Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Review: Trauma

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 5, 2013 by Magadh

Trauma

EP

Bulkhead Records

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I learned this afternoon from friends that Jeff Paul, Trauma’s vocalist, was killed last night in a motorcycle crash in north Portland. In addition to his work in Trauma, Jeff will be remembered by those familiar with the Portland scene as the singer of Final Warning, one of the most awesome bands of the early 1980’s scene in Portland. I only ever met him a couple of times, but he was tight with a number of my friends back there. By all accounts he was a right guy. The world is poorer for his loss.

We reviewed the full Trauma LP here a little while ago. We had actually sort of been dragging our feet about getting a copy, and we’d done so for so long that I actually considered putting up a review of their demo cassette that came out a couple of years ago. It struck me as kind of a goof, especially given the amount hassle that I had to go through to actually find a cassette player on which to listen to it. Now this problem has been resolved by the good people at Bulkhead who have done the world the service of releasing Trauma’s demo (plus one extra song) on a 10 cut 7”. I got this a couple of days ago and it hasn’t left my turntable since. I think that this has actually been remastered, as it sounds a bit clearer than it did on the cassette. In any case, this is ripping, angry thrash as those familiar with the Portland scene have come to expect. Trauma’s stock in trade is straight 80s style hardcore without a hint of metal: short blasts of mid-to-high speed punk with committed political lyrics, played in a style that recalls the heyday of hardcore in the Rose City.

You should go out and get a copy of the 7”, not as a memoriam to Jeff Paul, but because it illustrates the continued vibrancy of the punk scene in Portland and because it is some of the most raging h.c. around. But as you listen to it, remember the massive contribution that Jeff made over his lifetime to the d.i.y. punk scene.

Magadh

Cronos and the Art of Stage Banter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 23, 2013 by Magadh

ImageMy friend Brian told me I had to seek out the compilation of the stage banter from Venom’s Cronos. Thanks to the fine people at The Great Southern Brain I was able to check it out and feel compelled to share it with you. Give it a listen here.

– Captain of Games

Review: War Master

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 18, 2013 by Magadh

War Master Pyramid of the Necropolis Torture Garden Pictures Company

WMCoverIt’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is an adage that holds with special intensity in the world of underground music. I know that there is a general idea that rolls around in the scene that what people are doing is supposed to be, in some significant sense, original. With music as simple and uncomplicated as hardcore and the various variants of metal that surround it, there is very little new under the sun. This is not exactly tragic, at least to my way of thinking. In the first place, most of the bands that I listened to in my youth were so unstable that they could barely get there shit sufficiently together to record even on album’s worth of material. And then there was the case of the bands that surpassed this threshold but probably shouldn’t have. How many times did one experience the case of bands whose first release was awesome and who then saw fit to pollute their legacy by recording utter crap as a follow up. Case in point: Sacrilege. Behind the Realms of Madness was one of the finest examples of the productive crossover between hardcore and thrash metal in Great Britain in the early 1980s. Their follow up, Within the Prophecy, was a monuments to self-indulgent metal riffing featuring boring and interminable solos, and eight minute songs.

In light of these ruminations, I give you War Master. On hearing the name of this band you would be forgiven for thinking that they were basically a bunch of Bolt Thrower worshippers. And, of course, you’d be right. Pyramid of the Necropolis is straight out of the Bolt Thrower playbook circa 1989. Having talked at so much length about bands that made unwise stylistic decisions, I suppose it is worth acknowledging that after their first two records, Bolt Thrower went on to release the same record about six times over. For me that was ok. In any case, I will say that War Master’s moniker is slightly ironic in the sense that the music that they play sounds much more like the Bolt Thrower of Realm of Chaos than it does War Master. Anyway, I will say that War Master the band do play some excellent guttural crust that is tuned down so low that only elephants can actually hear all of it. Given that what they are trying to do is to mine a vein that another band fully established, War Master do an excellent job. They pay homage to the sound without trivializing it, and that is pretty impressive given what they’ve set out to do.

Magadh

Review: Infernöh

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 15, 2013 by Magadh

Infernöh War Tjard D-takt & Råpunk

infernohI know that I make a lot of comparisons between modern d-beat acts and the same set of early 80s acts, and now I have been shown the error of my ways. I’ve just heard War Tjard by the Swedish band Infernöh and I was really reminded of what the bands of the 1980-5 era really sounded like. Infernöh are deliciously lo-fi, without reducing their sound to a tinny rattle. I’ve heard them compared to Anti-Cimex and Totalitär, and this is not a totally inappropriate comparison. To my mind they sound more like the classic Finnish band Kaaos. Any way you slice it this is an absolutely savage release. Ten cuts of blistering Scandinavian thrash stripped down to the absolute basics: heavily distorted guitars and utter rage. They get extra points for having a record cover that looks like it was drawn by a stoned sixth grader on the back of his peechee. Was this the best d-beat release of 2012? To my mind it just jumped to the top of the list.

Their demo is pretty awesome as well and can be downloaded here.

Review: Destierro

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Magadh

Destierro Örlog Chaos666

destierro_covI’ve heard a lot of awesome music from Spain lately, as readers of this blog will know. One thing that has struck me is that specific take on the d-beat format that bands from Spain have evinced of late. Instinto is an obvious case of this. While playing fierce d-beat music they retain a sort of lightness that differentiates them from the mainline Scandinavian bands. Even bands like Totälickers, whose point of reference seems a lot closer to Totalitär than it does to Anti-Cimex, still have this quality of lightness that for me amounts to a distinctive Spanish sound. This is a good thing. It keeps the format varied and creates space for people who want to create within it while not merely aping sounds produced in other places.

Of course, things are different up in the Basque country, thus it is not surprising that their take on this format would be rather different as well. On their Örlog CD, Destierro offer a darker, more metallic take on this format than the above named acts. There is a definite influence of bands like From Ashes Rise and Wolf Brigade, but Destierro’s take on d-beat retains its own particular approach, depending more on straight aggression rather than the melodic overlays that are characteristic of bands like FAR, Sarabante, etc. Destierro are very direct in the way that they do things, using downtuned guitars to create a gloomy and chaotic atmosphere. Their lyrics are also less directly political than some of the other Spanish d-beat bands discussed in this space, running more to the destruction of the individual and the problems of existence than to directly political topics. Overall, this is a really savage release, and one that deserves your attention.

Watch them do their thing here.

Magadh

Rob Moran’s Best of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Magadh

Image

I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Mr. Rob Moran for a bunch of years. Rob’s not only played in some amazing bands (Unbroken, Some Girls, Narrows) but he’s got a heart as big as his record collection. His 2012 top 10 list is below.

youth code demo (bandcamp)

king dude burning daylight

crocodiles endless flowers

hoax 3rd ep

birds in a row  you, me and the violence

the men open your heart

converge all we love we leave behind

swans the seer

silent servant negative fascination

wet lungs demo

-captain of games

Gloom Descends Upon the West Coast

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 30, 2012 by Magadh

The nice people at Tiny Mix Tapes have been good enough to alert the world of Old Man Gloom’s impending West Coast tour this September. While they are originally from New Mexico, it has been some time since they’ve ventured from the East Coast. The doomy super group (featuring members of Isis, Converge, Cave In and Zozobra) will also be joined by co-conspirators like Big Business, The Melvins, and Ides of Gemini. These shows are not to be missed!

Check out Old Man Gloom here

Catch them on tour here:

09.03.12 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo*
09.04.12 San Diego, CA – SodaBar*
09.05.12 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of theHill**
09.06.12 – Chico, CA – Origami Lounge
09.07.12 – Portland, OR – The Hawthorne Theatre+
09.08.12 – Seattle, WA – The Highline

+ The Melvins, Big Business
* William Fowler Collins, Sad Vicious, & Ides of Gemini
** William Fowler Collins, Sad Vicious