Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The idea of a guitar-less band with three bass players and an occasional violinist may reek of pretentiousness to many. But when it comes to the experimentation going on during the glorious 1990's, it isn't fair to jump so hastily to such conclusions. The line-up described above corresponds to Montreal's short-lived, yet mighty Seized. Finding information about these guys is a real futility frolic, but what is clear is that this band generated a mere nine brooding sludge dirges during the mid '90's that lull you at first, but then infect you virus-like while your guard is down. On their early tracks, which kick off the Seized Discography CD (Hater of God Records), the bass distortion is so thick, it's difficult to distinguish each musician's part. On these offerings, the band keeps its sound in the traditional sludge range, entrancing the listener with plodding, steady rhythms and ominous riffs. As the band reached its second phase, their sound adopted more progressive song structures and continued the use of their grindcore style vocals while adding a spoken dimension to them at times. The distortion on the basses is toned down a bit, revealing the interplay between them much more on these tracks. The musicians seem to have also found a new sense of liberation from the simple, 70's style rock/metal riffs, and dabble in a more expansive variety of stylistic arrangements. I wouldn't make too big a deal about the violin mentioned above; simple violin melodies are interspersed on the split LP (with Ire) tracks, but it is not central to the band's sound. I think I enjoy these later tracks better(#'s 5-9), and if you're new to Seized, I would recommend listening to the entire Discography before making up your mind about them. Is there any point to making comparisons? Pointing out the few likenesses to Man Is The Bastard is tempting, but inadequate, and all other such attempts will be similarly flaccid. So the only thing to do, is listen:

Seized "Discography CD"

Buy yourself a copy:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Abc Weapons

Here's a ripping band to watch out for. Abc Weapons, from Melbourne, Australia, tear out a stomping aural affront that borrows generously from old Japanese hardcore, scandi-crust, and the Tragedy-inspired hardcore flooding the contemporary DIY circuit. The dark guitar melodies, compliments of current members of Schifosi, are what raise this band up from the crowd. What can I say? I can't get enough of the gloom and doom of the bands coming out these days, and Abc Weapons combines that depressing quality with an unusual amount of warmth and unstoppable energy. Upon checking the availability of their two releases (the self-titled 7" & "Process of Decay" 12"), I have come up short. No distros in the states are carrying them, and Endless Blockade's website was down. The 12" is stocked at Alerta Anti-Fascista if you live in Europe and are interested. The good news is that the band is putting out its first full length soon on Putrid Filth Conspiracy, and you can sample two of the tracks on their myspace page. Until the first two records are more widely available, I'll go ahead and post them below.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Life... But How to Live It?

Absolute criminal neglect! I don't believe there are any Life But How to Live It records/CDs in print. Even Ebullition has let the glorious 12" to your left out of circulation. Oslo's Life... But How to Live It was one of the most creative and talented bands ever to be associated with the words punk or hardcore. Certainly, many will object to the latter term completely, even with the looseness with which that term was tossed around in the '90's. But LBHTLI exemplified the politics and ethics of hardcore, even if they did employ a whole lot of rock elements. The main factors that made this band such a standout force in music were the amazing guitar work and soulful vocals of Roger Andreassen and Katja Osvold respectively. As the band progressed toward the middle period of their short 5 year existence, Andreassen became more daring with his squealing brand of rocked out, fretboard artistry. The two eps that followed their "Day by Day" LP are testimony to his over-the-top, hyper-active guitar genius, which is why I placed them at the top of the download list below. Then there's Katja... The robust melodies she belted out are a rich mixture of the angst of punk, the catchiness of pop, and the soul and sincerity of folk. Lyrically, the band blended their political message with a very earthy, personal touch, which only endeared them more to their '90's audience. To those who have never listened to this band, I would suggest entering their musical world with an open mind (especially if you are an exclusively crustified grindcore type!). And to everyone: below are tracks from the "Green" EP, the "Burn" EP (also appear on the Ebullition 12"), the self-titled LP, and the "Day by Day" LP. Thank you to a few anonymous people on Soulseek who have unknowingly contributed to this collection!


First two LPs
"Ugly" and Eps

Some members are currently in a punk band called Drunk.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Konfrontation - Another Reason Why Sweden Rules (musically)!

In my fervent search for more furious Swedish hardcore along the lines of Skitsystem, Kontrovers, Martyrdod, etc., I happily came across Konfrontation. Their name and cover art are rather unassuming, but within the grooves of their LP, "Nedbrytningsprocessen" (2005?), festers some of the best hardcore of this style I've heard so far. Like their genre-mates above, Konfrontation uses plenty of speed and distorted guitars, but on several tracks (see samples below) the song writing is rather unpredictable, leading the listener into slower moments of melody, and downright slow moments of undistorted guitar picking. Perhaps being in that region of the world, the progressive metal scene (Burst, Cult of Luna) has inadvertently leeched into Konfrontation's way of doing things. Either way, this blazing record is firmly planted in the DIY hardcore vein, and if you enjoy the dark, Swedish style, this album is essential!

"Inatvant Hat"

Buy if for Cheap (Americans):
Crimes Against Humanity

Dist & Confused

Sunday, November 4, 2007


The word of the day, girls and boys, is HEAVY! SoCal's Mange serve up the heavy with a steam shovel! Consisting of members of anarcho-grind legends Phobia, and now featuring members of crust-metal gods Dystopia and progressive metallers Anubis Rising, Mange have managed a very sparse output of some of the heaviest sludge metal ever produced. It all started in 1997 with their "Junkie" demo, followed the next year by the immensely heavy "Disillusioned" CD (Half Life Records). Release-wise, the band showed little sign of life until they put out their 2005 self-titled demo, which has a decidedly doomy, "Noothgrush-esque" lean to it (not a bad thing at all!). Their one readily available release is of course, "Disillusioned." This disc showcases one of the heaviest guitar sounds I've ever heard (the heaviest?) with tempos that are all over the place, but stay in the "fairly slow" range most of the time. The riffs are often catchy, but not too noodly, leaving enough space for the heaviness to sink through to your very soul. If you enjoy Phobia's traditional grind vocals, you'll find a similar delivery here, which of course, works well with the overall intimidating heaviness of the final product. Listen to this after a bad day, and all will be forgotten.
Sample the Heaviosity:
Support the Band/Label (as always):