As much as I like working on this blog, it has changed my listening habits. One of our missions is to stay abreast of song and video premieres and new albums, sifting through the flood of new metal to find things we believe are worth recommending and reviewing. So I spend almost all my listening time nowadays checking out metal I’ve never heard before. The cost, unfortunately, is that I rarely listen to what’s in the library of albums I’ve accumulated over the years. No more “oldies but goodies” for me.
But yesterday, on a whim, I decided that I’d spend the time walking to and from my job listening to what was on my iPod already, and I used Shuffle to pick what I heard. My iPod Classic is full. It has 22,331 songs on it, and almost all of the shit is metal. To put a new album on there requires that I delete another one, which is horribly painful to do. That process has made the library more top-heavy with newer music over time, which may explain why most of the Shuffle choices turned out to be of relatively recent vintage.
Anyway, it turned out to be a blast, because the first five songs that Shuffle picked were all really good and really beastly. The next couple weren’t as killer, so I decided to just go with the first five in this post. Oddly, two of the five turned out to be from Japanese bands.
Fuckin’ Dismember! What an auspicious way to start the Shuffle medley! I didn’t need reminding about how completely amazing Like An Ever Flowing Stream was — and still is — but it’s been a couple of years since I’ve listened to “Skin Her Alive”. What a thoroughly skin-flaying, meat-grinding experience.
It was like candy to my ears: skittering, heavy-fuzzed, dissonant riffing; a squealing solo that jets out like a flamethrower that’s just been triggered; a relentless drum attack; the ugly vocals; and of course the very eloquent lyrics.
“Skin Her Alive” – Like An Ever Flowing Stream (1991)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/06-Skin-Her-Alive.mp3|titles=Dismember – Skin Her Alive]
After Dismember, Shuffle delivered Defiled. This Japanese band has been around for a long time, but their 2011 album was the first after a lengthy hiatus, and the line-up only included one original member. I’d forgotten how completely obliterating the production was on this album — really raw, with the bass and drums shoved up-front in the mix to produce a genuinely head-clobbering experience. The song that Shuffle picked is one of my favorite tracks from that release, combining all that manic . . . clobbering . . . with schizoid, techy riffing and pedal-to-the-floor acceleration. Sweetness.
“Intolerant” – In Crisis (2011)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/09-Intolerant.mp3|titles=Defiled – Intolerant]
I remember that when Poland’s Vader released this album there was some controversy because Vader had (somewhat) moved away from full-on blasting by introducing some slower parts. “Shadowfear” was a prime example of the tempo dynamics Vader introduced, but it remains one of my all-time favorite Vader tracks, and I got the biggest fuckin’ smile when Shuffle delivered it.
It includes a grisly killer of an intro, a vicious/furious riff attack, screaming solo’s, awesome vocals, and a devastating, gore-drenched breakdown.
“Shadowfear” – Impressions In Blood (2006)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/02-Shadowfear.mp3|titles=Vader – Shadowfear]
Shuffle next played a song from yet another Japanese band. I couldn’t remember when or why I got this album, and I’m not positive I ever listened to all of it when I got it — or even any of it — and I have no other 324 releases in my library. In any event, the song sounded new to my ears, and I sure as fuck enjoyed it. Rancid, crusty, punky, hooky, grind.
“Borders” – Rebelgrind (2006)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/05-Borders.mp3|titles=324 – Borders]
Fifth and finally: Members of this Italian band have been the subject of multiple NCS posts recently, through their participation in another project called The Stranded, but the next song that popped up on my Shuffle-play comes from Disarmonia Mundi’s second album, which pre-dated the start of NCS by five years. I think “blazing” is a good word for it. Everything is moving at warp speed, and it shoots high voltage through your system from beginning to end.
But the song also has a memorable melody along with fragments of Gothenburg-style melodeath riffing and a recurring rhythm that reminds me of humppa music, of all things, plus a combo of clean and harsh vocals that suits the song. Wonderful.
“Come Forth My Dreadful One” – Fragments of D-Generation (2004)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/08-Come-Forth-My-Dreadful-One.mp3|titles=Disarmonia Mundi – Come Forth My Dreadful One]
I may have to make a habit of this Shuffle experience, though I can’t believe I’ll have as much luck the next time. We’ll see . . .