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Caught In A Mosh: February 2010

| February 1, 2010 | 0 Comments

The First Great Album Of 2010

Sigh

Sigh

It’s become an unspoken rule that we, music writers and critics, must crown such an album within the first 59 days of the new year. You can squeeze one in before the new year? Fantastic! I’m fairly sure scribes who cover any of the arts are guilty as well, but as guilty? In music, the chance to say “It’s 2010’s first great record” is the young, exposed gazelle separated from its herd, and writers are the slobbering, starving wild dogs in hiding . . . waiting. Ready.

Maybe we’re still high on the egotistical buzz of our we’re-published-so-you-should-give-a-shit “official” Best Of ’09 lists (perfect opportunity to mention mine is in last month’s issue), or maybe ratings, lists, and disposition are so embedded in our brains that the need to dub something fucking fantastic — or fucking horrible — so quickly is just part of the career, like financial embarrassment and opportunities to discuss a famous musician’s line of BBQ/hot sauce with him.

But, as many times as you’ve fallen for this trick only to end up wasting valuable money and time on a shitty record, you still play fetch every time we fling it, don’t you? So do I, grasshoppers. So do I. Hence my interest in the new Sigh album, Scenes From Hell (The End). When I saw big, bold-face type on a certain heavy-metal site that proclaimed this to be this year’s first Chosen One (with 15 days left in 2009!), I had to hear. Great? Nah. Bizarre? Definitely. It could be — despite eight studio records in 20 years — I’ve never truly sat down and listened to the Japanese group and, therefore, wasn’t mentally prepared for the band’s violent jumble of black metal, classical, jazz, and sociopathic hatred. Some elements of Scenes From Hell, like the spaghetti-western horns of “The Summer Funeral,” are absolutely beautiful. But where there’s a beauty, Disney taught us, there’s a beast, and Sigh’s beast ain’t trying to win a beautiful, young woman’s heart. No, the beast that dwells in tracks such as “Vanitas” and “Prelude To An Oracle” will rip her body apart limb by limb, feast upon her flesh, and perform some sort of Satanic werewolf ritual with her still-beating heart. It all makes sense given vocalist/saxophonist Dr. Mikannibal‘s claims of drinking cow’s blood before stripping nude for her studio takes. (Sources close to “Mosh” say Yakuza’s Bruce Lamont does the same.)

I can’t tell you what I think the Best Of 2010 . . . So Far is because I’ve yet to hear anything that convinces me it exists (plus, I fully expect High On Fire’s Snakes For The Divine — February 23rd! — to easily slay any foe with the possible exception of Nachtmystium’s Black Meddle Pt. 2), but I can tell ya what I’ve been jamming a lot just ’cause I think it’s cool: Barn Burner‘s Bangers (February 16th). I was surprised — also a little pissed, because such geographical circumstances reduce opportunities for us Americans to see Barn Burner live (my hunch is they kill) — to discover the band is Canadian. They sound so damn U.-fucking-S.A. Specifically Southern U.S.A. Isn’t there enough sludgy, fuzzy Southern metal, you ask? Yes and no. There’s plenty of it, but not much done well. Bangers is. “Brohemoth,” “Holy Smokes,” “Half Past Haggard,” and everything else on the group’s 11-song Metal Blade debut are stone-cold Sabbathy grooves (guitarists Kevin Keegan and Marc Doucette riff first and ask questions later) funneled through stacks of sweaty distortion, and saturated in bong water. It ain’t Corrosion Of Conformity, but it’s the closest we’ll get while the real C.O.C. continue to deny us a follow up to 2005’s outstanding In The Arms Of God.

LUCKY YOU: I was really late turning in “Mosh” this time. Otherwise, when Chicago Metal Factory honcho and occasional IE contributor (not to mention Macabre and Saint Vitus manager) Rodney Pawlak e-mailed me January 13th (sorry Steve) and asked if I could mention the new, awesome, CMF Web site, I wouldn’t have been able to so soon. Shit’s getting interactive at Thecmf.com! Promoters, bands, clubs, etc. can now create an account and edit/submit listings as needed, plus fans get the most extensive Chicagoland heavy-music calendar around and, if they dare see the face of evil, a forum.

DVDZ NUTS IN YO MOUTH: Here’s the great thing about music DVDs: They can make you give a shit about bands you otherwise wouldn’t. How many metalheads couldn’t give a squirt less about Lamb Of God but have, in fact, found themselves mesmerized by Walk With Me In Hell? When done right, a DVD can make you a fan, even if only for a few hours. ExodusShovel Headed Tour Machine: Live At Wacken And Other Assorted Atrocities (Nuclear Blast) is that DVD, more for the Other Assorted Atrocities than the Live At Wacken, though. Technically, Atrocities covers the band’s last five years on the road, but it reminisces enough to tell the Bay Area group’s hard-knock, rather-unlucky, sometimes-drug-addled tale. Interesting how the Paul Baloff (first Exodus singer; only recorded one record) years are so often discussed yet the Zetro (second singer; frontman during Exodus’ best years) era is all but ignored. Also interesting is the significant time dedicated to the band’s 2008 show at the now-closed Pearl Room in Mokena, during which they quit performing when frontman Rob Dukes witnessed security kick out and allegedly rough up stage-diving fans . . . Every single bone in my body wants to tell you Suicidal TendenciesLive At The Olympic Auditorium (Suicidal) is great, but I can’t. It hurts. I love me some ST, but this DVD doesn’t love me back, mainly because there is nothing here but 15 songs and a few minutes of Mike Muir interview footage. It’s so bare that Credits (those that roll at the end of the movie) is a selection in the main menu. And don’t get fooled by the Interviews feature; it’s the exact Muir interview from the main presentation. The band’s career — essentially beginning as skate punks and evolving into thrash titans, plus all the lineup changes, not to mention being banned from playing in Los Angeles — is a pretty deep mine to extract from. No paydirt, though. A bit insulting for fans, given how long Live At The Olympic Auditorium has been on the shelf. The footage was shot in 2005, and during the show Muir tells the audience the DVD will be out in 2006 . . . yet the copyright in the credits is 2007. Live At The Olympic was released in January. 2010. Math ain’t never been my A subject, but it appears this thing is 5-years-old, and that’s plenty of time to tack on a few legitimate extras. Makes you question the fate of the the new Suicidal record, which Muir, in 2008, told “Mosh” would be out by early ’09.

MOSH-WORTHY: Fear Factory Mechanize (Candlelight); Ruins Front The Final Foes (Debemur Morti); Barren Earth Curse Of The Red River (Peaceville); Hiems Worship Or Die (Moribund); Thorlock Crumbling Fortress EP (Godcantsave.us).

MOSH-WORTHY . . . LIVE: Mat Arluck Memorial show/Beat Kitchen/ February 4th; D.R.I., The Muzzler, and Chicago Thrash Ensemble/Reggie’s/6th; Beatallica and Cealed Kasket/Abbey Pub/12th; Raise The Red Lantern /Bottom Lounge/19th; Paul Di’Anno/ Icarus Witch/Bible Of The Devil/ Reggie’s/25th.

— Trevor Fisher

Category: Caught In A Mosh, Columns, Monthly

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