painful” listening experience, then aren’t we algolagniacs?  Perhaps hidden within any adventurous music fan is this innate desire to test our limits.  What may initially be painful can turn into a pleasurable experience.