Grizzlor – Cycloptic (2015), Rhin – Passenger (2016)

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GrizzlorCycloptic (Hex Records, 28 October 2015)

 

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RhinPassenger (Grimoire Records, 06 May 2016)

 

Hey — remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about a split record by Barren Womb from Norway and New Haven’s Grizzlor? Maybe you missed it because it was only a couple short paragraphs, buried among reviews of two Bardus albums. Whatever the case, in that article (which you can find right here), I pointed out how the two songs contributed by the Connecticutian band were nasty and punky but also just catchy enough to make one want to check out more of their stuff. Well I didn’t realize it at the time, but there wouldn’t be a long wait to be able to do just that — in fact, technically it was a negative amount of time, since that article was published almost a year after the split with Barren Womb was released, and in the meantime — about seven months later, but still a few months before I wrote the article — Grizzlor had already put out another 7″ record.

Today I’m going to discuss that record with you, and I’ll also throw in some words about a brand-new album — due out next Friday from Grimoire Records — by Rhin from Shepherdstown (a small town at the easternmost tip of West Virginia, near the border with Maryland and Virginia). As an added bonus for those readers who live near Philly, Brooklyn, or New Haven, these two bands will be performing in your city this weekend! Further details on those shows will be found at the end of the article. But first, let’s talk about some music …

 

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Corrections House – Last City Zero, Lumbar – The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (2013)

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Corrections HouseLast City Zero (Neurot Recordings, 29 October 2013)

 

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LumbarThe First and Last Days of Unwelcome (Southern Lord Records, 11 November 2013)

 

Salutations. It’s Monday, and I just don’t have the energy for any of the wisecracks or silliness these things often start with, so instead I’ll just jump right into introducing today’s topic of conversation. It’s been a long time coming, but finally I’m getting around to writing about these two albums which were each released in late 2013, and which each subsequently found their way into the top ten of my Top 13 of 2013 list. Yes, that particular list did contain a total of twenty-seven albums, technically speaking, but still that’s no excuse for a delay of more than two years before getting some of these reviews done — particularly considering the exceptionally high quality of the material found here.

The two albums in question were the first to be released by two different groups of musicians, all veterans of fairly well-known bands: first, Corrections House is a conglomoration of Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), and Sanford Parker (Minsk), with some of the lyrics contributed by the phantasmatic “minister of propaganda,” Seward Fairbury; and Lumbar is a project led by Aaron Edge (well-known as a graphic designer, who worked for Southern Lord Records for several years, but also a guitarist and drummer who has been part of literally dozens of groups, including Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, with the addition of Mike Scheidt (YOB) and Tad Doyle (Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, formerly Tad).

In each case, I think you’ll find — as they say — that the finished product shows each collective to be more than simply a sum of its parts. But even if that wasn’t the case, looking at the particular parts involved, those would still be pretty lofty sums, no?

 

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Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc (2016)

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Agoraphobic NosebleedArc (Relapse Records, 22 January 2016)

 

As far back as last November, Relapse Records has been teasing the news that this year would witness a series of four EPs filled with new material from grindcore stalwarts Agoraphobic Nosebleed, the first of which was scheduled to come out in late January. This EP, titled Arc, would run about twenty-five minutes over the course of just three songs.

Surely those of you familiar with the drum-machine-based band’s past output — which includes an album of 100 tracks whose total length doesn’t quite reach twenty-five minutes — will have done a double-take at learning this information, just as I did when I first read the announcement. And surely you’re as curious and eager to hear what they’ve come up with, just as I was. Well Arc has been out a few weeks by now, so step right this way and let’s explore.

 

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Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (2013)

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IntronautHabitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones) (Century Media Records, 19 March 2013)

 

Hello there! “TFIF” and all that stuff. I wanted to get one more thing written and shared with you before the weekend, and in deciding what to talk to you about, I was feeling kind of reflective: looking both forward and back. Forward, because (as I mentioned yesterday) this year seems to be slipping by at an alarming rate. Before we know it, it’ll be time for year-end summaries and lists already! There are a few new records that’ve either just come out (or will be soon) that I’m sure will rank pretty high, as well as some from earlier this year I’ve listened to a whole bunch but maybe just haven’t had the chance to review yet. I’m going to want to get moving on posting something about all of those, lest I find myself in a situation like I did at the end of 2013 (where I put together a list of my favorite 26 releases of the year, 25 of which I hadn’t yet written about!) … which, of course, is what also has me thinking backwards. Almost nine months later, I’m still not quite halfway through reviewing last year’s list yet!

So I decided, there’s no time like the present; let’s discuss another of last year’s best albums. This is one of the more high-profile items on that list, or at least one that was put out via the biggest label. So a lot of you are probably already familiar with this band. But there may be some out there who haven’t heard Intronaut before, or may have missed out on this album — which would be a shame, because it’s really good stuff!

 

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King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists (2014)

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King BuzzoThis Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac Recordings, 02 June 2014)

 

The bulk of my formative years were spent in the 1990s, from age eleven (when I was being introduced to Faith No More and Overkill) through twenty (when I was discovering Pentagram and Emperor). I experienced lot of music both new and old during that decade, all of which had a strong influence over my tastes and preferences, and frankly, made a huge impression on my life in general. And looking back, I think it could be argued that (taking into account both direct and indirect effects) singer/guitarist Roger “Buzz” Osborne and his band The Melvins had made at least as much of an impact as any other person or band, if not more.

After all, not only did I discover their own music somewhere in my teens (and found myself blown away by it), but that band can be said to have been almost singlehandedly responsible for entire genres of music — some of which rank among my absolute favorite. Where would sludge or grunge metal be, if it weren’t for their groundbreaking work? What would Crowbar or Eyehategod have sounded like; TAD or Harvey Milk; or dozens of other bands who’ve served such an important role in my life?

So clearly, I don’t think I could overemphasize how big of a deal they — and by extension, their one constant member over their thirty year history — really are. And so when Ipecac Recordings issues an album full of Osbourne solo acoustic material, needless to say I am very intrigued…

 

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Two Reviews: Eyehategod and Enabler (2014)

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EyehategodEyehategod (Housecore Records, 27 May 2014)

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EnablerLa Fin Absolue du Monde (The Compound, 27 May 2014)

 

I will not be getting any sleep tonight. I’ve already accepted this as an unfortunate but unavoidable truth, and am now working on moving on. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve discovered that since about age 30, it has become way more difficult to function on litte (or no) sleep, and now that I’m hitting the halfway point of that decade, getting enough rest has become a very precious commodity. It isn’t ever easy, especially when my two-hour (each way) commute necessitates that I leave home at 5:00 in the morning, meaning I have to wake up around 4-4:30. That wouldn’t be so bad, if I were able to fall asleep around 10:00 each night, but that’s a rare occurrence — and tonight in particular it will be completely impossible.

I’m going to the Eyehategod/Enabler/Ringworm show at The Rex Theater in Pittsburgh (part of the tour I wrote about last week). The show is scheduled to start at 7:00, but in addition to the three touring bands, there had been two local openers scheduled (Under Everything and Hericide), and then somewhere along the way the Dune sandworm-named band Shai Hulud got thrown into the mix (I guess they are currently on their way home from a tour and just happened to be passing through town today and so now apparently they’re playing at this show as well). Naturally, with six bands, even if things kick off exactly at seven, there’s no way it’ll end anywhere before midnight — and that’s the absolute best case scenerio. Add in an hour drive to get home (that two-hour commute I mentioned involves bus-riding and walking), and I probably won’t be able to be in bed any earlier than 2:00. Falling asleep that late and waking up at 4:00 would probably make me even more tired and miserable than if I didn’t sleep at all. So here we are.

But, shit, what am I going to do — NOT go see Eyehategod in their first appearance in this area since …… well, the Bandsintown archive goes back more than seven years and doesn’t have a single Pittsburgh date listed. Neither does Setlist.fm have any mention of them playing here. In fact, the only thing I could find after an extensive five minutes of web-searching was a couple YouTube videos from a show in the summer of 1998. Basically the point I’m trying to make is, this is a pretty monumental event, and if I don’t take advantage of this chance to see one of the most important bands in the history of sludge metal, I might never have another opportunity.

 

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Tours Galore: Eyehategod + Enabler + Ringworm

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