sabato 5 novembre 2016

Shogakara Taigae

Another quite obscure japanese masterpiece that originally came out only on cd around 1992 has been recently reissued: Yoshihiro Hiraoka & Human Arts "Shogakara Taigae", the only release by this short lived project. Shame on myself and any other self-proclaimed japanese hardcore nerd out there who wasn't already familiar with these guys, since this seriously rips! Here we're talking about a japanese all star side-project. Led by the singer of Poison/Poison Arts, this band included the best guitarist ever from the land of the rising sun, the mighty Chelsea (Deathside, Poison & Paintbox) as well as Minoru (The Comes, Lipcream) on bass. Not sure who's the guy under the skins but he does a great job for sure! But band members' pedigree is useless when the music can speak for itself. And here we're talking about high quality stuff, top notch Burning Spirits kind of hardcore filtered with some catchy melodies. While their main bands were more straight forward, here it seems they tried something a bit more weird and unconventional. Like "英知", the third to last song of the record, a very pop & melodic tune that somehow fits perfectly on a generally way more metallic album. I guess here Chelsea was trying something different that later morphed into Paintbox? Anyhow, here you'll find the trendmark Chelsea way of playing guitar that made Deathside one of the best band ever. A serious contender if I'll ever write a japanese full length top ten list. How this album is not a cult one revered by legion of fans worldwide is a mystery to me. Hope this reissue gives it the recognition it deserves!

venerdì 21 ottobre 2016

SENSELESS APOCALYPSE interview 1994

My introduction to japanese grind/noise/hc happened more than 20 years ago via their split with Cripple Bastards. Found this short but nice chat on MRR#134 from july 1994.

mercoledì 5 ottobre 2016

Chaos

While discussing with a friend about the greatness of 80s' italian hc, I stated that the only other EU scene from that period equally as solid was the finnish one. He replied that all finnish bands sound the same. "Of course" I said, "but they all sound bloody good!". Which is not always true (I'm talking about the monotony, not the greatness of finnish hardcore). Just think about Stalin's only release, the "chaos" ep released in back in 1980. Not to be confused with their way more well known japanese band also named from the same moustached dictator, Stalin were a unique band. While the structure of the songs, the melodies and the tempos fall perfectly into the KBD punk category, guitar sound & vocals are way harsher than they british counterparts from that era. Considering that they were extremely young when they recorded this, can we consider it somehow a transitional record? After breaking up half of them went to form the uber-excellent hardcore band Nukketeatteri, so my thesis cannot be that far from reality. Anyhow, this is the repress on Svart Records that came out a few years ago but I only managed to get now. Perfect reproduction of the original that now goes for big bucks. Obscure but unmissable band for all the finnish hc/punk freaks out there... 

giovedì 29 settembre 2016

Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses

I grew up in a small town of circa 2500 people situated 30 kms outta the nearest big city. Not the most isolated place in the world of course but around 1992, for a bunch of spotty teenagers who were into skateboarding & just discovered metal, it looked like we were stuck in a sea of boredom in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, trough skateboard we discovered extreme metal (before we were only listening to Iron Maiden, ACDC etc...) and made a bunch of new friends who were into the same stuff we liked. Around spring or summer 1993 we met this crazy guy named Andrea (RIP). He was one year younger than me but he discovered extreme music way before us. We immediately got along pretty well and we started to hang around together regularly. He had what back then looked like the biggest record collection ever so one day me and my mate went to his house and gave him something like twenty 90 minutes tapes and asked him to dub us as much music as possible. Recorded tapes slowly started to come back to us short after. One of them contained one of the most influential album of my life: Brutal Truth debut full length "extreme conditions demand extreme responses", released by Earache back in 1992. While I was already familiar with Napalm Death early material, this was at another level. It was way more brutal and those blast beats were simply insane! I still worship Scott Lewis for the incredible work he did in this record. Fastest grind drumming back then! Not to mention Dan Linker. I guess that it's thanx to him if I started playing bass back then. For sure one of the few person I consider a living legend: the older he got, the more he pushed to the extreme the music he played. You can't say that for many other people. Not only this ruled hard musically, but also lyrics were waaay smarter & more interesting than your average dumb metal clichés. A socio-political attitude (but always far away from the righteous PC fuckers), brutal grindcore and an obsession for hemp made Brutal Truth the perfect band for 17 years old me. Unfortunately through the aforementioned friend I soon discovered that they played a gig (with Fear Factory) very close to my house in january '93, just a few months before I discovered them!! I took me to wait 5 more years before I was finally able to see them live. They were awesome of course but I'd still give a nut to be able to go back to that gig. Their debut album as always been my favourite in their long career.
While I kept buying all their releases over the years, for some reasons I never managed to get a copy of "ECDER". Back then I was happy with the dubbed tape I got. Then I've replaced it with mp3s (but I still have that tape). Now, after being a fan for over 23 years, I decided it was time to get a proper copy of it. Of course not the stupid recent repress on double lps, the real deal. Scored this easily for quite a reasonable price. Very clean copy but it misses the printed dust sleeve. How people can lose something like that is beyond my understanding. I didn't remember this came with a hype sticker. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a copy with it back then. Anyhow, they're always welcome since they are a nice extra touch to an already solid release.

venerdì 16 settembre 2016

Det Bittra Slutet+

Another monstrous double lp anthology assembled by the usual suspects @ F.O.A.D. Records. This time it's the vinyl version of the Asocial "det bittra slutet+" cd that came out last year on DisRec. While I was expecting a complete discography, this compiles only the rare early material from this band: "the legendary “Det bittra slutet” EP (1984) with its previous demo and unreleased tracks from the same session, the complete “Asocial Attack” cassette, an extra rehearsal from the same period, extra demo tracks 1983-1984 (among which the songs included on the “No war no more Vol. II” Comp. Tape) and 15 live tracks (the complete Split cassette with Distrust + 2 more songs recorded in Hedemora)". Top notch fast swedish hardcore that Daniel Ekeroth, author of "swedish death metal" book, claimed as the very first band doing the blast beats. Apart for their legendary demo, I wasn't familiar with all the other material featured here and I must admit that I like the material from "asocial attack" tape even more than "det bittra slutet". It has a rawer sound that works perfectly for this band. Even the live material is not that bad and worth your time. Like all the F.O.A.D. releases, it's a deluxe product. Comes on a beautiful gatefold cover and a booklet with band's history, notes, pics, flyers and all the useless infos we record nerds like to know!

venerdì 2 settembre 2016

ROCKS interview 2000

While looking for something else in my zine collection, I came across this interview with ROCKS, a legendary KBD band from Sydney that released a killer 7" back in 1978. Taken from MRR#211, december 2000.

martedì 23 agosto 2016

Left Hand Path

In a few months I will turn 40. Not sure how you elder readers are ageing, but for me it's a very nostalgic process (speaking about my musical tastes). While I've completely lost interest for modern bands and I'm totally out of touch with the current state of the scene (and totally happy with it), over the last few years I've been gradually going back to the music I used to listen to when I was a young kid. In the early '90s I was obsessed with death metal and grindcore. Around '96 or '97 I got tired of it and moved to hardcore. While I kept all my favourite grindcore records, around 2001 I sold all my death/black metal records that I had accumulated in the previous decade. I needed money to print the first issue of my 'zine so I sold my collection to a local record shop for next to nothing. I could have made good bucks outta it since it was all first press of classics. But back then I was brainwashed by all those stupid columns against eBay that were in every zine in those days, so I went for the only other option I had. Of course all the hardcore/punk heroes of that idealistic crusade against eBay ended up selling their collections there for big bucks. Classic. Anyhow, 15 years later I've decided that it's time to rebuild that collection. I've started with an all time classic, a game changer and a genre defining album: Entombed debut album "left hand path", released by Earache in 1990.  
While they previously released 5 demos as Nihilist, they changed their monicker to Entombed (just to kick out of the band John Hedlund, ahaha) just few months before the release of their debut album "left hand path". Recorded in '89 but released only the following year, this has been unanimously considered the very first swedish death metal album ever. And by many people is revered as the best swedish record of this genre. While for me it's a tie with Dismember debut "like an ever flowing stream", I cannot praise this album enough. It's just death metal perfection. From its gloomy & dark vibe to the crushing guitar sound & perfect riffs, from the flawless balance of slow & faster parts to GL Petrov cavernous growls and Nicke Andersson superb drumming, from the incredible artwork to the classic band picture near the cross in the back cover, there's really nothing to complain about Entombed debut full length. It's so well done that the band itself hasn't been able to reproduce its greatness in their second album "clandestine" and slowly morphed into something different (but equally good in my opinion) with "wolverine blues". It's not a surprise that many bands all over the world tried to reproduce LHP sound over the last 26 year. But none went even to closer to it.
I've scored this copy easily outta eBay, but of course it wasn't as cheap as the one I bought in the early 90s. As a small revenge, I've paid it with the money I made by selling hardcore zines on eBay, ahaha. Lesson learnt. Not sure about pressing numbers but being an Earache release from early '90s, I guess we are talking about thousands of copies. There are actually two early presses, one from 1990 and one from the next year. You can easily recognize the very first one from the cool hype sticker on the upper right corner of the cover.
Crushing guitars & mass death, indeed
Here's the ticket from when I was 17 years old and saw both Napalm Death & Entombed (who were the opener of the gig!!) the for the very first time. This was when Entombed had just released "wolverine blues" but they played a good amount of tracks from the early material. Both bands were incredibly good. Good memories...