Saturday, February 19, 2011

Total Fucking Destruction - Hater (2011)

Apparently Im the only resident of the Blog-o-sphere that likes Total Fucking Destruction, so Im making it my mission to convert the haters to the way of peace, love, and Total Fucking Destruction (see what I did there?). In the name of journalistic integrity, I need to confess that TFD's last album, Peace, Love, and Total Fucking Destruction is one of my favorite albums. Ever. (Read my review.) So I approached their latest, Hater, with perhaps unreasonably high expectations. The fact that the shipment got delayed, causing me to wait anxiously by my mailbox like a puppy waiting for its master didnt help in forming more realistic expectations. This may all seem to be leading up to Hater being a huge let down, but the fact is that Hater is good. Really good.

It took a few spins for me to realize that this album and Peace, Love, etc. are two different beasts. Where the content of TFD's last album were more like exercises in musical deconstruction, Hater showcases a more relaxed approach. Sure, the spooked-cat-in-a-small-box drumming is still present, but there is also ample breathing room between blasts. There is a loose, punk feel to the songs that makes the album sound downright fun, instead of, well, psychotic.

The first few tracks get things grinding, and are reminiscent of the TFD we know and love. The first standout track, "Everything You Need and Nothing You Want," plops a fat juicy groove right in the middle, offering a chance to get your neck loosened up before enticing you to "grind for the money/grind for the girls." Now thats a message I can get behind. As always, the guitar shifts effortlessly among grinding riffs, bluesy grooves, and punk bounce. Theres even a damn good solo on "Dudehammer," which also happens to feature the best lyric on the album: "Im not Jesus/You dont know me."

TFD have always put a lot of thought into their vocals, and it pays off every time. The lyrical delivery compliments the underlying musical melody (or lack thereof), and lends each track a unique character. While the actual lyrical content seems pretty abstruse, there are many gems littered about. Hell, the entirety of "Meat Without Feet" is a lyrical gem.

I have always respected TFD's ability to re-interpret their earlier material. Acknowledging and re-inventing the old stuff provides a concrete sense of evolution. Its also just plain fun to see how they can completely change a song, like how "Bio-Satanic Terroristic Attack" went from being an acoustic folk song on Zen to one of the most blistering tracks on Peace, Love, etc. On Hater, the most obvious example is "Human is the Bastard." Originally recorded for This Comp Kills Fascists, this version has been doubled in length, slowed down, and otherwise altered so that it now resembles slow decay, rather than a careening freak-out. "Murdernumber" and "Battle Command in Future War" contain similar reworks of older material.

Hater continues TFD's tradition of growth and experimentation. Its also a hell of a good time. I hesitate to call it party grind, but this is definitely an album that is having a blast (no pun intended), and would like you to join it.

Haters gonna hate

Monday, February 14, 2011

From My Heart To Yours

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Featuring such songs of devotion as "Fucked With a Knife," and especially "She Was Asking For It," Cannibal Corpse's 1994 outing The Bleeding is the perfect addition to your romantic Valentines Day dinner.

Seal the deal.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flagitious Idiosyncracy in the Dilapidation - Kakusei EP, 2011

Aah, the power of the low end. Not enough grindcore bands today recognize the power of a crushing bass groove, preferring to keep the riffs grinding and the drums blasting. Luckily, the gals (and guy) in Flagitious Idiosyncracy in the Dilapidation - the first non-gore related name Ive ever had to look up - know when to let up on the speed and settle into a gut busting groove. I had the pleasure of catching them last weekend, where they blew me away with an incredibly tight and focused performance. But the thing that stuck me most was the sheer intensity of the bass in this band, whether grooving or grinding: it was LOUD, and it never stopped.

I snagged a copy of their new EP after the set and, like their performance, the focus here is definitely the bass. Opening track Sakai starts off with a pretty ominous bass riff, which is soon joined by some rather tasteful guitar feedback, all before launching full throttle into familiar blasting territory. But the bass never fades from the foreground, crunching along over everything else. Its prominence forces the listener to recognize each song's rhythm, which tend to be rather strong, especially for a grind band. The punky, stop-start bounce of Zenmou is a shining example, sure to get circle pits started in a heart-beat.

While the excellent bass playing is Kakusei's biggest strength, it also contributes to its biggest weakness: you just cant hear the guitar. Normally this doesnt bother me, but every once in a while, a tasty little guitar lick rears its head to remind me that this guy is actually doing some neat stuff. Its the little flourishes at the end of the grind riffs in Sajou and Shosou that make me wish the band had just turned the guitar up a little bit. By the time closer Kyogen comes around, FID seems to have figured out the proper balance, and the reward is definitely one of the best riffs on the whole album.

This is a promising EP. FID knows how to write a memorable song, combining dinosaur-sized grooves with some creative guitar work that keeps the grindcore formula interesting. Hopefully by the time of their next release, theyll have found a more balance sound.

Engage in flagitious activity

Sunday, January 23, 2011


On January 22nd at the 31st Street Pub, I caught Rosetta, Fight Amp, Kylesa on the first legs of their US-Canadian tour.  Fight Amp is a band from southern New Jersey formed in 2003, and I got the chance to get introduced to them in 2005 at several basement shows in New Brunswick,NJ.  Considering it has been so many years since I last saw them, I was stoked to catch them here in Pittsburgh.  Additionally, VCPUNX had managed to get Rosetta to play a show at Vassar College, making the Pittsburgh show's line-up even more of a nostalgia trip.  Sadly the venue had some serious tech issues, and the resulting effect was a shortened show that lacked luster despite all the bands' determination to play through the issues.  Fight Amp's drummer Mike Howard ended up splitting his pedal in two... what a fucking maniac!  All the bands had great presence, having drawn out a packed crowd.  I look forward to catching Kylesa again, hopefully in their full audio glory.  They played some older tracks, though certainly focusing on songs from their most recent release, Spiral Shadow.  Anyway, despite the hiccups of the live show , the golden opportunity to pick-up schwag was there and I clasped my greedy little fingers around it.  The following albums were picked up at the show (minus Spiral Shadow) from the musicians themselves.   DIG THE MUSIC KIDS!

FIGHT AMP's Hungry for Nothing and it's follow-up Manners and Praise are two albums that call back to the days of booze-soaked metal-punk festering in the basements of New Jersey.  It's really great to see these guys getting the exposure they deserve.  Having been a touring band for about seven years and dealing with several line-up changes, theses guys are professionals in their craft.  Their many splits, especially those with with Exosus and Black Tusk, show case their brooding sound, and their two albums have been excellent explorations into the depths of their manic depravity and punk debauchery.  I mean honestly, the title of their first EP says it all: Ugly kids doing ugly things.  After that night's show they said that they are hopefully playing another Pittsburgh show in May/June on another US tour, so keep your eyes peeled!   

FIGHT AMP Myspace and Official Website

ROSETTA's self-labelling as "metal for astronauts" is adequately fitting, and they have been carving out their particular sound for a long time with relentless touring both in the US and abroad.  Their latest release A Determinism of Morality is an exploration into the emotive cascades of pounding drums and ethereal guitars and synths, layered with brutal vocals.  Loud, immersive and intense, Rosetta continues to remain aloof of the label "post metal" while maintaining the chaos of creativity.

ROSETTA Myspace and Official Store

I know Kylesa's Time Will Fuse Its Worth is already heavily trafficked on the internet, but I feel like posting this because it just deserves the attention.  Spiral Shadow, though having received mixed reviews for its accessibility, I believe is a great album despite it's tendency towards being more polished and produced. The latter is a true showcase of awesome stoner metal, while the former displays Kylesa's recent leaning towards a heavy yet noticeably more accessible sound... you be the judge.

KYLESA Myspace and Official Website


Braving the frigidity of the Pittsburgh winter to bring you dank tunes, yours truly,


Weekend Nachos BLEED EP and Daiseycutter from Indiana

Best way to start off the 2011 year of house shows in Pittsburgh: have Weekend Nachos play a house-show in your place.  The devils at the Helter Shelter in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood started off their year of house-shows with a packed powerviolence show on January 4th featuring the fun-loving Chicago natives.  They might have possibly been the loudest band I've ever seen, and they totally kicked ass; opening with the classic "Prioritize" and ending with the crushing "Shot in the Head," which is one of the two songs off their latest EP Bleed out on Relapse.  Bleed is a two-track, 14 minute descent into a madness of frenzied hardcore and straight doom-ridden sludge... a true little gem.  Can't wait to hear what is on the horizon for these guys.

Weekend Nachos Myspace


Another band that played that night, and totally blew me away, was Indiana's DAISEYCUTTER, who's 7" press, Invertebrate, I picked up and am working on posting onto here.  This is some brutal grind from America's burned-out mechanical heartland, and with influences from Terrorizor and Despise You.  Stay tuned for these guys.

Daiseycutter Myspace


Nails - Obscene Humanity and Unsilent Death

If there is one thing to know about Nails, it is this: they will crush you.  Though their live set at the Burning Love show mentioned in the last post was not as loud as desired, their execution was psychotically precise.  No bullshit, and it was written all over their faces as they played.  Their first release Obscene Humanity is a low-fi grind/hardcore album with distortion soaked riffs and machine-gun blasts firing over walls of feedback.  Southern Lord got their claws on them and re-released their second album Unsilent Death, an excellent follow-up demonstrating their ability to display variety without sacrificing focus.  Fast, grinding, and manic... basically, it smokes.

Southern Lord Records Blog

DL (MF)- Obscene Humanity

DL(MF) - Unsilent Death

It's cold down here,

Thursday, September 30, 2010


With October looming its foliage-rotted, bark-covered claws at us, we must once again take shelter in the caves lit only by the screen glow of our computers.  Luckily, before the cold winds brought the hard rain, on September 21st I had the chance to see Nails hop on board a show with Burning Love at The Shop in PGH.  This unexpected lineup was a pleasant surprise, especially since the two were set to play a show in Vermont about a week later.  Though the Nails review will be saved until another post, for now I'm getting in to a tractor trailor of kickass with wild-cards, Burning Love.

From the onset, Toronto-based Burning Love thrust out jack-knifing riffs and pave-pounding beats that reminded me of speeding into a twilight horizon.  This three-year-old, five man powerhouse features the roaring vocals of Chris Coholan, former singer of the now defunct Cursed.  I was definitely impressed by Coholan's stage presence; taking charge and reminding people that live shows are for passion and movement, not silent elitism and self-consciousness.

Their first full-length on Deranged Records, SONGS FOR BURNING LOVERS, is like getting into the Duke's General Lee with Lemmy and flipping a coin to see who drops the cinder block on the gas pedal.  Clips of vintage race car collisions flash by as one is sonically tossed side-to-side, cruising through melodies that recall the self-destructive swagger of the Stooges.  The mix is heavy on the vocals and guitars, while drums and cymbals cascade in the background.  In general, it's fast, crunchy, and rich, though it could benefit from bringing up the bass.  If you're a fan of Doomriders and Cursed, then you'll definitely want to check out this album.  As always, if you really dig it, support the band and buy it...don't be cheap.

Whiplashing Good Traxxx:
- Don't Ever Change -
- Gain -
- Miserable Sound -
- High Speed Wired -
- Alien vs. Creditor -
- Morning After Party -