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Old 10-19-2012, 10:55 AM   #1551 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post
I can't get over your tribute section to Gary Moore.........it's unbelievable! It goes on for pages. So after being exhausted trolling through it (excuse the pun) I should be recommencing your journal again around page 100 where the tribute has ended.
Hey thanks! It's so good to get some recognition for that. It took ages, really wore me out, but I wanted to make sure I did a proper tribute. The guy was just legendary, and I felt he deserved all the blood sweat and tears I could muster to make sure I created the very best and most detailed tribute to him that I possibly could.

I made sure to even go back into his past bands, other associations, everything I could think of that was in any way connected with him. One thing's for sure: I've covered everything now, so I don't think I'll be doing one for next year!

Glad to have you back!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:14 AM   #1552 (permalink)
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Yes! Finally, someone who doesn't lambast Mac without Buckingham.
Mac without Buckingham just isn't Mac.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
Metal Wars

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Old 10-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #1553 (permalink)
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Mac without Buckingham just isn't Mac.
I'm a fan of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac as much as the Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac; Black Magic Woman, Man of the World, Oh Well and Green Manalishi are fantastic.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:26 AM   #1554 (permalink)
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Interloper --- Carbon Based Lifeforms --- 2010 (Ultimae)


In the wake of my review of Jean-Michel Jarre's “Magnetic fields” a few weeks ago, I developed a fresh interest in electonic “ambient” music, and went looking for something similar. The first real example I came across was thanks to Freebase Dali, who suggested --- not to me, but I took up the suggestion anyway --- these guys, and once I heard this track I thought, yeah, this is what I'm looking for. Carbon Based Lifeforms is a duo based in Sweden, who have released five albums up to now, all instrumental and all ambient, so far as I can see. The interesting thing about them is that their recordings all seem to flow together as one piece of music, so that although certain tracks are named as such, it's often quite difficult to determine where one ends and the other begins, and you really have to listen to the albums as a total experience: cutting bits out of them doesn't really do them justice.

And so we end up with over an hour of pure electronic ambient music, which is in the main very relaxing and I guess what the kids today call “chillout” music; certainly chilled me out when I listened to it, anyway. But because of the continuous nature of the music, it is a little more difficult to review the album even as a whole, since you can't just say “nice keyboard and synth work throughout” --- some overview of an album that would give! This leaves me to try to describe each track as it flows from one to the next, and keep up a sort of musical narrative as the album progresses. Tall order perhaps, but I'd like to be able to convey the overall feel I get from this music, so I'll give it a try.

And the album opens on the title track, which runs for six minutes. It opens with busy keyboard with spacey atmospheric synth backing, then a basic melody coming through on foot of some deep basswork, pulling in the percussion (drum machine, I assume) as the tune begins to take on some more cohesive shape. This appears to be the third in a trilogy of albums, with “Hydroponic garden” from 2003 starting the trio off, then continuing in 2006 with “World of sleepers”, each of these albums picking up from the last in terms of track numbers. For instance, “Hydroponic garden” starts at track 1 and runs to track 12, with the next album starting at track 13 and on to 22, while this one starts at .... track 24? What happened to 23? I don't know, but this seems to be the way Carbon Based Lifeforms work.

The same basic melody runs through the six minutes of “Interloper”, then it drops away to a single synth before coming up with some spacey runs and a sort of more bouncier keyboard, much more uptempo drumming and a vocoder getting in on the act as “Right where it ends”, er, begins. Much more dancy, more upbeat with some half-whispered vocals coming in, the rhythm almost a boogie blues one now, thumping along nicely as some pretty happy synthwork fills out the melody. Some breathy synth then comes in to add to the mix, a deep pulsing bassline accompanying the vocal which, though not really that discernible, is not necessary to be, as it's almost like just another instrument in the music. It all fades down then to whooshing synth and a fast keyboard run takes us into “Central plain”.

For almost a minute there's nothing else than that fast-fingered synth then it's joined by another, a bassy one but as yet no percussion. The music grows louder and more insistent, with little marimba touches poking their heads up every now and then, making a sound almost like rain falling, then the drums cut in and the heavier keys take over, with what could be a guitar sliding in too. It sets up something of a wail as the synths continue, getting faster and then it falls back to allow the banks of synthesisers centre stage, as more almost-unheard vocals slip by. There's a definite sense of Vangelis about this track, particularly reminds me of some of the music on “The city”.

Moving then into “Supersede” with a thick organ sound and some whistling synth, wind noises and tinking bells, everything slowing down to a much more stately pace, the sound of the wind like the inhalation and exhalation of breath. Other sounds like bird cries or whale song come in, with trilling sprinkles of ribbony keyboards, then the heavy percussion thumps in and the tempo goes up a little, handclap-style beats joining the rhythm, quite echoey. Warbly keyboard and a heavy bass accompany this piece to its conclusion, then “Init” opens with sound effects and a female spoken vocal, possibly a poem being quoted as church-style organ and digital piano take the melody in a return to the slower pace of the previous track, but even more so, very laidback and chillout.

As percussion hits in, the tempo rises but only very subtly, and bright keyboard is overlaid on the piano lines, a sort of brassy keys sound fading in and out too. A long atmospheric synth sound takes over, as everything else bar the bass fades away, then the drums slip back in and the lighter keys return also, and we're now almost halfway through this interesting album, or piece of continuous music, if you prefer. “Euphotic” keeps the tempo slow, with chiming synth and bells, no percussion at first, swirly eerie synth and a slow and simple bassline, and in fact the whole track continues that way, almost fading away until percussion hits in sharply near the end and the tempo slips up very slightly, but the melody remains intrinsically the same.

On a rippling keys movement which seems to evoke the sound of a brook or stream, “Frog” introduces some solo guitar and piano, in quite a siimple, almost pastoral piece, then the shortest track on the album, and certainly the shortest title comes in on low, drony synth with a higher-register synth riding above it like a monorail, and sharp stabs of percussion fire off like fireworks through the music before a pan-pipes-like fluty keyboard sets up an eerie melody through the piece, and “M” concludes with some strident, insistent synth and a final flurry of drums and keys with some deeply-buried vocals as it heads into “20 minutes”, on the back of some slow ambient synth and celestial keys.

Some nice guitar and basswork, as the synth swirls and eddies, very slow and calm and laidback, as with a few last piano notes we move into the final track, the oddly-titled “Polyrytmi” with some echoey solo keyboard, very sparse, slowly joined by some pizzicato strings keys then some more robust synth, a walking rhythm beginning to assert itself on the developing melody, reminding me a little of Vangelis's “Alpha”; sort of like a ticking clock in ways. Some low bass joins in now, but still no percussion of any sort, then most everything drops away to leave just the “ticking” synth and the higher register key one going, the ticking eventually fading away in the distance, leaving for a moment only the single synth before suddenly the ticking one returns on the back of some more bass and finally some solid percussion, the rhythm picking up a little, until with a final blast of percussion and the rest of the synths coming back in everything once again stops and the ticking synth is left to finish proceedings.

TRACKLISTING

1. Interloper
2. Right where it ends
3. Central plain
4. Supersede
5. Init
6. Euphotic
7. Frog
8. M
9. 20 minutes
10. Polyrytmi

This isn't really an album that lends itself well to review: it is, as I already mentioned, essentially one big track that, though it changes subtly throughout the course of the over an hour the album runs for, stays basically the same. I've done my best to give you a flavour of it here, but to really appreciate this album I think you have to just immerse yourself in it, let it run through you and wash over you. It's an album to chill out to, to relax to, perhaps even to fall asleep to. Want something to dance to? This ain't it. But if you want something that will take you away for an hour and a change from the worries of the day-to-day world, this could very well be it.

This sort of music I've been finding hard to track down, mostly because when you mention "ambient" it's often faster, more dancy stuff that comes up --- your trance, your electronica and so on --- which is something that generally I don't have any interest in. This sort of music suits me exactly, so much so that I made sure to download all Carbon Based Lifeforms' albums, and will in all likelihood end up reviewing another one at some point.

Again, my thanks to Freebase for pointing me, if indirectly, in this direction, and if anyone knows of music similar to CBL do please post here, PM, email or throw down a suggestion in the "electronic music recommendation" thread.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:21 PM   #1555 (permalink)
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Let's take a look at the more, ah, sensitive side of metal again, shall we? Here are some songs you might not expect from these bands...

Kicking us off this time round is a great little acoustic number from White Lion, this is called “When the children cry”.



Sounding more than a little like Whitesnake if I'm honest, this is Quiet Riot, from their album entitled either “QR” or “Quiet Riot IV”, depending on how you look at things. This is called “Don't wanna be your fool”.



One of the many power metal bands coming out of Sweden, this is Nostradameus, from their debut album, “Words of Nostradameus”, and “Without your love”.



A ballad from Sabbath is as rare as it is important, and this is from the album “Headless cross”. I could have sworn it was Dio on vocals, but of course it's not, it's Tony Martin. This is “Nightwing”.



And just to round things off with another classic iconic band, here's Maiden from their debut, with a great ballad called “Strange world”.

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Old 10-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #1556 (permalink)
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This is amazing! Nice work, brother.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:20 PM   #1557 (permalink)
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Thanks man: always happy to welcome another commenter (is that a word? It is now!) to my journals. Hope you're enjoying what we're putting out; let us know if there's anything you'd like to see.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:33 AM   #1558 (permalink)
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The often demented ramblings and musings of a music journal author

Look to the mote in your own eye, and keep your hands off my heartstrings!

Oh no, not here you don't! I've been watching the news for the last, I don't know how long, months certainly if not longer, waiting for some news of intervention or proper action on Syria, and what have I seen? Completely ineffective attempts at “peace plans” that are basically laughed at, but which their architects refuse to accept or admit are nothing more than a poorly-disguised PR exercise, a desperate attempt to “be seen to be doing something”, when we all know nothing is being done. Delegate after delegate sit across from that smiling bastard murderer as he goes on slaughtering his own people. “Unverified footage” of civilians being massacred; meanwhile ineffectual United Nations representatives meet and shout and squabble like children while thousands of miles away real, actual children, and their parents, are lying dead or dying in the rubble of a crumbling dictatorship which has to fall one day soon.

But when? The UN allow big countries like China and Russia to hold them to ransom, instead of showing them up, shaming them for being either the obstacles they are or the active participants in and facilitators of the genocide going on in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities. When arms were supposedly intercepted recently which had been allegedly supplied to the Syrian government forces by Putin's regime, why were these not displayed publicly, on television, so that all could see, across the world, what hypocrites and accessories to mass murder the Russians are?

But the final straw was last night, when the news advised us we would see “one of two special reports on Syrian refugees”. Oh no: don't you even dare go there, world or national media! I have the utmost sympathy for these people, who are fleeing a war they did not start nor participate in, who have left their homes --- often destroyed --- behind them and fled to the borders of their war-torn country in hopes of escape and survival, for them and their children. But don't you dare try to make me feel that “there's something I could do” about this. You've done ****-all, and now you have the unmitigated audacity to try to make ME feel bad about this? What could I have done, and how DARE you presume to try to play on my sympathies, my basic human compassion, try to tug on my heartstrings by pointing out the plight of these people? In TWO reports? Let's not lose sight of the fact that YOU, as a body, may as well have put them there. What has the media, the international community (should probably be renamed to the international cowards) done to step in, to alleviate the human suffering, to try to negotiate and end this war, topple this despot from power?

Yeah, I'm no politican, and I know, as does everyone, that Assad's days are numbered. But while those days count down they take another few hundred people to their deaths, and the toll mounts up till we have to wonder, when he finally does go, how many people will be left alive in Syria? But I didn't create this situation. I wasn't and am not in any sort of a position to fix it. YOU all are: the media, the UN, NATO, politicians on every side. I don't care if it seems simplistic: as Bob Geldof once said to Margaret Thatcher, when pleading for assistance for the famine-struck African nations, and she saying “It's not that simple”, no, nothing is as simple as people dying.

So get the hell off your fat arses and sort it out. Stop playing politics. Make the big decisions. People are dying over there, and you can stop it if you work together and use the vaunted might of the UN to bring pressure to bear upon those who decide, for whatever reason, not to support initiatives that can bring about peace. In the words of Star Trek's Captain Jellico, Get It Done.

But until you do, until you start taking some responsibility and standing up for the ordinary people of Syria, until you stop wringing your hands and shaking your heads about what can't be done, keep your ****ing “special reports” on refugees off my screen! You can't make me feel any worse than I do anyway, and if it's meant to somehow assuage your guilt, then shame on you. Don't blame me by proxy for your shortcomings and failings: DO something about it.

And another thing...

Six dead in road crashes in 24-hour period - RT News
What the hell is it with everyone these days that they have to get everywhere so quickly? What's so important? Four major accidents on Irish roads this weekend, and we haven't even reached the bank holiday one yet! God knows how many people will die this weekend! It's all down to inexperience on the road, alcohol but mostly people driving too fast.

The worst, and most heartbreaking story, for those of you not in Ireland and aware of it, (see link above) is of a father who took his two baby daughters for a Sunday stroll in their pram, on a well-known and used stretch of road where people walk all the time, and was hit, out of the blue, by a car, both his daughters being killed and he injured. Why? The details are not released yet, but from the state of the car in the report I'm willing to bet the driver was speeding. Possibly drunk, though that's by no means certain. But in a way, that doesn't matter, because even if you're fully sober, excessive speed can be a killer. Judge Judy often points out that a car can be a weapon, and she's right. In the wrong hands it can kill. And here it did, and two completely innocent little girls who had not even the chance of beginning their lives are now dead, another road safety statistic, their parents no doubt shells of their former selves, facing a future without their babies.

And again, I ask, why?

Because some careless bastard was in a hurry? Couldn't be bothered to keep his eyes on the road and his mind on his driving? It's nowhere near excuse enough, nor will it ever be. There's no room for this sort of selfish arrogance and carelessness in our society, though sadly it's become all too prevalent, and shows few signs of abating any time soon. People's lives are being destroyed by reckless driving, and it has to stop. It's one thing to kill yourself : you want to plough into a wall at speed, that's your decision. But don't take innocent lives with you.

SLOW THE **** DOWN!
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #1559 (permalink)
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Okay, well in fairness I wouldn't claim this to have been one of the albums that changed my life, but it certainly changed my mind about, shall we say, independent music? Up to this, I had mostly been buying and listening to albums by either progressive rock artistes or heavy metal acts, these being the two genres I was most interested in. I would occasionally see something interesting in the world of pop, but mostly I treated the charts with contempt. If anything, that attitude has grown in later years, and I think with good reason. But up until I heard this album, I had always considered anything outside the spectrum of what I enjoyed listening to to be either inaccessible to me or just “not my thing”. Of course, with the hindsight of age and experience this attitude seems, and is, extremely naive, but then we weren't all born like Jackhammer, with an insatiable need for music, any music!

Infected --- The The --- 1986 (Epic)

It was only after hearing the single “Heartland” that I took notice of The The. I think I can remember seeing them mentioned in passing in mags like “Sounds” and perhaps “Kerrang!”, but I never afforded them much notice. A band that couldn't even be bothered to come up with a decent name, I thought? Hardly worth taking the time to check out. Not only that, but my young (well, I say young: I would have been what, 23, at the time, but young in terms of experience let's say) mind had already drawn its own conclusions about this band, and had decided it was “weird” and “scary”, and the music was probably just noise. I know, I know!

The one thing The The album covers projected to me was anger: raw, unbridled rage, and I was probably reluctant to face that flood. Rich, I suppose, coming from a guy who at this point owned all the Iron Maiden albums, but then, Maiden had always come across as more theatrical to me: sure, they had the devil dancing on their album covers, but they never seemed like they meant it, like it was meant to be taken seriously. All part of the act. The The, on the other hand, seemed deadly serious. They weren't making jokes or comments, they weren't laughing at themselves, and laugh at them and you were more than likely going to find yourself with a bloody nose. If you were lucky!

Well, one thing was actually true. My impression of anger from the album was correct. If there's one thing that defines, delineates and informs an album by The The, it's anger. Raw, bubbling, almost psychopathic anger, just waiting to come to the surface through the medium of music. Of course, strictly speaking, this is one man's anger we're talking about. The The is not really a group. Not really. It's a loose affiliation of musicians who join Matt Johnson on his albums and help him out. More session men than band members, they often work on one album and then never again. Some have worked on two or three, but the lineup does change over each album, with of course one exception.

The The is the brainchild of Johnson. He's its voice, its heart, its dark, screaming soul. He writes the lyrics and music, sings and plays many of the instruments. It's his vision, his nightmare, his deformed and scowling little baby, and he guards it jealously. The subjects the songs follow are all close to his heart, from politics to social alienation and from love to death (the two being closely intertwined in his worldview, as seen in songs like “Kingdom of rain” and “Slow train to dawn”), with some nightmarish dreamscapes painted along the way. In many ways, I imagine listening to Johnson's music must be similar to taking a trip, though I've never taken any drugs personally.

The album opens on the title track, with a quick acapella intro which is very shortly joined by bass and electronic drum patterns, guitar sqealing its way in until Johnson's angry, contempt-ridden voice sneers its way in. This is how he sings mostly, as if he's permanently angry, or frustrated with the world around him, and the way things are; and more, that people seem to be happy to put up with it. He's like a prophet crying in the wilderness, but foretelling the coming of the devil rather than Jesus. A warning, not a joyous prophecy. His voice drops into lower registers that make you think he's gritting his teeth, which he may be, and the backing vocals only throw his style into sharper relief. Some sax in the title track doesn't somehow seem out of place, and though an angry song, like most if not all of this album, it's uptempo and upbeat in terms of music. The dangers presented by love, or by getting caught by it, are spat out by him when he snarls ”Infect me with your love/ Nurse me into sickness/ Nurse me back to health” and it's a great powerful starter for the album, with a sharp echoey guitar ending.

It's followed by a slower, laidback song which opens on lone guitar with a little sax backing, then Johnson's vocal comes in as he tells his tale of woe in “Out of the blue, into the fire”, saying “I thought if I acted like someone else/ I'd feel more comfortable in myself.” And so he enters into a one-night stand, but there's no love or romance involved: this is pure sex and when it's over he feels totally disgusted with himself, and with his paramour. He's less than gallant as he sneers ”She was lying on her back/ With her lips parted/ Squealing like a stuck pig” At this point the music gets heavier, particularly the percussion which hammers perhaps like Johnson's conscience as he realises he's made a mistake, but it's too late to turn back now. Great bit of strings at the end as the song fades out on female vocals, not sure who though.

The single is next, the one I heard that turned me on to The The's music. Sharp upbeat piano runs “Heartland” in, another deceptively upbeat song in which Johnson accuses the government of taking their orders from the USA, as he snaps ”All the bankers getting sweaty/ Beneath their white collars/ As the pound in our pockets/ Turns into a dollar/ This is the 51st state of the USA.” Great piano work on this, which really helps make the song, but it's the lyrics that paint such a stark, bleak picture of England: ”The stains on the heartland/ Will never be removed/ From this country that's sick/ Sad and confused.” There are female backing vocals again, but again I can't find out who they are. It's not too hard to see why this was a single, as it is very catchy, but I'm sure a huge percentage of the people who bought the single completely missed the political motivation behind the lyric.

Matt's accusation of the USA as the mother of all evils continues in “Angels of deception”, another dark, slower song somewhat in the vein of “Out of the blue...” where he decrys wars and conflicts and the reasons and excuses used for them. Much of this he puts down to the good ol' US of A, singing ”Come on down/ The Devil's in town/ He's brought you sticks and stones/ To crush your neighbour's bones/ He's put missiles in your garden/ And rammed his theories down your throat...” It gets heavier for the chorus, with crashing guitar and thumping drums, and Johnson exclaiming ”Jesus wept! Jesus Christ!/ I can't see for the teargas/ And the dollar signs in my eyes!/ What's a man got left to fight for/ When he's bought his freedom?” It then goes into something of an almost gospel-tinged chant, the music beginning on single guitar, which becomes a full chorus then punctuated by punching drums, the chorus getting stronger and more angry, with this time the backing vocals credited to the Croquets, a big finish to take us into another American-themed song.

Whether it's meant as such or not I'm not sure, but I find that “Infected” can be taken as a concept album, one man's desperate journey to find himself, find something worth living for, find answers, find salvation, find redemption. Matt would probably sneer at me that I'm reading too much into his words, but you can see nevertheless from the beginning that the protagonist is looking for some sort of release, first through sex, via the first two tracks, then his journey takes him through the shattered and rundown streets of Britain, as he watches society crumble before him and try to maintain the glamourous face it presents to the world, while beneath the makeup the skin is cracking and splitting, revealing a much less pleasant visage.

Then he tries to find redemption and meaning through war, with both “Angels of deception” and “Sweet bird of truth”, through to big business and cut-throat competition in “Twlight of a champion”, till he finally ends his journey facing off against the Devil, no doubt a facet of his own personality he must face before the end. The result is left open, so that we never know if he defeated his adversary or was swallowed by him. Of course, he reeks confidence bordering on arrogance as he makes his exit from the album: ”All the vultures and crows/ Are fixin' up the tombstones/ They won't be picking the meat/ Off MY bones!” and indeed ”I'm gonna have Lucifer running back to Purgatory/ With his tail between his legs/ I'm gonna teach him a lesson/ He ain't never gonna forget!” But then, there is room for doubt as he admits ”I'm stuck between the Devil/ And the deep blue sea/ And I know that water's sucked down/ Better men than me.”

Great brass accompaniment on “Sweet bird of truth”, another of the singles released, which is a bit weird as I wouldn't class it as commercial or airplayworthy really, with Matt growling in the guise of an American GI as they head to the sands of Arabia, ending up getting shot down on the way: ”This is your captain calling/ With an urgent warning/ We're above the Gulf of Arabia/ Our altitude is falling/ And I can't hold her up!” The chorus, with Johnson singing as the captain of the aircraft, is filtered through some mechanical doodad to make it sound like it's on a radio, which adds to the tension and feel of the song. Next up is the other big hit single, the one all the hipsters of the day latched onto. “Slow train to dawn” is a fast, uptempo song again concerned with love, or at least sex, on which Johnson duets again, this time with Neneh Cherry. Great guitar sound to the song, and again the brass is in full flight, giving the track a much more faux upbeat tone than it possesses, when Cherry sings ”Are you lying when you say you love me?” and Johnson responds “Lying when I say I don't...

If there's no actual concept behind the album, then the last two tracks are definitely linked. Yeah, that's right: there are a total of eight tracks on the album, but each one is gold. “Twilight of a champion” opens with dark, heavy brass and then runs into a sort of twenties bass line with tinkly piano, Johnson's vocal grating and angry, with machinegun drumming on the Linn, and some touches I recognised later on the album prior to this, The The's official debut, “Soul mining”. Guitars moan like wounded beasts or loom like guardians or sentinels, trying to block the path as Johnson makes his way down to his confrontation with the Devil. It's a heavy track and the last slow-paced one on the album, as the closer takes off at some speed.

It's driven by jangly guitar and peppy horns that really should work against the lyrical content, but somehow fit right in. Certainly, the uptempo rhythm of the song fits into the frustration and desperation in the music as the protagonist decides to finally face his fears head-on, win or lose. Johnson anthropomorphises this as a meeting with the Devil, a facedown, a final battle with evil. How it turns out we're not told, but it's a powerful ending and Johnson's almost calm anger and determination are evident in every line. It could of course be one last mad suicide bid, as he does mention going ”Down to the dock of the bay/ To feel the power of the waves” and that he's going to ”Wrestle with the thoughts/ Solitude always brings.” Perhaps he's just going to pick a fight; maybe he's had enough and wants rid of this life. There's a definite sense of heady euphoria though, as if this is the moment he has been born for, as if his whole life has been leading to this, and he can finally see some sense in an existence which up to now has confused, angered and bewildered him. Perhaps here, at the very end, the almost certainty of death --- his “meeting with the Devil” --- provides him a diamond-sharp clarity he has never before experienced, and he can at last see the purpose behind his life.

Or perhaps he's just insane. But it's a dramatic, energetic, adrendaline-fuelled ending. As the horns fade out in the distance, we're left with the looping sound of a slide guitar, providing perhaps a strange otherworldly effect as Johnson (possibly) dies, making his transition from life to, well, whatever lies beyond the veil.

At its heart, musically at least, “Infected” can be described as a synthpop album. The music is certainly dancebeat-oriented, and no doubt people danced to the likes of “Slow train to dawn” and “Heartland”, but the lyrics inside the music are not meant to be danced to. Almost like a wolf hiding in sheep's clothing, they lie in wait to jump out and kick the living crap out of you, slashing you with concealed knives and gutting you for not taking it seriously enough. This album can, and should, make you think, make you question, make you angry and make you afraid, things Matt Johnson has always excelled at. To dismiss this album as “just a dance or pop record” would be to do it a great disservice indeed, and to completely fail to grasp the true value and worth of “Infected”, and what it stands for.

As the man says himself in the closer, ”I never said I was the man I appeared to be/ Not the flesh wrapped around the bones of necessity...” If the “bones of necessity” can be applied to being the most surface level of the music, then it is wrapped in some very dark flesh indeed.
TRACKLISTING
1. Infected
2. Out of the blue (Into the fire)
3. Heartland
4. Angels of deception
5. Sweet bird of truth
6. Slow train to dawn
7. Twilight of a champion
8. The mercy beat
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:15 AM   #1560 (permalink)
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Okay, here we are back again. Now, you don't like me, extreme metal, and I don't like you, but let's just try to get through this with as few damaged brain cells and perforated eardrums as possible, okay? Look, you don't explode my brain with airport-level loudness and I'll do my best to give you a fair and unbiased review. Is it a deal? I said, is it a deal? Hmm, right. I'll take that grunt as a yes...

Hey ho, and away we go. Again. Maybe I'll be lucky. There are thousands of metal bands in the world, and not all of them are classed as extreme. Maybe I'll come across one I know, or one I don't, that's more in my preferred “mainstream” metal line. Yeah, was that a pig I just saw coming out of the clouds there? No, no, obviously it wasn't, as my luck continues to be all of one kind: bad. Although the band that came up, though indeed black metal, we will not be sampling the delights of, as it seems they're unsigned and only have a demo tape. Oh, shame. Just for the record, they're called Lysbryter, and hide out in Norway, but as we're less than unlikely to be able to find anything from them, we'll just tip our hat and wave goodbye, and move on.

Okay then, next up is a band called CDO (don't ask me what it stands for) from lovely Bogota, in Colombia. They're a thrash metal outfit, but again are unsigned, have only an EP which I can't find and only one YouTube available. It doesn't help that CDO also seems to refer to a venue in Bogota (maybe that's where they got their name) and that any YT referencing CDO, either the band or the venue, is in, well, Spanish I guess, so it's hard to know which they're talking about. My head hurts, and I haven't listened to a note yet! Pass on this one too. Next!

MY HEAD IS EXPLODING! Holy sweet Jesus Christ on a unicycle going backwards down the Mersey Tunnel with two blown tyres and no lights! It's another unsigned band, this time from Chile, though at least they're not black metal. In fact, the very opposite: they're Christian metal. But again, they only have a demo and I can't find anything on Arje, so for the first time in this section I'm passing up a third band, and hoping it's fourth time lucky. Come onnnnn Iron Maiden!

ARRRGGGHH! No, that's not the name of the next band, though it may as well be! Another unsigned shower with a bloody demo, this time a thrash metal outfit from Hungary called Effrontery! Nothing on .. hang on. This could be something. I'm seeing a few videos... could this be enough to base a review on? They've only got the two demos, one with two tracks and one with three (if you include the one-minute inspirationally-titled “Intro”), so maybe I've enough here. What the hell, let's give it a go: I'd probably only end up with yet another unsigned, unlocatable band if I go on. Quit while ye're ahead, Troll, that's what I say!

Must admit, this is the first band, metal or otherwise, I've encountered from this country. My musical experience is not exactly what you'd call cosmopolitan, despite my intention earlier this year to seek out music from other countries and feature it. Just haven't got around to it. Hopefully I will. Yeah, I know, so is Christmas... Wonder if these guys will slant my opinion in either direction on the value or otherwise of checking out Hungarian music. I'm assuming, in this case at least, there'll be no violins or bouzokis?


(Cool logo, if nothing else!)
Right, so it's obviously to be my eternal punishment to have to listen to death or black metal for the rest of this section, however long I decide to let it run. I guess I must have done something really horrible in a past life. What can I tell you about these guys? Well, very little unfortunately, because although they do in fact have a working MySpace page, and a profile there, it's all in Hungarian! Surprisingly, I never learned that language, and I couldn't even take a decent stab at working out what they're blathering about on the page, so all I can do is tell you that they are a four-piece who have been together since 2001, released their first demo --- insightfully titled “Demo 1” --- the following year. It has two tracks on it, while the second has three. At time of writing they're getting ready for something called “Deadshine's Halloween Hell Party”. Sounds a hoot. I shall be RSVPing my regrets.

Band name: Effrontery
Nationality: Hungarian (Budapest)
Subgenre: Death Metal (Oh GOODY!)
Born: 2001
Status: Active
Albums: None
Live albums: None
Collections/Anthologies/Boxsets: Er, none.
Lineup: Zsolt Ledeczi (Vocals)
Peter Lipak (Guitar, Vocals)
Gabor Czene (Guitar)
Zsolt Filak (Drums)

As I say, there's no album to talk of, nothing really to choose from and ordinarily that would be reason enough to move on and look for a band that has more musical (possibly using the word advisedly) output, but I could be here all night if I do that, so this is, essentially, the best of a bad bunch and my closest shot at actually writing about a band here, rather than just endless rejections and retries.

So it will more than likely be short, possibly not very informative (probably not entirely complimentary, either: we are talking about Death Metal here, after all), but hey, that's the Meat Grinder for you! We do our best with what we have, and so it's damn the torpedoes and full ahead! Or something.

Demo 1 --- Effrontery --- 2002 (Self-released)
(No picture available)

Okay, so it kicks off with “Evil's curse”, which I've been able to track down (and wish I hadn't). Hands up all those of you who thought the vocalist would be a “death growler”? Well hah! Shows how much YOU know, cos he ... is. Yep, another one whose vocals --- should they be in English, which I'm not at all sure they are, though the title is, so maybe --- can't be made out because he just hawks and scrapes all over the mike, resulting in an unintelligible noisy babble that Excuse me Sir, but as your legal representatives we feel it is incumbent upon us to submit this disclaimer on your behalf:

Trollheart (herein after referred to as “Trollheart”) is aware that many people enjoy “death vocals” (for some reason) and would like to make it clear that his disdain for them --- the vocals, not the people --- transmitted through the medium of this electronic weblog, is predicated purely upon his own intrinsic dislike for this type of, quote, singing, unquote. The vocalist here, and others similarly lambasted by him on other editions of “The Meat Grinder” (TM), may indeed be considered fine singers within the genre, but within the admittedly limited and strictly defined parameters of what he considers singing, this is, and shall remain, his view.

We would like to point out, again on his behalf, that the opinions expressed within the confines of “The Meat Grinder” (TM) are those of Trollheart and his subsidiaries and holding companies alone, and are protected under national and international copyright law, in perpetuity, in all territories and on all future planets yet to be discovered, explored, colonised, settled, strip-mined and abandoned by humanity. None of the above contradict or affect in any way the statutory rights of the reader. Terms and conditions apply, please see website for full text of same. That is the end of the disclaimer. Thank you.

Reproduction of this disclaimer, or any part of it, is expressly forbidden without full written permission and any infringements of same will incur the full force of local, international, planetary and/or galactic law, whichever applies at the given time or times.


Damn lawyers! Just let me write, will you? Pencil-pushing, bean-counting .... WHAT? YOU'RE sueing ME for defamation? Well, we'll just see about that, won't we? Just wait till I get my lawyers... ah. Yes. Good point. Settle out of court, you say? I'll set up a meeting. I SAID, I'll get your people to talk to my peop --- oh. Yeah. Right then, bank account and password okay? No, it's not an Irish bank! How stupid do you think I am? Oh you do, do you? Well, here's a word for you: counterclaim! Yeah, you'd better run...

Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yeah. Well, to be honest, there's not a lot to tell really. The video for “Evil's curse” ran for just over one minute, I heard some screaming, twiddly guitar, it was live and so the sound quality was, ah, questionable, and I couldn't tell you anything about the song, such as it was. All I know is it was loud and dirty. The other track on the demo is called “Nothing”, and about it I know, well, nothing. I also have nothing on it, and to be honest there's not even a running time or any lyrics on it, so it could very well not even exist, be literally nothing. But we'll never know, so we're going to have to move on to the second demo, and see if that's any better.

Flaming mud --- Effrontery --- 2005

Well, so far the most interesting thing about this band is their logo, but perhaps it gets better with a few years under the belt. This is three years later, and even at that, to date, their last recording, so you have to wonder what the boys from Budapest have been doing with themselves for seven years? Anyway, it kicks off with “Intro”, as I may have mentioned, another short little one-minuter, and again I haven't been able to find it online, but I think I can probably take a decent guess that it's not got banks of keyboards and cellos, nor a nice little acoustic guitar. You know, maybe it does, but with such a dearth of material from these guys, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's probably a hard-riffin', headbangin' guitar solo. At any rate, the second track is called “Stormcloud chant”. It's five minutes long, so would be the longest Effrontery song we have heard up to now. I say would be, because again their music is harder to find than a size zero model at a Weightwatchers meeting. Maybe it's for the best; I'm not sure I could take three hundred seconds of this band.

And so we have to settle for the second-longest track, the closer as it were on the demo, “Raise doubts in me”, though in fairness all it does is raise my heartrate and my blood pressure when the singer screams and then goes into another unintelligible (see above for disclaimer) rant. The guitars hammer on behind him, and the drummer seems in a world of his own. There doesn't seem to be too much connection or cohesion between the guys, and in ways they remind me of a far more tuneful and together Smeg and the Heads (for those who watch “Red Dwarf”); in fact, they make those guys sound like Emerson, Lake and Palmer! Add to the total dissonance and, well, random noise going on the fact that the video is shot with the worst possible lighting so that it looks like the place is on fire (maybe it is: maybe old Zsolt is screaming at people to get to the exits!) and you have, hands down, the absolute winner of the worst band I have yet reviewed on The Meat Grinder (TM). Yeah, they even make Sauron seem melodic!

There's nothing good I can say about this band, to use the word loosely. Even the first two got some points for at least being able to play their instruments: these guys can't even play as a unit! I have no idea what the future holds for them, but I wouldn't be clearing out any shelf space for the Grammys just yet! If you're going to the Deadshine's Halloween Horror Party, all I can say is, rather you than me.

Seriously, these guys are so bad they don't even deserve one cleaver.
So they're not getting one.
Not even half, if I did such things. Which I don't.
Somebody fetch me some double-strength painkillers!
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