Church of Misery – House Of The Unholy

Church of Misery House of The Unholy (2009)

Awesome Japanese doom metal that’s about murders. Alright, a little more would be that these guys put to shame like 98% of all doom bands not named Electric Wizard. They deliver fuzzed out riffs that stay stuck in your head for days at a time, while the vocals are ballsy shouts that Lemmy Kilmister would be proud of. Also these guys are able to change tempos in the middle of songs and not have disrupt the groove, rather enhance it. If you dig heavy rock or metal you can’t go wrong with this album.

Big Business – Mind The Drift

Big Business Mind The Drift:

Big Business are back and rocking as ever. It seems that they learned a bit while being in the Melvins. Previous Big Business albums had been good, but became repetitive as they went on. Here the tracks all vary enough to keep the listener engaged. The drumming and riffing are top-notch as always. The vocal have improved, with them being able to create great vocal melodies. One of the best rock albums to be put out this year and also the strongest Big Business release yet.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalypse

Agoraphobic Nosebleed Agorapocalypse:

The last thing that comes to mind when one things of Agoraphobic Nosebleed is females. Well you better start since Kat, from the band Salome, has joined this constantly changing project. Her vocals are fierce enough to hold up with any of the guys, but still it’s a nice change and really adds to the songs. Another big change is the way the band has slowed down. This album seems almost glacially slow compared to Altered States of America, but that’s not a bad thing. Rather songs are usually made up of at least two parts. This adds depth and variety, curing the one weakness the band ever had. Also Scott Hull has been really practicing with his digital work station since the drum beats have never sound better. Also his playing is just top notch on this album. While it was a wait, Agorapocalypse completely delivers and maybe a high point for extreme music in 2009.

The Melvins and drums

I had the good fortune of catching The Melvins live last time they played Boston. During this set, they stuck to rock oriented material, and didn’t really show their more experimental side. Although I’ve been listening to their material for years, it didn’t dawn on me until that show how essential Dale Crover’s, and more recently Coady Willis’ drumming is to The Melvins songs.

The Melvins take a few page from The Who play-book, at least in their dynamics. Buzz largely sticks to rhythmic parts that accentuate chord changes. He doesn’t really do the whole straight eighth notes power chord thing too often, instead he builds catchy riffs that dance around a bit until they return home to pound you in the face at specific chord changes. Buzz solos pretty rarely, but when he does he rips. He always aids the mood of the songs with his guitar solos rather than using the solo as a venue to show off for the sake of showing off. Jared the bass player follows Buzzes lead hitting the root notes fairly often, but mixes it up with flourishes chords. He basically sticks to what a good rock bassist should do, keep the rhythm but, throw some cool fills and leads in their as well.

The largest amount of variation, solos, fills, sound effects, what one would consider the lead parts come from Dale and Coady. The drums pushed each song, they didn’t provide a subtle back beat, they didn’t lay back. The drums kicked each song in the ass driving the mood by simultaneously working with the song, and sometimes threatening to tear it apart.

The beautiful thing is that the tension created by the drummers during certain songs is completely intentional. Both Dale and Coady are exceptional drummers, and know exactly what they’re going for. They know when to play the same beat, and they know when to go ape-shit. As if playing their often taxing and complicated parts for each song perfectly wasn’t enough, in between each tune Dale and Coady would engage in mini drum offs and pieces which would give Buzz and Jared time to tune. These drums excursions always segwayed perfectly into the next song.

Dale and Coady represent the best kind of drummers. They frequently deviate from basic rhythms, but they do so in a way which is tasteful. Their drum solos aren’t 10 minute long epics, they’re short sweet, and show off their abilities to compose cool rhythms and miniature pieces, rather than showing how many notes they can hit in a second.

As they have in the past the Melvins have brought together an amazing group of musicians, who are tasteful, and enthusiastic to break new ground. While there probably isn’t an era of the band without something valuable to offer, this latest line-up could possibly be the best they’ve had yet. An amazing feat for a band who already have so many artistic accomplishments under their belt.

Cobalt – Gin

Cobalt Gin:

Wow a Black metal duo, never heard of that before. Actually these guys are really good. They play Black Metal but instead of just punching the guitar over and over while the drummer hits as many things as he can, they actually have musical skill. There are neat passages of atmosphere and just cool riffs. Cool riffs in Black Metal? Blasphemy. Plus Jabroe shows up, so that’s pretty sweet. Overall this is awesome Black Metal that shows what the genre could do if more artists went beyond corpse pain and moaning about frigid mountains.

TV on The Radio-Dear Science

TV on The Radio Dear Science

A well balanced album. TV on The Radio take funk, rock, hip-hop, punk, and even a little shoe-gaze, and make it all their own. Lyrically solid, but the vocal delivery and their seemingly endless supply of cool instrument sounds and production make this disk as kick-ass as it is.

Rating: 14/15 Golden Ages

The Dead Boys-Young Loud and Snotty

The Dead Boys Young Loud and Snotty:

If you like you rock and roll loud anthemic, and filled with sex and drugs, than this is the album for you. Musically focused on catchy attitude laden riffs. Vocalist Stiv Bators snarls and yells his anthems of debauchery with an abandon that most singers can’t muster. I just wish most punk was as good as this album

Rating: 14/15 rates of diminishing returns

Wayne Kramer-The Hard Stuff+

Wayne Kramer The Hard Stuff+:

A clever mix of fuzzed out punk and soul. The lyrics cover a wide range of topics, from Kramer’s personal life, to a mournful farewell to Charles Bukowski. The music is simple enough to be catchy, but intricate enough to hold your interest. As always Kramer’s guitar soloing is loud and passionate, complimenting his songs wonderfully whenever he decides to let loose. Can’t find a fault in this one.

Rating: 15/15 MC5’s

Horse The Band-Pizza

Horse The Band Pizza:

The extremely talented and absolutely hilarious Horse The Band parody several genres of metal and hardcore while singing about pizza. After tearing through some well played spoofs with awesome lyrics and a great vocal delivery the ep closes with a cover of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme song.  Probably the greatest artistic achievement known to man.

Rating: 15/15

Arbouretum-Song of the Pearl

Arbouretum Song of the Pearl:

I have to give it to these guys for having an original idea and sticking to it. Celtic folk lyrics and melodies lilt in and out of Sonic Youth style guitar freak outs. The crazy thing is it works. This is a really strong album that I think I will find myself listening to over and over.

Rating: 13/15 feedback jigs