20 June 2016

Album Review: Razor Sharp Death Blizzard

Razor Sharp Death Blizzard
'You Will Burn'
(Digital Release)

The thundering apocalyptic serenity of chaos

When a band has been put together by former members of hardcore punk giants Swellbellys and brutal metal band Ridgeback then you can be assured their music will never be heard playing softly in the background of some upper class drawing room on a lazy Sunday morning while an elderly lady relaxes with a cup of imported Italian coffee and the newspapers. Razor Sharp Death Blizzard are as insolently turbulent as their name suggests. They have no hidden surprises (who does that shit anyway?) and are as brutally aggressive as you suspected they'd be...consider a terrain of heavy wasteland where the vitriolic sound carves out trenches and drains colour from horizons.

It's the sheer weight and supremacy of the sound that you become aware of firstly...it's the first thing to reach you..a towering wave of thundering drumbeats and insubordinate guitar riffs stampeding a way forwards on an unstoppable barrage of menacing savagery. Juggernaut sized in both volume and presence...a tirade of head mashing riffs unfolding for war. Yet for all it may appear disjointed and without direction...and in less competent hands I have no doubt it would very easily become just that...when you bring all its parts together in a right way...as is here...it shows how brilliantly well it all work

There are so many catchy moments here...you just don't expect to find them on an album like this. But I'm wrong. Little flourishes of musicianship...from the smallest of unexpected chord changes to the sudden change of tactic/direction in a between verses riff...and it's when those twists and spins and neat turns catch you that you realise it's a much cleverer, structural piece of songwriting than the three chord noise monster people dismiss the products of this genre as being. The lead vocals are a violation of decency...a gore drenched, raw throated abrasive growl of unsettling power-violence that burrows into the floor to prowl caverns beneath us...as mighty at times than the force of nature, the scum eloquence criss-crossing pathways below stirring an ambience of violent intent and nightmares rehearsed.

Definite standout moments on this album...and there are many...like the swaggering guitar of Christian Sun...the complete change of style, pace and tone for the brilliant Right Wing Scum...all out punk rock bluster of Meet Your Maker with guitar and drums meshing together brilliantly...and the melodic riff that dominates Defstein which is almost endearing enough to suit Whitesnake. Maybe Razor Sharp Death Blizzard will unleash a wrecking ball of  fresh air into a scene filled with shitehawk revivalists whose limp wristed symphonies shall implode internally and black rivers of blood will gush from their ears and drown a city forever? Failing that they'll possibly just fucking kill you.


12 June 2016

5 Reasons To Love: HOLE

The most commercially successful female fronted grunge band in the history of music.

( from the album Live Through This)

  "and some day you will ache like I ache"

A raw disjointed start/stop ballad where you can almost touch the excruciating self loathing that resonates from the harrowing acoustic despair of unfurled honesty. It almost drops to a whisper...this subdued restraint of a broken spirit...before pleading its way to an end on a vocal of bone-crushing agony. The distraction is cataclysmic...a brooding overflow that hacks out a valley in her voice and renders the life from her bones. Her naked vulnerability.. the most beautiful truth on earth...She ends the song by repeating the line "some day you will ache like I ache" over and over with gaining intensity until she is almost screaming the words.

(from the album Pretty On The Inside)

 "'Ive seen the things you put me through and I, I wish I could die"
 Her vocal is a howling turbulence of outrage battering an exit through the thrashing heap of  heavy grunge-fuelled uncongenial chainsaw fuzz. Distorted guitars add to the wrecking ball of brutal angsty-punk banging against the pile-up of  mangled ear-bursting fuck-ups! This is Hole still very much at the fledgling part of their career...gloriously wide-eyed, rebellious upstarts who weren't intending to be forgotten once they'd been heard. The racketing grunge/rock distortion of this wasn't ever again quite as unchecked as it was here.

(from the album Celebrity Skin)

"oh cinderella they aren't sluts like you"
A complete move away from their earlier grunge/punk sound...the instrumentation is more civilized and targeted..and the production is sharper and refined. Celebrity Skin is a brilliantly catchy alternative rock song with shimmering guitar riffs and tons of bouncing energy. Courtney's vocals are lazily tuneful...skipping across the melodic cruise-control pace and structure of the song with perfectly suited relevance. The lyrics are a scathing swipe at the superficiality of Hollywood glamour where celebrity is defined in body shape, skin tone and plastic surgery...and the line  'oh look at my face/ my name is might have been/ my name is never was/ my name's forgotten" is a reference to the impossibility of retaining value when the next 'star' is being manufactured to replace you, This was the band's most commercially successful single as was the album of the same name. And another example of how good a songwriter she really is.

(from the album Live Through This)

"Go on take everything, take everything, I want you to"
The greatest song Courtney Love has ever written. The delicate opening chords are a soothing embrace..tender in their manner...a tranquility promised...the poetry of the lyrics sketch serene imagery "and  the sky was made of amethyst,,,and all the stars looked just like little fish..you should learn when to go"and then she has you..you're unready and flatfooted.."YOU SHOULD LEARN HOW TO SAY NO!" like a howled battlecry and suddenly it swivels into a tearing onslaught of rattling hostility "GO ON TAKE EVERYTHING! TAKE EVERYTHING I WANT YOU TO!" volleying forwards, relentless...the shout/scream/howl vocals..the feral snarling of the guitars..."I told you from the start just how this would end" the most ferociously barbaric piece of  creative brilliance

(from the album Celebrity Skin)
"The darkest secret of your heart I'm gonna follow you
  A straightforward mid-tempo romanticised pop song that skips and hops on a catchy hook laden feel-good summertime breeze. Incredibly melodic and beautifully understated.....It was a creative change of direction from the brutal grunge/punk anger of debut album Pretty On The Inside and follow up Live Through This...Criticised by some for what they saw as her selling out to the mainstream in a desperate bid for success this is simply great songwriting ability and creative versatility. Courtney Love is a truly superior songwriter who just doesn't get the recognition she deserves.

11 June 2016

Martha Wainwright

Martha Wainwright casually delivers one of the greatest live performance in the world...just because she can.