Friday, April 26, 2013

Week 77.5 (April 26th, 2013)


Northern Plague - Blizzard Of The North (PR2013) - Now that I've partnered with Canadian DIY label (and they need your help, so check out the Kickstarter!) Mulligore Productions, I can bring you even more great underground releases. This Northern Plague EP presents us with a Polish four-piece that from this 18 minute foray seems to have quite a bit of promise. They've certainly got the whole black/death/thrash thing down but also succeed in mixing that with catchy melodeath that should appeal to a wide variety of people. "Blizzard Of The North 4:50" starts out the disc with a drum barrage that leads right into a chorus line you might expect from God Dethroned, Naglfar, or Old Man's Child. It plays along one strong melody, but that melody is all it needs to be carried out successfully. "Ishtar Gate's A Ruin 4:50" is a completely different type of beast with it's sight set on demonic vocal belting accompanied by prog and some rather convincing lines of melody. The band's frontman is truly worth keeping an eye on as his approach seems to be the highlight of the album thus far, as well as the guitar melody and structural changes which highlight many acts but seem to work towards carving their way into originality. Northern Plague really likes to keep you on your toes with such abrupt but useful structural changes that will leave the listener wanting more - much more. I know that I did.

But we're not finished yet. "Pestilence 3:48" comes through with poisonous riffs that seem to launch into a fury of blackened groove thrash wherein the vocals come forth in the same respectable fashion. Again, this is going to be quite catchy to the right people; it's certainly something I hadn't expected. "Wind Of Eternity 4:22" ends our journey, but it carries the same sense of black/death/ thrash metal that intertwines with several other genres so seamlessly. The drums go into a fury as the vocals once again highlight the riff melodies perfectly. Those riff melodies wouldn't hit quite as hard if the frontman hadn't been as good as his display is here. Then we get the explosive drumming of the demon behind the kit and another one of the short guitar solos that make their way on the album. The track goes out with horns that foretell destruction, but unfortunately it is there that the disc ends.

Northern Plague have a strong sense of promise on this album and could go very far if it is marketed right and to the right people. I certainly see something here that I could play over and over again without feeling bored as the band is able to spice what could've been rather bland into a deviously interesting blend of black/death/thrash and groove elements that include punishing drums and absolutely venomous vocals. It's the kind of band I would want to be in if I were in a band. I expect to hear more great things from these guys in the future.

Don't miss out on this one.

Highlights: All (sans the intro) (5 Tracks, 18:00)



KOSMOS - From Innocence To Perversity (PR2013) - Kosmos is black metal that's not quite as raw as you would expect and full of just as much melody as it is a sense of foreboding darkness. At first the vocal approach didn't appeal to me, but overtime I came to grow into it and stopped thinking of some giant mutant chicken on the vocals "Rebirth 5:32". It's almost like a sort of acid-mouthed approach that sounds utterly inhuman, but nevertheless points these guys out over other acts of the same nature. The songs feature all of the same blast-beat laden fare except for when things develop more melody and atmosphere, but it all comes off as worthy black metal nonetheless. "Mental Slaughter 5:18" for example seems to be one of the album's larger highlights as it showcases almost everything this band has to offer in much less time than it takes other bands. "Darkness Of Truth 4:19" contains more blasts, but it doesn't come off as too overly heavy and seems to accent the song well. Again, the atmospheres work well to the band's advantage.

How powerful are these atmospheres exactly? Well, take a moment to do a Google search for the band's album cover. I've always believed that an album cover is a good stickler for the nature of the release, what you might expect an album to sound like. It is usually easy to tell a grindcore cover from a black metal or prog metal cover for example; and this tried and true formula has worked in most cases. The album cover displays a painting with the same sort of sinister atmosphere that you might expect from this release and it matches the tone of the music perfectly. Such is continued on "Void Of Reason 5:01" which sees itself much slower and more melodic, but still with a sense of melancholy hopelessness which is amplified by the acid-mouthed vocals. "You Will Rape Children 3:26" returns us to the heavy nature but just enough to really demonstrate the most hellish atmospheres that a song of this nature might entail. Machine-gun drumming elates from the mist, decorating one of the more unstable tracks on an album which before has been quite straight and narrow.

:"Nameless Bloodshed 4:38" also continues that trend, kicking things up a notch and putting more punch into a release that as I've said; started out more in the vein of atmospheres. It's not amazing, but serves as the after dinner mint (of evil) to "You Will Rape Children." The final track "Beloved By All Sinners... 5:40" disc seems to be the part of the meal whereafter one vomits everything that they've just digested. It is literally the sound of an aftermath, in which the band gives it one final go - "here's our finale" so to speak. Though I was not going to mention the outro, I would say that "He Was Priest 2:55" does have it's merits as an uncomfortable instrumental. I can also say that for the intro "Forsaken 2:24" as it contains the same merits.

Kosmos has something to offer to the black metal scene, most definitely. Their atmospheres are uncanny along with their sullen melodies and the obvious acid-mouthed vocals. May not appeal to all, but I certainly think that those looking for a sense of atmosphere amidst bits of brutality will find what they're looking for here. Not the heaviest thing you've ever heard, but not the gloomiest either.

Still, there are definite hints of promise.

Highlights: Forsaken, Mental Slaughter, Void Of Reason, You Will Rape Children, Beloved By Sinners, He was Priest (9 Tracks, 39:00)



The Upheaval - Failure Of Humanity (PR2013) - The Upheaval are a two piece Canadian band that at first don't come off as much (and I have no idea what kind of vocal approach that is in the beginning) but as the album progresses past the straightforward "To Eat The God's Breed 4:27" (though I'll admit that I like the latter part of that track) and moves on to the more thrash/groove based style of modern black metal "A White Mask 3:45" proves that a couple thrash riffs and some prog in the right place really does have it's merits in the genre. Even some death metal vocals creep up here, but that's just fine with me as it helps to keep things interesting.

Thrash ensues on "Falsehood Castle 3:12" as some drum fills that remind of Metallica also make an appearance. "Rebirth Of A Sinner 4:12" launches with the thrash grooves in places, but it also incorporates plenty of black metal staples (Dissection, Emperor for example) that you've heard before. "Vomits Of Hate 3:37" actually reminds me a bit of Secrets Of The Moon in sections, but it certainly likes to blast quite a bit too. "No Flags! No Armies! No Borders! 4:08" brings back the thrash grooves and hits just as hard as "A White Mask" did earlier. "Obey The Beast 4:25" starts out like black metal, but goes into straight thrash, showing what this band could be at their peak. The last track on the album is "Failure Of Humanity 6:47" which has a slower vibe but still kicks in with the groove every once in a while. One might say that this track is a bit more of black/traditional doom metal in a sense, but it still seems to be a bit more upbeat than most doom. Certainly a highlight to end the disc on, at any rate.

The Upheaval mix black metal with elements of thrash and even some doom that seem refreshing, but nothing we haven't heard before. Nevertheless, if you like your black/thrash mixtures you will certainly find something to like here and it's definitely got it's moments of pure headbanging glory. I can attest to that, as I found myself banging my head with some of the riffs and drum fills on the album.

Again, there is definite promise here as well as a unique album cover to top it off. Worth checking out.

Highlights: A White Mask, Vomits Of Hate, No Flags! No Armies! No Borders!, Obey The Beast, Failure Of Humanity (8 Tracks, 34:00)



Oliver Kaah - Photosynthesis (Band Request 2013) - Those of you who remember my review of Oliver Kaah's last album (we even featured an interview with the artist, so go check it out if you haven't) will remember that I found it refreshing in the electronic and black metal atmospheres. However, Photosynthesis makes me want to forget everything that I know about the band, in favor of a more Opethian affair. Gone are all of the electronics, and all that remains on this extremely thick offering are the complexities of prog metal and atmosphere.

When I say thick, I do mean thick - this disc contains six tracks of music that clock in at about an hour's time. So certainly, some of these are quite long pieces. In lieu of spelling everything out for you (which I will not have the time to do here) I will simply speak a little about each of these pieces in such fashion as I have been doing. "Photosynthesis 7:22" sounds a little like Devin Townsend at his lightest, with the flavor of 70's prog that builds up an atmosphere. Some of the vocal attempts here are good, while others not so much to my liking. The song takes far too long to load up as the melodic black metal portion doesn't begin until halfway throughout the track. There's a nice little set of riffs about the 5:30 mark that are highlighted with another heavy punch (I now see the Agalloch nature in which this album is going) and a solo that sees itself shortly after. Strong, but it takes a while to warm up.

"Dead Leaves 7:31" is next, quite much in the same formula as the previous track, but with enhanced guitar melody and some baroque influence that sees the effort something in the vein of bands like Omnium Gatherum or Insomnium in the sense of sullen and beautiful melodies. I question the nature of programmed drums in some portions of this album, like this one particularly; where a man behind the kit might do a world of good in as much as adding that extra kick. Either that, or the drums need to come up a bit in the mix. Nevertheless, this is also another side of Oliver that we haven't heard before; proving that he could make music in the vein of Swallow The Sun and other hot items in the metal music market.

"Amnesia 13:50" is the longest track on this album which begins with acoustics then sees itself as clean vocals with Opeth-esque riffing. There are some good clean vocal lines here, I'm reminded a bit of ICS Vortex. The blasts of black metal come in along with scowls and go back to the previous setup. It eventually hits a sort of prog groove bit where a different sort of harsh vocal attempt comes in and a fury is briefly heard a few times before the atmospheres come in (still heavy.) This is definitely a stab at the same sort of prog death metal that made Opeth great, but with some outside influences and injections of black metal. It certainly came out well, as he has that formula down.

"Refuges 5:37" comes next as a much slower, ethereal affair. That is until it kicks into a type of black metal backed with light vocal harmonizing. The track continues to include thicker guitars and pronounced grooves before it ends.

"Nachtvogel 10:44" goes back into the realms explored on "Dead Leaves" but features more clean vocal influence in the vein of Funeral. The black metal riffs do come in though, and when they do they thunder with an assault that you'll definitely be able to feel. Alright, so maybe a skinsman isn't needed. That certainly thumped. A little but of prog comes in and then things get completely weird as the other harsh vocal tone comes back into place and as a new riff melody shines in, a even more coarse vocal style comes into play. Anger is being expressed in this track, or perhaps despair. But there is certainly a silver lining as Devin Townsend inspired riffs break in as clean vocals pervade through all the bleakness, only to be once again absorbed by the fury of black metal once again. This is certainly a strong track and a highlight that might standout as my personal favorite of these selections.

"Espirit De Jadis 10:27" closes this oddly varied album with soft atmospheres that break into sorrowed but heavier melodies laden with a harsh vocal approach and style that should immediately be familiar to some. I've heard this attempted on plenty of funeral/suicidal black metal albums before. However, the melodies open up and launch into something that sort of reminds me of early Amorphis. This certainly seems to be a "name that influence" album, but I see nothing wrong with it. Ah... there's the electronic influence in the vein of some background synths. As the drums kick back up into the mix for one last harsh vocal bout, a flute is played alongside the guitar melodies and then a violin joins in. An atmosphere is certainly being portrayed here, like something out of a film. The guitars come back in along with the pounding drums of course; and nothing is muddled in this process - score one for production value - as a guitar solo comes in to decorate the album, a quite massive one that carries on all of the way to the end of the music. There's a silent atmosphere that ends with some sort of odd... well, it sounds like the sound made when a wizard touches the tip of a magic wand on an object and it transforms, to be honest; and that's how the album ends.

To be certain, there is much ground to cover on this release and I may not have covered it all. It's an astounding attempt, as he just released an album of a completely different type last year and this is certainly of a larger scale than that album was. Though some of the clean vocals weren't my cup of tea, I feel that he did a wonderful job with the release regardless and for a DIY this is extremely professional in all respects. By the time a label reaches this gentleman, he will already have a slew of masterworks already available for them to distribute. There is no doubt in my mind that Oliver Kaah has the potential for greatness, he certainly has the most grandiose sense of what metal music should be. Labels should take note of this man's achievements as he's done more in two years than some have done with their entire careers.

A treasure trove of sounds indeed.

Available on Oliver Kaah's Bandcamp as a "Name Your Own Price."

EDIT: Oliver wants me to inform you that all of the drums performed on this album are indeed real. I'm sorry for the mistake, it sometimes happens. So yes, he played all of the instruments on this album by himself. Not too shabby at all!

Highlights: Amnesia, Nachtvogel, Espirit De Jadis (6 Tracks, 55:00)



Descent Into Madness - Blindfold EP (Band Request 2013) - These guys started out doing Gothic metal that apparently peaked some interest at Sony Records. But two years later and after some lineup changes the band now does a slightly heavier sort of gothic thrash metal with prog elements if such a thing could be said. The elements of the gothic approach seem to make up Jennifer Moore's vocal work in "Blindfold 6:08" while Claudio Lassala and Alex Kamburov seem to cover the thunder of the thrash. The progressive thrash continues well with "To Each His Own 5:08" which also incorporates a powerful solo and really balances out this nature of gothic and prog-thrash in a way that needs to be heard. The male vocal approach borders on death metal but doesn't cross the boundaries, remaining relatively aggressive. "World Undoing 5:56 continues this trend, showcasing both vocal styles and a slew of solos at the same time. I must also add that Japanese taiko drums and a Brazilian berimbao are used in this album, providing a sense of originality to the music.

The effect comes off as a much heavier version of Lacuna Coil or current Tristania but with a much rawer production approach. Everything is discernible though and should appeal to those who are looking for a much more aggressive approach to the Gothic metal style. This is a sort of progressive thrash metal that certainly seems to merit qualities that could shake up the current standard-fare of it all. Jennifer's operatic approach to vocals adds that "gothic touch" to this prog/thrash mixture which I am surprised has not been attempted (but then I remember Echoes Of Eternity, though they never used the aggressive vocals or as much of the prog as is incorporated here) by more bands in the past.

It's the refresher we need, as obviously the Gothic metal genre is dying a bit and nobody really wants to hear that follow up to Dark Adrenaline any time soon. Certainly as heavy as it is beautiful, I hope to hear much more from Descent Into Madness. Their decision to go with a female vocalist more fitting for Goth than some regular old due that would make them just another prog-thrash band should be commended and I think they will reap rewards in later years for this. Perhaps they'll also find a good drummer that they can take touring with them, as Marc Norgaard is great; but only a session man (which I need to explain my distaste for session musicians as there isn't the same kind of chemistry there that you would get from a full unit) which is unfortunate.

Blinded is a nice little EP with lots of promise to be had, I just wish it were an LP that offered a bit more from the band and further explored their potential. The EP is available from Amazon, iTunes and the band's official website. Go check it out.

Highlights: To Each His Own, World Undoing (3 Tracks, 37:00)



Gukurahundi - An Apparition In Nocturnal Splendor (Band Request 2013) - Gukurhundi is a two man black metal project that was offered to me by a man representing Manicidic Records. They certainly have their merit, as "An Apparition In Nocturnal Splendor 3:54" certainly hits hard enough and merits a good opener for the disc, but the track that follows "Dethroned 4:07" offers a bit more promise in it's grooves and slight death metal influence. The vocals on the disc are utterly scathing but just like most of this package, see the band still in it's infancy. "The Anarchist 3:53" comes in with thrash (but the instruments kind of seem in the background, rather than at the forefront and the ) but sticks to standard-fare black metal with a slight atmosphere intact. "Sombre Dreams To Gaze Upon 1:30" is something completely unexpected, as it evokes a lighthearted nature that doesn't even go with the rest of this disc. A great piece, but a bit misplaced; I'm afraid. The disc ends out with "The Carcass Of Christ 4:45" which comes off as a strong track (again, the vocals are too high in the mix and the instruments aren't quite at full-force) with a bit more of the groove sense and the meat being in the vocals which are at full force.

Gukurahundi still needs some time to gel properly, but that doesn't mean that there isn't potential here. It's definitely a sample EP in all regards, a "here's what we can do" so to speak; but with more time and effort the band certainly may have something here. Colucci's vocals work well even though they are much higher in the mix than the rest of the album and Nielsen proves that he's got the black metal style down, among others. I'll again stress how much I liked "Sombre Dreams To gaze Upon" even though it sounds alien to the rest of the release. However, it is these alien notions that might help this band to peak over others as I am reminded of The Meads Of Asphodel and Sigh which have been throwing nuances like this out for years and have received significant praise for it.

Gukurahundi's An Apparition In Nocturnal Splendor is worth looking into, but doesn't reinvent the wheel by any means. Perhaps they will have more to offer in the future.

Highlights: The Anarchist, Sombre Dreams To Gaze Upon (5 Tracks, 18:00)



Megabeardo - Ledjent Of Zelda (2013) - I'm not sure who this guy is, but this looked like something interesting, so I thought I would check it out. Basically what this guy did is take the soundtrack from The Legend Of Zelda and perform in djent metal with a great deal of melodic leads. It basically sounds like The Legend Of Zelda if Meshuggah had gotten a hold of it. I'll also mention that the production value for the release is much stronger than you might expect and it does sound like a quite professional attempt.

"Triforsphere 7:25" is the theme of Zelda, and though there are djent riffs aplenty, so are there loads of wonderful melodic leads. This track is aplenty with leads that not only spice up the original soundtrack but highlight certain sections like "get item" for example. For someone who's never been much a fan of djent, what has been done here is a worthy effort indeed. I'm quite impressed.

"Labyrinths Of Fragmented Wisdom 6:07" is the dungeon theme and certainly resembles the nature of the original, but certainly impresses upon it with actual game sounds and the same style melodic leads that without; would make the disc sound awfully boring. The djent riffs on this album more or less serve as a base for the haven of melodies that this contains. There's also a few instances of filter effects on the guitars and such (and the 8-bit drumming) which really helps to make this not only a great rendition of a great theme, but a tribute to the classic era of video gaming as well.

"Ganon Lives! 4:50" begins right with the original 8-bit music that quickly builds into metal and retains the nature of a battle with the evil wizard. This is supposed to be boss music and that's what it is. Remember, if Meshuggah had gotten a hold of it. "The ObzEND 6:12" is probably the worst cut on this disc though, it moves a little too slow for me and misses the mark in some areas, even though it is supposed to be the credits/victory music. However, the light melodies end it off on the right note.

In the end, Mega Beardo's Ledjent Of Zelda is a worthwhile album for both fans of djent metal, Nintendocore and regular old Nintendo metal. The leads are crisp, the riffs punishing, the drum work satisfying and the effects and experimentation useful. However, the result is a bit short and has me wondering... Is Metroid next?

Highlights: Triforsphere, Labyrinths Of Fragmented Wisdom, Ganon Lives! (4 Tracks, 24:00)



Shining - One One One (2013) - Blackjazz was a fluke. I have no idea what happened here, but I don't like it. I think?

"I Won't Forget 3:51" starts out like Judas Priest but despite all of the unconventionality, I find myself getting instantly irritated by the vocals. There is a nice use of electronic effects here though and some of the riffs thunder as hard as they would in like NIN, plus there's the added use of Saxophones in a way that I've never heard before in my life. "The One Inside 4:03" sounds like a sort of industrial rock with harsh vocals in places but is catchy nonetheless. Saxophones are utilized where guitar solos would be. Some parts of this track make me question my sanity.

"My Dying Drive 4:05" also has that NIN feel, but incorporates what sounds like dub-step - what in the hell is this? I will say that when this guy screams, it's refreshing. Perhaps if I've had a bad day at school, this would make me feel less conformist and that's cool right? "Off The Hook 3:37" Whoever thought this vocal style thought this would be good? Yes, the electronics are good, but you've gotta be kidding me right? This is anything goes as far as structure, maybe with twenty more listens I'll get it, but I don't know about this right now. Have you ever been confused by an album? I am.

"Blackjazz Rebels 3:28" starts out with a what the fuck notion as it manages to sort of catch my attention, maybe with some time I could get into this one. It's got a rock nature to it, I definitely like the drumming (and most of the drumming on this album is quite good to be honest) it's just a lot to process. "How Your Story Ends 4:38" starts out with sax and eventually turns into a sax-laden prog metal piece that goes into this rock vocal style he's attempting now. Whatever WAS black metal is DEFINITELY not now. What the fuck am I listening to?

This album sounds thrown together. Literally, this is that album where the guy just comes in and says and does whatever he wants and it's considered high art. Huh? Paint on the walls? Nah, this isn't pain on the wall. It's pain on the wall, floor, ceiling - imagine a whole room covered in paint. It's Jackson Pollack's nightmare.

"The Hurting Game 4:08" actually comes out quite well in the fact that it's furious and has some good effects utilized. But that's all I can say about it. "Walk Away 3:38" has an odd rock nature about it but attempts some interesting things, I'll give it that. What the hell? Is he counting? The album ends with the djent laden "Paint The Sky Black 4:18" But when there's no djent, I have no fucking idea what's going on. I can say one thing about this album, when Jorgen Munkeby was done with the recording of this album, he must have come back a lot happier; because the sheer amount of fucking fury on this disc is unparalleled. Every bit of stress and anger this guy felt got releases on this fucking album and you can hear that in the recording.

I have no fucking idea what to grade this one. Seriously, I'm not sure. Do I need to listen to it again? Do I need to forget it ever existed? Why did he count so much? Well, the album is called One One One, so that makes sense. I honestly have no idea what the fuck is going on right now. I do know that some people are going to think this is the greatest shit on earth and others are going to think it's the greatest SHIT on earth. I'm kind of in the middle, between feces and amazement; like a man just inches away from taking a step on a pile of feces on the lawn that surrounds the temple of the Gods. One can say that the odd King Crimson phase is here though - remember these guys did a cover for "21st Century Schizoid Man" and this one sounds like it was inspired by the group's later efforts in as much as it was by several electronic and industrial bands.

Highlights: I Won't Forget, Blackjazz Rebels, The Hurting Game (9 Tracks, 35:00)



Rob Zombie - Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (2013) - Since I'm already worked up from that Shining release, I guess I'm ready to cover another oddity in the vein of Rob Zombie's new album. Based on a concept that only he knows (yes, the rest of the band have no idea of the story) this Grindhouse style album might bode well for some and seem like a piss on his legacy for others. I'm with that latter group, wondering what in the fuck happened to this guy and also with the crowd who is wondering why he is still making music.

"Teenage Nosferatu Pussy 4:33" is one of the few strong tracks here, but we've already heard it with other names on older releases. If you like this track, chances are because it's reminiscent of Hellbilly or The Sinister Urge. Then there's the single he made which is kind of a hippie rock track with a strong chorus but what in the hell is with some of these vocal lines? I guess it's catchy enough, but still not as good as previous efforts. After three listens I guess you get it. "Revelation Revolution 3:10" sounds like it might have been a good idea, but I don't think it came off as good as it should have. A riff that reminds me of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever" comes in at some point here too. Here's a solo... well, there was a solo. Why even try?

"Theme For The Rat Vendor 1:01" is just the band attempting to make Indian music. A good attempt, but nothing at all special or interesting. 9/10 people will skip this. Then we have... oh yeah, then there's this one. You can tell I've listened to this one quite a bit as I'm a glutton for punishment, just in the same way I finished Duke Nukem Forever which is what this album reminds me of. The track I'm talking about is "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Logga Rogga 3:19" which is too fucking much for me. He even trashes some of the lyrics in the song, going into a line and then saying "Ah, fuck it!" Yeah, the goddamn chorus is catchy, but why am I enjoying this? This is the sound of the end of his music career. I mean when the guy's singing about fucking Dewgong's or whatever, it's done. It's over.

"Rock In Roll (In A Black Hole) 4:14" is actually one of the other diamonds in this rough. I like the chorus riffs, but Rob's vocal approach would be better if he sounded like the gruff man that he used to. What the hell happened to that and where did this nasally approach come from? The electronic/metal style of this song is actually interesting (about the third time through.)

"Behold The Pretty Filthy Creatures 2:55" is decent enough, it reminds me of the last couple tracks on his compilation and the direction he was headed in years ago, but never went with Educated Horses. "White Trash Freaks 3:12" is also quite decent, it gives us signature Zombie but it's just not as good. Surprisingly, I was really amazed with their Grand Funk Railroad cover of "We're An American Band 3:29" which they actually did a wonderful job of. Seriously, this is a good cover and it does the original justice. I didn't know they had it in them.

"Lucifer Rising 3:18" is another heavy number, it can be taken to mean the rising of the devil or the rising of the phallus, which seems to be the nature of this one. It reminds me of the earlier work for sure and does actually come off just as well. There's also a solo featured on the track, even though it's all over the place. "The Girl Who Loved The Monster 3:56" also comes off the same way. There's really not much difference here and the stuff that was done in Hellbilly now that I notice it. The chorus riffs come off the same way and there's still electronics (remember that "Living Dead Girl" also used electronics) featured and some heavier riffs toward the end.

The closer "Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin 2:10" is very much a punk-inspired filler track though. It's decent, but I don't think it's really going to hit as hard as the last one. I'm just honestly thankful to hear some Hellbilly reminiscent material on here, despite some really bad ideas. I don't know how well this album will sell (It's at Best Buy for 11.99 with no bonus tracks as far as I'm aware) but I'm still waiting on the soundtrack for The Lords Of Salem so I can hear the black metal track that the band made. Ever since he talked about getting into the lo-fi black metal of Mayhem and Darkthrone, I've been curious.

Rob Zombie's Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor will not make any new fans, but it's definitely going to appeal to current and past fans with certain tracks. Perhaps "Lucifer Rising" or "The Girl Who Loved The Monster" will appear as future videos as I don't think that "Dead City Radio..." really sells the album as well as some of these others might. Still, there are some rather shit choices strewn about this disc like the "Theme For The Rat Vendor." I guess it is the kind of release you have to listen to more than once and I'm putting my foot in my mouth now that I notice a few tracks here that would feel right at home on earlier, more respected releases. You're going to pay 12.00 plus tax for the disc, but only about 5.00 of that is worth the money.

I'll also take it back, the Reign Of Vengeance record wasn't as good as this one. Which isn't to say it's great, but it's better than older albums I've heard from this guy. At least there were A FEW good tracks. As I've scored it, it's alright. A couple of tracks on here I liked, but nothing spectacular.

Highlights: Teenage Nosferatu Pussy, Rock In Roll (In A Black Hole), We're An American Band, Lucifer Rising, The Girl Who Loved The Monster (12 Tracks, 38:00)


As bonus I will include the "black metal track" written for Zombie's recent bomb, The Lords Of Salem. It's called "Crushing The Ritual" by Leviathan The Fleeting Serpent (or John 5 in all actuality.) Only featured in the movie and on the OST, it is not featured on this album. It is inspired by acts like Darkthrone and Mayhem. No, really. I'm serious!

Here is how Rob Zombie does black metal... Enjoy. Or don't. You probably won't.


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