New Website Now Online! is now online, featuring my full archive of articles as well as new reviews and other features!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Series Review: Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil

The title is fairly self-explanatory. Todd is a numbskull metalhead who must save his high school from an evil book with wish-granting powers. Anyone who uses the book's powers will find thier deepest desires backfire and ultimately be destroyed by their own wish. (Monkey paw rules, ya know?) The book also has a sinister connection to the mysterious thrasher dudes who hang out in the parking lot of Crowley High. Oh yeah, did I mention that the school is run by Satanists? Even the dweeby, sweater-vest wearing guidance counselor, Atticus Murphy, is not what he seems. He is an occultist, conspiring to get his hands on the book and deliver it to his secret society of Devil Worshipers. Todd must outfox Atticus and a whole slew of other villains as he confronts the book, which he himself unwittingly unleashed.

Fighting on his side is a ragtag group of unlikely friends.  Todd's best friend is Curtis, an outcast stoner with a prosthetic arm. The hot-but-bitchy Goth girl Jenny is convinced that the book is somehow responsible for her father's disappearance. The shy, sweet, and nerdy Hannah provides the brain power. Last but not least, Jason Mewes (AKA Jay of Jay and Silent Bob) is the guru-like janitor who dispenses drugs and sage advice. Together they form a gang to seek the book and prevent the utter destruction of Crowley High. Naturally, high school being a fertile cesspool of hormonally driven angst, the book runs amok and causes rampant destruction, despite the gang's effort to quell it.

For the most part, the series relies on over-the-top slapstick gore, cheesy humor, and predictable plots.  Although it leans on a crutch of so-bad-it's-almost-funny, it was an entertaining series, and even the corny episodes are mildly amusing. The low budget is apparent, but some episodes are surprisingly well made, with more witty humor and moments of genuinely disturbing horror. My personal favorite is Checkmate. This is a well-rounded, funny, scary episode that showcases the good qualities of the series.

Speaking of low budgets, they couldn't afford to complete the saga, so the animated(!) finale is expected to be released in the Spring of 2014. Meanwhile, you can watch the series on Netflix, Amazon, or interact with the official website.

Overall, the series was hit and miss, and I was occasionally  disappointed with the repetitive, immature jokes and shameless, self-aware corniness. Three stars are my judgement.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Damn Dirty Apes: The Apes Of Wrath

First of all, the cover art is a bunch of monkeys sitting on toilets. That is hilarious. (Naturally, they're doing the see/hear/speak no evil pose, because why the hell not.) If you think the art is funny, just wait til you hear the music. That's not to say it's bad. On the contrary, they have the same tongue-in-cheek rambunctious quality that made early Thrash and Punk  so enjoyable.  Their musical style is reminiscent of Anthrax: Simple and catchy, with rebellious lyrics and somewhat repetitive melodies. The riffs are basic hooks, the bass can incorporate a  funky groove at times, and the shouted vocals portray irreverent lyrics.   Their sense of humor is spot on, and the music is thoroughly entertaining.

  The Apes Of Wrath was released in 2011 by Overdose On Records.  You can check it out on Reverbnation, Stereokiller, and Cdbaby. You can also visit the band on their own website.

In a nutshell, Apes Of Wrath is a nostalgic flashback to the 80's, emulating the style of  old-school Thrash with a heavy influence of Punk Rock. The verdict: 3 stars.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

December Concerts

Yeah, I'll be the first to admit that I have nothing funny/interesting to say today. Here's a list of shows happening in the near future. Also check out the new issue of Against Magazine.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Upcoming Albums and Events

 Eat A Helicopter are dropping their highly anticipated album, Evolution Of Violence, this Friday. This Deathcore group from Albuqurque, NM have already gained an international audience. Fans from all over the world are chomping at the bit to hear the new material, which will be featured on Total Deathcore's bandcamp page.  The band has already tantalized us with the single, Chemically Enslaved. That track alone is indicative of an exceptional album.

Arkona, a Pagan Metal band hailing from Russia, will be sharing the stage with locals at Blackwater Music. This is only one stop out of many during the Pagan Worldwide Tour. This concert will feature Prog, Pagan, Deathgrind, and Power Metal all in the same night! Support the local scene and bring your skateboard.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Upcoming Albums

Savage Wizdom's newest offering, aptly titled A New Beginning, is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2014. You can tell just by the cover art that this will be one epic album. Not only will it feature brand new songs, but also a re-recorded edition of Do Or Die. Oh, and did I mention that Blaze freakin' Bayley does guest vocals? The tracklisting is as follows:

01) Sands of Time...
02) A New Beginning......................... (5:11)
03) Let It Go (feat. Blaze Bayley).........(7:30)
04) The Barbarian.............................(6:26)
05) Trail of Sorrow...........................(10:40)
06) Do Or Die...................................(7:10)
07) Far Away...................................(6:50)
08) Chase The Dragon......................(4:44)
09) Shattered Lives...........................(6:46)
10) Point Of No Return...................... (5:50)
Meanwhile, female-fronted Garage-Pop band, The Red Light Cameras, are in the process of making a new album as well. There are also tons of new music videos in the works, which you can watch by clicking this link to the band's website.   

As In We, an instrumental Prog group, have just released another stellar album, called As Above So Below.  The title itself is indicative of the band's musical dichotomy. Their musical style is defined by ambient soundscapes plunging into dark depths of agitated guitars and aggressive percussion. You can listen to a sample and download the album here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Call For Submissions/ Upcoming Shows

I know I've been slacking, blog-wise, but the fact is I'm working full time, plus I scored a sweet gig writing for Against Magazine, and I'm also a DJ for Ground Zero Radio. Between these three things, and minor other distractions such as eating and sleeping, I don't have so much time for Undead Goathead. I am currently looking for contributors, so email me at if interested. I'm one busy bee, but I plan on writing here as often as circumstances permit.

Meanwhile, the proverbial show must go on. Here are some concerts happening in the local area. 

Sick Lineup at Albuqurque's Launchpad. If you come to this show, I'll let you buy me a drink.

Ah, the prodigal sons return. The Elected Officials are back in Santa Fe, supported by Baked and Disasterman. Who says that Punk's dead? Fuck off, Punk is just drunk. 

Legends of Metalcore, Unearth, are gracing Albuqurque's Blackwater Music with their godly presence. Don't miss this shit or you'll be sorry. 

Only ten bucks to see this sexy, sexy show.  Be there or be mocked by all your cool friends.

Fuck it, I'm too drunk to type anything else.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ulcerate: Everything Is Fire

Everything Is Fire is the  album dropped by Ulcerate in '09, defined by mid-paced  droning and lethargic guitar work, accompanied by brooding, almost tribal drumming. At times, I am teased by subtle hints of twangy stoner metal riffs, but these moments are quickly overshadowed by the inherent intensity of the music.  Although they are self-proclaimed Death Metal, I am overwhelmed by the heavy influence of Extreme Metal. This is like Morbid Angel for a new generation.

The guitars are so distorted that it's difficult to discern any kind of melody to the music. That's not to say it sounds bad; On the contrary, they are very technical, but it seems as though they deliberately avoided any kind of melodiousness or consonance. The drumming is exceptional, but the use of cymbals is frequent almost to the point of excess. The music is characterized by a strong rhythm, and unlike most Death Metal, it is thunderous percussion and not guitar hooks that are integral to their unique style.

The gutteral vocals perfectly portray the dismal, nihilistic lyrics. My favorite lines come from"Soullesness Embraces":

"Etched into the earth's effigy
The graven image of man
Inhale your idols and parasites
Cold blood of the declining all."
The lyricists have a way with words... And a talent for embodying the macabre. This coupled with the uber-rhythmic nature of the music augurs for one hell of an album.  Personally, I loved the fact that the drumming was the nucleus around which the music orbited, and not some obnoxiously catchy guitar riff that gets stuck in your head. It's a great album, solid and consistent while differentiating itself from other Tech-Death acts. I'll admit that it's too abrasive to listen to repeatedly in succession, but that's just the nature of the genre. Four stars out of five.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tales From The Thousand Lakes

I don't know why I'm suddenly obsessed with Amorphis. Maybe it's because they are mind-blowingly magnificent? Yeah, that sounds about right. Anyway, here's a review that's a couple decades late, seeing as the album was released almost 20 years ago. In my defense, I was only 3 years old in 1994. Anyway, here are my thoughts on Tales From The Thousand Lakes.

The lyrics  were lifted directly from the Finnish epic, the Kalevala. And when I say it's an epic, I mean EPIC. This is like the European version of the freakin' Bhagavad Gita. There's the creation myth, the story of the first man, and dozens of other stories intertwined together. So basically, the lyrics are all ancient poetry about the glorious trials, victories, and failures of yore.  FUCK YES.

On top of the lyrical badassery, Amorphis are masters of melody and composition. They are very much like  Wolves in the throne room, or even a Classical composer like Holst. they overwhelm you with subtlety. Their compositions are so painstakingly nuanced that you can't possibly catch all the details on your first listen. Everything from the album artwork to the music itself is intricately detailed, dark, and deep. Here's a track-by-track walk-through of this groundbreaking album.

Thousand Lakes is the opening track, characterized by a haunting instrumental melody. Next is Into Hiding, a stunning blend of beautiful Arabic melodies and Death Metal vocals. The vocals seem to utilize some kind of echo/reverb, which adds even more depth to an already amazing track.

The Castaway also incorporates the Middle-Eastern modes juxtaposed with dark, smoky vocals. The shredding guitar solos are a nice cherry on top. First Doom is a catchy, but still insidious, lament about mortality. This track is satisfyingly rhythmic; it almost has a dance-able groove to it. It shifts sporadically from these catchy guitar hooks to a more jagged sound, resulting in a striking contrast.

Black Winter Day is characterized by synthesiser/keyboard sounds. Frankly, I feel as though the experimental electronic style overlaps their stronger aspects. It's not the heaviest track, but still a decent song regardless.  Drowning Maid is my favorite track from TFTTL. The lyrics are the mythical Aino's soliloquy when she died along the seashore. The melody is tragic and the tempo portrays Aino's panic as she perishes beneath the waves. It's a very emotionally powerful, expertly executed, and empathetic song.

 Next is In The Beginning, a fast paced, high pitched number with a wailing lamentation  quality to it. Again, I'm not a fan of the keyboards.They sound like an 8-bit nintendo game, but otherwise it's a great song. Forgotten Sunrise is an aggressive return to Amorphis' Death Metal roots. The keyboards are more classy in this piece, at times sounding like Type-O Negative's spooky halloween themes, but mostly sounding ethereal and dreamy.

To Father's Cabin is a bittersweet ballad about... Well, I'm not sure really. The Finnish people are using their Poetic License to the full extent of it's power. The result is a multilayered, psychedelic soundscape accompanying the metaphor-rich narrative.The album is concluded with Magic And Mayhem, a synthesiser-saturated piece that sounds like it came right out of a Tolkien book or  some cloak and dagger, Doom n' Gloom RPG.  It's basically a demand for beer, and be quick about it or else Tomi Koivuusari will kill you.

I'm pretty awestruck that something as innovative as this was made in '94. I'm at a loss to describe this album objectively, since I empathize with the emotional overdrive tinted by a bleak outlook. The simplest way I can describe TFTTL is it's like the Socrates to my Meno. Check out the album in it's entirety here.

Five stars, muddafucka.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Amorphis: Circle

Circle is a major rebound after Beginning Of Times. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed BOT, but enjoyable isn't the same as phenomenal. It's not necessarily a bad record, it just pales in comparison to its predecessors. Whereas BOT was uber-melodic and keyboard heavy, Circle is just plain heavy. Amorphis ditched the saccharine undertones in favor of a more guitar-oriented approach. This shift is doubtless due to the involvement of Peter Tagtgren, renowned for his previous production work with acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Immortal, and Celtic Frost (to name a few. )

That's not Amorphis' only deviation from the norm (if you can say such an unpredictable band has a norm, but I digress). Since Tomi Jousten joined the band in '05, I have been astounded by his vocals. His range is fantastic, and I was impressed with his ability to sing cleans with virtuosity as well as intense, throaty Death Metal growls. Circle pushes his limits even further with some high pitched Black Metal voice-work.I usually don't care for demonic shrieking, but Jousten pulls it off.

Amorphis is a band who pride themselves on their ability to adapt to different genres. Their newest album lives up to this reputation by surprising the listener with refreshingly different dynamics in composition. The melodies alone are a force to be reckoned with. Forgive my cliche, but I truly expect the unexpected as far as Amorphis is concerned. Just when you're lulled into a false sense of security with a beautiful instrumental arpeggio, you get slammed with Tomi's powerful voice or some heavy-as-fuck guitar riffs. Likewise, don't assume that this another Melodeath album. It's not. There are dashes of Folk, Prog, Doom, and a whole plethora of genres that Amorphis has a knack for intertwining.  It seems that the only constant with this band is the melancholy aura that emanates from their jaw-droppingly gorgeous music.

The lyrics are tragic and mystical, painting vivid scenes of the surreal and macabre storyline. Unlike their previous three albums, Circle is not based on the Kalevala, but on an original story penned by Pekka Kainulainen. The protagonist is a lonely iconoclast, initially burdened with a desperate, sorrowful fate. By the end of the album, he gains some autonomy and recognizes his potential to control his own destiny. As Kainulainen himself succinctly summarized: "This is a story of survival."

Overall, this is a stellar gem of an album, and I am tantalized with the possibilities it opens for the next.

Five stars!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Upcoming Shows

Tonight at the Underground! Check out all these Fear And Loathing references. More importantly, note that this music is featured on Board To Death Vol. 3.  

If you live in Albuqurque, The Gasworks are hosting another Metal event tonight. Come check it out!

 As you can infer from the flyer art, this is gonna be a retro-style Power Metal show. However, Oscillation is more of the Death Metal persuasion (Think along the lines of Autopsy.)  Heavensake also performs an incredible Helloween cover. You can buy discounted tickets from the bands, but hurry up cuz this is happening tomorrow!

An all-ages Metal show at the Gasworks, courtesy of Joe Angel Productions. 

Holy crap! Vader fuckin' rules! They're straight up legendary. And they're sharing the stage with Execration to boot! The rest of the line up is pretty cherry, but Vader and Execration are the REAL DEAL. 

This Metal show is taking place in El Paso, Texas. You should probably arm yourself.

What a line up! Six hours of Metal in Shiprock, NM. Note that drugs and alcohol are not allowed. Also note that they're not responsible for injury, death, or theft. Yikes.

Another Texas concert. Vital Remains is the crown jewel of this one.

There's no flyer for this show, just a picture of a ticket. $5 on Oct 12 will grant you access to a Rock showcase, sponsored by Primal Panic and Rock U-Night. 

Here we go! This is the show at the Traditions building complex off the highway. Another sexy line-up and an even sexier flyer. For those of us who were unceremoniously shooed out of the Hell In July show, this is the show to make up for it. Bring your old Hell In July ticket and it will be honored.

Only $4 to see all these cool Grind/Death bands? Fuck yeah. Count me in. Meathook, Impaled Offering, Defleshment, Deforme, and A Malicious Plague. See you there, my friends.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Last Minute Update

Dying Fetus will be playing October 13th at the abandoned (and probably haunted) Traditions building complex off of  I-25. I'd give you directions if I knew them, but basically just follow the signs. You'll probably see an exit sign that says something like "Traditions: 2 miles" or you might see the complex itself. Can't be missed, really. Looks like the scene of every "teenagers lost in abandoned theme park" B-grade horror movie from the 80's. There's giant aliens and UFOs painted on the walls of what used to be a cafe. There's also a huge gateway that says "TRADITIONS!". If the visual cues fail you, then follow the sweet siren call of Dying Fetus. Death Metal isn't exactly subtle. I don't have a flyer or anything to show you, dear reader. I myself learned about this show around 1:00 AM. It's not listed on their tour dates or event pages around town. Maybe they just don't want a horde of New Mexican meth-heads showing up? Anyway, be there or be mocked by all your cool friends.