Thursday, 24 January 2013

Children of God - Coup De Grace 7"

When I was ordering Ilsa and Nothing's latest releases from A389, I decided to have a quick look at the distro items for sale. Sometimes a couple of rare gems pop up that catch my eye, which is exactly what happened with this. I'd actually tried to get it before, possibly when I ordered their split with SSOS. For whatever reason I waited too long to order it and these were no longer for sale. I guess some more copies turned up or something.
The packaging is pretty cool on this one. The record comes in a DIY screen printed cardboard sleeve. Sadly I had a bit of trouble opening mine (as you no doubt have noticed below) and it is now slightly torn, no matter really I suppose. From opening it it turns out this is actually an old fedex package. It's great to see how well it has been reused, you'd never be able to tell from the front, it's professional as.

Released in 2011, this is COG's first EP, containing the below five tracks that don't collectively span to more than six minutes. Although it doesn't last particularly long, each song is full of the fantasticpowerviolence/hardcore monster that is synonymous with the band. It's definitely the rawest thing I've heard from the band thus far and is actually quite a stark contrast from the direction the band seems to be taking these days. This is pure human rage
Once I'd managed to open the cardboard sleeve I could release the record inside. It's on plain black vinyl, which to my knowledge is the only variant lurking out there. The centre labels are the inverse of each other, and most likely relate to the sleeve artwork.
But of course that's not it. Alongside this record was some of the good old A389 hospitality you've grown to love. Two stickers were included, one of which is the new pentagram logo. Next to these is a flyer for the amazing bash (that's just been and sounded awesome) and their latest sampler.
The entire EP is available to listen online for free courtesy of the band's bandcamp page.
Also, if you are a fan or even just interested in the band they have just released a brand new song. Treat yourself to that as well. I'm also pretty sure their new album will be seeing the light of day soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bad Brains - Into The Future 12"

The Bad Brains, everyone's favourite rasta punks  I'm sure nobody would disagree with the massive impact this band has had on music over the last thirty years. Granted some of their stuff in the 90's was really quite lackluster, but the music from their early years still surpasses 99% of the music out there today. In the late 2000's they came back with "Build a Nation" and late last year continued in a similar path with this, "Into the Future". It may not be in the same league as their self titled album, but it's still great to see the Bad Brains putting out some quality stuff after over 30 years since their beginnings.
This album has been released as a 12" LP in a glorious gatefold cover. The artwork obviously features the lion of judah, with the classic lightning bolt striking just behind him. The whole thing incorporates the three classic rasta colours and just looks really great, it may be my favourite Bad Brains artwork to date. The back has a cool photo of the band and the track listings. 

The version of the record I've got is clear with splatter, which has been done really well. Again red, green and yellow have been used for obvious reasons. I'm sure this was some kind of limited version, but I just can't seem to remember how many it was limited to.
Inside the cover are more photos of the band and information about the recording and such. On the left is the same photo as on the back, which seems a bit pointless to me, but at least the right hand side has something new.
As a nice little extra I also received a badge featuring the classic album artwork and a sticker with "Build a Nation"s artwork. When ordering I thought I may as well pick up a Bad Brains T-shirt while I'm at it. I mean how can you really go on not having one of these shirts?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Whirr - Distressor 12"

I've been hitting the shoegaze a bit lately, but it's a genre that has really come to grow on me over the last little while. After hearing the Whirr/Anne split (which I hope will arrive eventually!) I became interested in Whirr. Their bandcamp page provided me with enough cool songs to convince me to buy their latest record, Distressor.
Mine copy belongs to the second press which has somehow picked up new artwork. The first was a shot of a naked lady standing away from the camera, whereas now we have a picture of a dog in front of some audio equipment. I'm not sure which is best really.
This is probably the most visually impressive record that I own, and is definitely the only tri-colour. I don't think the photo quite does it justice, but it is flourescent pink, orange and yellow that looks awesome when it is spinning. The record also came with a nice black inner sleeve with a plastic sleeve inside that. Perhaps the label is a fan of sleeve-ception?
A lyrics sheet insert was also added inside the cover, but on the front are eyes, so many eyes!
This is also probably the record with the most extras I've ever received. Inside the package were some things not out of the ordinary; an advertisement for the label, a concert and a whirr poster. The other things however were a bit more obscure. First was a ripped out page from a book, which I am yet to find out where it belongs. Next was a Wonka's Pixie Stix thing, which I've never come across before. Below that are two small puzzle pieces from an unknown puzzle. Lastly is what appears to be a page pulled from a magazine, advertising Tiki mugs. I think this one may have been a rather clever reference to my worldly location.
The record is really quite good, but I'm not sure what to make of all the stuff that came along with it. It's a bit obscure, but it's also kinda cool. I wonder if I'll ever eat that Wonka thing, perhaps the curiosity will get the better of me one day.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Nothing - Downward Years To Come 12"

Along with Intoxications (and Coup de Grace which is yet to come), this is the latest of my new records from A389. Much like Anne, Nothing sees the label delve into wider music genres. Instead of the traditional metallic hardcore associated with A389, this is definitely more on the shoegaze side of the musical spectrum. Earlier last year was my first exposure to the band, with the magnificent 2012 sampler. Being so different from the other 50 odd tracks really made it stand out and I couldn't wait to hear more. Luckily it didn't take too long for this LP to be released. 
The artwork is quite simple, yet is very effective and certainly suits the title of the record. It is also somewhat mesmerising to look at, almost like an optical illusion. I'd also like to know what happens at the bottom of the staircase, it appears to just drift off into darkness.
As I was able to pre-order the record I managed to acquire a copy of the limited white version. I think this would have looked very impressive being pure white, but it seems a bit of black has seeped into this from the black pressing. This gives a somewhat dirty look to the record which I don't like. Sometimes this doesn't look so bad, but I think this would have looked so much better if it had been nice and clean.
A nice and simple insert was inside the cover as well. This has got the lyrics on the back and a cross on the front.
While I don't enjoy this as much as Anne, it is still a really great record. It is just about perfect to chill out from a hard day, especially the fourth track 'If Only'. Have a listen for yourself, there is no doubt you will feel calmer after a bit of a listen.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Rot in Hell - Termini Terrae 7"

There was a time when Rot in Hell was one of those bands who seemed to be putting out a new record every few weeks.. After a slew of splits, a live album and LP, the vocalist Nate decided to leave the band.The band briefly flirted with Hans from Liar as a replacement, but for whatever reason this did not work out. It didn't take long before rumours started circulating that the band would live on, reincarnated with Lecky of Voorhees fame as the new vocalist. These rumours did indeed come true and the band have now released their latest EP; Termini Terrae.

This is actually only the band's second 7 EP , the first being their debut 'Sins of Malice". It is somewhat fitting as this record represents the rebirth of the band, and it does certainly not disappoint. The 7" contains 4 brand new RIH tracks showcasing some ridiculously heavy tracks contrasted against the dark acoustic sections that make the band one of the best out there. Lecky's vocals are definitely welcomed and make the tracks truly some of the most vicious they have ever done. What better way to restart things off?
Once again, Rot in Hell have teamed up with Give Up to create the magnificent artwork on this release. The tri-fold cover looks great, and the artwork has some immense details put into it. Inside we have the lyrics to the tracks and RIH logo.

Right down the bottom is also another small logo many of you may recognise, which brings up something big I've forgotten to mention. This record is also the first release on the reborn Dark Empire Records. This was Dwid's label back in the early days, which has since been superseded by Holy Terror. But in 2012 it was reborn and taken over by Dwid's son Max. The Dark Empire definitely seems ready to strike back.
Five versions of the record have currently been pressed, although I wouldn't be surprised to see some more later on. When this was put up for pre-order a few months ago, the pre-order versions and the test press were available. These were white and blue versions, both limited to 100 copies. I knew these wouldn't stick around for long, so made sure to nab a copy of the blue version. I think it seems to turn out nicer than the white. Of course these are now sold out, but there have since been a red and black version added for sale.
This has really given me a new found appetite for the band and I cannot wait to see what the new RIH incarnation will unleash in the near future.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ilsa - Intoxications 12"

I'm back from holidays now and what better way to start the new year off than with a record I really should have made the effort to post about in 2012; Ilsa's Intoxications. My first glimpse of this band was on the magnificent A389 2012 sampler. The track Deadbeat's Ballad really caught my eye (or ear?) and when I heard the whole album was going to be released I was very keen to order as quickly as I could. The rest of the album is awesome, with my favourite track being "The Scream". It's like several tracks all squeezed into one with the lyrics painting a very dark portrait.
The artwork on the record is amazing as well, I think it's truly one of my favourites I've seen. Each time I look at it I notice a few extra details, and the vertical gatefold has been utilized well to extend the artwork.
I've tried to think of the best way to describe the band, but have come to the conclusion that it is not worth it. There are lots of influences and styles sitting in there and it's best you just listen and decide for yourself. Luckily the entire album is streaming online for free so you can do just that. If you can make out the picture below you'll even have the lyrics to all the songs.
Being as keen as I was (and usually are) I was able to pick up the limited colour version of the record, This is a stunning transparent red that goes well with the blood on the inside of the cover. The inner label has been ever so slightly modified for this release, with a thin line of blood leaking out the side of the mouth.

 I can't seem to remember how many copies this was limited to. I'll say it's 200, it is usually something close to that. Either way these are all sold out now, but there is still the regular black vinyl to satisfy those of you who need a copy stat.
To top it off a great and quite large poster was also included inside the sleeve. I'd like to put things like this up on the wall, but the other side of me still wants to keep it with the record to remain in good condition. It's still cool to get something like this though.