Monday, May 30, 2011

Acephalix at The Blvd.

Bands: Undergang, Acephalix, Semtex Vest, Exhausted Prayer, and Malpractice Insurance

Venue: The Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Date: May 29th, 2011

I’ve been recently very impressed by the Bay Area’s Acephalix with their second album, Interminable Night. A monstrous slab of old school death metal with just a hint of crust, Interminable Night just drips with power, ferocity, and riffs piled on top of riffs. Naturally, when Earsplit PR and Southern Lord Records announced that Acephalix were going to co-headline a string of West Coast dates with Danish destroyers Undergang, the tour’s stop in Los Angeles leapt to the top of my priority list.

A string of locals rounded out the bill. First up, Malpractice Insurance hit the d-beat-inspired grindcore genre with enthusiasm, a sure fire winner in a live setting. Toss in funny songs with titles such as, “Geriatric Stench,” and I considered the 20 minute set to be time well spent. Next, Exhausted Prayer feature very technical drumming anchoring a slightly progressive assault of black metal (without the aesthetics) treading the same ground as Krallice. Not bad, as I was more impressed by Exhausted Prayer this evening then I had been in concerts past at The Blvd. Semtex Vest, a near joke, sloppy grindcore band made up of a few members of locals Winterthrall, finished up the openers with a 20-minute set that bordered on being waste of time if it wasn’t so funny.

I was here to see Acephalix and they simply did not disappoint. Turning off all of the venue’s lights save for a lone lamp on the stage, Acephalix thoroughly demolished The Blvd. with just about the best, most exuberant set of deadly, dark death metal that I’ve seen in quite awhile. Watch this band (and Acephalix’s “co-band,” Vastum, as well). Southern Lord is definitely onto something here. As my esteemed colleague enthused at the end of Acephalix’s set, “That was ridiculously awesome!”

Following up Acephalix’s set was going to be a tall order, but Denmark’s Undergang nearly pulled it off with their own version of brutality. Playing a deeply heavy, down tuned form of death metal with buried growls, lots of sloppy catchiness interspersed with dynamic time changes, and a fluid bass, Undergang buried what remained of The Blvd.’s rubble after Acephalix. Awesome stuff and I’m now eagerly tracking down anything I can find from Undergang.

I’m making it a point these days to try to catch the smaller acts that resonate in my ear. Acephalix has just done that, and I find myself paying more attention to the upcoming calendars of tiny venues such as The Blvd., Three Clubs, etc…

Special thanks to the Brenners and Dan from Acephalix!

Malpractice Insurance

Exhausted Prayer

Semtex Vest



The t-shirt/ patch haul (support 'em!)

Dave's Underground Laboratory

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Looking For An Answer Eterno Treblinka

Here's a "shortie" that was originally intended for the Underground Laboratory, but was covered by another writer. My mistake, and relative absence of late, is due to my other life being extremely busy over the last few weeks (and for the next few weeks for that matter).

Looking For An Answer Eterno Treblinka

(Relapse Records)

Release Date: June 7th, 2011

Hot on the heels of last week’s coverage of the latest from Spain’s Haemorrhage comes Eterno Treblinka from Looking For An Answer, another band traipsing through the goregrind genre, also from Madrid and also signed to Relapse Records. Unlike Haemorrhage, though, Looking For An Answer sound considerably fresher with a more dynamically interesting delivery of socially conscious goregrind with plenty of good songs and variations in tempo.

The focus is on deep seated growls, meat filled riffs, and all out blasts, but Looking For An Answer also toss in some mid-paced gallops for variation. If this review sounds a Hell of a lot like my look last week at Haemorrhage, you may be wondering to yourself, “What’s the difference?” The difference is that Looking For An Answer sound hungry, and are blasting out their delivery with a much more palpable sense of enthusiasm and gusto.

Straight ahead goregrind; well done.

Grade: B+

Looking For An Answer


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chris scores with releases from PsycheDOOMelic Records

By: Chris Davison

Magma Rise Lazy Stream Of Steel

(PsycheDOOMmelic Records)

I have to admit, I jumped at the chance to review this monster. See, I once had the very good luck to review an album by a Hungarian doom band called Wall Of Sleep. They were a bloody excellent traditional doom band, and the best thing about them was the amazing vocals of main man Gabor Holdampf. Alas, Wall Of Sleep parted ways with Gabor, and that was the last I ever heard of them, or Gabor, for that matter.

Now, imagine my very real excitement as Gabor returns with Magma Rise – another wonderful doom band with a traditional sense of the genre, with occasional forays into traditional rock territory here and there with Lazy Stream Of Steel. Gabor’s voice is as full bloodied and unmistakeable as ever, full of power and character, while the guitar sound sits somewhere between The Obsessed and Sheavy. For the most part, this straddles the fine divide between relatively up tempo doom metal, traditional heavy metal in the vein of a less ornate and idiosyncratic Slough Feg and an anthemic touch not unlike a slowed down Saxon.

The production is full fat – I suspect that the richness of tone and warmth of the sound would go well with any dish – and perfectly suited to the happy atmosphere. The drums and bass are as well played as you would expect from a professional doom band, and the whole package just reeks of quality. Good, honest riffing played well, songs written from the heart with an obvious eye on being played in the live arena. Actually, this crew are set to visit my native England in late summer, so I’m already planning to be in the crowd and score some tasty merch.

An absolute gem of a release from a very deserving band, and I really hope that word of mouth can help this bastard get a wider release and further finance more touring. For those of you yet to be converted, head down to...

...and get yourself a gander of their trailer. Satisfaction, or your money back!*

Best doom release of the year. You heard, punk.

*Don’t waste my time or yours trying to get any satisfaction from this promise.

Magma Rise MySpace

Keef Stoned To Doom

(PsycheDOOMelic Records)

I do not know what a “Keef” is. I suspect that this may have something to do with being a reactionary conformist pushing the wrong side of 30. My best guess is that it’s a new trend for stoner bands to name their outfits based on nicknames for band mates of Mick Jagger. I do not, however, possess the necessary motivation to check out this assertion in any way whatsoever. So sue me, assholes.

Venal insults aside, Keef have a nice line in fairly inoffensive traditional stoner doom metal, with all of the requisite ingredients that you know and love. Swinging, blues based guitar licks that hint at Iommi at his most snowblind? Check. Wardian drums pounded to death in a basic but none the less Cro-Magnon style? Ahuh. Warbling bassline that sounds like the exhaust pipe on a 70’s hotrod running on high octane fuel? Far out. Vocals a plaintive whine? You know it, daddy-o.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t music to enjoy here – far from it. Whether it be in the Orange Goblin meets Sleep rumble of “Animal Control,” or on the toe-tapping gonzoid stomp of “Evilizer,” Keef are in it for the good times. Essentially bringing the shakes in the time honoured tradition of warm, fuzzy mid tempo guitar lines and tight rhythm jams, Keef are having a good time. They probably don’t care that their audience is made up equally of burned out old drunks (check) or tongue in cheek hipsters wearing Rainbow Rising t-shirts that are even younger than they are. Nope, they live for the psychedelic burn. Feel it.

So, Stoned To Doom is short on invention? Bah, who cares. There’s always room for a good, honest catchy groove-fest, and that’s what this is; that is, unashamed, slow-burning fun for the drop out in all of us. Ask me whether or not I’d like to see whatever black metal disaster (editor: eh...) is endlessly being fellated in the metal press, or a goddamned honest to goodness stoner rock n’ roll outfit, and you’ll find me over at the Keef merch stand, chugging on a cold one and laughing at all of the corpse paint.

Stoner doom or mild irritation; the choice is yours.

Keef MySpace


Krallice Diotima

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Encountering the Night Sky at Mt. Pinos once more...
May 7th, 2011...

Observing list

Waxing Crescent Moon
Saturn (four moons, including Titan)
Gamma Virginis
M86 and Markarian's Chain
Quasar 3C 273
NGC 5053
NGC 6543
NGC 4889 (Center of Coma Cluster)
NGC 4725 and environs
NGC 4565 and environs
NGC 4274 and environs

The playlist