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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!