Another bizarre and beautifully fucked up recording from the mysterious West Virginia Black Metal cult, Ahulabrum. The Transitivity of Strangeness continues to delve further into the bands fascination with UFOs and extraterrestrial phenomena. After my last post about this great band I was visited by a strange man in an ill-fitting black suit, he introduced himself as Jack Brown and told me I shouldn't write about Ahulabrum anymore.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Baba Yaga were an all-female crusty doom band from Seattle in the late '90s. They eventually evolved into the band Grey. As far as I know, this tape is the only thing Baba Yaga managed to get out. Just two songs, but they are roughshod primitive doom at its finest, particularly "Stoner Bitch." This is rare.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Nip Drivers was the brainchild of Mike Webber, a man too bizarre and beautiful to live for too long. Those of you who know this band love them, plain and simple. For those who don't, let me try to give a little info. The Nip Drivers formed in Torrance, California in 1982. They opted for a humorous take on hardcore, but despite the jokiness and novelty, they cooked. They played well, and wrote brilliant, concise songs. They contributed a track to the We Got Power comp soon after they formed. New Alliance Records released the Nip Drivers' debut, 12" EP Destroy Whitey in 1984. In 1985 the band followed up with their full-length Oh Blessed Freak Show (Later both reissued on one CD by Taang!) Some might know these guys for their cover of The Sweet's "Fox On The Run" from the Desperate Teenage Lovedolls Soundtrack. After a period of inactivity, frontman Mike Webber emerged with an all new line-up in the '90s. The self-titled 7" EP (sometimes referred to as Pretty Face) was issued in 1990. I posted this EP last Valentine's day but didn't say much about it as I was out the door to Europe. Nineteen Ninety-five saw the release of the Dirt My Hole EP. Both of these little records are absolutely chocked with heartbreakingly good pop-hooked punk songs made gooder by Webber's unique voice and delivery. Webber, despite his obvious talents and charm, was a troubled man who wrestled with an addiction to opiates for the better part of his too-short life. He died in November 2006 from apparent heart failure just days after an overdose on morphine. I had a chance to hang out with Mike in 1991 at Gilman Street. He was a mess, but a funny and sweet mess, and though I only met him the one time, I have always felt like he was a friend because of the hours of joy and solace his band's records gave me when I was younger. So I guess it's fair to say I miss him. I hope you enjoy these.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Here's some self-proclaimed "True Black Metal Art" from two relatively unknown Ukrainian bands, Moloch and Dictator. This tape is extremely rare (only 100 copies.) Like many black metal splits, both bands here sound fairly similar, but as is the tradition with The Hearse and split releases, a winner must be declared. This time it will be hard. Moloch has a richer sound and texture to their primitive black metal, but that isn't necessarily an advantage over their opponent. Too close to call really. Maybe you, the reader, should decide.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Maybe you avoided Fates Warning like an piñata full of dirty hypodermics because the word "progressive" was always pinned to it. Perhaps you avoided this album because of its custom van artwork. Whatever the reason, it's time you made peace with Fates Warning and one of the best Heavy Metal albums ever recorded. I don't care for any of their other albums, just this one, but man is it a gem. On Awaken The Guardian, Fates Warning sound like a refined Psalm 9-era Trouble. Perhaps this is due to the influence of Bill Metoyer, Metalblade's in-house engineer at the time. If there was an award given for metal, a Steely if you will, then I imagine this album would have swept up when it was released in 1986. This would be the final and best appearance of original singer John Arch, who deserves a Steely for his nuanced and impassioned performance. I guess after this, he figured he could rest on his laurels for the next seventeen years-- he didn't sing a note until he released a solo album in 2003. But it's not just about Mr. Arch's pipes, there are enough Steely-worthy riffs here to sate the most jaded banger. Seriously, have you ever heard a better metal ballad than "The Guardian"? Didn't think so. This record is essential. And how awesome would that cover look painted on a van?
Monday, January 26, 2009
This is the LA-based SST Records Overkill. The good Overkill, not the third-rate thrash band from New York. Released in 1985, Triumph of the Will was their only full-length album, and it kicks ass. Overkill kind of sounded like the love child of Black Flag and The Dictators. Now don't you wanna fucking hear this?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This battle for Korean Black Metal supremacy has Barbarous going head-to-head and toe-to-toe against Zerzyan Loathe. Both bands are extremely harsh and noisy and both bands show little regard for melody or tone, just abrasive, overdriven scrape. Seriously not for everyone, if you like happy black metal about trolls and faggy vampires you might want to run in terror from this one. However if you dig this one, be sure to review the old Cosmic Hearse post on the weird world of Korean Black Metal and have your mind blown by pure aural animus from the land of the morning calm.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Another endearing "Zamrock" treasure for you, dear readers. Did you go all crazy for Chrissy Zebby Tembo, The Witch and Amanaz? Well Question Mark were just as infectious and beautiful as any of them and a little more upbeat and poppy. You'd have to be a real dick to not love this.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Almost everyone has a particular band from their hometown that they loved and wanted to do real well and take over the world. Because you believed in what they were doing and their success would be the success of your tiny bullshit town, and in a way, you too. In 1996 Tina Age 13 was that band in San Francisco. Granted, SF isn't some tiny bullshit town, even if it is always tiny and often bullshit, but you know what I mean. Anyways, they were every bit as great as Pavement or Superchunk was and even better was the fact that I was their friend and (as the title suggests) they made this beautiful 7" for me (among others.) I appreciate it still, the song Elevator still makes me sad in that good way that lets you know that you are still a human. Tina Age 13 aren't a band anymore, something always fucks that up, but they are still my friends. Sean Casement still lives in San Francisco, our sons sometimes play together. Chris Johanson lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a respected painter whose art hangs in MOMAs all over the country. Sadly, Jake took his own life not long after this record came out. He was a good dude, but maybe he didn't think so. They were all good dudes. Good Times, Hard Times indeed. Thanks, friends.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Here's Confuse's Contempt For The Authority, And Take Off The Lie + 3 Tracks CD I recently acquired. It contains the Contempt For The Authority, And Take Off The Lie EP from '85 and three tracks that originally appeared on the Jisatsu Omnibus comp. It's short (14:23) and it was crazy expensive (about $30 after shipping costs) but I am a collecting nerd and this actually has a lyric sheet which is pure Engrish poetry and makes it worth any price. Confuse frontman, Dis, was like a noise punk Matsuo Basho penning such gold as the lyrics to "Fuckin' Lovers":
In your room, love's spread
In fiction days, you lie
In your room, love's spread
In the every night, you're a fucker
Fuck off, lovers, you must fall
Fuck off, lovers, pussycat
Fuck off, lovers, you must fall
Fuck off, you're a liar
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Draugar is a bizarre one-man Black Metal band from San Francisco. From Which Hatred Grows was Draugar's first full length release. A bit clumsy and meandering at times but I think this adds to the general uneasiness that sets Draugar apart from the scores of generic, corpse-painted tykes who insist on making black metal in the forests of their bedrooms as if they were characters from a fucking Maurice Sendak book.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thanks to Ossi for finding this gem that has been on my wish list for some time now. Don't know shit about this band except that they appeared on the Noise Against The Machine compilation as well as the RRR 500 compilation of locked grooves This was released as a 7" with 88 songs in 1995. Power Violence, Grind, Noisecore, whatever you want to call it I don't give a fuck, and neither does this little blue record.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Here's a rare and odd bit of American-made prog-metal that might have slipped under your radar, Angel of Mercy's 1987 album Avatar. Angel of Mercy were an ambitious power trio from Las Vegas who remind me a bit of early Manilla Road and the cult Italian band, Dark Quarterer. Like the aforementioned bands, Angel of Mercy seemed to get a lot of mileage from their old Rush albums. Kind of hard to figure out why record nerds aren't singing this album's praises today. Perhaps now they will.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Tesco Vee's Dutch Hercules, The Meatmen frontman's one-off solo album showcasing his immense talent for vernacular and ten-fold hate. Tesco takes potshots at lesbians, televangelists, cock rock, rap and an old Sly and The Family Stone tune. Members of Minor Threat helped out too. You probably already know this one.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
There is something about Greek Black Metal that is primitive yet classy. Varathron are perhaps the oldest and best known Greek Black Metal band. Here I present Varathron's first demo tape from way back in 1989 called Procreation of the Unaltered Evil. It's the larval stage of what would become a legendary name in Hellenic darkness. Teenage occult metal from the Hellenic Republic, the land that brought us olives, democracy, and Yanni.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Far Out were an obscure Japanese prog/psych band that contained members of the better known Far East Family Band. Like many of these overlooked '70s outfits, Far Out only eked out one album. Released in 1973, Far Out's record is an expansive trip of post-Syd-era-Floyd worship that urges you to sink into a comfortable chair, your ceramic wizard shaped bong gur-gur- gurgling like a unicorn's heartbeat or a young girl's fever. Jesus, fuck, I'm high.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Stranger was a young and hungry Bavarian Heavy Metal act. They were sort of like a low rent Helloween. Their debut album, The Bell, was released in 1985 on the Hot Blood label. Stranger favored a more traditional style of metal that, by '85, was obscured by thrash in Germany, so these guys didn't get much attention, but this album, while being a bit generic, is still a great deal of fun. You remember fun, right?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This record, to me and many folks around my age, was a crash course in punk. Through the Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation my impressionable ears were impressed upon by the sheer greatness of Flipper, Bad Brains, D.O.A. and The Feederz ( I already knew about Black Flag , The Dead Kennedys, and The Circle Jerks.) The others, like Really Red, BPeople, Wounds, Half Japanese, Christian Lunch, and Voice Farm were a bit too arty for me at that age but I have since come to appreciate their contributions as well, especially Wounds' great cut "An Object." Does anyone out there know more about them? I assume this won't be a big discovery for readers as sophisticated and worldy as The Hearse's but let's listen to this one today for the nostalgia and because Reagan was the best U.S. president ever. If you have any doubts ask yourself who has graced the cover of more punk albums or had more punk songs written about him. Certainly not that do-nothing Rutheford B. Hayes.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Here we have two obscure Norwegian Black Metal bands battling for the title. This is definitely a close match with both Grenjar and Vantro being very similar in style. Let's just give it to Grenjar for having a slightly weirder logo. For those who care, the title Svart Sammensvergelse translates to mean "Black Conspiracy."
Monday, January 12, 2009
Profondo Rosso was Argento's return to the giallo after a brief hiatus from the genre. Many believe it is his best film. It also marks Argento's first collaboration with Goblin. It is definitely Goblin's finest moment. Their tense and turgid death funk adds an inscrutable dimension to some of the most twisted and stylish murder scenes ever shot.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I like Exodus, I really do. They're a Bay Area thrash institution. It's really cool that they tried to keep the name alive throughout the dark, metal-unfriendly '90s, and I guess it's cool that they continue to this day. However, they really made only one keeper as far as I'm concerned, but man, it's really the best thrash album ever laid down. Just by the sheer might of Bonded By Blood alone have I been able to forgive Exodus for some serious transgressions. This was Exodus in their prime, young and dumb. Baloff was a lovable lout singing a bit beyond his range about violence, violent metal, violent occultism, violent fish...And then there's the H Squad (Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt for the posers out there) just blazing through riffs that Metallica wished they had (I think they "borrowed" a few anyways). I assume that most of you are familiar with this album and it's knuckle-dragging genius, but out there, somewhere, is someone who hasn't been given a lesson in violence. Some uptight, button-down square that has never felt the strike of the beast that is Exodus, or at least as they were in 1985. Now bang your head against the stage. Metal takes its price. R.I.P. Baloff.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Damnation was Gai's second tape/LP. If you have been following the Hearse then you know the story of Gai, if not go here, though I am not even sure of my own accuracy regarding the chronology and discography of Gai. I would like to point out the potpourri of '80s punk awesomeness that is this album's cover: a two-headed skeleton holding Reagan's severed head with what appears to be either a missile or a dildo jammed into it and, and for some reason, the cryptic text that reads "Please Give Me Your Semen." Weird.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Mutiilation's Vampires Of Black Imperial Blood is essential Les Legions Noire material. Mutiilatiion has the distinction of being the only LLN band still active today, though rumor has it that they were ousted from LLN in 1996 due to mainman Meyhna'ch's heroin addiction. There are so many rumors surrounding these bands it'd be hard to confirm any such allegations and it bears little relevance to Mutiilation's fantastic recorded output.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Another absolutely stunning Sublime Frequencies release. This time we are transported to Thailand's rocking past for some of the most infectious pop music ever committed to tape. For those of you who don't already know, Sublime Frequencies is a label run by members of The Sun City Girls. Over the last decade the label has released what they call "obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers." This includes folk and pop from Southeast Asia and the Middle East as well as field recordings, radio broadcasts, and ceremonial music from all over the globe. The label's releases are produced in limited quantities (usually 1,000 copies), and are generally not reprinted. Thai Pop Spectacular 1960s-1980s is among the label's best. If you don't fall in love with these simple, bubbly songs then you are too far gone. Dig yourself a hole and get in it.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Tygers Of Pan Tang's second album, Spellbound, is easily one of the greatest NWOBHM albums. It's a raucous party that spills from the smoke-filled pubs onto the cobbled streets of Whitley Bay Rock City. I always avoided these guys because of the seemingly coke metal name (that's not how you spell "tigers" or "poontang") but once I got over my initial reservations, I was treated to a balls-out rocking good time. This album marks the debut of far superior Tygers vocalist Jon Deverill. Enjoy.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Rattus were one of the best-known Finnish punk bands. 1987's Stolen Life LP showed Rattus adopting a more metallic sound, perhaps why it is still on heavy rotation around the Cosmic Hearse garage. Not to mention how absolutely stellar the cover art is. I never really cared for their other stuff. So sue me.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Geistus is the black metal alter-ego of Mike Scheidt of Eugene, Oregon doom legends, Yob. Mr. Scheidt obviously was moved by the works of Von, Blasphemy, Beherit and other such early kult luminaries, however Geistus has a bit more going for it in the skill department. This was released in very limited numbers by The Funeral Agency, which was the short-lived cassette only label that I used to do. Geistus has expanded to two members and has recently played some live engagements around Oregon. This tape kills.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The Nils were a pop-punk band from Montreal, started in 1978 by the barely adolescent Soria brothers. Now before you get all hot under the collar, this isn't Fall Out Boy pop-punk, this is more like the power pop with punk leanings that rulers like Husker Du (Bob Mould was a huge fan of these guys) and The Replacements made notable. The Nils contributed songs to the BYO compilation Something to Believe In and the regional Quebec comp Primitive Air Raid before releasing the Sell Out Young 12" EP in 1985. Another EP, Paisley, followed in 1986 (anyone have this?), and a more slick-sounding self titled LP came in 1987. The band remained active well into the '90s, but for some reason yielded no recordings after the debut LP. The Sorias were top-notch songwriters even at an early age. This EP is the proof. These guys should've been better known.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Lumbering and monstrous, Autopsy's second album Mental Funeral, was a fetid Shoggoth that crawled blind and crazy from the San Francisco Bay into my heart. Oily, sluggish, and thoroughly baked, Autopsy were like no other band before them or since. Word is that a new album will be released this year. I'm okay with that.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Cracks In The Sidewalk was an early New Alliance Records compilation released as a 12" EP in 1980. I guess the idea was to have the punker stuff on side A and the more artsy stuff on side B.
1. Minutemen - 9:30 May 2
2. Black Flag - Clocked In
3. Saccharine Trust - Hearts & Barbarians
4. Kindled Imagination - Cowboy & Indian Scene
5. Artless Entanglements - How's The Blood Taste pt.2
6. Sharp Corners - Me Too