I am off to the March Into Darkness festival in Portland, and then The Ragnarok festival in Lichtenfels Germany. The Cosmic Hearse will resume transmissions as usual upon my return April 1st, please check back then. Thanks for your continued support.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Nunslaughter are an American institution. After more than 20 years, and almost 100 releases (partially due to a lack of quality control) these masters of Pennsylvanian hunger (now relocated to Ohio) have earned a rightful spot in the pantheon of true American death metal. Trends may come and go, but Nunslaughter's brand of no-frills thrashing satanic death is as unchanging as death itself. Hells Unholy Fire, unleashed in 2000, was the band's first official full-length album and remains their best material to date. The beauty of Nunslaughter lies in their simple, almost cartoonish approach to songs with titles like "Death By The Dead", "Perversion of Gore" and "Inverted Churches." Even the band member's names are perfect, Don of The Dead, Jim Sadist, Gregoroth and Duaniac, although at the time of this writing, Duaniac and Gregoroth have since departed for blacker pastures. I had the opportunity to see Nunslaughter a few times when my band traveled to Southern California with them. The between song banter was the best I have ever heard with Don and Jim trading quips like a pair of satanic borscht belt comedians. Jim: Who was that lovely lady I saw you with last night, Don? Don: Why that was no lady, that was a satanic sluuuuuut!!! Then the band would launch into their hit "Satanic Slut." Moments like these can really give a metalhead pause. Are they joking? Is this some kind of ironic snicker fest wrapped in denim and leather? Hard to say really, and really who cares? Inside jokes rarely last twenty years, neither do satanic death metal bands, but with any luck Nunslaughter will continue to curse and blaspheme well into the next twenty years. As the band likes to say, "Metal is Death, Death is Metal, Nunslaughter IS Death Metal."
Friday, March 14, 2008
It's odd, while tribute albums often disinterest me, I am always a sucker for slavish worship and plagiarism of older bands, especially when the older band is one as great as Amebix. It would seem that the Japanese have mastered this sort of unabashed ripping off of original bands. Ever wish the Bad Brains were Japanese? Well lucky for you there's Fearless Vampire Killers. Wonder what Axegrinder might have been like if they were Japanese and not English? Well check out Effigy. Even media darlings Boris started off as a near carbon copy of their heroes The Melvins. So in homage to eastern homages, I present Zoe's crushing The Last Axe Beat. The album contains many great riffs that Amebix themselves never got around to writing and more than a few that they did. Should this kind of blatant mimicry be celebrated? Sure, why not? There are worse bands to emulate than Amebix, and this isn't as ridiculous as the whole Dis-band weirdenss, at least not yet anyways. Besides The Last Axe Beat is a great listen.
Oh, and if you dig this, I just noticed that the great Only In It For The Music Blog has posted Zoe's The Beginning ep.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
One could spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out what happened to a young Motown singing group called The Parliaments to cause them to transform into the band that would create Osmium, the 1970 album that is the subject of this post. My guess would be drugs and an exposure to the hyper-explosive rock of fellow Detroit bands, The MC5 and the Stooges. Either way, this was the ground work for what would become the trademark P-Funk aesthetic, although Osmium is heavier than than anything in Clinton's massive catalog, and surely they were aware of this because they opted to name the album after the heaviest of metals. Osmium is beyond eclectic, it is a wholly enjoyable mishmash of genres and styles, with lyrics ranging from socio-political commentary to straight-up misogynist hedonism. The performance is spirited, plucky and absolutely fierce. Chronologies regarding the weird career of Parliament/Funkadelic often overlook Osmium, claiming 1974's Up For The Downstroke as the first real Parliament album, this is probably due to just how fucked up Osmium is. It's kind of like Chuck, the older Cunningham brother from Happy Days who just disappeared after the first season to never be seen or mentioned again. Okay, maybe not exactly, but history has sort of glossed over what should be considered a classic.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Here is the second installment of Cosmic Hearse's look into the eccentric world of France's Les Legions Noire scene. Seviss was the concern of Vlad Tepes member, Vorlok. Seviss is one of the more "musical" LLN bands, and this recording titled ...Et Pleure Le Bâtard(...And Cry For The Battle) is considered one of the best to come from this extremely prolific group of bands and artists.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It's 1968 at The Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, the martinis are flowing, and you're on a winning streak, that is until Don Rickles takes the stage. Comedy albums are strange. I mean, how many times are you going to listen to the same jokes? Well the exception just might be Don Rickles' Hello Dummy!, perhaps because it is not funny, it's creepy, therefore transcending comedy altogether. You could almost say that Rickles invented a new genre called anti-comedy. Vicious and unrelenting, Rickles is like a gatling gun spewing forth a barrage of racist epithets, most of which don't even make much sense. Hello Dummy! is tense and uncomfortable, and even more so if you consider the state of racial relations in the U.S. at the time, but Don doesn't give a fuck for tonight this little gin-fueled hate jew rules the strip.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Cross Species Transmutation is the title of the 2003 ep from New York purveyors of technical precision brutality, Malignancy. I generally don't go for Death Metal of the "brootal" and "wicked fuckin' sick" variety, finding it to be juvenile and meatheaded, but Malignancy are just too fucking weird, and too fucking great to be ignored.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Teen Cthulhu were a great punk/sludge/power violence band from Seattle, but by the time they recorded their final release in 2002 they had added black metal to their palette. Even so, Ride The Blade still has a frantic punk vibe to it that, along with the jokey name, shows a reluctance to fully commit to the dark side. This didn't leave my cd player for months. Here
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Jerusalem were a young hard rocking band from the UK that caught the attention of a one Ian Gillan, who agreed to help produce what would be their only album. What exactly was Ian Gillan's role in this amazing album? Well, he did own the studio where it was recorded, and he did pen the liner notes. The production is pretty raw and particularly heavy for the time (1972). The songs are fantastic even if the playing isn't always perfect, but as Mr. Gillan states in the liner notes, "As they are young and a bit green, they don't follow many rules, so their material is almost crude-but still immensely powerful in content." This statement implores the reader to consider the age and experience of the band before passing down any harsh criticisms. I think it's unecessary, Jerusalem were great despite their age or lack of experience. He goes on, "I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded before inhibition and self consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider uncool. Most important though, before the develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we'll have to wait and see, this album is just in case. I hope you like it as much as I do." Well, Mr. Gillan, I do. Here
Friday, March 7, 2008
The title of this demo translates from Russian to mean "Immortal Black Metal." Cool as that is, it is not entirely accurate. The band, Šmiercieslaŭ, are a bit more thrash than black metal, but nonetheless this is a great tape that was released in a limited run of 500. Šmiercieslaŭ hail from Belarus. Here
Thursday, March 6, 2008
About seven years ago I was flipping through the pages of Metal Maniacs when I happened across a classified ad posted by an entity going by the moniker Lord Asmodeus. He was pushing a tape titled Prayers For Satan for a lousy $5, so I bit. Lord Asmodeus promptly sent me the tape from his demonic kingdom of Monroeville, Ohio. Along with the tape was a poorly written letter thanking me for my support and offering me a firm position in his unholy coven for an additional $10, I didn't bite. The tape sounds like an obsessed teenager with one of those vocal effects that Beherit was so fond of and a cheap Casio keyboard, in other words IT RULES!!! The bold, misspelled statement shown above was scanned right from the inside panel of the tape's insert. I feel a bit strange about posting this, as there really is no way for me to know how many of you are "real Satan-worshiping motherfuckers," but perhaps this weird bit of outsider art will be the impetus for you to get off your lazy ass and start worshipping some fucking Satan. Enjoy. Here
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
When Charles Manson sent forth his family to dispatch Sharon Tate in hopes of spreading fear and racial tension, he gave but one last chilling instruction, "Do something witchy." It would seem that when Wisconsin doom band Totem recorded this ep they took heed of ol' Papa Manson's suggestion, for the word "witchy" best describes the vibe that permeates the three songs here. Since the release of this ep, the band has changed their name to Jex Thoth. Here
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Basically, Anarchy 6 was Redd Kross doing a parody of generic hardcore with all the trappings and stereotypes in tact. There are songs about society, skating, slam dancing, and killing dogs. Funny samples poking fun at Decline of Western Civilization, a cover by Raymond Pettibon, and even a picture of the band in full Suicidal Tendencies garb pushing a hippy into a garbage can. It's amazing they never got their asses kicked for doing this, maybe they did, I don't know. The band was formed to appear in punk director Dave Markey's sequel to Desperate Teenage Lovedolls which was titled Lovedoll Superstar. Weirdest thing is, Hardcore Lives! is a pretty good record. Here
Monday, March 3, 2008
Here's another one you may have missed if you were born too late, Hight Tide's 1969 outing, Sea Shanties. It is a colossus of psych/prog genius from the UK that must be heard to be believed. From the opening chords of Futilist's Lament you know that you are in for some towering heaviness ahead of its time. Like the aforementioned Phantom, the vocals are reminiscent of Jim Morrison and The Doors, a band I never could get behind. High Tide was a trio, but for this album (their second), the group enlisted the talents of violinist Simon House, who went on to play with Hawkwind. Also worthy of mention is guitarist, Tony Hill, for without his unique style, screaming wah-wah solos, and bizarre arrangements, Sea Shanties would be just another anonymous platter of passable hard psych. Here
Sunday, March 2, 2008
In the early and mid '90s a small, tight-knit, group of French musicians and bands calling themselves "Les Legions Noire" (The Black Legions) created some of the most unnerving and original "music" to ever come from the black metal scene. Ranging from eerie ambient works to scraping lo-fi black metal, there seemed to be no end to the imagination and eccentricity of the LLN. Most recordings were never released properly, or released in extremely limited numbers on cassette-only formats. These recordings are some of the most sought after ever. Even more confusing is the number of fake bands and bootlegs that claim to be authentic LLN output, and the existence of actual reissues by the bands themselves with new titles and artwork. To further distance themselves from the herd, many LLN bands adopted bizarre, otherworldly names such as Brenoritvrezorkre, Dvnaèbkre, Dzlvarv, Vagézaryavtre, Mogoutre, Vzaeurvbtre, Susvourtre, and Uatrb Vélèpr to name a few. The best known Black Legions bands were Vlad Tepes and Belketre. Sensational rumors of ritual abuse and animal sacrifice surrounded the scene, but to my seasoned ears, the whole affair sounds like bored French teenagers with an abundance of choice blotter acid and a Tascam MF-P01. Here I present the notorius split from Vlad Tepes and Belketre, also known as March To The Black Holocaust, it's as good a place as any to start looking into the outlandish world of Les Legions Noire. Here
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Space Is The Place is the 1974 film starring avant garde jazz composer, Sun Ra, and features some of his best music. It is easily the best sci-fi blaxploitation free jazz movie ever made, and is a great place for anyone who is interested in Sun Ra, but found the sheer volume of his work daunting. The plot is as follows: Sun Ra discovers a new planet with his crew "The Arkestra" and decides to settle African Americans there. He travels back in time to the 1940s. There he encounters an omnipotent pimp tyrant called The Overseer and in a sequence reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, they agree that a card game will determine the fate of the Black race. Sun Ra returns to present day (1974) Oakland in order to recruit young Black people to colonize his new planet. Over the course of the film Ra battles many enemies of Black culture and eventually goes head to head against the Overseer himself. Sun Ra, along with screenwriter, Joshua Smith and director John Coney seem to be making a number of statements about race, the state of Black entertainment, and a myriad of social issues, but at times this gets to be as confusing and meandering as Sun Ra himself. Nonetheless Space Is The Place is a fantastically cool film with some incredible music. I highly recommend you see it. The soundtrack is available here