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Across Tundras
Dark Songs Of The Prarie
Crucial Blast
This album has a very “warm “ feeling. Kinda like Neil Young jamming’ with Neurosis. Incredible.

Bolt Stein/Insect Warfare
Split 7”
Rescued From Life-
Bolt Stein are from Japan and play grind along the lines of Bolt Thrower, while Houston’s Insect Warfare sound like Brutal Truth and Carcass arguing over which early Napalm Death album is better. Hurry and get this before it’s gone!

Born Dead
Endless War….Repetition
Prank Very well done 80’s style anarcho-punk from Oakland.. Most of this material is from limited tour releases, and this puts them all in one handy package.

Blessing The Hogs
The Twelve Guage Solution
Listening to this brings Coalesce to mind, and I don’t mean that in a negative way! Brutal, unrelenting metal by Billy Anderson. No, not produced by Billy Anderson (as seen in the liner notes of at least one album in your collection if you’re cool), this is Billy Anderson on guitar/vocals. Speaking of Coalesce, Sean Ingram does guest vocals on a couple of tunes. There are also covers of Quicksand and the Melvins, and if you pop this into your cd rom drive, there is a video and a game! Why are you still reading this? You should be trying to find it already!

Bury The Living
All The News That’s Fit To Scream
Yeah! Hardcore! No “jun jun screeee jun jun jun jun jun jun screeee” riffs here… this is how it’s done in the olde country ya hear? This Memphis 4-piece does hardcore in the vein of Sick Of It All and though it’s been done before, it’s very welcome to these ears!

Code Duello
Pistols At Dawn
Damn these guys rock! And they’re from Baton Rouge! I have no idea why I’ve never noticed them till now. They’ve been around for 4 years with the name Pistols At Dawn and recently changed it to Code Duello. Damn good stoner with a little Motorhead thrown in the mix. Check these guys out when they’re in N.O. again damnit!

The Communion
Well Played, Illuminati
Whoa whoa whoa! Wait a second! Where the hell did these guys come from? And why don’t they have a proper release out yet? And why aren’t they in New Orleans? Brutal grind with sludgey breaks! Damn this is good stuff! You are just plain stupid if you don’t check these guys out. This demo was only $2. They’re from New York and there’s a definite Soilent Green influence there… but it’s not a rip-off in the least! Just buy this demo already, fucker!

Oh shit! This is what I’m talkin’ bout muddafugga! Heavy Southern sludge with vocals that sound like ya boy from Jesus Lizard! Another band to watch for! Dayum!

Cracked Open Skull
Goin’ To Hell
Not sure what to make of this. Different… Drums, bass and vocals. Slow paced music with no consistent beat and vocals that sound like a rambling lunatic. Sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom. I’m diggin’ this now, but I’m not sure I will be listening to it much.

Hell yeah! Fast paced crusty metallic hardcore with harsh vocals. Sounds a bit like His Hero Is Gone with a cleaner production! Though I’ve heard them compared to Japanese bands and whatnot, I hear a lot of HHIG in their sound. Your move!

For A Better Tomorrow
Damn.. I’ve got a good batch of cd’s to review this issue! Fistula returns with another slab-o-sludge and once again does NOT disappoint. So fucking heavy! Jason Corley (-16-) handles the drum duties for Fistula on this disc and he does a great job of it!

Four Days To Burn
Lieutenant/Casino Bitch 7”
DadaDrumming- www.dada
Sludge. I can never get enough of a good sludge band, and this is no exception. No, there’s nothing really fresh or original going on here, but they do the damn thing. Fans of Eyehategod and Cavity will approve.

The Goons/ Legbone
Split 7”
Two fast, loud, speedy punk bands with melodic vocals along the line of NOFX. Not much separating these two except maybe Legbone’s vocals are a bit grittier and have a bit more of a metal sound in the guitar. Good stuff!

Roadrunner Records
You know, I can remember a time when bands just played music, and sometimes had enough money to put out their recordings, maybe even got lucky enough to tour or get signed. Now, metal seems to be, in some cases, trying to push the idea of brand recognition, much like many big hip-hop and rock moguls have done. Now, to me, if the star is bright enough, or the music hot enough, it could be forgiven if the market is there, but this really only applies to acts like KISS or Jay-Z . . . legitimate "stars" as it were, who have years of creative output to push their wares. That said, the new Hatebreed seems as if it is just another commercial for the band to hawk their brand, and not actually rock their band. Maybe it's just too much time at the Mtv studios, or at the fashion design firm, but underplayed, overwrought, unimaginitive metal just ain't my bag. (M. Bevis)

Hawg Jaw
Don’t Trust Nobody
After countless delays… it’s good to have this! Yeah I know I reviewed an advance of it last issue, but I never feel like I’ve said enough about Hawg Jaw. Dat dirty ol’ N’awlins Hardcore! You know what to do.

Psalm II
O.k. I started to write some very negative shit about this… it starts out like every other black metal cd I’ve ever heard, but suddenly the beat changes and it becomes fucking awesome! Yeah, it’s still typical black metal, but each song has something that grabs my attention, even if it’s for a minute. Not too shabby…

Insect Warfare
Endless Execution Through Violent Restitution
Ever have a band that instantly becomes one of your top favorite bands the second you hear them? This is the band that I won’t shut the fuck up about. Straight up brutal fucking grind core that just obliterates anything in its path! This cd combines tracks from ep’s, splits, comp. tracks and a rehearsal demo. The cover of Razor “Behind Bars” makes me throw stuff! GULF COAST GRINDCORE!

Wow. I don’t know where to begin. First off, this is members of Uphill Battle, Exhumed/Impaled and Anubis Rising… so you can just assume that the quality will be there! Musically this is along the lines of Isis, but a bit more technical and venturing into doomy death metal territory at times. Why did this sit in the pile for so long? Another band that I’ll be listening to a lot in the near future!

The Itch
The Courage To Be Hated
Punk Rawk that’s been over done countless times. Yeah…movin’ on…

Chaos Is My Name
Hydra Head-www.hydra
All you need these days to put out an album is a bunch of effects and a connection in the “industry”. I’m officially disgusted.

Alpine Static
Sub Pop
Okay, this came out last year, but is so damn good that I felt I had to give it some recognition here. If you like acts such as PELICAN or ISIS, then KINSKI is going to fit right in-between there nicely. Almost exclusively instrumental, This is weird-rock from Seattle that reminds that there is some good stuff to be found out there in the Pacific Northwest. There's a little atmospherics, a little straight-forward ROCK, and more than enough experimentation to have you scratching your head wondering how four people make all of that sound, and all without synthesizers. The best part is that they keep the noodling down to a minimum, which keeps the album flowing quite well, despite some long track times. Great for long drives on a good stereo, and even better when you're stoned out of yr. gourd at home, basking in the surround sound. (M. Bevis)

Fex Urbis Lex Orbis
Alternative Tentacles- www.alternative
Ludicra has yet to disappoint me. Melodic black metal with female vocals. This goes from ferocious blasting metal with shrieks and demonic groans to soothing passages with angelic vocals. Good stuff!

Sixty Two Trax Of Thrash
To Live A
The title does not lie! 62 thrash/grind tunes here! I was one of the 10 or so people who saw this band at the Dixie Taverne (with rat in a bucket opening) and they fuckin’ tore shit up! Fierce!

Blood Mountain
Mastodon continue to craft some of the most interesting underground metal around. With each successive release, they pound out amazingly heavy, hook-smeared METAL, and BLOOD MOUNTAIN is the fresh evidence to back that claim up. On first hearing, there almost seems to be too much, so much information, that it's only after repeated listens that it really starts to sink in just how big this Mountain is. They even have some big-name guests on this one, but they also seem to get lost in the enormity of it all, which actually works to their favor. The best thing about their latest is that there really is something for everyone--grind, sludge, doom, thrash, math, hardcore, classical(?), even a suggestion of jazz . . . all rendered and assimilated with jeweler's precision. Maybe not the future of metal, but definitely one of the most original, and consistently high-quality acts out there. (M. Bevis)

Mouth Of The Architect
The Ties That Bind
Powerful, heavy doomy metal along the lines of Pelican, Jesu and yes, Neurosis/Isis. While this seems to be a current trend in music, these guys do it very well. Loud and beautiful.

The Fierce Urgency Of Now
Goodfellow Records
I wanted to bad to just dismiss this as just another run of the mill metal core cd. The further I get into it, the more I’m just awed at the songwriting on this. Intense metal core that doesn’t follow the verse, chorus, breakdown, verse, chorus formula and relies more on putting a good song together than writing “mosh parts”. A nice surprise!

Peeping Tom
Mike Patton is our everyman. From the first moment the world became aware of him, he has been the fringe chameleon, moving almost effortlessly from one new project to the next, and each one a little different than the last. His spectrum has been so wide, and at times so bizarre, that it seemed that he would never return to the POPular realms of music again. But then PEEPING TOM finally surfaced, after much deliberation and rumor, and it seemes that Mr. Patton has yet still more tricks up his sleeve. It is definitely his most polished and accessible work since his days in FAITH NO MORE, but on a crucially different level. This time, Trip-Hop, not Funk, informs his sound, and the addition of a guest on each track assures that the sound is sublime and varied enough to command attention. With adds on modern rock radio, Mike Patton has bubbled up from the depths, into the sunlight again, with a sensual and succint piece of illicit surveillance. Any fan of his work probably already has an opinion on this, but do yourself a favor and make your own mind up by giving it a whirl. (M. Bevis)

Rabies Caste
Isreali sludge! They teeter between the Grief/Iron Monkey style and the Neurosis/Isis style of the slow heavy end of the spectrum. Apparently this band has been around a few years, and after hearing this I want to dig up their earlier recordings!

Red Beards
On this cd, The Red Beards are: Eric Martinez (Hatchback/Dear Diary I Seem To Be Dead)-vocals/guitar/drums, Justin Grisioli (Faeries/Outlaw Order)-drums/bass and James Hayes-vocals/guitar/bass. When everybody switches up, they sound like 2 separate bands… one giving a nod to 90’s alternative/grunge, the other being a noisier beast with lots of yelling and screaming. The line-up has changed nowadays with Justin playing guitar/drums and Tate on bass, but this cd is still represents their current sound pretty much.

Salt This Earth
‘04 demo
Here we go! GRIND MOTHERFUCKER! Ex-members ofKalibas/Kill The Client/Psyopus bludgeoning you with a blunt instrument for 8 minutes and 30 seconds (that’s 3 songs). Get in touch with them for a demo!

So it seems that Skullflower is one of those projects that have been around for over a decade and I just been oblivious to. Regardless, this is just noise. Not noise-rock, not noise-core. Just noise. Something I’d sneak into the cd changer at a lame party where they’re playing shitty pop or nu-metal just to kill everyone’s buzz, but nothing that I’d listen to in the comfort of my own home. This sounds like work. At work I wear earplugs to drown this stuff out.

Christ Illusion
Holy fucking shit, SLAYER is back! And in a big way too, as long-lost drummer Dave Lombardo has rejoined the band, thus assuring an ages old prophecy written in blood somewhere, I'm sure . . . amazingly heavy, sadistically brutal, and caustically profane, CHRIST ILLUSION returns SLAYER back to the top of the heap when it comes to, well, when it comes to what they do so very well. This is the album that so many fans have waitied for from them for far too long, and it was 100% worth the wait. Listening to this reminds me where all of these diverse schools of metal came from, and why none of them have ever come even a little close to replicating the fury that King, Hanneman, Lombardo, and Araya command. High rotation disc around here, and will be for quite some time. The tightest, most brutal band ever. Period. (M. Bevis)

Candlelight Records- www.candlelight
I’ve seen this bands name pop up a LOT over the past decade and a half, but haven’t had the opportunity to check them out. Pretty good stuff.. Doom metal with psychedelic influences popping in here and there. Vocals range from demonic screams to laid back crooning. Heavy, brah!

Star Of Kaos
Amnesia Pharmaceutica
Noise, samples and all sorts of madness courtesy of Mike Bevis. This pretty much pics up where Gimp left off on their “Shizoprenic Responses To A Mad World” cd years ago. Am I a hypocrite for just bashing one “noise” cd, but giving this one praise? Am I just “brown nosin’” because this is done by one of the contributors to this very ‘zine? Well maybe I am, but this just sounds like more was put into it than a bunch of loud static.

Unburied/Seeking Obscure
Split cd
Bedroom death metal bands are either incredible, or incredibly horrible. This is a split with 2 bands, who have just 2 members collaborating and while the tunes have their moments, it’s nothing special. If you must have a death metal cd, save your money for…..

The New Age Of Chaos
Unique Leader- wsw.unique
After that last pile of garbage, this is very fucking refreshing! This drummer is amazing! Double bass everywhere and impressive guitar work galore combined with the most vicious growls this side of ya boy from Suffocation. I needed this! You do too.

Wolf System
Demo 2006
Straight outta Baton Rouge comes Wolf System. This project involves John from Peckernut on vocals, Brian Johnston who has been involved in many projects, and a drummer who I’m not familiar with, but he’s purty darn good. This has a bit of a late 80’s metal/hardcore “crossover” feel to it, but leaning more to the metal side, with lyrics about social injustice and bringing down the system and stuff. This is good, but they’re even better live, so go check them out!