Spaced-out live jam by My Cat Is An Alien and Nad Spiro (Rosa Arrutti), like the middle part of "Interstellar Overdrive." Accompanied by an introductory spoken word (and text) by MK Ibañez on extraterrestrial life. 2017 tape on Sloow Tapes.
The first Bells Hill label release was a benefit compilation in the memory of the head of the label and musician (Mudguts, Black Leather Cop) Scott McKeating's father who died of Pancreatic Cancer, with the money intended to be donated to the Pancreatic Research Fund and included a small heartfelt note by Scott. The musicians who gathered to pay respect are the following, including giants of the English and American experimental/noise scene: the one and only Richard Youngs collaborating with Alex Neilson (ex-Ashtray Navigations), Astral Social Club, Culver, Mirag (Matthew Bower), Hapsburg Braganza, Vars of Litchi, Hasan Gaylani (of Jazzfinger), Jazzfinger themselves, Graveyards (with John Olson of Wolf Eyes), Greg Kelley again with Alex Neilson, Mechanical Children, Trauma, and Blood Stereo (Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance). So, by the names you know you should expect top drone, noise, experimental and psychedelic music. 2009 2XCDR on Bells Hill.
Legendary Dutch grinders My Minds Mine returned last year with a release after breaking up in 2002, and they are sharing an 7" with fellow Dutchmen Suffering Quota (one can't but love a band taking their name from an Assück song!). Savage grindcore by both bands with a slight death metal touch, and with perhaps somewhat reduced hardcore punk influences on the part of My Minds Mine. I see there's also a new split lp they've done already with Sick Of Stupidity so I'm eager to hear that too. 2017 7" on Wolfsbane Records.
I listened almost exclusively to extreme metal (that plus King Crimson and Rush) as a kid
and then grew up on punk, crust and d-beat as a teen, I've always held as a historical fact that the best metal has always been played by punks. This is something that was initiated by the almighty Discharge and Amebix in the 1980s, and continued with legends such as Suicidal Tendencies. The mid-to-late 1990s produced many bands that emerged from various hardcore scenes and played amazing metallic hardcore that totally destroyed almost anything made by the metal scene. This was mainly the case with Cleveland bands such as Kickback and Ringworm, other Holy Terror-affiliated bands like Catharsis and Gehenna, the Belgian H8000 scene with Congress and Liar, plus people like Timebomb from Italy, Kickback from France and early All Out War. I mean, even the best metal bands have been very clear about their punk roots, like Bathory, Celtic Frost, Slayer, early Metallica.
Another case was the Bremen Sound scene that was kickstarted by Acme, members of which would go on to form Systral, who released one of the best hardcore/metal albums of all time, Fever. After this, they released this split 7" with fellow Germans Acheborn. Systral played extremely heavy and apocalyptic deathcore (no, not emo/beatdown pseudo-angst ridden shit that is called "deathcore" today), with a huge Bolt Thrower-like sound that tears everything under its tank wheels, a dual vocal attack by one of the deepest growling vocalists breathing fire and brimstone and an unsettling black metal shrieker, and an intro with a Harley Davidson sample from Manowar's "Wheels Of Fire." Systral members would go on to form Mörser, who play similar, a little bit clearer and more technical stuff, like a more violent and unhinged 90's Carcass. On the other side, we got Acheborn, who play more technical and urgent metallic hardcore with black metal atonalities. Think like a European version of Converge. 1998 7" on Trans Solar.
In 2006 I went to the grindcore festival Obscene Extreme in the Czech Republic, which at that time was the apex of grindcore, crust and powerviolence, but which has now become just another cash-grab mediocrity bringing stupid ass metal bands. Apart from the many awesome bands I saw, and the many drunken dudes running around the stage wearing just girl thongs, I went extreme record hunting in the festival's countless stalls, and probably the best discovery I made there was this cute LP focusing on the theme of alernative/punk/non-hierarchical parenting. Included in the printed material are a number of interviews (both in French and English) with members of grindcore/hardcore punk bands who had become parents, sharing their thoughts on the upbringing of their children. Quite interesting if you want to be a non-oppressive parent.
Musically, the tracks feature grindcore, crust punk, hardcore punk and powerviolence by many bands, with the lyrics focusing on children, growing up and even fairytales! So, there is spoken word introduction in French by Elo, which is members of the French crust band 20 Minutes of Chaos, violent screaming hardcore by Sugar Pie Koko, unhinged grindcore by Zanussi from Spain, an amazing punk/powerviolence track by the Japanese Power Of Idea with vocals in the Jap language shouted by a very cute girlie-girl, a grindcore fairytale about a fox by the Czech Gride , whom I had seen that year at the festival, moshingly cool grindcore by Disarm from Italy, an unnerving and hair-raising psychedelic experimental hardcore nursery rhyme by Karst featuring members of Damad (check out their two albums), fastcore/powerviolence by Jinn from the UK, anarcho/post-punk by Stracony, fast hardcore punk by Migra Violenta from Argentina, straight-edge fastcore by the Dutch Betercore (famous for the anthem "Straight Edge But Not An Asshole), dissonant crust by the French Inertie, epic d-beat crust by the legendary Irish band The Dagda, and the song "Struck by the Wild" by Żegota off Reclaim! which has already been posted here. 2005 red LP on Guerrilla Shooting Records.
PS.: I was too bored to upload all the scanned pics on this post, so instead I've included all of them in the compressed file.
I don't like being that kinda person who whines that things in music aren't what they used to be, and that only the old times were good, claiming that Metallica were good only with Cliff Burton or that Lady Gaga was true only in her first 7" and then sold out. Still, it is perfectly true that Relapse Records has ceased to be of any actual interest for many years now. Gone are the times when they had in their roster perhaps underground metal's most interesting bands, released amazing grindcore and made brave incursions into more experimental territory. Who can forget their sublabel Release Entertainment, which was responsible for bringing to the ears of many metalheads and punks artists like Merzbow, Masonna, Robert Rich, Brighter Death Now and so many others? I still remember their old website up to like 2004, black background and green letters, with an excerpt from Tribes Of Neurot's "Belief" as background music that made me always keep an open tab on the website just to hear that sample for hours on end. Not to mention their great mailorder that introduced my punk high-school years to numerous noise, industrial and ambient works.
One of the greatest releases of Relapse was this cd by the Australian duo Halo, consisting of drummer Robert Allen and bassist/growler Skye Klein (also working solo as Terminal Sound System). I discovered this album from a metal zine when I was 16 and it was one of my first tastes of what would be called "drone metal," which at that time I just called experimental sludge (I might not have yet listened to Sunn O))) at that time) and I was blown away by the oppressive heaviness and the totally bleak atmosphere it evoked. The music here is a mix of slow, repetitive rhythms, somewhere between Godflesh and doom metal, with heavy doses of early Swans misery and destruction (the singer could also be described as a mix between Michael Gira and Justin Broadrick), bass-drone stasis, and some more experimental/psychedelic moments to lull you before you go again deeper into madness. But, who wouldn't get into an album taking its title from the great philosopher Felix Guattari, huh?
Halo would go on to release another album for Relapse, Body Of Light, which was a bit cleaner but also more Swans-y, did some tours with grindcore bands and then disappeared. Relapse would eventually become a cash cow through Mastodon, would lose almost all of their good bands, would buy off the Death back catalog and would start releasing crap after crap stoner rock and technical death metal.
When Aaron Dilloway was stranded in Ohio during a snowstorm and couldn't get to Michigan, what more could he do than go to his neighbor Robert Turman's house and get down to record one of the most bleak records in recent times? I love listening to this when I wake up very early in the morning; it gives me a very good sense of misery before I go to work that actually calms me down and creates a sleepy effect that actually lifts up my mood. Totally evil and unemotional sounds of synth sub-bass along with unnerving lurking flutes coming out of the forest, this sounds like the perfect mix of Wolf Eyes and some sort of weird kosmische vibe, like Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh on some bad drugs, and also it wouldn't sound out of place as an alternative soundtrack to Twin Peaks. Originally released in 2009 by Dilloway's Hanson Records, this rip is from the 2016 Fabrica re-release.
It was when I was searching for Silvester Anfang releases on the Internet that I discovered the magic world of music blogs. Two long evil psychedelic jams here without the tape quality of previous stuff. 2007 cd on Aurora Borealis.