(So far, our year-end LISTMANIA series has mostly been devoted to year-end lists from other sites and print zines, but today we begin rolling out our own lists, and we start with the first of six that Andy Synn is preparing. Every day next week we’ll post his remaining five.)
Such is the chaos that is my life at the moment (in between trying to get my End of Year List/s done, I’ve also been putting together a PhD proposal/application, booking a photo shoot for Beyond Grace, TRYING to book shows for next year for us, and helping some good friends move house) that I almost forgot about my annual semi-traditional round-up of all the great EPs I’ve heard this year!
Yes, yes, I know there are several bloggers and/or sites out there who argue that EPs should be considered right alongside full-length albums when it comes to summing up matters at the end of the year… but I’m not one of them.
No, I think EPs deserve their own category, and their own specific focus, and so I’ve written this little round-up to give some of the year’s shortest, sharpest, releases their due.
(Over in the list of Categories on the right side of the page, I’ve kept alive one called “Phro’s Posts“, hoping that one day our old friend would come back to us — and so he has. Here’s Phro’s review of the new album by New Jersey’s Windfaerer.)
Tenebrosum, Windfaerer’s newest album, is seven tracks of pure frigid despair that could be summed up with three adjectives: Melancholy, punishing, and fierce. When you get the album on September 22 (which you absolutely must, whether you think you like black metal or not), wait for a cold, rainy day to listen to it. Tell everyone to leave you alone for an hour and grab your best headphones, preferably a pair with a relatively flat but accurate frequency response. Find an empty room with a single window, turn out all the lights, and sit in the grey light of the afternoon. Then, press play and close your eyes.
The plane rattles with the kind of turbulence you’ve only seen in movies. Smoky clouds whip by the windows and the sobs of terrified passengers fill the cabin. Alarms blare for a moment and then everything disappears…
When you open your eyes, you’re neck deep in snow. The wreckage of your plane writhes a hundred meters away, hungry flames licking at the cabin. The shrieks of someone dying reach your ears before falling silent a moment later when the fire stretches out and engulfs the plane’s skeletal remains.
(I’m getting all weepy remembering the days when our Tokyo-based comrade Phro used to write his inimitable reviews for NCS. But after something of a reviewing hiatus at his own web site — PhroMetal — the review you’re about to read appeared there a couple days ago. When I saw it, I convinced him to let me re-publish it here. And I’m not alone in having a shitload of fun reading it. The band liked it too.)
Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation (in close running for the label “greatest grindcore band in the world”) have a new batch of their 2013 EP Wallow ready for our hot, waiting ears. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about it. The is what it sounds like (and, because pictures are fun, what it looks like, too).
A deep growl explodes from the ground beneath me, vibrating the floorboards and sending shivers to the very roof of the house. The sound of furious bats with razor-edged wings and steel claws tear around beneath my feet, as they pound their wings, looking for escape.
“Since when did this house have a basement?” I wonder aloud before the floor erupts, a geyser of the demonic bats filling the room. Screaming like a little boy with his dick caught in a vice, I drop the bottle of Jack and fling myself to the floor.
Shredding the air, the massive creatures stir up a riotous wind, ripping books from shelves and dashing a mirror across the floor. A piece of the glass soars through the air and impales itself in my eye. I can just barely hear myself scream over the shrieks of the bats, their voices alternately shrill and deeply demonic.
Howling and rolling on the floor with my hands slapped across my face, I cry out, “Fuck, shit, cat anus sniffer! My goddamn eye!!”
Long-time NCS readers know that we have a weakness (in a totally non-pedophile way) for BABYMETAL, the three-member female group who made a name for themselves by fusing Japanese idol music and metal. This obsession began with former frequent visitor and occasional contributor Phro (who is based in the Tokyo area). Even though Phro is occupied with other pursuits and doesn’t show up around here very often, he still stays in touch, and this morning he fired off an e-mail alerting me to the premiere of a new BABYMETAL song and video: “Megitsune”
In fact, we have Phro’s own introduction to the video (which will be followed by some more Phro words and some of my own):
“Alright you sad sacks, sit down, shut the fuck up, and press play, because Baby Metal have a new song and video. It’s bombastic in all the right ways, slightly cheesy in all the best ways, and just barely cute enough to still be recognizable as Japan’s finest pop metal band.
“I won’t bother explaining it to you, because, seriously, there’s a fucking YouTube video right here. If you can’t press play because you’re at work, I forgive you, but otherwise this should be fucking your eardrums like a giant, zombie tyrannosaurus rex cock hungry for your ear cherry.”
Phro has reviewed the music of UK-based Chemical Tomb for us before. Amazingly, they sent him their new 7″ split with Corrupt Humanity, which was released January 15. Allegedly, you can pick it up from GRINDFATHER PRODUCTIONS, Black Lake Records, and Aural Onslaught Records & Distro. You can also stream it on Bandcamp. The cover art is by Skillmatik.
Phro delivered unto me another of his now-legendary video reviews. Go ahead. Watch it:
(Yesterday, TheMadIsraeli began what turned out to be a glowing review of a new album by a Japanese metal band named Shatter Silence with his opinion that, generally, “Japan’s metal scene sucks”. Here follows a response by our Japan-based contributor Phro, whose own blog is here.)
So, apparently if TheMadIsraeli doesn’t know anything about your scene, it sucks. While we probably shouldn’t spend too much time kowtowing to the whims of Internet badasses, here’s a list of some Japanese metal bands I found after 15 minutes on Google. Gee, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
(Obviously, this is hardly a complete list, nor is it in any way representative of the entirety of the Japanese metal scene. And it largely reflects my personal taste, though I’ve included some bands that I know are popular, even if I’m not necessarily a fan.)
(In what has become a holiday tradition at NCS, Phro brings us another fucking Christmas story from his residence in Japan. In what has become a holiday tradition at NCS, you may want to have a reliable anti-emetic on hand before you begin reading. I picked the images accompanying this story. I hope Phro likes them.)
“Jingle bells, jingle bells…”
The small mall where I awoke in a puddle of my own green and red vomit was playing the most dreadful MIDI Christmas music, which is a little redundant but whatever. Half of my face was covered in what I assumed had once been the contents of my stomach. I wondered briefly what I had eaten to produce such ghastly vomit, but the appearance of mall security distracted me.
The security guards were both older men…probably in their sixties, I would have said. They smelled like cheap Asian cigarettes, black coffee, and unwashed armpits. I gurgled pathetically in answer to the rapid-fire questions of the first one to reach my side. He gave his partner a look of annoyance and made sharp, shrill clucking noise like a semi-brain-dead chicken attempting to sing a power metal song.
As they conversed in a regional dialect that sounded like a combination of Chinese, Japanese, and angry German Christmas carols, I let my head take a rest from trying to deal with reality and enjoyed the simple warmth of the vomit. After a few moments, though, I noticed a sharp, jabbing pain in one of my butt cheeks as if miniature miners were trying to dig straight through my ass to my colon in search of shit ore.
(The title of Phro’s year-end list was “A Bunch of Shit Phro Liked from
2010 2012″, but your humble editor couldn’t figure out how to make a strike-through work in the WordPress post title box. So just imagine that it’s there.)
Oh, man, I can’t believe how quickly the first decade of the 21st millennium has gone! And just think, the world will only exist for another two years and then BLAMO! Mayan zombie pandas with laser claws and giant fire-ball shooting testicles will take over the world and sell us all to bug-eyed aliens for a few pounds of bamboo and a rocket ship. So, I guess what I’m saying is, make the next two years cou–
Wait, what? It’s 2012? Did…did I just miss the last two years? Oh, fuck, hold on, lemme do some quick research and get back to you with all the awesome stuff that happened this year. Ummm…here, watch this cow and I’ll be right back.
(Yes, Japan’s Baby Metal are back with something new, and as the sun follows the night that means our Japan-based correspondent Phro is back, too.)
So, Islander said he’d take away my food supply if I didn’t get this written up and sent to him before nightfall. As such, you have only him to blame if you find the writing subpar. Well, okay, more subpar than usual. Whatever. I need my horsey cock.
Baby Metal, the semi-official house band of No! Clean Singing!, has released a new song, titled “Ijime, Dame, Zettai.” (Roughly translated by a group of feces-tossing, anus-slurping, toe-jam-eating howler monkeys as: “Bullying, Don’t, Definitely.” We slapped them around a little bit, and they came up with this slightly less steamy pile of rancid eggplant puree: “Just Say No to Bullying!” The howler monkeys have been fired.)
Now, if you think that’s a strange change of focus for a band that thus far has mostly sung about…something, well, you’re not entirely wrong. However, there is a method to this madness. (Ummm…a dim glimmer of a reflection of a method.)
Written by: Phro
It’s a dark and rainy night. The kind of dark and rainy night where you stay home and jerk off your cat with one hand while counting the number of people who love you with the other. (It’s zero people. No one loves you.) Then, when your cat won’t cum and you’re at the darkest depths of despair, you hear a knock at the door. It’s demure, yet violent; lusty, yet apprehensive. You pretend to sigh as if annoyed at the interruption, but in the shallow, tepid depths of your heart, you know you’re happy.
Removing your sweaty hand from your pet’s raw genitals, you stand and go to open the door and struggle to control your shock and turgid pleasure at seeing this lovely face:
With the heavy breathing of a pedophile learning he’s gotten a job as Naked Bathtime Mickey Mouse at Tokyo Disneyland, you stammer stupidly.
She giggles, takes you by the hand and leads you to your bedroom, where she tells you to strip and remove your clothes. Without pausing, you comply, as eager as a teacher’s pet diving head first and mouth agape into the naked lap of your obese, hairy, sweaty junior high math teacher.