Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Skull's birthday occurred back in February. Skull deserves a good jean jacket. I cranked this one out in about six weeks. Most of the time was spent gathering specific patches tailored to Skull's classic tastes. The actual sewing and stud application occurred over three sessions of about three to four hours apiece. I left the front pockets alone on purpose to give Skull the option of having their use.

I'm considering selling battle vests as a craft hobby, perhaps, with a site on Etsy or Craftsy. This vest cost about $200 to put together, including Priority shipping. So, I was considering charging $250 or so for a complete vest with a turnaround time of about a month. I'm soliciting opinions from anyone that would care to comment. I appreciate your input.

Happy (Belated) Birthday, my brother Skull!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Devil's Blood The Thousandfold Epicentre

The Devil’s Blood The Thousandfold Epicentre

(Metal Blade Records)

Reviewed By: Strawb

What degree of Dante do you seek in your Satanic metal? If you seek the Ninth Circle, your head being chewed upon as claws flay your skin, then it may be that The Devil’s Blood are right up your alley…..

From Holland, the online video clips show up to six performers stretched across the stage – but information is hard to come by and the two members who do seem to attract the publicity are brother and sister team of Selim and Farida Lemouchi. He is the driving force behind the band and she is the vocalist. Both are committed Satanists. He speaks of the band as an entity and refuses to discuss the individual aspects; so, why not respect this and do the same?

Well, my immediate thoughts on Satanic Metal are of slow, dirge-like tunes with deep down vocals and bass at a level that causes your fillings to disintegrate, and at times your teeth as well. If that is your desire then stop reading now, because The Devil’s Blood are from an entirely different school. There are elements of slow in there but in the main what they play is a faster, more enlightened form of metal. It is akin to common euro-rock – when the missus first heard The Thousandfold Epicentre, she was reminded of the Scorpions and yes, some similarities are there.

The Satanic element is there in the vocal content – or, to put it correctly, the vocal content is nothing but Satanic – and in the on stage presentation which features Satanic ritual and, from the available online images, an awful lot of blood.

This is the bands second album, following on to 2009's The Time Of No Time Evermore and is a pleasant enough listen to one who has no stake in Satanism. Nothing on here leapt out as an immediate five star rating when I first heard the album and repeated listens over time have not altered this impression. However, my research would indicate that it is in the live arena that this band really comes into its own, so in these days of financial hardship, spending your hard earned on a ticket to their April / May USA Decibel Magazine Tour may well be a better way of discovering them.

The Devil's Blood

Editor: You can bet that I'll be there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Death Vivus!

Death Vivus!

(Relapse Records)

By: Chris Davison

“Genius” is a term that gets banded around rather a lot these days, isn't it? It's an easy enough term to throw into a review – I know, because from time to time I have used it as an adjective to describe a minor flash of inspiration or innovation in a song or from an album. Yet those who are or who have accomplished that level of musical invention are really few and far between. Of course, it's not uncommon to see the term also used routinely, and understandably, applied to fallen musicians. Chuck Schuldiner was, in my occasionally humble opinion, a true genius of the extreme metal genres. He was only 34 when he died, having massively influenced not only his peers, but those who would follow in his footsteps.

Vivus! is a lavish two-CD box set by those intrepid folks at Relapse records. Each disc contains an entire live performance; both culled from Death’s 1998 touring commitments – the first the Whisky A Go-Go club in Los Angeles, and the second is from their brilliant showing at the Eindhoven Festival. As far as set lists go, everything that you would ideally want to hear is presented here for your delectation – in crystal clear sound that does not sacrifice power for fidelity. Here you will be treated to the little imperfections that make the live experience so much more fulfilling than album listens – the feedback of the guitars shrilly complaining during some of the expansive axe-workout of “Crystal Mountain,” or the increased tempo on the thrilling version of “Flesh and the Power It Holds” from the Whisky gig. The true genius of Death can be heard here, whether from the visceral power of old-school classic “Zombie Ritual,” or within the progressive stylings of “The Philosopher.”

All self-respecting extreme heavy metal fans will already of course own the entire Death back catalogue, but, in essence, this lovingly presented package will also provide a de-facto “Best Of” for neophytes to Mr. Schuldiner and his works. Vivus! is, quite simply, not only a more than impressive live collection, but is also a fitting testament to the works of a true genius.

Death Official Facebook

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aborted Global Flatline

Aborted Global Flatline

(Century Media Records)

By: Chris Davison

Ah, Aborted, a band that I have enjoyed since picking up their Goremageddon... platter way back when. I bought that on the back of the spectacular track “Meticulous Invagination,” and I've bought every subsequent release since then – if, for nothing else, than to hear their inventive covers that adorn the deluxe versions of various albums. In many ways, Aborted remind me of Vader. Of course, there is the surface similarity in that they both play high quality death metal, though of very different hues. No, the real parallels are that both bands are towards the top of their games, have had ever-changing personnel revolving around a charismatic frontman, and have been accused by some critics of having inconsistent outputs. I also remain steadfastly loyal to both bands, but remain aware that some of their albums have been slightly below par from time to time.

Hence, when I received this platter from my good friend and hard-rocking amigo The Dragon of M87, I was stricken with a kind of paralysing fear. What would happen if Global Flatline happened to be a below-standard release? I'd be honour bound to tell you so, of course, as I wouldn't want to let any of our discerning readers down. Happily, this is not a concern, as Global Flatline sees Aborted playing as strongly as I ever heard them, and with a little more of their more aggression and brutality than we have been used to in their last couple of releases.

As ever, of course, Sven leads the troops most ably with his monumental vocals, but this is probably their most mature and arresting release to date. Atmospherics and considered songwriting join the bombast and bludgeoning death metal attack this time round, and while the riffs and bass sounds are even more devastating than before, tracks like “Endstille,” with a considered and thoughtful soundscape add some sophistication that simply hasn't been present before. The churning, bass-heavy riffs that made their name are more thickly and addictively employed this time too, and while the melody and straight forward methods of Strychnine 213 haven't been completely abandoned, this is heavier stuff than Aborted have produced since The Archaic Abbatoir.

The production is thick; guitar tones twist and churn with the inhumanly efficient drumming and groove-laden bass work. It's just about perfect for this kind of music, having the bells and whistles of less traditionally-minded bands that are employing all the studio wizardry, but also having the technical skills and songwriting aplomb to be able to back these up. It's not uncommon these days to hear bands that have immaculate production jobs, technical skills in abundance, but not the faintest clue of how to write a memorable tune. Aborted always have, and perhaps now more than on their last couple of albums, had that skill. Now they've perfected it.

Aborted Facebook

Asphyx Deathhammer

Autopsy All Tomorrow's Funerals

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Nunslaughter at the Echoplex

Finally, I dragged myself out to a show (Nunslaughter, Sadistic Intent, Insanity, Dreaming Dead, and Mutilacion) after bailing out on a few others due to various work related excuses. A formal writeup of the show can be found here.

Here are the pictures and video. I eschewed any purchases of merchandise this time around.


Dreaming Dead


Sadistic Intent


Next up...

Recent columns of Dave's Underground Laboratory here, here, and here...

Nunslaughter et al

Mutilacion 01Mutilacion 02Mutilacion 03Mutilacion 04Mutilacion 05Mutilacion 06
Mutilacion 07Mutilacion 08Mutilacion 09Dreaming Dead 01Dreaming Dead 03Dreaming Dead 02
Dreaming Dead 04Dreaming Dead 05Dreaming Dead 07Dreaming Dead 06Dreaming Dead 08Dreaming Dead 09
Dreaming Dead 10Dreaming Dead 11Dreaming Dead 12Dreaming Dead 13Dreaming Dead 14Dreaming Dead 15

Nunslaughter et al, a set on Flickr.

Nunslaughter, Sadistic Intent, Insanity, Dreaming Dead, and Mutilacion. Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA. March 2nd, 2012.