FUCKING METAL from Savannah Georgia

The Blue Album Rules. It's that simple. Check these bastards out, buy their albums, see them live.

Listen NOW

Throw these albums on your radar...

So we've been mighty busy the last few months, but ol' Mr. Mogul thought it was a good idea and stop by to drop some album love on ya. Here are some records that have come out recently that are worth your dirty dollar. Hopefully we'll have some extra time soon to go into more depth into the albums, but for now just get these:

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead
The Century of Self
This album isn't much of of a departure from their last three offerings Worlds Apart(2005), So Divided(2006), and the warm up ep Festival Thyme (2008) which apparently is from the same session and shares the song Inland Sea. That said there is a rougher, less polished aspect about this album that makes it stand out. Where So Divided was sort of a masterpiece of production, The Century of Self seems strikingly more intimate... feels more like a band. Definitely worth the money if AYWKUBTTOFD (jesus) floats your boat.

Blue Record
Baroness seems to be on everyone's radar right now. And they should be. While I didn't so much care for First and Second I loved Red Album. Blue Record follows in line with the evolution Baroness has shown in the past, following a similar path as Mastodon, while sounding altogether different. There is a lot to this album, from straight sabbath influenced stoned metal, to southern rock influenced prog metal. One of my favorite albums so far this year.
Baroness are also our BAND OF THE MONTH

The Ghost of a Thousand
New Hopes, New Demonstrations
If you haven't heard of The Ghost, give em a listen. This outing differs from their 2007 offering, This is Where the Fight Begins, in that they injected their somewhat spazzy metal hardcore with a healthy dose of rock riffage. Similar in approach to countrymen Gallows, there is just a bit more rock here. They should be blowing up any minute.

Wavering Radiant
What can be said about Isis that hasn't already been said. They were the music reviewers sweethearts for a minute, but I haven't been reading much about this whole "post-metal" genre much recently. Who cares. This album is awesome. If you ever liked Isis you will dig this album. It's full of emotional swings, and the keyboard heaviness actually assists in the songs and adds a level of interest.

Static Tensions
If you haven't listened to Kylesa yet, this is the perfect time to start. Static Tensions is their best album yet. They fit comfortably into the growing niche that Mastodon, Torche, Baroness, and all the rest have been pioneering, but they approach the music with a bit more punk rock mentality. That's not to say these are not solid metal songs, as they are aggressive and ripping, but there is an element of roughness and rawness here that suits Kylesa well. Big Recommendation.

Crack the Skye
I don't think I need to say much about this album right now as it has gotten plenty of exposure. It rules though. If you haven't picked it up yet, what are you waiting for? I liked it way more than Blood Mountain.

Mastodon, Dethklok, High on Fire, & Converge & the Patriot Center 10/31

Napalm Death
Time Waits for No Slave
Another stellar album by a band that needs no introduction. If you liked any of their recent outings, you'll like Time Waits for No Slave more. This album rules.

Poison the Well
Tropic Rot
I really liked You Come Before You back when it came out in 2003. Then I stopped liking it, and after some time revisited it and grew to really appreciate the album. I however never picked up versions. Tropic Rot is solid, and though I don't like every moment, or every song, this is a good outing from Metalcore innovators PTW.


I Blame You
Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and now Obits. Though I really dug the Night Marchers release in 2008, I like Obits that much more. There are quite a few gems on here. Great, great album. Also, the Obits 7" that came out last year was spectacular as well, though it only has 2 songs.


What's With this City?

So last night I was stoked to go see a few friends' bands play with 1.6 Band for their "reconciliation" tour.

To make a long whiny story short, I ended up having to bail half way through 1.6's set because of how late the show was running (had to catch the metro, which means leave by 11:30pm) and I didn't even get to see one of the bands I wanted to see.

My list of complaints about the Velvet Lounge has grown significantly over the last 6 months due to some shady practices they seem to be embracing, but in an effort to stick to the issue at hand, I will present a short list of why the Velvet Lounge, for last night at least, sucked:
  • You have an 18 plus show on a weeknight in a city that is heavily public transportation influenced (last train out if you don't have to transfer lines is 12am) which is supposed to start at 9pm (and starts late) and has 4 bands on the bill. This is bad enough, any weeknight 4 band show should start by 8pm and be finished by 11pm.
  • There was virtually no time management during sets or in between. This means who ever draws the short stick and plays last has no one left in the audience, as I'm guessing was the case last night. This is a common occurrence in DC.
  • For those of us who drink, the Velvet Lounge advertised on their site, and I quote, "$2 natty bohs til midnight, $4 rail all night long!" When asked for said $2 Natty Bohs the Bartender (who I was not a fan of in the slightest) said, "We don't have natty bohs, we have Budweiser and miller highlife." (which to be honest was actually genuine draft...) When asked, "Are those $2 then" The response was "No $3." I know this seems like a small complaint, but if you advertise something to get people in the door, have it. Some of us have to budget our show going experiences because life is expensive. Do it or don't just don't fucking lie about it.
  • The staff seems to be getting increasingly more apathetic and rude. I mean I fucking get it, it's a rock club and all, but come the fuck on. There are a couple of exceptions here, the sound dude is a good enough guy. Which brings me to...
  • What the fuck is the deal with the Sound? I mean the VL used to tote that it had the most bad assed sound in the city... I mean they do have enough expensive equipment, but lately even when I go see bands who I'm into (by way of example, Tombs) play there, it sounds like crap. If you don't know how to make everything sound good, fuck it, just output the vocals on the PA and leave everything else live. Usually sounds better in small clubs anyway. And again, if you're a sound guy, and your not going to stick around for the set, and you insist on mic'ing everything, make sure it sounds good before you walk out.
I know this all might seem pretty petty, especially for a $10 show, but I gotta be honest, house/diy shows are getting better and better, with a high caliber of bands, are run WAY better, and even seem to sound better (as an audience member.)

If the Velvet doesn't shape up, I'm going to cross it off my list. For the mean time, I'm going to advise bands to be wary before booking shows there.

Big downs.


This summer is CRAZY with shows!

shows in bold, we're probably going to

6/17 @ the Velvet Lounge - Memories from the Space Age, 1.6 Band, Ambition Burning, Negato!

6/17 @ the Girl Cave - Jubilee (folk duo awesomeness) , Fraueva (members of pree), Caddywhompus (Louisiana) , the Fordists (its time to get weird) 7PM-Donations for touring bands.
6/17 @ Corpse Fortress - Nitad (swedish hc), Daylight Robbers (chicago), Canadian Rifle (chicago), Fine Lines, Deathrats
6/18 @ DC Mini Gallery- Des Ark (north carolina), Resistor (ex requiem from north carolina), Deathrats (local hardcore punk - 7" out this summer)
6/18 @ WMUC - Comadre, Trainwreck, Police & Thieves, The Guilt
6/19 @ Corpse Fortress - The Guilt, Omegas, Smart Cops, Chronic Seizure, Animal Poison 6PM $7
6/19 @ 930 club - New York Dolls, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears 8pm $25
6/20 @ The Black Cat - FRODUS, THE VAN PELT, GUILTMAKER 9pm $13
6/24 @ Girl Cave - Fine Lines, Boost, Pizza, The Copyrights, Dear Landlord, 20 Belows
6/25 @ the Corpse Fortress - The Communion (NYC GRINDCORE), Transient (portland grind), Lost Again, Diablero (bmore)
6/25 @ DC Mini Gallery - Lemuria, Cheap Girls, Monument, Everywhere You Look, Disciples Of Christ (First Show)
6/27 @ Cold Call House - 1118 girard st nw - Caverns, Imperial China, headliner TBA
6/27 @ The House of Awesome Times - Diente Perro (Puerto Rico), La Armada (Chicago)
6/27 @ Count Pyros Castle - Say No! to Architecture , Pretzlcoat, Dylan Languell, +1 more TBA
6/27 @ The House of Awesome Times - A Warm Gun (first show in forever!!), Diente Perro (Puerto Rico), La Armada (Chicago), Betty Sue Aside, March of Us
6/30 @ The Lighthouse - Loser Life, Deathratz, Chaos Destroy 6PM $7
7/1 @ Velvet Lounge - Ruiner, Title Fight, In the Hollows, Everywhere You Look
7/5 @ The Quarry House - The Living Wrecks, Copstabber, Unabombers, The Snallygasters 2pm $5 All Ages
7/6-8 @ 930 club - Sonic Youth 7pm SOLD OUT
7/6: @ Corpse Fortress - Overload, Mad Minds, Control, Frantic Onslaught, The Mostly Dead - 6pm - $6
7/11 @ Krasner's Basement (Frederick) - We Were Skeletons, Victor! Fix the Sun, Mostly Dead, the Lost Tourists
7/11 @ Count Pyros Castle - The Fordists + more TBA
7/13-14 @ 930 club - The Dead Weather & Screaming Females 7pm $35
7/19 @ The Quarry House - Supreme Commander, Thawed Out, & stand-up comedy by John Lockjaw (PB2k/PC Death Squad) - 2pm $5 All Ages
7/19 @ TBA - Force Fed, Mindset, Mobb Mentality + more TBA
7/17 @ DC Mini Gallery - Tigers Jaw, Kite Party + more TBA
7/19 @ TBA - Force Fed + more TBA
7/23 @ TBA - Wasteland, Relics + 2 TBA
7/27 @ Corpse Fortress - Just Die!, more TBA
7/29 @ House of Awesome Times- Brick, Dcoi, The Separation, Plagueland. Brainlazerz, Ecco
7/29 @ TBA - LIBÉRATE (LA fast as shit), INTIFADA (pure chicago speed)
7/29 @ the Rock and Roll Hotel - TORCHE & Harvey Milk 8pm $14
8/1 @ Kansas House - Black Powder, The Fordists, Analog Faucet - 7PM
8/1 @ Corpse Fortress: Inter Arma, Balaclava, Ilsa, Deathammer, Revolta @ 7:00PM, $6
8/2 @ TBA Stressed Out, Rip It Up, The AIDs, I Decide, Thawed out.
8/2 @ Lighthouse - Brainkiller (boston hc/deranged records), Lotus Fucker, Chaos Destroy, +More TBA. THREE PM!!!
8/2 @ TBA - Alert (western Massachusetts Youth Crew), XenvisionX (youth crew from Novia Scotia), + More TBA
8/6: @ TBA - GUILTY FACES (mid-80s california punk from connecticut), BAD ANTICS (punk from the west coast)
8/9 @ 3rd Street Co-Op - Thrashington DC, Revolta + more TBA
8/12 @ Black Cat Back Stage - The Mishaps, The Mostly Dead, The New Dumb, All Ages, $8
8/12@ alfishway- HARMS WAY mother of mercy alpha omega convicted foundation 10 dollars@ 6pm
8/14 @ TBA - Asshole Parade, Coke Bust, Sick Fix, Positive Noise, Crucial Cause


3rd Street Co-Op - 1807 3rd Street NE DC
Alecks' Basement - 5632 Kirkland Dr. Frederick, MD
Alfishawy Cafe - 4132 Georgia Avenue NW DC (Petworth Metro)
Bionic House - 3701 41st Ave Cottage City, MD
The Black Cat- 1841 14th St. NW DC (U. St Metro)
Comet Ping Pong - 5037 Connecticut Ave NW, DC
Corpse Fortress- 906 Philidelphia Ave, Silver Spring, MD (Silver Spring Metro) Dahlak - 1771 U St NW DC (U. St Metro)
DC Mini Gallery - 4702 14th st nw
Dude Bro Haus- 4301 Yuma St. NW DC (Tenleytown Metro)
Girl Cave - 1419 Gallatin St. NW DC (Columbia Heights/Petworth Metro)
Herndon Artspace address- 750 Center St. Herndon, VA 20170
House of Awesome Times - 9108 St. Andrews Pl
Kansas House - 900 N Kansas St Arlington, Va 22201 (virginia Square/Clarendon Metro)
Krasner's Basement - 9413 Bridgewater Court West Frederick, Maryland 21701
Lighthouse - 1421 Buchanan St NW DC (Columbia Heights/Petworth Metro)
Quarry House Tavern - 8401 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 (Silver Spring Metro)
Rocknroll Hotel - 1353 H Street NE DC
Saint Stephens Church- 1525 Newton Street, NW DC (Columbia Heights Metro)
Scumbag Nation - 1001 Orchard Way, Silver Spring, MD. 20904.
Second Death Star - 1401 Carrington, Vienna, Virginia 22182
The Tree Swing - 6107 43rd Street, Riverdale MD (pg plaza metro)
Transformer Gallery - 1404 P St NW DC (U St. Metro)
Velvet Lounge - 915 U St, NW DC (U St. Metro)
WMUC - 3130 S Campus Dining Hall, College Park, MD (College Park Metro)


Watch These!

So. Enjoy

Mastodon - Oblivion live from David Letterman(?)

And the video itself! SPACE!



Post/Hardcore/Metal from all over the place...

With former members of BOTCH, UNBROKEN, THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, and more you might expect a "super band" with such a pedigree to be one of two things: 1) A Totally Rad Experience or 2) A Total Waste of Time. Thankfully NARROWS falls into the former category. They were already on our radar with their release of the "Self Titled" 7 inch (which Kurt loved), and we've found the new LP (to be reviewed later this month) to be satisfying as well. Put them on your list, go listen to them, see them live if you can, and buy their stuff!



The Inquisition - POLICE & THIEVES

My first exposure to Police & Thieves must have been back near the end of 2006. I stumbled across them on myspace of all places and liked what I heard. A few months later a band mate of mine at the time, John Riley, joined P&T and I started really paying attention to them. My old band and P&T played a show back in Jan of '08 with Cloak/Dagger as well. P&T are great live and absolutely the nicest guys in the world. They have played with pretty much any band worth playing in the HC community, and I personally have seen them play with Fucked Up, Disfear, and many more. Keep your eye on these dudes.
-Mr. Mogul

History in Their Words:

We began in Aug 2005, a few months after my old band Worn Thin broke up. Police & thieves was an idea I had as Worn Thin was winding down. A few months prior to our breakup I had seen our bassist Rich at a show and mentioned I wanted to start a side project that would be influenced by the "Revolution Summer" bands as well as Dag Nasty "Can I Say" era. I wanted it to be departure from my old band both lyrically and musically.

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?
Because making music and playing in a punk band is a lot of fun.
Growing up in DC it's something that has always been a huge influence
in my life.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
For me making music that I enjoy with good friends is what I consider
successful, so yes.

3. What are you currently listening to?
Ryan Adams, Mindset, Antony & The Johnsons, Control, Savageland, Obits
and the new Cloak/Dagger

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
As a kid I grew up listening to the Beatles, U2 and Metallica and then
I discovered Dischord and that changed my life and how I looked at
music. Some of my favorite bands are Embrace, Rites of Spring, Minor
Threat and Dag Nasty.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
There's so many good local DC area bands such as Give, Fine Lines,
Timber, Lost Again, The Mostly Dead, Archenion and the Scare.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
Last spring we played at this house in Wheaton, MD called the Vermont
Hurler with Mindset and Timber, it was the perfect size for us and the
crowd was really energetic. There's a video of it on our MySpace page,
it was a good time.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
I would say the worst show experience was when we played Pittsburgh
several months ago. The kid who did the show was super cool but the
show was running behind schedule and it was a Sunday night and we had
a long drive ahead of us back to dc, as well as we all had to work
Monday morning. So it wasn't a bad show, because that was fun, it was
more the way the show was organized and run that could have been done

8. What's your writing process like?
Well our original guitar player Michael just quit the band back in
December, so everything we wrote was with him. The way we wrote with
him was he and Rich our bassist would bring ideas for songs into
practice and then we would all build on it adding our individual
parts. Once Sean our new guitar player learns all the songs, we will
start writing for a new record that we hope will see the light of day
by the summer.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
I could see myself still in a band, not sure what kind, but being in a
band is so much fun that I can't see why I would stop doing it.

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp?
P&T Next show: Charm City Art Space, Baltimore MD. W/ Runier & Final Fight
POLICE & THIEVES on myspace


A little behind the times... maybe

We've got some reviews coming up in the next week or so. On the Agenda so far:

Big Business - Mind the Drift
Gallows - Grey Britain
Lamb of God - Wrath
Mastodon - Crack the Skye (More than just a review...)
NOFX - Coaster
Obits - I Blame You

Stay tuned!



Sorry for the lack of posts recently... we've all been super busy... but we got more stuff on the way.

Watch this!



History Not in Their Words
"After forming from the ashes of earlier bands Solace in the Shadows, Evil Divine, and XXX Maniac, the members of Pennsylvania neo-thrashers Rumpelstiltskin Grinder dared to mix thrash metal and comedy lyrics on their 2005 Relapse Records debut, Buried in the Front Yard. This is usually a heavy metal no-no (just ask the members of original, ill-fated case study Scatterbrain), but it's unlikely Rumpelstiltskin Grinder singer Jason Sidote, guitarists Matt Moore and Ryan Moll, bassist Shawn Riley, and drummer Pat Battaglia would be perturbed by such statistics." Allmusic.com

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?

We all die. I careen towards my death by playing guitar, rocking, partying, driving, hanging out with dudes/chicks, screaming, walking around, sitting around, laughing, saying funny stuff, and drinking. I don’t understand why some people are “not” in bands.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
We are underground but those who know of us get into it and that’s 100% who I play for. We definitely think in the long term and only care about making metal that is timeless. We create and play a distinct and excellent expression of metal. Our albums and shows are what we mean them to be.

3. What are you currently listening to?
Here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to the past few weeks:
Satyricon – Nemesis Divina
Dead Can Dance – The Serpents Egg
Mercyful Fate – 9
Disfear – Live the Storm
Vinterland – Welcome My Last Chapter
Ministry – Psalm 69
Revenant – Prophecies of a Dying World
Naglfar – Vittra
Blind Guardian – Somewhere Far Beyond
King Diamond – Them

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
I think we’ve been able to like the bands like and be inspired by their awesomeness while not lifting much from them. We do have a trilogy of songs on our new record “Living For Death, Destroying the Rest” which may have something to do with how much we love King Diamond, but lyrically it’s less of a horror story and more about an epic rebellion. I do view metal as a ritualistic thing. I don’t take it too seriously, but good metal makes you go insane…the same way a good tribal dance can make some shaman go literally crazy and access radical parts of the human mind. “Graveyard Vandalization” to me has a twist on a Morbid Angel “Chapel of Ghouls” feel. “Darkness Never Ending” is a conglomeration of Emperor, Satyricon, Immortal, Dark Funeral, and Mayhem attributed riffage. Lot’s of faster speed metal shit mixed with bone crunching parts. We can’t avoid blackening our riffs to the highest degree.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
Gloominous Doom, Woe (I play here), Cardinal Sin (old Swedish ex-Dissection band), X-Cops, Dust is Everywhere, Revenant, Unsane, Vinterland…and Manowar….nonstop and at full volume.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
We just played a Philly Thrash Fest that was fucking great. Philly has a ton of really good thrash bands. I put together a comp called “Philly Thrash Brigade” and there was an 8 band fest that brought Philly’s fastest out for a nonstop circle pit. The entire Philly scene is totally underground and a true party. This town has missed the mark musically for a long time but now there is some righteous hanging out going on.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
Walking onto a stage in Connecticut seconds before playing and realizing my Les Paul was in Boston. Still played with a backup …but Fuck. The night before in Boston we played with Deceased. We went with those dudes to a billiards bar, got more trashed, challenged those guys to a basketball game, and harassed the locals. Little did I know my guitar had run off somewhere.

8. What's your writing process like?
If someone plays or says an idea that makes the rest of us laugh insanely or frown in approval we will expertly forge and craft it into what will eventually become a song. If we are hanging out with instruments and someone presents a stupid idea we berate and humiliate the offending dude. We really anticipate what the other guys are going to like or hate and create stuff that is gonna be good to all of us.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
I'm 27 and have been doing it full on for 15 years. If I happen to live 10 more then I’ll be playing.

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp?
New record “Living For Death, Destroying The Rest”…basically we’ve completely nullified the thrash resurgence by making something that is actually “original”.
(Note: In real life I’m not actually an asshole)


The Inquisition - DEFEATER

I saw Defeater play in the basement of a show house in DC called the Girl Cave in January. They were quite clearly the biggest band I've seen play in a house, and I'm not talking about popularity or height(although truth be told Derick is pretty tall.) They controlled the floor like pros on a national stage. With blistering riffs, screamed vocals (despite the PA problems), and quite possibly the tightest, most proficient (and goddamn interesting) drummer I've seen in a punk or hardcore band for a long time. They have a large label sponsored tour coming up, but Mike still took the time to have his flesh torn to shreds under the rusty knives of the inquisition. - Mr. Mogul

History in Their Words
We are a bunch of guys that have all played in a lot of bands. This is the band we play in now, I think most of us would say it's our favorite.

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?
To make art. To try and quell my creative yearning. To be able to share good experiences with the people closest to me. To leave a mark.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
Yes. We came up with a goal which was to make a record we are all very proud of and that's not an easy thing to do. We get emails from people saying they love the record, a kid at our last show said we were his favorite band. That kind of thing just never gets old, I can't think of a better way to define success.

3. What are you currently listening to?
Like right right now? I'm listening to Attack in Black hoping that third time is also a charm. In general I've been on a huge Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil kick recently. I went to get a Jawbreaker tattoo last week, and I passed out in the middle of it and cracked my head on the floor. Probably should have mentioned that I am a touch needle phobic. That's life.

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
At the Drive In, Botch, Converge, Fugazi, Rival Schools.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
It's crazy, everyone in the band listens to some of the same core of bands but I don't think any of us share a favorite band. In the hardcore genre Blacklisted, Modern Life is War, Verse, and Narrows are all awesome bands. On tour it's a whole different story, I know we are all hooked on The Hold Steady, Radiohead, Russian Circles, Elliott, Rocky Votolato, The Exit, Cancer Conspiracy. I guess it's probably not all super obvious stuff. I just like honest music done well.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
Our 2nd show was in Burlington Vt, It was with I Rise who are good friends of ours and there weren't tons of kids there so we didn't really know what to expect. But then we started playing and every kid there went mental.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
No Idea. Not every show is a winner, but I'm never going to shit on a show that would have us play even if it ended up sucking.

8. What's your writing process like?
Usually a song starts forming in my head and I try to write the whole thing in my mind before I touch my guitar. The finished product usually varies greatly from what originally conceptualized but it's a good way to know what you want out of the song before you just start hammering out random riffs and linking them together.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
Yes and No. I assume I will be very involved with music 10 years from now. It would be awesome to think that Defeater will still be around, but that's to say we are all wanting the same things. Just like I try to see the end of a song before I write the beginning I feel the same way about the life of the band. I have really big things planned, but when it's time to go it's time to go.

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp? Make Do And Mend's Bodies Of Water EP is awesome, and their drummer Matt is a decent podcast interviewer.


The Inquisition - TRIGGER EFFECT

The first time I heard about Trigger Effect, Kurt had mentioned them to me in passing. Next thing I know, we get a show offer with them. They thoroughly rocked the shit out of the place. They are gearing up for a tour of Europe in March. Nick sat down and spent some time seriously contemplating the whips and iron spikes of The Inquisition - Mr. Mogul

History in Their Words:
In keeping with their mystique, Trigger Effect have supplied no history. They just seem to exist. Very Zen.

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?

I'm in it for the chicks, cheese and crackers. also because its a good excuse to not work.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
Extremely successful. We're like moguls of audio real estate. I eat chicken dinner off a naked 10-year olds back every night.

3. What are you currently listening to?
The coasters. They are the best band ever. They knuckle your head before you count to fauwah.

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
For me personally, bro, me I'm like a mix of the fashion sensibilities of Michael Jackson, the luck and charm of Gloria Ramirez and the vocal precision of tiny Tim. I think it shows. The rest of the guys are equally influenced by equal parts stupid and ugly. Duh.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
The coasters, M.I.A., Dion and the Belmonts and megalomaniac by KMFDM. Make me a mashup. Oh, and Nazareth. Fucking Nazareth, man.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
Maybe that time we circled the wagons with Death Virginia in Wasaga Beach, or that time we played 45 shows in 48 days and drank way more than 1000 beers between Quebec and California, or that time i farted at a waitress.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
Either that time i snapped my tooth in half at LBH, or that time we drove 24 hours straight home from thunder bay in the winter with no heat. Or all those times i ate too much rageohol and told everyone i hated them.

8. What's your writing process like?
Pat comes up with a bunch of parts like "chaggadagameedlooo..." and everyone's like shut up pat and then Sergio thinks up a bit like "brrrrrrrrrrogodogodogodogodogodo" and everyone's like what the fuck was that then i bring in a badangdang that's all like "raaaaahhhmanamanamanahooooeee" and everyone's like meuhhhhhhh then Jordan busts out a little "looodiloodidodilooo" and everyone's like who the fuck is Jordan and then mike makes a bunch of huffing sounds with his stupid fat mouth. At some point we do it all at the same time, and then other people call it music.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
No way. Our innate talents will be so valuable and we ourselves will be so internationally influential by that time that we won't be permitted to even consider making music anymore. If we did there would be a nuclear holocaust over who gets the distro license and publishing. In ten years we will only be allowed to hang out in our very specifically shaped, very luxurious , and of course very technologically advanced Manoir Turbo. I'll be on the roof of wing Skinfried sipping whiskey sours with my various pet lemurs.

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp?
yes. we're releasing a split vinyl EP real soon... like REAL SOON and we're going to commit savagery on like 10 european countries in march. blap. Booya.


The Inquisition - CLOAK/DAGGER

I heard about Cloak/Dagger, out of Richmond VA, after their 7"on Grave Mistake Records, and listened to a few of the tunes. Then "We Are" came out and I was hooked. And rightly so, it seemed that Album was on everyone's mind in '07. My old band had the opportunity to play with them in Jan of '07, and they killed. Seen them a few times in '08, most notably playing with one of our other favs, Fucked Up. Jason took the time out to get strapped in to the painful rack that is The Inquisition. -MR. Mogul

History in Their Words:
We started out with no goals and we wanted to do a band for fun and maybe play a show here and there. We recorded a demo and it went over well so we decided to play some shows. After that we recorded a 7" for Grave Mistake and did some weekend tours and some short tours on the east coast after our record came out with the help of Paint It Black, Government Warning and New Mexican Disaster Squad. We signed to Jade Tree and recorded our full length in Kentucky with Chris Owens of Lords who rules and has a dirty true punk studio with the best skate park I've ever been to or seen close by. Jade Tree put out our full length and we had the great idea of jumping right into touring at age 30 and we lost A LOT of money. We toured the US and no one knew about the tour, we toured Europe and some people knew about the tour, we toured Canada and some people knew about the tour and after more weekends and The Fest we flew to the UK and it was nice to see some people knew about the tour.

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?
I love to travel, to play shows and the process of writing and recording these songs. When we started I wanted to be in a band I thought was fun and that I thought was a challenge to be in and this definitely has been. I'm very proud of everything we've done so far.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
We have had a lot of positive feedback from people that we look up to and respect that like this band and what we've done and that means a lot to me. On the other hand we have lost a lot of money and not every show we play has people going crazy but I would still consider us a minor success. For this band to be "successful" monetary wise we would have to come back from tour with money for rent and that hasn't happened yet but that's not the goal.

3. What are you currently listening to?
Sonic Youth, The Shitty Limits, Taxi, The Saints.

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
I would say Black Flag and Hot Snakes and they are pretty obvious. We don't directly sound like either of them but they are definitely an influence on us and people can usually tell. I dressed up like Henry on Halloween when we played Alabama and my costume ruled.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
The Shitty Limits, Wasted Time, The Ladies, Marked Men.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
We played Milan when we toured Europe and everyone knew the words and it was non stop crazy with stage dives, moshing, people dancing and not moshing dancing but really dancing and people breathing fire in the back of the room. That's all you can ask for.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
We played Berlin on that same tour and everyone got too drunk to play except me since I don't drink. Our bass player at the time Adam fell off the stage which was about 4 feet tall face first and it was bad. I was the only one that noticed. After that we argued on stage about stopping and then kept playing. There was about 300 people there and we sold one 7" before we played. After the bad show we got rushed out since there was going to be a dance party later and on the way back to the hostel Adam almost got jumped by three Germans. It just wasn't a good night.

8. What's your writing process like?
Collin our one and only guitarist writes all the songs and then he shows us at practice. Matt our bass player records them and sends me mp3's and then I obsess over every word when I write lyrics to them in my car. We really try to make it a point to not over analyze or spend too much time on songs but I can't help it. We all work out the kinks by playing the songs a lot. We have recorded a lot of songs that didn't work out but we like to try to give everything a fair chance.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
Definitely not. I think that there's a time and a place for everything and that's what makes hardcore and punk a genuine thing. There's no reason for Minor Threat to be a band right now and I'll never see them as much as I would love to but maybe that's a good thing. When it's time for us to break up and when we run out of ideas or things stop being fun I'll be ready to call it a day.

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp?
We are taking a break from playing shows to record another lp sometime soon. We have a two song 7" coming out on Jade Tree in the next month or so and our friend Dave Brown has a photo book called Adult Crash that comes with a 7" where we covered a Warzone song that is out now. Thanks for reading and thanks to you.



POST/POST/POST from Louisville, KY

If you don't know who Young Widows are, where the hell have you been? Previously members of Breather Resist (minus singer Steve Sindoni) they are an altogether different beast. Challenging, intelligent, stark, brutal, beautiful.
They're album Settle Down City (2006) was a good album, their new album Old Wounds is amazing, if you have the open mind for it. They may wear some of their influences on their sleeves but they succeed in sounding completely unique and original. Buy Old Wounds at all costs... and see these dudes live if you are lucky enough to have them come to your town.



Rumpelstiltskin Grinder - "Living for Death, Destroying the Death" (2009)

First thoughts: Man what a goddamned awesome cover.

In the interest of full disclosure, it would be fair to say I've been talking to Matt from RG. Of course I have no interest in full disclosure, so there you go.

Thrash. There are some who would argue that Thrash is a dead art form. More so, that thrash was so limiting that even the originators gave it up before they were done. The All powerful, Allmusic.com, refuses to tag new bands with the term Thrash alone. Instead they opt for the term Neo, like that makes it all okay. Forward thinking requires as many labels as possible.

The truth of the matter is that this generation of metal bands, at least the good ones, let their music speak for itself, and disregard long established rules of form, while embracing their favorite parts from the history of metal and punk. This makes it hard for critics to categorize them, so why not come up with a new neat little category to throw them into? Fuck that.

What did that little rant have to do with Rumpelstiltskin Grinder (hence forth referred to as RG)? Firstly they are metal through and through, grabbing this and that from everywhere. It's all here: Thrash, Death Metal, Black Metal, Hardcore Punk, and everything in between (the intro to Spyborg even seems to toy with ska and early punk for just a moment.) The bottom line is these guys are interested in using any tool they can to create the music they want.

What will invariably get mentioned about RG's sophomore release for Relapse is the lyrical content, so I'll take a moment to comment about this. Are these guys serious 100% of the time? Fuck no. And metal has been too serious for too long. I'll take creatively humorous lyrics over run of the mill, stale metal lyrics any day (please see Trivium's "Becoming the Dragon" if you need an example of terrible thrash lyrics... uhg.) So does that mean RG are a comedy metal band? Fuck no. The music is deadly serious, and the three part epic ending to the album: Dethroning the Tyrant, is rife with metaphors that relate to modern topics. I'm not going to spell it out for you.

So how is "Living for Death, Destroying the Rest"? Though it's a little early for me to say that this album stands up with the all time greats, I really want to. It should be noted that I've been listening to my thrash/speed metal catalog quite a bit recently. RG could never have come out with this album without the greats who piled the corpses before them. That said, this album smokes out of the gate. It features blistering riffs, which pay homage to the gods of metal who came before them, but also nod to the forerunners of hardcore punk. Drum work is frantic, brutal, varied, and completely fitting. Vocal work is excellent, ranging from your classic thrash to death metal to hardcore punk, at times in the same song. Production on "Living..." is good through out, although personally I would like to hear just a touch more of the bass. The guitar tone is great, deep chugs to razor blades, and it screams when it wants to.

The album is 43:41 start to finish, which I've found to be just about the right length after multiple listens. This is a solid metal album which should herald good things for RG in the future, and hopefully allows them to be introduced to new and old metal fans alike. If you like thrash, buy this album. If you like more extreme metal, buy this album. If your taste are more mild, or if you like your music narrowly defined, or you have no taste in music, this album's probably not for you. This is one of the most rewarding metal album I've heard in years.

Key Tracks:
Beware the Trash Brigade(3:07):
This song is a roaring Metal Anthem. Hands down my favorite track on the album, but that's really no surprise. Speedy hardcore influenced riffs, gang chorus(es). I love this song.

Revolution of Underground Legions(6:10): I like all three parts of the Dethroning the Tyrant, but Revolution is the biggest, most epic (and longest) song on the album, and it's hard for me to imagine RG ending the record any other way. Giant chorus, rip-roaring riffs, brutal vocals.

Brainwasher C. 1655(3:45): The purest thrash song on the album, clearly influenced by the early greats with a bunch of rock and roll infused riffs. Chorus is king, and this one is big too. Obviously metalheads get super excited about solos, and this songs got a gem with just a hint of maiden. This song rules.

Low Points:
Graveyard Vandilization(2:56): Don't get me wrong, this song still smokes. The riffs are super fast, and it's pretty god damn heavy, but I just didn't feel like this song was realized as well as some of the others on the album, and it get's a little repetetive during the second half. Still, that's a pretty minor complaint for an entire album, so there you go.


Gojira Video

We missed this when it dropped on January the 11th. However, it is pretty rad, and worth watching:

Gojira made my top 10 for 2008.

Gojira - All the Tears.

We have been lazy

We have a new president, a bunch of albums to listen to, some shows to write about, and vacations to go on. That said there is a bunch of more content coming soon. Coming next week, some album reviews and show reviews.

So I read a rumor that Disney (the owners of the House of Blues) banned The Faceless from playing at least one of the clubs. Since the tour is playing HOB 4 times who knows what will happen. Fucking Disney. They protect child molesters, brutal hazing amongst park employees, cover up park related deaths, promote overly sexual images of their child stars, but won't let a band play for some reason or other:

THE FACELESS who will be on tour with MESHUGGAH and CYNIC in February have been banned from playing the Anaheim House of Blues date, which is the first show. The kick off date to take place February 1st will continue without The Faceless who will join the tour on February 2nd. The Disney owned venue, must approve of all bands playing and The Faceless were not approved for undisclosed reasons. Austrian death metallers, BELPHEGOR were also recently not approved by Disney to play the Anaheim House of Blues.

The band's sophomore full-length Planetary Duality, debuted at #119 on the Billboard Top 200 chart recently. The band’s guitarist Michael Keene, who also produced the new record, just wrapped up an appearance at the NAMM convention last week. Tour listed below:

Meshuggah, Cynic, The Faceless dates:

1 - House of Blues - Anaheim, CA (no The Faceless)
2 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
3 - House of Blues - Hollywood, CA
4 - Slim’s - San Francisco, CA
6 - El Corazón - Seattle, WA
7 - Hawthorne Theatre - Portland, OR
8 - Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC
9 - Knitting Factory - Spokane, WA
11 - Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO
13 - Station 4 - St. Paul, MN
15 - House Of Blues - Chicago, IL
17 - Phoenix Concert Theatre - Toronto, ON
18 - Club Soda - Montreal, QC
19 - TBA - New York, NY
20 - Recher Theatre - Towson, MD

From: http://www.bravewords.com/news/105133

Though this is nothing new, it begs the question: Why? What is it exactly that will get a band banned from playing? The list of bands previously banned is pretty long, including Lamb of God due to their previous name (Burn the Priest.)

My understanding is that it is solely based upon the clubs that are actually on the Mouse King's property.

At any rate, I never really liked going to the house of blues, too sterile and artificial, in my opinion.


Where to Play: Metal in DC

Here are the best spots to play and/or find metal in DC.
  1. 9:30 Club: if a band (or package of bands) is big enough, this is the spot to play. 930 is a national level venue. They don't do metal all that often, but in recent memory Darkest Hour, Slayer, In Flames, and Lamb of God all played sold out shows there. The club holds somewhere around 800 people,and they pack them in. Always all ages. Website
  2. The Black Cat: A long time friend of metal and punk, this venerable "cool spot" boasts two stages, an awesome bar, a staff that is musician focused, dressing rooms, private bathroom, a vegan friendly restaurant, and wireless internet. The main stage is upstairs and is over 7000 square feet with two bars and ample space. If your band isn't big enough for that, then the back stage, which holds about 200 people, has rad sound, and an intimate setting, is the spot for you (please note, back stage shows are not available fri & sat in most cases because of dance nights.) Bands get 3 free pitchers of beer, free food for out of towners, and 50% of the door split evenly (though they do work with Labeled acts, so that potentially changes) Always all ages. Website.
  3. Rock and Roll Hotel: This place is the youngest of the clubs that support Metal in the area. If you are too big for black cat back stage, but too small for the main stage, this is a place to play. Decent sound, large room, comfortable rooms upstairs (which they occasionally close for bands.) There are two or three bars, a tiny dressing room/storage room, dingy shower. The downside is that the club is in an "up and coming" area in which break ins and violence still occasionally happen. What makes this location even less desirable is no convenient public transportation. Capacity of about 400 people and the staff are sometimes very cool, sometimes not so much. Bands get 3 free beers and money determined by some strange calculation that I have yet been able to figure out - Usually based on door polling. Always all ages. See the Red and the Black for additional ownership info. Website
  4. The Velvet Lounge: The venerable Velvet lounge is a hole in the wall, in a good way. It's what a dingy small rock club should be. They have always been supportive of up and coming metal acts, with a capacity of about 100, the club is two level row house. Some previous acts to play are Mastadon, Juicifer, and many more. The VL has recently changed ownership, and the new staff seem way friendlier towards bands, and willing to be more flexible. Nice staff and good sound (sometimes). A Location pretty much right across the street from a stop on the DC Metro (subway) makes this club very easy to get to, though parking can be a hassle, so if you are coming from out of town, get there early to find a spot. Bands get 2 free beers and they seem pretty fair with the door money, usually 50% of the door, minus $50 divided by door polling. Usually 21+ but they are flexible. Website
  5. The Red and the Black: I'm really mixed on this place. First and foremost it's in the same neighborhood as the Rock and Roll Hotel, which means it's hard for people to get to, and not all that great a neighborhood (called the Atlas District.) This place is a little smaller than the Velvet Lounge, all distressed wood. At one point they had a cool little patio out back to chill in and smoke (if you don't mind the constant smell of fried fish) but they closed it last Summer and I'm not sure if they reopened it. There is no real sound to speak of, beyond a PA for vocals. Owned by the same people who own the Rock and Roll Hotel, the club staff themselves are usually pretty cool, but the ownership has started to become notorious in the city for some reported mistreatment of bands, aggressive booking behaviors, and apparent lack of interest in the music scene itself, only in the money made. Most of my personal experiences with these people have mostly been good, though, so I can't really speak too much to this. Bands get 2 free beers and door money is split in a mysterious way. 21 plus, no exceptions. Website
  6. DC9: Okay, so I didn't even want to put this club on the list for a few reasons: 1) they so rarely have metal shows 2)They almost never do weekend shows 3) 21 and over only. All that said, this is a fun place to play, with a pretty big room and pretty good sound. Probably twice the size of the Velvet Lounge and just around the corner. They are more interested in Dance nights than rock shows, let alone metal. They are owned by the same people who own R&R Hotel and the Red and the Black. They use the same tricky math when determining band payment, and you usually have to wait until 1 or 2 to get paid. Here's the breakdown for what they seem to care about: 1) Money 2) Alcohol sales. Everything else is secondary. Always 21 + no exceptions. Website
  7. HOUSE SHOWS: Lets be honest here, if you are a band who's been working the grind for any amount of time in the last few years, the coolest shows to play are house shows, and in my opinion the most emotionally gratifying. Sure, there are the built in issues - Dingy basements, small capacity, little pay - but I find the upsides - kids who love music, gracious hosts, crazy energy, a built in place to crash (occasionally) - will out weigh the downsides. The DC area has a few sweet houses that haven't closed yet, and although these places have traditionally done hardcore and punk shows, metal and thrash bands are getting added to bills with increasing frequency. I'm not going to link to the houses, because I don't want to give them any undue external pressure. As with anything else worth the time, it's always better to put the work in. Houses still putting on shows: The Corpse Fortress, The Bervin House, The Girl Cave, Deathstar 2.
  8. Community Centers: There are still a few locations in the DC area that do shows, however they are notorious crazy and difficult to deal with. They are more suitable for jumping on local shows. Your best bet to get on one of these shows is to make friends with a band in the area. The places that do shows are: People's Media Center @ Alfishawy, The Electric Maid, and a few others.
  9. Murky Upstairs: This place is a coffee shop in Arlington VA that occasionally does all ages shows upstairs in what looks like a rec room. I would say it probably holds 60 people or so. I'm not sure if they do Metal shows, but it's worth reaching out. Myspace.
  10. Jaxx: The only reason I mention this shit hole at all is in warning. So many metal bands play here and it pisses me off. This place is so run down and nasty that you may want to shower just by walking in. It is at least 20 miles south of DC. The staff is reportedly crooked, and they frequently overload bills with 5-10 local bands and put the burden of ticket sales on these local bands. They are pretty much pay to play, and if the local bands don't sell, they are supposed to give the club money out of their pockets. The staff is NOT friendly. It may be different for a national band, I don't know. The sound usually is terrible as well. Whenever a band comes through town that I want to see, and it's at Jaxx, I want to punch someone in the face. Play here only as a last resort.
If you are in a touring band and want to try to play the DC area we can try and help, but we're not making any promises. Reach out to us, and we'll see what we can do. Just keep in mind, if we don't like your band, we probably won't help.


The Inquisition - U.S. CHRISTMAS

I first heard about U.S. Christmas midway through last year when my band got the chance to play with them. After listening to a few tunes and ultimately watching their set, I decided these dudes rule. Nate and Matt kindly took the time out of their busy schedules to undergo the watery hell that is The Inquisition. -Mr. Mogul

History in Their Words:

Been together going on seven years, all original members, no firings/dismissals or any such bullshit, only additions. Lineup is: Nate, Chad, Ben, Matt, Tim, and John. Put out three cds of our own, plus a bunch of live bootlegs. Russian Record label RAIG put out Salt The Wound for us a few years back, then we did a 4 song EP and full length album (Eat The Low Dogs) on Neurot last year. One of our guys, Chad Davis, has also done a lot of work in other bands. His metal band Hour of 13 put out a record that got named one of the top 25 albums of 2008 by Decibel Magazine. We're working on a lot of new stuff now.

The Inquisition:

1. Why are you in a band?
(Nate) So I can play guitar.
(Matt) To make music that I want to hear.

2. Do you consider your band successful?
(Nate) We exceeded everything we ever hoped to accomplish a long time ago, so yes, I think we have been successful. We have also been very fortunate to work with the labels that support us. In fact,I've already done pretty much everything I wanted to do with my life, and a lot of that was a result of being in this band.
(Matt) Yes we are very successful, in that what we do is for us and personally I love being in US Christmas, it lets me create, and has no limitations. And if anyone else happens to dig what we do then it's a bonus.

3. What are you currently listening to?

(Nate) Grateful Dead.
(Matt) At this moment Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

4. Who are your primary musical influences and do you think they are obvious?
(Nate) My primary influences are mostly classic rock from the 60s and 70s (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Hendrix, SRV etc.) There is a band from Idaho called Caustic Resin that is more of a contemporary influence. I think Brett Netson, who plays guitar in that band, is one of the best guitar players alive right now. And Neurosis is a big influence, both musically and personally. However, I don't think these influences are obvious, because the knee-jerk critical reaction has always been: USX are Hawkwind/Monster Magnet clones. The truth is, John, Tim, Matt and I had never heard any Hawkwind until Chad Davis joined the band in 2004. The next critic who asserts (rather than opines) that we are Hawkwind clones is likely to get a visit from me. To be clear, it is fair enough to say we sound like Hawkwind or Monster Magnet, they are good bands and I take that as a compliment. And both of those bands are a big influence on our band member Chad Davis, who is a great musician and multi-instrumentalist. And we have recently recorded some Hawkwind tracks for a collaborative project. But I know the music that inspired me to contribute to this band, and I know for a fact it wasn't those two bands. As I told one peckerhead this summer, I know more about my band than any critic in the world.

(Matt) Hawkwind, no just kidding, I would have to say Ministry, the first time i heard them it changed my life, then the same thing happened to me the first time I saw Neurosis, completely mind bending, have never been the same since that day. I always was into stuff like Voivod and Faith No More, Suicidal Tendencies...just a bunch of stuff. There is always the standards Sabbath and Pink Floyd, really I just love music, if it's good I'm into it.

5. What other band(s) are out there that we should be listening to?
(Nate) Caustic Resin. Motorhead.
(Matt) Fucked Up, Grails, Across Tundras, Minsk.

6. As a band, what was your best show/experience yet?
(Nate) Hard to beat the Brooklyn Masonic Temple show with Neurosis and Mastodon. But we have had hundreds of really good, fun shows all over the place. House shows in Richmond Virginia are always fun, away from prying eyes you know.
(Matt) Two weeks ago in our practice space, A new song we have been working on came together perfectly, I actually had cold chills for about ten minutes, it's going to be a great song to hear live.

7. What was your worst show/experience?
(Nate) We had to literally scream and yell and fight so we could play this one festival years ago when the promoter tried to pull the plug. We were supposed to play at 4 a.m. and it went past that before we even got on stage, I guess the dude wanted to go home. But we had waited a long time to play and witnessed the worst beating I ever saw, and someone kept screaming "He's got a gun" half the night. Believe me, after some shit like that, we were going to play the show whether anyone liked it or not - as a matter of principle. But that was also pretty fun at the same time. There was also this one club in Hickory that kicked out and banned Matt, Chad, and myself on three separate occasions. But those times also ruled, because we went out swinging, or at least mouthing off pretty good. Funny how the suck times are also good times.
(Matt) I don't know about bad experiences at shows, they are all just part of it, some times are better than others, but none have been BAD. There has been bad sound, bad beer, bad attendance at shows, but every time we play live we win people over... it's just part of the live experience.

8. What's your writing process like?

(Nate) We used to put stuff together more randomly than we do now. But we have always been an album oriented band, even when we did self-released stuff. Now we tend to have a theme in mind, and a goal to work toward. I have always written the lyrics and a lot of the songs, but we seem to be collaborating more and more. Writing songs is no problem.
(Matt) Nate pretty much summed that one up.

9. Do you see yourselves still doing this in 10 years? Why?
(Nate) I hope so, it is a lot of fun.
(Matt)As long as I'm still on this Earth. How else are you going to get free shitty beer?

10. Are there any shows or releases you want to pimp?
(Nate) A three-way split with USX/Minsk/Harvestman-Steve Von Till; a 7 inch split with Across Tundras; Roadburn/Beyond the Pale in April, sandwiched with a European tour.
(Matt) I have a Red 1960A Marshall 4x12 I'm wanting to sell for plane ticket money....



Shows you should go to:


A Trend in Permanence.

Myspace is an interesting thing. It allows you to keep up on all kinds of useless information about your "Friends" in the digital age. Through Myspace I've noticed quite recently this new trend that is springing up on band pages [1] [2] [3] [4].

Now granted, getting a tattoo of your favorite band is nothing new (See Henry Rollins) but there seems to be a shift in paradigm. In the old days, it was an underground phenomenon reserved (typically) for bands of near legendary status. There was no way to massively announce that your fans were devoted enough to get tattoos, thus encouraging more needy fans to call their devotion into question, with the end result of more and more drones sporting your band's tattoo.

Enter Myspace: A tool for the new century that can drive your hordes of rabid fans (we like rabid fans here) to permanently etch your band's name or logo into their skin, thus immediately immortalizing (well honestly, mortality still comes into play, but it's your fan's and not your band's) your Band, and securing your legacy in the annuls of time.

Okay, so let's be frank - we have more tattoos as a generation than any before. If you live in an urban area chances are pretty good that the majority of people you see who are 18-35 will have at least one tattoo of some sort (sorry I'm counting tramp stamps.) So with increased frequency of tattoos, does that lower the importance and value of the content, thus leading to more band tattoos?

If that's the case, then it stands to reason that Myspace isn't contributing to the phenomenon, merely documenting it.

I just wonder, when a person loves BAND X, get's a tattoo, then BAND X breaks up a year later, will they regret the tattoo? Or will they feel priveleged to document the passion they felt for the band, years later, regardless of how insignificant the band ended up being?

I guess the bottom line is, we should all go out and get KISS tattoos.


The Bronx - (2008)

Dear, The Bronx,

Okay dudes, we get it, you don't name your albums. But seriously, where the fuck is the mariachi album we've heard so much about? If it gives you joy to make us refer to your album by year, more power to you...

I was introduced to the Bronx back in August of '06 by a couple of guys in my band (at the time.) They kept talking about the new album from this miraculous band and who had the balls to come from California and name themselves after a rough and tumble borough of NYC. I heard a song, and immediately went out and bought the album, because, what the hell the dudes in my band liked it, and I supposed that I should be on the same page. Truth is, I didn't really like them at all the first few listens.
2006 went on the shelf for a few months. When I finally came back to it, it burned itself into my brain permanently, securing itself a place on my top albums of the decade.

No surprise, I was super excited to get my hands on
2008. The buzz around this album on the internet was incredible, in no small part because of the band itself leaking false information and being generally tricky, the perfect combination for a grassroots powerhouse release (See Mariachi Album.)

I guess it could be a symptom of getting older, or maybe it's the thousands of albums that have been swimming in my head for all these years, but when I first grabbed
2008 I found it a huge disappointment. In an email to Kurt I said something like this, "I dunno man, there's absolutely nothing new here." That sentiment lead to a later conversation (I think on the way to the Every Time I Die & Bronx show) where Kurt pointed out that "The Bronx are ACDC." In a way, he's right, but lets be frank here, even sticking to their formula, the Bronx have grown more in three albums, than ACDC has in their entire career, even if the growth has been small steps.

What the Bronx have released is a tight, compact, rock and roll album with an insatiable pop mentality. In this case, pop is not a dirty word. What I didn't pick up on during those initial few listens were the moments within songs where the anger easily rivals "Shitty Future" or "History's Stranglers." The Bronx are unafraid to throw those moments in the middle of such unabashed pop ditties.

So what's different then? Well you have songs like "Pleasure Seekers" which are rock and roll radio hit songs by the numbers (in the Bronx style) featuring pseudo anthemic sing-a-long choruses. The twist? Matt Caughthran paints a damn desolate picture with his often cynical and sarcastic lyrics, even on the sweet pop hits like "Young Bloods (machine)." And there are numerous such songs on this album... more than on previous outings. The GnR influence is way more apparent on this album, but the good news? No Axle Rose. The big difference here is that the more pop minded songs succeed where they fell flat on
2006 (think "Dirty Leaves.")

Overall we have 11 stripped down rock tunes. We have glimpses of brutality, moments of gentle beauty dipped in poison, ripping guitars, solid beats, and raucous sing-a-longs. We have plenty of tongue-in-cheek commentary about the media, about fame, music, and life in general. As with
2006 there is a definite anti-fame/star vibe (I get that, I lived in LA...) We get a guilty pleasure without the guilt. This album rocks.

Although I am unwilling to call
2008 better than 2006, after repeated listening, it does get my solid approval. This album should continue to please longtime fans, and continue to grow the base. Finally, this album is worth the listen just for Caughthran's performance, proving once again that he is one of the best vocalists in rock right now.

On a side note, if you get a chance, do see these bastards live. It will be a well spent 20 minutes.

Key Tracks:

Inveigh (2:47) -
is the closest thing to "History's Stranglers." It's not remotely the same song, but it's arguably the overall angriest on the album. Solid.

Pleasure Seekers (3:02) - Yup. I picked it. Man the chorus is just so fucking strong, and they make you wait for it. This fucking chorus will not leave my head.

Ship in High Transit (2:20) - Shortest song, most interesting musically, also I'm a big fan of the 90's San Diego scene... this song shows that influence the most on the album.

Low points:
Minutes in Night (2:43) - This isn't a bad song, exactly. I just found it the weakest on the album. To me it feels a bit like filler, with a chorus that doesn't really pop out. It could also be due to placement, to be honest, as if directly follows Ship High in Transit.


Best of 2008 - Kurt Von Awesome

1. Torche - Meanderthal
While I have been listening to and admiring Torche since their 2005 self-titled debut, I've always felt that their albums have failed to consistently combine their crushing down-tuned heaviness with their obvious affection for bright (and dare I say it, catchy) hooks and melodies. Meanderthal lays that to rest, and then some--this is, simply, the album where Torche, to my ears at least, finally puts it all together. I'm not sure what the most elegant way is of saying that this album is poppy and heavy as fuck simultaneously, so I'll put it like this: if Michael Jackson circa 1983 had formed a band with Scott Weinrich, this might be what it would have sounded like. And yes, that's a compliment. Ultimately there's not much to say other than that Meanderthal is that most tried and true of oxymorons: an instant classic.

2. Young Widows - Old Wounds
And if you can't get enough of oxymorons, along comes Old Wounds, an album that somehow manages to be epic and minimalistic at the same time. I can't explain how the Young Widows do this, all I can say is give a listen to the album's closer, Swamped and Agitated, and try to disagree. Because you can't. So let's just go ahead and place Old Wounds' epic minimalism alongside such tried-and-true gems as 'jumbo shrimp', 'genuine veneer', and 'tall midget' and move on, shall we?

3. Narrows - Narrows
It's true that Narrows is comprised of a mere three songs, but (a) with a 10:35 running time it was about as long as one of the "full length albums" that almost made this list, and (2) I couldn't in good conscience let the return of Botch's Dave Verellen go by without comment. So here goes: not only does Narrows feature my favorite song title of the year (Life Vests Float, Kids Don't), it is more importantly one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I've had in some time. I think I probably played this EP more than anything else on this list, and it left me wanting more--fortunately, Narrows apparently already has their next record, New Distances, recorded and ready to go. So until that comes out, I'll keep spinning this one, and in the process enjoying the fact that its first track features the nice Andy Kaufman-esque touch of cutting off abruptly, mid-riff. Hopefully, this will forevermore induce panicked thoughts in first-time (or drunk) listeners as they wonder, sincerely, "What the fuck is wrong with my iPod?"

4. These Arms Are Snakes - Tail Swallower and Dove
If I was a shameless public relations agent looking to get his ass kicked as quickly and thoroughly as possible, I would probably write something about this album like "These Arms Are Snakes? More Like, These Guys Are Awesome!" Fortunately, I'm not such a person. So, I'll write this instead: for some reason, These Arms Are Snakes seem to cause critics and fans alike to trip over themselves while trying to classify the band--as but the two most prominent examples, Wikipedia lists them variably as Post-hardcore, Experimental, Math rock, and Art punk, while AllMusic throws the Noise-Rock and Screamo tags at them. All or none of that may or may not be technically true, but to me such things are largely beside the point--these guys are simply a kick-ass rock and roll band who seem to get better with each subsequent release, and Tail Swallower and Dove only continues this trend. It is one of the most consistent albums, from start to finish, that I've heard in a while--a lot of the credit for this must go to the rhythm section of Chris Common and Brian Cook, who drive the album forward with irrepressible groove while guitarist Ryan Frederiksen (also a member of Narrows, dontcha know) and Steve Snere trade guitar and vocal lines overtop. In short, it makes for 43 minutes and 52 seconds of bliss, regardless of how you want to classify it.

5. Trap Them - Seizures in Barren Praise
Perhaps the most BROOTAL release of the year by any band, listening to Trap Them's second full-length is the aural equivalent of being wilded by a gang of gibbons that are jacked up on crystal meth. But in a good way.

6. Disfear - Live the Storm
The big news of 2008 as far as fans of Tomas Lindberg were concerned was of course the At the Gates reunion, which while exciting seems to have overshadowed one of Lindberg's numerous other projects, Disfear. That's a shame, because Live the Storm, released by the Swedish D-beaters way back in January, was easily one of the best of the year (hence its inclusion on both my top ten and Zak's, duh). More importantly, it has established itself as a solid contender for the coveted crown of "Best Album to Feature the Same Drum Beat on Every Song", which has been held by AC/DC since the 1983 release of Flick of the Switch.

7. Blacktusk - Passage Through Purgatory
I've been listening to this record since it came out, and I still don't know if "blacktusk" is one word or two. My guess is that it's one word, but then the question becomes: is the 'T' capitalized or not? I guess if you make a record as pulverizing as this you don't have to worry about grammatically confusing people. No, instead you worry about how to make a good record even better. Blacktusk's answer: to include a DVD with the album that features a slideshow, live performances, and music videos, one of which finds the band riding around in something called the doom wagon, fighting zombies. If that doesn't convince you to check these guys out, I guess nothing will.

8. Early Graves - We: The Guillotine
Halfway through this album, on the aptly titled Rest, Early Graves take a slight, two-minute break from bashing you in the skull with huge riffs and thundering drums. After giving you a few moments to catch your breath and/or to seek medical attention, they then continue on with the aforementioned skull bashing. That's what I like about Early Graves: not only are they ferocious as fuck, but they're also considerate.

9. Opeth - Watershed
Has Opeth made a bad album yet? Let me answer that for you: shit no. Every time they release a new album, I think the same thing: this is the one where they fall flat on their genre-straddling asses. And every time, I'm proven wrong. Watershed is, needless to say, no exception to this. There's not much to say about this album that hasn't been written elsewhere, so I'll simply ask: the jam in the middle of The Lotus Eater--what other "metal" band could even attempt something like this, let alone pull it off? I'll answer that question for you as well: no one. To me Opeth is like that kid you knew in high school who was substantially smarter than everyone around him--he was fun to hang out with, up until you met up with him the summer after freshman year of college and he had started storing his urine in jars and would only talk about superstring theory. In other words, Opeth is too advanced for their own good; but at least up until they plunge off the deep end, we can keep on enjoying them.

10. An Albatross - The An Albatross Family Album
Perhaps realizing that there was no way they could top the brilliance of their last album's title (Blessphemy...of the Peace Beast Feastgiver and the Bear Warp Kumite), An Albatross follow things up with the subdued-sounding The An Albatross Family Album. Fortunately, the only thing restrained about this album is its title. Picking up where Blessphemy left off, An Albatross take their already extreme psychedelic formula and somehow manage to extend it even further. Sure, the album features sub-2 minute spazz fests, familiar ground for An Albatross; the difference this time around, however, is that the band stretches out multiple times on extended tracks almost seven minutes in length, to great effect. Listening to this album makes me wish there were more bands out there attempting this particular flavor of extreme music--you know, screamo free jazz freakouts with flutes (You read that right: this album features FLUTES. I know, crazy, right?). Then again, perhaps there aren't because no one else is really capable of pulling it off. I suppose you could say that An Albatross are like a one-armed guy juggling flaming bowling pins: no one has a clue how they do what they do, but damned if it isn't impressive.

Honorable Mention aka Just Missed the Cut aka A Shit-Ton of Albums Released This Year That Were Also Pretty Damn Good:
The Bronx - The Bronx, Coffins - Buried Death, Conifer - Crown Fire, Gridlink - Amber Grey, Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets, Victims - Killer, Withered - Folie Circulaire

Album Cover of the Year:
Deadbird - Twilight Ritual