Book Review: Corpsepaint

By | metal reviews, miscellaneous

The question I had while reading this book is “can I truly hate every single character in this book and still enjoy it?” That’s what David Peak’s Corpsepaint brings me to. Let’s back up a bit.

This book was sold to me basically by a friends review that described it, so so many ways, as a nihilistic, black metal, horror book that is insanely bleak. Fucking aye, that’s my jams. So diving into it that’s what I was expecting, and essentially, that’s what I got.

Now with how bleak and dismal the book is, does it behoove the story to be told by such terrible characters? Terrible as humans, not terribly written. The book is not terribly written, it’s rather engaging for a horror yarn full of assholes that I just want to kick.

Personal baggage out front: I’ve been extremely disillusioned with the rising tide of edge lord stances and white nationalists and defenders of such shitty ideals currently being thrown around the black metal scene that I just have to fucking tolerance, or patience for anybody who wants to engage or support that bullshit. David Peak’s main characters are essentially those bullshit posturing, self-proclaimed “trve” black metal dudes with zero sense of self humor or irony. There’s even mention of them dabbling with racism or nazism just to be edgy. Fuck that. I immediately hated these characters. Minus their edge, they’re still shitty humans in general. So the idea is these two musicians, one who is a “legendary” black metal musician down on his luck, and his new band partner are heading to eastern Europe to record what he thinks will be his second coming. The place they’re going is some sort of reclusive, black metal, compound life sort of deal that harbors another legendary black metal band that’s going to aid him with recording the new album. Surprise, surprise, these people are a bunch of white nationalist assholes too, throwing black metal shows with skinheads and other right wing types of extremist. In the context of the book though, the main cult group has access to some ancient, natural force of evil power they hope to let loose. It’s amusing to me that the way Peak writes these characters, as being some kind of vessel for ancient, true, arcane knowledge of the natural word is what all these real life, stick-up-the-ass black metal fans fancy themselves to be. The big difference being Peak writes fiction and these dumbwits live in reality where they aren’t anything more than greasy fanboys.

So that’s how I’m coming out of this book. I hate every single person in it but Peak writes a good, slow burn, horror yarn that pulls a lot from the dismal, hopelessness of Lovecraft but with the added black metal, heavy metal, cold, bleak, surroundings and attitudes. Is it Peak’s intention to have you dislike the characters? Maybe that’s what I brought in to it but if you ask me, I think that’s part of the books challenge. Yes, these dudes are trash, and they’ll get theirs, but are you enjoying how that happens? I did.

Your Weekly Metal Playlist 05.17.19

By | metal reviews

Idle Hands – Mana
Idle Hands debut EP Don’t Waste Your Time hit me like a ton of fucking bricks and had I heard it in 2018 it might have made my top spot for the year, or at least, very close to the top. Their debut album Mana, is all the promise and beautiful creativity promised on the EP. Idle Hands mix 80s pop and goth, Killing Joke at their most 80s-ish with a full on metal drive and intensity. It’s not like goth metal or anything you’ve heard before, it’s its own beast both 80s goth and metal and it’s fucking reinvigorating and exceptional.
Bewitcher – Under the Witching Cross
Super fun and rifftastic, black n’ roll with speed metal tendencies. Not really much else to say except that this is Bewitcher’s second outing and second impressive and downright fun as fuck album. Good stuff.
Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness
Spirit Adrift is sneakily becoming one of my current favorite bands with their super powerful and heavy trad/doom/classic metal take. I kind of felt their first album was a bit Khemmis-y but on their second album, Curse of Conception, they blew the gates wide open and fully attained their own unique sound. Now on to album three and Divided by Darkness is a triumphant metal performance of exceptional order. Fucking insanely riffy and intoxicatingly metal Spirit Adrift is full on heavy metal without resorting to gimmicks like homage or tribute styles yet they encorporate so much of metal’s history and presence. What a phenomenal release.
Martyrdod – Hexhammaren
Fucking Martyrdod rule. Just straight up rule, there’s no other way to put it. They just blast through album after album of pure energetic, punk-ed up and crusty as fuck black metal with insanely melodic and catchy hooks. I mean, why wouldn’t you fucking love this band and the new album, simply beautiful.
Call of the Void – Buried in Light
Denver’s own Call of the Void bring the nasty, dirty sludged-up punk metal vibes. Damn intense and energetic and well done all around. Hail, Denver!
The Accused AD – The Ghoul in the Mirror
It’s The Accused, I mean, it’s crossover metal at some of its best. Is this as classic as some of the Martha Splatterhead stuff? No, but who fucking cares? It’s the Accused doing their thing and have some punked up thrash fun so what the fuck more do you want?

Dreadnought – Emergence
Dreadnought’s music is simply beautiful. Combining elements of post rock/metal with black metal, psychedelia, and backed with some trippy keyboards, Dreadnoughts third album is their best outing yet. A band that keeps getting better is amazing to watch and hear and leaves you breathless with each move. Big fucking hails to Dreadnought and Denver metal.
Warforged – I: Voice
Just fucking blasting out of nowhere is the debut from Warforged. Fucking going all over the place with a massive death metal foundation as it’s root, I: Voice handles black metal, tech, prog, and jazz scales all with masterful creativity then throws it all into a sci-fi story blender to make one of the best albums of the year. Fucking massively creative and intensely interesting, this is what I wish we were striving for always.
Rammstein – Rammstein
Oh buddy, I used to be so fucking into Rammstein in my waining high school days and I’ve always managed to check out what they were up to over the years but the past decade or so that they’ve been missing I didn’t really give them much thought and just sort of moved on but word on street was they were all of a sudden releasing a new album with little to no buildup. Now here we are with a new Rammstein album a decade since the last and you know what? They still sound like Rammstein. If you’re looking for progression or change this isn’t the album or band for you. And that’s just fine. Rammstein do the pop metal/industrial thing so well there’s no want on my end for them to do anything else and this album is wall to wall, 4 minute long, catchy, industrial metal songs. Just the way they’ve always been. Just the way they always will be.
Bethlehem – Lebe Dich Leer
As far as I’m concerned Bethlehem is a classic band at this point and they’ve been fucking knocking it out of the dingy dungeon with their past couple albums. I love their weird, experimental, goth-ed up take on black metal and the addition of Onielar on vocals since 2016 has just given the band the extra power to help make some of the best albums of their career. Speaking of Onielar, I am a fan of her other band Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult in all of it’s raw black metal-ness but I think her vocal performances are better in Bethlehem and this gothic black metal realm. She’s the stand out performance for sure on this album and their previous but the whole band is hot fucking fire and continue to make incredible albums.
Paladin – Ascension
Hot fucking hell, this album fucking rules. It’s an extremely energetic, riff show of power metal, thrashed the fuck up and topped with a little melo death just for good measure and that makes it super fucking fresh and exciting and all the things I want. Power metal continues its dominating streak over 2019.
Vale of Pnath – Accursed
I know that Allegaeon is want to be the dominating tech death force here in Colorado but if you ask me, Vale of Pnath is running circles around Allegaeon’s science based tech death with their horror, cultish, Lovecraftian-like tech death. I know, splitting hairs and who fucking cares, really, because both bands are rad but for my money Vale is fresher, more on point with the tech and death metal combo and just flat out awesome.

Your Weekly Metal Playlist 05.03.19

By | metal reviews

I hope this deluge of incredible albums never ends and we all just get washed away in a sea of amazing art and persistent creativity instead of whatever nonsense and horror is typically waiting for us around the bend. Here’s my best choices to help that swell occur:

Dryad – Split w/ Acid Leather
Fucking nasty as all get out Iowan black metal. The filth on this is amazing.

Isotope – Isotope
So all about crust and anything crust infused. Isotope approach their crust through a sleazy rock n roll vibe that is pure drive and aggression and it’s all the fucking awesome.

Polynove – On the Edge of the Abyss
I tend to be weary of anything approaching symphonic goth metal territory and even I have my cheese limits but Polynove take the operatic style Nightwish/Epica vocals and make it work with a more melodic, death metal, doom sort of style. It still has a healthy dose of lactose but enough less than say Nightwish to make me dig this. Plus some of these riffs are fucking stellar and the rest is pretty damn fun. Don’t be so fucking serious all the time.

Murg – Straven
Naturalistic and raw Swedish black metal. Simple yet moody and massively emotional, the semi low-fi quality sets and ominous presence, something Murg has always reveled it. Damn good.
Belzebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
This is the debut album from the fictional characters based on the hilarious and poignant comic strip of the same name. Now the comic does an excellent job of pulling back the curtain on extreme metal on it’s own and I’ve never really thought the band that is featured in the comic needed to actually musically exist but all that aside, it’s a decent album. It’s produced by Dan Swano so naturally it sounds incredible and the music is fun if not ripe with the “heard this before” sort of polished, studio friendly black metal. It’s better than it has any right to be existing as pretty much a punchline to a comic strip gag but it’s got a lot of reverence for classic black metal and is enough to make you nod your head for an hour.

Varaha – A Passage for Lost Years
Beautiful, mournful, melodic, atmospheric doom/death metal that lived up to all the hype (self imposed) from their debut EP. Perfect for this gloomy spring weather.
Oozing Wound – High Anxiety
Ridiculously infectious crossover thrash that reinvents the idea of punk/metal hybrid, infusing the wild mashup with a biting and ludicrously hilarious attitude. This shit fucking rules all over.
Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky
A collaboration between dreamscape folky singer Marissa Nadler and eccentric metal adjacent Stephen Brodsky of Mutoid Man seems like an odd clashing of divergent styles but the end result is something of great beauty and creativity. These two work amazingly well with each other, musically, on something that leans more towards Nadler’s strengths but with slight Americana and dark folk tinge provided by Brodsky’s guitar work. The point is, this is something creative and fresh being made by two exceptional musicians and we need much more of this energy.
Árstíðir lífsins – Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr
This mish mash of Icelandic and German metal players has produced some epically expansive and beautifully bleak black metal albums and the fucking five year wait since Aldafǫðr ok munka dróttinn seems to have only sharpened their skills. Pagan oriented atmospherics abound with tons of low, bass heavy chanting vocals set agains grand, sweeping black metal of magnificent emotional structure could pretty much sum up the band in general but they go all in on all those ideas on this album. True to form the album is a bit long, an hour and ten minutes, which is actually a bit short for them but every second is worth hearing. Fucking killer band.
Sol Sistere – Extinguished Cold Light
Chilean black metal of mystical and mildly atmospheric order that focus primarily on ferocity and aural encapsulation. There’s a bit of a classic, more produced style of black metal at work here which is fucking rad and as far as I can tell they aren’t fucking racists scumbags and really that’s all I ask of black metal nowadays. It’s seemingly harder and harder to come by.

Bad Religion – The Age of Unreason
I don’t even want to hear about what is punk or not in regards to Bad Religion. You all just wish you could be as relevant and crucial as Bad Religion are to punk seventeen albums in. Still on top of their game, still poignant and precise with their current societal observations and sharp with their humor, Bad Religion’s latest offering is exactly all the things that keep them out performing everybody else. This is the album I needed to hear. It’s the album we all need to hear. For the moment new Bad Religion in the world makes everything right again.

Thor Brought the Thunderhawk to Denver

By | metal reviews, miscellaneous

If somebody asked me to describe the perfect concert going experience my description would go as follows:

1. An Alice Cooper cover band that turns out to be just one sloppy dude with poorly applied Alice Cooper make-up just screaming Alice Cooper songs into a microphone backed only by the audio tracks from his laptop and in-between songs he would play audio clips of Alice Cooper promoting shitty products.

2. A muted TV in the bar that played nothing but ALF episodes with the closed captions on so nobody misses a goddamn thing that abominable puppet is saying.

3. An audience that is only about thirty people strong but consists of a dude rocking a full on American flag leather jacket and dragon head rings as big as his fingers as well as a man in his fifties rocking a tucked-in-to his jeans Judge Dread shirt dancing the entire night away.

4. The Thunderhawk himself, Jon Mikl Thor, bringing his unyielding earnest, decades long devotion to his performance, complete in cape and viking helmet with rubber Mjolnir, wandering around the crowd during guitar solos and at one point making everybody sit on a grimy bar floor, mid song, so he can take quick break thusly exposing his codpiece to all.

5. All of this culminating in one glorious moment on stage and in the audience where you realize just how amazingly awesome all the ridiculousness building all night has become.

And then last night all of those things came true.

Your Weekly Metal Playlist 04.19.20

By | metal reviews, Uncategorized

Fuck everything. List to metal. Here’s some great new stuff I’ve been putting in my ears this week.

Waldgefluster – Mondoscheinsonaten
Waldgefluster have been releasing amazing album after amazing album and it boggles my mind more people aren’t listening to this band, or at least, talking about them. Mondoscheinsonaten is their fifth album of captivating and masterfully composed atmospheric, German, nature-oriented black metal, and it might be their most beautiful. It might be the most beautiful black metal album of the year. I can’t get enough of this band and in a year where black metal and a part of it’s fans are determined to make it a less fun and inclusive place while defending absolute garbage people and bands, I’m clinging to bands like Waldgefluster like grim fucking death.
Blood Command – Return of the Arsonist
And here were have a combination of pop punk and pop metal(?). Blood Command have that 90’s early 2000’s pop punk thing going on with an equal focus on the pop and punk but with a bit of metal’s aggression and instrumentation. This totally would have been a band I’d have been into after seeing them at a Warped Tour in the 90s. Super fun, super stylish and catchy as all fucking get out.
Inferi – The End of an Era (Rebirth)
Inferi’s highly melodic and technical death metal just hits all the right fucking notes with me and I can’t even deny it. I didn’t discover them until their 2014 album The Path of Apotheosis so I really have no opinion on their first album, which has now just been re-recorded and released anew. I can tell you that this album is a fucking melodic and technical riff machine that is so infectious it transcends infection. And that’s really all I was expecting or even wanting. This album rules and so does the band.
Inculter – Fatal Visions
Holy shit, this is a fucking shred machine. Insane black thrash from Norway. I didn’t think anybody was going to give Hellripper a run for his money yet here we fucking are. At least until Necromantheon get off their asses again. Get this in your life.
Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
I’ll cling to any new death metal that isn’t “old school” nowadays, especially when it’s a band that’s actually trying to do something somewhat original. Hath take on a melodic, technical, proggy, blackened mish-mash and do it exceedingly well and engagingly. There’s a lot of hype around this album right now and it might not be the “masterpiece” it’s being heralded as but it’s fucking damn good and vastly different then all the old school worshippers everybody is freaking out about.
Numenorean – Adore
Give me black metal that’s changing shit up and bushing the bullshit genre boundaries. Give me something that is even remotely different or at least reaching of other ideas and elements. Give me more stuff like this new Numenorean that makes black metal melodic and catchy and poppy and emotional and dark and miserable. Fuck black metal orthodoxy and the assholes that will surely rage about this. This album is rad and I hope you choke on it.
Allegaeon – Apoptosis
Colorado’s own Allegaeon blasting out the super technical, melodic death metal. Both technical musically and technical with the scientific anecdotes and themes, which is what I think makes Allegaeon stand out. They’re like a hyper melodic science experiment, one whose results are catchy ass riffs for days and technical wizardry that’ll make your head spin. Super solid release, again from these guys.
Black Sites – Exile
This is super fucking refreshing. Just straight up heavy metal with no genre tags. Heavy metal in its purest form but also, amazingly, not an homage or old school show off band. Just a modern take on the most distilled form of metal. For reference it reminds me of Armored Saint/ John Bush era Anthrax mixed with Cyclone Temple. There’s even a nice goth inspired song that makes me ache for that new Idol Hands, but that’s another story all together. This simply fucking rules. No fluff, no pretense. Heavy, fucking, metal.