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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Upcoming Shows

Ha! What a great flyer. At long last, As In We are back to play at 2nd Street Brewery on New Years Eve. (Note that this is the original  brewery which is actually located on 2nd Street.) Doors open at 10 pm, music starts around 11. Oh, and Also, it's FREE! Only things to keep in mind are to tip your bartender, buy some merch, and don't drive drunk.

On Jan 7 2015, Hanta will be playing their album release show with Iceolus, Yar, and...DJ Muffins? One of these things is not like the others. The show will take place at Sister, a bar on Central. Cover is only $5.

If the 80's have taught me anything, it's that Battles Of The Bands kick major ass. This one is sponsored by Rock U Night, 94 Rock, an even Jim Beam. 

Here is an updated flyer with the final line up. If you haven't already acquired tickets for this concert, they are available on Hold My Ticket or from any of the local bands (Carrion Kind, Fields Of Elysium, Yar, Impaled Offering, and A Malicious Plague.) The price of tix goes up if you buy them at the door, so I suggest you get them in advance.  The madness takes place at 6:30 pm,  January Tenth at The Locker Room. Let's get rowdy. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Band Review: Al Namrood

Like booze, lesbian porn, and pretty much anything else worthwhile, my blog is banned from Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia is one of the top ten countries who read Undead Goathead (thanks guys!)  To celebrate this small victory, I'm going to write about Al Namrood, an Arabic black metal band whose name translates to The Non-believer. Those of you familiar with the Bible may recognize the anglicized version as King Nimrod, who is depicted as a blasphemer and often credited with building the tower of Babel, or even for being the Antichrist incarnate.

I must admit that I am not exactly fluent in  Arabic, but song titles such as Bat Al Tha ar Nar Muheja (Vengeance Abided Bonfire) and the self titled Atba'a Al Namrood (Something something non-believer) suggest a morbid outlook, as well as violence and athiesm. Besides, music is the universal language. Al Namrood breaks the language barrier (and possibly the sound barrier) with their painfully loud, brutally awesome compositions. 

Check out this sick music video, which portrays a lifestyle of indifference and decadence contrasted with imagery of fire, destruction, and hardship. Fucking badass.

Although similar to other Middle Eastern metal bands such as Acrassicauda and Narjahanam, Al Namrood possesses a certain spark that the other bands lack. I can't explain exactly what it is, but Al Namrood is just heavier, darker, and more extreme than their fellows. They are shamelessly raw, primal, and ruthless. You can purchase albums and other merchandise, read news, or find other information on their own website. They are also active on social media such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.

Frankly, I'm blown the fuck away. Five stars out of five!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Upcoming Shows: *UPDATED*

First and foremost, I am pleased to announce that CATTLE FREAKING DECAPITATION is coming to my humble hometown to play at The Locker Room on January tenth. That's one way to start 2015 with a bang. The official line up inlcudes Carrion Kind, Fields Of Elysium, Yar, Impaled Offering and A Malicious Plague.

Meanwhile, in Albuqurque, Launchpad will be hosting this show on December 18th. Show some love to Omingnome, touring from Georgia. 

I've never heard of any of these bands, but the flyer looks cool, so here ya go. 

 Until Chaos are back in the scene, and their reunion show will feature Savage Wizdom! Plus the venue is called The Damn Bar and if that doesn't make you want to go, you're a lost cause. 

The day after Jesus' fake birthday, Music Is The Enemy will be playing with Beard and Futilitarian at Burt's Tiki Lounge in Albuquerque. I definitely want to score some of MITE's sweet new merch. Check it:

On the same day, Inanimate Existence will be playing at the brand spanking new venue, Blu Pheonix, with support from Impaled Offering, Omnicast, Diminished Existence, and...Lithopaedion? How the fuck do you pronounce that? Whatever, looks like a kickass show. 

Last but not least, here is a show for you Oakland metalheads. I haven't heard of Bog Oak, but they have a wicked logo and I definitely have love for Wayfarer and Infinite Waste. Since I'm a couple thousand miles away, I won't make it to this gig, but if you happen to be in the area, do yourself a favor and check it out.

If you know of any more concerts and events, you can contact me here. Until then, I'm out. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Progressively Awesome

Hey ladies and djents, sorry for slacking at my writing duties. In my defense, Far Cry 4 was just released, so I've been kind of preoccupied. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Anyway, when I’m not being a socially inept gamer nerd, I’m being a belligerently drunk metalhead. As such, this show is exactly what I needed on a snowy Saturday night. Here’s what you losers missed out on:

Note: The final line up differs from this flyer. Howling Earth could not make it and American Eyez played in their stead.

American Eyez impressed me. I forgot that some teenagers are actually talented. They covered everything  from Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin to Motorhead, as well as some original material.  They have a long way to go, but they show more promise than many musicians twice their age. Their choice of songs to cover was ballsy but faithful to the originals. Not everyone can do justice to classics, especially songs like Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love, and even Ace Of Spades. I was particularly surprised by the lead singer’s ability to emulate Robert Plant. That kid has one hell of a voice. Plus, I can only imagine how they felt to be minors performing in a bar right next to Cheeks (the only strip club in Santa Fe, which is just as ghetto as you think). When I was a 14 year old wannabe rockstar, that would have been the best night ever.

Silent Crush was decent.  The highlight of their set was some trippy, psychedelic guitar work. Their music is characterized by funky, catchy beats and rhythmic grooves. They are good at what they do, but frankly, it wasn't heavy enough for my liking. Still, I commend them for their passion and dedication, which was the x factor that made their performance memorable.

In The End was fantastic. Like the opening band, they did some choice covers, notably Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name and Tool’s Sober.  My favorite part of the whole night was when the guitarist/vocalist Lloyd Romero utilized a beer bottle as an improvised slide. That was effing sick. In The End has always been a favorite in the New Mexico metal scene, not only due to their technical and musical prowess, but they also happen to be very photogenic. (That means I think they’re hot.)

The concert itself was excellent,  but my main complaint is the lack of audience. Listen guys, I know you think it’s weird and creepy to have a sports bar sandwiched between a porn shop and a strip club. To be fair, yeah, it is unusual, but it’s also pretty fucking cool. Music, booze, and sports are the main attraction, but titties help the cause. (Sex sells but who’s buying?)

I digress. Maybe it’s the location. Or maybe some of you need to actually get off your ass and occupy a venue. Regardless, I had plenty of fun with or without you. Four stars outta five. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Upcoming Shows

This show isn't exactly "upcoming" so much as "happening in a few hours." Like most shows at The Underground, it will probably cost $5 at the door and start around 9 pm. And, although not mentioned on the flyer, Ranch Ghost will also be performing tonight. Support your local scene and bring your skateboard. 

Talk about a rock show. This line up has punk, blues, and more all on the same bill. Lots of variety for only $5. Don't miss out. 

The Chimpz have left their native Los Angeles to go on tour, and they will be playing in Albuqurque on the 7th before hitting Santa Fe on the 8th. I have tickets for BOTH SHOWS, which are only 8 bucks a pop. If you would like to purchase one, you may contact me here. They will have support from local metal band When Darkness Falls on both nights, plus other local opening bands. 

See you there, my lovelies. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Born Of Osiris 2014 American Tour

Goddamn, what a show.  If they haven't reached your neck of the woods yet, I suggest you check out the tour dates and get your tickets in advance. Otherwise, you'll miss out on a truly epic concert. 

Erra, a progressive metalcore group from Birmingham,  was a decent opening band. The guitars were definitely their strongest asset. The drumming was great, but admittedly it tended to be overshadowed by melodic solos. The gutteral vocals were also good, but not good enough to make up for the terrible cleans. True, sometimes whiny vocals sound ok (Chiodos, Bullet For My Valentine), but most of the time they ruin otherwise good bands.

Betraying The Martyrs, hailing from France, are a deathcore band like any other. Not to say that they are bad. They are quite talented, but they are also characterized by the formulaic deathcore canon of  breakdowns, harsh vocals, and cymbal-heavy percussion.  If that's what you're into, then they definitely deliver, but they offer nothing different from the hundreds of other similar bands. 

Within The Ruins, on the other hand, absolutely stole the show, outshining even the headliners.  Prior to the concert, I only knew one song (Invade), which sounds even better live. The rest of their setlist definitely raised the bar for the other bands in the line up, but goddamn. Their unbridled energy and complex, technical, yet melodic riffs converged into the best performance of the night. 

Thy Art Is Murder put on a good show.  The guitars and percussion were fantastic, but they could not mask the monotonous, lackluster vocals. These shortcomings aside, they definitely have charisma and stage presence. Just watching them perform was even more entertaining than the music itself. I didn't even know the human body could contort like that. Their sheer vivacity, coupled with their tech-death stylings, augured for an excellent show. 

Born Of Osiris is one of my all-time favorite metal bands. They are simultaneously technical and fluid, resulting in a heavy virtuosity that distinguishes them from the crowd. I love the multilayered, almost contrapuntal guitar arrangements. One chugs a caustic, mantric rhythm while the other overlaps it with an intricate, sonorous melody. Although their music is very sophisticated and difficult, it is also very raw, angry, and dark. The lyrics are often a criticism of the self-destructive nature of mankind, both as a species, and as individuals. The introspective track Machine implores the listener to look within, reconnecting to their lost integrity and in the process regain their humanity. Follow The Signs, another favorite song, is a grim reminder of the downward spiral of the human race, and how it may be too late to undo all the damage we've inflicted on ourselves and each other.  These two aforementioned songs were the best in their setlist, but honestly, I don't care much for their latest album. The title "Tomorrow We Die Alive" is embarassingly unimaginative, especially for such brilliant lyricists. The music is also not up to par with their magnum opus, The Discovery. The new material does contain some mind-blowing shreddage, but there are also some repetitive songs and even one abomination that sounds like dubstep. Ick. 

All in all, Within The Ruins was hands down the best band in the show, but Born Of Osiris did not disappoint (thank god they played some of their earlier material.) The other three bands fit neatly into their respective subgenres, and although immensely enjoyable as such, they offered nothing innovative or different. 

Fun fact: For every band on the bill, you can replace the last word with  "Breakdowns" and have a good giggle. Seriously though, great concert. Four stars it is! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Salt For Knives: Conglomerate Of Misery

Salt For Knives was recently formed from the remains of legendary old-school NM death metal bands. Their debut, Conglomerate Of Misery, is a fine specimen of unrefined, raw, brutal death metal (And,  being available on Bandcamp, is yours for the ludicrous price of only $5). The music is extremely cacophonous, especially for those not acquainted with the genre. Dissonance and chaos define the band. One is bombarded by a fussilade of percussion, violent guitar riffs, and low pitched growls and screams. The lyrics are the typical death metal canon of mortality, destruction, hatred, and emnity. Certain elements of frontman Frank Green's previous work in Grinkai are carried over into this new project, notably the funky guitar riffs in the closing track,  Break. However,  this album is exemplary in its own right. Some bands are doomed to be cast in the shadows of their predecessors, but Salt For Knives definitely hold their ground.

The music itself is outstanding, but I was also drawn to the creepy cool album art, which is a macabre reminder of the fleeting, ephemeral nature of life, and the looming imminence of death. Impactful and fairly straightforward, the artwork also has some subtle nuances. For example, the clashing colors are indicative of the jarring, discordant music. Those familiar with Wiccan lore may also  recognize that all five elements (earth, air, fire, water, and spirit) are represented.

This is what you listen to when you're simply pissed off at the world, or if you naturally have a fixation on the darkness. This is pure death metal undiluted by any qualifiers or subgenres. The way I usually judge a studio album is by asking myself the question: "Does it make me want to see them in concert?" In this instance, my answer is an emphatic "Fuck yeah."  Four stars out of five.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yar: Yar

Yar is a Santa Fe based thrash metal band characterized by wicked intricate guitar licks , harsh vocals, and lightning speed drumming. The result is a tortured, angry, and cathartic flashback to the death/thrash metal of the late 80's. I do not invoke the name "Death" in vain, and I can honestly say that  Yar emulates their seminal album, Scream Bloody Gore. Obviously, Yar has an updated sound that will appeal to modern metalheads, but their musical inspiration from the likes of Chuck Shuldiner is apparent.  The sound quality of this self-titled demo is impressive.  Although distorted and caustic, the music is delivered with  crispness and  clarity. With only three tracks, each of which is superb, it's hard to play favorites. In fact, no particular song outshines the others, but each brings something different to the table while being cohesive with the rest of the album.

I can't help but assume that Urge To Brew has something to do with beer. It has a straightforward yet intoxicating rhythm, juxtaposed with low growls delivering indecipherable lyrics. If you needed an excuse to wear acid washed jeans and high  top Adidas, this is it. The instrumentation has a dark depth to it, and although Urge To Brew is brilliant in its simplicity, it also features some memorable moments of epic shredding.

Emerald Cave is an intriguing track, with it's cryptic title, rowdy guitar riffs, and frantic tempo. Personally, I have a need for speed and this song satisfies. If you ever get the pleasure of seeing Yar live, this will be the song that make you bang your head so hard that you will bruise your sternum from repeated impact with your chin. I'm speaking from experience, and I am not fucking kidding. Again, the vocals sound awesome but are nearly impossible to understand (the only words I could make out were "entrance" and "darkness"), but that does nothing to diminish the impact of this magnificently brutal track.

System Suicide, like early speed and thrash,  is clearly inspired by the aggression of punk rock but unmistakably metal in essence. Those damn catchy guitar riffs will get stuck in your head, and it's easy to lose yourself in the machine-gun style  percussion. Also, that's one hell of a solo. This is a well executed yet organic song, full of pure rage and energy.

All things considered, this release hangs together well, but each song still retains its own unique depth and texture. Most demos don't sound half this good. Feel free to give Yar some love on Bandcamp and Facebook   Four stars out of five.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fallen Hope / Cassovita Split

Fallen Hope was the original incarnation of the band that is known today as Cassovita. For those who missed out on golden years of Santa Fe metal, imagine the technical, intricate instrumental compositions that characterize the modern Cassovita, overlapped with deep, guttural growls. I know, it's just as delicious as I remember.

This EP includes remastered classics as well as more contemporary material. As a whole, the music is deviant and unusual. You won't hear anything like this on the radio waves. Soaring consonant soundscapes plummet into abysmal, agitated guitars and  furious percussion.   Rhythm guitars chug confidently while the leads are defined by beautiful, complex melodies. There is also ample and interesting experimentation with rhythmic patterns and tempo changes. Unlike the balls-to-the-wall aggression  into which most metal is unfortunately typecast, these lyrics are pensive and introspective.

The instruments, especially the drums,  can be somewhat choppy, but that has more to do with the production quality than the musicianship of the band. In fact, they play with surgical precision. The anatomy (or should I say architecture) It is extremely structured and technical, but also anchored by a primal, raw, emotive quality. This music reminds me of how the rigid logic of the conscious mind is ultimately guided by the id. Or, to quote Nietzsche: "The will to overcome an emotion is ultimately only the will of another emotion or several others."

The music, is in fact, a tangled matrix of conflicted feelings. Sorrow, anger, and even euphoria are all exemplefied, but the underlying cornerstone seems to be one of sadness. These songs are not the stuff of mosh pits, but they will keep you headbanging like a windmill all night long, baby.

This split, as well as other releases, are available on  Bandcamp. My verdict? Fallen Hope and Cassovita are heavy enough to satisfy purists, but beautiful enough to differentiate themselves from the crowd.  Four stars out of five.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Muknal: EP

Although modest in length, clocking in under 20 minutes, this EP released by Muknal in 2012 is a real gem for fans of underground black and death metal. The first track, Cruciation, is chock full of tremolo riffs and wicked pick sliding. These caustic musical elements, juxtaposed over  atmospheric and haunting vocals, results in an expansive and dissonant soundscape. The shifts in tempo and key are natural and flow well, but it makes it difficult to tell when one song ends and the next begins. The musical style is defined by an aura of eerie tension and unease. Although the lyrics are delivered in an indicipherable growl, the songs invoke a sense of awe, wonder, and fear of the unknown. 

The band derives their name from the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves in Belize, an ancient site rich in human remains and artifacts, suggesting a history of ritual sacrifice. The album art is clearly also inspired by these caves. I'm no artist, but I know some bitchin' contrast of positive and negative space when I see it. The soft glowing orbs in and around the cavern resemble stars, superimposing  earthly rock formations with the vastness of the celestial. The cover art reflects the music: A paradox of aesthetic sophistication with raw, primal forces of nature. 

From a technical point of view, the production quality is decent, and the musicianship rivals many other black metal bands. There are no clean vocals or sweeping orchestral arrangements to differentiate them from the rest of the blackened death metal crowd.  Weirdly enough, their lack of novelty actually IS a novelty. If you like your metal TRVE, heavy, and purely dark, this will scratch your itch. Three stars out of five.