I happened to notice a few weeks ago that the highly respected and inimitable Rich Vreeland, better known to most of us as DisasterPEACE, is now offering his entire catalogue up to the world with a “pay what you want” model, which basically means FREE, but you should really give this guy money because he’s good and good indie artists should be rewarded for what they do and I promise I’ll stop preaching now.
Anyway, I also noticed he’s released a new EP titled Deorbit, so I downloaded the shit out of it and made it an immediate part of my worktime rotation. My initial impression was that much of it resembles this year’s earlier release, Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar, which felt to me like pieces of Vangelis and Mike Oldfield being dragged forward in time from the early 70s, accruing influence as they go like some kind of musical Katamari. 8 and 16 bit chip, prog rock of varying eras, a hefty dose of that minimalism-inspired electronica, all drawn together in ways that are universally modern. It occurs to me that looking forward while looking back is perhaps the key to relevancy, and Disasterpeace excels in this here. Perhaps the most stunning part of this EP is the fact that it seems it is comprised primarily of tracks that he couldn’t find a place for on other efforts. This man’s deletions are better than most artists’ intentions. Frankly sickening.
The album starts with a melancholic bit of mystique and atmosphere, a desolate melody awash in echo and faint noise, accompanied briefly by a sparse beat. This introduction gives way to the stunning “Polis,” which exemplifies the Katamari description given above. Bouncing minimal synths juxtapose a slick 11/8 groove with fat bottomed bass to make the rockin’ world go round and positively gorgeous leads, the whole thing culminating in guitar lines that neatly slice open my skull, remove my brain, give it a good spitshine, and put it back in place upside down.
The other biggest highlight for me is “Sober Colony,” which I was until now unaware was already released way back in 2007 on a themed Pause compilation called Town. Folks… I’m not exaggerating to say that my discovery of this song was an existence-defining moment. I can no longer imagine life without it. It’s that fucking good. The 5/4 groove is so irresistibly supreme as to lend credence to the idea of 5 as a magic number. And then the song’s B section (e.g. starting at about the 1:04 mark) descends on me like an avalanche; inconceivably heavy, with all of the immense power and beauty of a natural formation, and capable of besetting my spine with uncontrollable chills.
Allow me to further put this into perspective and say that this is not coming from a longtime Disasterpeace fanboy. Prior to this year, I’d only heard parts of a few albums, and while I found them enjoyable and I respected the artist for what he means to the scene, I wasn’t extremely into the music. With these two latest releases, that stance has shifted considerably, and I’ll now be delving much more deeply into the entirety of the man’s catalogue. I encourage anyone else with ears to do the same.
Four long years have passed since Winnipeg-based death metal act Dissolution’s last release, Dying. Dead. Undead. In that time, they have refined and sharpened their sound while simultaneously further honing their already very solid DIY production skills.
The resulting album is a 50 minute relentless onslaught of perfectly balanced brutality and musicality. This, if you ask me, is classic death circa 2011. If I had to slap a genre tag on it (since people are wont to require such things, for some reason), I’d have to call it melodic death metal, but very much in the vein of Heartwork-era Carcass, and not the shadow of its former self this style has become. But while Dissolution may seemingly wear these influences on their collective sleeve, they rigorously execute their craft with power and finesse in a context that is undeniably modern and creates for a powerful atmosphere of nostalgic but relevant headbanging.
The dual-guitar assault is the ever-present centerpiece of the album, a ceaseless cavalcade of blistering riffs in which excellent facemelting solos abound. This stringed attack is highlighted with precision by contrasting low and high harsh vocal styles. The bass is largely transparent in that it is primarily doubling and underpinning one or other of the guitar parts, but it is actually audible, which is more than one can say for a large quantity of extreme metal albums, both classic and current. If I have one nitpick for the entirety of the album, it’s that the drum arrangements are somewhat unimaginative, and there are a few sections where he uses a particular type of blastbeat that doesn’t rhythmically mesh perfectly with the rest of the instrumentation, resulting in fleeting passages of perceived awkwardness or sloppiness. His performance and the band overall are otherwise very tight, though, and this record is such an unmitigated blitzkrieg of sickness that I’m loath to dock it any points on the scarce few flaws my fastidious ears might find.
Dirt Skies is available now on Dissolution’s bandcamp and is well worth the paltry asking price. Premium quality independent metal to break your neck to. What more could you want?
The journey begins with bitcrushed electronic drums and synthetic strings accented by ephemeral guitar, an appropriate overture to the epic aural narrative that follows. This rapidly fades to another synthetic introduction, which itself suddenly gives way to the onslaught of richly distorted guitar chords and fierce vocal melodies that form “Imprint,” essentially the album’s mission statement. The phrases “sending a signal” and “nothing left to fear” truly stand out in the chorus lyrics, as while the Cleveland-based Dawn Lights are certainly not doing anything terribly original or groundbreaking, they are doing it with enough conviction and execution to make converts of any who might doubt their intent.
Multi-instrumentalist Dean Johnson’s darkly heavy emotive music consistently treads the line between rock and metal with great aplomb, effectively presented through a dichotomy of thoughtful, claustrophobic verses offset by enormously spacious catchy choruses. This all serves as the perfect backdrop for the refined yet edgy melodies of vocalist Eric Hess. Together, these two men create a cohesive, engaging album that manages to be highly accessible without fully succumbing to tired radio metal clichés.
Highlights include the aforementioned “Imprint,” and the utterly anthemic “The Rising,” in which Hess cries, “this is the moment to rise and fall.” To my ears, that is the core of this album as an experience: be in the moment, create for the sake of creation, and grab life with all of your might. Whether it resonates with you in this fashion or not, this album contains roughly 50 minutes of well-written rock tunes that are easy listening in the true sense of the phrase. So give it a well deserved spin, but be forewarned that once played at healthy volume in one’s car stereo on a gorgeous autumn day with windows down, it may be nigh impossible to eject.
On March 3, 2011, the Primordial Booze was released into this world; alike to a brutal spunk of unmitigated awesome and ferocity. Any who find themselves within its unerring stream shall be forced to dance and headbang and party for eternity, until all the world’s a pit and all its men and women mere viking rave animal slaves who rage perpetually in pounding, snarling 8-bit bliss, forever and ever, amen. I myself have imbibed the mighty sploodge: I just danced while taking a piss, in complete disregard of the fact that I was painting the world with electric yellow wash; it covers the walls, the floor, my shoes, my pants, my hair, my immortal soul… the piss itself began to congeal into miniature humanoid forms and dance and thrash around me in a circle. One piss-man was bigger than the others, and he ensnared my spirit, wrapping it around his fist. He flowed up and into my ears, through the cochlear forests and cranial canyons, to rest upon my brain; whence he stretched my spirit long and made of it a bullwhip which he used to lash my mind into useless, whimpering submission, making it subject to his every whim and fancy, reshaping me for his own dire purposes into another wave of the almighty Booze, that I might flow in and out and over and through and around and sideways and fill and infect and destroy and shape all that I encounter.
This is I, pawn of the Primordial Booze.
I do this of my own free will.
Okay, I swear I’m not going to turn this place into a blog or any of that kind of shit, but this is too awesome and I’ve been enjoying it way too much lately to not give it some props. I’m gonna have to make this quick anyway, there are shuriken flying everywhere and one of them is bound to hit my laptop display ere long.
On this first full-length effort from the esteemed Captain, he pays exceptional tribute to some obvious Tecmo and Konami influences while putting his own indelible stamp on the entire half hour duration. Catchy and extremely addictive, with dangerously hummable melodies interwoven through spectacular bliprock grooves that create an authentic NES action atmosphere laced with hints of metal, progressive rock, early 90s hip hop, blues and funk. Tracks like “Ninja Pie,” “Into Progress,” and “07″ are perfectly capable of slicing your face off if you’re not careful. The capstone to the collection, however, is the brilliant Zappa cover, flawlessly arranged within the limitations of the VRC6 chip.
Ninjanomics leads me through twelve different worlds of drama, mayhem and awesomeness, each one full to the brim with salient men in masked jumpsuits swinging cleaving steel in my general direction with intent to separate my head from my body, which would seem like a generally negative thing if not for how awesome it is when ninjas decapitate people. It is Dennis Mott’s magnum opus, and if I were me (which I am), I wouldn’t miss it. And I haven’t, as you can tell from the way I’m telling you how much it rocks. Which means that you shouldn’t miss it either. Unless you’re afraid of losing your head.
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