Archive for February, 2013

Chelsea Wolfe Prayer for the Unborn

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on February 11, 2013 by Magadh

Chelsea Wolfe

Prayer for the Unborn

Latitudes, 2013

Chelsea Wolfe

Upon Russian Circles return from their tour with Chelsea Wolfe, Brian Cook informed me that she would be releasing an EP on Southern Records imprint Latitudes. While Latitudes has been responsible for some challenging releases in the past, A Storm of Light and DrCarlsonalbion leap to mind, Wolfe’s idea of covering Rudimentary Peni seemed the boldest yet. Further, Wolfe would record her versions in the same studio and with the same sound engineer as the originals.Needless to say, I was eager to hear the result.

Terming this release a “covers” collection does it something of a disservice. Wolfe does much more than execute cover versions of these songs, she completely re-imagines them. Wolfe deconstructs the originals and rebuilds them as her own ghostly creations. Consider “Echo”; in its original form it is a snarling fusion of Anarcho-punk and death rock. In the hands of Wolfe it becomes a haunting lament with just a hint of the original guitar line preserved.

While clocking in at a mere 10 minutes, the rest of the EP is similarly compelling. “Black on Gold/Sickening for Something” and “Dissolution/Rehearsal for Morality” evoke a stripped down The Firstborn is Dead or Your Funeral…My Trial era Nick Cave.  “A Prayer for the Unborn” fuses sparse drone based instrumentation with Wolfe’s soaring vocal talent with excellent results.

A Prayer For the Unborn is a triumph for Wolfe and Latitudes.

– Captain of Games

Review: Passiv Dödshjälp

Posted in Reviews on February 6, 2013 by Magadh

Passiv Dödshjälp Skit på repeat Halvfabrikat

One of the most blistering releases of 2009 was Häng Dom by Stockholm’s Passiv Dödshjälp. They shared a lot of stylistic traits with bands like Kvoteringen and Totalt Jävla Mörker in the sense that they played gruff, mostly mid-paced d-beat. Passiv Dödshjälp were really my favorite of these bands. They had (and have) a melodic sense which is similar in a lot of respects to Martyrdöd, although I don’t think they’re tuned down into quite the same absurdly low register. On Häng Dom they interspersed their d-beat picking with ringing strings that created melodic atmospheres without fully worked out melodic lines. It was a subtle approach that, in my opinion, really set them ahead of the pack in this (admittedly very crowded field).

I was happy to discover the other day that the rumors that I had heard about another release from Passiv Dödshjälp were true. Their new EP, titled Skit på repeat is another simply crushing release. Passiv Dödshjälp don’t rely on speed but rather stick to bludgeoning midtempo licks and a vocalist who sounds like he’s just this side of the loony bin. The guitars are sharp. They’re downtuned pretty considerably, buy they retain enough mid-range and tone to make the tunes come through with brilliant clarity. What is most impressive about Passiv Dödshjälp is that they are willing to take a risk. So many d-beat bands out there will simply up the tempo, figuring that this will cover their deficiencies in terms of playing an arrangement. Passiv Dödshjälp’s songs have flow and direction and come at you at a speed that allows their intensity to wash over you like an overdriven wave.

The four songs on this EP go by all too fast, not surprisingly since (as on their other release) none of them clocks in at longer than three minutes. Given a choice between dragging out an idea too long and leaving the listening wanting more, the latter is always to be preferred. Passiv Dödshjälp leave their listening (myself included) wanting to hear a whole lot more.

Magadh

Last Sparrow Tattoo

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , , on February 5, 2013 by Magadh

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Last Sparrow Tattoo started as a labor of love for Scott Sylvia. His mission was to create an educational resource profiling the craft of tattooing and empowering the reader to understand the difference between good and bad tattoos. Last Sparrow Tattoo has grow into an amazing online community featuring a forum, galleries, tattoo book reviews, blogs and interviews with tattoo artists. They also offer ratings of tattoo shops and advice for folks interested in getting their first tattoo.

For my part, I love watching the interviews with tattoo artists. Sylvia does such a great job tracing the unique arc of each artist’s career. Sylvia says he became a tattooist because he wanted to live the pirate’s life and it is his interviews with artists from that era of tattooing that really resonant. I particularity like his interview with machine builder Dan Dringenberg, so I’ve included it below.  Last Sparrow Tattoo is a great resource and I can’t recommend it enough.

– Captain of Games

Review: Trauma

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by Magadh

Trauma S/T Feral Ward

traumaHearing awesome bands from Portland, Oregon really makes me happy. Having seen Poison Idea dozens of times in their heyday, having stood around in basements watching the likes of War Machine and the Procrastinators, having watched Ian from Apt. 3G play his guitar behind his head (better than most people can play it hanging in front of them), I’ve had a lot of good times in that town. I’m always impressed at the quantity of awesome music that has come out of that town over the years. Trauma, I am happy to say, hold the banner high.

They came out with a demo in 2009 which can still be found floating around the interweb. It is well worth locating. This is raw, 1980s style thrash with unrelenting anger and attitude. Their self-titled 12”, which came out last year on Feral Ward is more of the same. They sound like a lot of bands that one could name, but to stick with the Portland theme, you might compare them to Final Warning. They roll a bit faster, and they sound slightly cleaner, but they rock incredibly hard in that same hardcore vein: guitars with a lot of midrange, occasional heel damping, but mostly just straightforward aggro with no quarter asked and none given.

Magadh