Suckspeed – Slow Motion

Suckspeed – Slow Motion
We Bite
38:54 min
1991
Crossover

About 30 years ago, crossover didn’t mean that a few soupheads mixed techno with funk and rock „in a completely original way.“ No, this wonderful genre only needed two ingredients: hardcore punk and thrash metal.
D.R.I, Cro-Mags and Gang Green are particularly worth mentioning from this era, from the GDR Bottled and Suckspeed from West Germany.
The latter used a lot more over a career of three albums; especially on this second album, Led Zeppelin must be mentioned.
“Try Harder” is the name of the first song and it’s a real piece of work. Gentle sounds, a filigree plucked guitar herald the album. Everything has its time to develop.
The album title “Slow Motion” is no coincidence.
Then the warmly distorted bass kicks in, followed shortly by the drums, and at this moment at the latest, the very special sound stands out, overflowing with spatiality, directness and warmth. The song builds and builds, then we hear Michi Bothes’ damn cool, relaxed hardcore voice, and the song finds its strong, headbanging animating main theme.
Would you like a little more speed? You‘re welcome, because the proto-speed metal punk classic “Steppenwolf” follows with the iconic lyric line “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose”; next to “Get Away” and parts of “Luxury Town” the fastest material on the album.
But a major part of the record also lies on those very dragging groovy bangers in the middle section, like “In My Bed” (can only be good) or “Guernica”.
I love the album with all my heart. I saw the band live four times, the last time (Club im Park, Fürstenwalde) I drank their beer, which I’m still sorry about today.
The formation no longer exists, but their legacy does.
“Slow Motion” is available second-hand at several dealers, and always cheaper than the new one by As I Lay Dying or Kid Rock.
So get off your butts and treat yourself to something really good!

(m)

Razor – Cycle of Contempt


Razor – Cycle of Contempt
Relapse Records
43:02
Thrash Metal

Nobody likes a bad-tempered pub brawler, at least when you’re sitting in that pub yourself.
But as a screamer behind the microphone of a Thrash Metal band, it’s a completely different story; well, you guessed it: it’s about Canada’s demolition squad RAZOR.
We had to wait a whole 25 years for the new album, and it was worth it; but so worth it.
The most important new feature: there is none! What a tasty message in these crazy times.
A small, iconic intro is followed by the first grenade with “Flames of Hatred”, eleven more of similar calibre follow, whereby especially “First-Rate Hate” stands out to me in a particularly positive way.
Due to the largely reverb-free production, Bob Reid’s piss-poor vocals sound as direct as if he were speaking to you personally, one last time before you feel the dull taste of your own blood in your inner facial area.
This is Razor we’re talking about, so it’s perfectly fine for the drumming to be at the opposite end of Mike Portnoy on any scale, and sometimes a bit reminiscent of a hysterical metronome. Fits like head on a bucket!
The guitars are blaring at their best, the riffs are sawing. And whoever finds a sequence of notes a bit arbitrary now and then is probably called Heino by his only name.
The guitar solos are a bit unspectacular, but fitting; and honestly, there’s so much action in the songs that less is probably really more here.
Cover old school, lyrics, well you guessed it, extremely unpleasant, and that at its best. Revenge, beatings, murder and all that.
It’s the overall work of art that inspires. Brutal, aggressive, rushed, neck-breaking, direct and absolutely honest. What more do you want?!?!

(m)

 

Seven Sisters – Shadow of a Fallen Star Pt. 1

Seven Sisters – Shadow of a Fallen Star Pt. 1
Dissonance Productions
40:09
Heavy Metal

Ah, so many albums are released these days, and I have to admit that without the fantastic Irishman Máirtín Mac Cormac, I probably wouldn’t have taken any notice of this English band. Which would have been an indescribable loss for the rest of my life, as I have now realised.
The album begins with a not-too-long, inviting intro. Majestic and epic, it makes you look forward to more.
“Beyond the Black Stars” shines with many successful tempo changes and a progressive atmosphere, reminding me a little bit of the revered Secrecy from Bremen.
And then it really gets going: “The Artifice” is the most beautiful, most graceful song – try to believe me! – since Warlord’s “Lost and Lonely Days”. What masters of their musical craft!
My jaw drops, my heart glows, I listen to this album almost every day.
And I swear to you, the further material doesn’t let up! Every single song is an anthem, filled with epic, drama and melancholy, carried by Kyle McNeill’s crystal clear, pleasant high voice.
It hardly needs to be mentioned that every musician in the band has a grandiose command of his instrument, but at no point does a note appear that is not appropriate to the song.
The production is clear and powerful – contemporary, not modern; and at this point the cosy blue SciFi cover artwork should not go unmentioned!
The two older band albums will be my next purchase; but above all I rejoice because this album title here includes a “Pt. 1”. So more is on the way!
If only life could always be as beautiful as during these forty minutes of listening pleasure!

(m)

 

The Troops Of Doom – Antichrist Reborn

The Troops Of Doom – Antichrist Reborn
Alma Mater Records
47:05 min
Thrash Metal

When you play Sepultura at home, it has to bang and crash, and the year on the cover must not be bigger than 1989?
Then this is your album!!!
The fantastically mature Jairo “Tormentor” Guedz (who already plucked the strings on the first two Sepultura vinyls) and his men Alexandre Oliveira (dr), Marcelo Vasco (g) and Alex Kafer (voc + bg) throw such a massive longplayer on the plate after two benign EPs that every inclined fan’s palate drips with joy.
The ensemble has named itself after a song from “Morbid Visions” and – even better – equipped the debut album with artwork inspired by “Bestial Devastation”.
A little introduction … ehhh, introduces the first song “Dethroned Messiah”, and seconds later, dear friends, the manifested purgatory hunts through the auditory canals, immediately sweeps away heart and soul. This is how to hack, this is how to bang your neck and shake your hair, everything is right here in terms of speed and hardness.
The pressed vocals in the style of old Sep’s proclaim blasphemous messages, everything fits perfectly.
The fact that Peter Tägtgren conjures up a pleasantly full and natural sound here, in which real thrashing drums meet fat Slayer guitars, confirms his claim that the often clinical-sounding products from his house are not due to him, but to the wishes of the bands or even their labels.
“Grief” is a pleasant little instrumental, but – gosh darn it!!! – it continues with the steam hammer “Pray into the Abyss”.
Also noticeable is the high level of variety in the songwriting, and that at this tempo and level of heaviness, as well as the unobtrusive, beautiful drama drawing melodic guitar, which often so pleasantly darkens the mood. If you listen carefully, you will recognise the voice of Joao Gordo of the wonderful Ratos de Porao in the 9th song “A Queda”.
The album is enriched by two cover versions: “Necromancer” by Sepultura and “The Usurper” by Celtic Frost.
Tormentor: good to have you back!

(m)

 

Categories: New

Norman Glatzer und Vanessa Braun – Mittendrin im Draußen

 

 

Norman Glatzer und Vanessa Braun – Mittendrin im Draußen
Pilze, Pflanzen und Tiere direkt vor der Haustür
Allegria / Ullstein 2022
16,90 € (D)

Nature lovers, self-supporters, collectors and rangers have of course known and loved the fantastic “Buschfunkistan” YouTube channel for a long time, and so the excitement was great when the first book by the dynamic duo appeared shortly before the channel’s third birthday.
Will it be a textbook, a factbook, a funny book, or a d.i.y. book?
Well, all of those, of course!
With their own and typical warm-hearted and detail-oriented narrative style, peppered with humour that can also be very black at times, Vanessa and Norman report on believable and unbelievable matters from the local natural world in three large chapters (“Off into Nature”, “Wonderful Life Forms in the Bush and Mirror”, “Merging with the Outdoors”) and in many individual sections, spiced with anecdotes and pertinent references.
And something happened to me while reading these very accessibly written 250 pages:
It was a good seven years ago that I moved from the indescribably noisy hustle and bustle of core Berlin to the countryside, to a settlement with no more than a few houses, a solar field, a closed barbershop and several dogs and cats.
How great was my devotional love for Mother Nature back then! I used every free minute to slide across a meadow on my knees, nibbling edible stalks, drying willow bark, fermenting apples.
At no minute did I regret the move, and I love nature as much as the first day.
And yet, something has changed.
While our relationship (nature + me) used to be like “Oh honey, I’m at your feet and adore your glory!”, a certain “Morning, what’s for dinner today?” has crept in.
“Mittendrin im Draußen” has opened my eyes, ears, heart and all my senses again, it’s like it used to be.
Now that’s a book!

(merula)

NaturfreundInnen, Selbstversorgende, Sammler*innen und Waldläufer kennen und lieben natürlich schon lange den fantastischen „Buschfunkistan“ YouTube-Kanal, und so war die Spannung groß, als kurz vor dem 3. Geburtstag des Kanals das erste Buch des dynamischen Duos erschien.
Wird es ein Fach-, ein Sach-, ein Lach- oder ein Mach-Buch?
Na alles das, natürlich!
Mit ihrer eigenen und typischen, warmherzigen und detailverliebten Erzählweise, gespickt mit Humor, der auch mal sehr schwarz sein kann, berichten Vanessa und Norman in drei großen Kapiteln („Auf in die Natur“, „Wunderliche Lebensformen im Busch und Spiegel“, „Verschmelzung mit dem Draußen“) und in vielen einzelnen Abschnitten von glaubhaften und unglaublichen Angelegenheiten aus der heimischen Naturwelt, gewürzt mit Anekdoten und sachdienlichen Hinweisen.
Und etwas geschah mit mir beim Lesen dieser sehr zugänglich verfassten 250 Seiten:
Es ist gut sieben Jahre her, dass ich aus dem unbeschreiblich lautstarken Gewusel Kern-Berlins auf‘s Land zog, in eine Siedlung mit nicht mehr als ein paar Häusern, einem Solarfeld, einem geschlossenen Friseurladen sowie mehreren Hunden und Katzen.
Wie groß war damals meine hingebungsvolle Liebe zu Mutter Natur! Jede freie Minute nutzte ich, um auf Knien über eine Wiese zu rutschen, essbare Hälmchen zu knabbern, Weidenrinde zu trocknen, Äpfel zu vergären.
Zu keiner Minute bereute ich den Umzug, und ich liebe die Natur wie am ersten Tag.
Und doch, es hat sich was verändert.
War unsere Beziehung (Natur + ich) früher so ein „Oh Schatz, ich liege dir zu Füßen und bete deine Herrlichkeit an!“ schlich sich mittlerweile doch so ein gewisses „Morjen, watt jibt‘s n heute zu essen?“ ein.
„Mittendrin im Draußen“ hat mir wieder Augen, Ohren, Herz und überhaupt alle Sinne geöffnet, es ist wieder wie früher.
Das ist mal ein Buch!

(merula)

Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes

 

Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes
Demotape / Eigenproduktion
29:46 min
Black Metal

The dark duo Boarhammer have released a cassette that makes me jump for joy. Black metal in its purest form is on the programme; it rattles and thumps properly, which is to be understood as a compliment throughout.
The band thankfully avoids any sound polishing, and behind the rough shell appear enchanting guitar runs and beautifully headbanging rhythms.
The vocals don’t really sound like that, but they remind me of Tschösi on the two legendary first Messiah albums.
In general, there is a wonderful old school feeling here; the music sounds as if you had ordered a Black Metal cassette from a good but unknown band in 1996, and not in Scandinavia, but rather in Eastern Europe or something.
Right on!
Everything about these wonderful thirty minutes sounds authentic, dark, serious and filled with glowing metallic heart and soul.
The attitude is also a joy to listen to; in short, they don’t want to have anything to do with racism, misogyny, sexism or fascism, for example.
The six interesting and high-quality original compositions are rounded off by an unusual, but great Mercyful Fate cover version.
Heart, what more do you want.
As of March 2022, there should still be a few tapes available, so shoo shoo to the bandcamp!
https://boarhammer.bandcamp.com/album/i-cutting-wood-for-magickal-purposes

(merula]

Scorpions – Rock Believer

 

Scorpions – Rock Believer
Vertigo
44:31 min
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal

For God’s sake, what kind of cover un-artwork is that?!
Dear Scorps, this record will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, including downloads, it’s the first official album in seven years and I’m sure you had a consultant, or even two, for this longed-for release.
And then a screaming woman with a bag or curtain over her head?
Granted, this is not the worst cover of your great career, but please do not take it as a compliment.
The compliments start right now, because everything else about this album is just great.
Every single song is a medium to good hit. The fact that there is no world hit rather confirms the very high average of this after all world class album.
Minus said ballads and global hits, “Rock Believer” is most reminiscent of “Love at the first Sting” and even “Black Out”, but with an even warmer rock sound.
After the atmospheric rocker “Gas in the Tank” and its successor “Roots in my Boots”, more melancholic songs like “Knock em Dead” or “Call of the Wild” follow, alternating with heartwarming, optimistic rockers like the title song and probably the biggest banger of the album, “Peacemaker”. And yes, the last song is a ballad. It’s called “When you know (Where you come from)” and is definitely not on any hit parade in the world.
Admirable.
The album is also available as a limited double CD with studio bonus tracks. You can have it, but the listening pleasure won’t be a bit worse without it.
Finally, a personal apology.
Scorps, after the rise of Death Metal, and even more so after the quasi-elitist Black Metal captured me in the mid-1990s, I joined the chorus that mocked and verbally tore you apart, I made fun of your perceived stale image and Klaus’ accent. As if Nana Mouskouri’s Greek accent and Mireille Mathieu’s French accent weren’t just the incentive to buy for millions of fans in the German-speaking world.
But I never wanted to go with the flow. But well, a few years ago I remembered all those moments in the 1980s when the band “Eisenherz” from Frankfurt (Oder) played “Big City Nights” live on the beach at Lake Helene and I went into the splits in a fishnet shirt and skinny jeans and headbanged, playing air guitar as hard as I could.
Scorpions, I love you. Forever.

(merula)

Arcane Sun – Arcane Sun

 

 

Arane Sun – Arcane Sun
Sentinel Records
64:13 min
Epic Death / Doom Metal

Well, this is not really a new release, but an adequate appreciation of this criminally underrated album was sorely needed, and since Brian Taube’s enterprising label Sentinel Records did a great job, giving the debut album of the Dublin metal pioneers a new coverartwork, a bonus track and a much better sound, and since many younger metalheads don’t know the long out-of-print album anyway, I’ll just classify it as “new”.

The consistently high-class to excellent song material impresses with great variety and progressive structures, but everything is always headbanger-friendly and never over-head.
In the first song “Canto I (The Search)” you think you can still recognise friendly, somewhat chummy death metal with pleasant melodies, but with the following “I Was Alive Then …” the picture changes to great epicness and fate-laden drama. And by the way, you have hardly ever heard such an interestingly staged song transition or beginning before (or since).
“Sundrenched” starts as a heavy death metal neckbreaker before turning into melody and melancholy.
Besides the outstanding guitar work of Mr. Fergal Flannery, Mark Higgins’ superb drumming, which sounds much more powerful in the new mastering, must also be emphasised.
Piano passages and sounds of nature alternate, as do sustained doom, hefty death and graceful epic metal.
And towering above it all is the unmistakable voice of Paul Kearns, who several years later helped the legendary Solstice to the best sung record of their career.
“Promised (So Many Years Have Passed)”, the regular closing track of the album, once again expresses the enormous potential of the Irish, who unfortunately disbanded after a more or less unreleased second album due to lack of support.
The bonus track from the band’s (or Paul’s) unloved album follow-up closes this wonderful, boundary-breaking CD.
Paul Kearns and Fergal Flannery, please do it again!!!!

(merula)

Categories: New

Abo Alsleben – MAYHEM LIVE IN LEIPZIG. Wie ich den Black Metal nach Ostdeutschland brachte.

 

 

Abo Alsleben – MAYHEM LIVE IN LEIPZIG. Wie ich den Black Metal nach Ostdeutschland brachte.
bookra Verlag 2020

The likeable scene veteran Abo Alsleben, known to most of you from his cool “Cadaver, Corpse & Bowels” zine, brought Mayhem to East Germany in 1990 and describes in this wonderful book a piece of life from that time, as many GDR metalheads surely still know it well.
The first contacts with Euronymous, then the concerts in the just vanished GDR, finally the disaster.
While reading, I was for a short time back in that time in that place myself, a very loving, amusing, political, thoughtful, interesting Metal journey through time.
The exciting reports, adventures and episodes are peppered with adorable photographs and copies of letters.
Costs 20 Euro and is worth every penny!

P.S. An English-language edition is said not to be out of the question, so keep your eyes peeled!

(merula)

Jiri Brabenec / Zdenek Vesely – Gestrandet bei der Sonne Epsilon

 

 

 

Jiri Brabenec / Zdenek Vesely – Gestrandet bei der Sonne Epsilon
Utopian novel, 1961

I read quite a lot of books, but in order to create a personal speciality for myself, some time ago I discovered the field of “Eastern European (incl. GDR) science fiction literature up to 1990”, an interesting and rich subject.
One of the most exquisite publications of this subgenre is undoubtedly “Stranded by the Sun Epsilon”, a Czechoslovak book from 1961.

Actually, the group of space travellers is supposed to search for the traces of a lost expedition on a still nameless planet of that sun, eleven light years away from Earth – but then gets into trouble themselves and has a serious accident.
The only way to survive is to break away from the doomed mother ship in a small space glider and land on the planet.
Due to the limited carrying capacity, only the bare necessities can be taken along, and when this vehicle is also wrecked and the rescue chutes have to be used, everyone only has what he/she is wearing.
In addition, the community is divided into a larger group of about 20 people and a smaller one of only three, who end up far behind the next mountain range.
Whether they survive at all is not known.
The larger group, as we soon learn, makes an emergency landing on the planet’s surface, halfway safe and sound, and, since this celestial body has quite Earth-like conditions, is also confronted with a fauna and flora similar to the Earth’s primeval period (Tertiary / Quaternary).
There are two sides to this paradise, namely an overflowing, untouched and food-giving nature, but also powerful and dangerous animals.
The very earth-like biology may seem a little exaggerated, but it doesn’t carry any weight, and in itself I find the concept of convergent evolution absolutely coherent.
What is particularly interesting is the evolution of the technology of the settlers, who fortunately all enjoyed an above-average education.
Thus the path from the pointed stick to the forge is described in a rousing and comprehensibly realistic way, with a dash of dry humour.
The situation is quite different for the remaining space travellers – one woman, two men – who land far away on the backside of the mountain range.
Only three of them, without anything and close to the end, they are confronted with an approaching winter in the mountains, which they apparently have to spend in a cave without a fire.
How will it all end?
Finding out won’t be cheap, because the book is rare and usually costs between 30 € for a somewhat damaged or slightly soiled edition and almost 100 € for a first-class one.
The damaged one will do, of course, and is absoutely worth every penny.
An interesting feature: everyone I know who has read this book and (unlike me) has owned it since childhood reads it over and over again, often regularly every few years.
Quite understandable.
My thanks to Frank for this recommendation!

(merula)