Welcome back to the next round of The Pit for Feb 2006. As always we have all sorts for you, throwing in indie with raging metal and punk as fuck tunes. So get your eyes locked onto the recommendations and your ears tuned into the various sounds on this page. Your life is better with the Pit in it suckers.
Ryan Bird has been breaking ear drums with:
Through The Eyes Of The Dead – Bloodlust
Throwing a spine shattering nod towards the early 90’s death metal glory days, as well as contemporary hardcore-meets-thrash mayhem, Through The Eyes of the Dead are one of modern metal’s most terrifying acts. Alongside such fellow genre heavyweights as The Black Dahlia Murder they’re a band pushing sonic extremities to the next level, with new album ‘Bloodlust‘ acting as a devastating blueprint for the future generations.
Dimmu Borgir – Stormblast 2005
With possibly their biggest and best sounding effort to date, Norwegian black metal leaders Dimmu Borgir further extend their lead at the front of the pack with an astoundingly epic soundscape. Re-recorded, re-produced and totally revamped, this stunning hour long take on their previously released ‘Stormblast‘ album surpasses all previous works and expectations; and is a must have for any and all followers of the dark side.
Decapitated – Organic Hallucinosis
Only such historically repressed eastern European nations as Poland could produce such ferocious and utterly horrifying bands as death metal superstars Decapitated. Their fifth release to date – and first with new vocalist Covan – ‘Organic Hallucinosis’ is the next step towards total domination. Relentless, venomous and with more shit-kicking grooves than you can shake a stick at, it’s the petrifying soundtrack to future glories.
Himsa – Hail Horror
Hailing from the grunge capital of the world, Seattle quintet Himsa set out their stall to bring further accolades to the Pacific North-West with new album ‘Hail Horror’. A foot-stomping mix of contemporary thrash and heavy hitting hardcore delights, if ever and album were to rebuild the cities previously gloomy image into a new and exciting heavy metal heartland; there’ll be few more capable than this.
I-Def-I – Bloodlust Casualty
In a metal world seemingly dominated by overseas exports, Manchester four-piece I-Def-I look set to become one of the UK’s leading insurgents. Having secured previous high-profile support slots with everybody from cyber-metal overlords Fear Factory to legendary politi-punk maniacs Killing Joke, newly released EP ‘Bloodlust Casualty’ may just be the groove-laden ammunition needed to blast opposition forces into oblivion.
James Sherry’s Smokin’ Top Five
Lemmy – Damage Case
Damage Case is the story of Lemmy’s musical projects outside of Motorhead. Side projects and collaborations have been frequent events in Lemmy’s career. This two CD set features the best of his work outside of Motorhead, starting with his first sixties beat band The Rockin’ Vickers and moving through the spaced-out psychedelic sounds of Hawkwind and Sam Gopal. You also get the infamous collaborations with shrieking female rockers Girlschool and Wendy O Williams, on top of a multitude of oddities, cover versions and studio freak outs. In short, this is the perfect addition to any Motorhead collection with plenty of surprises along the way!
Dead Stop – Live For Nothing
Somewhere along the way what makes a true hardcore band has become confused and blurred. Much of what passes for hardcore in the mainstream today is little more than souped up death metal. Dig a little deeper, however, and you find bands like Belgium based Dead Stop who understand exactly what was truly exciting about the original early eighties hardcore explosion, blasting through an eleven track album in just over eleven minutes! Dead Stop, you see, understand the real excitement in hardcore is in it’s sheer speed and ‘Live For Nothing’ doesn’t let us down on that front, thundering along at a ferocious place as each song explodes into life before grinding to an abrupt halt. Utterly explosive!
The Sword – Age Of Winters
There’s something immensely evil and unsettling about bands from Texas. Look at the Butthole Surfers for fucks sake. Must be all the lysergic cactus in the desert. The Sword sound like they’ve been munching on them for breakfast as their epic slabs of metal are both tripped out and psychedelic, yet as tough and brutal as anything High On Fire could muster. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this band over the coming months because metal really doesn’t get any better or more powerful than The Sword. Start sharpening your blade now!
Pleasant Valley Children – Welcome To Bedlam Valley
Imagine a world without the internet and the communication we take for granted today. There’s no myspace, no email, no texting, no nothing. Yet, in the mid to late eighties, inspired by the militant independent stance that Anarchist punks Crass instigated, hardcore punk scene flourished with bands such as Napalm Death, Heresy, Ripcord and many more trading music, ideas and gigs through a network of fanzines and hastily scribbled letters. Pleasant Valley Children were one such band. Having existed between 1988 and 1991, they were as fast and thrashy as their contempories, but stood apart from the pack by adding a dark, quirky twist to their music combined with intelligent and satirical lyrics and imagery akin to the Dead Kennedys at their most confrontational. There’s forty tracks on this CD in total and every single one of them will melt your mind.
Report Suspicious Activity – USA
When two US hardcore punk legends unite to vent their rage against George Bush and American politics, you know the end results are going to be ferocious. Report Suspicious Activity is the work of Vic Bondi (formally of Articles Of Faith and Alloy) and J. Robbins (of Jawbox and Burning Airlines fame) who together have created a record of immensely heavy proportions. Unsurprisingly sounding like a cross between Jawbox and Articles Of Faith, with some Helmet style metallic noise thrown in for good measure, it’s refreshing to hear two of the older guard so riled up and angry by the state of the world. Now if only the younger generation could be bothered to give a shit.
The delightful Dee Massey has been dining out on Haribo alongside these tunes:
WE WILL BE PILOTS ‘ This is Not What You Fight For’
Captains of Industry
It’s always a pleasure to uncover a total gem of an album sitting on the shelf and this is a beauty. We Will Be Pilots’ are part of Captain of Industry’s growing stable of unfettered talent and this mini album is over brimming with fuzzy unpolished vocals, catchy hooks and a tight guitar disco-vibe sound that hits the spot. The storming ‘We are Not The Doctors’ rampages out of control with a growing sense of urgency – pop punk seared with screamo (without the caterwauling vocals) pounding out like a wrecking ball to the senses. This London based four piece have all the ingredients and talent in bucket loads – the only bad thing about this album is that the ride is over all too quickly.
THE VOOM BLOOMS – Politics and Cigarettes (single)
Loughborough four piece The Voom Blooms’ are currently plotting the seduction of NME Club tour goers with their killer live sets. Their debut single ‘ Politics and Cigarettes’ and B Side ‘ Thoughts of Rena’ are both stand alone pieces that form the perfect introduction to this exciting new talent. Politics kicks off with a shuddering beat and a quiet confidence that belies the fact these guys! haven’t even been together a year. There’s an Interpol/Bloc Party vibe, vocals are clear cut and unhurried with emotion driven guitars kicking off with swagger. The Voom Blooms stake their very valid claim on the british indie scene with this single – roll on the album.
BETH ORTON – Comfort of Strangers
In this fourth album Beth Orton has pulled in producer Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth) and the result is a dusky, soulful and chilled offering. She almost nurtures the listener with her soothing vocals, twinkling percussion, scratchy guitar sound and reassuring lyrics. This is more alt country than her earlier folk releases, but less morose with warm harmonies and romance ( Feral Children ) and even uplifting ( Heart of Soul) . The album as an entirety is beautiful and moving in places, but is one for the fans. Orton has struggled to find her own musical identity and one might say that she’s almost playing it too safe here with an album that promises a warm fuzzy glow but gives few thrills along the way . Having been described in the past as the more alternative Dido, this album won’t go far to shrug off that mantle.
MORNING RUNNER – Wilderness is Paradise Now
Faith & Hope
Morning Runner are being touted about as the next big thing, so does this album live up to the hype? Well..yes and no. Having seen an awesome live performance from this band I was left feeling much like I did on Valentines Day..a little disappointed having got my hopes up.. but not really surprised. Some tracks are sublime – clashes of crunching guitars, storming vocals and inspiring melodies (the epic Burning Benches and Gone up In Flames)..whilst some just fizzle along the same same indie schmindy schmaltz. It almost feels like they’re reeling themselves in to appeal to the mass James Blunt loving markets – instead of unleashing their raw and original talent. Having said that I could be totally wrong and they could be very happy sounding like the love child of Coldplay and Starsailor in some tracks. You’re left feeling this band have a hell of a lot more to give – but unfortunately not on this album.
THE MAGIC FRACTIONS – Forever Lost (single)
Totally disregarding the poignant A side from The Magic Numbers ‘ I See You, You See Me’ the real star of this release is the B side version of ‘Forever Lost’ as performed by the 29 10 and 11 years olds from Timsbury School in Bath. Having chosen The ‘Magic Numbers’ as their bands of the year, their teacher got in contact with the band via the message board and lo’ and behold, a few months later the kids are singing away at Real World Studios. No there’s nothing dynamic or earth shatteringly amazing about the track, it’s cute and a little saccharine sweet- but with some bands with ego’s barely fit through the door – isn’t it refreshing to hear that some bands really do look after their fans…even if they’re only 10 years old. Buy it and give it to your Mum for Mother’s Day – she’ll get all misty eyed and you’ll get your washing done for months.
Alex Gosman has been smashing his light fittings to:
BULLETS AND OCTANE
‘In The Mouth Of The Young (Sampler)’
Granted, this is just a sampler CD, but it certainly bodes well for Bullets And Octane’s forthcoming album (expected sometime this spring). This Orange County quartet play fast, raucous, Supersuckers-style rock n’ roll at its finest; with the likes of Going Blind and My Disease sounding like the aural equivalent of speed-biking down Sunset Strip with one hand cranking the accelerator and the other clutching a bottle of JD. Hurry up with that album, guys! They’ll be touring the UK with Avenged Sevenfold in March.
‘Chariots On Fire’
All ye who worship unashamedly at the altar of the guitar riff, make way for Rye Coalition and their new EP. Hailing from New Jersey, these guys sound like they were raised on a diet of Led Zep, AC/DC et al, and they spit these influences back out in the form of short but addictive anthems like Pussy Footin and Burn The Masters. It’s highly invigorating stuff, and in case you’re not convinced yet, did I mention that both this EP and the band’s forthcoming album (Curses) were produced by a certain Dave Grohl?
The veteran Yorkshire gothic rockers return with arguably their best album in years. Paradise Lost haven’t so much changed their sound as refined it for this self-titled effort, which boasts a clutch of muscular yet melodic metal anthems. Don’t Belong and Accept The Pain are sure to be future live favourites, whilst’Grey and Forever After are an indication of where the likes of HIM may have found their influences (they’ll need to listen to more Black Sabbath to be as good as PL, though). Here’s hoping the band get some much-deserved recognition for this one.
‘Care In The Community’
(Rebel Music/10 Past 10)
Given that Babar Luck played bass in King Prawn for several years, it’s no surprise that his solo debut boasts the same bold, inventive and musically multi-cultural streaks of his former band. Care In The Community combines elements of folk, dub, ska and hip-hop into memorable, socially-aware songs. Check out 1 Luv and Lions to get your feet tapping, whilst the closing Inner Glow shows the more reflective side of Babar’s coin. It seems lazy to mention the Clash here, but it has to be said that Joe Strummer would be proud.
Arguably one of the finest traditional ska bands around, the New York crew return with a stunner of a sixth album. Immediately more accessible than previous record Close My Eyes, Peculiar was partly recorded live, and captures the band’s onstage passion in songs that touch on both political and personal issues. Propaganda, Set The Girl Free and What Went Wrong are among the highlights of a record bereft of duff tracks; this is quite possibly the Slackers’ best effort to date. They’ll be touring the UK in April – go see.
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