Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Black Hole Of Calcutta - S/T #2

I'm trying something a little different with this post, something I've really only done once before. Usually I write about music I've purchased, and focus mainly on the whole package. I suppose I talk about the actual music a little bit, but I've really only a 'review' of tracks about the A389 sampler earlier this year. But a few days ago I received an email from a band I knew nothing of, wanting me to write something up for their latest LP. It's the first time anyone has actually asked me to write anything, and I checked out their bandcamp page. Needless to say I liked what I heard, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered agreeing to write anything.  Sadly I'm going to have to be a bit hypocritical here; I know I say I get sick of endless sub-genres, but its necessary to discuss it this time around. You'll see why in a minute. So here goes, a review for the second self-titled album by Black Hole of Calcutta.

Things kick off with "Myth of Progress". When I initially heard this song, it reminded me of the self-titled album by Caulfield released a few years ago. The slow, ominous introduction made me believe I was in for a similar style throughout the album. How wrong was I. After the first 90 seconds, the song explodes into a furious frenzy which sets the tone for the rest of the album. And those vocals, I think they can best be described as a vicious howl more than anything. They sound almost like a deranged wolf has hijacked the recording apparatus, and I love it.  
"Age of Extinction" is up next and unlike the previous song, wastes no time getting straight into it. From the get go, BHOC blast it ridiculously rapidly. 
What really stood out to me during this album is the diverse range of (well I guess it would be sub-) genres displayed by the band. "Truth Is Never Told" is a prime example of this. While the previous two tracks seem to lean slightly more towards 'grind', this track definitely has a strong punk vibe coming through. I am always impressed when bands can merge styles into coherent work so well.
"Total Collapse" comes up next and is almost over before it's even begun. Although only lasting only 41 seconds, it is still only the third shortest song on the album, and again shows a diversity of styles. Things start with blistering speed as I'd come to expect at this point, but then is slowed right down with some doom-style guitar work for very brief periods. It may sound a bit strange in those words, but it really works.
"Cirrhosis" is the second longest track on the album, lasting just over 2 minutes. The blistering pace is maintained over the whole track, which I must say must be bloody tiring to perform.
"Genetic Control" continues the genre bending pathway of this album. The blistering speed experienced so far starts off the track, but after only 50 seconds it changes completely. The pace is drastically dropped until things are moving painfully slow. Even the howling vocals change to a deeper growl, similar to something like Oak.
At this point I didn't think it was possible for things to get any faster, but "No Turning Back" proved me dead wrong. Again it's a rather short track (only 37 seconds), but in a way that's just perfect. I feel that may be all the mere human mind is able to process at one time.
Things start a tad slower with "Nightmares", and you think you may just about get time to catch your breath. But you'd be wrong. After 20 seconds, the speed is brought right back up and continues for the rest of the track. The howling vocals seem especially vicious as this track plays on.
"Educate" picks up the punk feel again, which I think may be where Black Hole of Calcutta shine the most. Although perhaps I have a slightly biased view in that respect.
"No Regrets" and "Arm The Hopeless" are again over before you know it. The band seem to go all out on these two tracks and must be purely thrashing their instruments to the limit of their capabilities.
The drum work on the last track, "Vultures", is probably my favourite throughout the album. I could probably listen to that intro guitar riff over and over again as well, it's a great track to finish the album on.

While only just lasting 20 minutes, BHOC take us through a diverse 12 tracks. Hopefully after all of this you've become even a little intrigued about this album. If you have, give their tracks a listen, I've embedded them below for ease. The whole album is only $5, you can shell that out to support the band can't you? And if these digital downloads ain't your thang, you can always order a physical copy from Give Praise or I Feel Good records. 

By the way, if any other bands would like me to write a little something something about their work, fele free to email me. You can contact me on the "About Me" page.

Monday, 27 August 2012


As promised, here is the latest release by Australia's KRÖMOSOM, paranoid. This is the first proper 7" EP released by the band, and their latest new material since the split with Isterismo. This time around they bring four completely new tracks of their patented style of furiously fast hardcore punk, although I must say the material seems to have a darker element than previous work. One thing that certainly hasn't changed is pure rawness you hear in their songs. You've just got to love it.
Much like the other Holy Terror 7" I recently wrote about, this too is the pre-order version on red vinyl, limited to 200. At least two other colour variants are out there, green and orange but I'm not entirely sure how those are available, possibly through the band on tour. And no I'm not sure if the traffic light theme was intentional or not.
The centre labels are nothing fancy, but then again, KRÖMOSOM is not exactly synonymous with fancy are they? Then again, that artwork may just be the exception to that rule. Compared with previous efforts, this is certainly a lot more detailed. It also highlights the darker sound I mentioned earlier. 
The rear of the cover is rather busy. It has a cool picture of the band members, mixed in with tons of writing, both Japanese and English. I did learn Japanese for a while, although was never proficient enough to decipher what is being said here.
The whole EP is up streaming on the Holy Terror bandcamp page, and is available digitally for just 50c, please show your support if you aren't going to but the vinyl. There isn't really much more for me to say about this. Perhaps keeping with KRÖMOSOM's short style, I'll leave it at that. 

As an update I thought I'd share this. I recently saw they had new shirts up on their Facebook page, so decided to try and grab one. I emailed Yeap who was more than helpful in ordering one. It literally arrived about two days after purchasing it, great right? Plus it's an awesome shirt design too.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Grace 7"

This is the debut 7" from Grace, a band I knew absolutely nothing about until I received the record in the mail. In fact, I didn't even order this or knew I would be receiving it. Bundled along with the last of the Pale Creation / Abraxis split variants was this record free of charge from Nate of Hemlock 13. I am so glad he decided to send me a copy of this, it blew me away when I first played it, and it continues to do so as I become more familiar with the tracks. In fact, I may go as far as saying that this is my favourite 7" of the year thus far (maybe even beating One Man's Trash!).
This has some really busy artwork going on. There is skulls, teeth and all sorts going on, as you can probably see for yourself. I'm not sure how to explain why, but the colour seems to perfectly suit the tone of the EP. In fact it happens to me quite a lot when listening to music, I associate a colour with the way the music sounds. I often wonder if I'd imagine the same colour without first seeing the album artwork, or if my choice of associated colour is influenced by what I've already seen. Anyway, I digress so shall back to it.
On the inside we have the lyrics to just one of the songs, "Sorrow". This is the first track of the three, followed by "Game" and "Up To Your Neck". I mentioned up above that I'm really into these tracks, but I'll say it again. There is not a single point in the entire 7.4 minutes that I wish wasn't included. From start to finish, Grace have put created a superb EP and I can't wait to see if anything more comes from them.
I previously mentioned this was a freebie, but on top of the freeness was the fact this is a copy of the limited colour version. Limited to just 200 copies, this sky blue version looks pretty fantastic. The black version is only marginally less limited anyway, with 100 more copies produced.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all, this is purely observational interest. On the H13 website it mentions this version being a bit different to what I received. While the quality heavy card stock is there, as well as the stickers, the rest described seems to be missing. It was supposed to have an stencilled B-side, whereas mine is completely stencil-free.
What's more, there are no patches or a 9-song download. It's a pity about the download, I would have loved to see what else the band has released. I can't complain though, this was still completely free which is just awesome. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pulling Teeth / Mighty Sphincter split 7"

I've really been meaning to write about this one for a while now, as is the way with quite a few things it seems. If my surprisingly shocking memory is serving me well, I believe I got this along with a bunch of 7"s as part of the deal I got when I reviewed the A389 sampler a while back. I was rather surprised that there were still copies of this bad boy left to order, it was released a wee while ago now and I thought it'd be long gone. Since I purchased my copy it seems they are no longer for sale, so perhaps I received one of the lucky last ones.
As part of a pre-order bonus (I forget with what now), A389 released this limited Mighty Sphincter tribute 7". Both bands play one classic Mighty Sphincter track, although with a bit of a twist. Although this is officially a split between Pulling Teeth and Mighty Sphincter (which by the way is awesome to get a band to feature on their own tribute EP), it is unofficially dubbed Integriteeth / Pale Sphincter 7". Each band has guest vocals, Dwid from Integrity as vocals for Pulling Teeth, and Nick Fiction of Pale Creation as vocals for Mighty Sphincter.
Only one version exists this time, black vinyl limited to just 300 copies. Until recently this was still available to buy, but it seems it is all sold out now. If you are desperate to hear the songs, the digital EP is available for just USD$2.50.
The two songs featured on here are just great. Integriteeth perform a cover of the classic "New Manson Family", and Dwid's vocals really add another terrifying layer to an already haunting song. Pale Sphincter offers "Holy Unholy", which again is a very good cover.  

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Moutheater - Lot Lizard 7"

All the way back in 2007 (it was 5 years ago now!) Moutheater released their debut 7" EP on Thrashed records. Seeing as I have been getting into Moutheater lately, I decided to pick up a distro copy from A389 when ordering a few things. Turns out they had it on sale for less than Thrashed records, what a bargain!
As you can no doubt see, this comes with one of those adapter things in the middle. This led me to believe it was cut as 45rpm, I've usually only seen them on records of that speed. It's actually cut at 33rpm, so of course was playing all funny when it started. I'm not entirely sure why they went with the bigger hole size in the middle, or in fact why anyone uses the bigger hole size.
Being 5 years late on picking this up, I was only able to buy the regular black version. According to discogs, there is at least two other versions out there. One of them is grey, while one is called TP. It has a yellow colour next to it, but I'm not really sure what that is supposed to be.
There are a total of three songs on this EP, with the lyrics to each on the back. And if you are just dying to hear the tracks (I know you are), the band have been kind enough to upload them all to bandcamp for you.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lockweld - 8 cuts 12"

When I posted about this band's split with Integrity a while ago, I think I mentioned potentially seeing a rather bizarre skill-saw shaped record released by Lockweld. Well, not long after writing that post I stumbled across said LP on Ebay. My usual buying urges surged through me, and I placed a bid. At that point somebody had already placed a bid on this, and I was ready to deploy my very best bidding-war tactics. The other bidder must not have been overly keen on acquiring this record, as my second bid was the final one, sealing the deal for a few measly dollars. (Of course shipping is what really hurt the wallet).
The split with Integrity was my initial introduction to this interestingly unusual band. Although in all honesty, their tracks weren't really my cup of tea, I did appreciate their creativity. Likewise with this record, I'm not the biggest fan of the tracks, but that saw shaped vinyl was just too cool to pass up on. The edges are actually relatively sharp as well, sharper than you would expect. The record has actually cut a decent hole through the plastic sleeve.
I've really no idea if other variants were made, for some reason I can imagine a band like this releasing a bright pink version (which would probably look really great now I think about it). Anyway, this version is obviously just plain black, and is out of 500 copies.
As an aside, it seems the seller originally paid only a fraction less than what I've paid for it years later. I guess some things just never really appreciate in value...

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pale Creation / Abraxis split 7" - Finishing the Set

A while ago I posted about this split, which I mentioned that I somehow ended up with two colour variants. Well while browsing Ebay, I came across the last of the colour variations really (and I mean really) cheap. I wouldn't normally bother, but seeing as I was so close to finishing the set on this split, I thought I may as well try and win it. The auction didn't drum up much interest at all, so it was mine with little effort. Funnily enough, the Ebayer I was buying from was Nate from Hemlock 13 again. In addition to what I had one, he sent a copy of Grace. This is such a great record, I'll post about it soon.

Surprisingly, it turns out that the plain black version is actually the most limited of the three. Only 60 were produced, compared to 120 of the other two versions. And here they all are, they make quite a nice looking set I think.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Children Of God - Flexi

Continuing to bridge the gap between music and absolute mind blowing chaos, is this latest flexi from California's Children of God. 
As what seems to be the somewhat norm these days, this is limited to just 200 copies. As far as I could see it wasn't numbered in anyway, although that doesn't really matter. The track is on opaque flexi stuff (whatever the material is meant to be called).
From the recording session for the split with Seven Sisters of Sleep, this one track record only just breaks the 80 seconds mark. In some ways that may be all the human mind is capable of processing at one time, anything longer would cause the brain to spontaneously explode in a horrible mess. That is the pure energy captured in this flexi, it resonates right out of the turntable directly into your body leaving you in a state of bewilderment once it is over. A389 has been courteous enough to stream the whole track on their soundcloud page, so I'll embed it at the bottom. 
And if you want to 'sing' along, the lyrics are provided on the back of the cover.