Friday, May 30, 2008

Underrated Masters: Mortal Sin

In a post a few weeks back, I reported, in detail, about Tankard. The Germans are one of the most underrated bands in Metal. In the same vein, Mortal Sin never got the recognition they deserved. Most things from Australia are pretty shitty and gay, like kangaroos, koalas, INXS and Olivia Newton-John. But not these Aussies!

When we were a kids, my brother and I were limited musically to whatever records made it to South America's stores and whatever dubbed tapes we got from friends, who'd gotten them from their friends. Well, in a trip to the record store in the mall in '89 or so, we saw a Face of Despair record in the Rock section. At first I thought the band might be some shitty Christian rock, but when I turned the record around I realized these guys meant business. Metal business. White high-tops, ripped frosted denim jeans, sleeveless "Shut-up and Skate" T-shirt and Suicidal Tendencies-like bandanas? Damn, the temptation was too much. We bought the LP and played it as soon as we got home. We were not disappointed.

"Face of Despair" quickly became one of our favorite records. We never really got the cover, with the girl and the "SEX" neon sign and a syringe and the crucifix... I guess they were trying to make a deep point about girls and sex and health care in Australia. Whichever way, the music spoke for itself. The first song on side B, "Innocent Torture" opens with a rad sample of a judge sentencing someone to death. From there Mortal Sin rip a fucking awesome tune with awesome riffs that would make Tenacious D proud. The production on the record is not super clean and the guitar sound is a little whiney, but the that song is still one of my favorite thrash tracks of all time. The other tune in here that is bad-ass is "I Am Immortal". Here's a video from some TV show in the 1989. It might be in Australia, but I thought they only got electricity there in the late 90's...

So, here we were, in love with a band we knew nothing about and wanting more. We didn't even know where they were from. We'd have settled for any info at all, but what we had coming was more than we expected. Enter: the Peña Twins.

If it wasn't for Mortal Sin, the Peña Twins wouldn't be mentioned at all in our memoirs. The Twins used to ride bus #1 from school with us and got off on 140th Street, just below 7th Avenue. They were pretty annoying kids and were always getting in trouble, so my brother and I ignored them through the school year. That was only until one day, when one of them (the one with braces) asked me if I'd ever heard of Mortal Sin. "Fuck!", I thought, "how does this little shit know about OUR band?" Mortal Sin wasn't a band people were allowed to listen to without getting permission from us. After all, we'd discovered them. How did Peña Twin #1 know about them? How did he know anything about metal at all? Sure he wore high-tops and had a skater cut with a rat-tail, but he was far from being metal. They knew who Black Sabbath was and maybe even Metallica, but that was about it. My friends and I had a list of ALL metalheads in the school and the Peña Twins were NOT in it. I was shocked. Hiding my outrage, I told them I knew who they were. He then told me he had one of their records. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this POSER has a Mortal Sin record?" Well, he probably bought it by mistake in the same record store we bought ours, I thought. "I can't remember what it's called, but the cover has a demon eating buildings" - "You must be mistaken, dude. That's not a demon, it's a little girl. And she's not eating shit, she's scared as hell!" He told me I was crazy and he'd bring the record to school the next day.

Originally released in '86 with the cover on the left and re-issued in '87 with the cover on the right.

"Fuck my ass!" or something like that, is what I thought the next day when I saw one of the Peña Twins holding "Mayhemic Destruction." I don't even know if it was the same Twin, but at that point I was more concerned with being one-uped by certified posers than analyzing the differences between these 2 genetic mutant freaks. My brother and I looked at each other in horror. We were both thinking the same thing: "Don't look surprised, we can't let them think they know more than we do." But they did. They had a Mortal Sin record we didn't! It was too much to bare, we had to compromise our metal integrity to listen to this record. I broke down and asked him to borrow it. "We already have it on tape, at home, of course" I lied, "but the tape is really old and you can hardly hear it."
Wow! The sound was much rawer than I had expected. I realized while listening to it that it was their first record. It wasn't as Meliah Rage-ish as "Face...", it reminded me more of "Kill 'Em All" or "Ride The Lightning" Pretty goddam metal whatever it reminded me off. I made a tape of the record and returned it to the fucking Peña Twins. Fuck'em. Here's my favorite tune from that album, "Women In Leather".

It wasn't until 12 years later that I would finally own a copy of "Mayhemic (is that even a real word?) Destruction" I got a really nice Japanese pressing that I paid entirely too much money for. I also scored a 12" single called "Voyage Of The Disturbed" that the sold on tour in the US in '89.

My Mortal Sin vinyl collection today. The Peña Twins ain't got shit on me anymore!

So, I guess after "Face..." the Australians went the way of kangaroo shit. The have re-formed again and again, but it's not the same. One of the dudes put out a record in '91 under the name Mortal Sin and got sued quick-like. What a douche.

What a gay cover. No wonder he got sued.

A new record came out in '07, but the new line up is pretty pathetic and a few of them have advanced cases of Robb Flynn's Disease. It's very sad. See for yourself. The video starts off with no audio, but give it a second.

Anyway, here's to another underrated band that made the days of my youth worth living. Cheers, mates!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In a summer, a young man's fancy turns to wigger slam

With more and more wigger slam bands cropping up every day, it can be hard to keep up. That's what I am here for: to make sure that no guttural slamming brutality slips through the cracks for our readers! Our data indicates that most Metal Inquisition readers are primarily into dinosaur metal, so I know that most of you hate this stuff, but you should challenge yourself to man up and join the guttural slamming brutality crew!

If you don't feel you are ready for being a slam metal fan, you should stop reading immediately. Instead, pick up the Relapse catalog, put on some Mastodon or Braindrill, and enjoy the safety of fossil metal.

Let's begin with what I feel is probably the best slam metal band in the history of guttural slamming brutality. I know that's a pretty bold statement, but after you give them a listen I think you will agree. Cephalotripsy is the best of Internal Bleeding combined with the crushing pit riffment necrotic embludgeonmenting of Devourment. Put this record on and you will be slamming around your room before you know it.

I am not sure how to say the name of this band, but they are a great Japanese wigger slam band featuring ex-Rest In Gore members with some hot chick playing bass. They basically sound exactly like Rest In Gore, which is a really good thing. Just from this photo you can tell they will be sweet because it's a bunch of normal looking Japanese dudes wearing illegible death metal shirts, camo shorts and baseball hats. But getting back to the chick, look how good her hair is. I'm jealous of Asians because they have such naturally shiny, dark, straight hair, and it's so easy for them to have cool, piecey ends.

NJDOTS is basically what New Yorkment would be if they weren't a joke band. If you don't know about some dirty Jer-Z shit now, you will after jamming their demo. NJDOTS stands for "New Jersey Department of Transportation Suicide," after the way that people kill themselves by throwing themselves in front of NJ Transit trains. They don't have any hardcore influences, but I would like to think that Rick Ta Life and ANT$ would be down with them anyway. It's all Jer-Z.

Abort Mastication
Here is another Japanese band that describes themself as "Brutaldeathmetal Goregrind Moshgore Grindcore Chaotic." To me it sounds like brutal death metal with a generous helping of slams, but you can be the judge. Mostly I just love their Engrish.

Now technically this might not be wigger slam, and it's definitely not new, but I just came across this band and wanted to share. I was a big Cinerary fan, and this band has 2 or 3 guys from Cinerary, so you pretty much know what to expect: brutal as fuck death metal in the California style with Disgorge's Matti Way on vocals. How could you go wrong?!

Rest In Gore
Along with Disconformity and Glossectomy, Rest In Gore are leading the pack in terms of Japanese wigger slam. I know it's incredibly trite for internet metal nerds to worship obscure Japanese sub-subgenres, but the truth is that the Japs just know how to fucking slam like nobody else. Anyway this band sounds like all the other JPDM bands that I like but there is something special about them. Much like the Toyota production system has perfected the delivery of an automobile at the greatest possible efficiency, Rest In Gore deliver the maximum possible slams per second with ruthless Japanese efficiency.

This album came out last year and in my opinion was extremely underrated. It is 3/4 of Cephalotripsy, and basically sounds the same except that they play mostly blasts instead of slamz. So it really wouldn't fit into a purist's orthodox definition of slam metal, but I am willing to bend the rules for you, our readers. I thought this album was one of the finest death metal albums I've ever heard, it's just wall-to-wall brutality with absolutely no melody or compromises. Dinosaur metal fans will probably be put off because there aren't any parts where they play Iron Maiden harmonies and none of the songs are about being a fucking Viking or whatever bullshit you people are into, but if you want guttural slamming brutality, you came to the right band. For fans of Disgorge, Deeds of Flesh, and other brutal California death metal, but unlike a lot of those other bands it never gets boring because they don't play too many tremolo riffs.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Metal Inquisition Video Vault: Napalm Death Band Members Discuss The Validity And Specifics Of Double Bass

The debate regarding the validity of double bass, as well as the specifics of its use is as old as time itself. More often than not, however, this debate is in the hands of amateurs with little to no real metal pedigree.

So what happens when members of Napalm Death gather to discuss this very subject while at Morrisound Studios (home of the typewriter bass drum sound)? History is made, that's what happens! Notice that Pete Sandoval's double bass abilities get mocked as being used "for the sake of it." After all, Mick believes that double bass should only be used for power.

Pete always looks like he's about to puke, or melt into a puddle of grease. Or both.

As you watch this, keep in mind that this was recorded as Napalm Death mixed their album "Harmony Corruption." Also note the bickering between Mick and Mitch towards the end. It was this volatile relationship that made the Defecation album so good. Lastly, please check out Scott Burns in the background, rocking some sweet denim shorts.

No one better give me any lip about the fact that the picture above is of a double bass pedal, rather than two single pedals. I couldn't find a proper shot with two Axis pedals in one shot. Deal with it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

If You Can't Eat It Or Fuck It... Then Kill It!

Would you want to have to fight these guys?

You probably know Pete Steele as the lead singer of everyone's favorite goth metal band Type O Negative. You may also know him from his popular centerfold spread in the August 1995 issue of Playgirl. But his greatest contribution to society is the criminally underappreciated post-apocalyptic proto-thrash outfit Carnivore. Formed back in 1983 by then New York Parks Department employee "Lord Petrus Steele" along with drummer Louie Beateaux and guitarist Keith Alexander. Musically, Carnivore was like if Venom was from Brooklyn and obsessed with Mad Max instead of Satan. Sloppy, loud, fast, and heavy. Carnivore's music is a muscular speed metal all their own. From the picture above it's clear their biggest fashion influences were Manowar and the Legion of Doom. Known for drenching their audiences with buckets of animal blood, entrails, and assorted body parts, Carnivore was years ahead of shitty black metal bands like Mayhem and Gorgoroth who later stole their idea.

Simple, yet effective cover art

Carnivore's self-titled debut album is probably the manliest, most macho metal record ever made (sorry, Manowar). If you don't have a penis, you probably won't "get" this record, but that's okay. It's pure testosterone, with a healthy dose of sarcasm and cynicism. The album's lyrical concept revolves around life after a thermonuclear war. Roving gangs of neo-barbarians rule the streets where rape, murder, and cannibalism are accepted forms of self-expression. It's the soundtrack to the greatest 80s action movie that was never made. The album kicks off with "Predator," a song about the people living in the subways beneath the ruined city coming out and being eaten by Carnivore. "I sense that living human beings dwell below my feet/An important source of protein/You are what you eat!" Next up is the band's theme song and it contains all of Carnivore's favorite themes--sex, violence, and cannibalism. "Drool dripping out/My tongue hanging south/Saliva flowing free/My eyes full of lust/My balls gonna bust/Give yourself to me/Thirst I can't quench/C'mere you wench/There's something that I need." "Male Supremacy" is an epic worthy of its title that's sure to get any feminist's blood boiling with its hilarious shouted chorus of "MALE SUPREMACY!" Memorable lines include "Between my legs I've got what it takes to be called a man/Fighting/Feasting/Fucking all I can." As if the song weren't already over-the-top enough it features an extended acoustic breakdown where Steele romantically croons the sort of lines he'd later make a living from with Type O Negative. Alternating between a slow stomp and fast chugging, "Armageddon" is one of the catchiest songs on the album. Never before has the end of the world sounded this good.

Look at those fucking bass drums!!!

Coincidentally enough, side two of Carnivore starts off with the song "Legion of Doom" about a biker gang who's motto is "Live your life by your will/Learn to be an animal/By the light of the moon beware the legion of doom!" "God is Dead," featuring a killer cowbell-heavy chorus, is about God committing suicide because he's so depressed by what mankind has become. "You gang raped mother nature/I love a virgins cry/Blood poured from the earth/She suffered and she died/Rusty scissors still in hand you castrated father time/Feed his balls to the hounds that drink his cum like wine." "Thermonuclear Warrior" is one of the most raging, balls out tracks on the album advocating eugenics via homicide. The album closes with the ten minute epic to end all epics "World Wars III and IV." Riffs, dive-bombs, solos, explosions, and drum solos for days. You couldn't ask for a more fitting end to one of the greatest metal albums ever made.

Classic 80s shitty metal album cover art

Carnivore's second and final album, Retaliation, is also worth seeking out. The musicianship is tighter, the production is cleaner, and there's more of a hardcore/crossover vibe, but it's still very much a metal record. By this point they'd stopped wearing costumes and the lyrics are slightly more "serious," but still just as hilarious. The album starts off with the sound of someone puking their brains out and then launches into the scathing social commentary of "Angry Neurotic Catholics" followed by the anthemic "Suck My Dick." The controversial nature of this album mostly stems from the ridiculously over-the-top lyrics to "Race War." Lines like "Don't call me your brother 'cause I ain't your fuckin' brother/We fell from different cunts and your skin's an ugly color" tend to get people all worked up. Personally, I think it's tongue-in-cheek. How can anyone actually take what these guys sing about seriously after looking at these photos? Some people have no sense of humor.

Carnivores love meat

"Inner Conflict" is an epic suicide lament with extremely descriptive lyrics like "Large two inches maggots decorate my vomit/Infected eyes oozing puss/Acknowledge the stench of human excrement/Swamps of mucus prevalent/Every hole in my body drips blood." "Jesus Hitler" is the story of a mysterious figure born of a nun raped by a Nazi at the end of World War II. Jesus Hitler or Aldolf Christ? Torn between good and evil, has he come to save the Jews or destroy them? Brilliant Stuff. "Technophobia" is filled with more pro-technology, anti-religion rhetoric like "You worship a dead man hung with nails/Only a fool would die for the sins of humanity/On your knees before electronics." This is followed by a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" that rivals the original. "USA for USA" is like when Agnostic Front makes the crowd say the Pledge of Allegiance before playing "Liberty and Justice" on Live at CBGB, but better. "All the bullshit countries who think they'll beat the giant/World peace is upheaval/We'll nuke'em to the stoneage/Send the message clear/'Ya don't fuck with the eagle." If I were an Army general in Iraq, this is what I'd want my troops listening to! Retaliation closes with the Clockwork Orange inspired "Sex and Violence." I leave you with its timeless lyrics...

Monkey wrench in my hand
In my groin a swollen gland
Tonight perform brain surgery
Or some gynecology
Clockwork orange fast be comming
Rampant sreets gangs overrunning
After darkness waging war
What do they keep living for?
Sex and violence
I love to hear you scream in vain
Splattered blood and semen stains
Rape and murder lesson learned
Meeting of my pain and sperm
Prey upon the old and helpless
Reconditioning is useless
Ultraviolent offsprings of gore
What do they keep living for?
Sex and violence
If you can't eat it or fuck it
Then kill it
Sexual deviation
Religious desecration
Civil mutilation
Violent procreation
Bleed for me

Thursday, May 22, 2008

MIOSoMA: MegaMetal vs. RockCards

In 1991 the world of metal was turned upside down with the release of not one, but two collections of heavy metal cards. In one hand you had Impel's MegaMetal and in the other Brockum's RockCards. Even tho I had a few cards of each back in the day, I acquired both complete sets in mint condition in 2001. I traded a mint set of 15th series GPKs for them in a non-sports card convention in Philly. Hey, we are all nerds here, right?
Anyway, today, the question that has been haunting the metal scene for 17 years will be answered: which set of metal cards was better? After an ardous investigation I came up with the answer. Which set got the Metal Inquisition Seal of Metal Approval (MISoMA, for short)? Read on and find out.
(I know there was some other set with Motorhead and a few other metal bands, but it also had Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, so excuse me if I try to forget that that collection ever existed.)

The Basics
First of all, MegaMetal is a way cooler name than RockCards. MegaMetal's logo has a skull in it and the cards have a black border on them. RockCards have poser gradient colored borders. All rainbowy and gay. MegaMetal also has checklist cards, which made writing this thing a lot easier. MegaMetal is off to a good start.

This image is here specifically for the spookyspeegster, who always complains about the lack of King Diamond in MI.

Size. Does it matter?
MegaMetal's basic set was only 150 cards, while RockCard's basic set was 288, plus 16 stickers. But is this an issue of quality vs quantity? I don't know, but I'll award one point to RockCards.
(Please note: There was holograms, promo cards and gay shit like that on both sets, but let's stick to the basic set)

RockCard's set included pretty bad-ass art stickers

The Poser Factor
MegaMetal featured such poser kings as Bon Jovi, Firehouse, Skid Row, Heaven's Edge (who?), The Front (who?), Vixen (!), Slaughter and L.A. Guns. That's a total of 73 hair-poser cards. That's 2 cards short of half the set.
Not to be outdone, RockCards had Winger, Cinderella, Poison, Skid Row, Warrior Soul (ew!), Whitesnake, Slaughter, Tangier (who?), Warrant, Sisters of Mercy (why?), Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Salty Dog (who?). That's 144 poser cards. That's exactly half.
By 2 cards MegaMetal comes up on top here, so I'll give them the point. Still, on both sets half of the cards are hair-metal. We all lose.

Seriously, if anyone has current addresses for any of these assclowns, let me know. They are just begging for a beating. Denim shorts (x2)? Are you fucking kidding me?

Each set has a few cards that seem to come out of nowhere and do not seem to fit.
MegaMetal has 7 Billy Squire cards. I didn't know Billy was metal, much less "mega" metal. Add 8 Robert Plant cards to that and 8 McAuley Schenker Group cards. That adds up to 23 more cards we can chuck.
RockCards gives us Katmandu (5 cards), Dan Reed Network (5 cards. Who the fuck are these people?), Junkyard (10 cards), Deep Purple (6 cards), Yes (4 cards), The Moody Blues (4 cards), Pink Floyd (4 cards), Iggy Pop (2 cards), Stevie Ray Vaughan (1 card) and Clarke-Rotondo (who? - 1 card) . Total 42 useless cards. This is pretty sad.

I have no clue who the fuck Dan Reed is or why he has a "Network", but what I do know is that they look like idiots.
This why I support tough immigration policy. We could easily deport these dbags.

Both collections have a few gems in there. A few cards you wouldn't expect, but make the set a little awsomer. MegaMetal gives us a Dark Angel card, 11 Iron Maiden record cover cards, 4 M.O.D. cards and 5 King Diamond cards. Not bad, right? Can RockCards match that? Well, not in the basic set, but the 16 sticker set has 2 Slayer covers, 4 Iron Maiden art cards, 2 Pushead cards, and 6 Megadeth's Vic art cards. This is a tough call, but you can't deny Dark Angel. Even if it's just one cards, that's pretty metal. I'm going with MegaMetal on this one, too.

The card that might end up tipping the scale

Down to Business
OK, all the cards we've talked about are the special ones, but what about the rest. The ones we are left with once we throw away all the shit. Well, both sets have Iron Maiden, but MegaMetal features Nuclear Assault, Priest and Dio. Not bad, not bad. RockCards? Well, they got AC/DC, Anthrax, Sabbath, Megadeth, Testament and Exodus. That's also not bad either, but I think Nuclear Assault and Dark Angel are way more Metal. Sorry, MegaMetal on top again.

A couple or rad RockCards of Steve Souza.I can almost hear him: "Do... the Toxic Waltz!"

Individual Cards
The competition is too close to call at this point. What I'm gonna do is look at a few more cards from both sets and make the decision. After all, most people out there don't collect complete sets non-sports cards like I do, so this might end up being the fairest way to judge.

Knock, knock... Who's there?... Tangier... Tangier who?... Exactly.

Yeah, it's 3 different dudes. Seriously, it's 3 different dudes. Yeah, they are dudes.

Damn, it's grampa Lou and uncle Earl!

Lame-ass motorcycle pic, Bad-ass motorcycle pic.

Separated at birth? Nice boots there, brizzy!
That's the beds that
Mustaine gives members of Megadeth on tour. Good luck fitting in there, Nick!

MegaMetal has pretty bad-ass Maiden cards. they are way better than RockCards.
Gotta love the hyper-typical Dave Murray "oh-face".

The inclusion of these dipshits is costing RockCards serious points.
They look like rejected extras in a Miami Vice episode.

This dickhead makes me want to kill my family and then spread my brains all over the kitchen table.
GOD! Why does this picture make me SO FUCKING ANGRY?

I went to college with dudes like this. I punched them in the kisser as often as I could.
Die you fucking hippie. DIE!

The world is a worse place because of this picture.
If you stare at this fucking pole smoker long enough, you'll go blind. Try it.

I don't know anything about this band, except that their Photoshop skills equal that of a lab baboon with serious brain damage.
You know, 'cuz the testing they did on'em.

Well, back in the 90's I was all about MegaMetal. I liked the name and the logo, I guess. After writing this post, tho, I'm not so sure. I mean, RockCards have more cards in the set and they have the nice stickers. But they have too much glam shit... MegaMetal has Vixen and MSG, but also King Diamond and Dark Angel. It's a tough call, but I'm going with MegaMetal. I'm gonna trust my 16-year-old gut.

MegaMetal cards get the
MISoMA! Congratulations!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dark Throne - Unplugged

Sometimes we can gain a deeper understanding of art by simply taking in a fresh interpretation of a well known piece. Consider, if you will, the multiple acoustic versions of Dark Throne's "Transilvanian Hunger" available to us through the magic of youtube.

There's nothing about a chubby, latino dude wearing a sweet baja sweatshirt that says "black metal"

Dude, you should be picking at twice the speed. Burzum shirt and Metallica shorts? Go make your bed. And then tune your guitar.

Okay, this guy is plugged in. Seriously, do you need the sheet music in a stand to play this song? His mom is gonna be so pissed about him putting his feet up on that tasteful ottoman. Nice zippers on his pants too. Sexy.

This guy got straight up fancy with the arrangement. He made the song suck even more. He's like the Dave Matthews of black metal.

This guy knew he didn't look very metal. So he spared us the visual.

Rolling Stones poster? I know metal sir, and you are not metal. I can just picture his mom crying about the fact that this is what her looser son has turned out to be.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NEW YORKMENT keep it fuckin slam

I have never been in a band, but if I was going to start one, it would be exactly like my new favorite up and coming wigger slam band, NEW YORKMENT. With song titles like "Pit Riffment," "Slam the Gorebong," and "Ingorging Ingorgity," I knew I would love them before I heard the first note. Thanks to Matt from NJ's finest, Kalopsia, for the tip!

Instead of trying to describe them myself, I will use the words of one of their fans instead:

"Yo fuck tha haters. NEW YORKMENT is da real deal. Serious broz, serious music. East Coast new wave of death slam in full effect. NEW YORKMENT, WITHOUT REMORSE, REVENANCE" - Chrissy Wormgutzz

Be sure to check them out on Myspace because I hear they are working on setting up some shows with a bunch of sick bands like Deregorged Necrogorger, Cumtopsy and Ungorge Ingorgity of Ingorgement (sorry, they're too underground for Myspace but I am sure you'll be hearing more about them soon!).

I also agree with their feelings on crappy old bands like Carcass, Repulsion and Iron Maiden. It is refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is. As far as I am concerned, Repulsion and Terrorizer are about as brutal as Fleetwood Mac or Wings, and if you think they are the pinnacle of death metal, you are probably old enough to get the AARP discount on the salad bar at Rax. I am much more interested in guttural slamming brutality like Cemetery Rapist, Malignant Rupture and NJDOTS and cutting edge labels like Fuck The Ass Records that are pushing the envelope with bands like New Yorkment. Crappy old school fossil rockers like Morbid Angel wouldn't know a gravity blast or bass drop if it slammed their ass across the pit.


If the words of their fans aren't enough to convince you, maybe this testimonial from legendary Japanese wigger slammers Vomit Remnants will persuade you:

""me likey likey. good slammin NYDM shit! i'm glad my boys in dying fetus told me to check this band out!" -Keisuke from Vomit Remnants


Monday, May 19, 2008

In My Record Shelves

Opening up is hard to do. This is especially true when it comes to a man's record collection. I share these records with you not to show off (after all my collection is no longer what it once was), but to tell you the stories that go along with these records. These are not my most prized vinyl possessions, but ones that I thought would be worth sharing with our fellow readers. Here we go...

Out of all the hard rock/almost-metal compilations that were put in South America during 1988 by CBS records, this one is one of my favorites. The title translates to "heavy metal", and the fine airbrush work on those letters lets you know this record is no joke. But what about the music you ask? Not only does this album feature blazing tracks by none of the leading bands of the time, it features some of the hottest homoerotic artwork known to man. Just look at those glistening abs, those leather pants and other assorted gear that make this fine leather daddy one of the finest welders around. Not content with a simple guitar strap, this guy uses a chain to keep his flying V (Michael Schenker signature model Aria Pro?) in check. How can he play while he's wearing a godamned welding mask? If you need to'll never understand. He shreds SO hard, that sparks come out! It's also worth mentioning that the diagonal text on the left edge of the cover says "fill your head with rock", as in rock music. This tagline was a bit of a mixed message when I first bought this record. Here I was, now wearing my welding helmet like the guy on the cover, but then I have to take it off to fill it up with rocks? What? Lastly, it's worth mentioning that 220 Volt's lackluster appearance on this compilation album still doesn't take away from their earlier work in South American compilation albums, namely their track "Heavy Christmas". Haven't heard it? Go listen to it now!

Oh man, I can remember it like it was yesterday...I was hanging out with Russell and the boys from Forbidden on the side of a highway somewhere in the midwest, trying to figure out what to do next. I'd been on the road with those guys for two months, and times were rough. There was little time for fun during that tour, since nearly every moment was spent dealing with double-talking club owners, angry record label reps, or the occasional overweight female fan that Paul took a liking to. Anyway, that hot summer night we all sat around and heard the bad news from Rick (tour manager/mechanic). The van had broken down again, and this time it was serious. Apparently the intake manifold had cracked, and with it had gone the water pump. The band was broke, and had no money for the repairs. So, the only way to continue was to lighten the load. They were going to share a van with a band from Texas (whose name I can't remember to save my life) to finish up the tour. Space was going to be very tight, so I was released of my duties as a roadie. I was let go unceremoniously, with only this signed 12" single (as a thank you from the band) and $20 towards a Greyhound ticket home.

Okay, that's all a big lie. I bought this signed 12" at a local record store for $1.25.

Remember Mythic, the all girl death metal band? I barely do. I pretty much only remember them because of this record. My brother once saw them at a Cleveland Metal Fest, where they played with a casket on stage. That's about all I remember. What's important is that they were some of the pioneers of what I call "Metal Mama Jeans", which are basically like Mom Jeans (from the SNL commercial) but for metal babes. If you went to death metal shows in 1992, you saw black denim clad ladies like this everywhere, rocking their tucked-in Kreator t shirts. Just look at how insanely high these girls were able to get those pants! They are like denim sorcerers! There's enough zipper in one pair of Metal Mama Jeans for twenty sleeping bags! Man, nothing turns a man on like a cooch-pouch on a metal babe.

Unlike the Forbidden story, this one is real and thus perhaps less exciting. But it's still pretty good. My brother and I went to see Danzig in 1992, and we waited for a few hours in the cold to have this record autographed. As Eerie Von and John Christ came out of the club from sound checking, we got them to sign the record. We waited a bit longer, and were suddenly told by security that we would have to go across the street and wait over there until Glen came out. The security strategy was that as soon as Glen came out of the club's back door, we'd be allowed to approach him for autographs. But only once he came out, would we be allowed to cross the street and go toward him. I'm not sure where this unbelievably stupid security approach came from, or why on earth we followed it. I'm embarrassed even typing it out. By the way, I hope you're not imagining a mob scene with buff dudes and hot babes like you saw in the Danzig home videos. This was more like 9 teenagers shivering in the cold, holding Sharpies. So what happened was that Glenn came out, and we all rushed toward him like fat housewives on one of those shows where you run through a supermarket putting crap in the cart in order to win. While I was still standing on the other side of the street, Glenn looked strong and menacing... though a bit small. I thought this was to be expected, since I was far away from him. I mean, you can see a 747 flying over you house, and it looks about as big as a matchbox right? But you know that in reality, the thing is huge. That was not the case with Glenn. As I got closer and closer, he actually got smaller. I finally figured out that this tiny little man was indeed shorter than I was. In the spirit of full disclosure I should tell you that I am short. I'm exactly 5' 7 1/4" (I went to the doctor recently and was measured). The day Glenn Danzig signed this record, I was not done growing yet and was maybe 5' 6", if that. I remember standing next to him as he signed the record, thinking to myself "Oh my god, I'm taller than Glenn Danzig." I have proof of this, since a picture of that moment exists. In that picture I'm wearing an awful Raiders beanie (my fashion sense at the time fell somewhere between the Cavalera brothers, and the movies Blood In Blood Out and American Me), and with that awful hat on my head I'm easily three inches taller than the tiny evil-dwarf that is Danzig. I felt so good that day, not only was I taller than someone on planet earth, but that someone was Danzig.
On a closing note I should mention that Chuck never signed the record. While other members came out of the club and later from the bus, Chuck was in the bus the whole time. He refused to come out, and kept peering through the tour bus windows from time to time. Thinking back on it, I see his point. Why on earth would he want to endure stupid teenagers like me asking him to sign a record? I completely understand that now..but back then I was angry as hell.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Great moments in art history: Voivod

There's a few things out there that sound good on paper, but in reality are pretty gay and people who like them should be treated as criminals. Things like snowboarding, video games in general, the Sopranos, Buddhism and Voivod.

There's not many bands out there I hate as much as I hate Voivod. I know there's a whole bunch of people out there who love them and will be quick to tell me what an ignorant fool I am for hating these Canucks, but I despise their music. Maybe I don't get it, but I hate their whole discography. From the early thrashier shit to the 90's stuff to the new shit. I hate it all. Just give me some serious fucking metal without all the techno-esoterical shit, you know? But there's more to my hatred... I think the reason I hate them so much is 'cuz they should have ruled. Voivod should be the raddest band ever! I mean all the elements of a shredding band were there! A cool name, good band member names, awesome image, and they were on a cool label. Even all that sci-fi robotic bullshit they were into, that now seems so fucking retarded, was cool back in the day. But the one thing that Voivod had going for them that, in my opinion, gave the obligation to rock hard was their artwork. Man, their logo was bad-ass and their records were chuck-full of awesome artwork. (I know that anything after 1989 sucks Canadian-hockey-loving-balls, but the early art was amazing and that's what this post is about)

These guys looked the part. What a waste of good bullet belts.

Sadly, however, Away, Piggy, Snake, Puppy, Teletubby and Sleepy formed a band that just sucked and found enough imbeciles with serious intelligence and taste deficiency to have a following that keeps them going to this day. I'd rather own one embroidered Voivod patch than their entire discography on limited edition 24k gold CDs.
Imagine if all Voivod fans would have saved the money they have spent on sub-par technical shit metal and put it in a jumbo-jar instead. Imagine how much money would be in that jumbo-jar? Millions of dollars, I'm sure. Millions of dollars we could have used to help the victims of today's world tragedies: the earthquake in China, the Cyclone in Burma, the food crisis in Africa or the Cavalera Conspiracy.

Anyway, let's take a closer look at some sweet, sweet art...

Even in the early days Away's art was pretty metal. The type is rad and the tank has fucken spikes on the tracks. I'm a bit disappointed that the perspective is pretty good in the tank and the logo. I'd love to have seen a really crooked way off perspective, which would have been WAY more metal.

Again, hand-written metal type is back and becomes a staple of Voivod's visual repertoire. IMO, this is the raddest piece of art Voivod produced. The logo is incredible and that techno-skull is as bad as the baddest riff Jeff Hanneman ever wrote.

Here's a further exploration of the techno-skull ("The Voivod"). This ranks #3 in the all-time best back-patch of all times list, after the Motörhead England skull and Venom's Black Metal.

Finally, the techno-skull comes into maturity. This is the best of all Voivod logos. It's got spikes and spaceship/building looking shit. It's just metal. This is the type of record I'd frame and when people asked me why I did that, I'd tell them "cuz the Gods of Metal have given us a gift. A gift of amazing Metal Art and I want to thank them, and honor them, by framing it" And then they'd ask me how I can listen to the record if it's framed, to which I'd reply "The Gods of Metal hate Canada, so the record is not worth listening to."

I know what you are thinking: "I could have done this!" And you are right. My landlord's kid could have done a better logo and he's autistic. You gotta admit, tho, it's a pretty metal logo. Look at those spikes! Sure, the "D" is more like a sleeping "P", but I'm sure Away wasn't going for legibility. They are French-Canadian, dude, they don't even speak American. The perspective and foreshortening on The Voivod are prime. It looks and feels cubist, which we all know is just a label for talentless artists to hide under. Dude, look at that machine gun, the gas mask, the bullet arm-band, the Oderus Urungus-like shoulder pads... this is a Metal Masterpiece, if I ever saw one.

Cubist art was an obvious influence on Away's art

I'm not sure why, but as a teen I thought RRROOOAAARRR was the best name for a record ever. Of course, I also wore a golden razor blade earring, so what did I know. Well, this cover is a natural progression from the previous one. Away sticks to the always reliable red/white/black color combo and may the Virgin Mary bless him for that (Do Canadians believe in the Virgin? Savages). It feels like the camera panned out from the War and Pain cover and revealed more of The Voivod. Plenty of spikes, once again. The Road Warriors pads make an encore and we appreciate them, once again. Also making a welcome re-appearance are the spike tracks on the tank. Nobody wants to fuck with a pissed off looking hunchback metal robotic tank thing with a knife. There's also a little Ed Roth thing going on here.

I'm not sure why The Voivod turned into an old tape recorder/ghost grinder, but this cover is the beginning of the end. All the perspective and cubist experimentation is gone and we are left with a flat dead-on view of the subject. The spikes are all but gone and replaced with rivets. The colors are as poser as they can get and that gradient is pretty generic and does not help the static composition. I'm not sure about the bandages around his waist (right around where the cassette goes), maybe all the ghost-grinding takes up a lot of calcium and causes ribs to weaken. After this record Voivod's art went to the shit dumpster. Seriously, the covers from now on are so bad they almost match the terribleness of their music.

Ghosts maybe scary, but they are 0% metal.

I was looking for a pic of someone sporting a rad Voivod tattoo to close the post, but I couldn't find one. What I did find was a photo of Lita Ford.