Fuck me, there is a LOT of music out in the world.
Welcome to volume two of a Found Sounds and Frustrated Expectations Fuck You Friday. The record keeps spinning, the globe keeps turning, the hits keep coming. Do we know if this will continue? We do not. Do we know where this is going? We do not. Do we know who put the “fuck you” in the bop shoo bop shoo bop? We call upon the author to explain.
Yesterday, there was a lot of music. Today, there is a lot of music. Tomorrow, ceteris paribus, there will be more. Here are some things we have seen in our travels; perhaps some of them can follow you on yours.
Fuck you, why not go listen to some of THIS music?
Drain Of Impurity – Beneath the Maze of Infinite Equilibrium
If you consider the rhyming alternatives – Train of Obscurity, Brain of Insecurity, Quiche Lorraine of Maturity – perhaps you will agree that Drain of Impurity is a much better band name. More to the point, however, Drain of Impurity is a brutal death metal side-project of Batu Çetin (also the vocalist for Turkey’s long-running slam-death fiends Cenotaph). Though Drain of Impurity is normally a solo project with programmed drums, on Beneath the Maze of Infinite Equilibrium drumming is provided by brutal death metal wunderkind Nikhil Talwalkar of Anal Stabwound. Talwalkar’s whirlwind drums provide sexcellent punctuation for Çetin’s snaky riffs and endless procession of absolutely brazen slammy beatdowns. Meanwhile, Çetin’s vocals sound like somebody trying to feed a yak through a garbage disposal. Very neat and fun!
Do you suppose if you made a word cloud of items like ‘brutal’, ‘cenotaph’, ‘maze’, ‘stabwound’, ‘turkey’ it would unlock a secret Martha Stewart Sleazebag Thanksgiving menu? The answer is NO.
Try this instead: Have you ever tried to have a conversation in a crowded restaurant and it feels like the table behind you keeps getting louder and louder so you end up talking louder and louder and then eventually you’ve screamed yourself hoarse and the sommelier has given you a black eye after you tried to arm-wrestle the maitre’d and now you can only hear blood red and also you’re on the run from the police? Do you think my point is that Drain of Impurity is like that? The answer is WHO CARES. Ten songs, twenty-eight minutes, zero point zero percent Martha Stewart. FUCK YOU and LISTEN TO THESE SLAMS.
Primitive Rage – Enemies Left to Crush
Some bands use subtlety the same way a grizzly bear uses a tea kettle, which is to say: not at all. The folks that make music as Springfield, Missouri’s Primitive Rage probably use a tea kettle to steep a nice rooibos every now and then, but on Enemies Left to Crush they sound like they brew coffee directly in their mouths by violently chomping tablespoonfuls of arabica as if the beans were personally responsible for shoving their grandmothers in front of oncoming traffic.
Enemies Left to Crush is a ruthless demonstration of bile that cycles between furious grind/powerviolence and unapologetically ignorant hardcore beatdowns. The whole thing lands somewhere in the vicinity of Shai Hulud, Dephosphorus, early Pig Destroyer, and Converge’s When Forever Comes Crashing. I don’t know who the drummer is here, but if you imagine the Energizer bunny fed a shovelful of cocaine, well… that’s rude, isn’t it? This is a human person! They just play very fast and almost offensively well. Most importantly: fuck you, just LISTEN to that ride cymbal abuse on “Opulence.” If you tried to do an interpretive dance to Enemies Left to Crush, the interpretation would probably be “person having seizure is crushed by falling piano and also the piano is on fire and also the person is speaking in tongues.”
Here at “Hello, Fuck You” College-Entry Exam Prep and Off-Grid Colonoscopy, we pride ourselves on only the best sample analogy questions, so when we tell you that Primitive Rage is to a relaxing hot stone massage like, I don’t know, listening to Pearl Jam is to a cayenne pepper enema, we’re not entirely certain if that’s right but you definitely owe us $700.
Vėlių Namai – Alkai
The very best thing about nature is, it doesn’t give two shits about you. (The very worst thing about nature? Probably the ostrich. It’s like, nobody asked for a tall set of bagpipes that can run around, so fuck off already.) I do not know how Lithuania’s Vėlių Namai feel about ostriches, but based on the evidence of their stirring, compellingly strange new album Alkai, I think that they feel pretty good about nature overall.
The core of Alkai’s sound is dark, ritualistic folk music in search of the natural surroundings and mysticism of the Baltics, but that folk style is shot through with industrial-leaning techno and aspects of the noirish trip-hop of Ulver’s Perdition City. At times (like on “Væringjar” or “Paskandos”), Vėlių Namai sounds almost like Tenhi trying their hand at dubstep, whereas elsewhere they sound more like Dead Can Dance, Forndom, Wardruna, or even the solo work of Karl Sanders. Be sure to stick around for the very last minute and a half or so of the album, where everything comes to a head in a startling crescendo.
You know how nature can be like, “Hey idiot, look at this majestic-as-balls mountain over here,” but then also drop a tsunami of mudslide tornadoes on literally a single rooftop? Don’t, uh… [muttering under breath: “goddamnit”]… don’t bury your head in the sand and miss this one.
Fuga Masiva – Satanic Acid Punk
You know how people sometimes say that music is the universal language? Well, some 19th century nerds created an actual universal language called Esperanto, but when I tell Google Translate that Satanic Acid Punk is a top-notch hardcore rager from this rough and ready Mexican band, it tells me that “Satanic Acid Punk estas altnivela hardcore furiozo de ĉi tiu malglata kaj preta meksika grupo,” and I don’t know what the fuck to do with that any more than I know how to eat a bowl of soup with a single chopstick.
I guess maybe the point is, fuck you, hardcore is not supposed to be polite. Fuga Masiva are appropriately pissed and rude, but they’re also pretty smart about it. Their two vocalists work in beautiful, ballet-like synchrony, either trading bellicose couplets or hollering in unison. The style leans towards classic, old-school hardcore – the bass is an overdriven bulldozer, the guitar a chopping and occasionally squealing flail, and the drums tumble and skitter, sometimes dripping into a d-beat sprint.
Perhaps the most pleasantly sideways moment here is when “Cristal” goes into a woozy, swing-time post-punk drone that is a bit reminiscent of some of the early Birthday Party stuff. If that leads you to picture a heroin-thin Nick Cave playing mariachi, well, that’s your own goddamned issue, you weirdo.
Axis Ensemble – Pilgrimage to Lost Carcosa
Have you ever felt like Sleep’s Dopesmoker was just a little too impatient, like maybe they shouldn’t have sped their way through it? Does the music of Om hit you the same way as Napalm Death’s Scum? Have you watched Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and thought, “Hey man, what’s the rush? Can I get thirty more minutes of a spaceship tiptoeing across the screen?” Are you a complete fucking lunatic?
Fuck you, I do have a point. The fine folks of Madrid’s Axiom9 collective (from whence Axis Ensemble originates) have a particularly noteworthy item as part of a manifesto on their Bandcamp page: “If a groove feels like it is going on for too long, make it go on longer.” The Morgan Freeman Shawshank Redemption Translation of which is, “this is our music, so you’d better get busy grooving, or get busy crying.”
That wasn’t my point – this is my point: the Axis Ensemble is goddamned wonderful. The three longform tunes on Pilgrimage to Lost Carcosa are all live improvisations recorded with no overdubs by the trio of Ana Marin (5-string bass, FX), Joan Herrera (drums), and German Fafian (guitar, FX). The name of the game here is fuzzed out, grooving, heavy psych jams, sometimes sounding a little bit like the psych freakouts of Earthless stripped back closer to a rolling Kyuss blues. The band’s sound is close, warm, palpably live – you hear it wafting up from the basement, breezing in from out in the garage, rumbling out through the walls of a divey rock club as you walk by, wondering why in the hell you’re out here like a dumbass rather than in there, slowly becoming one with the sound and the movement and the universal vibration.
Bruxa Maria – Build Yourself a Shrine and Pray
Some music makes you feel good by making you feel bad. (Some music, of course, makes you feel bad by making you feel bad. A lot of that music is Dave Matthews.) It can be a hard line to walk, though: ideally you want those bad feelings to be cathartic rather than to lead to torpor and (additional) self-loathing.
Surprise! London’s Bruxa Maria is one of the bands that does it well. This four-piece band plays a sludgy, industrial, pummeling brand of noise rock that is swathed in blankets of feedback and mangled synth, while vocalist, guitarist, and band leader Gill Dread sneers and mutters and wails like a woman who, frankly, has had just about enough of your shit.
Each song on their powerful new album Build Yourself a Shrine and Pray is equal parts meditative and confrontational, sometimes settling into an almost Neurosis-level churn (as on “Totalitarian Pissing”) and at others needling through a psychedelic trance that feels like a version of Oranssi Pazuzu that came up through grungy noise rock instead of black metal.
Do Bruxa Maria sound like Sepultura powering through a Quaaludes bender alongside Einstürzende Neubauten? Do they sound like Unsane and Helmet locked in a deadly serious snowball fight with Bikini Kill? Does Build Yourself a Shrine and Pray sound like Godflesh and Deafkids and Jesus Lizard reenacting the pottery wheel scene from the movie Ghost? Fuck you, would you please get a hold of yourself? Except that, well… yes, Bruxa Maria might just sound like all that and (demi) moore.
Skyblazer – Infinity’s Wings
Here at Found Sounds and Fuck Some Fig Newtons Fuck You Friday HQ, we don’t mind letting our fine readers in on how the excruciating sausage gets made. Consulting our notes ostensibly related to the debut album from Sweden’s Skyblazer offers the following degenerate ramblings:
“TS Eliot, Love song of j alfred
ABBA, Lay all your love on me”
“The other day I was sitting at the public library trying to work out the etymological difference between sympathy and empathy, and how to relate both to the Greek root ‘pathos’”
“Something about foolishness of listening without question to silly black metal/over-the-top violent death metal but also sneering ironically at uplifting power metal”
Terrible prose, terrible sausage.
However, don’t forget: fuck you! Skyblazer is a solo project from Johannes Frykholm, the keyboard player from the excellent power metal band Palantír. On Infinity’s Wings (or Infinity Swings or Infinite E-Swings, if ya nasty), Frykholm handles bass, keyboards, rhythm guitar, and lead vocals, with guitar leads/solos and some additional vocals provided by a cavalcade of friends and accomplices. Frykholm’s vocals are a clear, strong, slightly untrained baritone, but they are a perfect fit for these bright, driving songs.
If you are allergic to feeling good, kindly do not entry. Skyblazer’s power metal brims with positivity and energy, falling somewhere in the general territory of Stratovarius, Freedom Call, or Avantasia, though occasionally there’s a flavor of the Twisted Tower Dire side-project Walpyrgus. Tunes like “Eyes of Serenity” and “Under the Blazing Sky” are like piercing rays of sunshine for whatever sort of crummy, overcast rat-trap is going on inside your brain and mine, so I hope I don’t have to keep cussing you out to get you to point your earballs in the right direction.
In summary, I am no prophet, and here’s no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, and I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat and snicker, and in short, don’t go wasting your emotion: lay all your love on me.
Pretty pathetic, right? Fuck you, listen to more power metal.