Thursday, August 30, 2012

Five of the worst albums complete with reviews

These are some of the worst albums that came my way while I was writing for the now defunct webzine, Peacedogman. The poor albums often were the easiest to write about and the average unsurprisingly provided nothing inspiration wise. Truly the worst was a French punk band, Arrach. Their album "Artisans Du Chaos". who sounded a lot like Biohazard except with heavy French accents and they committed a Bad Brains cover to CD which served to prove how bad they were and just how good Bad Brains can be. I gave them a 0/5 rating which they weren't too happy with and sent me an unhappy email accussing me of being a stupid American and being like all the other Americans since the website was based in the US. Unfortunately I've lost the email and can't find the review since I stupidly didn't save either so they were half right. So anyway here are a few of the reviews.

5)Sanctification "Black Reign"

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Neither should a paragraph start with a cliche but convention and rules were invented to be broken. Swedish death metal band Sanctification either missed the memo about crushing the rules or the meaning got lost in translation. “Black Reign” is like when you get a packaged box for Christmas. You give it that shake that lets you know that someone was incapable of thinking of a more imaginative gift than a box of chocolates. The blame clearly lies firmly on the shoulders of the “Forest Gump”scriptwriters.

The expected down-tuned guitars, blast-beats, asthmatic elephant blowing through a snorkel vocals are all present on this album. The clear but gruff spoken chorus of the title song is the closest these guys come to any semblance of melody. “Thirst for Blood” is relentless with crushing riffs over pounding drums. Soundwise Sanctification edge closer to Deicide than Dismember. However most of the songs are the songs are mid-tempo so they blur together. Instead of invoking the feeling of being run over head on by a Mac truck which then reverses to make sure the job’s completed and leaving the victim flattened and incapable of passing on stories to his grandkids, “Black Reign” just leaves a listener flat due to its generic nature.


4)I Love Rich “Season Of The Rich”, 2009

Chicago band I Love Rich channel Kiss both musically and lyrically. Discerning whether they’re serious or stretching a band parody as far as it can go when they only thank themselves for being so fucking awesome because everyone else go paid and boldly declare “All lyrics by RICH because honestly, only he could come with lyrics this bad ass”.   Sleepless nights spent thinking out the lyrics to the homage  “Let’s fuck all night” are highly doubtful.    The tongue in cheek “I’m Only Here Because Your Sister Said No” easily wins the best song title.  A knife with a serated punk edge gently cuts through still leaving a heavy chunk of glam metal in “Everybody’s Getting Laid Tonight”. The rawness of the procution here and a couple of the later songs weakens the overall sound bringing the words: filler material to mind.  Whilst it’s not difficult to appreciate the lack of seriousness on the five songs on this EP, I Love Rich come across as nothing more than a coattail riding novelty act.


I love rich website

3)Yet another band obviously boasting extreme stupidity when it comes spelling their own moniker. The extra "o" chosen perhaps because they've soaked themselves in nu-metal or they're pushing the boundaries and the English language deserves a beating once in a while.
The band take on the listener with monotonous death grunts placed everywhere, chugging over Pantera riffs, the whole done-to-death stop/start breakdown reigning supreme. These guys want you to know they're edgy: "Pot Pie" has a sample mentioning seventeen swear words (go ahead and take a random stab at what the first lyrics are). The song proves crossing Korn with death metal is as terrible in practice as it is in theory. A hamfisted nomeansno and Victim's family jazz-punk guitar bridge swings in "Someone Kill Don Henley", but while those bands knew where to place their off-kilter explorations, it just doesn't work well for VAMPIRE MOOOSE as it's all too clear they're stretching beyond themselves. The Tool worship of "Angra Manyu" is a square peg in a round hole, and "La Tumba" is a weakly-inked facsimile of the PANTERA song "Walk". The angry pig vocals may be different but this was obviously written in less than two minutes. I'd say credit the band for another daring move, but it won't pay off as we're ten songs in and I seriously doubt many will have the endurance to make it this far.
While there are some amusing movie samples, the actual music on "The Reel" is a bigger patience-tester than waiting in a queue to see the latest blockbuster movie. But unlike enduring this nu-groove death metal borefest, buying tickets for a decent flick is typically a worthwhile experience.


Skullfower “Strange Keys to God’s Firmament”, 2009
Exercises in excess aren’t necessarily a bad thing.  That extra burger, for example, will taste as good as the first and ensure the hunger is filled and that your stomach stops rumbling at potentially embarrassing moments.   Skullflower have taken a huge risk releasing a double drone album with the hope of quenching a listener’s thirst for more of their music.

The music consists of feedback loops and monotonous guitar fuzz not miles stylistically away from the dirge of Sunn 00))).  Even with the differing song lengths, it’s incredibly difficult to discern one song from another over the course of the two discs. “Blackened Angel Wings Scythe the Blowing Void” will take up back if you can remember the days before 24 hour television as it sounds TV static turned up as loud but with cement mixers churning in the background.  Water being blasted to clean a decade of gunk build up off concrete as holes are powerdrilled is what comes to mind listening to “Chaotic Demons Fly Into My Eyes”.    There’s a feeling that something might actually happen is conjured in the fourteen minute “Gateway to Blasphemous Light” with its Iommi tone and sparse drumming.  However I’m left twiddling my thumbs.

While “IIIrd Gatekeeper” had a captivating drum and bass sound and the tracks had definite beginnings and ends.  murky monotony of sound buried deeper than necessary on “Strange Key’s to God’s Firmament”.   The drum sound is barely present as it has been muffled into oblivion and the tracks just go on for far too long without any real changes This album really only proved useful after a day of  drinking about fifteen cups of coffee plus more than a few Cokes, I reached for this album knowing that it  would be the ideal antidote to a sleepless night. On the negative side, the two discs are near impossible for anyone to digest in one sitting.  If Skullfower’s goal was to make an album very few would manage to listen to right through this album is a success story.



Balls - “Chameleon” , 2008 (BLP)

When this digipak fell out of my review packet I couldn’t tell whether the band name was Chameleonn or Balls.  Either way I didn’t have high hopes as both names seem equally uninspired and immediately decided this would be the last review CD I listen to.  Then a look at the press sheet reveals that Balls are Swedish.  My hopes are up as in recent years Sweden has produced a great many quality rock, punk and metal bands.

I shove this Balls  album and unfortunately my initial instinct is confirmed.  The album opens with the AC/DC inspired “Camper” and Björn Lodin does a reasonable Brian Johnson imitation for 2 minutes but then his voice breaks into sounding like a man with the flu in need of blowing his nose.  He’s the major deficit on “Chameleon”.  The press sheet writer’s thesaurus must have listed terrible as a synonym for distinctive.  That’s how his voice is described.  Balls play W inspired hard rock so the awful voice is too often just not suited to the music.  The second song “Chameleon” has King's X backing harmonies which only serve to point out how awful this guy’s voice.  They’re really good.  There is a punchy guitar sound here and there all over the album but it’s not present enough to give the listener a needed rest from those awful vocals.  “Jealousy” sounds like it could have been a mid eighties hard rock radio hit.  There is some great soloing and backing vocals on “Locked Up and Crazy”.

Looking at the band photo, the  bass player and drummer are about twenty years younger than the rest of the band who should have known better than release this album. The drum and bass sounds are often inaudible or just plain missing.  Like those Idol television shows this album offers the challenge to see how much you can listen to without wincing.


Balls on myspace

That's the list. There are a few omissions but reviews can be painful work and it's far more rewarding to hear a band that you enjoy so five of the best albums is up soon.

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