Saturday, 26 November 2011

Rot In Hell / Integrity split 2x7"

You won't have to search very hard on the world wide web to find a forum where people are moaning about how delayed the Rot In Hell / Integrity 7" has been so I'm not about to add to that here. Yes, 1 year and 8 months is a long time to wait for a pre-order to arrive. Yes, it was worrying when we were offered refunds. But it's here now. I'd heard they had started to ship out, but it was said that it could take up to 14 days to get through the orders so I thought nothing of it when a large envelope turned up that same day. But inside were two 7" mailers and a cheeky Integrity badge looking up at me. Guess mine were at the top of the pile.

This split comes in a gatefold sleeve with a glossy insert of illustrations by Dwid fixed in the centre. There's two 7"s, one is the bands, the other is Dwid reading aloud a narrative with a horror film style ambient soundtrack in the background. If I was to be critical, I'd say that it was a bit of a stretch to describe these 7"s as being 'packaged within a book' as that conjures up a slightly different image from the reality. It's a gatefold sleeve with the book fixed in the middle. Don't get me wrong it's still cool and a cut above almost any other split 7" I've seen before. Expectations are a bitch. But I ain't moaning, just saying yo.

Seems odd to me how there's no actual mention of what this is on any of the outer packaging.
There were 2 versions for this put out by Thirty Days Of Night, pressed on black out of 100 and pressed on a blue/green mix out of 500. 

The Integrity tracks are kind of old news, they appeared on that Thee DestroyOrr CD a few months back. Rob Orr's lead guitar work on Black Hesken Rise is staggering though, no matter how many times I listen to it. It was great to hear some new (or old, I guess) Rot In Hell tracks. 'Erebus' features on the Nui 12" as a live recording so its good to hear it on this in all it's studio recorded goodness. Leading in with a perfectly chosen sample from Antichrist it brings the venomous Pagan hardcore. Conceptually they've never been stronger, their riffs and lead guitar parts have never been better, and the frankly amazing vocals serve as a reminder that it's a shame that Nate done left. Material with the new vocalist is apparently underway though so that's pretty exciting. Their 2nd track Life Becomes A Desert Around You leans more towards their split with Horders in its brilliant campfire cult folk style. These 2 tracks easily worth the price, the wait and the fact that it's not inside a book.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

50 posts old! One from the shelf : The Rival Mob - Hardcore For Hardcore

Happy 50th post to me! Seeing as thats an Anniversary-type number I'm breaking from tradition and instead of  posting about something recently bought, this is something I bought last year. Of everything purchased last year I've picked this for a couple of reasons. It's easily a standout from all of 2010's offerings, it's been on heavy rotation since I bought it and it looks sweet too. This is The Rival Mob's 7" 'Hardcore for Hardcore'. Everything I've heard from these is great. The Bitter Rivals demo, Raw Life LP, their tracks on compilations and this 7". It's all excellent. You've probably heard of them, they play a straight up, old school NY-style Hardcore with a production style that sounds like it was recorded in the 90's. They aren't re-inventing any wheels, but when done right these wheels work pretty damn well so they don't need to.

The cover for this is a work of art, literally. All out cavalry war? Check. Man being mauled by a bad ass tiger? Check. A dead cheetah and a man in a Toga forcing a lions jaws apart? Its all there man.

Six Feet Under put these out, and this is one of  the colors from the first press, yellow out of 350.

Inside the sleeve, there is an inexplicable picture of Bill Pullman as he looks in Near Dark. Not a problem. And the thanks list says a hello to, among others, the middle section of The Human Centipede. The war hungry drama continues on the back with the severed head of Medusa.

The amount of The Rival Mob vinyl I own is tragically low. So here's to being 50 posts old and thanks for reading so far. I'm going to take off my party hat now.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lenses Alien

Last Thursday (the 17th November for you calendar fans) I woke up and I'd never heard of a band called Cymbals Eat Guitars. There's a networked folder on my laptop's desktop that is shared between me and a few of my friends which see's a steady stream of music going in and out. Yes we are straight up murdering the music business. Some of it is my bag, some not so much but I try and give it all a listen. I copied everything that had built up in there into iTunes, stuck it all on my iPod into a playlist and left for work. Due to time honored alphabet tradition, the first band to come on were Cymbals Eat Guitars. Fast forward to the following Saturday; I had listened to nothing else in the past 48 hours and after having my body melted down and glued back together by their album for the 30th time, I'd gone online and ordered it on vinyl in the middle of the night. I'm in no doubt that any album that causes obsessive behavior like that will be one I'll be listening to and enjoying for years to come.

 If I was to try and draw a very tenuous link to what I normally write about then there are small elements of post-hardcore in among the noise that Cymbals... create. But the sound It most reminds me of is noisy alt-rock-pop stuff like last LP-era At The Drive In / 1st LP-era The Mars Volta with an incredible amount of ambition and complexity in the song structures. I'm not too well versed on this whole scene, I just know this album hooked me instantly and is like nothing else I'm currently listening to.

The artwork is nice, and the dust jacket is a glossy white with the lyrics printed on it. This was put out by a label called Memphis Industries in October just gone I believe. Strangely, the best price I could see for this was from a place online called Juno Records who claim to have "The world's largest range of dance music vinyl, CD and downloads, with over 1000000 tracks available", so why they are carrying this LP I'm not too sure. Their UK Hardcore section didn't contain anything that fits my definition of that term. To their credit, I ordered this at the weekend, and it arrived first thing Monday morning. I'm not even sure how that's possible unless some Juno intern couriered it up from London to my house on his back.
There's nothing limited or particularly special about the packaging or vinyl itself, but the fact that I struggled to listen to anything else until the following Tuesday means I just had to own a copy of it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Inherit - Self Titled 7" on red /100

A couple of weekends ago I was hanging out with an old friend (old as in, 'we go way back' and not old as in, 'he's 78 and we just have a lot in common') and aside from him trying to convince me that Integrity have been shit since 1995 and are big on the homosexual scene because he once saw two men kissing in a club and one was wearing an Integrity t-shirt, he strongly recommended I check a new UK Straight Edge band called Inherit.

Some Google action led me to Netherlands-based Reflections Records who have just released their debut 7" (Reflections funnily enough the same label that put out the above mentioned friend's band's 2nd LP last year).The first 100 copies come on a limited clear red vinyl, so I got my order in. It's a great little package too, the whole thing comes in a bag with the band name stuck on it:

Lyrics and what-not on a slip of card, and the sleeve opens up to show off the great artwork.

I took a punt on this by ordering it without hearing a note, but my God am I pleased I ordered it. I was blown away. Hard as nails thrash influenced hardcore, tight songs, incredible solo's and great lyrics with an intelligently subtle straight edge angle. And the vocals are the icing on the angry cake. His pronunciations, pacing and style standout from the usual crowd of grunts and screams. There's nothing wrong with that crowd, but hearing something quite fresh is excellent. Putting this on, it was like they knew exactly what i wanted to hear. Easily the best 5 Euros I've ever spent and I heavily recommend this to anyone reading this blog. You can buy it here, they've still got red copies left.

And I'll even embed a song for you here to listen to.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Trash Talk - Awake 7" (not quite awake enough)

Trash Talk must have some rabid vinyl collectors as fans. This is their latest 7" Awake which came out a couple of weeks ago on True Panther Records, which seems to be a division of Matador Records if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, I was working away from home at the time, sat in a hotel room with little to do but cruise around the Internet. Trying to avoid loitering in the seedier corners it has to offer, I stumbled across an announcement that pre-orders for this 7" had just gone live. I wasn't a huge fan of the last Trash Talk release 'Eyes and Nines', it wasn't a patch on their older stuff. It was still fast, aggressive hardcore but something wasn't quite there. The vocalists style had changed a little and I wasn't too into it. Anyway, the announcement said the first 100 copies ordered would be pressed on a black and white mix so seeing a chance to scoop a limited pressing, I ordered. Literally 5 minutes after the orders went up. In the end, I still missed out, ending up with the white pressing out of 400.

To be honest, I didn't mind. It looks really nice as a whole package, and I was quite into the tracks too. True Panther sent out the mp3's to buyers inboxes when the vinyl got delayed which was pretty cool too. And one of the tracks, 'Blind Evolution' might be one of Trash Talk's best songs actually. This 1st press was all gone in a couple of days (the reaming 500 were pressed on black) and a 2nd press is due in December apparently. Quick turnaround!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pulling Teeth - Paranoid Delusions Paradise Illiusions 1st Press - Red & Black Splatter/333

I got into Pulling Teeth in between the album featured here - Paranoid Delusions Paradise Illusions - and their latest album Funerary (I kinda liked Funerary) and by the time I had, all hope of grabbing the more limited pressings of PDPI without engaging in eBay wars was long gone. I could grab a plain black 2nd press easily enough, but who wants to do that?!

But on Halloween this year, as well as a load of new stuff and the annual 24 hour test press sale (see some goodies from that here on Couch Slouch) A389 threw up a couple of rarities into the store, so I grabbed this - PDPI 1st press, on a clear red with black splatter out of 333 pressings. The vinyl itself looks amazing, splatters can sometimes look a bit dodgy. But before I click the Insert Image button for that, the gatefold sleeve is also incredible. The cover is printed on a lenticular sheet, so when it lies flat is looks like this:

Start to tilt it though, and it starts to change:

Until the 2nd image appears:

Awesome right? That's a lot of effort to go to and it pays off. Marcus at Endless Quest made a video when he posted about this record a billion years ago here in full change-o-vision if you see my pictures and just NEED MORE. Onto the record, which looks great and a little like a cross-section of a tropical fruit.

And a huge fold out poster of the brilliant artwork.

It will never see a wall, but it's nice that it's in there.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A389 Halloween Releases. Big on Ringworm

Halloween this year saw 3 new releases go up for order at A389 Records. There's really no way of spicing up this story into a riveting narrative so I'll just present the essential facts. The only way to get the most limited pressings of all 3 was to order it as a package deal. This was really no problem for me as I'm ordering everything they put out at the minute anyway, and seeing as it was payday which allows me to live in a fantasy world for around 24 hours where money is no issue that's exactly what I did.

This first one is a 7" that I would have ordered without question anyway - Ringworm split with Mindsnare. Pressed on purple and limited to 250. The colours and artwork tie in nicely with the Halloween theme.

Even cooler is that this first pressing comes with a mini-comic book, illustrated and put together by Ringworm vocalist Human Furnace. Is there a better and more suited nickname for a vocalist by the way? No there isn't.

Pretty cool. Ringworm bring the Clevo-thrash as excellent as ever and Mindsnare are from Australia and make a hell of a noise but reminded me a bit too much of metal bands like Job For A Cowboy who I'm not that down with. Still like I said, I would have ordered this for the RW side even if the split was with these jokers.

The other new release was a split 12" between Seven Sisters Of Sleep and Children Of God. Pressed on black and limited to 1000 copies ever. I'd only heard one track from each band before and couldn't really remember what that sounded like so my expectations were set somewhere around nowhere. First impressions of the packaging too weren't that great. Simple sleeve, black and white artwork. Not particularly exciting. And then I listened. And was blown away.

The more-depressing-the-more-that-I-think-about-it cover art of a dude receiving a lethal injection, the printed dust jacket of someone being gassed and the overall stark packaging all snaps into focus hearing the bands here. Unrelenting and miserable, but in the most enjoyable way possible. SSOS sound a bit like Electric Wizard meets Eyehategod with added despair. I guess you'll know whether you're gonna love it or hate it from that description but I was very impressed.

And finally, bringing it back to Ringworm and a flexi pressing of their Madness Of War demo from 1999. Originally serving as a "Hi we're back" release, this is pressed on clear, limited to 150 and was only available when buying all these 3 together. Pretty sure this is all new artwork too. The songs here ended up being re-recorded and included on the Birth Is Pain LP that followed it.

Flexi's so hot right now. Anyone particularly know why?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Free Voodoo Dolls - Walpurgisnacht & 7.17 Compilation

There an old saying - 'Never look a gift horse in the mouth.' What is a gift horse? Why is it so inadvisable to look inside their mouths? What's in there exactly? The answers to these questions will not be found here, as they have nothing to do with what follows. But there is another saying - 'Once it's gone it's gone' that despite stating the obvious is usually true. Except on rare occasions when opportunity comes knocking. So when Internet acquaintance Sam needed to raise some cash quickly and offered his record collection up for people to pick through, opportunity knocked hard and I was able to pick up 2 long gone records that I've lusted after for a while. First out of my swag bag is Integrity's 'Walpurgisnacht' 7".

But this record isn't long gone at all I hear you cry. True, while it is up to its millionth pressing, with copies of all pressings available if you know where to look, this is from the first 100 copies of the first pressing on red (out of 250) that came with a Dwid Hellion make-your-own Voodoo Doll.

Some great Florian art inside too:

Feels good to get that stowed away in the collection. Next, sticking within the theme - the 7.17 compilation.

Released last year to commemorate a one off show with the Holy Terror fan-boy dream line up of Integrity, Gehenna, Vegas and Unreal City and featuring new studio tracks by the bands. This was put out by Hellfish I think, but there's no label markings anywhere. 300 copies of this bad boy in total, spread between 3 different versions. 100 with silver screened covers on green vinyl, 100 with white screened covers on black vinyl and this one - 100 with red screened covers on, again, black vinyl.

Stamp numbered dust jackets, this is number 54

The Integrity track on here is nothing new, it's been on their website for download since this came out and got crow-barred in on the Detonate Worlds Plague 12" and the Thee DestroyOrr collection CD, but it's still a ripper and one of the best recent Integ songs with soul fingering solo's by Rob Orr. Vegas do an Integ cover and I've never heard of Unreal City but their song is pretty good. Gehenna steal the show for me here, sticking within the style of their recent material and sounding psychedelic and as fucked up as possible.