VIBRATIONS OF DOOM
After 7 years or so, you think we could do better than only having 20 issues!
Oh well. Welcome back to yet another fun filled issue with more of the music
you haven't heard yet. :>
Our web address:
Mailing address: NOTE! This address will be changing after March 23rd...
We will be relocating to Sugar Hill, GA, a subdivision of Atlanta. So those
interested parties may want to contact me by email first to get the correct
Vibrations of Doom Magazine
c/o Steven Cannon
1133 East 53rd Street
Savannah, GA 31404 USA
Burn the empires down... :)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- LETTERS FROM DA MASSES
- ACID MAGIC "Psychedelic Saturdays"
- APOPTYGMA BERZERK "The Apopcalyptic Manifesto"
- BENUMB "Soul Of The Martyr"
- BOLT THROWER "Mercenary"
- BRUCE DICKINSON "The Chemical Wedding"
- DIE LAUGHING "Incarnations"
- DROWN "Product Of A Two Faced World"
- EVOKE "Dreaming The Reality"
- HAMMERFALL "Legacy Of Kings"
- HELLOWEEN "Better Than Raw"
- LA FLOA MALDITA "Destination Heaven"
- MALEVOLENT CREATION "The Fine Art Of Murder"
- MORTIFICATION "Triumph Of Mercy"
- NIGHT IN GALES "Thunderbeast"
- ODES OF ECSTASY "Embossed Dream In Four Acts"
- ROACHPOWDER "Viejo Diablo"
- SNOG "Buy Me I'll Change Your Life"
- STRATOVARIUS "Destiny"
- SUICIDE COMMANDO "Construct >< Destruct"
- SUN KINGS "Soul Sleeping"
- TESTIFY "Crack The Mind"
- VARIOUS ARTISTS "Hardesertrance"
- VELVET ACID CHRIST "Calling Ov The Dead"
- WARRIOR "Ancient Future"
- WHIPLASH "Thrashback"
- LIEGE LORD
- EDITORIAL NOTATIONS
Many many people have written in about the classic albums page. They seem to
appreciate all the hard work and time I put into this, it has even gained
attention from several bands many thought had faded into the woodwork, like
Whiplash, Samain, Liege Lord, and Ostrogoth!
From: Brent Huiberts (email@example.com)
Man, hearing those classic thrash albums brought back memories. "Darkness
Descends" -- hadn't heard that one for almost, oh, seems like 20 years.
Great stuff! I can remember my buddy Ray and I looking through issues of
Kerrang and Metal Forces, finding out about all these bands, then heading
south to Spokane, Washington to score the stuff. Faith Or Fear, Onslaught,
Razor; those were the days! Anyway, some suggestions:
Forbiden: Forbidden Evil (probably my favorite thrash album of all time)
Vio-lence: Eternal Nightmare
Death Angel: The Ultra Violence
Dr. Know: Wreckage In Flesh
Artillery: Terror Squad
Destruction: Eternal Devastation
Thanks for the memories!
Steven: Well, Dr. Know has two albums out (that I own) and those will be
going up soon, as will Destruction. The rest I will have to work on getting.
As far as being just memories, I still listen to a lot of this stuff,
especially Running Wild, Candlemass, and the like.
From: Nebula8CX (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hey! Just wanted to say how much I like your Classic Album page. It rulez!
Thanks for doing that for us bangers! You have some cool stuff on there. I'd
like to hear some Thor if you have any. I have "Keep The Dogs Away."
Steven: You might want to check out a previous issue where we reveiwed their
latest CD. I wasn't too impressed with it, but maybe I will try and check out
some of their older records. Anyone else with any vintage Thor material
please get in touch.
From: Jimmy Savitsky (email@example.com)
Awesome site, but the first few seconds of the songs appear to be missing,
very evident on the "Bonded By Blood" songs. The intro to 'A Lesson In
Violence' is missing - one of my fave intro's of all time, guitar that is
brazen beyond belief! Is it possible to get Death's "Leprosy" and "Spiritual
Healing" up at some time? Also, Slayer's "Live Undead." And any Sodom stuff
prior to "Persecution Mania" if you have it. Keep up the good work!
Steven: Well, you're in luck, as I am currently in the process of converting
Sodom's "Obsessed By Cruelty" over, I already have that one on CD. I also
have Death's "Leprosy" but feel that "Scream Bloody Gore" would be a far
better choice to start, especially with all the publicity and attention that
Death's new album has received, I feel the newer Death initiates should see
how heavy and crushing they used to be before all that obsession with lead
solos and power metal guitar work Chuck is so proud of. It definitely takes
the bite out of their work. As for the intro to the Exodus songs, as many
have noticed I can only do 3 minutes and 15 seconds max from each song I
digitize, this is due to space restrictions as well as file size limitations.
Unfortunately some stuff has to be cut out, so I try to get the meat of each
song so you can at least have an idea of what each song sounds like. As for
Slayer's "Live Undead," a live album is not really a candidate for a classic
piece, so we most likely will concentrate on the studio versions of those
songs, like "Show No Mercy."
First off, I must say that John Ebner's artwork is beautiful and trippy.
Which is what I was expecting after I heard a few songs off the internet. And
true to form, 'Sonic Life' starts things out just beautifully, with stunning
keyboard riffs that are psychedelic and quite trippy! The whole pattern is
inlaid over somewhat ambient techno beats, and even more stunning is the
piano notes that flow in and out of this song! 'Bon Voyage' too is a very
nice ambient piece (and remember, most ambient music has little or no beats
whatsoever) inlaid with relaxing bell notes and is very trippy and mellow.
I could even appreciate most other pieces, unfortunately, lots of tracks ran
way too long and didn't have enough variety to keep one's interest. Like the
number 'Gingo,' which had very interesting swirling almost Oriental style
electronics inlaid with clock ticking style beats, but at over 7 minutes it
just ran too long. And his other compositions, especially noted on 'High
Tide,' were more like abstract sound collages than actual songs. Which might
sound better "under the influence" so to speak, but for the most part it
didn't translate extremely well. Still, there are some interesting
arrangements here, and if John could capitalize more on tracks like I
mentioned above, this could become a stunning piece of psychedelia.
Thank the gods once again for Metropolis Records! This is a band I had only
heard about before Mike Mahon and company decided to make several of their
EP's, singles, and one album "Soli Deo Gloria" available on a CD domestically
for American industrial fans. And what a great selection of songs! Things
start off with a strange instrumental entitled "APB Goes C=64." Yes, that's
COMMODORE 64, they utilized the C's SID chip and arranged beats to a set of
old school computer music! Wonder if they were old school software pirates?
Now if anyone can guess what game they got the music from, I'd like to know!
Anyway, 'Deep Red,' 'Bitch' and 'Spiritual Reality' are songs that showcase
Apoptygma's greatest strength, and that is in strong melodies and slightly
gothic overtones, which really make their works not only kick serious ass,
but they don't really sound like clones of anyone else. 'All Tomorrow's
Parties,' a cover song I've never heard of before, is easily one of my
favorite tracks on here, speaking about a girl who can't decide what she
wants to wear to "tomorrow's parties." 'Electronic Warfare' was a bit faster,
and has really cool samples, they aren't overused like on most industrial
records and the first time you hear it you might be a bit surprised. It
freaked me out the first time I heard it! On a downside, 'Ashes To Ashes' is
presented in two versions, and though I prefer the original 12 inch to the
"German Slam" version, neither did much for me, nor did the 'Wrack Em To
Pieces' simply for the fact that the instrumentation didn't have much to it,
though on 'Wrack Em' it was very surprising to hear death metal vocals being
used! Even the instrumental tunes were interesting, but overall I can see now
what all the fuss was about with APB. Their full length "Seven" is out and
hopefully we'll be able to bring you that one as well. Once again another
great industrial CD that makes Metropolis one of the best industrial labels
in the U.S.
Grindcore. A rather strange genre but one that can be rather enjoyable if
done properly. The neatest thing about Benumb is their ability to write slow
crushing parts with their faster grindier pieces. Vocal wise I hear a lot of
hardcore influence. There's 35 tracks on this CD, most songs no longer than
a minute and 'Stod Up And Sold Out' painfully long at like 8 minutes. Slow
is good but not that long! Hehe. Cuts like 'Driven Out' and 'A.A.D.' showcase
their ability to play blindingly fast and then slow it down suddenly, though
it's hard to get into a band whose songs barely last a minute. I do like the
brutality they present however, and some of you may enjoy their Slayer
rendition they do on the last track which is a live performance. The "extra"
tracks are taken from various splits and 7 inches, a good idea to help fill
up the CD (though it looks like there's still a lot of unused space) and the
sound quality on those dips a little, but it makes the drums sound good. Not
too bad a release, the heaviness of grindcore mixed with obvious hardcore and
some punk influences makes this an interesting release to pick up on.
For many who say death metal is dead, it seems like bands like Death, Morbid
Angel, Nile and the like are proving the genre isn't quite through with us
yet! After over a year in the making, Bolt Thrower's newest release not only
brutalizes us with equal parts of slow and fast riffs, it also marks the
return of vocalist Karl Willets, who as you all know debuted on "In Battle
There Is No Law." I believe that was their first album, and the only 'Thrower
album to date I've ever heard! Now Bolt Thrower was never known for insanely
fast grind, though they do hail from England but their speedier parts and
their slower parts are quite vicious in their own right. 'Zeroed' starts
things off with a bang, utilizing some of the coolest guitar sounds I've
heard in quite some time. Most of the songs presented, like 'Return From
Chaos' and 'Powder Burns' go over the 5 minute mark but alternate very nicely
between fast and slow parts (gee, did I mention that already?) keeping the
music from becoming stale and overrepetitive. 'To The Last' is the first song
on the disc to utilize a guitar solo, and the contrast between low end riffs
and high end lead and rhythm guitar work is quite amazing. The vocals of
course are true to form, even after all these years Karl's voice still
carries the power and brutality necessary to make Bolt Thrower's "Mercenary"
a very strong contender for the death metal crown. Onward to victory!!
There's no doubt in my mind that the worst thing to ever happen to Iron
Maiden was losing Bruce, and lemme tell ya first off, his voice has never
sounded better! His ensemble showcases some very heavy guitar riffs, stuff
that could never have existed within Iron Maiden. On cuts like 'King In
Crimson,' 'Book Of Thel' and 'Trumpets Of Jericho,' the intro leads and
riffs are taken straight from the book of thrash and power heavy metal, in
fact on a few cuts the instrumentation is reminiscent of I.M., especially on
'The Tower.' Bruce's chorus lines are very catchy, in fact I've been singing
'Chemical Wedding' and 'The Tower' quite a bit now! The lead solos are just
amazing, the whole album has a great mix of power, heaviness, and melody.
'Jerusalem' is a quite unusual track, sounding almost like an Irish pub folk
melody before getting heavy. There were a few detractions though, like 'The
Alchemist,' which was less powerful and sounded kinda like the track
'Chemical Wedding,' and 'Gates Of Urizen' was rather average, one of the only
other songs to do ballad type melody. Damn near every song has some of the
best guitar work I've ever heard, and Bruce's vocals are definitely in top
form. Metalheads who long for the days of Iron Maiden will see that Bruce's
solo career is able to pull off things I.M. could never do, and he knows how
to write great songs!
A very good gothic release, rather untypical for most goth bands. The music
presented here is for the most part very uplifting, energetic, and very club
worthy! Tunes like 'Glamour And Suicide,' 'Nemesis,' and 'Safe Little World'
have very strong melody, and just the right touch of guitars to give it a
heavier vibe than you'd think possible with guitars. What REALLY gives this
CD a memorable listening experience is the enchanting, angellically beautiful
vocals of one Rachel Speight. Many of the tracks here are quite enchanting,
however a few towards the end (mainly showcasing new material for a
forthcoming new album to be released later in the year) are rather simply
laid out; not bad songs but after all the energy and vibes going into
earlier numbers, these are more mellow, kinda ballad type. These songs are in
essence a collection of material from their first two albums, "Glamour And
Suicide," and "Heaven In Decline," plus an EP "The Temptress." Another great
U.K. goth band coming to us from Cleopatra, a label who has put out quite a
number of good gothic releases.
YEEEAAAAHHHH! Damn if this isn't the follow up record I have been waiting
for! And damn if this isn't worth every day and second and hour I had to
wait! The CD starts off crushing from second one and damn near never lets up!
'1605 (For My Suffering),' 'The Day I Walked Away,' 'Two Faced You' and more
just shred to all hell and back! The industrial tendencies are still there
but not as noticeable as before, though 'Two Faced You' shows an unusual
ability to combine hardcore (read: fast) techno with crushing guitar work and
Lauren's shredding vocal work! 'Monster' shows the group's maturity by using
piano notations amidst an emotional and swirling sea of angriness, turning to
despair by the record's end, showing that Drown have indeed proven to us
they can still kick serious ass and have matured without compromising their
music. However, 'The Dirtiest Hand' was not very good at all, the vox,
guitars and electronic instrumentation were rather odd, and 'Alone In A Dirty
World' showed them being a bit TOO alternative; Lauren's singing vocals just
didn't sit well with me. Overall, though, one cannot deny that Drown is
indeed back and kicking everyone's ass for all the crap they've had to endure
over the years, let it be known that THIS reviewer will hold Drown in very
high regard from now until they: A. Come to a city close by and B. Release
a new album. I'll gladly accept whatever Drown can dish out "For My
Evoke is a rather above average death metal band. They're not really doing
anything groudbreaking with the genre, but damnit sometimes you just wanna
hear good, solid, brutal death metal. Which Evoke seems to deliver. John
Redfern's vocals are standard for the genre, but at times can really evoke
dark feelings within the music, especially when his screams break through.
Tracks like 'While You Decay I Live,' and 'Among Mere Mortals' showcase Evoke
as being able to play both fast and slow, sorta like label mates Malevolent
Creation, but they do utilize more high end guitar riffs, which make this a
bit interesting. Kinda reminds me of the guitar stylings of Pan-Thy-Monium
from their last brilliant release "Khaos And Kon-Fusion." Nevertheless, it
will probably satisfy most death metal fans not really giving a damn about
progression and change, which in some cases can be a bad thing. At least it
can be said Evoke doesn't lose their brutal and heavy edge, which seems to be
a non important factor these days amongst death metal bands who are trying to
"change" and "grow."
I would be doing heavy metal in general a GREAT disservice if I didn't review
this album. Like "Glory To The Brave," their debut, this stunning masterpiece
combines rather high pitched vocals (that aren't annoying, Joacim has one of
the best set of pipes in all of metal) with power metal playing that has very
heavy instrumentation! Their choruses are very easy to sing along to, very
memorable and very catchy. In fact, though it took about 5 or 6 spins to
realize it, this sophomore effort really blows away their debut release, and
that is an extremely strong statement to make since I loved "Glory..." so
much! The only thing stopping this CD from getting a 100 is the last track,
which is mostly piano based and a little weak. Don't get me wrong, I do like
ballads, especially the track 'Remember Yesterday,' but there was very little
guitar work in this song. You'll definitely find yourself singing the chorus
lines and main lyrics to songs like 'Heeding The Call,' the title track,
'Dreamland,' and the others! The choruses especialyl have some of the best
backup vocals I've yet to hear in metal, reminiscent of Viking style male
chorus lines. You'd be a damn fool to pass this up, and despite Metal Maniac
proclaiming Bruce Dickinson's newest CD album of the year, I saw THIS CD is
probably one of the best metal CD's to come out in 1998. Hail and Kill!
Okay, first of all, what the heck is Velvel!??! Hehe... That out of the way,
it must be said that if bands like Helloween and Stratovarius can make such
great albums, it can only restore one's faith in heavy metal! True, while
these two bands may be in the power metal vein (see the Stratovarius review
below as well) Helloween in particular has the amazing ability to utilize
such heavy, almost thrashy riffs and powerful drum work interlaid almost
delicately within Andi's awesome vocal style. Their orchestration, or rather
keyboards utilized to sound like orchestra instrumentation, is quite another
amazing addition to a band that started out years ago as just another metal
band signed to Combat Records. This is a class act all the way, well, except
for the annoying high pitched vocals on 'Push:' it's not just the way the
vocals were done, but somehow the whole vibe just wasn't there for that song.
However, on tracks like 'Revelation,' a long track to be sure but worth every
minute, 'Don't Spit on My Mind' and the extremely commercial potential of a
song like 'Hey Lord!' which could all but propel Helloween back into the
realm of MTV and radio land were it not for America's stupid obsession with
rap and hip hop, Helloween definitely spent time developing a great release,
and hopefully TRUE American metal fans will pick up on this one. Since it's
released through BMG Distribution here, this may be the start of something
From the first track of this CD 'Your Indecision,' I was hooked on Rhea's
absolutely stunning vocals. This track too is a perfect club hit, and La Floa
Maldita is a tough band to describe. Beautiful female vocals that at times
have a gothic touch to them, mixed with electronix and slight industrial
touches. Unfortunately, it didn't work well throughout the whole disc. I
can't really put my finger on exactly WHY I couldn't get into this CD, for
Rhea's vocals are enchanting. I think it's the strange mix of electronic
sounds, which sometimes get a little odd in places, like on 'Force Motrice.'
Plus, many songs have only two or three vocal lines, which get repeated quite
a bit, normally not a problem until you figure most of these tracks run well
over 5 minutes a piece. The sticker proclaims that L.F.M. sounds like a cross
between Cocteau Twins and Delerium, unfortunately, it's the Delerium side of
things that drags this piece down. Maybe repeated listens might change my
mind, but I've fully digested this thing twice already. Lots of the lyrics
are in Italian as well (though parts look like they add French as well as
Spanish too) just adding to the rather lukewarm reaction I had to it. It's
not terrible, but I just felt like more soothing and powerful vocals should
have had better backup from more powerful and dynamic instrumentation,
especially when the first track and 'L Oasis' are so club worthy. I might
also add that this is a very unusual type of release for Pendragon, a label
usually releasing dark and heavy industrial.
In a way, I'm sorry to see the lead vocal duties have changed hands, after
seeing what a killer record "Eternal" was. But there's no doubt in my mind
that Brett Hoffman has indeed some of the most insane and vicious vocals to
ever grace a CD, and indeed many welcome him back into the fold! That said,
let it be known that "Fine Art Of Murder" is indeed one of Malevolent's
finest, one of the most insane and vicious death metal records put down in
some time. ANY fan of this band must be impressed with the exceptional drum
techniques performed by Mr. Dave Culross himself. Tracks like 'Bone Exposed,'
'Scorned' and 'Scattered Flesh' showcase a blinding barrage of speed and
crushing power, while slower numbers such as 'Manic Demise' and the title
track prove that Malevolent Creation can execute viciousness at a fast or
slow pace! Their musical skills are even more prevalent on the surprising
cut 'Day Of lamentation,' where they actually use acoustic guitars (!) and
mellower riffs while still remaining brutal! They also pull out the keyboards
for 'The Fine Art Of Murder,' not in a wimpy way but like an orchestrated
horror soundtrack to back up the already awesome instrumentation! My only
complaints was that 'Fracture' was way too long, with the spoken intro's and
too much dead musical space, and a couple of tunes sounded quite similar; in
fact a few of the speedier numbers, especially the last song, sounded a bit
too rushed. Other than that this is a fine guide to solid and vicious death
metal, if that's the way you like it then this should be a worthy addition to
your CD collection!
Okay, first of all, I have read a lot of bad press on this CD, but as you all
know, I didn't let that stop me from taking this all in with an open mind. I
do enjoy some extreme Christian music to a degree, in fact bands like
Vengeance Rising (the old school stuff anyway), Seventh Seal and Circle Of
Dust were all quite intense and musically diverse in their own way. Though
they do come off very, VERY preachy on this newest effort, their musical
skills have suffered quite a bit. Now, I do feel rather badly for Steve Rowe
and his bout with Leukemia, but all that aside, this isn't a very promising
followup. However, I did find a few tracks, most notably 'From Your Side' and
'Influence.' These two songs had some interesting guitar arrangements, though
simply presented, and a stronger presence than everything else on this CD
had. The title track had some rather off character tempo and style changes,
and it was almost all spoken word type as well. Most of the guitar work was
really nothing special, and I think it may have been by accident that I was
able to get into a few tracks at all. They've put out some halfway decent
stuff in the past, I imagine there was a rush to get this out after an
obvious hiatus for a few years.
First thing people will say, and have said about this band is that it sounds
a LOT like At The Gates in some ways. However they do utilize a LOT more
melody and they were a bit more consistent than ATG, may they rest in peace.
We do have some brutal riffery and guitar work, even the acoustic guitar work
is mixed in very well. Songs like 'Intruder,' 'I Am The Dungeongod' and
'Feverfeast' are very heavy indeed, and are even catchy! Nothing really
groundbreaking, but damnit they do play very well, and the death vocals are
forceful and convincing, focusing more on the heavier element of metal than
the lighter one, though their guitar pieces do at times sound like Running
Wild after the pirate imagery broke through. So you couldn't do wrong by this
band, especially if you like the Gothenberg sound, and those who found In
Flames fascinating, as I did, will want to pick up this CD.
Odes Of Ecstasy is a very difficult act to pin down. Score some major points
for that. Utilizing mostly female vocals and some really low almost death
vox, combined with synth derived cellos, pianos, and some intense thrash
riffing, even some power metal leads and one note riffs, this is an act I
expected to like more than I did. The main problem with this CD is the fact
that most of the orchestrated instrumentation could have been much more
dynamic like it was on Therion's past two releases, and the female vocals,
while certainly pretty, are sometimes a bit too overbearing. Some of the
guitar work on 'War Symphony' was a bit jarring, and the bass riffs on the
same track sound a little out of place. I could appreciate the work on most
all the tracks, but maybe it's just me, three of the songs wavered in lots of
places, as if the ideas were right but weren't always executed properly.
The death style vox, which are really more like low rumblings, are often too
harsh for some of the music, sometimes the music is out of place with the
vocals. I must admit that 'Garden Of Temptation' was one of the better tracks
here, I could listen to it all the way through and not be unnerved by any of
the composition. The 'Autumn's Grief' was a beautiful instrumental with dual
pianos, and 'Vampire Hunters' was a very dynamic orchestrated piece with
killer industrial style beats (reminiscnet of White Zombie's intro on their
"Astro Creep 2000" CD) with some striking vocal samples. I can appreciate
what they're trying to do here, but I think with more time and more work this
band can really shake up the metal world. This is, after all, only their
GODDAMN!! This is how the CD starts, and I can't explain nearly well enough
style vocals in places, mellow singing in some, and mixes it all with ultra
distortion, spacey warped synth effects, and the coolest lyrics and stoner
grooves yet! Mix Monster Magnet, Down, Pantera, Cathedral, Sleep and Black
Sabbath into a pot and you have the HEAVIEST, angriest stoner's delight on
the planet! Nothing you smoke to can be heavier than this! Where Roachpowder
differs from Down is in the sheer monstrous riffs and hellish vocals, which
can get even heavier than Mr. Anselmo. 'Black Stone,' 'New Orleans,' and
'Get Out Of My Way' have the perfect mix of headbanging, ass kicking, and
stoner's groove melody. 'Galactic Blues' is the slowest track on here,
a true stoner's tune in every sense of the word. I find that words are
difficult to convey here, though they do use some nice harmonica effects on
'Viejo Diablo' and the hidden track, which comes 5 minutes after the end of
'Super Galactic Gargel Blaster.' There's 4 songs digitized here for ya, it
was VERY difficult to pick out even 4 but if you miss this, yo're definitely
gonna miss out on the most exciting and innovative sound to come from 1998.
The way these guys write and sing, you could NEVER think they were from
Sweden! "Cause I know, that you never been so stoned!"
For those of you familiar with Snog, this album is quite different from his
previous works. His lyrics this time around have much more humour and it is
even more present in tunes like 'The Prole Song,' 'Hooray!' and such. This is
a rather brilliant piece of work, mainly for what it DOESN'T do than what it
does. His songs are for the most part typically untypical of the whole
industrial genre, utilizing female vocals, harmonicas, darkwave acoustic
guitars and slower songs than previous efforts. 'Light Yet Refreshing' and
'Hooray!' are somewhat club worthy, but the rest are quite slower compared to
previous club hits like 'Hey Christian God' from their last effort "Dear
Valued Customer." 'Make The Little Flowers Grow' is a cover tune (see the
interview for more details) that is really hilarious in sound and in lyrics.
You'd think David wrote this himself! 'The Ballad' is unusual in it's own
right, but this and 'The Prole Song' utilize the female vocals really well.
'Bastard Closet' and 'This Is Capitalism' have the coolest and darkest
acoustic guitar notes I've ever heard, both are VERY untypical for the genre
as a whole and 'This Is Capitalism' has almost no beats at all! Their sound
effects are still as bizarre as ever yet still cool, however my only
complaint with this CD is the way he drags the endings of songs out with some
even wierder noises, plus 'The End' is not a very good track. 'Hooray' and
'Big Brother' were two tracks I didn't care much for, but regardless of this
fact, Snog has redefined and reshaped a genre that has strict guidelines laid
down by some of it's most ardent fans. For something 'Light, Yet Refreshing,'
as Snog would coin the phrase, you could do no worse than this rather
I had heard a lot of great things about this band who has released tons of
albums overseas, but nothing domestically until now. From the artwork, the
logo, the vocals, female chanting vocals and guitar and drum work, this whole
CD just oozes class and maturity. The first two tracks make good use of
opening vocals, which I thought at first were female but the inside liner
notes say it is a boy's choir! I still debate that, but regardless, it is an
integral part of the songs composition. There are srtings utilized as well,
it seems no instrument is too weak for these metal masters! 'Anthem To The
World' is quite a powerful rocker in it's own, and '4000 Rainy Nights' is a
very masterfully presented "ballad," that term loosely used because of the
power and emotions crafted by the guitar work of Timo Tolkki. It seems they
only use one guitarist, surprising indeed since the music seems so rich and
dynamic! With bands like this and Helloween, power metal is truly just that;
powerful, melodic as all hell, and I see no reason why these two bands, along
with Hammerfall, can't take the U.S. market by storm. Maybe it will all
remain our little secret.
This is yet another brilliant licensing deal for the U.S. Suicide Commando is
the tortured brainchild of one Johan Van Roy, and his vocals are harshly
distorted, making one think of the the skullfigure Charon as he leads you
through the desolate waters on your way to a lonely, bleak and darkly harsh
landscape across the Styx. His beat structures are also amongst the most
distorted and harshest I have heard in industrial in quite some time. The
electronic instrumentation is sometimes rather simplistic, utilizing three to
five note durations, but presented in such a way that they cannot be ignored!
He does surprise a bit with some mellow and rather trippy instrumentation on
a few cuts, like 'Acid Bath,' and his lyrics are truly dark, twisted and
demented, sort of what a tortured soul might create, something the cover art
hints at quite a bit. 'Putrefaction Process,' 'The Mirror,' and 'Come To Me'
kick some serious ass, as do the rest of the tracks, though the overtly
distorted beats get in the way on 'Better Off Dead' and make that song rather
weak. 'Somnambulist' as well was rather basic and plain, as was 'Euthanasia,'
but there's so much more here to enjoy, and clubs may even be able to pull
off 'Ignorance' or 'Desire' for the danceworthy masses. Those who like their
music dark and ultra distorted, even some death metal fans, may find a dark
comfort in the twisted and sinister world of the Suicide Commando. Fans of
Leaether Strip and Wumpscutt should be pleased, there's even remixes here
done by Pierrepoint, Dive and Wumpscutt.
Blue Room is most noted for bringing us Juno Reactor's "Beyond The Infinite"
album, but is also host to other little known European ambient/techno/trance
acts. This 8 song album showcases some interesting ideas within the ambient
techno genre, unfortunately there were too many quirks that kept me from
enjoying many songs to their fullest. The mood on this disc as well ranges
from dark, minimalist structures to full atmospheric ambient landscapes.
I must say first of all that 'Talisman' was the only track I could really
enjoy all the way through, it had full electro sounds, a beautiful mix of
church style choir voices and some dance worthy beats, it would be an awesome
club piece. 'Polyglot Man' was a good "chill room" piece, rather relaxing
though it did run a little long. 'Flesh Canvas' had some interesting dark
electronics involved, sounding almost like a track Anubian Lights could have
written! If the songs had been more consistent and not so damn long, it would
have ranked a higher score, although most tunes here are almost devoid of
beats that would put some stuff on dance floors, 'Tang' showed some promise,
after taking almost 3 and a half minutes to present any beats and once I
started really getting into this part, they slowed it down, removed the
beats, and droned the ambient part on for another few. Good sounds here,
though in a lot of spots they didn't keep the composition up, and some of the
vocal performances should have been scrapped.
Once again the hard edged German industrial duo release what is this now,
their fifth release? Largely unknown in the industrial world, their thrashy
metal core meets industrial will probably appeal to those who like Ministry,
but their harder numbers are not as strong as those Ministry can compose.
Part of their biggest problem is not being able to fully capitalize on their
explosive power, though they can write heavy, catchy and aggressive material.
I just feel they're not reaching their full potential at times, but they DO
have quite a few club worthy pieces in 'Violin' and 'The War Of Minds.' The
remixes are very well done too, especially Die Krupps' reworking of 'Dumb,'
a song that is quite kick ass in it's own right! Those of you whp are true
"rivet heads" may want to avoid this one tho, if you believe guitars have no
place in industrial music, because they compose their music for the guitar
first and foremost (see the interview below for details). Quite a hard
hitting piece, and they're still around, which is good, though I eagerly
await their next full length.
Many of you may need to know how difficult it is to rate a mix CD. Yes, all
12 tracks were hand picked and mixed by DJ Brian, and the skill of the DJ is
almost never the sole deciding factor of how good a mix CD is. The DJ in
question could have the best skills in the world, but who wants to buy a CD
if the songs selected aren't any good? With that being said, first of all
Moonshine, with very few exceptions, always puts out quality mix CD's. And
the songs here are further to my liking because they have psychedelic trance
elements in them. So damn near from start to finish this is an enjoyable mix
of songs that can be played in clubs to great effect or in your car. The best
tracks are near the end, however, Ylem's tune 'Maelstrom' is probably one of
the best examples of the trippy, lighthearted instrumentation. Lots of songs
have rather fast and heavy beats, though, and the trance notes are sometimes
pretty dark, especially evident on Metal Spark's 'Kickstart.'(Incidentally,
Metal Spark appears on Blue Room, a label we've just started getting service
from.) There were a few downers here, though. Synchro's 'Kitchen Sink' and
Organic Noise's 'Labyrinth Of Colors' didn't do much for me here, they were
rather basic, the latter was too fast for club play and I got annoyed at the
ridiculous vocal samples they presented. Plus, Halal Sach's 'Constantinople'
took about 3 minutes to vary out the instrumentation. Otherwise, the mix of
songs starts out quite good and gets better and better as it goes along,
going right into a fantastic finish with Starecase's 'First Floor Deadlock.'
Brian obviously shows his skill not only as a DJ, but as a man with a good
taste in psychedelic trance. (Said to be the next hit at your local desert
This record will scare the living hell out of you. Looking back on a previous
release by them reviewed here last issue, I realize now maybe I should have
given that one a lower score than I did, as this blows their last effort
all to hell. First off, let me say that this industrial terrorist association
has the most intelligent and well placed samples I have ever heard. Every
sample not only gives you some thought provoking and intellectual info, but
rather than just being there because it sounds cool, each sample is somehow
related to each song. These samples tackle everything from animal rights to
the everyday tragedies we all see and face. I'm starting to think the "acid"
in Velvet Acid Christ comes from the dark and sinister acid trance notes that
they utilize throughout, but especially in the song 'Zix Zix Zix (666 mix).'
My two favorite tracks here are easily 'Malfunction,' which has very few
samples BUT has some torturous electro-distorted vocals and wickedly dark
instrumentation, and 'The Dead (death wish mix)' is just truly the most evil
and scary industrial piece I have ever heard. Even the samples, which are
more sinister and less thought provoking than they are intelligent, build
upon the diabloical mood, the lyrics also deal with insane criminals and
serial killers. A very disturbing piece not for the weak of heart at all!
Though their last effort was good, this album will define V.A.C. as a master
of diabolical horror for the club oriented. Their torturous vocals are also
quite well done and very explosive. Not to forget their slower pieces, which
are also well done and intelligently laid out. 'Decay' is a good example of
this, showing us the hopelessness and despair of our sick society, almost a
doom metal's answer to the industrial genre. Wickedly intelligent!
I remember these guys had some stuff released a long time ago. I never
followed up on them back then, so I don't know if this is the same lineup
or not. They were obviously one of those 80's styled power/thrash metal bands
and I gotta admit I liked a bit of what I heard here on this newest recording
of theirs. 'Fight Or Fall,' 'Pray,' and 'Tonight We Ride' are definitely
power metal classics, most of the songs here being rather anthemic like with
great sing along choruses. The vocals do fall victim to some odd quirks at
times, one of the things besides the wacked out guitar style that made
'Power' a really bad song, but for the most part Parramore McCarty does a
good job at relaying his power and might into the lyrics. I did question the
rather odd ballad in 'Learn To Love,' as it didn't fit the band's image or
their "Warrior" moniker. In fact, there are some interesting acoustical
passages in 'White Mansions' and 'The Rush,' the latter song adding some
heavier vocal delivery to what would have been just another slow ballad. Nice
ideas abound on this, though I would have preferred hearing more songs like
the heavier style and sound they do so well. Those three aforementioned songs
are digitized for your listening pleasure, by the way. :)
I have to admit I was really looking forward to hearing this newest CD from
the three Tony's, since it was being hailed as a return to the "Power and
Pain" days. Unfortunately, it's not quite up to par with that classic album
which graced my CD player on so many nights. For starters, the vocals now are
no longer in that harsh style, however Tony still makes his crazed screeches
sound like the days of old on such cuts like 'Resurrection Chair' and 'Thrash
Till Death.' The guitar work is still quite good, though a few cuts suffer
from more than just Tony's higher range, in fact 'Nails In Me Deep' and
'Killing On Monroe Street' sound a bit too mainstream for my taste. They do
manage to rage quite a bit on some cuts, but this isn't a bad CD, in fact it
was interesting to see some power metal vocals and some power metal riffs
combined with the thrashy guitar work and heavy hitting drums. Not a terrible
release, but I did expect a bit more from an album labelled as a return to
the days of "Power And Pain." Check out the cool instrumental though which
utilizes keyboards to sound like amazing unhumanly fast guitar riffs!
LIEGE LORD. Interview with Paul Nelson.
I'm sure I don't have to tell many of you into true classic power metal who
Liege Lord was, suffice it to say they released three great albums in the
early to late 80's, "Freedom's Rise," "Master Control," and my alltime
favorite "Burn To My Touch." It's because of my digitizing "Burn..." that
guitarist Paul Nelson contacted me via email to inform me what's been going
on with the band lately: "Joe Comeau, Tony Truglio, and myself stay in
constant contact all the time and discuss the possibility of reforming quite
frequently. You may be surprised to know that Liege Lord was one of the first
bands asked to reform as one of the headliners of the March Metal Meltdown in
One of the biggest questions on my mind, and the minds of many
other fans, is exactly WHAT led to the dissolution of Liege Lord in the first
place. Especially with all the great press they got for each album, it's
rather sad that the band had a parting of the ways. "It was a combination of
many things," states Paul. "The musical tastes of the band members was
changing, a grueling tour schedule that zig-zagged all across the country,
and negotiations with Metal Blade that left a few of the band members unhappy
with the music industry, as well as the end of the 80's caused by a flooded
metal market. Actually, Pete McCarthy, who played guitars on ''Freedom's
Rise,'' stopped by my house and we jammed for awhile. He told me that he was
thinking of leaving the band but from what I had seen and heard about Liege
Lord itself, I told him he should stick with it. Two days later he was out of
the band. After a few weeks go by one of my guitar students came to me and
asked if I could teach him the ''Freedom's Rise'' album for his audition with
the band. He did not get the position but in the process mentioned that I had
learned the whole album in one day. I was hired by Liege Lord the very next
day. As far as tour support went, there was none. I had to set up the tours,
the merchandise, radio promotion and press. Metal Blade handled the recording
budget, but we still had to pay Terry Date to fly in from Seattle. I think
Metal Blade was waiting for us to sign the big 7 year contract, and I'm sure
after that their support would have been completely different. I don't blame
them at all, after all music can be a business, unfortunately."
I wanted to talk a little bit about the albums that were released, and the
history behind them. As you all know, Andy Michaud, who was my favorite
vocalist in power metal at that time, was kicked out of the band before the
recording of their last album "Master Control." Paul explains his involvement
with the band at this point, and what events revolved around all three
albums. It's kind of a history lesson, for those not in the know, so pay
attention, cause all metalheads should know this info! "I'll say it now, I
don't think Andy's vocal skills were to blame for him being pushed out of the
band. It was very hard for Andy to sing all those words in the studio, and if
you listen to the lyrics on ''Burn...'' you'll find very few breath marks. He
did have a few personal problems he had to work out, however. The lyrics on
''Burn To My Touch'' were written by Matt. His lyrics, at the time, were very
poetic but also very wordy, which led to some of the trouble singing those
lines. Matt was heavily into Medieval lore, and you are correct in stating
that lyrically no one was that deep with their lyric writing. ''Burn...'' was
a continuation, lyric wise at least, of where ''Freedom's Rise'' left off.
However, as the third album came about, Matt was writing more about personal
observations as well. I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but I didn't
do any of the song writing for ''Burn...'' because it had all pretty much
been written during the ''Freedom's Rise'' days. It wasn't until ''Master
Control,'' Liege Lord's third and final album, that I got to do some writing
('Feel The Blade,' 'Broken Wasteland,' and 'Eye Of The Storm'), as well as
co-produce with Terry Date."
Finally, before wrapping this up and getting his
thoughts (this is yet another interview that was quite short on content,
unfortunately), I was curious to get his comments on the glory days of 80's
power and thrash metal which was in abundance at the time. It was surely good
for him, as he relates: "The 80's metal scene was great! You had all these
bands from different states touring, zig-zagging all across the country from
gig to gig, man Metal was everywhere! You never knew who would be backing you
up or who you'd be backing up! We played with bands like Overkill, Anthrax,
Megadeth, Candlemass, Anvil, Raven, Hades, Exodus, Death, and yes, even
Brittany Fox backed us up once! I must say that press was Liege Lord's
strongest asset. Good reviews fortunately always outweighed the bad. I think
we were always considered the underdog, radio was behind us to the point
where we actually tied the #1 spot with Metallica on the charts in the U.S.
for several months! We were featured in many magazines, such as Metal Forces,
Kerrang, Rock Hard, Hit Parader, Guitar World, even Billboard! It's funny too
because now we're in Rock Hard, Scream, Billboard and the like... All over
again! I guess we did leave a mark because now they call what we did then
Power Metal! We all listened to heavy doses of Priest, Maiden, early
Scorpions, Accept and Black Sabbath. We were all very supportive of one
another. Just check the ''Thank you'' list of any album of the time and it
reads like a who's who in the underground metal scene. That was one of the
ways you spread the word about other bands in those days."
My final question was about the wonderful artwork that graced each and
every album cover. I have been wanting to get my hands on a Liege Lord shirt
that offered, at the time, the full cover artwork for "Burn To My Touch." for
some time now. (Please drop me a line if you have one in good condition for
sale or trade!) Paul wraps this interview up by telling us a bit about
merchandising history: "Our first merchandising deal was with a company
called Web Merchandising and then we moved on to a company who used to make
shirts for Aerosmith. Although thousands were sold, no one seems to know
where the original screens have gone! The artwork for ''Freedom's Rise'' was
handed to Liege Lord on the spot from Black Dragon Records. The artwork for
''Burn To My Touch'' I actually found from an artist working for Web, and for
''Master Control'' I flew out to California where I met with John Zeleznik
and after looking at several of his drawings I found what appeared to be one
of his laminated business cards lying on his desk. I said, ''This is it, this
is what I want for the artwork!'' and he said ''you've got to be kidding!''
Apparently it was the first drawing he had done. Another little known fact
which caused quite a stir with the record label was the fact that
''Master...'' was almost released with it's cover being a picture of the
space shuttle Challenger exploding!"
SNOG. Interview with David via fax transfer.
Snog has released some brilliant material to date, from "Lies, Inc." all
the way up through their latest effort "Buy Me, I'll Change Your Life." If
anyone has noticed that the past two albums had some really sharp humour
involved in the lyrics, there may be no end to the laughs you'll get when you
peruse the writings and thoughts of one David Thrussell. For those not in the
know, David will explain the whole concept of Snog, and what exactly the
"coporation" means to him and world domination. You have been warned: "We
began," states David in a rather serious tone, "just as a bunch of friends
kicking around together back in 1988, at the time I was going to art school
and had a big record collection. Now of course it's all a bit more serious. I
no longer have any social contact with the members of the group. We only meet
infrequently and discreetly aboard our submarine deep under international
waters for our bi-annual board meetings. Concurrently we are in the franchise
to a number of popular music groups: Snog, Soma and Black Lung. Of course, in
reality, we have little or nothing to do with the creative output of these
projects. That is all handled by a perception management laboratory buried
deep within the Himalayas. Of course, the demographic lines between each
project are starkly drawn. Snog caters to the disaffected, urban, weekend
militant market. Soma caters to the jaded, post tribal hessian cloth wearing
nich, and Black Lung harbors the diet addled post vegan, neo Luddite, socio
economic grouping." See what I mean?
If the ride seems to be a rather unusual one for you, let me warn you now:
there are strange waters ahead, my friends. You see, Australia is not the idle
outback continent we are all used to in commercials and television. There are
forces at work in secret, powers beyond our understanding. To gain some insight
into the deepest, darkest and spiritually enlightening reaches of neo militant
organizations, we must first udnerstand what levels of saturation Australia has
achieved with mainstream culture, facist propaganda, and overall borrowing of
other cultures. David will soon make all clear, new initiates: "Australia is
saturated with American television and music. Our so called ''cultures'' are in
fact almost identical" (well, with the exception of those bloody accents!) "We all
breathe the same international language of mass consumption. The lyrics are
MORE relevant to life in Australia because we are little more than an
obedient client state. We have often been accused of being anti-American, but
as I often point out to people we have nothing whatsoever against the Grand
Canyon! Like it or not, we are all united in one glorious, global, corporate
brotherhood. Brings a tear to one's eye, doesn't it?"
So on to the question of lyrics, which as many have seen here and in the
past couple of albums, there are some pretty intense stabs at all things
capitalistic, materialistic, and religion-istic. Hey, I couldn't resist. One
particularly sharp stab lyric wise was also with one of Snog's biggest club
hits, from their "Dear Valued Customer" album, in 'Hey, Christian God.' I
was curious what possessed him to take such a strong but satirical stab at
a tune like this, maybe he was beaten up by Santa Claus in a past life?
"Actually, I was raised in a strictly non-Christian environment, so it's no
good looking there." David says. "In fact, that song was deliberately written
to be and released as an anti christmas single in Australia. To be honest,
I don't have much of a problem with people's individual faiths no matter how
preposterous (the more preposterous the better!) But that whole christmas
shopping thing is just too hard to handle."
David and company may be on to something with their concepts. After all,
one only need hear tracks off of "Dear Valued Customer" like 'Dear Valued
Customer,' 'Empires,' 'Skinhead' and the like to realize that the industrial
sounds and synths used by the corporation known as Snog aren't very typical to
the industrial genre, more so on their newest effort "Buy Me.." than ever
before! I'm going to let David go on at length about the music writing
process, how he comes up with his ideas, and the whole change over from dance
oriented industrial to an album full of innovative and unusual ideas, from
the female vocalist down to the acoustic guitars and harmonicas: "Well, while
I'll admit it was nice to see a song like ''Hey Christian God'' gain club
play, we would never design music for any one particular environment.
Research shows that this can have a negative impact on the scope of your
potential audience. Music is a business like any other, and the key to market
longevity is diversification." Damn, he sounds like he's been studying from
the Vibrations of Doom book of intellectual stimulation through music, page
55 paragraph 8.
"No tree can survive with just one root," David continues. "Put down as many
roots as you can, and tap the lush, clean waters that lap beneath your feet
every dreary day. As for our sound, at least with this new album, the latest
market research acquired by the IMCC Perception Management Office indicated
that a marginal shift towards the country rock/electronica/industrial sphere
would generate the best probability of a win/win situation.
It was felt that in order to maintain our market share in the current topsy
turvy market place, that an apparently fresh and vibrant new sound and image
should be generated." And what a startling shift that was, with harmonicas
and acoustic guitar work so dramatic, striking and dark at the same time.
David further elaborates on his influences: "Our creative droids take great
pleasure and influence from the works of Tom Lehrer, Bill Hicks, Johnny Cash,
Al Gore, and Lee Hazelwood. Lee Hazelwood is a former 1960's country pop
singing star and he is now the janitor at the IMCC Perception Management
Office. One day while we were sitting around scoffing imitation caviar, he
feebly held up the scrawled lyrics which we promptly dispatched to one of
our lab technicians who deftly transformed it into the pop masterpiece we all
know and love." So to all of those who haven't realized the magnitude of what
David is saying, basically he did a cover of L. Hazelwood's 'Make The Little
Flowers Grow,' a country song set to electronica! A stroke of deep brilliance!
Some of David's other taste in music range from dark, psychedelic country
music, Rammstein, Italian soundtrack music and 60's pop, plus other electro
based acts like The Boards Of Canada and Oscar Sala.
Now onto the more interesting aspects of Snog's creative genius, these secret
weapons that David and company has developed should be regarded as highly dangerous
and extremely influential towards the mind control process, and as such should
be extremely classified and top secret. No doubt you are aware of the extreme
urgency of divulging these details, and I must remind you to keep all this
info extremely confidential, under penalty of death. With this in mind, David
will explain the use of the female vocals, which grace the songs 'The Ballad'
and 'The Prole Song.' A very unusual choice for an industrial band, and
with a somewhat low tone of voice, we will now understand David's vision:
"The female vocals you hear on ''Buy Me..'' are the product of the latest in
genetic and clone technology. She was designed to have the voice of Hildegard
Von Bingen and the looks of Goldie Hawn. Of course, something went terribly
wrong. But the brave and noble explorer is never deterred. Don't doubt for a
second, fellow adventurer, that whatever new realms currently lie outside our
eager grasp, we will explore them together, united in friendship and
humanity. You see, with Snog we try to strike a natural balance between
traditional songwriting and technological music. We may wander into different
forms of music as the whim takes us, but we will always keep this balance in
the forefront of our collective consciousness. As for your last question,
concerning the strange sounds and samples we use, we employ a secret cadre of
well reknowned scientists whose express purpose is to scour the globe and
other regions for cruel and unusual sound treatments. The song 'Cliche' for
instance, from the album ''Dear Valued Customer'' is based almost entirely on
field recordings made in the gurgling subvolcanic caverns under the surface
of the Jovian moonlet Io."
One other thing Snog makes mention of is the fact that they are indeed a
member of M.A.C.O.S., the Musicians Against the Copyrighting Of Samples. If
you look back to interviews with Pitch Shifter and Industrial Heads, you may
recall them mentioning, albeit briefly, what they stood for with their
involvement in this organization. But what you may not realize, as did I, is
that MACOS is more than just a musical organization. Once again, David does
his best to divulge to us the details of such a well guarded organization
while careful not to endanger his members or his mission: "From the outside
MACOS has all the appearances of being a benevolent society that works hand
in hand with the more sample challenged members of our community. To the
casual observer MACOS presents a charming facade of copyright freedom
awareness, of the inherent validity of appropriation in the late 20th
century multi media dialogue. But let me tell you, my friend, something dark
and untoward lurks beneath these calm waters. I dare not say more as others
more courageous than I have perished after uttering one too many secrets. Let
me finish now with a warning, comrades: Whatever darkness lurks in the hearts
of man, it is but a gentle breeze before the gargantuan storm that you call
Before wrapping this interview up, I asked David about Snog as a touring
entity, and whether or not he plans to make a Stateside appearance. He
replied: "Snog tours extensively around the sunny shores of Australia but
rarely internationally because of pressures from Interpol and other law
enforcement agencies. Black Lung however, one side project of ours, is a
prolific touring act completing around 26 dates in Europe and the U.S. during
1998. We have appeared on live bills with such alleged luminosities as
Hawkwind, Meat Beat Manifesto, Aphex Twin, Rammstein, Ministry and Pitch
Shifter. Touring with a whole band (I.E. seven people as an entourage) is
prohibitively expensive but you never know, we may someday get it together to
tour the U.S." Final words from David himself are forthcoming, but I must
remind everyone that this disclosure is extremely confidential. "We hope this
information is helpful," David says. "For reasons of national security some
pertinent information has been deleted at the request of the relevant
authorities." This message will self destruct in three seconds...
TESTIFY. Interview with Myk Jung.
First off, my apologies to this band for not featuring them way back when.
There were various problems, though despite all this Van Richter has stood
behind these guitar driven, aggressive industrial giants. For those of you
not in the know about Testify, I guess we'll let Myk answer the all too
obvious question about humble beginnings and what not: "In the summer of 1992
the members of that very old band The Fair Sex realized that they had
developed into a sound quite far from raw aggression, and they still felt
this raw aggression deep inside. So what do they do? They planned to create a
new project dedicated to solidify that emotion and lo! Testify was born. But
nowadays the new version of Testify has nothing to do with The Fair Sex of
which they were the offspring." To better understand their scope of music, I
guess they need to explain their transitionary period, from album number one
all the way to this newest release "Crack The Mind." There have been a few
albums in between, but I'll let Myk explain their progression: "The first
album was a wierd piece of crap created by some guys coming from electronic
regions, the Fair Sex cretins I had mentioned, trying to make a somewhat
''harder'' guitar oriented sound. The second album was done with a very
different crew, only myself and the sound chief Mathias had survived. Due to
the metal guitarists Moses and Kullf the whole sound developed into a whole
So can we look to the industrial scene for further evidence
of their musical creations? After all, some of the best and brightest stars
in the whole industrial genre reside in Europe, and in Germany in particular,
where our friends in Testify reside. "The industrial scene in Germany seems
to me somewhat smaller than a few years ago, perhaps even of a little less
importance. But who may guess what it will be like in a year or so? We hope
it will grow again, of course. Are there a lot of bands we are influenced by?
Yes, but we do not intend to give any names, we try to rob their ideas in
secrecy." Further revelation of course, once delving full on into their
newest release, sees them sometimes compared to Ministry in their hard
hitting aggressive sound. What exactly are the main ingredients in a Testify
song? And what's Ministry got to do with all this anyway? "The writing of a
Testify song," admits Myk rather deviously, "in most cases starts out with us
inventing guitar riffs, seldom any sequences or noise patterns. Guitars and
drums are the basis we build the rest upon. But Ministry? Is that a new band
from the States? We've never heard of them." Hmmm... Never heard of Ministry?
Well, that brought me to my next question, which concerns MINISTRY doing a
bunch of remixes of some of their songs. I was also curious as to how they
felt about Ministry's change of sounds with their last full length "Filth
Pig." Myk, rather embarassed that I know my musical history a little bit
better than he thought I did, replies: "Okay, we admit it, we have heard of
Ministry. The co-operation with them was nothing more than sending tapes to
Fluffy Auerbach, one of their engineers who did great work on some Testify
tracks. The connection to him was brought about by the Van Richter label,
which we are still signed to. As for Ministry's ''Filth Pig'' album, it has
totally different ideas from it's predecessor album, as the whole world
knows. Sometimes it's hypnotic by its slowness, whereas the other record made
you dizzy with speed. I think most of Ministry's listeners were astonished,
at least, and many were disappointed. This was not the case with me, I am
free to admit. I will go to try and copy some of their ideas."
I was curious as to how Van Richter was for them as a label, since five
albums or so later and they are STILL signed to them. "Van Richter as a label
is very good to us," Myk explains. "as any band in the world would define
their band-label relationship. I am very impressed by such rock standards so
I use it now. As for a tour of the States, we have not done that yet, and
only the Seven Endless Ones will know for sure if we ever will." They didn't
give us much information to go on, so we'll close this interview out by
discussing the lyrical influences for their newest release, about the only
topic that Myk explains in any detail: "the song 'Under Queen Whore's Grim
Protection' was born out of pure intuition, narrating a silly story about
strange malicious persons who suddenly feel the urge to become something like
saints: they all at once wish to dedicate their life to love, compassion and
so on. Torturers that amazingly think they should do something good, or so.
It's a sort of wierd tale, as I said. Imagine Hitler waking up one morning
thinking: ''Oh, shit! I feel a sudden urge to apoligize to all those who I
have treated really badly. By the way, how could I behave so heartlessly? I
can't recall my motivations!! I must stand up fast and yeah, what could I do
to repair the wounds I have made? Perhaps cleaning the shoes of some Jews,
and later invite them to dinner? Not the shoes, but the whole Jew? Good
idea!'' He would have suprised his attendants I bet!"
WHIPLASH. Interview with Tony Scaglione.
It's very refreshing to see Whiplash return to us with yet another album,
this time they have released "Thrashback" through Massacre Records. I did an
interview with this band a LONG time ago, when I was writing for a magazine
that lasted only two issues. Well, the lineup from "Power And Pain" has
returned to wreak havoc on our senses yet again, and many of you who have
followed the band's career may have noticed that they utilized MANY different
lead singers. Tony explains (the singing Tony, that is) what has transpired
since the beginning: "The issue of vocalists is a long story. Tony Portaro
sang on the first two albums as you well know, however, after our second
album "Ticket To Mayhem," Roadrunner Records wanted the band to be more
accessible so they pushed for us to get a new vocalist. We chose Glenn Hansen
for the job. After the release of "Insult To Injury" Mr. Portaro decided to
break the band up since there were recurring business problems, especially
with the label. It just became too frustrating for everyone! So that brings
us to 1993. I was playing drums in M.O.D. and we needed a guitarist. I
suggested to Billy Milano that I thought Tony Portaro would be perfect for
the job and he ended up accepting. We then did a European tour with M.O.D and
Tony and I decided, after the tour was finished, to write some new material.
Since the material was a lot more melodic and Tony was not really into
singing, we decided to get a vocalist. This allowed us to sign a deal with
Massacre Records and releasing the "Cult Of One" album. Soon after this it
became apparent that the vocalist was really difficult to work with so we
parted ways. On the "Sit, Stand, Kneel, Pray" release Warren Conditi did the
lead vocals. He basically took over from the previous singer. This brings us
to "Thrashback." Over the years, many people have come up to us and asked us
when we were going to get the original lineup back together (with Tony's
vocals) and when we suggested this idea to Massacre Records, they loved the
The first thing fans of old (like myself, a diehard Whiplash fan since disc
one) will notice is Tony Portaro's vocals have changed, almost drastically!
The lyrics are now more or less sung, rather cleanly and at a higher tone
than ever before. His patented screeches are still there but not as in force
as they used to be. "Tony's vocals are a bit different on ''Thrashback,''"
explains Tony Scaglione, "but you have to take into consideration that it has
been almost 13 years since we released "Power And Pain," so obviously things
are going to be a little different. I personally love the way the vocals
sound on the new album. They still have a raw edge (though not as raw as on
"Power...") but they are also a bit more melodic. I don't think his vocals
are really ''clean sounding'' though." So let's talk about the new record a
bit. We've already discussed the fact that the vocals have changed a bit, but
the guitar work in most places is VERY reminiscent of the olden days of yore.
Forgive me for being nostalgic, but anwyay, I'll let Tony tell ya all
about the writing and recording process for "Thrashback:" "Tony Portaro (In
case you forgot, every band member of Whiplash is named Tony. - Ed.) and I
wrote most of the riffs in his basement on a 4 track. We made tapes and then
I flew home to Arizona where I now live and we just listened to the tapes
individually. We then went into the studio to record them. I recorded all of
the drum tracks by myself from memory with a click track and then the other
guys did their thing. We only had two rehearsals before recording and we only
really played two or three of the songs! The rest we never actually played
together as a band! In the past, we always had a chance to really rehearse
everything thoroughly. When we wrote in the past, a lot of tunes just came
together out of a jam session. So this time around it was VERY different. As
far as the keyboards on this album (Referring to the song "Strike Me Blind"
which is an instrumental) Tony wanted to make one song an instrumental and I
suggested that we call Mike Pinella from Symphony X and see if he wanted to
do it. Mike also played keyboards on our album "Cult Of One." He did bring
with him Symphony X guitarist Mike Romeo and they both played on that track.
Actually, that is one of my favorite songs on the album. We like to
experiment with different things and I don't think anyone expected to hear a
song like that on a Whiplash record!"
Okay, so what about the lyrics? Well, typical lyrical references abound for the
power trio, so anyone who enjoyed the lyrics on "Power And Pain" should find the
subject matter on "Thrashback" no less enjoyable. When I talked to Tony Scaglione
several years ago, he mentioned that Tony Portaro wrote most of the lyrics, and
that his topics were in the vein of a fan of the biker era. While Mr. Scaglione doesn't
remember this conversation from years ago, he does add this insight: "As far
as the lyrics are concerned, 'Thrash Till Death,' a song off the new album,
was actually on our first demo back in 1984 and as far as the biker reference
I don't know anything about that! The song lyrics just deal with the metal
vibe and lifestyle. It's about how good metal makes you feel. The chorus line
is 'No compromise, we will thrash till death,' and it's very relevant now
since we are 13 years older and here we are still thrashing away! All lyrics
are written by Tony Portaro and I have the utmost respect for him as a lyric
writer. The song 'Killing On Monroe Street,' for example, was written about a
street in my old neighborhood where all kinds of crazy stuff used to go on."
I asked Tony to go on about their respective labels they were associated
with, both Massacre and Roadrunner, and basically wanted to know how the tour
support and overall support in general was. It caused him to get a bit
nostalgic for the old days, as you will see: "Massacre has done a great job
for us and they are very cool people! We are happy with everything they have
done for us! The reason we signed with them was they were the first label to
get in contact with us when we got all of that new material back in 1993.
They really seemed to be fans of the band first and foremost. We have tried
to hook up with a U.S. label but no labels seem interested. As far as
Roadrunner goes, there were many problems and we just decided to start fresh
again. I remember the scene back then there were so many great bands just
starting out. Nowadays there isn't much of a metal scene anymore. Not like
years ago, where I remember going to different shows every weekend. Slayer,
Exodus, Metallica, there was always something going on. Whiplash always
seemed to get good reviews and an overall good response from the press. Our
debut album "Power And Pain" sold around 60,000 copies but we never saw a
penny from the label for those records! The label gave us no support
whatsoever either, they never tried to put us on tour or anything. I still
love to listen to the old albums like "Bonded By Blood" (my absolute
favorite!), Voivod's "War And Pain," Venom's "Black Metal" and tons of old
school hardcore like Cro-Mags, Bad Brains and a bunch of others. It still
makes me feel great to listen to this stuff! As I mentioned earlier, I live
now in Arizona, but I still go to Jersey once in awhile. There's some good
bands there nowadays but not much of a scene like there was back then."
I would desperately love to see Whiplash tour. Live shows are a rarity
these days, and not just because of the distances involved, as Tony explains:
"We all have other things going on in our lives. I live out here with my wife
and I play with different artists when I can, and Tony Portaro is married and
has two kids AND goes to computer school. Tony Bono as well goes to computer
school so we are all pretty busy. We will be playing a few shows here and
there but that's about it. We are playing the Metal Meltdown festival in New
Jersey in March, and then the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany in August,
and we are trying to book up a Japanese tour. As far as the U.S. is
concerned, it is very difficult to book shows since the band is so old and
has kept kind of a low profile, we are almost like a brand new band who is
trying to get shows! We can't ask for big monetary guarantees to play because
not too many people know us (except for the true old school fans). So to do a
complete tour would be very difficult. Whiplash is still very close to our
hearts so we want to play live when we can. In fact, live we are planning to
concentrate mainly off of material from "Power And Pain" and "Thrashback,"
along with a couple of numbers from "Ticket To Mayhem" and maybe one off of
"Insult To Injury." Our future plans, beyond what we mentioned earlier, are
In closing, there is yet another record label working with Whiplash, and
I'll let Tony carry us on out with his final words: "Displeased Records have
re-released the first three Whiplash records and they are about to release an
album called "Messages In Blood: The Early Years." This is a compilation of
our first two demos and 2 live shows from 1985-1986. It's a release for true
fans who really want to see how we developed and who are nostalgic. The guys
are great and that should be out next month. Also, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank all of the fans who have supported us over the years,
who bought any of our records and enjoyed the music we have created. It
really means a lot to us, and I want to thank you Steven for your support!
Thanks again and THRASH TILL DEATH!!"
With another year gone and our earth rapidly approaching the new millenium, I
have noticed quite a few things changing within the music scene. I was first
alerted to the madness when my TV channel "accidentally" got stuck on MTV and
there was this special about the decline of rock. While they mentioned that
rap and hip hop have "taken off" amongst suburban white males, THIS writer
thinks that in this day and age of rappers becoming increasingly violent and
hostile towards society and their comfortable middle to upper class life,
many people must feel that rap no longer has any significant message for
those who are newly exposed to it's sounds. Not to offend anyone, but rap
just isn't "fun" anymore, and I am starting to think that young white youths
who have been getting into this style of music are beginning to realize that
the music being written they buy isn't really about them at all. I mean,
let's be honest here, how many white kids (most of them being from middle to
upper class now) can really relate to pimping, gang banging, shooting cops,
and general destructive mayhem which in most cases the rappers themselves
don't even really live from day to day? Don't get me wrong, I listened to rap
music in my younger days, and I know many metalheads to this day will admit
there were some fun songs done right that pretty much everyone could relate
to in one fashion or another. But with groups like The Dayton Family,
C-Murder, Ghetto Boys and the like, I get the feeling that the people
involved in the making and distribution of this style of music don't really
want white youth listening to rap. Fact of the matter is however that white
American youth put rappers like Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre over the top and into
the charts for many weeks.
How does this all relate to metal? Well, for
starters, MTV commented on the fact that most bands today are one hit
wonders, and record sales for many of these bands are not what they should be
at all. People were interviewed on the street and couldn't name any other
songs by groups like Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind other than their video
or radio hits, and couldn't even tell you the members in the band! Rock music
seems to be on the decline these days, and maybe the youth are looking toward
other forms of music. Korn, for all people that seem to hate it, capitalized
on the fact that music HAD to be different to be popular. So maybe with the
recent news about Death and Hammerfall's positions in the charts, coupled
with strong and powerful releases from metal's greatest champions like
Helloween and Stratovarius, metal can become once again the music that the
masses want to hear. While many people might complain that if metal becomes
popular once again that it will lose it's flavor and it's strength, and the
music will suffer as a result, I personally am sick and tired of the U.S.
missing all the good bands that Europe is treated to on a daily basis! So
it's time to wake up and let metal become popular again, in the hopes that
the music listeners will have even better choices of what to listen to rather
than rely on popular radio and MTV to force their selections on them. I'd
love to hear your thoughts and comments on this one, so please drop me a line
and tell me what you think, I'd be happy to print your letters for our
readers to share.
I personally had the great fortune to attend many shows this past year, the
end of 1998 was a great time for me. I finally got to see Nile live and lemme
tell ya, they nearly blew Morbid Angel off the stage! Not to take anything
away from M.A., but many people were simply exhausted after the brutal
crushing power of the boys from South Carolina. Hammerfall finally made their
U.S. appearance, and we were lucky enough to be able to film their entire set
and do a nice interview. Kudos for the guys in Hammerfall for being such
great guys, they all signed autographs and talked with us at length both
before and after the show. Thanks to Nuclear Blast America for bringing us
such a class act, hopefully they realize now Americans WANT to see such bands
play live! My personal wish for 1999 is that Therion is able to play here,
along with many of the other death and black metal bands they're working
with. I am going to forego my usual top albums of the past year, suffice it
to say that Evil's Toy and Apoptygma Berzerk are two of the best industrial
acts I was privleged to hear. As for metal, there was a lot of good releases,
though I think Hammerfall's "Legacy Of Kings" was a strong followup to their
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