Thursday, December 29, 2011

the End of the Line 2011

End of the year lists are like assholes. Everyone has one. Some people might not give a shit about said lists but I'd have to say that I enjoy compiling my own. It gives me a chance to reminisce about the year whether it's through music, shows, travel, food or fill in the blank. So here's to looking back to another year that has past and looking forward to the new year to come to which one more list of my favorite memories will be created.

My favorite albums of 2011 in no particular order:

Indian - Guiltless

I love this album! These guys certainly know how to take heavy to a whole new level. Along with the heaviness they seem to carve their own niche of sound that walks the line between chaos, terror and emotion. It reminds me of bands from back in the mid nineties scene. Their live show is as ferocious as this album and they seem to get better and better with each recording. If you ever get a chance to see them live I highly recommend it. Ramble forth!

B A T I L L U S - Furnace

B A T I L L U S are HEAVY as FUCK! Live and recorded. Chunky riffs reminiscent of Sleep and great soundscapes waving throughout make B A T I L L U S a breath of fresh air. I'm definitely looking forward to their next album.

Mastodon - the Hunter

These guys can't do wrong in my book. No body has the talent to keep re-inventing themselves like Mastodon does. Their first non-concept album in a long time and the timing could not be more perfect. Every song is different then the previous (which keeps me from getting bored. thank you) and every riff seems to flow with ease out of these guys' fingertips. They make it look so easy. The amount of talent whether it'd be song structure, melody or artwork creates an overall concept that even though they're not going for is obviously present. Mastodon will always be one of my favorite bands no matter how large they become. I only see them getting bigger and is to do what you love for the rest of your life such a bad thing?

Russian Circles - EMPROS

I'm just barely jumping onto the Russian Circle train and aren't quite familiar with their earlier stuff but if it's anything like EMPROS than count me in. Great album that's full of rhythm and ambiance that just gets more epic after each song. I can't believe that this is only a 3 piece and can't wait to see them live.

YOB - Atma

I'm gonna start by saying that the reformation of YOB is one of the best things to happen to metal in a long time. Mike Scheidt is truly a master at his craft. YOB has an unmistakable sound that absolutely pummels you from the moment that the first chord is struck leaving you listening while picking your jaw off of the ground. Atma is another masterpiece from YOB and that's all that I have to say about that.

Atriarch - Forever the End

Atriarch are both haunting and beautiful. This album gives me the chills every time I listen to it. I'm a big fan of Nick Phit's work with Graves at Sea and love the Goth influence that creeps out of this album. They are just as dark live as they are on this record right down to the burning of sage to ward of spirits while they play.

Dark Castle - Surrender to all Life Beyond Form

Dark Castle are one of my favorite new bands. Huge riffs and melodies that are simple but very effective. It's hard to believe that this is a 2 piece. Their last album Spirited Migration is constantly on rotation on my iPod. This album has a Middle Eastern influence that works well with their sound. Between Rob's minimal but creative drum patterns and Stevie's chaotic dissonance on guitar, the recording is as full as it can get. Her vocals are strong and sound a lot more emotional than on Spirited. She also creates great interludes for their albums. I'm bummed that I missed them come through San Francisco this year (with YOB nonetheless) but I'm sure they'll be back in 2012.

Defeatist - Tyranny of Decay

Defeatist are the best straight forward grind band that unfortunately just broke up. Joel's drumming is impeccable and so fucking creative that all I can do is stare in awe whenever I watch him play. I never got a chance to see them live because they never made it to the west coast but at least there's youtube. I'm also a fan of Aaron's artwork for all of their flyers and albums along with his stint in Kalibas.

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Explosions create beautiful sounds and melodies that fade in and out through waves of emotion. Still haven't seen them live but they're on my list for 2012. If you dig dreamy and ambient instrumental tunes then I highly recommend these guys.

Tombs - Path of Totality

Path of Totality is such a great album. Mike Hill and Co. are writing some of the most creative music in metal right now. So many influences are heard throughout this album from Bauhaus to Joy Division and Tombs blends it in a manner that opens up new sonic dimensions. What a great live band too

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Groundwork were a sXe hardcore band that formed in 1991 and broke up in 1994. They hailed from Tucson, AZ and left a pretty big impression on the scene in the 3 years that they were around. At the time that I started listening to them I was too was nailed to the X and even though I held no specific bias towards this band or that band based on them being a sXe band, I always could appreciate the fact that there too were people playing music in the scene who chose not to include alcohol and drugs in their daily lives. They were extremely emotional and heavy. With only 22 songs released in total compiled from various 7"s, a split with Unbroken and an LP, their final release was a discography CD on Bloodlink Records. When Groundwork finally called it quits their members didn't stop carrying the torch. Two bands sprung from the ashes and were just as pivotal in helping define the scene. Those bands were Absinthe and Four Hundred Years. Bands who I will be blogging about in the near future. For now, enjoy two songs from their LP "today we will not be invisible nor silent."

Question Me / Hungry

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Increment

My Increment were by far the most powerful, artistic, creative and unfortunately short lived band to come out of Bakersfield, CA in my opinion. At the beginning of their existence, Bakersfield's music scene was turning a new direction from punk to hardcore mainly based out of bands from Goleta, CA and Northern, CA. My Increment's new sound was so absent of the Bakersfield scene at the time of their inception and the crossing of genre's was something that nobody was prepared for, me included. I remember going to watch them practice at Joel's house throughout the beginning and being completely blown away. I also began noticing the change in timing and speed of their songs as the influences from outside bands kept pouring in. Bands like Channel and Groundwork were highly influential in the creation of My Increment and even though I never got to play guitar in this band (a story for another time), I am to this day amazed by how fresh their sound still is. There hasn't been a person that I've shown these recordings to that hasn't praised the originality and freshness of their song structure. Unfortunately they only released a split 12" with Sharon Tate out on Base Matter Records. Out of a total of 6 songs ever recorded, those 6 songs and My Increment will forever be in my influential top 10. Members went on to play in such bands as Shahrazad, the Sagittarians, Anodyne, ASRA, Defeatist and Curandera. Here's a link to 2 tracks off their 6 song discography that was never released.

Songs 5 & 6


I don't really know too much about these guys except that they were from San Jose, CA and weren't around too long. They recorded a demo, a split 7" with Mohinder and the "great Day" 7". Everything that I've heard from them is super catchy. It's hard not to like them. I remember that I wanted this 7" so bad that I traded my friend a Los Crudos patch for it. He said I was crazy to do that but I in no way regret owning this record. Thanks Joel! Dig this Catchy tune.



Mohinder were a four piece hardcore band from Cupertino, CA. As far as I'm concerned, they were the originators of the chaoticore spastic style. James Fuhring destroyed the drums everytime that he got behind them. He developed a style that many tried to mimic but only pale in comparison.They were only around for a very short while and released 3 7"s, a few comp tracks and a discography LP put out by GSL. Members went on to such bands as Jenny Piccolo, Indian Summer, the Anasazi, Calm, Duster, A-Set and Makara. Enjoy this mp3 from their 7" the Mission released on Gravity Records.



ACME absolutely fucking crush! I love this band. They were from Bremen, Germany and were around in the mid nineties. From their sound, ACME were ahead of their time. Bands like GAZA wouldn't be around if it wasn't for these guys. They formed in 1991 and lasted till about 1995 with only releasing a demo, 7" and a few compilation tracks which were all compiled onto a 12" & a CD titled " reduce the choir to one soloist" released by Edison Recordings in 1996. I highly recommend checking them out. Below is a free mp3 from the aforementioned album.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GHOST...the unholy EVIL

GHOST reign from Sweden and are about to take the metal underground by storm. I just bought their album "Opus Eponymous" out on Metal Blade and Rise Above Records last week and can't stop listening to it. It's nothing new musically but holy shit (pun intended) is it catchy! They no doubtfully preach about their love for Satan and I sometimes find their lyrics silly but hey. At least they're passionate.

Enveloped in a shroud of mystery and standing anonymous beneath the painted faces, hoods and robes which their sect demand, the six nameless ghouls of GHOST deliver litanies of pulsating heavy rock and stimulating lyrics which "glorify and glamorize the disgusting and sacrilegious". The music and philosophies of GHOST specifically target "individuals who have a void in their life perhaps caused by some form of emotional trauma or upset" (research suggests these are most likely adolescents); this dearth can then be alluringly filled by GHOST's music and philosophies, "so that in time the easily manipulated will come to share the views and goals of the Coven's ministry and can prepare their own plans for the downfall of humanity."

The previous paragraph was taken from their Metal Blade page and I think that it speaks for itself quite plainly. Before actually hearing GHOST's music I for some reason thought that they would sound dark and heavy in a Portal kind of way. But at first sound I was taken aback by how poppy they sounded. When you see a band that portrays an image of mystique, evil and darkness you hope for the latter when it comes to the sound of their music. Most bands that are shrouded in secrecy leave the listener to create their own fantasy. When I hear GHOST
I think of the KISS persona but obviously a lot less cheese-ball. For one, only your parents thought that KISS were satanic and the sheer contrast between GHOST and KISS is that GHOST aren't fucking around when it comes to their message. It's hard to pigeon-hole GHOST
into any particular genre and I'm not interested in any of that so I would just highly recommend that you check them out for yourself. in the meantime I'll leave you with a quote from the band.

"Our mission is not as much about conversion as it is about underlining which path you all have chosen to go, and where it will ultimately lead you," declared GHOST in a rare communiqué. "We are the file playing back in your digital earpiece while you are carelessly approaching the end."

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Neurosis obviously need no introduction. They are the pioneers of the dark, heavy, ambient, atmospheric and all that is extreme and in between. Many have tried to mimic their sound but pale in comparison. Their live shows are an experience that I will never pass up. I haven't missed a show (that has been within realistic driving distances) in 10 years. They are in my top 3 favorite artists of all time and I'm very stoked to say that I will notch up another live show into my belt tonight when they destroy the Great American Music Hall with 1 of 2 shows that are scheduled. They haven't played in the bay area let alone anywhere in the U.S for a few years. They did play December 30th and 31st 2010 in Seattle and prior to that they played in August of 2009 in Seattle as well. Other than that their presence has only been felt over seas for the last couple of years. I don't know what makes their efforts to play in the U.S so dismal but what I do know is that this makes tonight's show that much sweeter. Tonight's show is sold out so if you didn't get a chance to go to tonight's show then I believe tomorrow night's might still be available. Do yourself a favor and go. You won't be disappointed. Although, if you go tomorrow night you'll be missing YOB's performance. That band is a story for another time so all I can say about that is, it sucks to be you.