The gloves are off as Josh and Matt go head-to-head over Slipknot’s latest.
Back to the old stomping grounds.
With just a single founding member left in the band – bassist Martin Schulman – long-time Swedish death metal purveyors Centinex haven’t had the easiest time getting back into the underground spotlight. Following the release and subsequent touring of their eighth full-length release, World Declension, the group officially disbanded back in 2006, with a few members moving on to create Demonical, a speedier and darker incarnation of the prototypical Swedish sound.
Now, on the back of a whole lot of reissues which assuredly kept the band’s name relevant, Centinex have returned from a nine-year hiatus with a former drummer (Kennet Englund), a new vocalist (Alexander Högbom of doom band October Tide), and a come-back album entitled Redeeming Filth. And with such a steady market for the old-school death metal sound, they couldn’t have rejoined the corpse-party at a better (or, pending on your belief system, worse) time.
Redeeming Filth suffers (not really) and excels in precisely what it aims to deliver – shuttering mid-tempo savagery of the most rudimentary yet powerful sort. So throw originality out of the coffin, because when it comes to riffs of such density, drums of such concussive resolve, and vocals of such bestial and brutish temerity, there’s simply no damn room for such an overrated concept like innovation. And as it goes, when you’re a trailblazer of whatever art you’re performing, the judgment call is not nearly as strict as it would be for some early-20s up-and-comer.
Sounding like Bloodbath, Paganizer, Facebreaker, Entrails, and the like, Centinex add some American and English influence as well, with the pace and feel of Redeeming Filth echoing the grim and resounding lurch of early-to-mid ‘90s stalwarts Obituary, Benediction, Bolt Thrower, and Six Feet Under. But so very much like their Swedish brethren, Centinex remain very cognizant of what makes their country’s brand of death so inviting – those damn blood-rusted and infectious hooks.
Not every song is granted such wanton memorability, mind you, but the choruses found on winner-killers like the lurking “Unrestrained,” the album highlight “Rotting Below,” and “Moist Purple Skin” – one of a few mean-ass songs extant using the word ‘moist’ (Nirvana’s “Moist Vagina” also coming to mind), or ‘purple,’ for that matter – are each thundering examples of Centinex at their best. Of course, the riffs are also of paramount importance, and while “Bloodraze” or “Without Motives” aren’t as instantly refrain-friendly, their ability to inspire instantaneous head-banging is incontestable.
As far as comeback records go, Centinex, in their latest form, don’t sound like they’ve missed a beat with Redeeming Filth. It’s massive and as heavy as you could have possibly hoped. Sure, not every song latches on, but the ones that do feel like steel bear-traps; sturdy, straight-forward, and bound to put you down for the night.
Acting their age.
It’s tempting to say it’s business as usual for AC/DC, but things have certainly taken some interesting turns of late for the legendary band. Just over the last month or so there’s been the tragic revelation that rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Malcolm Young is suffering from severe dementia and long-time on-again-off-again drummer Phill Rudd did and then did not pull a Tim Lambesis; interesting times indeed. Not so much the band’s sixteenth1 (!!!) studio outing Rock Or Bust which, even by post-1980 AC/DC standards feels tame and uninspired.
Wow, that’s a horrible visual.
Rock Or Bust is the first AC/DC record since the oft-(and-rightfully)-forgot Flick Of The Switch and Fly On The Wall (1983 and ’85 respectively) not to add anything residual to the AC/DC canon. The record opens with the uninspired title-track and underwhelming lead-single “Play Ball,” which sadly prove to be two of the better songs in attendance.
While AC/DC haven’t released a really substantial record in the Johnson-era since dropping Back In Black (you know, the all time greatest rock n’ roll record of all time) all the way back in 1980. 1990’s The Razor’s Edge came closest by merit of actually having four memorable songs rather than the traditional one, but that’s just it; Every AC/DC album (bar the aforementioned Fly On The Wall and Flick of The Switch), if ultimately forgettable, always has that one song that’s an instant rock ‘n roll classic. Some instances are more successful than others (looking at you “Heatseeker”) but I can hardly imagine anyone actively putting on “Rock Or Bust” or “Play Ball” in 25-years time, let alone in a couple of months or even weeks. Hell, is anyone even doing it now??
That chroma key and lingerie bowl.
As for how Rock Or Bust hangs together as a whole: successfully but disinterestingly, I guess. If there’s a distinction to be made between this and the rest of the band’s catalog – and remember this is the band whose iconic lead guitarist supposedly once claimed, “I am sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly alike. We have in fact made 12″2 – it’s that Rock Or Bust is a more subdued, blues oriented record, although whether that’s an aesthetic element or simply the band showing their age, which is on average about 62 (whether Phil Rudd is still in the band or not) with their lead singer pushing 70.
While they might be lesser entries to the AC/DC wheelhouse, Rock Or Bust simply lacks the excitement of a “Stiff Upper Lip” or “Rock ‘n Roll Train,” which propelled their last two records, and likewise the sturdiness that sustained Ballbreaker or For Those About To Rock. The album does actually pick up a bit toward the end. “Baptism Of Fire” and “Sweet Candy” aren’t bad and even “Rock The House” is passable, but they’re all merely decent album tracks at best, and after clunkers like “Dogs Of War” and cringe-inducing dad rock of “Rock the Blues Away” – more or less the auditory equivalent of a Grown Ups movie3 – they’re hardly redemptive.
That is literally a teleprompter being used to remember those lyrics. #old
Rock Or Bust certainly rocks (though only barely) but it fails to bust out anything beyond borderline substantial. It undoubtedly sounds like AC/DC and it sounds a lot better than the likes of Blow Up Your Video at least and is mercifully short following Black Ice’s fifteen tracks, so I guess you could find worse ways of setting the mood of a smoky pool-room/bar, though you could also definitely find better from whipper-snapping imitators like Airborne or The Treatment. Even if it was foolhardy to expect anything genuinely intriguing at this stage, Rock Or Bust is also unquestionably a lesser entry in AC/DC’s extensive discography.
Alternatively you might want to check out:
The Treatment – Running With The Dogs
Blues Pills – Blues Pills
1 Going by their Australian catalogue by which includes High Voltage and T.N.T. as separate albums, whereas subsequent international released compiled the two.
2 That’d be that pesky Australian/international discrepancy again. (ibid.)
3 Yes, there are two of them. Unfortunately.
Once more beyond the stars
After being some of the hottest rock and roll shit on the globe for a couple of years in the mid-90s, you slowly fade into obscurity. Then, suddenly, you are startled awake in a drunken haze. It is the year 2013, on a planet not too far from here. You proceed to shake off the sweat, you bring back the thunder and you kick out the jams. Where do you go from here? If Dave Wyndorf and his caballeros are to be believed, you just repeat the process note for note and hang a purplish lampshade on it. Milking The Stars is literally what it says on the tin; a reworking of all that good stuff that made Last Patrol such a return to form for Monster Magnet. In the words of the man himself, they wanted to give the songs “this weird 60s vibe”. That’s all well and groovy, but why should ticket-holders shell out for a second patrol?
Describing Milking The Stars as a remix-album would be to miss the point. Although most of these songs are trippy takes on their Last Patrol-counterparts, the gods of rock and roll have graced us with new instrumentation and even a couple of original cuts. Liberal amounts of psychedelic organs are key to unlocking those fabled weird doors of perception, distancing the band even further from the cock rock that characterized most Monster Magnet releases post Dopes To Infinity. Sacrificing the hard rock edge of “Mindless Ones” in favor of acid-tinged heavy psych, the redressing is surprisingly natural, suggesting that this reimagining did not come impulsively. After all, if Last Patrol hinted at a return to the band’s roots, this version is simply a logical continuation.
New cuts such as “Goliath Returns” and “Milking The Stars” are classic Wyndorf, performing sardonic poetry with his usual “cool motherfucker” swagger. Musically it feels like somewhat of a look back at the meandering space rock of the band’s early years, which is an exciting prospect for any upcoming new material. It’s hard to tell whether Milking The Stars is a one-off experiment, but in any case it’s proof that Monster Magnet are back with newfound creativity and a dangerous edge. There’s no chart-busters or fist-pumping anthems this time around, rather the songs are allowed to drift away into uncharted corners of space, drenched in hallucinogenic effects.
More of a companion-piece to Last Patrol pulled from some alternative universe than a stand-alone release, Milking The Stars will likely mainly be of interest to the hardcore fans. Those who prefer the riff-fuelled machismo side of Monster Magnet can safely give this one a pass, but if you’re into their darker and more psychedelic material, this is an idealized version of Last Patrol. It’s difficult to rate an album like this, since its strengths lean heavily upon the merits of the original material. In the end, it feels like these songs are given a second wind by the alternative takes, making Milking The Stars a solid release in its own right. Sunglasses on; we’re leaving for distant galaxies.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19: FINAL SHOW
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18: MAIN SHOW
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17: MAIN SHOW
The second night of the Festival was deemed as the first “official” night for the fact that it was the first night of the “main” shows. My friend was coming along with me, and we were both pretty excited. The venue for the main shows this weekend was a venue called The Rialto Theatre, also in downtown Tucson about 45 seconds away from the District. The venue was chosen by the organizers due to being closer to hotels, food, and other accommodations than the prior venue (in 2012 and 2013) known as The Rock.
The Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, Arizona just concluded this past Sunday (Oct. 19), and for the third year in a row, the organizers of the festival brought in various acts; in some cases, bands that had not played in Arizona, much less Tucson, for years, or if ever.
The festival’s first year was in 2012, and it wasn’t until the second fest when it finally came to my attention, due mainly to the band Subrosa being part of it. The lineup wasn’t too intriguing, but I love Subrosa, so I knew that I had to go. However, come October 2013, I was going through medical issues dealing with a herniated disc in my lower back. I wasn’t able to attend the festival that year (as well as missing out on the Alcest/Anathema show a few weeks prior), so I was restricted to waiting for this year’s lineup to be announced instead.
The wait was worth it. Acts like Goatsnake, Neurosis, and the mighty Sunn O))) were enough to make me buy tickets. The rest of the line up was icing on the cake. Suffice to say, I got to experience something new to me in more ways than one.
Dubbed by their countrymen “the Japanese Black Sabbath”, Ningen-Isu has been active in their homeland since forming in 1987. Despite the band beginning to gain worldwide acclaim, their name is still not commonly known among metalheads outside of Japan. The Metal Observer was recently granted the opportunity to interview these Japanese legends on the heels of releasing their eighteenth album, Burai Houjouo, in June of 2014, which could very well be one of the band’s only, if not THE only, interview in English.
Metal has had its fair share of oddities and curiosities, and more than once, as it happens, like a two-headed beast fighting over a shared body, we come upon two bands of the very same name, an unusual instance that often spawns tensions and lawsuits. TMO has gathered the 10 most prominent of these cases, looked into how they came to be, and then at whether or not a solution was ultimately found.