"Gish was a sublimely spiritual body of work. "Not in a God way, but in a personal way," asserts singer/guitarist Billy Corgan.
"It's got a lot to do with me exorcising old demons, getting my act together, overcoming a lot of my shortcomings. It's an extremely personal record."
The son of a professional funk/jazz guitarist, weaned on the lessons of Bowie, Zeppelin, and The Stooges, Corgan began his musical career in the mid-80's, relocating from his native Chicago down to Florida with a group called The Marked. "Being in that band taught me everything I had gotten into music for was total garbage," he declares. "The whole sex, drugs, and rock and roll thing. It was shallow, everything the Pumpkins [sic] are not."
Corgan came to his senses and returned to the Windy City, forming Smashing Pumpkins in 1988. With bassist D'arcy, guitarist James, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, they embarked on an instant buzz-generating series of gigs that included the opening slots for acts like Jane's Addiction, The Buzzcocks, and Caterqaul. Producer Butch Vig (Garbage) helms the boards for Gish,resulting in the toughest,most traditonally "Rock" sounding album of SP's repatiore."
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"First, lets get the ugly stuff out of the way. Not everything that Ghosts & Vodka committed to tape was gold. Acoustic tracks like "Andrea Loves Horses" and "Nicholas Prefers Dinosaurs", which bookend their Precious Blood full length, act as little more than fluff. Though the playing is competent, the tracks don't move beyond nice-sounding filler.
Despite the virtuosity of Villareal's handiwork, there are moments when songs are just so overloaded with technical guitar work that the hooks are lost in the guitar showcasing. "Sex Is Popular" and "Hot Dot Above, Tan Man Below" sadly suffer this fate. "Conversational All-Stars" and "Mechanical Bull Rider" are also defeated as failed experiments in creating "atmosphere".
So, now you're saying to yourself, "Six of these sixteen tracks are duds! Kevin, where's the beef?" Well, I'm here to tell you that the remaining songs alone are worth the price. If you're a guitarist, you will be shamed, and if you enjoy a good rock tune you may find your neck sore from repeated head banging. Best of all, Drunks & Addicts is a silver disc with one helluva party contained on it.
"Futuristic Genitalia" is just plain ridiculous in how good it is. There are enough pull-offs in the lead riff that I'm sure Jimi Hendrix is looking down from rock 'n' roll heaven and giving his respects. "Is That A Person?" feels like an outtake from Don Caballero's masterful II. The beautiful middle act of this song contains some breathtaking distorted harmonics vying for equal attention alongside some thunderous riffing. "Cowboys and Sailors", from the Memento Mori seven-inch single, is a pop gem that sounds like Eddie Van Halen jamming with Braid. It's delightfully catchy but still finds moments to knock your jaw clean to the floor."
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"I'm from Arizona and I can attest that our local music scene sucks. There are occasionally a few decent bands but they never go anywhere. The exception to this would be Suicide Nation releasing 2 LPs and a split with Yaphet Kotto (who now play in the slaytanic Saviours). Unruh comes ahead with 2 LPs and a few more splits. So what's the point of this history lesson on one of the worst states for hardcore? Landmine Marathon consists of ex-Suicide Nation dudes and has a sound sort of reminiscent of Unruh. And they have a new album out on Level Plane Records? While definitively the home of emo-violence, I guess they are branching out with the recent signings of Landmine Marathon and Graf Orlock. So I definitely wouldn't complain except for...
The art for the Wounded is lame. Photoshopped and uninspired come to mind. And while the production should have soaring and alternately guttural riffs shredding all over the place, it fails to deliver the goods in brutal-grind fashion. The majority of the recording is adequately heavy, but the high end is totally lacking. To me Level Plane is synonymous with well-produced, well-packaged, and extremely creative releases. So what I want to know is how did the presentation side of this release slip through the cracks? The performance end, though, is phenomenal.
Now you want to know, "What does it actually sound like? ... Like a mixture of old Earache releases. While I am definitely not the most knowledgeable Earache historian, I can definitely pick out the Terrorizer and Carcass influences, but updated, more technical, and catchier. The weighty riffs are awesomely flavored with some At the Gates styled leads that don't sound like At the Gates. I don't know. I hate At the Gates, so imagine Converge doing early-90s metal leads. Like that. The blasts are something more akin to D-beat than grind, so the songs aren't obnoxiously fast like anything that belongs on Willowtip. The vocals are intensely screamed, only dropping into a death growl once or twice, which is something I would normally have an aversion to, but it's done well. The lyrics, though, are definitely Level Plane material since I mostly have no idea what the hell she's talking about. A lot of interesting metaphors that eschew the gory side of this kind of material.
I don't want to give the false impression that this is all metal. I think of it as grind-influenced metalcore before metalcore become a dirty, filthy, vulgar, insipid, stupid, moronic, weak, pathetic shadow of itself. Something more akin to Creation is Crucifixion than Job for a Cowboy. Wounded
is best played loudly."
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"All of this material is a discography of only the first three years of this band's existence. Amazing how bands can release so much material in such short time, isn't it? Especially with such a notable progression in that time. The earlier stuff (which is at the end of the CD instead of the beginning, now that doesn't make much sense, does it?) sounds more like novelty.
Most of the songs are really short and have some out of place kind of riff like the beginning of the Star Spangled Banner or part of Jingle Bells. An amusing joke, but for the most part just a joke. Avi's voice was much different too, instead of the high screech he emits these days, this was more of just a regular hardcore style scream. The band kept going at it and got progressively faster, tighter, and even heavier with each recording. What does that lead to with the more modern stuff? It's much more serious and intense. Most of the songs seem to be about killing in some way (and some of the titles are probably longer than the songs themselves) but trying to line up the vocals with the lyrics is practically impossible."
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"1. The Blessed Dead: This album starts out heavy, and ends heavy. It starts with a black-metalish intro, and quickly turns to blastbeats and quick guitar riffs. The vocals on this song are some of my favorite. They blend extremely well with the music. You can definately sense some Egyptian roots in this music. 5/5
2. Execration Text: This song starts out extremely fast, just like typical Nile, and doesn't stop. The first riff is very fast, and well written. The first solo is slower at first, nothing complicated, but then it changes into another Egyptian based riff/solo. These type of songs (almost every song on this album is this way) are very hard to review, because the riffs change so often. Either way, I give this song 4/5
3. Sarcophagus: Starts out a bit slower, again, sensing the egyptian style. Even the drums have a bit of an influence. I love the first riff in this song. It is slower (for Nile that is) and the growls are haunting. I love how the vocalist can actually pronounce his words. (even though they aren't completely clear) Good song. 4/5
4. Kheftiu Asar Butchiu: This song starts off extremely fast with blastbeats, and badass fills by the drummer. I love the chorus in this song when the vocalist(s) are growling something...I can't tell what it is, not even with the lyric book :( but it sounds like "from". They say it quite a few times. Ah, I love the solo in this song. Technical, and blends well. Great song. 5/5"
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"RZA, however, could have been a legend if he'd never stepped behind the boards. His words follow their own rhythm into a complex, hypnotic flow. He doesn't create a counterpoint to the drum line, like most great MCs do, He vocalizes like a shaman, magnetizing you with his chants. In the anthemic "B.O.B.B.Y.," he drops, "You know what? Simply robust/The greatest crew since Cold Crush/This poisonous slang keep MCs avoiding us/Can't figure out the probabilities for destroyin' us/Your best bet, Black, is sit back and start enjoyin' us."
As a producer he seems a man burdened by genius, wrestling with his talent, challenging fans to follow him into his sound, a perfect fit for a Blade Runner, robots-are-taking-over-the-world future. Bobby Digital has the unrelentingness of good punk – more accessible than Wu-Tang Forever but full of grinding, dark, bass-drunk, anti-dance tracks. Singling out songs would defeat the purpose: It's one of those soundscape albums that just blend from one track to the next, like one long song with no sort of brightness or hooks for non-alicionados to latch onto. This is hip-hop for hip-hoppas." - Rolling Stone
Not the cover art.
Guns Don't Kill Guns...
You Save The World
Skate Like Shit
...With Friends Like You
Team Jesus...Is Losing
Sometimes You Don't Pick Your Enemies...
Fuck Them Back
Painful Road Ahead
This Won't Change A Thing!
Your Life In 30 Words Or Less
Thru Your Teeth
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"Breach are not what you could call normal. Unconventional in all respects they avoid any form of classification at all costs. They’re a band that leads you to an eerily beautiful solace, alleviating you of all conscious annoyances, offering you Martini & fine wines while secretly deceiving you and plotting a more sinister assault on the senses.
‘Big Strong Boss’ is a track that teases you, leading you to that sparkly, yet eerie, place where nothing quite seems right but scantily clad babes still appear to see to your every need. Think the video to Smashing Pumpkins’ 'Zero'. That is until the mirage suddenly and very frighteningly dissipates with the arrival of ‘Old Ass Player', turning the skies black and an altogether more fearsome force bellows from the seas with such awesome ferocity to blow you to the next galaxy. And the agonizing pleading from their vocalist in the lines “let me rest for a while! SEE! ME! THROUGH!” only serves to add to your nightmare experience. Think Lord of The Rings. Think Indiana Jones’s worst nightmare. Think a really bad trip.
With Breach nothing is ever quite what it seems."
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"Naturally, the Beasties were in a pretty weird position when it came to Check Your Head. They'd had a debut that was commercially an absolute blockbuster, breaking all manner of records and, really, marking the moment when most people had to accept that rap was a legitimate musical form, rather than just another subcultural movement that would fade into obscurity within five years. And yet, about half the songs on it were offensively bad; "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" may have been gold, but as an album it was mediocre at best. It still stands today as the worst album the Beasties have ever made. The follow-up, Paul's Boutique, was exactly the opposite - as groundbreaking artistically as Licensed To Ill had been commercially, it remains one of the most untouchable documents in hip-hop's history. Naturally, nobody bought it. The contrasting fates probably damned mainstream hip-hop to a future of general mediocrity, but that's an argument for another time.
The M.O. for Check Your Head was simple - combine the two albums, and somehow come up with something that was artistically valid, and would still sell. This album was their first step into the world they'd stay in, and effectively are still in - hip-hop that displays a sense of musical intelligence and invention and a finely-tuned sense of humour, but doesn't stray too far from the frat-boy friendly vocal trade-offs that made a million white kids buy their first album. "Intergalactic", "Check It Out", "Sabotage", "Sure Shot" - the blueprint is here. Naturally, they had to sacrifice the psychedelic sample-heavy collage of 1989's Paul's Boutique, for financial reasons as much as anything - De La Soul's 3 Feet High & Rising, also released in 1989 (and seen by some as Paul's Boutique's nearest musical twin), had seen the group sued for one of the many samples used. The ground that hip-hop stood on had changed forever - songs built from dozens of carefully pieced-together samples were out. So a fresh musical outlook was needed.
They kept it simple. There's effectively only two songs on Check Your Head - the first is a stomping, guitar-driven rap track that allowed the group to do what they do best (rap, basically), while the second is a lightly funky, vaguely dubby downtempo lounge track with little or no vocals. They'd return to the latter on 2007's The Mix-Up for a full album, but here's it's slightly jarring - it really does feel like you're listening to two albums. Those instrumental (or near-instrumental) tracks might add variety to the album, and they might actually display some good musical ideas here and there, but put them next to the hip-hop powerhouses elsewhere on this album, and well....they're pretty boring, to be honest. It's especially jarring when "Something's Got To Give" follows on from the album's feted excursion into hardcore on "Time For Livin'", making it sound like a new age track in comparison."
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"It's tempting to judge Gorillaz — Damon Albarn, Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's virtual band — just by their brilliantly animated videos and write the project off as another triumph of style over substance. Admittedly, Hewlett's edgy-cute characterizations of 2-D, Gorillaz' pretty boy singer (who looks a cross between the Charlatans' Tim Burgess and Sonic the Hedgehog), sinister bassist Murdoc, whiz-kid guitarist Noodle, and b-boy drummer Russel are so arresting that they almost detract from Gorillaz' music. The amazing "Thriller"-meets-Planet of the Apes clip for "Clint Eastwood" is so visually clever that it's easy to take the song's equally clever, hip-hop-tinged update of the Specials' "Ghost Town" for granted. And initially, Gorillaz' self-titled debut feels incomplete when Hewlett's imagery is removed; the concept of Gorillaz as a virtual band doesn't hold up as well when you can't see the virtual bandmembers. It's too bad that there isn't a DVD version of Gorillaz, with videos for every song, à la the DVD version of Super Furry Animals' Rings Around the World. Musically, however, Gorillaz is a cutely caricatured blend of Albarn's eclectic Brit-pop and Nakamura's equally wide-ranging hip-hop, and it sounds almost as good as the band looks. Albarn has fun sending up Blur's cheeky pop on songs like "5/4" and "Re-Hash," their trip-hop experiments on "New Genious" and "Sound Check," and "Song 2"-like thrash-pop on "Punk" and "M1 A1." Despite the similarities between Albarn's main gig and his contributions here, Gorillaz isn't an Albarn solo album in disguise; Nakamura's bass- and beat-oriented production gives the album an authentically dub and hip-hop-inspired feel, particularly on "Rock the House" and "Tomorrow Comes Today." Likewise, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Miho Hatori, and Ibrahim Ferrer's vocals ensure that it sounds like a diverse collaboration rather than an insular side project. Instead, it feels like a musical vacation for all parties involved — a little self-indulgent, but filled with enough fun ideas and good songs to make this virtual band's debut a genuinely enjoyable album."
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Mike Dares - Vocals (Skab, Armed Response)
Gary Mader - Guitars (Eyehategod, Outlaw Order)
Paul Webb - Bass (Spickle, Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight, Mangina, Eyehategod)
Matt Williams - Drums
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"Ever come across something, may it be a meal, a movie, a book or an album, where you would enjoy the entire think immensely, except for one small detail. Normally, when something is really good, one would ignore the small fallacy and look at the overall product. Unfortunately, sometimes that one small fallacy cannot be ignored, no matter how hard you try, mainly because that one fault can ruin the appreciation you have for the rest of the album.
Case in point: SKELETONWITCH. Musically, this is a very diverse affair, with the riffs going from Thrash to Power to Heavy, with tasteful harmonies everywhere, plus there is the occasional acoustic guitar (end of “The Skullsplitter”). The music is top-notch, having this very old school Thrash vibe to it, something like DARK ANGEL/early SLAYER. Normally, I would highly recommend this to fans of Thrash Metal, and tell most fans of Metal to give these guys a shot anyway, because musically, they have written something that is diverse, and dynamic.
However, there is one small factor that will decrease the quality of this album from “excellent” to “above average”: the vocals. They are of the Death/Black type, but that is not why they drag the whole album down. The problem is two-fold. One fault of the vocals is that they are far too low in the mix. This resulted in moments when I was wondering whether or not the vocalist was there for half the songs on the album. He’s unnoticeable, and that’s not good at all. The second is that the music warrants some form of power and delivery to the vocals, not just someone shrieking monotonously to the music. I’m not expecting vocals of Bruce Dickinson’s or Warrel Dane’s calibre, but a little character to the vocals would be nice. What we have is top notch music with vocals that are so generic they drag the whole thing down. That’s a huge problem that has hindered my enjoyment of this album."
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