“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of August 12th — August 18th.
Sunday, August 19th
From Ashes Rise – From Ashes Rise (2000)
When he’s not sitting behind the mastering board working on almost everything released today, Brad Boatright is often found fronting From Ashes Rise. Their self-titled album, released in 2000, followed quickly on the heels of the breakup of Deathreat. Somewhat responsible for the absolute punk explosion (punksplosion?) that overtook Portland, Oregon, From Ashes Rise leaned heavily on hardcore riffs and an absolutely throat-shredding vocal attack to deliver their message swathed in punk messages and imagery. Perhaps the single loudest live band, the boys in From Ashes Rise benefited heavily from Boatright’s technical knowledge modifying their amplifiers and guitars to create a unique sound perfectly matched to the tightly-tuned drum kit of Dave Atchison. Relentless about their politics, touring and commitment to the cause, From Ashes Rise provide a unique entry point for newcomers with their catchy brand of punk and hardcore. [Manny-O-War]
Monday, August 20th
Uhhh… Sorry folks, we forgot to publish an Album Of The Day last Monday. We are clearly horrible and deserve to be pushed into violent traffic. Here’s an Extreme Noise Terror song.
Tuesday, August 21st
Whitesnake – Lovehunter (1979)
Sexy(-ist) cover art aside, Whitesnake’s second album was a stronger affair than its first one, a refined set of 70s bluesy rock with David Coverdale’s smoky vocals and Jon Lord’s Hammond organ held over from Deep Purple. Guitarists Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden may not be Ritchie Blackmore (or Tommy Bolin), but both hold their own on classic rock numbers like “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues,” the slide-driven title track, or the stomping “Medicine Man.” Drummer Dave Dowle would depart after this one, making room for another ex-Purpler in Ian Paice, and subsequent efforts Ready An’ Willing and Saints & Sinners were strong pre-hairspray Whitesnake albums, but that path starts here. Pick up the expanded edition for a smoldering take on Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City,” a live version of which would be a highlight (and pseudo-title track) of the follow-up Live… In The Heart Of The City release. [Andrew Edmunds]
Wednesday, August 22nd
Coroner – Grin (1993)
Grin is often viewed as the black sheep of the vaunted Coroner catalog, and while it’s not hard to view it as the least successful full listen (particularly in comparison to the 3-album run that preceded it), writing it off entirely is a bad idea. In truth, this was likely the trio’s most ambitious and experimental album, and it served (for better AND worse) to largely separate them from the progressive thrash scene they helped to create. Even if the roots of the album could be heard on Mental Vortex, it was a big shift to Grin’s brand of mid-paced, kinda spacey, chunky-groovy, and snide prog metal. It’s a backwards, weird album that is as confounding at times as it is fun at others, rarely as thrilling as anything on No More Color but also never approaching bad. If anything, it puts a neat capper on a truly miraculous five album evolution that took place over only seven years. [Zach Duvall]
Thursday, August 23rd
Amebix – Arise! (1985)
The first full-length from these scuzzy Brits is one of the defining blocks of crust, blending the anarcho-punk of Crass, the apocalyptic post-punk of Killing Joke, and the metal of Venom and Hellhammer. Bassist / vocalist The Baron snarls like Cronos while guitarist Stig cranks out simple filthy-toned riffs atop Spider’s tribal-ish rhythms, the whole of it coalescing into a bleakness that perfectly fit the 80s, when viewed from a particular perspective. Occasional flirtations with synth-driven arrangements only add to the darkness, particularly in the semi-melodic death rocker “Drink And Be Merry.” Hugely influential to extreme metal, Arise! is one of those records that is both the product of its time and exists outside of it, a commercial non-event then but still relevant and powerful today, thirty-plus years later. As you listen now, you may notice that the world remains a harsh, unfriendly place, where tragedy lurks at every turn, anything can kill you, and only death is guaranteed. Maybe it’s coming for you now. But hey, relax…. It’s only paranoia… Arise, you $#@*ing arseholes and rejoice. [Andrew Edmunds]
Friday, August 24th
Deathreat – The Severing Of The Last Barred Window (1999)
It’s hard to get more prolific than the output credited to Billy Davis (3), Brad Boatright, Paul Burdette, Stan Wright and Todd Burdette. The sheer number of bands they have been in, not to mention how influential and crucial their 90s output was, combined with Brad Boatright’s tireless efforts with Audiosiege are reason to enshrine this crew in bronze and install them in the Punk Rock Hall of Fame. Deathreats relentless assault of crusty punk and hardcore is delivered in short bursts; tracks under two minutes unleashing a brutal assault on social disparities in America (which they had a front row seat for in Memphis, Tennessee). Released in 1999, via the holiest of holy Partners in Crime label, The Severing Of The Last Barred Window represents the only true full-length released by the band (it would go on to make up the lion’s share on their discography released the following year). Still politically relevant and still as brutal an assault as it was nearly 20 years ago, The Severing Of The Last Barred Window is a timeless classic for crust punks living on the street and those who want to smash the system while living indoors. [Manny-O-War]
Saturday, August 25th
Dark Angel Official – Darkness Descends (1986)
Conventional wisdom holds that the Teutonic and Brazilian thrash scenes were faster, more aggressive, more feral than their American counterparts. And while, largely that was true, there are exceptions, and the most notable of those is Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends, which took the Slayer mold and upped the aggression factor even beyond Reign In Blood. Drumgod Gene Hoglan keeps the whole thing moving at a breakneck pace beneath Don Doty’s biting snarl and Durkin and Meyer’s lightning-speed riffs. Classics like “The Burning Of Sodom,” the appropriately merciless “Merciless Death,” and the blistering “Death Is Certain (Life Is Not)” laid the groundwork for hundreds of high-top-wearing, jean-jacketed thrashers, then and now. Even thirty-plus years later, Darkness Descends remains a cracking good time, thirty-five minutes of full-speed thrashing, unparalleled in intensity by any North American band of the day. “The city is guilty… the crime is life… the sentence is death … DARKNESS DESCENDS!” [Andrew Edmunds]
See you next week.