Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thrash: the big motivator

I am terrible at doing house work, both inside and outside of my humble dwelling. Dishes, dusting, repairs, sweeping, watering the grass, raking leaves, etc. etc., etc. I hate it all.

Yes, I am lazy and more than a bit disorganized.

However, once one gets married, that sort of "lifestyle" simply does not fly - at least with those who have any sort of self respect (of which I have only a pinch). Most folks enjoy living in a clean environment. It's hard to imagine, but most people don't like to trip over stacks of comic boxes trying to get to the laundry room, or shift through hundreds of loose DVDs and CDs to find their treasured copy of As Good As It Gets or Meet the Feebles.

So if I wanted to get (and stay) married, I needed to find motivation in keeping things tidy. Sure, threats of divorce might make for great motivation to stay on task, but what I was looking for was motivation to keep me in task. Something to keep my mind off of cleaning out the car while performing the tedious exercise.

Some people like to talk, gab and gossip while working. Not me. Having someone there to talk to is no good since I am most likely in a foul mood and all I would want to do is get done with the job at hand. No, the only thing that helps me move along in my household chores is nothing other than good ol' thrash metal blasting in the background.

Yes, it has to be thrash metal. Although I like a variety of music, thrash is blessed with those rolling e-string gallops and persistent drums. Thrash IS movement - thus, making ME move my butt into high gear.

Now I have to mention that in addition to talking, most people also like to have others chip in and lend a hand to help the chores go faster. Again, not me. The problem is that most other people do not like thrash and make the mistake in thinking that ANY music will do. So the radio is turned on, blaring out the mediocrity of whatever crap is playing on the top 40, and placing my mind directly back to where I do not want it to be: the work. Argh!

So if I have to face cleaning out the gutters, fixing a plumbing problem, painting a room, or whatever, just leave me alone with my MP3 player and I'll get it done ASAP.

Here are a few of my personal thrash favorites for different tasks:

Dishes: Anthrax - Among the Living, Vio-lence - Eternal Nightmare, Dr. Livingdead - Thrashing the Law, Exploited - Beat the Bastards

House repairs: Essence - Lost in Violence, Metallica - Master of Puppets, Testament - Practice What You Preach

Cleaning the car: Kreator - Hordes of Chaos, Slayer - Season in the Abyss, Sepultura - Arise, Sworn Amongst - Severance

Painting a room: Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow…, Megadeth - Rust in Peace, Demiricous - One

Mopping: Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying, Slayer - South of Heaven, Lich King - World Gone Dead

Raking leaves: Bio-Cancer - Ear Piercing Thrash (demo), Toxik Society - Living Kufeso (demo), Devastation - Idolatry

Folding laundry: Watching Get Thrashed or Sepultura - Live in Barcelona on dvd.

Now, the only chore I cannot accomplish while listening to thrash is mowing the freaking lawn. I can't hear the music over the motor. The only way I can get through this dreary task without the aid of pure metal is to chalk it up to getting real exercise, which I also hate. When I have to exercise, I need to listen to thrash to keep me moving, so you can see my dilemma with grass-cutting.

Last thing: This summer I am going to remodel the bathroom. I REALLY hate remodeling. For that project I might have to move my work playlist up a notch to death metal.

Monday, May 30, 2011

More thrash to check out! Bio-Cancer and RedMist Destruction

I've been away for a while and I hate going this long without posting thrash bits and pieces. However, in my relatively short vacation from blogging, I've been looking and finding a ton of killer thrash.

The next few posts will feature some of these bands. You may not like all of them, but there is a wide variety of goodies to sample, so I'm sure something will appeal to you.

First up is a band whose songs I cannot get out of my freaking head.

You know a band completely kicks ass when their music can cause instant whiplash upon a first hearing. Greece's own Bio-Cancer are masters of using dynamics to bring their razor-like riffs to life. One minute, the guitars and drums fly in a fury of thrash madness, and then they tighten it up to a solid foot-stomping mid-paced masterslam. MAN, this is fun stuff!

The more I listen to Bio-Cancer's three available songs (Ear Piercing Thrash, Backstabbed Again, and Get Cancered…Now!), the more I hear a formulaic structure that totally works in their favor. Bands such as Obituary, Pro-Pain, Jungle Rot, and Toxic Holocaust have signature sounds that when you hear one of their songs, you KNOW who it is. Bio-Cancer has that kind of potential.

With the mad abandon of early Kreator and Vio-lence anchored with mid-paced dynamics, Bio-Cancer creates some awesome pit-inducing thrash.

Listen to Backstabbed Again and then check out their stuff here.

Dirty, grimy and mean as a hungry dog, RedMist Destruction thunders out of your speakers like a brass knuckles-weilding biker. This group from Barnsley, UK play tunes meant to cause action, with songs such as The Coroner and Reanimator that expect nothing less than full participation in the mosh pit.

Songs like Hell Capitàn offer blistering raw crossover with a few added nods to both Bay Area and German thrash.

You can seriously feel the exhausted crowd sweat pouring off each tune, complete with the images of a cramped, hot pub, thrashing out to a band out to hammer in a few skulls.

Watch their video and then check RMD out here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mantic LICHual!

Confirmed by the Lichmaster Tom Martin: The fill-in guitarist and bassist for Lich King's upcoming US tour are Jeff Potts and Ben Mottsman from Mantic Ritual!

I predicted the spots would be filled by the dudes from Diamond Plate, but I guess I have to be wrong at least a couple times in my life.

Anyway, as a fan of Mantic Ritual, Tom's announcement is killer news...no, actually it's bittersweet news. I am definitely happy for Lich King, BUT the tour is a limited one, sticking mainly to the east coast. The closest the tour will come to me is St. Louis, but that is still quite a trek from Kansas City.

Still, I wish the guys good luck on their summer tour. Maybe we'll get a live Lich King album out of this venture (?).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thrash bands you need to hear

In a killer blend of death/thrash, northen Sweden's Plector cooks up tunes full of brutal gallops and crushing grooves. I love this stuff, but since I am a noob to their music, I missed both times they toured here in the states. Boo.

Check out their video for Spiteful Love and then check 'em out here.

Shrapnel out of Norwich - "the most complete medieval city in Britain" - plays thrash that is simply so freaking GOOD. Their music is neckbreaking, necksnapping, neckstomping, and anything else that could put a painful damper on turning your head the morning after experiencing Shrapnel's assault.

I love the first sentence of their bio which reads, "Forget revivals. Forget reunions. There is only now. There is only THRASH."

These guys bleed metal into every riff, drum roll and scowl. Listen to their tune Eternal War and try not to kick your furniture over when the chorus hits. After, check them out here.

If you want old-school, Bacalou plays it to perfection. After receiving a link from the Johnson City, TN band, I checked them out and instantly became a fan. Bacalou cranks out straight-forward thrash, aptly played, with cool lyrics and killer solos.

For those of you who complain that every new thrash band should find a way to reinvent the wheel can cry elsewhere. Those who want to thrash and destroy, suit up and slam to Bacalou!

Listen to the tracks Shock Therapy and Panic and then check them out here.

Speaking of old-school, check out Abserdo, a crossover band from Philly. Abserdo offers high energy insanity for those into Cryptic Slaughter and old D.R.I., but with enough metal influence to appeal to most other thrash hounds.

I am impressed with the various sounds Abserdo plays with to construct their tunes. From grind to punk to thrash to slow metal riffage with soulful solos(!!), these guys are politically charged and noisy, but with tight musicianship to back it up. You definitely have to listen to more than one song to hear everything they have to offer. Check out Abserdo here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In Defence: a quick plug

This post is just a quick plug for a killer Minneapolis hardcore/thrash band called In Defence. As I usually do with newly discovered bands I like, I looked up a bunch of crap about them online.

First off, you gotta check out their vid for Don't Call Me a Moshist. Watch and love it.

After you enjoy the tune, click here to read the Head Check blog's interview with In Defence vocalist Ben Crew.

After you read the interview, check out In Defence's online store here.

There. A quick plug.

So enjoy! Try not to break anything while listening.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with Lasse Skov of Essence

As I wrote the review for Lost in Violence, the spectacular debut of Denmark's Essence, I eagerly jotted down a few questions regarding the creative process behind the music.

Essence's own frontman Lasse Skov offered up some detailed answers, giving us a look into the young band's approach to songwriting, their influences, and highlights of their aborning career.

NWOTM: Are you surprised by the amount of critical praise Lost in Violence has attracted? Do you think this will put pressure on Essence to write a killer album #2?

Lasse Skov: We are definitely surprised about the critical praise of the Lost in Violence album. It is our first album, besides a short demo tape, and it really means a lot to us that people seems to dig what we are doing. Especially the fact that many people from different parts of the world tell us that they have heard the album and enjoyed it. That is pretty awesome. We take this positive energy very personal and it helps us stay in contact with ourselves and the music we are writing. It kind of makes us rest at ease in our music and that is a very privileged thing when you think about it.

It sure puts a pressure on us and the writing of our 2nd album, but it is not a pressure that wouldn’t be there, even if people didn’t like Lost in Violence. We always push ourselves and our abilities to their limits and a littler further than that. In this way we insure that everything gets better automatically and without we really feel any changes. We adapt pretty easily so we are pretty confident that the next album will be a real tsunami in the genre. We can already now reveal that the next album will contain a somewhat new form of thrash metal. It will be very interesting for us to see how people react to this and if they will take it in, or reject it.

The songs on LiV are so well crafted. When writing music, once you have the basic skeleton of a song ready, what steps does the band take in the songwriting process until its completion?

Thank you very much. When we wrote the music for Lost in Violence,(I pretty much) came with the basic skeletons for the songs. Then we all contributed to the details and stuff. These details can lift a song to new levels, if the basic material is of the right caliber. Each person in the band has his individual role in the process. In this way we ensure that we are working together as a team.

On the next album it is more or less free for all. We are working in a much more dynamical way, as we write most of the music in our rehearsal room together. It is a lot more fun to write in this way. Though, this form of group work can only be possible if you have the right personalities in the band who know how to make the process work. This determines if it will work really slow or really fast. There is no middle way or third way for us at least. On Lost in Violence we weren’t ready yet to engage in this type of working process. Luckily we know how to benefit from it now.

Songs such as Shades of Black are not your standard thrash numbers, yet they fit perfectly side by side with Essence's other thrashier tunes. What motivates the band to musically touch on so many diverse elements?

We want to create diverged music and not that typical 10 track album, where you can’t separate the songs from each other. It is boring and it does not show the full potential or all the skills that the band and the individuals in it possesses. There is no real challenge in writing the same music on and on – you have to have a natural and healthy maturing process. Music needs to grow and you should not contain it or stop it from doing so. In there somewhere you find the answer to why Shades of Black got on the record. It would be wrong of us not to put it in there, out of respect for the music. This is our motivation for writing different types of songs all inside the thrash genre. Our only holding point in the song writing process is that it has to be thrash – that is our only rule or law, if you prefer. Thrash is a really broad genre and perhaps the single most diverged genre in metal. When you first get to understand the ‘secret of thrash metal’, you can basically write whatever you want to, as long as you keep this understanding in mind.

Which thrash and non-thrash influences drive Essence's songwriting?

On the first album we where inspired by bands and songs. We admired the classics and the stuff that helped shape us as musicians. In its own way Lost in Violence is a original piece of thrash metal, but you really have to listen to the details in the album to figure it out. Our understanding of music grew a lot when we wrote the record and it can be seen as a listenable image of our first 5 years as a band. All the stuff combined with starting a band, learning how to play in a band, getting to know how the music business works and all that, can be a very very difficult process.

Today we get inspired by people and not really specific bands and songs. We have grown a lot over the past years, and especially in the last year, which has been amazing for us in so many ways. Personally I get inspired by persons as Mille Petrozza, Peter Tägtgren and Olve Eikemo as far as metal goes, but also personalities as Eddie Izzard and Danish pop-producer, Sören Rasted. It is hard to explain in few lines how this fully should be understood. It is a lot more about ‘mind sets’ today, than it has ever been. In this way of thinking you also get the concept of originality. You are forced to push your own limits and be creative, instead of just listening to what other people make and get inspired by their songs and hook lines.

What newer thrash bands are you into?

There are many good performers out there and some of them will probably make it to the metal history books. In these books Warbringer and Evile could get the honor of being catalysts in the new wave of thrash metal, but it has many more elements in it than that. They played the right music at a time where many weren’t satisfied with what the scene had to offer.

I spoke to John Kevill at a Warbringer show some time ago here in Denmark, and he told me that Century Media Records approached them and not the other way around. This really shows how much a new age in metal was needed, when one of the leading labels contact an unknown band, with the purpose of making them the most successful act in the NWOTM. There are many great bands out there, but there’s without a doubt many times more less good bands.

Now that you are promoting the new album, where would you like to tour?

We are planning different tours at the moment and we will be heading out on the European roads with Vader in June. This is the first tour we have made official, but more will follow, together with festivals and single shows. We are looking very much forward to have the honor of playing in Europe, and get to play for people who have never seen us live before. That is always great fun. It is of course also a great honor to support historic bands, such as Vader.

As a young band moving up in the ranks of the NWOTM, what has been the highlight of your budding career?

There have been many highlights in our career from the beginning to now. Playing on MTV’s The New Era Tour was a great deal of fun, but touring with Vader and playing at Vagos Open Air in front of more people than we have ever done, will defiantly be the two most important highlights so far.

Final words?

We are only playing music for the hell of it! And that will never change. Thank you for showing interest in our work!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Essence - Lost in Violence

Many critics have hailed albums such as Warbringer's Waking into Nightmares and Havok's Time is Up as masterpieces of modern thrash. I would dare to say that Lost in Violence, the full-length debut from Denmark's Essence, also ranks among the best in the NWOTM.

Lost In Violence is fantastic on so many levels, in both a traditional sense and modern twist to the thrash genre, that reaching out to pick apart why this album rocks so freaking hard is a quite the undertaking.

First of all, for those who cry for more originality in their thrash would be hard pressed to find a better example than the songs found on Lost in Violence. Such a statement may be disputed, but although they reflect various thrash influences such as Slayer, Kreator, and early Metallica, Essence manages to build on their influences rather than simply mimic them.

Special note must be made of Skov's vocal delivery and its dynamics with the guitar riffs. The way he builds up the verses and choruses to allow each riff maximum impact is not only impressive, but also displays a necessary trait from which many thrash bands could learn.

As for the riffs, they crunch along powerfully, tying together with a stand-out performance from Nefer on bass guitar.

The songs are epic pieces of songwriting consisting of (mostly) mid-paced, headbanging thrash that demand repeated listens. From the thrashed-out Pestilence, to the foot-stomping Blood Culture, to the sweeping and catchy Shades of Black, Essence has created what will be considered a staple album within the circles of thrash metal.

Check them out here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Thrash/Death Metal Name Creation Chart

I know someone had to do something similar to this, but I had the idea and just ran with it. Heck, it might not even work, but try it out anyway.

I created a Thrash/Death Metal Band Name Creation Chart. The chart is simple to use.

From the first list, mix and match between one and three given choices. Now keep in mind that not all choices from the first list can link up together - you'll need to use a bit of common sense when choosing.

After, you will choose an appropriate ending to your band name from the second list.


Let me know if you come up with anything interesting.

Examples: Nuclear Hellergy! Warination! Bioserrectercide!

You can download a high-res pdf of the chart here.

Oopsie. It looks like one is unable to create the following words: Holocaust, Zombie, and Toxic. That is ridiculous. Without those three thrash staples, this chart is a fail. I'm sure there are others I am missing, but damn, those three hurt. Once I gather other important omissions, I'll eventually get around to updating the chart.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Which Witch ROCKS!

Wow, I love this band.

Through the harsh and noisy music, Which Witch is a thrash group brimming with original hooks, sounds, and ideas about how to make a genuinely rocking tune.

Within the range of influences, in addition to various crossover bands, you might catch glimpses of old-style Clutch (Witch You Were Here) and Naked City (Two in the Bitch, One in the Witch!), all which add to their layers upon layers of musical madness that is both thick as molasses and as frenzied as a freight train. This is underground, baby!

Check them out here and then download their album here for only $3.33!
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