Top 3 of 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last year I could only come up with a list of 3 records that were released in 2008 that I actually purchased and/or enjoyed, so this year I'm going to honour that tradition with another measly list of 3. To be honest, I've got a brain like a sieve, and any record that came out 8 months ago that I might've liked has already been long forgotten. So 3 it is!

ZOMBI • Spirit Animal
Relapse Records
Without a doubt the best thing Relapse has ever released. Layers upon layers of keyboard driven 70s horror soundscapes and Kraut Rock meanderings create an ambient, moody, scary record that I can't get enough of. Think: GOBLIN, TANGERINE DREAM, RUSH, and John Carpenter movie soundtracks. I'm confident that the MAJEURE record is going to be spectacular too, but I haven't even had a chance to crack the plastic on that one.

THE DEVIL'S BLOOD • The Time Of No Time Evermore
Van Records
After all the teasers released by TDB... finally a full length to sink yer teeth into. Much like ZOMBI, THE DEVIL'S BLOOD are all about atmosphere and a haunting aura, 'cept instead of keyboards, they layer harmonized and reverb drenched guitars and vocals over 60s-style Rock meets MOTORHEAD. This didn't blow me away like Come Reap did, but I'll take what I can get!

AT WAR • Infidel
Heavy Artillery Records
This one was a toss up between WHIPLASH and AT WAR, but Infidel has edge over Unborn Again. While both are great returns to form, AT WAR were able to retain more of their initial energy, and sound - this coulda come out a year after Retaliatory Strike and it woulda sounded exactly the same. Yeah there's lots to question re: AT WAR's politics and gun toting, pro-war stance, but somehow it just makes them more likeable. Not because I agree... but God love 'em for being so damned American!

Top 10 Downloads of 2009

These are the albums, posted during 2009, that were most downloaded. Excellent selection of titles, but of course, as with last year, I recognize that the more recent posts haven't had as much time to be downloaded... tough shit for them!
1. TKO • In Your Face: Ah yes... this was the discovery of the year for me! Easily my favourite record/post of the year. Yours too evidently.
2. BRATS • 18th January 1981: Essentially a MERCYFUL FATE record... not surprising it had the shit downloaded outta it.
3. FAITHFUL BREATH • Gold 'N' Glory: Killer head gear.
4. CRACK JAW • Nightout: German Metal - almost always a safe bet.
5. BLACK SABBATH • Born Again Unmixed: Crushing alternate version of the mighty Born Again.
6. MOTORHEAD • BBC Sessions: Duh!
7. NIGHTWING • Black Summer: Love that album cover, and the songs are cool too.
8. VILLAINS • Drenched In The Poisons: Good record, even if it's not "hispter or darkthrone clone bullshit".
9. SORTILEGE • Metamorphose: One of my Euro-Metal faves. Glad to see the French version was grabbed over the English.
10. MX MACHINE • Manic Panic: Not sure if people downloaded this cuz they liked it or cuz they hated it... whatever, I thought it was good.

LOUDNESS • The Birthday Eve LP

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nippon Columbia Company 1981
Probably the most well known of Japan's 80s Metal exports, Osaka's LOUDNESS started life as more of a 1970s guitar hero tribute. VAN HALEN being the most obvious influence, but there's an undeniable Uli Jon Roth/SCORPIONS feel, blatant RUSH style Prog passages, and some bits of LED ZEPPELIN thrown in to complete the unholy Classic Rock mélange. LOUDNESS is very much Akira Takasaki's band; his guitar playing is technically beyond reproach, but also tasteful and widely varied... so good it almost makes you forget about those annoying vocals. Thunder In The East is the only other LOUDNESS record I've heard, and by that point they were fully ensconced in the sheen of big budget American production. The Birthday Eve is more raw, stripped down, and classic in feel and approach, with the only hints of full blown Metal found in Takasaki's playing and the high register vocals. Decent record, but mildly annoying, and I can't quite put my finger on why.
DOWNLOAD: Loudness-TheBirthdayEve.rar (74.18 MB)

TARGET • Master Project Genesis LP

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Aaarrg Records 1988
Holy shit this is a good record! Herky-jerky technical Thrash that not only sounds like, but is equally as good as, and better in some cases, than Cracked Brain-era DESTRUCTION, OBLIVEON, M.A.D. and ARTILLERY. Trust me, I'm not being overzealous or hyperbolic, this album is that good (yeah I know Cracked Brain kinda sucks, but whatever). Not only is there the modern cyber-techno Metal replete with harmonized R2-D2 guitar solos, but there's a healthy dose of straight ahead Thrash so things don't become so abstrusely angular that you can't even wrap yer head around it. Steve Gray's vocals are excellent, and help to elevate TARGET above all the aforementioned bands with regards to melody and accessibility (excepting ARTILLERY perhaps). This is one of the best Thrash records I've posted. Download at will.
DOWNLOAD: Target-MasterProjectGenesis.rar (68.73 MB)


Friday, December 11, 2009

Napalm Records 1986
GUITAR PETE'S AXE ATTACK has gotta be one'a the worst band names of all time. It's just so fucking stupid... AXE ATTACK is par-for-the-course for mid 80s Metal: dumb but not overly moronic, but any of the potential menace conjured up by AXE ATTACK is lost when Guitar Pete decided he should become the band's namesake. What's more, the guy ain't no guitar wizard... just yer typical axe slinger - I guarantee that on any given Friday night in 1986, you coulda thrown a rock in L'Amours and hit an equally competent guitarist. OK enough about the name. Much like Pete's guitar playing, the music on Nitemare is standard at best. Not super heavy, commercial but not overly so, just middle of the road American Metal. Nothing really jumped out at me as being spectacular or gawdawful... meh.
DOWNLOAD (only if you've got the bandwidth to spare): GuitarPetesAxeAttack-Nitemare.rar (70.37 MB)

JINGO DE LUNCH • Cursed Earth EP

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bonzen Records 1988
Wow, this record is blowing my mind! JINGO DE LUNCH really got it right... heavy, hard-assed Rock informed by Punk or maybe Hardcore. As an example of just where their heads're at, there's THIN LIZZY ("Cowboy Song") and BAD BRAINS ("Pay To Cum") covers, and there's not a tongue in cheek anywhere to be found. The sound is huge, almost SACRILEGE-ous; the drums are massive, but the female vox are much more melodic than Tam's. A couple of the more metallic riffs remind me of SACRILEGE too, which is weird, because on the surface the two bands have little in common. "Pay To Cum" is on the record at the wrong speed, so I've included a proper, 45 rpm version as well as the original... because I care. Get this!
DOWNLOAD: JingoDeLunch-CursedEarth.rar (40.66 MB)


Friday, December 4, 2009

Metal Blade Records 1985
Universally accepted as one of the worst album covers of all-time, the cover shot makes it next to impossible to take this record seriously. However... musically PREDATOR is in keeping with Metal Blade's collection of half-assed Metal bands that were only able to eke out a single release (THRUST, WITCHKILLER, 3RD STAGE ALERT, DEMON FLIGHT, BLOODLUST, etc.). That is not to say that Easy Prey is a bad record, in fact it's more than decent, and PREDATOR "mastermind" Jeff Prentice is a fantastic guitar player whose virtuosity keeps things interesting. Kinda like Chicago's THRUST, without the high-pitched vocals and hate-on for posers. More enjoyable than expected, and as far as I'm concerned, the album cover's stupidity is more endearing than off-putting, so it's win/win.
DOWNLOAD: Predator-EasyPrey.rar (81.08 MB)
PS: Sleazegrinder tracked down Jeff Prentice and conducted a great interview re: the album cover, and ramshackle nature of the band, album, and everything PREDATOR

AXTION • Look Out For The Night LP

Thursday, December 3, 2009

IRD Records 1985
Within the realms of Metal, this is as diametrically opposed to BLESSED DEATH as you could possibly get, so if yer lookin' to have yer nuts crushed, this ain't the one to download... but if you're up for some middle of the road Hard Rock/commercial Metal you're in luck. Look Out For The Night starts off kinda limp wristed, but gradually develops into a pretty decent platter. Yeah it's tame and generally lightweight, but the boys get the lead out on a few tracks ("Fury Of The Tempest", "Your Number's Up", and the title track), and there's enough hard rockin' attitude and cool guitar bits to make it worthy of repeateded listens. Slightly reminiscent of SINFUL, it's sorta second rate, and a bit demo-ish in the production department, but that's never stopped me before... it ain't gonna stop me now.
DOWNLOAD: Axtion-LookOutForTheNight.rar (77.51 MB)

BLESSED DEATH • Destined For Extinction LP

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Roadrunner Records 1987
I had the pleasure of seeing these dudes a couple of times in the late 80s, and I hated them! The guy's non-stop, ear-piercing wail was infuriating, their slobby biker image was irksome (at the time I prolly woulda preferred if they were in jammer shorts or some bullshit), but what I really didn't like was that they made me wait for the other bands on the bill: AT WAR... and more importantly WHIPLASH! The photo on the back of this record irritated me... in a nutshell, I disliked everything about BLESSED DEATH. Even today I debated buying this slab for all the aforementioned reasons, and many others, but I swallowed my pride and returned home with a goddamn BLESSED DEATH record. I was right about the air-raid siren screams (they never stop!!), and he seems to have little sense of time, rhythm, or song structure, but as a band BD are absolutely crushing. Thrash that is almost a precursor to Death Metal; complex, relentless, and really just heavy-as-fuck. OK... I like BLESSED DEATH... there, I said it... are you happy now?
DOWNLOAD: BlessedDeath-DestinedForExtinction.rar (62.52 MB)