There are some bands more adept at riding the chaos than others in the storied history of underground music. From noise and hardcore pioneers like Steel Pole Bathtub to Man Is The Bastard to synth/indie/post-core bands like Six Finger Satellite to numerous grindcore bands like Fuck The Facts, etc.- some groups just embody the concept of "fuck it/let's really go for it" more than others. NY's Black Mesa sits proudly in that same spirit of frenzy and ferocious inventiveness, as evidenced by their recent compilation of insanely manic live performances. Whatever sub genre they throw in the emotional blender, you are bound to enjoy a deliciously nutritious smoothie of muddy sonic punk purée.
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VHS¥DEATH is the genre fluid, dark and gothic tinged borderless experimental project of Natalie Wardle (She/They). We checked in with the restlessly inventive UK based creator about the new Corrupted Geisha EP, one of my favorite things so far this year. I know as a writer it is my purported purpose to tell you WHY I like it, but music is also experiental.
For myself, I feel that there is a very wide open palette in play here and it is exciting to not know where a release is going to bring you track to track but being thrilled to trust the artist in the twists and turns/mind warp. There is also a sort of dancing around the edges of limitations, like journaling a transmogrification of pain as messenger to shackle shedding revelatory process via samples, sound collage and just bad ass music that makes you want to get down, freak out and dare to feel things…even if that feeling is vertigo, a chill up your spine, certain doom or the contradictions of human conditions.
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Jack of all trades vocalist Greg Puciato has released a transfixing, spacious and melodic taste of his sophomore solo album Mirrorcell, releasing this Summer on Federal Prisoner. Jim Louvau and Tony Aguilera directed the video for “Lowered”, which features the ex-Dillinger madcap frontman collaborating with Reba from Code Orange and is sure to spark a sense of wanderlust in the listener.
“When she came to the studio we had like…zero vocals for that song. I had been a little unusually stuck with that one lyrically and as far as vocal phrasings and melodies” Puciato explains. “Reba and I had such an explosion of musical and personal chemistry right away, and we ended up writing and recording all of the vocals in about six hours. It was one of the purest collaborations I’ve ever done, in terms of feeling, just really natural and explosive. She really blew me away overall. The combined energy was instant. That song turned into something really special because of that energy.”
Puciato once again recorded all guitars and bass for the collection, and continued his long-running relationship Producer Steve Evetts (The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Cure, Snapcase). Chris Hornbrook played drums on the nine-song album.
Mirrorcell pre-orders are available now via Federal Prisoner’s website (Federalprisoner.shop) with the album available on a variety of formats including multiple limited-edition vinyl variants, a cassette, CD and an accompanying merch collection. A pair of limited-edition “Lowered” vinyl singles, and cassette, are also available.
January is here and that means, in my neck of the woods, a lot of colorless and damp days with dead branches waiting to be reincarnated amidst a cold atmosphere perfect for listening to “Flood II” by Sisters Of Mercy on repeat en route to and from paying too much for Starbucks like an asshole.
Amidst being annoyed at people who completely missed out on how meta and dope- even with Jada Pinkett Smith turning into Yoda- the new Matrix movie was (I also LOVED all the low key Sense 8 cameos, xoxoxo!) and the much more time consuming tasks of working full time and dealing with my beloved mother passing away, you’d be correct in assuming I haven’t been interested in doing much of jack shit or had time to listen to a lot of new music. That said, here are a few things on my radar I thought were cool enough to bother mentioning in my meager little attempts here at maintaining both a music blog and my sanity as both a writer and human being right now. These are pretty perfect releases for a 2022 kick off where we are all still shell shocked and weary, if cautiously hopeful (possibly against our better judgment).
So, in no particular order:
HANGING GARDEN‘s Neither Moth nor Rust is a good fit for the oddball cross section of people who might be just as stoked for a Katatonia release as Evanescence or some art rocky Thom Yorke shit. To be honest, this record doesn’t even need the gutturals because the melodies and almost post-metal guitars could stand on their own without the extra oomph. Not that I mind some good screams.
“On The Shore Of Eternity” is my favorite track, the melodic intro really reminiscent of the grandeur of The Cure song this band’s name recalls. Check out the title track to the EP below.
DEEPER GRAVES will release the excellent dark post-punk inspired The Colossal Sleep this year, my favorite thing from the prolific Jeff Wilson in a while. This project is really starting to come into its own. Discard black metal preconceptions and approach this as a new, evolving chapter, similar to how Coliseum fans had to embrace Fotocrime or AN fans with Cold Cave. This is darker and dirtier than those projects, the band name not a misnomer. “Corridors” is probably my favorite tune of the new EP, the best uneasy soundtrack to wanting to leave somewhere since the Jesus Lizard released “Din”.
AGE OF APOCALYPSE release a banger Jan. 21st. Faced with the ferocious and/or atmospheric Grim Wisdom, LOA, Twitching Tongues, Type O and Section 8 stans will likely rejoice…except they are gloomy fucks like me and we don’t really do that often. But there are exceptions! The title track here is an absolute slammer. Like, think of the most pulverized watermelon to ever fall victim to Gallagher and that doesn’t come close. This is totally the shit. I am sure some dope hardcore and metalcore will come out this year but if you had to blow your wad in fuckin’ January and were only allowed to rock this one most of the year, you probably wouldn’t be that upset about it.
Portland trailblazer (see what I did there?) MIZMOR will release the highly anticipated brooder Wit’s End this month, a record which seems to be just completely tired of everyone’s bullshit. The teaser alone will make any listener consider anti-depressants, if they aren’t already on them (no shame, just sayin’). Recorded, produced, and mixed by A.L.N. at his home studio, July 2020 – February 2021 and brought to you by Gilead Media. Releases Jan. 14th.
WILDERUN‘s Epigone is out January 7th and shows the band in fine form. Progressive and symphonic but not in the most predictable ways, the band have made their cleanest sounding yet most thrillingly challenging material to date.
“This is certainly a “meta” record for me,” states guitarist and vocalist Evan Berry. “It’s the record that has the most to do with the artistic process.”
Chuck Wright, longtime member of Quiet Riot (until he recently stepped down), has released a timely and dope video for his Chuck Wright’s Sheltering Sky project. Wright has teamed up with one of the best modern vocalists and an array of talent to deliver this first video and track at a time America needs it:
Photo by Mari Kawaguchi
Important discussion at Toilet Ov Hell to a tone deaf af Sin Quirin side project press release and the allegations about him that have been extremely downplayed by Ministry, Nuclear Blast and Cleopatra and any potential touring companions. Listen to the whole thing.
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On this week's show we're joined by @maggieserota to discuss her thorough & damning article on Ministry guitarist Sin Quirin & his underage sex allegations, the band's silence, Philly hardcore, So I Married An Axe Murderer and more. It's a real good one.https://t.co/ljZVtOeupD
— Toilet Ov Hell (@toiletovhell) April 21, 2021
Gost, the “dark synthwave frontrunner” (Kerrang!), has set an Aug. 13 release date for his new album, Rites of Love and Reverence (Century Media Records).
“I have recently been fixated on the subject of witchcraft and its effect on women throughout history,” explains Gost. “I myself practice rituals to help clear my mind and focus on my day to day endeavors. This curiosity into witchcraft’s history and my own traditions combined to inspire the new album.”
A key conceptual element is the inclusion of Dutch photographer Nona Limmen’s photograph on the album cover, as Gost explains: “I have been a fan of Nona Limmen’s work for some time now. The inspiration for the new album is much about witchcraft from the feminine perspective. For women, throughout history, witchcraft has been negative, empowering, poisonous, and beautiful. The moment I saw this photographer by Nona, I could not imagine using anything else to convey the album’s content as beautifully and powerfully as this image does.”
Gost has spent the past several years on the road, touring with a wide range of artists from his synthwave brethren like Perturbator and Carpenter Brut, to industrial artists like 3TEETH and Author & Punisher, as well as some of the biggest names in metal, like Mayhem and Power Trip. The mysterious producer cut his teeth playing in metal bands, eventually drifting towards electronic music, which combined with his fascination with the occult, John Carpenter and ‘80s slasher flicks, gave birth to his uniquely powerful sound. With haunting atmospherics and evocative aesthetics, Gost quickly developed a loyal following in both the electronic, rock and metal communities.
Rites of Love and Reverence
Cover art by – Nona Limmen
Release date – Friday 13th August 2021
— gost (@gost1980s) April 21, 2021
See the new LUNA 13 clip “Sekhmet” at Knotfest HERE. One of our favorite industrial metal acts, it is great to see the inventive, bass heavy and evil as fuck group thriving! This song is in homage to a history of female warrior goddesses. Filmed in the duo’s home of Joshua Tree, California, the video is set in a desolate desert background and features contributions from art crew Grindhaus with the video directed by the group’s Otis Johnson
Metal and horror legend Rob Zombie has released a new video for the single “Crow Killer Blues”, more evidence that The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy finds the musical madman seemingly loosening up and just enjoying the ride again. It is making for some of his best material in years, every song full of the dark circus of Zombie crunchy yet heavy and groovy vibe fans know and love. This one really slams home when those vocals come in.
Get your party scowl on as the wind’s howl below.Add to My Radar
TW: Anti-Semitism and Domestic Violence.
More accusations towards Nazi-memorabilia enthusiast Marilyn Manson have come out in relation to his abuse allegations. Evan Rachel Wood is feeling safer now and sharing more details. It certainly is sketchy as fuck to learn that he bought Eva Braun’s handbag at one point, allegedly? Who has that now and have they hopefully gotten rid of it or thrown it in a dumpster? I know there have been WW2 enthusiasts in rock before like Lemmy who collected all manner of memorabilia but Lemmy was also VERY outspoken about hating prejudice and racism and his favorite artist of all time was Little Richard. Manson seems to have very much become that which he once lampooned on Portrait Of An American Family as the toxic underbelly of American society. WTpsychoticF, dude?
His long running manager Tony Ciulla has dropped him NOW, which is completely unimpressive. How could you really not know anything between Antichrist Superstar until now, dude? While many fans are grappling how someone who has written albums important to them could be so allegedly shitty, that is not the thing to center! Mechanical Animals really helped me feel better about expressing gender fluidity but I am sure as fuck not gonna put that incidental fact above the pain of the women who have come forward. Get some perspective, fuckers!
Wood, 33, claimed on her Instagram Story Friday that in addition to emotional and sexual abuse, Manson, 52, was also abusive towards her regarding her Jewish heritage. She also denied ever having a BDSM relationship with him and dismantled other pathetic talking points abuse apologists have tried to direct towards her.
The Westworld, Frozen and True Blood actress shared Manson’s tattoos which she says are hidden swastikas and a Nazi-death’s head inspired symbol of a skull-and-crossbones. She said he didn’t have them when they started dating.
“I heard the ‘n’ word over and over,” she added. “Everyone around him was expected to laugh and join in. If you did not or (god forbid) called him out, you were singled out and abused more.”
People in the scene who want to victim blame and whose first impulse is to fall into every abuse apologist trope should READ THIS ARTICLE right away. It was a huge red flag when Manson’s team tried to deflect from him ending a recent interview abruptly with Metal Hammer when asked about Evan alluding previously to him being an abuser (before she outright named him) by using Rose McGowan as a token “MeToo” survivor who is friendly with him. If anyone ever tries to do that you can tell them to fuck off and that one experience does not mean everyone else’s were similar.
Also, metal and worker’s rights scribe, Kim Kelly (whose work is much appreciated for what she brings to the scene) has posted a Gizmodo piece to help people recognize Nazi and Racist dogwhistling from metal bands HERE. It has some very good techniques to try to familiarize yourself with. I for one will not promote anything from Hells Headbangers because they just don’t try hard enough to vet shit, IMO.
Reporting on metal is a complicated process and we try our best to not contribute to anything super shitty. The best thing the community can do is have an ongoing discourse on how to improve things. At various points I have not written about whole bands or labels if they are unrepentant, have done zero sincere restorative justice or it’s just way too sketch to know. This goes for multiple reasons/topics. Together we can try and stay on top of this stuff instead of making an anything goes climate. You are under no obligation to support Destroyer 666 casually calling people whores or “effeminate men” as an insult just because you like metal.
The term “cancel culture” is itself an alt-right seeded concept (like “virtue” signal or “SJW”) that seeks to diminish the efforts of accountability and social justice. Contrarian fuckheads seem to think no one has the intelligence to be able to understand nuance or degrees of contrition. If that were the case there would never be ex-neo nazis like Christian Picciolini who now do important anti-racism activism!
And then there is this I’d like to draw your attention towards:
Marilyn Manson was officially accused of sexual assault, domestic abuse, etc, by multiple women this morning.
— NAZIS IN METAL: A Comprehensive List (@NAZISinMETAL) February 1, 2021
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People really out here praising abusive dinosaur rockers when we have so many brilliant, kind, underrepresented artists working their asses off. Are y’all really that fucking dull? I’m talking to you. Are you in a position of power?
— Kris Esfandiari (@kngwmn) February 2, 2021
“Every single thing that people have said about (Marilyn Manson) is fucking true,” says Wes Borland.
It is most definitely not about the he said, she said bullshit according to Wes Borland in regards to Marilyn Manson allegedly being a shitty, damaged and extremely toxic, unrepentant person. Head to Metalsucks HERE for a piece where Borland is quoted from Twitch saying that he believes all the women who have come forward. The list of allegations is horrific. Ashley Lindsey Morgan’s allegation (TW assault, racism) has particularly lingered in my head for how horrible it is to threaten someone Jewish with harm unless they purchase you fucking Nazi relics? Disgusting.
One other thing I want to mention that really bugs me and has had me arguing constantly with scumbag reply guys on posts around various online outlets about this topic is when they ignore saying something supportive to the people who have made a brave allegation and instead cheaply say ,“his music sucked anyway.”
That is not me defending someone’s art. It is pointing out that it is not the time and fucking place to focus shift and imply, intentionally or not, that is isn’t that big a deal because you thought an artist wasn’t fucking good. How about instead have more empathy for the harm that is being discussed and try and learn a thing or two as well (this also goes for the people mocking AOC for mentioning resurgent compounded traumas and PTSD) about the myriad of reasons why people stay silent. Instead you scum are contributing to them.
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ROB ZOMBIE releases new video “The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)”
Happy Halloween, my ghoulish darlings! Pleased to report that Rob Zombie has released probably his gnarliest track in awhile for y’all. “The Triumph of King Freak…” kicks off with some weird and cool atmospherics before clobbering down with some vintage Zombie heavy charm followed by some major boogie. John5 kicks ass on this one as well with a few parts bordering on Tom Morello inventiveness. The song is from the modestly titled album, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, out March 12, 2021 via Nuclear Blast. Loving the crazy boom box and scratch sections that gave me weird flashbacks to the fun detours on Beck’s Odelay album.
“I do not forgive/I do not save.” Hell fuckin’ yeah! This seems like it is going to be a creative and very major record for the master of undead ceremonies.
Zombie is also making an exclusive colored 7-inch available for the new single with B-side “The Serenity Of Witches.” Check it out here.Add to My Radar
Grammy-nominated band Code Orange have announced “Back Inside The Glass,” an all-immersive environmental experience placing Code Orange’s live show at the center of awe-inspiring virtual landscapes.
Broadcasting live October 31st at 4:00PM EST / 1:00PM PST, “Back Inside The Glass” will see Code Orange delivering a colossal livestream performance in a way never-before-seen, and will feature special guests Machine Girl, Year Of The Knife (playing their LP Internal Incarceration in full) and Jesus Piece kicking off the stream with brand-new sets delivered through a cinematic lens.
Tickets for “Back Inside The Glass”, including VIP packages with a virtual fan experience that allows viewers to digitally project themselves into the venue as the band performs, are on sale now at live.codeorangetoth.com. All tickets will receive an instant download of “The Cutter,” a never-before released track from the Underneath album sessions. Fans can also tune in at 3:00PM EST / 12:00PM PST for Mudbangers Ball (Vol.2), a special livestream preshow hosted by Riki Rachtman featuring interviews and new heavy music videos, reimagining a beloved format.
Code Orange vocalist Jami Morgan commented on the announcement: “We are very excited to present the next chapter of the Code Orange live streaming experiment. We are hoping to deliver something on a whole new level with ‘Back Inside The Glass’ and are glad to have our brothers and sisters in Jesus Piece, Year Of The Knife, and Machine Girl along with us.”Add to My Radar
Fear Factory‘s classic line up changed my life. Seeing them years ago at Tramps in NYC playing “Piss Christ” was the most intense baptism of musical fire and a complete revelation on what intensity of sound merged with science fiction could accomplish. It has been agonizing as a fan over the years to see the fighting and constant musical chairs, despite many great albums along the way. And don’t get me started on Christian’s occasional very wacky hot take comments like recently downplaying the problematic nature of the Confederate flag when reminiscing about Pantera on IG (who I love but it is more than ok to critique about that). Raymond has always been super cool to me and with the exception of Gene Hoglan it also was a drag to see his impact downplayed by drum machines or lesser, if talented, characters behind the kit.
Burton C. Bell has now quit the band (who endured lengthy litigation between the classic line up members in recent years) and has released a lengthy, sad fucking statement you can read HERE. It seems pretty damn harsh on Dino, much as I love Burt. I can’t even write all the deets out for you all right now because I am so effin’ bummed.
Sadly, I now hope Dino just finishes the last album mix tweaks and releases it and lets the band end. It will be sad but we will have the final album. It isn’t a band that would be cool to continue without Burton. He is intrinsically linked to the psychic machinery of the material like a cyborg with head implants. Whenever key elements have been removed it has somewhat worked but also something has been slightly missing. Some bands are a sum of their parts and that chemistry.
Dino should just start Divine Heresy again (replacing Tommy in that is a LOT easier than replacing BURTON in FER FACTORY). Burton is happy with Ascension Of The Watchers. The other guys should do a follow up to the critically undervalued Arkaea record Years In The Darkness. But if Fear Factory can’t be fixed then spare parts isn’t the solution.Add to My Radar