Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dispatches from Powerviolence: BRB During the Holidaze.

Shits gonna be rough.

Lotsa drunk blackouts and unprotected sex. Maybe some needle drugs.

When will it end? ... We're not stoppin' til we're arrested... Or til Dec. 28th. Whichever comes first.

So enjoy your holiday, sharkfucks. See ya soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heavy Rotation: Fellas of the Belly (Dec. 21)


The Hellion:
01. Dimmu Borgir - "In Sorte Diaboli"
02. Heroin - "Discography"
03. Kite Flying Society - "Kite Flying Society"
04. Nile - "Ithyphallic"
05. Blues - "Snakepit"
06. Whitechapel - "This is Exile"
07. Misfits - "Static Age"
08. Oblivion - "Sweatpants USA"
09. Mogwai - "Mr. Beast"
10. All Shall Perish - "The Price of Existence"

Spleen Latifa:
01. Akimbo - "City of the Stars"
02. Bird Eater - "Utah"
03. Career Suicide - "Anthology of Releases: 2001 - 2003"
04. Reatards - "Grown Up Fucked Up"
05. Curl Up and Die - "The One Above All, the End of All That Is"
06. Cleveland Bound Death Sentence - "Cleveland Bound Death Sentence"
07. Pygmy Lush - "Bitter River"
08. Tusk - "Get Ready"
09. Victims - "Killer"
10. Pig Destroyer - "Prowler in the Yard"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Featured Book: Radio Silence: A Selected Visual History of American Hardcore Music

Ok, I just turned the last page on this little slice of gnarheaven, and seriously felt compelled to toss this one up here. If you faithful readers recall the last Featured Book post, on American Hardcore by Steven Blush, you might be thinking this column is developing into a one-trick pony. But bearfight with me here, kids, seriously... Though these two titles, on the surface, may seem like they're covering the exact same material, that statement gets a big, wet "yes and no". How quickly we forget that age-old cliche our elementary school teachers always tried to instill in us: "If you drop out now, you'll be dealing out H.J.'s like hurricane Katrina for a half-eaten eggroll and two broken cigarettes" .... err, i mean, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Right. That one.

What I'm getting at is this: sure, both books cover probably one of if not THE (Spleen's opinion) most important movement in rock music history, but they take two definitive approaches to the material. Where Blush's incredibly extensive interviewing, dissecting, and psuedo-mimicry of a tribal history lesson do their jobs very well, Silence instead focuses solely on the visual motifs, design, craftsmanship, and style of the movement. Furthermore, pumping the book chock full of incredible live shots and photography, album art and cassette sleeves, DIY tshirts and flyers, and accompanying notes and anecdotes to each one are the reasons to sink into this just as rabidly as you should Blush's book. But one giant difference between two two books is that Blush focuses solely on '80 - '86 American hardcore (most likely due to how detailed he approached the subject matter. If he would have continued in that manner, he woulda probably got to volume 12 before hitting the formation of Earth Crisis) and Silence instead, staying more with just style and visual history makes it all the way through late-80's metalcore, thrash-core, skate-core, post-hardcore, early-emo/screamo(?), and all the way to about Snapcase in '94, almost a decade after A.H. stops.

(Sample from the album art index in the back of the book)

Regardless, check it out, it's wonderful. It gave me an old-school-hardcore-in-book-form boner, and I like those. Cuz way too often any punk books on the shelves always seem to skip over it pretty blatantly, jumping from the dissolving of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, to New Wave, to what the fuck, who's this Kurt and the Nirvanas, and why is no one listening to hair metal anymore? ... Also, best line of the book: "There wasn't time to mold your liberty spikes or shine your Dr. Martens. It was jeans and T-shirts, shaved heads, and worn-out sneakers." Fucking rad... Also the photos I included in this post are from the book too... Fuckfightrage.

Sidenote, 10 points to anyone who thought "Wow, Spleen's elementary school teacher musta been a modern-day fuckin Nostradamus or something to drop a Katrina reference in their stay-in-school diatribe about avoiding handjobs for Asian cuisine" ... Cuz you're right. I thought the exact same thing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Heavy Rotation: Fellas of the Belly (Dec. 6)

The Hellion:
01. ISIS - "In the Absence of Truth"
02. All Shall Perish - "Awaken the Dreamers"
03. Baroness - "Red Album"
04. Metallica - "Kill 'Em All"
05. Kill the Client - "Wage Slave"
06. Xiu Xiu - "Knife Play"
07. Slick Rick - "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick"
08. War from a Harlots Mouth - "Transmetropolitan"
09. Cephalic Carnage - "Xenosapien"
10. Hot Water Music - "A Flight and a Crash"

Spleen Latifa:
01. The Acacia Strain - "The Dead Walk"
02. The Jonbenét - "The Plot Thickens"
03. Eva Chavela - Demos and Live Tracks
04. Pusher - "Pusher"
05. Kid Dynamite - "Kid Dynamite"
06. Gaza - "I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die"
07. The Drips - "The Drips"
08. Architect - "Ghost of the Salt Water Machines"
09. Blacklisted - "Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God"
10. American Me - "Heat"

Review Your Face Off: All Shall Perish - "Awaken the Dreamers"


All Shall Perish as always been fucking killer in my book. The Price of Existence was totally gnarly, and it accompanied many times while riding the L into work. Honestly, is there anything better than starting your morning off to blistering metal? Besides morning sex, the answer is no. Needless to say, when I got my grubby little hands on ASP's latest release, Awaken the Dreamers, I was pretty stoked. And while I don't think this album really pushes the band into any extremely new territory, it's still pretty solid and has some differences than past releases.

I'm not going to go through the album track by track, but there were some specific songs worth mentioning. The first track, entitled "When Life Meant More," ripped my face off right from the start. Seriously, I have no face anymore. It's gone. Although, in all honesty, I look much more pleasing to ladies now. So not only did I get a fuckshark jam, I also got more dates as well. Thanks, dudes! "Black Gold Reign" kind of stood out to also, because halfway through this bad mammajamma, there are some ridiculous Iron Maidenesque vocals that just made me smile. Nive homage guys. Toward the middle of album, however, some of the tracks are pretty questionable. They start to slow down and have more of a ballad feel to them. These songs include the title track and "Memories of a Glass Sancyuary," and they should have been left off the record. To be perfectly frank, these songs blow and are a disruption in relation to the rest of the release.

But don't fret, fellow readers. The band gets back on track after those shithole songs. From here on out, things return to just plain punishing, as we all would expect. The range of vocals that "Eddie" Hermida gives is more than impressive, and he does switches up styles a lot more on this release than those in the past. There are also a lot more backing vocals laid over each other, which gives a good amount of depth. As usual, the guitars slay and the drumwork is relentless.

Overall, this is a pretty good release. It may not be "So Sick" worthy, but it's still worth getting. Pop this baby in and rage, you rat bastards!

Performing "Never Again" live. Just skip the stupid "Mundane" bullshit at the beginning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Review Your Face Off: The Acacia Strain - "Continent"


Ever since I first heard ...And Life Is Very Long, The Acacia Strain has been one of my favorite bands. Each consecutive release seemed to destroy the album prior, and I because of that I was never disappointed. They just seemed to get heavier and more destructive as time went on, both musically and lyrically. This allowed me to get super stoked before each record dropped, and this time around, the same feeling washed over me.

But my reaction this time was much different than what I was used to. For the first time since I started listening to this band, I am not blown away by the newest release. There, I said it. I'm sorry. But here at the Belly we speak the truth, and I can't be more truthful than that.

Don't get me wrong, Continent is not bad by any means. But as soon as I heard that very first song, I could tell something was wrong. I think what hit me straight off was Vince's voice. He's straining on this album. A lot. His voice has always been pretty incredible, and I think this time he was trying to be more brutal than usual. But it just doesn't work. I can't get over it. It's like when your friend is talking to you, and he's got a huge hunk of chicken stuck to his beard, and you can't pay attention to a damn word he's saying, even though he's admitting he got drunk with your sister one night and now she's pregnant. Vince's voice just subtracts from everything else. It took me forever before I could finally sit and pay attention to music in the background, and even then, it was mediocre.

While the album's guitars remain crushing, a lot of cheesy riffage was added. I always loved the way these guys would straight out chug the shit out of your face until your ears bled, but I understand that bands want to mature, also. Problem is, the soloing on this record doesn't seem to sit well over the off timings the band is known for. It sounds forced at times. I don't know. I can't place my finger on it exactly. It just bugs me.

I wish I didn't have to say it, but there is a reason this album didn't make it to the famed "So Sick It Hurts" section. It just falls short of all my expectations. Sure, you can still tell it's The Acacia Strain, and it will certainly piss off your mom when you put it in the player on the way to church, but I just wanted more. Check it out for yourself and see what you think. It's worth the listen, but don't expect to be crapping yourself over it.

here's the band playing the album's opener Skynet: