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 …
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?
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.
Maybe it’s because of when I was born (after Star Wars but before The Empire Strikes Back) — I just barely missed out on the original genesis of both the punk and heavy metal movements; I was too young to get much exposure to either genre until the late 80s, and when I did start listening to some of the stuff in my pre-teen years and beyond, I didn’t really have any sense of the history behind either scene or the animosity that existed between them…
I don’t know what the explanation is, exactly, but I do know I’ve always had one foot on each side of the line, not really caring about definitions or labels or exactly what separates “punk” from “metal” — and in fact, I tend to gravitate towards stuff that has a little of both flavors (and attitudes) mixed in. I’ve never understood the mindset of people who seem to think they have to pick a side, and refuse to acknowledge anything that the other team has done. To me, if it sounds good, it sounds good — it doesn’t matter what you call it.
That’s why I don’t really get the attitude of the folks who maintain the Encyclopædia Metallum, who (from what I’ve heard) are very particular about genre classifications, and extremely selective about which bands they approve for inclusion in their archives. Almost entirely absent from that compendium of musical knowledge: anyone who would be considered more closely associated with the realms of hardcore or punk (including grindcore or crust) than what they consider “real” metal. Where exactly the line is drawn, though, isn’t always completely clear. For example, it seems Napalm Death qualified as exceptions to the rule, as did Motörhead, yet the Misfits seem to have been overlooked — despite being no less influential in the metal world than either of the others.
Anyway, I could go on rambling about this for the rest of the day (and I’d be glad to hear YOUR thoughts on the subject — just visit the comments section below, or hit the VoS Facebook page, whatever works for you), but I really came here just to share some new music with you. That would be the new EP by Strong Intention, Razorback Express — now available on 7″ vinyl through Patac Records!
Free music! Always a good thing, right?
The French label/promoter Klonosphere recently announced an 18-track sampler of their associated bands that you can download for free!
The bands include: Trepalium, Hypno5e, Memories of a Dead Man, Jenx, Pictured, Hyperdump, The Mistaken Sons of Alabama, Jumping Jack, Wild, Weaksaw, Nojia, Step in Fluid, Nephalokia, Dwail, Klone, Nami, Noein, and The Brutal Deceiver.
The comp is available right here (a direct link to the RAR file), but before you jump right in, click here for a much better write-up that the good folks at No Clean Singing have put together — including sound samples, links to reviews or profiles of some of the bands, as well as links to websites or Facebook pages of ALL the bands! (Because they apparently have more free time than I do, or something.)
And what’s better than free music? MORE free music!!