Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Review: Swallowing Shit - Anthology

Swallowing Shit

Track Listing:
 1. Lyrics That May Offend the Honkys
2. Burn Winnipeg to the Fucking Ground
3. If Assholes Could Fly, This Place Would Be An Airport 
4. Pro-Abortion, Anti-Christ 
5. A Dying Hope for a Gender Exclusive Scene
6. I May be P.C. (whatever the fuck that means), But You're a Goddamn Poseur
7. More Lyrics That May Offend the Honkys
8. You're Not Old School, You're Just Old
9. Christian Metal = Nazi Reggae
10. Riel
11. I Heard Songs About Animal Rights Aren't Cool Anymore
12. Ruins
13. If They Hated Me, They Will Hate You
14. Scathe
15. Overcome By... plus additional, shittier sounding tracks

Hailing from Winnipeg, Swallowing Shit was a side-project for many of the city’s punk/metal elite.  Featuring past and future members of bands like I Spy, Malefaction, Head Hits Concrete, and Propagandhi, Swallowing Shit became the logical conclusion of a hyper-political, metal-obsessed city whose main concern was the political messages carried in their music.  Whether you call them grindcore or power-violence, this group took everyone to task in their brief and chaotic songs.  From “Burn Winnipeg to the Fucking Ground” to “Pro Abortion, Anti Christ”, Swallowing Shit welcomed controversy and discussion about their lyrics.  What I doubt they expected was the enacting of a century-old ordinance prohibiting challenges to the church that barred them from playing within the Winnipeg city limits, but that’s exactly what they got.

I mentioned living in a musical bubble at the beginning of this review, and what I meant by that was this:  Swallowing Shit meant the world to me. I mean it.  I would listen to their discography for hours on end, deciphering and memorizing lyrics, reading liner notes, and playing them for everyone I knew.  That being said, they honestly didn’t seem to make that big of an impact outside of my inner circle of friends.  I know that they’ve been praised for their releases to a certain degree, but I honestly thought they were within the top 5 most important metal bands of all time.  Now, I was 17 and prone to hyperbole, but that was my honest opinion, and that opinion still holds true to this day.  I may be way off, but when it comes to things like this who is to say.

So if you are an impressionable, politically active teenager I can’t recommend this release highly enough. If you are a fan of grincore, power violence, or aggressive/atheist/intelligent lyrics, then this is also the record for you.

...but if you don’t at least smirk at the lyric “Your god is dead, we ate what we couldn’t fuck!”, then you sir/madam, are probably going to hate this album.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: Black Hole of Calutta - S/T #2 LP

Black Hole of Calcutta
S/T #2

Two things about Black Hole of Calcutta right off the bat:  First, they were immediately on my good side when I saw their awesome Mother-Theresa-in corpse-paint album cover.  Not only is it an eye-catcher, but I’m also surprised that it hasn’t been done before.  Shame on you anti-Christian/blasphemous metal bands across the world!  Second, why would anyone name their album Self-Titled #2?  I mean, naming albums is one of the most fun things for a band to do, and to pass on such an opportunity boggles my mind.  It’s not a knock against the group or this album, I’m just sayin’.

The first track “Myth of Progress” introduces the listener to an impressive form of sludgy black metal, but this only serves to lull listeners into a false sense of black metal security...because this is a straight up grind album (for the most part) from the second track on.  While the music includes punk, metal, and hardcore elements, the vocals always remain in the black metal/grind realm.  This is worth noting because regardless of the backing music the vocals always seem appropriate and never forced.  This is not often the case, but Black Hole of Calcutta definitely knows what they are doing, that much is sure.

It is albums like this that remind me why I love metal in the first place.  There are no frills, no harmonized backing vocals, no unnecessary or drawn out interludes.  Instead, you just get straight forward aggression in its many glorious forms.  “Cirrhosis” and “No Turning Back” stand out for me as songs that best exemplify exactly what Black Hole of Calcutta is going for in this way. 

So if you love metal, hate Christianity (or at least want to put corpse paint on it), and are looking for fast, furious, and well-written grind, then look no further than this record.  If you hate metal, love Christianity (or don’t want to put corpse paint on it), and don’t like grindcore than what the fuck are you doing on this site?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Review: Fucked Up - No Pasaran 7"

Fucked Up
No Pasaran 7”

Track Listing:
1. No Pasaran
2. Circling the Drain

I’ll start this review off with an admission:  I love Fucked Up.  Being along for the musical ride that is Fucked Up, from stripped down hardcore to esoteric/complex indie/punk/rock/operatic/hardcore/whatever, has been an interesting journey to say the least.  I’ve never been one for embracing an album just because it came from a band I like, so I’m being honest when I say that I truly enjoy every 7”, EP, LP and Double LP that this band has ever put out based on the merits of the music.  I don’t know if I just happened to grow musically as the band progressed, but I thoroughly enjoy “The Other Shoe” as much as I do “Police” or “Circling the Drain”.

Despite my expansive hard-on for this band, I will always have a special love for the No Pasaran 7”.  It was the first thing I ever heard from Fucked Up, after being initially attracted to them because of their name and the fact that they were from Southern Ontario.  I was immediately intrigued when “No Pasaran” began with a clip about the Spanish anarchist movement.  As a political ideology I’ve always identified closely with anarchism, although like most I despise the mall-punk mentality it often gets associated with.  So instead of just having a clip saying something dumb about “The Man”, I had found a band that associated with a historical/political movement that I was interested other words, I was fucking hooked.  Once the music began I was even happier, as the raw wall of noise that was early Fucked Up was exactly what I thought stripped-down hardcore should sound like.  

My impression was totally solidified when I flipped the record over and had the change to listen to “Circling the Drain”.  As far as B-sides go, this definitely stands out.  It was catchy but also fast, angry, and loud.  The chorus will get stuck in your head for days, and the riffs still hold up a decade later.

Here at Lost Tribe we’ve talked about not simply reviewing new records, so here is the first foray into what we consider ‘classics’ in one form or another.   In other words, be prepared for a bunch of aging punks to reminisce about many more records from their ‘glory’ days.

p.s.  I do realize that I used the words “hard-on”, “love”, and “attracted” in this review, but I swear the whole thing sounded way less sexual in my head.

Buy it from ebay or something because it isn’t available from Deranged Records.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Review: Graf Orlock - Los Angeles

Graf Orlock
Los Angeles
Tracking Listing:

1) Dead Man Talking
2) No Attachments
3) Couples Seeking Comfort/No Point
4) Quick on the Trigger

There was once a time where nearly every band used audio clips from movies to intro their songs.  To be honest, it was a time that I loved.  Bands I’ve been in have used samples from Tombstone (Don’t any of you have the guts to play for blood?”) to Falling Down (“CLEAR A PATH, MOTHERFUCKER!”) and I always thought it added an interesting and useful element to hardcore/metal/grind/punk songs. 

Graf Orlock demonstrates that this tradition is far from dead.  Often labelled ‘cinema-grind’, these LA grinders have been steadily putting out quality noisy grindcore (and running one of the best indie labels around, Vitriol Records).  With movie quotes in tow, Los Angeles demonstrates why grindcore still has something new and interesting to offer as a genre, mixing lo-fi production with tight and chaotic song-writing to produce 4 interesting and well-crafted tracks.  The first track, Dead Man Talking, is the angry, noisy, frantic type of song that I have come to expect from Graf Orlock.  Having said that, there is a definite progression to their sound that is evident on this and other songs.  One of the most welcome surprises was Quick on the Trigger, which is a slowdown almost doom-inspired song with movie samples laced throughout.  The Heat samples only enhance the grimy and violent nature of the song.

Graf Orlock is the type of band that continues to show what can be done with the oft repetitive and tired genre of grindcore.  Hopefully they inspire other bands to consider taking a more eclectic and diverse approach to grinding metal, as the results can be surprisingly impressive.  And every damn band should use more movie samples in their music.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: Pharaoh - This House is Doomed 7"

This House is Doomed

Track Listing:
1. This House is Doomed
2. Waste

Prior to six months ago I had never heard New Jersey’s Pharaoh.  Unfortunately, the sheer volume of music that gets put out every year means that certain bands simply fall through the cracks.  Luckily, A389 put up a deal a couple months ago where the buyer got five 7” records for some bizarrely low price (I think it might’ve been $10), but the catch was that, in true ‘grab bag’ style, there was no choice of what music was purchased.  With such a low price I decided it would be foolish not to pick up a few mystery records, and lucky Pharaoh’s self-titled 7” was among them.

As on their self-titled 7”, This House is Doomed provides 2 tracks of distorted, doom-laden hardcore that never really lets up.  Not fans of the ‘all songs should be under 3 minutes’ mantra, Pharaoh begins off this offering with the title track, a seven minute ode to misery and despair that employs the mid-tempo riffs and anguished screams that have come to mark the Pharaoh sound.  Waste finishes off the 7” with more crunchy riffs and lyrics that are both poetic and incredibly depressing (“I’m going to die as an unknown/no day in my life spent alive”). 

One of the things I really love about Pharaoh is that although their songs regularly run in the 5-7 minute range, their music never seems drawn out, indulgent, or boring.  As a lover of all things fast/frenzied in music, I’m usually hyper-aware of song lengths and can quickly lose interest in anything that I feel drags on.  Fortunately, everything Pharaoh does on this release keeps the listener engaged and wanting more.  So if you like doomy, apocalyptic, purposeful music, then This House is Doomed is a must have, and is hopefully a tease for a full-length release in the near future.