Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Altered States Of America

ASOA

If you are familiar with Agoraphobic Nosebleed and their way of doing things, then you’re probably staring at the title screaming ‘WHAT!?! HOW CAN YOU REVIEW THIS?!’. If this is the case, allow me to elaborate; it is not every day that I review an album with 99 tracks (technically 100 if you rewind the CD at the start). And I believe with the information I have already expressed; you’re starting to get the picture of how ‘peculiar’ this band are and this release is. Thus, I will try my very best to articulate a reasonable explanation for how ridiculous this release is as well as whether or not it’s worth listening to.

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer & Anal Cunt fame directs the insanity through the programmed drums and guitars on this album, as well as two other contributing vocalists; Jay Randall (offering up incoherent bass) & Richard Johnson (with his disturbing samples & distortion appearing often). Collectively, Altered States Of America is a series of ‘movements’ with some songs coming as a pack or section due to their styles or song titles. An example of this being the ‘Days of Sodom’ covering tracks 35 to 46, featuring the fantastically hilarious lyrics for ‘The Third Day of Sodom: Serpent of the Gay Pride Rainbow’:
‘EVE GROWS HUGE DICK AND FUCKS SNAKE.’
Or the Aum Shrinkyo/Japanese-themed, semi-electronic (yes, this IS what it sounds like) series of songs from tracks 21 to 34 – largely consisting of just the song title being howled out, e.g: ‘The Tokyo Subway Gassing’; some even reeling out facts about their song title. ‘Crop Dusting’ utilising some heavily distorted vocals to explain:
‘Japan’s Aum doomsday cult, that masterminded the fatal nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways, considered spraying the drug LSD from the sky.’
Whilst some are simply series of soundbites that have been altered or distorted in some way: ‘Domestic Solution’ being a 4-second repeated line:
‘Kick the shit out of you.’
So it’s fair to say at a glance, there’s a fair bit of experimentation taking place here!

However, for the most part you’ll find some micro-blasting sections of furiously fast programmed drums with blazing riffs right behind; vocals howling over the top in a style that reminds you of powerviolence. Sometimes they are merely spoken, such as on ‘Guided Tour’ & ‘5 Band Genetic Equalizer Pt. 3’. Sometimes they are growled in a significant grindcore style, ‘Deviant Arousal’ & ‘Ten Pounds of Remains’ being fine examples. More often than not, all of the vocal styles are combined; whether this be ‘A Chance At Reprisal’ breaking from spoken voice into a harsh hardcore scream or ‘Poland Springfield Acidbag’ ripping across powerviolence to grindcore harsh vocals in the form of screams and growls; it really does feel that the vocal department is almost impromptu in its performance – but this is very satisfying and gives an individual flair to some songs.

Speaking of individuality, the electronic & audio sample songs offer up disturbing and unnerving perspectives that act as interludes to further establish the distorted atmosphere of Altered States Of America. ‘The Artificial Religious Experience’ including an spectacular combination in 6-seconds of both:
‘We can not only cut enemy communication, we can cook internal organs’
&
‘I feel like my heart is being touched by Christ.’
From the outset, absurdity is commonplace across all tracks. This being evidenced in some amazingly ridiculous lyrics. Allow me, if I may, to display some personal favourites of mine:

Track 57: ‘Human Enhancement’ – ‘Mescaline kimono, chilli peppers. Woman fucked by wolf.’
Track 68: ‘Marine Pornography’ (for Whale Cock Skateboards) – ‘I hump like a fuckin’ whale and piss wherever I want. Thar’ she blows from my fuckin’ dick hole, rolling down a rubber as old as the Dead Sea scrolls.’
and who could forget Track 14: ‘Drive By Blowjob on a Bicycle’ ‘Your mother’s a drive by blowjob on a bicycle peddling her ass all over town. Ho sweet ho, it’s all about her cash sniffin’ nose.’

The drums provide a level of suitable chaos due to the impossible gravity blasts and blast beats that encase every single song in a clusterfuck of snare & cymbals. However, sometimes they end up as simply too great a barrier for the rest of the instrumentation; blocking off the sound of Scott Hull’s guitarwork; despite the vocals being audible across practically every song they are featured in (there are only 2 instrumental tracks across the 99 on the album). Particularly when the band are on a streak of their ‘regular’ style of blasting insanity (largely coming across in the second half of the album); this becomes a big issue regarding the enjoyment one can receive from the instrumentation itself; but this in turn brings attention towards the lyrics, which never disappoint.

As aforementioned, due to the drums partly drowning out everything on the instrument side of things; Scott Hull rarely gets an opportunity to express his skills effectively. On the majority of songs, an opening riff can be heard for perhaps a second or half a second before the drums hit like a 50-megaton bomb and turn everything to dust. This causing the main riff to become incoherent unless the drums peter off momentarily for a change in pace or style. It’s a very Anal Cunt-esque way of songwriting that remains effective in the grind & noise format of presentation but in its basic practicality; it’s not the greatest idea. ‘Narcoterrorist Megalomaniac’ features the only solo on the album, which goes down pretty fantastically. So if you had to judge Scott Hull’s contributions to the album based on that track and the two instrumental tracks ‘Watching A Clown Point A Gun At A Small Dog (Reprisal)’ & ‘Scott Hulk on Intramuscular Steroids’ – yeah, he did a fine job.

Conclusion? Fuck, man. I have to write out the tracklisting!
Altered States Of America is a journey that’s worth taking all at once, despite its outrageous number of tracks – it works well as one explosive and ridiculous package that clocks in at around 19 and a half minutes. Dividing that by the tracklength – you end up with each track on the album being about 12 seconds in length.

Some songs will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. Some will make you shudder in disgust at their content. And the majority will just cause outright confusion.
In summary: A musical trip on the worst kind of drugs.

4/5

Tracklisting:
(HERE WE GO!)

0. “Wonder Drug Wonderland” 1:45
1. “Spreading the Dis-Ease” 0:56
2. “Ark of Ecoterrorism” 0:13
3. “Living Lolita Blowjob” 0:12
4. “Thawing Out” 0:15
5. “Need for Better Body Armor” 0:09
6. “Freeze Dried Cemetery” 0:20
7. “Children Blown to Bits by the Busload” 0:12
8. “Scoring in Heaven” 0:13
9. “Fuck Your Soccer Jesus” 0:05
10. “Guided Tour” 0:22
11. “Honky Dong” 0:08
12. “Famous Last Words” 0:18
13. “Osaka Korova Milk Bar” 0:17
14. “Drive-By Blowjob on a Bicycle” 0:12
15. “Ten Pounds of Remains” 0:07
16. “Utter Mental Retardation and Reversal of Man” 0:15
17. “Neotropolis Euphoria” 0:08
18. “Snitch Olympics” 0:16
19. “Crawling out of the Cradle into the Casket” 0:15
20. “Removing Locator Tooth” 0:06
21. “Aum Shinrikyo” 0:04
22. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” 0:04
23. “The Tokyo Subway Gassing” 0:04
24. “The Star of David” 0:04
25. “Shintaro Ishihara and the Rape of Nanking in World War 2” 0:05
26. “Mahikari” 0:12
27. “Micro-Tidal Wave” 0:04
28. “Crop Dusting” 0:12
29. “LSD as a Chemical Weapon” 0:14
30. “Illegal Manufacture” 0:08
31. “Drugging the Control Group” 0:10
32. “Alice in La La Land” 0:04
33. “Apocalypse as Mescaline Experience” 0:10
34. “The Artificial Religious Experience” 0:06
35. “The First Day of Sodom: Pussy Hair Prayer Rug” 0:05
36. “The Second Day of Sodom: Distortion in Eden” 0:04
37. “The Third Day of Sodom: Serpent of the Gay Pride Rainbow” 0:04
38. “The Fourth Day of Sodom: Snaking Adam’s Black Apple” 0:04
39. “The Fifth Day of Sodom: Like a Cretin on Christmas Eve” 0:04
40. “The Sixth Day of Sodom: Boston Hardcore Caligula” 0:05
41. “The Seventh Day of Sodom: Fantasizing Hydrahead” 0:07
42. “The Eighth Day of Sodom: Lamb of the Rotisserie God” 0:04
43. “The Ninth Day of Sodom: Holiday Bowl Full of Asshole” 0:04
44. “The Tenth Day of Sodom: Enter the House of Feasting” 0:05
45. “The Eleventh Day of Sodom: Passing Blunts and Cunts at Relapse” 0:05
46. “The Twelfth Day of Sodom: When Taking a Shit Feels Sexy” 0:07
47. “Poland Springfield Acidbag” 0:19
48. “Rectal Thermometer” 0:11
49. “Lemonade and a Snickers Bar” 0:05
50. “Necro-Cannibalistic Tendencies in Young Children” 0:08
51. “Bombs with Butterfly Wings” 0:09
52. “Watching a Clown Point a Gun at a Small Dog (reprise)” 0:16
53. “Mosquito Holding Human Cattle Prod” 0:24
54. “For Just Ten Cents a Day…” 0:25
55. “Mental Change(s): Altered Consciousness” 0:06
56. “Radical Modernism” 0:04
57. “Human Enhancement” 0:04
58. “Juxtaposed Impacts” 0:04
59. “Unprecedented Experiment” 0:04
60. “Transparent Enclosure” 0:09
61. “Bong Hit Wonder” 0:08
62. “Opening to Personals Ad by Richard Johnson” 0:14
63. “Relapse Refusing U.N. Weapons Inspectors” 0:09
64. “Neural Linguistic Programming” 0:12
65. “The Fag vs. the Indian” 0:05
66. “Black Metal Transvestite” 0:18
67. “Debbie Does Dishes” 0:04
68. “Marine Pornography (For Whale Cock Skateboards)” 0:18
69. “Keeping a Clean Kennel” 0:04
70. “Baby Mill Pt. 1 (Born and Sold into Child Slavery)” 0:07
71. “Firearms for All Faiths” 0:12
72. “Domestic Solution” 0:04
73. “Definition of Death” 0:39
74. “Discolored” 0:10
75. “Scott Hulk on Intramuscular Steroids” 0:09
76. “4 Leeches (40,000 Leeches)” 0:55
77. “Group Taking Acid as Considered Conspiracy Against the Government” 0:06
78. “Small Room and a Six-Pack” 0:06
79. “Deviant Arousal” 0:06
80. “Unbound by Civilized Properties” 0:08
81. “They All Burned!” 0:12
82. “Shotgun Funeral” 0:04
83. “Homophobic Assbleed” 0:05
84. “Exacting Revenge on Pets” 0:08
85. “Baby Mill pt. 2 (White Russian)” 0:07
86. “Narcoterrorist Megalomaniac” 0:25
87. “Releasing a Dove from a Ghetto Rooftop” 0:08
88. “Bipartisan Buttfuck” 0:14
89. “Bent over the Cross” 0:25
90. “A Chance at Reprisal” 0:15
91. “Altered Ego” 0:17
92. “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” 0:21
93. “Latter Day Mormon Ritual” 0:18
94. “5-Band Genetic Equalizer, Pt. 3” 0:21
95. “Absurd Boast” 0:10
96. “Burning Social Interest” 0:11
97. “Whore Torn Vet” 0:10
98. “Obi Wan Kaczynski” 0:12
99. “Placing a Personal Memo on the Boss’s Desk” 0:13
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Suicide Commando – When Evil Speaks (Deluxe Edition)

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Suicide Commando is long overdue for some substantive change.

Album Rating: 3.3 –good but not great.

Underground-acclaimed Belgian musician Johan von Roy is Suicide Commando, an electro-industrial (often referred to as “Aggrotech”) project that has been around since 1986. Johan is considered to be the most influential artist of the style by fans of this particular niché combination of electronic and industrial music. He is also often credited for having been one of the first to have created this style, a sub-genre coined as Aggrotech, that is also sometimes called “Hellektro.” While it may or may not be true that he was one of the first, it is certain that he is one of the oldest artists with music that accords this particular off-shoot of electro-industrial music. Suicide Commando’s work is qua dance music with, “harsh” screams for vocals, a heavy reliance on bass synthesis, and dark lyrical themes purporting murder, war, death and other general forms of violence. Such characteristics are very epitomic of descriptors used to identify music that is considered to be “Aggrotech” and have consistently remained as hallmark features of Johan’s work as Suicide Commando.

Up until the release of his full-length album Axis of Evil from 2003, his music had primarily been instrumentally slow-paced and repetitive. The most commodious and effortless manner of enjoying his music was by paying more of one’s attention towards Johan’s foreboding lyricism and  synthesized  instrumental textures. After his 2003 release, the music of Suicide Commando had evolved to blend danceability with the dark and violent nature of the themes Johan purported. It is then that his releases became most akin to contemporary Aggrotech played by artists such as God Module, Reaper, Detroit Diesel, Freakangel, Psyborg Corp. and many other new electro-industrial projects. His latest release, entitled When Evil Speaks, combines his pre-2003 inclinations while keeping the element of danceability that has characterized him as part of Aggrotech’s contemporaries.

Whether intentional or not, this combination takes a step backwards to the earlier days of Suicide Commando and has consequently  regressed the nature of his music. The new album, independent of the “deluxe edition” bonus CD, is difficult to enjoy because the material is the same music Johan has been making his entire career. It can be said that Suicide Commando has had two phases that the project has undergone throughout the near-30 years that it has existed. The first phase comprised of the initial 17 years while the latter phase has been the last 10. Re-listening to the music that Johan has released during this segment in time is already difficult because, after a few albums, all of the music becomes foreseeably unchanging—except that it becomes progressively more dull—albeit he underwent a style change in 2003, which is now a negligible difference after more than several really similar releases since then. While there is no doubt that remaining consistent is important, at some point there comes a time in every artist’s discography when fans are no longer satisfied with the same taste that they’ve sampled for years. They need new flavour and the artist must spice up their offerings to keep their fans hungry for more. Suicide Commando is long overdue for some substantive change.

Although When Evil Speaks is not entertaining or whelming the bonus CD that comes with the deluxe edition is. It comes with a wealth of well-crafted remixes from over a dozen other EBM and Aggrotech artists, and more than half of them are better than the original music featured on disc 1. Most of the musicians that created these remixes are fairly average at writing and producing their own original work, so it was surprising to hear adept submissions from them. However, there were a few artists that participated who are reasonably popular in the electro-industrial community and are known for contributing top-notch music. Albeit they are much younger than Suicide Commando, it’s fair to place Die Sektor and Unter Null at the forefront of today’s elite for the sub-genre. Their remixes stand out as a result of the popularity and approbation that Die Sektor’s 2006 full-length To Be Fed Upon, and Unter Null’s 2010 full-length Moving On, have attracted over the years since their irrespective releases. While none of the 13 remixes that come with Disc 2 of the release are fit to be on club playlists, each of them are moderately lively and danceable like much of Suicide Commando’s newer work.

Unfortunately, the deluxe edition of Suicide Commando’s When Evil Speaks is a great listen only because of the remixes that come with the second disc. As a stand-alone, the original album does not have enough energy invested in it to animate it as an effectively entertaining release. It is also mundane and slightly irritating because it is overly reminiscent of everything that Johan has released since the inception of his project. For that reason in particular, new fans, and individuals listening to his music for the first time, will likely find When Evil Speaks more enjoyable than people who have followed his work for years. There is certainly more that could have been done to enhance and progress the music and, even if there’s no intention of expanding on what has already been done for this project, the remixes are evidence that typically average artists can create solid tracks by showing just a little more than their ordinary interest in making music.

When Evil Speaks was released on May 14th, 2013 through Metropolis Records.

Tracklisting:

CD One: “When Evil Speaks”
01. Feeding My Inner Hate
02. Cut_Bleed_Eviscerate
03. My Blasphemy
04. When Evil Speaks
05. Monster
06. Attention Whore
07. Repent Or Perish
08. In Guns We Trust
09. Time (Rewind)
10. Unterwelt
11. Evacuate – Where‘s The Exit Remix
12. Song Of No Tomorrow

CD Two: “When Hate Prevails”
01. My Blasphemy – Die Sektor Rmx
02. Attention Whore – Incestuous Rmx by Alien Vampires
03. When Evil Speaks – Shiv-R Rmx
04. My Blasphemy – Absolute Body Control Rmx
05. Repent Or Perish – vProjekt Rmx
06. When Evil Speaks – Sin Dna Rmx
07. My Blasphemy – Dust Rmx by ES23
08. Evacuate – Apocalyptica Remix by Betamorphose
09. Attention Whore – Hydra Division V Rmx
10. Monster – Unter Null Rmx
11. My Blasphemy – Cygnosic Rmx
12. God Is in The Rain – First Black Pope Rmx
13. Attention Whore – Nano Infect Rmx
14. Song Of No Tomorrow – Controlled Collapse Rmx

World Of Metal And Rust – Songs For Prisoners

Songs For Prisoners cover art
“We’re all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.” – Tennessee Williams –
Isolation can be a wonderful thing. Some of the best art the world has ever seen has been created whilst the artist was being secluded from the rest of the world. Ian Curtis wrote many of his best songs whilst separating himself from those around him, and even Kurt Cobain was deemed a prisoner of his own loneliness, which may have been a reason for his suicide. The fact that World Of Metal And Rust use instrumental tracks devoids all the songs presented here of a human aspect, resulting in fifty-four minutes of isolation, away from the human world.

World Of Metal And Rust is a one-man project from the US comprised of Ross Dabrowski. Straight from opening track “Prisoner A,” it is evident that the music presented here relies heavily on atmosphere in order to create the soundscapes that Dabrowski aims for. Atmosphere is created through his use of repetition of samples, echos and volume swells. Though repetition is a common feature throughout the album, more often than not, it never seems lazy. One might think Dabrowski is repeating something purely to fill time, but instead it adds to the overall mood of each piece. As is evident in most songs on the album, the repetitive beats and samples lull the listener into an almost hypnotic trance. Many of the dissonant volume swells in the album opener seem incredibly ominous, again reinforcing the idea that this is not joyous music – “Songs For Prisoners” is not an album you listen to during your break at college whilst talking to all of your friends – it should be enjoyed in the very way the title suggests, in isolation.

“Prisoner D” deserves a paragraph all to itself. It opens with what can only be described as the sounds of steam, followed again by more volume swells. Dabrowski chooses to lay an echoing hip-hop drum beat over the top, which is sure to please fans of Massive Attack and Burial. Halfway through the track the song cuts to silence and we see the song build itself back up through its use of volume swells and dissonance. The atmosphere Dabrowski strives for is most successful here, as the latter half of “Prisoner D” is absolutely horrifying and unsettling. Upon my first listening in my darkened bedroom I had to close my eyes and pull the covers over my head, hoping – praying – that the song would end soon.

That’s not to say Dabrowski’s experimentation is always successful. The latter half of “Prisoner C” sees one particular drum beat get louder and louder, but it’s hip-hop stylings contrast (and not in a good way) against the dissonant piano line, coming off as silly sounding, as it completely breaks the mood and undermines what the album has been working so hard to achieve for the previous eight minutes. Again, the drum sample that fades in during the start of “Prisoner E” seems a little too loud in the mix, and like “Prisoner C,” counteracts what Dabrowski is aiming to achieve. While it could be argued that at nearly fifty-five minutes, both the running time and the ambiance push the limits of accessibility for the casual listener, making it seem a little pretentious and overbearing, the album’s successes overshadow its pitfalls.

Whilst “Songs For Prisoners” has its flaws, World Of Metal And Rust show potential to make an utterly fantastic album in the near future. The album’s successes lie in its ability to communicate absolutely horrific imagery to the listener, due to its incredible use of ambiance. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to retreat back to the comfort of human interaction to make the dark room I’m sitting in a little less scary.

4/5

DEADCELL – The Dark Side Of Light

DEADCELL-The Dark Side Of Light ARTWORK

4/5

It’s a good thing this is unadulterated, because DEADCELL are having fun with some serious topics. The Dark Side Of Light is a record that only grows inside your subconscious, expanding into so much more, it’s a shame that there are so many acts trying to break into the scene, but if they pay enough attention to DEADCELL, those acts might actually learn something.

The album starts strong; the confronting topic of foul language being used in day to day language is enough to turn heads. Yes, the song is rather short but there’s no need to keep selling a product once it’s sold. ‘Ode To Fuck’ does exactly what it needs to, setting the foundation for the rest of the record. Just because the topics involved may be a little “controversial” it doesn’t mean that the song isn’t a quality introduction to the album. It also helps that inwardly everybody likes to curse a bit more than they ought to. As a whole, The Dark Side Of Light is almost military in style. Crashing tempos built from marched beats dominate the record, but the album is not without its contrasting moments. It presents the listener with an almost dance/electronic atmosphere and the first released single off the record, Dog Of War, proves just how bringing in a few features from other genres can completely revitalize an other-wise stale soundscape. Its album’s like this that really make it worthwhile to sort through the on par, mediocre releases.

The Dark Side Of Light is a life, one fleeting moment into the mind of industrial metal, the album is catchy and memorable, retaining only enough commercialism to ensure that ‘The Dark Side Of Light’ is enjoyable. As the title of the band’s fifth studio record is a contrasting enigma, and begs the question; How can light have a dark side? Listen carefully, DEADCELL are about to tell you. Considering that this is the band’s first release in almost seven years, it comes as no surprise that DEADCELL’s The Dark Side Of Light is fresh and far away from the dull, mindless droll releases spewed every couple of years by the majority of industrial themed metal. Instead, DEADCELL promote well-rounded tracks, bouncy rhythms and a haunting, thought-provoking atmosphere. The inevitable Rob Zombie and Ministry comparisons aside, what listeners’ have here is a new take on some traditional industrial metal, bringing back catchy hooks without being over-bearing in nature.

Overall, there is a lot to be taken from this industrial heavy metal record. Not only does it fit every stereotype of the genre as a whole, but it manages to surpass your everyday expectations of a band that is simply coming back with a fresh take on their own music. There are obvious highlights to be found peppered all over the record. Tracks like ‘Dog Of War’, ‘My Sacred House’ (which features some extremely well-placed female vocal phrases) and the title track all promote that this is a band continuing its progression in an upwards manner. If there’s anything you do in the next hour, it’s pick up DEADCELL’s The Dark Side Of Light and spin it until every synth soaked industrial riff is etched into your brain.

1. Ode To Fuck

2. Dog Of War

3. Fear Heaven, Burn The King

4. The Dark Side Of Light

5. My Sacred House

6. (Been Through Hell) Live To Tell

7. Die Tomorrow

8. L’anima Finita

9. Ode To Fuck (Extended Version)

10. Unchained (Video Version)

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