Get (Into) What You Paid For: Round 4 – Day 42

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 42, and I haven’t spent anything new thank goodness, I’m actually on track. This time last year I was rolling around in Batman and Dredd Blu Rays, picking up White Zombie and Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots albums, picking up about 7 concert tickets and about 14 Batman TPBs, and generally just quickly and almost violently spending all the money I’d earned from working in a media-centered retail outlet all summer.

This September however, I’m not spending anything. I’m thinking of extending this already-extended challenge to be yet another month long as well. So… that’d be no purchases from August 1st all the way to November 1st. My reasoning for this is that I could use that money for fruit and vegetables. Also, I didn’t work this summer like I usually do so its not like the aforementioned that money is much anyway. I’ve got bills to pay people!

Also… I have so much stuff already. And so much borrowed stuff on top of that. And access to so much free stuff on the internet (how many comedy video shows like Zero Punction and web comics are there anyway? And how many bands like Miroist give their music away for free on bandcamp?). I could re-read each of my Graphic Novels, read all the books I got in the last two years again, re-read all my Game Of Thrones (Song Of Ice And Fire) books, listen to all the albums I rarely listen to, play through the backlogue of videogames I haven’t finished (or even started for some of ‘em) yet, and hey, I’ve got Netflix and so there’s always something to watch.

What’s the reason to buy new things anyway?

Apart from my burning need to buy things of course… (the hungry deamon who screams in my brain to ‘spend, spend, spend,”) and the fact that one thing leads to another (as discussed here by my talented friend Paul), in so much as if I read Batman, I’ll want more Batman…if I play God Of War I’ll want more similar video games, If I listen to a certain band, I’ll want more similar music.

Heck; on that tip, I got books about Black and Death Metal for my birthday from Paul (cheers, generous!) and once I read them that’ll make me want to buy Death and Black Metal albums mentioned inside.

…but apart from all that … I think I could do it. I think I could go three months purchase-free, just enjoying what I’ve already got. Getting to grips with what I’ve got. Getting into what I paid for… I think you can consider the challenge extended folks!

Anyway… here’s what I’ve been listening to whilst weightlifting, walking and wanking spending time on facebook for the last few days:

This is one of my favourite album discoveries of the past few years. This album is so well-crafted, so catchy and such good fun. Its also one of their most consistent, filler-free, and exciting albums… one where everything just “comes together” and becomes greater than the sum of its parts. It really is “the 3rd Keeper Of The Seven Keys” like people say it is. Its definitely my number three favourite Power Metal album behind those two aforementioned Keeper gems.

Continuing on a Power Metal theme, I finished the weights yesterday by listening to the melodic Metal stylings of Sweeden’s Hammerfall. This is a really solid and enjoyable album indeed. I’m not sick of it yet at all. Its been a sort of soundtrack to the summer. It is a really motivating album to exercise to as well, the sound of it just inspires activity and dedication. Something about the clean vocals just makes you want to do push-ups. I think if they played this sort of glorious victorious music in high school Phis-Ed classes (or “PE” for us Brits), there’d be much less fat kids. Maybe there’d be higher sales of Dungeons & Dragons and replica swords too, which could offset the economic disaster that thin kids would cause by not buying Big Macs and diabetes medicine, maybe.

Ok. No. I think its just me. I’m sure the average jock thug wouldn’t want Hammerfall during his dodgeball bullying time.

Can you tell I’ve watched much US teen television? Thought so….

I haven’t listened to this album in yonks. I think that’s because I temporarily lost it when I lent it to a former guitarist of a band I was in, on a day we were going to see Gama Bomb and Onslaught live. Turns out he was in Uni with Gama Bomb’s bassist and I got to meet the band and get into the gig for free. Good evening! I left this album in his car though, that’s the only downside.

That was probably one of the last nights I listened to it, even if it is in my iTunes library. Also, that was probably the first time I’d listened to it in a few years. I liked this band during my Thrash-obsessed teens, but they really were just “one more thrash band” to put into my metaphorical hungry maw. (Also literal hungry maw, hence all the weight-loss now). I mean look at me around the time I was listening to this album regularly:

Anyway… yeah, this album reminds me a lot of Slayer’s Hell Awaits in terms of its slightly ploddy nature and slightly weird black production job. Its thrash, its got solos and double kicks and all that good stuff. Its just a bit dull overall, but still good if that makes sense? Its talented enjoyable stuff… but every song is about a minute too long, and the album is about a song too long, and every idea is about one unit of plagiarism too many to get truly excited about. Still… its nice to hear it again after all these years since I first picked it up (2004? 2005?).

Now this was a real favourite of mine in my teen years. This is a brilliant album. I’m not sure why I am not listening to it regularly now… other than the fact that NEW STUFF NEW STUFF NEW STUFF SO MUCH NEW STUFF

Ahem, excuse me. But yes, Overkill’s Taking Over is a brilliant record. I don’t think there’s a single song on it I’d loose. I like Bobby’s voice on this album the best of any in the discography too. And the production is charming, with an excellent guitar tone. Also it has “In Union We Stand” on it. How can you argue with that? Fun, Fun, Fun!

I’ve been listening to this a lot recently anyway, but I generally squeeze new stuff in with the old stuff on these GITWYPF endeavors anyway… so, what the heck?

This is my favourite Dokken album. I think Back For The Attack is better and my favourite two songs (“Lightnin Strikes Again” & “Til The Livin End”) are on Under Lock And Key, but this one is my favourite album overall. The variety, the charm, the guitar solos, the choruses! Its all so good. Also the album is succinct and entertaining and doesn’t ever get samey.

I listened to this and Heartwork last night upon realizing that I’d gotten a lend of them over a year ago and never actually returned them (woops). Anyway, yeah, I like the idea of them, and there’s loads of riffs, vocal patterns and fills I like…. But each album is a bit tiring. Any song in isolation, yup. The famous songs like “Keep On Rotting In The Free World” “Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody” “Heart Work” etc. are all absolute gems, but deep album tracks all in a row aren’t as entertaining and can find me zoning out a little. Sorry!

I’ve had this album almost for as long as I’ve been into Metal, I got it pretty early in my time in high school. I rarely listened to it (if at all) after I left high school. I seem to remember it being almost 100% d-beats with very little variety, excluding the title track, which is awesome. (I’m always disappointed by how the title track isn’t as good live on the Monkey Puss DVD, and also the fact that the cool bit at the end is a “cover” and not just invented by the band).

Well, my memory was half-right. The title track is indeed awesome. But there’s way more variety than I remembered. Its not all d-beats. The drumming is really impressive actually. There’s some seriously inventive and impressive kick work and fills on here. This is a damned decent album! I think I’ll be listening to this more often nowadays!

I really enjoyed this. I stuck it on tonight. Its basically just a good, catchy Thrash album when all is said and done. Or at least the best songs are. The unarguably Death songs (eg. “Blaspherion”) are maybe the weakest moments for my own personal taste, but otherwise, this is some damn catchy enjoyable stuff. “Dead By Dawn” is great fun. Also, even “Blaspherion” has awesome drums, and some great sections in the middle and towards the end!

I like that this album is short. It’s a short, sharp, exciting blast of energy. It feels passionate. Its kind of that Reign In Blood thing… Succinct, powerful, effective. I think too much of this might get a bit old, but this is a nice snack (for my hungry maw, remember?).

This is not short. It is not Reign In Blood-esque by any stretch of the imagination (save for talent, of course). It is however, really impressive. Surprisngly groovy, musical and listenable, the album is really rather interesting. Its just outside my brain’s comfort zone, so I only enjoy it in a sort of technical way, I’m an observer who can tell that it is good, but I’m not actually enjoying it myself on a gut level. Oh well, maybe with more listens or some other band to “unlock” it for me, it will become a favourite once my objective admiration for it synchs with my gut-reaction.

Speaking of gut reaction…. Boy, this is a banger. Those riffs! Those riffs! Those riiiifs!
I don’t think I’ve found an extreme Metal band that better connects with me on a gut level than the mighty Melechesh (Napalm Death and Zyklon are the closest, but Melechesh do it more consistently).

“Ladders To Sumeria” for example just slays! That reoccurring riff is the bee’s knees. I can’t explain it properly in words, but it’s the “key” riff of the song, so just listen to it, and that riff you find yourself loving… it’ll be that one!

Another new one mixed in with the oldies. I like it a lot. “Demon’s Whip” is a great song, balancing their fast and slow sides well. “The Power Of Thy Sword” is my favourite on the album… it is pure outrageous Gamma Ray style fun!

The only complaint I have at all is that the drum solos and bass solo in “Achilles” rob its momentum, but the fact that they represent parts of the story through sound (the forging of armour etc) is cool enough to forgive that problem.

Ok. That’s enough for one article. Consider the challenge extended and have a good evening.

Get (Into) What You Paid For: Round 4 – Day 40

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 40, and I haven’t spent anything new in the last three days… hey, I’m getting the hang of this! Maybe if I keep this going long enough I’ll be able to break free of the habit of spending so frequently. I could use that money for fresh fruit and vegetables! (I’m on a health kick at the moment and that seems like the best use of my money in my current state of mind). I’ve also been experimenting with baking and online grocery shopping with mixed results. I’m planning on being a more successful human being for the next year, more organized and nourished and with more strings to my bow.

Continuing this self-improvement theme, I’ve also decided to cycle for 20-minutes after work every day from when I return to work following my current time-off, all the way up until Christmas. To sure-up this decision, I spent last night making dozens of 20-minute playlists in iTunes for cycling to. (Well, most of them end up being 22 minutes). The main theme of each playlist is pick about 5 songs from about 5 different artists within one subgenre.

So for example: 1 Saxon song, 1 Diamond Head song, 1 Iron Maiden song, 1 Angel Witch Song, 1 Motorhead song…. and then call that playlist “NWOBHM 1.”

In this spirit I have made: 9 Classic Rock Lists, 9 Thrash Metal lists, 9 NWOBHM/Early Metal lists, 9 Thrash Metal lists, 8 Glam Metal lists, 6 Power Metal lists, 5 Metalcore lists, 4 Groove Metal lists, 2 NYHC lists, 2 Indie Lists, 2 Nu Metal lists, 1 Stoner Rock list, and 1 Melodeath list.

Oh yeah, and two lists of Thrash bands’ ‘90s hits…like “Symphony Of Destruction,’ ‘Only,’ ‘Enter Sandman’ etc.

I only chose jaunty up-tempo songs; no ballads, no interludes, no intros, no doomy songs, nothing proggy… just stuff that would make me want to continue cycling. Its basically that I always get a shower when I get home from work, but I am always hesitant to do any exercise once I’ve had a shower because it’s a waste of water and therefore money, and so I’ve decided that I could squeeze in a small bit of exercise after each work day so its not too tiring (and get rewarded by hearing 5 or so classic songs) but since I’ll still work up a sweat it would be advisable before my usual post-work shower. Hopefully it makes me squeeze in exercise all the time, rather than doing it properly when I’m in the mood, but more often ending up doing nothing when it can’t be done right… as they say: “Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Good.”

Anyway, enough health propaganda, on to the main article:

Since my recent birthday, I’ve been describing how I’ve been reading Martin Popoff’s Top 500 Metal Albums book, and this has not changed. I’ve been happily reading away at this yesterday too, now up to around number-300. It’s a damn good book and I highly recommend it. Even if there are a few small mistakes (eg. he said that Michael Kiske was the singer on Helloween’s Walls Of Jerhico, but it was really Kai Hansen) and sometimes his sentences lack all grammatical logic or you can tell he forgot to type words here and there, it is still a very entertaining and well put-together product.

I’ve also spent the last few days listening to the following albums:

I decided to put this record on again because I recently read an article online which was about biggest disappointments/flops. Untouchables was in it. I thought to myself…”surely not?” I remembered at the time, everyone loved it. They filmed the successful comeback show with loads of songs from it. People on Metal podcasts I listened to remembered it fondly. I listened to it again last night, and yeah, there’s a wee bit of filler (like EVERY Korn record) but it is in no way a weak album for them, plus lead single and album opener “Here To Stay” is just an absolute smasher! Oh yeah, and I looked it up on Wikipedia this morning and that also suggests it is one of the band’s most popular albums. What about the verse to “Embrace” ? …or the chorus to “Wake Up Hate” ?

Disappointment? Pfft…

This album is a weird one for me; I listen to tracks from it almost daily on shuffle, but I have this weird “I don’t listen to this album enough” feeling all the time because I don’t sit down and listen to it in its entirety often enough. Well, I tried to put that right, and its one of my favourite Motorhead records when you add up all the songs I like (although I just usually don’t listen to them together… something it shares in common with Faith No More’s Angel Dust as a matter of fact). Some people called this one a disappointment, or dislike the production. Not me, I love it. Love it all. So many great tracks. Great atmosphere. Its charming. “(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down” is especially fun. Heck it all is; no filler!

I listened to this yesterday whilst weightlifting because I have elderly neighbors in my temporary accommodation and I didn’t want them to have to hear Hatebreed, which is what I was really in the mood for at the time, but I’m a considerate neighbor when all is said and done.

I remember I bought this for super-cheap (around a penny I seem to recall, or maybe one pound at an absolute maximum!) just to have something to talk about with a coworker in my last job, who had an Alkaline Trio tattoo. I’m not really keen on it. I always liked their single “Private Eye” but unfortunately its about the only song on this album that is memorable. Its all competent but its just a bit bland and forgettable. Oh well, a Penny for a few conversations and “Private Eye” …not too much of a waste. Its not like I’ll have to quit doing fucked-up shit.

I’ve mentioned before about how I got this in 2010 and never felt like I’d listened to it enough. I still feel that way. Even with a recent attempt at a revival of it by adding it to my phone on work trips and during my Dutch holiday. To its credit, there are some great songs on the record, like the Title Track, “The Alchemist” and “Talisman.” I just somehow never feel like I give it enough attention though. I’ll keep trying, because it is good, its just… demanding.

This was a birthday gift. It’s the modern Helloween line-up trying to do their version of the Keepers’ albums. BOTH Keepers! It’s a double album, each with a 10 minute epic, a few fast thrashers, a ballad each, and a fun off-the wall song.

Its kind of exhausting. I can tell there’s good stuff on it, because I like Deris-era Helloween a lot anyway. But, its just a huge amount to take in at once. Without the mental division of individual albums the way the original Keepers Part 1 & 2 had. You feel overworked listening to it.

Some people are down on sequel albums, especially those late in a career. I like Operation Mindcrime 2 and Thick As A Brick 2 though… so I’ll give this one a chance as well. It just might take a long time to absorb.

I went for a run the other day, and the soundtrack to this sweaty affair was the suitably sweaty Manowar albums I got for my birthday, all together (Not just the one pictured, but Triumph Of Steel and Fighting The World too) on shuffle. These albums are really growing on me. Sure the drum solos in “Achilles” are pace-killers and that spoken word track is too long, but this is a seriously fun band with some seriously great Metal songs to offer. All of their fast songs are almost instant-favourites of mine, catapulted into Best Of playlists already. This is a good boxset and these albums are showing some real promise to join the best of Helloween and Gamma Ray at the top of my Power Metal pile… almost eclipsing Stratovarius already!

Absolute masterpiece. I’ve spent enough time talking about it. I think its one of the best records ever made, by anyone. I just need to listen to it regularly because I don’t want it to slip out of listening. (Once I let “Crack The Skye” go, it didn’t come back the same).

Another birthday gift. Very fun, pleasant, upbeat and happy record. Perfect listening for this sunshine, and for this good-mood inspired by the exercise and healthy-eating zone I’m in. Also nice and brief, lightweight and succinct. Easily digestible, quick and cheerful stuff for instant gratification and no-brains smiles being put on my face.

I’ve tried once more last night, despite feeling like it wasn’t very good and even with new attention, I just don’t really like this album much at all. I really like their debut, don’t get me wrong, its not just thoughtless Poison-bashing here, I just don’t like this Posion album. This one is just a bit empty. There’s nothing in the style I want from them, and there’s no catchy perfect fun in an alternative style to the one I want either. Its just very bland and unexciting. Nothing “grabs” me.

Halfway between the first and the third. Not just as memorable as their debut, or as forgettable as their third album, this has stuff going for it, but isn’t “wow, this album is great!” either. An enjoyable listen, that will eventually be boiled down to just the best few tracks and mostly ignored otherwise. I like “Back On The Rocking Horse,” “Bad To Be Good,” and “Look But You Can’t Touch” as well as the Kiss-esque hit single “Nuthin But A Good Time” of course.

I used to listen to this all the time last year. It got pushed out by new purchases. I still tend to listen to the post-Ralph albums a lot, but the first three of their albums have done a runner from my limited-storage-space phone long ago, which is a shame really, they deserve more attention. I’m pushing them back in now though. How can you argue with “Money” on a sunny day?

I’ve been listening to this constantly since its release, and so this listen here is just another go-round, rather than any attempt to appreciate an under-appreciated hidden gem. I’ve been constantly listening to it all year because its really good! …Even their absolutely shoddy live gig this time last year didn’t stop this being a good record in my eyes.

I enjoyed listening to it out in the sun today whilst chopping down (or rather trimming to acceptable tidiness, its not like I actually felled them with an axe) the trees surrounding my current accommodation, in the glorious sunshine. The title track and “Fall From Grace” are brilliant cheerful songs to hack trees by! (Although maybe I should’ve listened to Rush, now that I think about it… that’d be good, ey? I wonder if the neighbors would’ve got the joke?).

It took a long time to trim those trees. This was the second album I put on, because its not too-heavy for neighbors. I love this album, any excuse to listen to it is fine by me… even if my thumbs are covered in blisters afterwards! Good album. “Sleeping By Myself Tonight” is superb.

Man, I just never listen to this. I’ve owned it at least a decade, and I think I’ve listened to it fewer than twenty times in all that time (shame it wasn’t Somewhere In Time so I could use yet another “time” in that sentence), with about ten of those listens being made in the same month I bought it.

I love the title track (man, title tracks are usually great, aren’t they?) and “Be Quick Or Be Dead,” which I will always love for its Carmaggeddon 2 memories! (It was in that game’s soundtrack beside “The Trooper” and “Man On The Edge.”) Other than those two tracks however, I almost don’t even recognize over half of the record. I wasn’t even all that fond of it when I listened to it yesterday again either. I must try yet again tomorrow! Maybe it’s a grower, and I’ve never put enough time into it?

This album is fantastic. Its taken me years to think that though. A bit of backstory: I bought Cowboys’ and Vulgar’ on the same day on a Dublin holiday when I was about 12 or 13. I loved Vulgar instantly and forever. The high screams and weird production (and infuriating lack of snare drums on “Primal Concrete Sledge”) on Cowboys however, at the time made me think of it as being bad and cheesy and out-dated and un-Pantera, and for about two years afterwards I only liked the title track. (Title Tracks again, see?). Over the years I’ve liked more and more of it, and getting into thrash unlocked more of its charm, getting into Maiden unlocked yet more. Getting into Priest unlocked the final missing piece. Now I love every second of it… it just took me a while. A kid who mostly listens to Powerman 5000 and Limp Bizkit doesn’t have the palate suitable for “Heresy” or “Psycho Holiday” just yet. Well, it was worth the wait!

Another “I am listening to this all the time anyway” album. I’m surprised how much I’ve come to really enjoy this record. It’s also “unlocked” the band’s first two albums for me, and I can appreciate them as real music now, instead of just a clown-parade of druggy chancers and womanizers writing 80% filler and getting unnaturally lucky with a few hits, like I used to view them. Moving on…

Yet another “I am listening to this all the time anyway” album, like the above. This is my definite album of the summer. It will likely be my album of the year at this rate. Every listen and it gets better, just like Stalingrad did. I’ll be watching the free Blu Ray a lot over the rest of the year too. Good value. I’ve been avoiding new albums recently because I can get boxsets of albums for the same price as individual new albums, and about 5 cheap old albums for the price of one new album, so it just seems wasteful to buy new albums…. This one however was unarguable value for money considering how much enjoyment and use I got out of it!

When I first got the boxset of Dokken’s first five albums (well, four and a live album), I sort of overlooked this one a lot. I’m slowly rectifying that oversight. “Paris Is Burning” and “Live To Rock (Rock To Live)” are excellent jaunty Judas Priest-style Speed Metal tracks (although with a softer production, admittedly).

This still isn’t my favourite Dokken album, or one I’d share with any friends who don’t listen to this sort of thing to convert them, but it’s a nice enough album and worth my time.

This is a classic, everyone loves it. Its not hard to see why. Phil’s voice is excellent here, Pepper and Kirk’s riffs are really memorable and everyone loves a bit of Bower Power, that Bonham-esque groove he can inject songs with really putting the cherry on top.

Good songs (most of a Down setlist most times, ey?), great performances, faultless production… pretty good record. Its not even monotonous, there’s plenty of variety from the brief stunners like “Lifer” and “Hail To The Leaf” and then the acoustic “Jail,” for variety, yet further diversified by the unique genre-of-one in hit single “Stone The Crow” and then topped-off by the big weighty monolith of an album-closer (and live-favourite) “Bury Me In Smoke.”

Its just all good, and there’s a nice mix so you aren’t bored or wore-down. I just need to remind myself to listen to it as often as I listen to Pantera or C.O.C. I’ve been constantly hammering The Purple EP all year, or at least its highlights, so I’ve probably been getting enough Down overall that I didn’t notice the dip in NOLA plays, but Martin Popoff’s book just reminded me to go back to the reason I liked Down in the first place.

I listen to the title track (how many times with the title tracks?) and “Rock N Roll Rebel” all the time, and I have it on Vinyl mounted on my wall, and I listened to the whole record all the time for about a year after I got it… but I’ve noticed a massive decrease in listens recently. I’ve just put it on again (another Popoff inspired move) and noticed that apart from the aforementioned hits, I’ve forgotten most of this record, and there’ actually a lot more good moments on here than I’ve been giving it credit for recently, certainly since last Christmas I’ve not listened to it in full. Well, now I have once more, and it was entertaining. Not the best Ozzy album, but better than the two-tracks-only footnote that I’ve been treating it as! Also the bonus track “One Up The B Side” is great, despite its cheesy joke title.

I bought a set of the first two V.O.D. albums a while back, around the same time I bought the boxset of Life Of Agony albums (I remember mixing the two bands up because of their triple-word names with “of” in the center, their association with ‘90s American Hardcore, and both having tracks with “River” in the title. This “River” song has a guest appearance from Phil Anselmo, Life Of Agony’s didn’t.

I ended up becoming a real fan of the Life Of Agony material… but upon initial listen I wasn’t keen on V.O.D. much at all. Their albums seemed like an exhausting barrage of samey, brash, rough-around-the-edges violence. To be fair, that’s still true, but its more of a compliment than an insult. This album is full of absolutely brilliant tracks. Each one, in isolation, is a blow-away-the-cobwebs breath of fresh air… intense, threatening and very very lively. Their singer reminds me of Chimaira’s Mark Hunter a little… but a less melodic, more screamy version.

Highlights for me are “Jada Bloom,” “Twelve Steps To Nothing” and “Landslide.” I’m warming to this album, its just a bit exhausting all at once… they’re still a band I can only take in small doses.

Another Popoff inspiration. I bought this record around this time last year, wasn’t amazingly sold on it really, and kind of just listened to it in small doses here and there from then on, with decreasing frequency until its now mostly ignored altogether. I stuck it on yesterday and was really impressed, there’s a whole heap of stolen Anthrax, Megadeth and Overkill parts and apart from the slow, grungy tempos and Rob’s unusual voice, this is pretty much a nice Thrash album. “Thrust” and “Black Sunshine” are good. The only problem with the album is that the band seem a bit too relaxed, too calm, holding back a bit. V.O.D are too unhinged and aggressive and abrasive, put this is the opposite end of the spectrum… its very chilled out and softened-down. You can tell the songs are good though, it’d be cool to hear them covered by someone with a bit of energy. Perhaps V.O.D. could cover them and split the difference?

This album is associated with sunshine for me. I was listening to it in the wonderful sunshine in the zoo in Rotterdamn, and I listened to it today whilst going out on a long walk in the countryside while trying to put more of this healthy stuff into action and make the most of this last week away before its back to early 4am work mornings and grey city sludge. The whole album is so bright and clean and uplifting that really sunshine is the only environment in which you could take it seriously… you already need a big smile on your face before it even starts.

What about the record itself? I used to think it was pretty samey, pretty bland, and lacking in the x-factor of its more famous cousin Inhuman Rampage. Listening to it carefully for the first time today, I guess that’s only half true… there’s a little more to things here than I initially credited it with, and while it can wear a little thin all at once its pretty much an honest record with good intentions. Not soon to become a favourite, but worth a few more listens at least.

Ok. That’s enough for one article. I’ve dropped my thoughts on most of the albums I’ve been listening to in the last three days; I’ll leave discussions of Death, Carcass, Cro-Mags and Deicide to another time as I’m pretty sure most people will’ve stopped reading by now anyway.

Oh well, it stopped me from splashing out on Spiderman comic collections, Early ‘80s American Hardcore bands’ debut albums, Musician’s biographies (Five Finger Death Punch’s drummer has a book out!?) and all the live concert DVDs going at the minute (or indeed b-sides and bonus tracks to albums I have but haven’t got all the bonus material from.)

‘Til we meet again…

The Scott Burns Project III – Deicide: Deicide, Legion, Once Upon The Cross & Serpents Of The Light

D4I thought I’d do a little Deicide, mainly because Deicide comes up on my shuffle and annoys the hell out of me a LOT. Why have you got music that annoys the hell out of you (a LOT) on your iPod, Paul, you fucking jerk? You big big jerk? Why? TELL US! Well, it’s like this, see. Like a lot of people my age, I was 16 once.

That’s it. I liked Deicide for a while. I don’t think I do any more. Anyway, I’ve decided to do the whole Deicide run in the one go, so I can clear out the clutter once and for all. I know of a few tracks I might keep, but I don’t think there’ll be many.

First album, Deicide (which is one of those select few albums by a band that is called the band and also has a song called the band), kicks off with what sounds like a prison gate opening/ closing. The track boasts a lot of weird blasting that’s just like semi-speedy alternating on the hats and snare that’s miles away from what Steve would do on later albums. There’s also a prevalence of Glen Benton’s distinct double-tracked vocals, and also a lot of that triple-pitching thing they do for Deadites in the Evil Dead movies, which’ll become more pertinent later. Now, unlike this site’s most esteemed host, I like blasting. I like refined blasting, but I also like messy, try-hard blasting like on early Napalm Death records. The blasting on Deicide, though, is my least favourite type of blasting – “why not” blasting. Also see many of Cannibal Corpse’s slower songs for unnecessary instances of this happening. Not enough variety = Get blasting! Ruins things.

The second track, though, has a cool buildup and a great double bass drum pattern that switches naturally into this really cool groove, before some more WNB (Why Not Blasting). The song then switches between the two while my brain switches between the On and Off positions, presumably Off because this musical is intellectually malnourishing and On to, you know, make sure my body keeps running and that sort of thing. It’s a crap song, overall, with a good part, so let’s talk about the production. The bass may as well not be there, but the guitars are good and clear and you can hear everything. The drums are tinnier than I’d like, but that’s probably Deicide’s fault for some reason and not Mighty Scott’s. Besides, later Burns/’Cide albums sound noticeably better.

Ah, “Oblivious To Evil”, and a quote from Evil Dead. This one has an archetypal US DM riff and a slow beat and I love the shit out of it. But, it’s doomed for slappy shitty shit shit blasting in a minute. Who has the PATIENCE for Deicide? Jesus, the way these weird slow blasts are played with the hat closed robs the flow out of them and make it sound SO amateur. It’s awful. Listen to the blasting on Terrorizer’s World Downfall. That hat sound, I swear, that MAKES the album. This is just crap. Fucking CRAPOLA.

At least the songs are short.

Then “Dead By Dawn” happens and it’s like “Ah, THIS is where they were heading with all that”. It’s an Evil Dead concept song. Pretty cool, though it’s place on an album of satanic death metal seems unjustified. And again, I’m sorry, but what sounded life-affirming at 16 just sounds like fucking tarmac to me now. There’s something anthemic in that final “Dawn…Dead by Dawn”, but it takes a lot of work to get there. The best thing on this ALBUM is the little call and response “we are” sections that actually sound like the meandering tosspot zomboids from what is unquestionably my favourite movie (this week), Evil Dead 2.

Seeing as “Blaspherion” is like the self-aware album’s equivalent of realising what I’ve said about it and proto-teenager rebelling against me by just doing more of the same louder and for longer, let’s discuss that album cover. Who settled on that? It’s nothing. It’s not a thing at all. Here is a gold, fucking, bit of circle and some red eyes. Buy me!

“Blaspherion” kinda sounds like that song, you know the one, the first track you write as a band that you feel deserves a place on the debut album out of nostalgia or some sense of honour, but really it’s far below your current playing level. Yes, we’ve ALL released studio albums and can benefit from this analogy, fuck yoUUUUUUUU.

Up next, Deicide with “Deicide” from the album Deicide, from the year 1991. Inconsiderate fucks. They could at least have released it in the year Deicide. It sounds like it might have something going for it with the weird timing of the opening cymbal catches, but the band’s attitude to song structure and playing style soon collude to rob any potential it might have of appealing to me.  I’d like to compensate for not being able to talk about the songs by talking about how I got into Deicide but I can’t for the life of me recall. It must have been a teen assimilation thing. I can remember familiarising with The Stench Of Redemption during summer factory work, and Till Death Do Us Part in the halls of Coleraine University. And that’s it. Hmm.

So then there’s loads more of the same, with no variation or notable increase in quality, for about ten minutes.

Then the last song happens and I pay literally no attention beyond the opening riff (which is one of my favourite ‘types’ of riff) because I just CAN’T.

So fuck that fucking album, anyway. Every track, gone. Let’s move right ahead. I’m sure there’s positivity to come, still.

AH! This is the one with the Scorsese sample to open. From that Jesus film. With Armor-King-Stage-In-Tekken-and-Tekken-2 spooky wind and distorted sheep chatting. No, I’m wrong. It isn’t. Yeah, it has that, but that’s next-album stuff. Wow. The production on this is really weird. The bass is CRAZY loud, but not that defined.  It mixes with the guitar so well, though. And Glen sounds a lot deeper. They’re trying hard at playing more complicated material and it’s doing wonders for my enjoyment levels. The song has no real respect for the traditional verse-chorus-bridges-etc. structure, and Steve’s drumming is really interesting. This is hard as shit to air drum along to. But, because Im Am Coole, I do anyway (emoticon of sunglasses smiley face).

Interestingly, this album is shorter than their already noticeably brief debut by some three minutes. It’s less than half an hour, actually. Interesting. I respect that with Deicide, there’s a no-filler attitude. Despite, you know, that entire first disc of filler. The one that came out in nineteen ninety-DEICIDE on ROADDEICIDE RECORDS.

SO yeah, “Satan-Spawn The Caco-Demon”. I liked that alright. The next track, “Dead But Dreaming” has similarly complex drumming and riffing, but sadly confirms this album as another one trick-pony. Sure, this pony’s trick is like, well, it’s all “Holy FUCK pony, that is aMAZing”, but it’s still “jesus, EVERY night? Come off it ya brown bastard”.

This album’s cover looks to me like just another circular thing on some black with some red at first, but on closer inspection it’s either a kinda 3D pentagram seen from a silly angle or a shot of Power Rangers Villain Lord Zedd…from a silly angle. Either way it’s a dung sandwich.

The song ends like it forgot how to keep being.

In fact, so much like it forgot how to keep being that the next track just sounds like a breakdown thereof. It’s no good either though. God, Deicide are kinda awful. It’s the sorta deal where one track in isolation is pretty impressive but a big bunch of them is like, I dunno, like TEN Sausage McMuffins. Sure who’d want that? Not even the fattest fatty of all (Courtney Turnbuckle of Seamus Creek, Salisbury, New New New York York).

The next track (or maybe it’s later on, I can track this like I can track minutes spent sleeping) has some God-bashing and I think it seems a little unfair. Look at it this way, right, if God wasn’t about, Decide would have literally NO hook to sell albums on other than their “this is mediocre but it has Satanism for bonus lulz so buy, kids” shtick.

God, these songs are like bullies. Leave me ALONE!

I’m having a shit time here. Roll on that third album, whatever it’s called. The Jesus cover one.

You know they used Deicide music to torture prisoners? The yanks, I mean. I swear, I can’t think logically at the minute. Shit works.

So yes, Scott Burns. This album has a lot more personality in the mix. I know there’s a few other Burns albums that sound like this, I just can’t remember which because DEICIDE. Now, there’s REALLLLY cool section in the middle of “In Hell I Burn”, and I’ll consider keeping it just for that. Sorry, where was I? Yes, so it sounds interesting, but so far Burns hasn’t nailed anything on the wall for Deicide that’ll stick in my craw. Maybe it’s because of the way the instruments are played, but for sure the guitar tone isn’t as BEST EVER like it is on other Burns albums. Frankly, I’m on two albums in a row here I couldn’t wait to finish.

Also uncool is the last track, just on naming aesthetics alone. “Revocate The Agitator”. Oh fuck OFF, Deicide. You know what ‘revocate’ has underneath it in Microsoft Word, Deicide? A FUCKING JAGGED RED LINE. We all know what that means. We all know exactly what that means, you torturous fuck sandwich of a band.

So onto Once Upon The Cross, (yah, it’s called Once Upon The Cross, I just couldn’t remember, ‘member, because Deicide). I KNOW I like a few tracks on this one. Right? Read on, gentle spuck…

Oh shit, this sounds AWESOME. The good bass/guitar thing from the previous album, a nice sonic pierce (yeah, I don’t know how to describe music…) to the hi-hats, nice ringy ride cymbal, punch in the bass drum, Glen finding his perfect mid range. Good arrangement. “Once Upon The Cross” has such great dynamics (the song, that is). Can this keep up for another half hour (wait…yeah, less, this is ANOTHER minute shorter. It’s like a self-imposed challenge. That said, though, if a band can get better with increasingly short albums, they are striving for a totality of efficiency I can really get behind). So this song is totally awesome. Even the barely-audible solo is cool.

Oh, and I fucking love “Christ Denied” as well, with it’s lovely chuggy intro it’s really hard to get used to. It’s not super technical but the timing is really knotty nonetheless. They’ve really learned something between the first two albums and this, though. When it gets to the CHRIST DENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED that closes the chorus it really has weight, like it means something (Christ was all “can a brother get a bagel?”, and we were just straight up “bagel THIS God boy” – two middle fingers, Christ DENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED”). I also love the last little stretch, that sprint to the finish line. Cool song.

“When Satan Rules This World” is like a quasi-redo, fuck, no, A DO-OVER (!) for “Oblivious To Evil”, with the same type of riff and drum beat (think “Rape Me” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) but the drums sound so cool with the ride bell. Also, Steve knows what he’s doing, so well. It took them a while, but Deicide sound like a professional band on this one. Very impressive. Well done lads! The post-chorus is total death metal heaven – nasty riff, weird timing, killer production. And not one of these tracks, so far, has had any Why Not Blasting, filler flapping, or outlasted its welcome in general. Deicide found their formula, here, and well done for it.

“Kill The Christian” is aesthetically like a bridge between this and the first album, but because the first three tracks were so good I’ll let them off with it…THIS time.

“Trick Or Betrayed” has that awesome “Are you the Messiah?” “Norr – werr are Not” sample before some excellent SURPRISE MUSIC – there’s a lead section that sounds like Deicide’s Egyptian cousin (Egyptian Deicide, oh my god man, they’re awe-sommmme). Super cool. Burns deserves a lot of praise here but the real heroes are Deicide. Yes. Talk about puling your thumb out.

(Of your fuckin’ ASSHOLE).

“They Are The Children of The Underworld” has so much going for it. A few really great riffs (that are either more or way less complicated than they sound) and a really cheesy little hi-hat swishy thing. I am glee incarnate with this track. It’s great. Altogether. I think one of the lines Glen barks is “THEY HAVE NO NECK”. I love that, even if I’m wrong. Also, the way the Slayer beat is broken up with those little china trash smashes. It’s a great, great song. Did I mention I dig its balls hard yo? Here is it:

“Behind The Light Thou Shall Rise” sounds like it should be the big single. It’s got that “this is the one” feel that a lot of big metal tracks have. It’s not even in the album’s top five tracks, no way, but it has…star quality? Mmm.


“To Be Dead” (the FANTASTICALLY titled “To Be Dead”!) has such a menacing quality to it but it’s a little superfluous. I could maybe do without it. It’s total mid-90s maxi-single fodder.

SHUT UP PAUL. Its solo sounds like a drunk ghost falling down a spiral staircase. He’s already dead, so it doesn’t hurt, so all his friends are cheering. Yay ghost!

“Confessional Rape” (and seeing as I can do without song titles with rape in ‘em, let alone subject matters, I’ve rechristened this one “Confessional Rap”, and imaged it’s a portrait of one Father Maxi Allcool and his attempts to get ghetto youths off the streets with inspirational thematic rapping at mass, and how Deicide bust in and kick his ASS!)

It’s not a great closer, but overall it’s a solid 7/10 album. Pleasantly re-surprised. Now…Serpents Of The Light, and the last stand of Burns and the ‘Cide.

Shit! I remember now! I had a copy of an old Roadrunner compilation called Attitude (or it was Download 1, the same Download which ended becoming the same-named festival) and it had “Serpents…” on it, and I loved it, and hence Deicide interest. Velly intelesting. So yes, first thing apparent on this album should be that there is NO bass and the guitar sounds like bonus demo tracks for the whole record. Also, a lot of the tracks seem to follow a strict structure, like they’re alternative versions of each other. As I remember it. Let’s see if that holds up.

Also, “Serpents Of The Light” is perfectly refined mid-‘90s metal. Death metal it may be, but this is a ‘90s anthem, ask me.

“Bastard of Christ” has a cool opening and some really straightforward ridey blasting, and it hits me I recall this as a considerably less complicated Deicide album. I bet they got labelled sellouts over it. Personally, I’d label them idiots just for including the line “hang the bitch on the cross”. I hate any use of the word ‘bitch’, for the record, with the sole exception of the brief Will Ferrell Bitch Hunter sketches fro 30 Rock. It just makes me fucking squirm. It also sounds like he says “holy shit! Pacifist!” at one stage, would more than make up for it.

Yeah, no doubt though, these songs definitely sound like different riffs laid over the same structure. Three tracks in and twice I’ve thought “oh, there’s the same track again”. Count ‘em. Makes sense. I am smart.

“This is Hell We’re In”. More of the same. Bland. “I Am No One”. Ugh. This is going RIGHT in the bin. “Slave To The Cross” tries to throw a little newness in the mix with a weird spiralling guitar thing and slowness but it’s still super fastness. It’s crap though. This is so incredibly phoned in.

Seeing as every track between here and “Father Baker’s” is awful, let’s chat about…no, well, OK, do me a favour. Just look at that album cover. Look at it. Digest it. Drink it in. If you don’t mind, analyse it. SEE it. Everything you see, someone THOUGHT about that. Made a decision. WITH WHAT LOGIC? No logic. Very silly. Here it is, but massive.

Click and it gets bigger STILL

Click and it gets bigger STILL

So that’s me done with Deicide. Four albums down, and two hours later I feel very angry and exhausted and corrupted and… just off. Still, at least I salvaged a few tracks. Who’ll be next? Who knows?!