Thursday, September 30, 2010

Despised Icon & Misery Index @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim. 9/28/10

au revoir mes amis
So this is it. Despised Icon's final US tour. Sad news for me, because my heart is filled with  regrets when it comes to this band. See, I used to hate on these guys because they were different. The breakdowns/hardcore dancing, the two singers with the wide brimmed wasn't "metal enough" for me back in the day. I came to see Suffocation and Cryptopsy, dammit, not THIS! Well after a few more encounters (on Summer Slaughter, opening for The Red Chord, etc) and the release of last year's awesome Day of Mourning album, I finally accepted Despised Icon as my deathcore lords & saviors. Then they announce they're breaking up and this will be their final US tour. Ever. At least they brought my favorite East Coast grinders, Misery Index out on this, their farewell tour.

So we arrive early yet still somehow miss the beginning of the local opening band. I normally wouldn't care because most local bands are fucking horrible but this band, Wage Slave were sick. I walked in late and ask the dude on the side of me about these guys and it ends up being the Alex Grind, drummer from Despised Icon, standing there diggin their set. So the first local opener ruled, the next group...not so much. I believe they were called Goliath. I don't really remember, I'm trying to forget about the whole experience actually. I want to say they had energy and charisma but no, none of the guitarists or bass player even looked like they wanted to be onstage. The drummer was sloppy as hell and only one of their two vocalists was any good, and the dude with the cool gutterals was wearing a Slipknot yeah. No dice man.

Revocation came out and the contrast in talent between them and Goliath was frightening, and I'm not even a Revocation fan either. They're a pretty competent thrash act. All the dudes shredded the fuck out of their respective instruments and they had mad energy onstage. You could tell these guys love playing and were having fun up there. I dug there set but still wouldn't have minded if them and Goliath had not played and given more time for Misery Index.

conquistadores in action
Ah yes, Misery Index. They owned. It's what they do. New guitar player was awesome live, Jason moving to the left side of the stage and letting Mark move into the center and handle unofficial frontman duties (crowd banter) bothered me for a second but I let it go when I realized how much ass they were kicking. Adam Jarvis on the drums...he's inhuman (thanks for the drumstick man! Wearing old ass tour shirts pays off sometimes kids).  Despised Icon's fans didn't really show that much love for Revocation's thrashy shred fest but most the crowd seemed to enjoy Misery Index's set. Who doesn't love blasting death/grind you can bob your head to?

Sadly, Misery Index had the shortest set of the night which was a crime against humanity as far as I'm concerned but alas, they made the best of what they had and tore the place up.

Despised Icon came out to their adoring two stepping fans and went straight into "All For Nothing." I gotta say I was impressed how Icon was able to keep the crowd and their own energy level so high playing in such a tiny sweat box like Chain Reaction (with six dudes onstage plus Alex's monster drum set).  The band rarely addressed the crowd and made no comments about they're impending demise, other than the "...this is your last chance" remark during the nights closer, "MVP" which had a literal meaning this time. From my vantage point near the side of the stage I was able to capture some sweet pics/video but sadly, the view of  the floor become obscured during Icon's performance and as we all know, watching the floor at these type of shows can be as much fun as watching the band sometimes. I couldn't see much but could definitely hear the shouts and "ohhhhhhhhs" during the silent parts of the breakdowns where all the dudes in bright colored shirts demonstrated their style.

Overall, this was an awesome show. Sucks that my first Despised Icon headlining show was also my last but hey, at least they went out on top and brought the house down at Chain Reaction. No really. Watch this video I took, I literally expected the roof to fall. 

*side note*
I was talking to Alex Grind from Despised Icon during Wage Slave's set and a little after the show about this top secret new double bass technique he's working on that is supposed to make all extreme metal dudes shit their pants in the near future. Needless to say, I'm STOKED.

Misery Index is still alive and kickin' and they just released an awesome compilation of all their splits/EPs and non-album material titled Pulling Out The Nails. Check that shit out if you're unfamiliar with the band and in the mood for getting your face grinded off.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crunch Time: The Black Dahlia Murder

BDM v5.0
in the next morning, could not keep up with these wild teenagers doing multiple stage dives all fucking night. The band has simply blown up beyond my wildest expectations. Each year/album they get bigger and bigger, attracting even younger and younger fans. This is good, this makes their shows exciting, fun and memorable. But now I relegate my role strictly as an observer and am no longer an active participant. I was done. Since then I've learned to enjoy BDM shows from the back of the venue, occasionally making my way down to the floor for a song or two to try and catch Shannon Lucas shredding the fuck out of his drums. This is why I surprised myself last time Dahlia rolled through SoCal (with Obscura). I was in the back chillin' when they played some old songs that peeked my interest and brought me down to the floor. Next thing you know they're playing "A Vulgar Picture" off Miasma and I'm standing next to Trevor doing a stage dive. WTF? haha.

I don't even remember how I got up there but I think it has something to do with this song. Mainly, that fucking riff at the 2:36 mark of the video.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to.......RUST IN PEACE

"No more mistakes..."
Yet another classic metal anniversary. Today is the 20th anniversary of the pinnacle of Megadeth's career, the release of Rust In Peace. I'm not going to write a wet, slobbery blowjob review of how awesome/inspiring/influential this album is....only because I'm pressed for time today, otherwise I sure as hell would! I recommend you head over to Invisible Oranges and read Cosmo Lee's in depth analysis of this seminal thrash masterpiece. In the meantime, heres a different look at my favorite song off this album, "Tornado of Souls." It's pretty rad how awesome the song hold's up in these different interpretations. Fucking Mustaine man...

(yeah, piano lady is a hard act to follow. Did you see that shit?)

(the dude munches the solo a little at the end, but FUCK)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mutterfuckin' Jason Newsted

my friend of misery...
This story over at, regarding a recent interview where Lars Ulrich discusses Metallica's regrets over Jason Newsted got me thinking.

Ya' see, I have soft spot in my heart when it comes to Metallica. Before I accidentally downloaded "Whiplash" off Napster sometime in the early 00's, I was a modern rock radio type kid and listened to whatever the hell the local DJ's played. I was familiar with Metallica for that " I lay me down to sleep," song and the one pussy tune with the violins all the girls at school liked, because even then at the dawn of the new millennium (and even now strangely enough), songs from the Black Album still dominated the air waves. So there I was in a Napster chat room listening to Rage Against the Machine or Everclear or someshit when the sky came falling down, they announced that Metallica was shutting down Napster. The chat rooms where fucking livid. I decided I would steal some of these assholes' music in protest, as much as my beloved 56k connection would allow (remember that shit?!). First song I heard was "Whiplash" off Kill Em' All. Life was changed. Metal head was born. I ended up buying so much of their merch/cds/dvd's/binge & purge bullshits over the years I think I paid for their kids' college education instead of my own. Yeah, I showed them who's boss.

The funny thing is I became a Metallica fan(actic) at the point in time where they were the MOST douchebag-ish in their history. The post Load/Re-Load, short hair, sue the internetz, play with an orchestra, pre- St. Anger period...aka the Metallica Dark Ages. In spite of all this bullshit, the power of the connection I made with their old back catalog was so great that even today I cannot completely turn my back on this band. Every time I hear James sing out of key I picture him chopping his breakfast on a mirror, roaring like a madman on "Master of Puppets." Every time Kirk flubs a solo I think: hey, this is the dude who took that riff from Exodus and made "Creeping Death" the greatest fucking song of all time. Whenever I see/hear Lars halfassing the drums I remember that at one point in his life, this dude played double bass on "Dyer's Eve." So yeah, I defend and put up with Metallica's bullshit because I love their past musical out put so much I put up with the abuse. And this is why my friends, I love Jason Newsted.

sad but true
I identify with the pains and struggles he endured as the band's whipping boy for 14 years. In regards to Metallica, he's like Jesus (with a cool shaved sides haircut), dying for their sins. When I read that Lars felt bad for shitting on Newsted throughout the 80's and 90's, it sort of felt like he was apologizing to ME for Garage Inc. and the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack. During the dark ages, Newsted was Metallica's only ray of light. The only dude with integrity and any common fucking sense within the group. Years have passed and both Jason and I have moved on, beyond Metallica's glorious thrashy roots and despite all the bullshit, we both still support the once mighty "Four Horsemen" to this very day.

So heres to "mutterfuckin' Jason Newsted," (as Lars in the immortal Camp Chaos cartoon refers to him) and his awesome backing vocals. You are missed.

*Watch Jason own the shit out of this video...epic!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Review: The Town

Don't call it a, it's a come back.
Holy Jesus, Ben Affleck is back from the dead. It's been a looooong time Ben. Good Will Hunting, Chasing Amy, Dogma, even the so hokey its awesome Armageddon...those were all in the 90's bro. Sadly, the 2000's were NOT kind to Mr. Affleck. A decade of crap films (THIS) and tabloid relationships (Ben + JLO = Bennifer?) turned Matt Damon's hetero life mate into a walking punchline and the recipient of many taco flavored kisses. 

Poor Ben tried turning things around by the decades end. His portrayal of a suicidal Superman in 2006's Hollywoodland wasn't altogether terrible and he directed the hell out of the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone the following year but he still hadn't dug himself out of the massive shit hole he had created (although he made me laugh pretty hard in his small role in Mike Judge's Extract).

So now it's 2010 and with this new decade comes a fresh start...and what a fucking start it is! The Town is a suspenseful drama the likes of which I haven't experienced in some time. Equal parts lovey drama and cops & robbers heist flick, The Town is about a motley cr(ue)w of Irish bank robbers whose lives get flipped turned upside down when Dougie (Affleck), falls in love with the bank manager from one of their heists. Blake Lively and Rebecca Hall are cute as hell, while The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner steals the fucking show as Doug's psycho bff Jem. The dude from Mad Men (Jon Hamm) does an adequate job in his role as the stereotypical FBI agent who really hates the bad guys ("gotta catch em all...") but honestly, the only real patchy acting role in this film is once again, ol' Ben Affleck himself. Of course Affleck's drab (Keanu Reeves inspired?) performance is still, easily, his best piece of work all decade; and really it's his directing and writing skills that are off the hook in this movie. The bank robbery scenes are insane, a cross between Heat and Point Break, while the Bostonian drama elements are reminiscent of Mystic River and The Departed. Affleck isn't reinventing the wheel here, but his directorial work in The Town shows he steals from the best.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grindcore Catharsis

I'm going through some health insurance bullshit right now. Kinda long story but in a nutshell:
I'm not dying but to continue on with my provider and deal with some of the medical issues I have will result in me being poor(er) as fuck. The assorted phone calls and paper work bullshit I've encountered lately leaves me feeling like this:

Really. While looking through the figures I received in the mail the first thought that raced through my head was the beginning of this song. This isn't the first time I've scored the soundtrack to my life as it happens. Kind of awesome how our subconscious can delve into music and create something enjoyable from a totally shitty experience. Yeah I was still pissed about the HMO bullshit, but I spent a good chunk of the morning listening to Pig Destroyer as a result which is always a plus.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arizona and back....

Just returned home from a trip to Arizona. Phoenix, Arizona to be exact. Beautiful as fuck though. In honor of my recent expedition I've decided to highlight two of my favorite Phoenix bred metal bands (and really, the ONLY Phoenix bands I can think of).

First, the snappy newcomers of Landmine Marathon:
Brutal, raw, grind-y death metal. Anger incarnate...probably pissed from living in that Arizona heat all year round.

Scion A/V Video: Landmine Marathon - Shadows Fed To Tyrants from Scion A/V on Vimeo.

and here are the mighty Vehemence. This band was/is fucking awesome. Their 2002 album God Was Created is probably one of the best melodic death metal albums ever (and not like In Flames post-Clayman pussy stuff either). They had a deal with Metalblade back in the day but the band sort of fell apart after 2004's Helping the World to See. They were pretty much dead until they reformed in 08'. The two post-reunion shows I've seen were amazing. Too bad they played infront of like 30 people each time =/  Here's one of my favorite songs, "The Last Fantasy of Christ." It's melodic, brutal and 100% Arizona death metal.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grim and Frostbitten DVD

Immortal- Live at Wacken 2007 (The Seventh Date of Blashyrkh). That’s a mouth full. So Immortal’s DVD /CD combo just hit stores here in the states yesterday and like a good little consumer I went and fetched myself a copy. Why did I shell out perfectly good money for this when there’s plenty of ripped footage of this DVD on youtube/internetz.

Well I’ll start by stating that I saw Immortal on their 07’ reunion tour and the band was on fucking fire. They only played like two shows here in America (NYC and LA FTW!) but their West Coast gig was insane. Abbath was running around like a madman saying the weirdest shit in between songs. The venue was beyond packed, saturated with the smell of sweat, hair and Norwegian fog machines. Some of the girls in the audience (and there was a lot) looked like Horgh was blasting their G-spots and not the drums. Yeah, the show was fucking EPIC.

So it’s 2010 now. I saw Immortal again on their last “mini tour” but was disappointed. The band’s energy seemed cut in half while their respective waist lines almost doubled. The setlist featured lots of newer material off 2009’s All Shall Fall. I’m not hating on that record (it’s pretty good…no Sons of Northern Darkness though) but the unfamiliarity of the tunes left the crowd slightly puzzled and killed the vibe that made their 07’ tour the onslaught that it was.

So purchasing this DVD is like halfassed time travel for me. A way to relieve the awesomeness of Immortal’s 2007 reunion. Only instead of playing to a thousand or assholes in some theater in Hollywood, its at fucking WACKEN OPEN AIR. The overall quality of the footage is kind of “eh,” like someone filmed the concert on VHS and threw it on a DVD. The title/menus are lacking and the overall packaging of the box is rather drab as well. At The Gate’s Wacken DVD shits all over this in those regards but again, the main draw here is the setlist and the band’s awesome performance. Three out of shape dudes dressed like KISS commanding the shit out of the entire festival.

ohhhhhh Canadaaaaaaaaaaaa

I'm one of those suckers who still goes and buys CD's. 99% of the time I'll download an album first to make sure it doesn't suck ass. The good ones are saved from the recycle bin and make their way onto my iPod. The great ones make the list of albums to buy should I get the chance (at the band's merch table, big box retailers, FYE, etc) but the awesome ones instill themselves deep inside my psyche and demand roadtrips or hunts.

This leaves us with that 1%. Artist's whose past output has been so consistently awesome I'll blindly purchase whatever bullshit they put out. Iron Maiden could make a live DVD of Nicko taking a shit and, like an abused wife, I'll still come back for more.

"...oui oui, bon bons and all that good stuff."
- Method Man
Beneath The Massacre are getting up there on my list. No, they'll never be an arena filling legacy act like Slayer. Yes, they have short hair and yeah, "ils parlent du francais," but man, this band has a track record of being consistently fucking awesome.

2005's Evidence of Inequity EP was a slamming introduction. Brutality meets technicality meets breakdowns...but without the bad taste in your mouth.

2007's Mechanics of Dysfunction and Dystopia in 08' brought more of the same but saw the band tightening their game with each release and growing more precise as musicians and songwriters (i.e. catchy ass cave man songs).

Their new EP, Maree Noire continues the band's awesome streak but is honestly like nothing else they've done. More math-y/off kilter time signatures, less breakdowns, filthier vocals and even more noodly guitar.   "Designed to Strangle" is like Whisper Supremacy era Cryptopsy on a cocaine & steroid binge. If this is the course they'll take on their next full length, COUNT ME IN.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My first day on the blog and youtube decides to take a giant shit on me. Oh well.

So today the 20th anniversary edition of Pantera's Cowboys From Hell hits stores.

I was only five years old when this album was released and cared more about MC HAMMER than Diamond Darrell. Of course I eventually transformed into a bitter/maladjusted teenager just in time to hop on the Pantera train for Reinventing the Steel. Needless to say I'm older, wiser, and even more bitter/maladjusted now and still celebrate Pantera's entire catalog (well almost, not that hair-metal shit).

Today, I suggest everyone spin this sucker at full blast and remember Phil's killer "I'll suck you Halford" vocals; Dimeba...Diamond Darrell's "too good for Megadeth" solos and Vinnie Paul's pre-douche bag identity (Hell Yeah? Fuck you man). Rex is and always has been cool as shit. DOMINATION.

One small step...for Jim.

No really, it's my first post. Ever.
Welcome to my dank corner of the interweb.

Here's a little jingle to mark the occasion. Yes, I actually like this shit.