Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'm giving serious thought to turning Seething Cauldron into a record label. Probably gonna start with the next Sorrower 7", but if that winds up being successful I might consider expanding. Pricing things out right now. I've got to do something, 'cause I'm losing my mind working in dead end restaurant jobs all the time!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

     Been awhile since I've written anything here. Truth is, for the last few months I've been alternating between extreme stress and severe depression, both on special occasions. Not sure how I keep going anymore. I work six days a week and rarely practice with my band anymore. I don't make it out to many shows either. I'm really failing to see the point in anything anymore. Why the hell do I work so hard? What do I have to show for it? I sacrifice the things I care about so I can go to work to pay bills for shit that means nothing in the long run. Fuck this. If  this is the "American Dream," then America can fucking suck it. I'm so done. I spend fifty-sixty hours of my week working for the same people that would call me an entitled, lazy, sack of shit if they saw me on the street. These people can go get fucked. They're living the high life off of the same kinds of benefits and entitlements that they would vote to take away from me. I hate everyone.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012: The Filth and the Fury

     Doing a year end top 10 list is always a dilemma for me. I often find myself including records based on how much I like the band in general, rather than how much I actually enjoyed the record. I find myself trying too hard to find albums that will stand the test of time, albums that I'll always regard as classics, rather than ones that really define a year for me. So this year, I'm doing it differently. Those reading will notice some surprising absences. Three of my all time favorite bands released albums this year that didn't make the cut. That doesn't necessarily mean that I disliked the albums, far from it actually. Some albums take time to be fully appreciated. Maybe somewhere down the line, I'll look back on records as classics that I didn't really appreciate enough at first. It's happened many, many times before, and it will happen again. The albums that made my top 10 this year are the ones that kept me coming back for more all year long. These are the records that defined 2012 for me, for many reasons. They may not all stand the test of time and become all time favorites, but they will always remind me of where and who I was this year.

10.) Grave "Endless Procession of Souls" If your idea of death metal is slick production, typewriter drums, sweep picking interspersed with breakdowns, prettyboys with their own stylists, and artwork that looks like a still shot from the latest video game, first of all, you don't like death metal. Second of all, Grave is not for you. This is ugly music for ugly people, and it shouldn't be any other way. Grave has had a few missteps in their 26 year career, but their last few records have seen them recapture the sound and fury of classics like "Into the Grave" and "You'll Never See." 2012's "Endless Procession of Souls" seems to be what they were building up to the last few years. Fast tempos rule on this record, but they're not afraid to slow it down into a groove on occasion. The guitar tone is fat and distorted, the riffs are simple and heavy. Everything about this record is exactly what should come to mind when one thinks of the words "death metal."

9.) P.O.O.R "Extinction of Trust" I am extremely picky about grindcore. In fact, despite it being my favorite sub-genre, I probably hate 99% of it. Hyperspeed crust with shitty production and generic songwriting just doesn't cut it for me. That's why I get so excited when I do hear a new band that I love as much as P.O.O.R. This album is pure musical violence from start to finish. The music flows seemlessly between brutal death groove, pulverizing blast beats, and punk inspired aggression, all topped off with a relentless dual vocal attack. This band is sure to join the likes of Phobia and Rotten Sound atop the pile of modern grindcore favorites. I'm expecting big things for them in 2013.

8.) Wolfbrigade "Damned" Nothing gets fists pumping like raging d-beat, and nobody does it better than the mighty Wolfbrigade. If you've heard any of this band's back catalogue, then you know what to expect from "Damned," and really, why would you want anything different? It's all here, the dirty guitar tone, the raspy, shouted vocals, the Motorhead leads, and d-beats. Tons of non-stop d-beats. Records like this make me want to drink copious amounts of alcohol, break bottles, and generally fuck shit up. Up the punx!

7.) Tim Barry "40 Miler" Nobody has ever been able to sum up life as perfectly for me in song as Tim Barry has. Whether he was fronting Avail, or performing his stripped down acoustic songs, his lyrics have always hit close to home. Songs about being broke, playing music for the love of it, and generally living outside of society and being happy about it will always strike a chord with me. Old punks picking up acoustic guitars and writing simple songs about life on the road has been a bit of a trend in the last few years, but Tim has been doing it longer and will still be doing it when the trend has gone away. He's also smart enough to recognize the trend and make light of it and himself on this record.

6.) Pallbearer "Sorrow and Extinction" This album was so hyped up that I actually avoided it for a long time, to save myself the disappointment of hearing yet another universally loved album that bored the shit out of me. Well, that was a mistake, because I have barely stopped listening to it since I finally took the plunge and got it. There's a skill that Pallbearer possesses that seems to have been lost on most other doom metal bands, the ability to write a memorable song. There isn't a single track on here under 8 minutes, yet I never wanted any of them to end. Pure ear candy.

5.) Bouncing Souls "Comet" The Bouncing Souls are a band that rarely lets me down. Anytime a new album drops, I can always count on it being a staple on my turntable and in my car for months, even years to come. This album is no different. While they are in no way re-inventing the wheel, "Comet" is chock full of the kind of uplifting pop-punk that the Souls excel at. I haven't gone more than a week without throwing this record on since it came out, and each time brings a smile to my face. "Fast Times," "Coin Toss Girl." and the title track are destined to become live staples for these guys.

4.) Black Breath "Sentenced To Life" I really didn't think they'd be able to top "Heavy Breathing," but on rare occasions I am wrong about certain things. This album is what it would sound like if a bunch of crust punks started a death metal band that was actually good, and well-financed. The production on this is flawless, the guitar sound is gnarly as fuck, but perfectly clear. The drumming is immaculate and keeps the whole record from descending into complete chaos. The energy level is unrelenting from the opening notes. The whole band just comes across like they're trying to destroy you through music. Oh, and "Endless Corpse" is in serious contention for song of the year.

3.) Propagandhi "Failed States" Every time I think Propagandhi have peaked, they come back with another record that blows the doors off their previous work. Their music is constantly evolving, while never losing the punk edge of their early material. On their sixth album, they take the punk/thrash fusion of their two prior albums and kick it up a notch. Second guitarist David Guillas has been fully integrated into the band and his interplay with Chris Hannah finally lays to rest any notion of this being a "pop-punk" band. Lyrically, Propagandhi will never be matched. When they're not making you go crazy with their music, they're making you think with their words. One of the best bands ever.

2.) Pig Destroyer "Book Burner" Sometimes a band releases a record early in their career that is so good, it makes you stop having high hopes for their subsequent releases, no matter how good they might be. This is how I've felt about Pig Destroyer since the release of 2001's "Prowler in the Yard." It didn't matter that "Terrifyer" and "Phantom Limb" were both excellent records, the fact that they weren't as good as "Prowler..." diminished my expectations for anything else they released. Maybe that's why I was so blown away by "Book Burner," because I wasn't prepared to be this floored. Scott Hull continues to be one of the greatest riff-masters of my generation, and new drummer Adam Jarvis delivers a truly awe-inspiring performance. JR Hayes is truly disturbing, both in lyrics and performance. I truly believe that if he didn't have Pig Destroyer as an outlet, he might be a very dangerous person.

1.) Napalm Death "Utilitarian" As far as I'm concerned, 2012 was the year of Napalm Death. Not only was their show at Rocky Point Cantina the highlight of a great year of shows, but they put out one of the best records in a catalogue that spans over 25 years. There are many out there who would argue that Napalm hasn't done anything truly great since the first 2-3 albums, but in my opinion their post-2000 material has been some of the strongest of their career. "Utilitarian" is pretty much the culmination of the last decade of Napalm Death. While I would no longer classify them as "grindcore," there are still enough blast beats to keep the faithful happy. This band has always experimented and expanded on their signature sound, with mixed results, but it seems they've finally found a way to incorporate new influences without it sounding forced, like some of their 90s material. The black metal and punk influences blend seemlessly into their one of a kind take on the death/grind genre. As always, Barney sounds exactly like Barney. Despite him not being the original vocalist, I find it hard to imagine Napalm with anyone else on the mic. Napalm Death is, was, and always will be the pinnacle of everything that grindcore/death metal should be. I wish they could last another 25 years.