Yeah, it’s a silly name and a silly concept, but we’re doing this thing again. Further explanation for those who need it here.
Anyone who has read or watched any sort of news in the United States over the past few months may have noticed that Russia is being mentioned in connection with nearly every story that’s being reported these days. That country is currently discussed more often in this country, than any other time in the past several decades — at least since August 1991. Not even during the Sochi Olympics do I recall having heard about Russia nearly this often.
But I’m not here to talk about political matters, and you certainly aren’t here to read about such nonsense either. So it seemed like a much more fitting idea would be to discuss some Russian music. Specifically, here are albums by two different bands from Moscow, which were both released earlier this year by Moscow-based Zero Hero Recordings. Enjoy!
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?
Well it’s Thursday now, which means it’s almost Friday, which means the weekend is almost here, so I guess that’s a good thing, right? I dunno. I’ve been so tired all week, it’s tough to feel excited about anything. Although — again, tomorrow is Friday, and we’re now finding ourselves coming into what’s traditionally one of the biggest times of the year in terms of new music getting released. Which means a bunch of stuff will be coming out tomorrow (just as it has for the past couple of weeks and will over the next several). So at least there’s that.
I totally missed out on getting anything published here yesterday, due to some super lame crap that kept me busy all day, which means we’re already behind schedule in terms of what I wanted to be able to share with you people this week. So probably it’s about time to quit rambling and get straight to the music, right?
Hey, guess what. It’s Monday. Another weekend concluded, another work week begun. By now, you’re all surely well aware of my Garfieldian opinions about Mondays (also, mornings; also, lasagna), so I see little point to continue any interaction with that particular decreased equine.
So let’s change the subject, because we all know you’ve come here to hear some music, not to read my grumpy mutterings. It’s been over a year since we last checked in on our favorite D.C.-area stoner/fuzz rockers Borracho, so it’s probably about time for an update there.
As it turns out, around three months ago, the folks at Nashville’s Palaver Records launched the first entry in their new series of 7″ splits, which they’ve titled Sludgy Erna Bastard. (Slur the syllables together a bit when you say it out loud, and it should make more sense.) This inaugural edition pairs a Borracho song with a contribution from Brooklynites (and Palaver roster alums) Eggnogg. I suspect you’ll find each of them well worth taking the time to check out…
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…
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: I have a lot of respect for bands and record labels who do what they do for the right reasons. Here, “the right reasons” are not to get rich and famous and live a life of luxury by taking advantage of people, but simply to create (for the bands) or disseminate (for labels) art based on a true passion for doing so. Now, I’m not saying that nobody should ever make money from their art — a lot of work goes into it and everyone involved totally deserves to recoup their expenses and bring in enough extra income to hopefully be able to continue what they are doing! But at a certain point, it seems like making a few dollars becomes more important than sharing a mutual love of music, and that is just a sad situation for anyone to be in.
Having said that, it’s obvious Matthias Jungbluth of French (Breton) label Throatruiner Records is in this for the right reasons. Anyone who would start an extreme metal label nowadays has to know beforehand that they aren’t going to be bringing in a ton of money, considering the state of the music industry these days, and so there must be some degree of passion for the art itself. The label specializes in small releases on vinyl or cassette, as well as some other merchandise, supplemented by free downloads of those releases in order to expose the artists to as many people as possible.
Packaged with the free download of an album from Throatruiner is the following text (contained in a file named “FVCK LARS ULRICH.rtf”):
Thanks for your download, we hope you will enjoy this record as much as we did! When I have started Throatruiner Records last year, one of my guidelines was to put all my releases on free download. Because the stuff i love should live without any boundaries. So if you want to support Throatruiner Records & our bands, please visit http://throatruinerrecords.tumblr.com/ and pick some stuff, we need it; and if you think we don’t deserve any $, be kind, share this album with five of your friends!
Sorry for your ears.
I’ve discovered a lot of great new music through this label, one example of which I’d like to share with you today.
“It raged with such noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the coast fell to the ground.“
Much like the short story of the same name, these progressive-post-doom-metal Queenslanders’ EP takes the listener on a voyage that explores unknown depths of madness. Also like the Poe narrative, there is no telling where the experience will end up, but what is certain is that you will not emerge from the other side unscathed or unchanged.
This review is somewhat atypical, in that I will be describing each of the songs in detail, rather than just giving some overall impressions of the entire album. Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, but for one thing, there are only five songs on this release; also, the passage of time through the tracks seems to represent a progression – an aural journey that represents the titular descent – and it felt like this was the best way to do justice to the material.
Keep reading to join me on this voyage, and along the way you’ll come across links where you can listen to and/or download a couple of the tracks…