Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Stain Remains

While we're on the topic of dark, mysterious, post punk bands from yester-year (and with Tim Crow on bass too, no less), The Smartpils have been name-dropped on this blog a few too many times to not post some of their work.  Maybe they're not the intuitive choice for my first summer post, but I have to admit... I've been infected by the mutated gothy germ that's been going around.  The Smartpils (or Smart Pils if you prefer) could teach some of these new bands a thing or two. Unfortunately the Pils have taken measures to not tout their role as an influence, or even that they were once a band.  Like many, I thought their mighty "No Good, No Evil" 12" and their first demo comprised their only recorded material.  The digital age, however, has provided the proper implements to exhume some fine Smartpils treasures from their analog graves.  Cassettes seemed to have been the bands' favorite M.O., but I own none of them.  I had to grave-rob the cheap and unadventurous way via peer to peer download.  Considering this, some of the tape rips below are of varying quality (decent to piss-poor).  I'm just glad to have them, and if you happen to be one of the rippers whom I downloaded from, infinite thanks to you.  The rips of the aforementioned 12" are my own, as I was tired of the lackluster ones I had been clinging to for years due to some twisted sense of loyalty or just plain laziness.

Smartpils- "No Good, No Evil" 12" (Bluurg Records, 1987... ripped at 320)

As far as I can tell, Smartpils released three demos-- the one mentioned above, "Toxic State," and "Zen Punk." I tried to find the best quality rips, but the pickings were slim.  As always, if anyone can offer more info or point us in the direction of better rips, you are strongly encouraged to get in touch!

All three demos here.

And now for some compilation appearances.  For all I know, some of these recordings are not exclusive and may be redundant if you download all the links I'm putting up.  I just wanted to throw different rips out there. Seven of the tracks come from a cassette called "Wessex 1984," two come from "Open Mind Surgery," and two others come from two volumes of "Aquae Sulis Calling."  The last in the list is of particular interest if you enjoyed the previous post.  The two tracks in question do not have the usual vocalist on board, and could easily pass as Zygote songs (I would love to know the line-up on "Brothers of the Head").  Both comps are available for download or streaming from the label's bandcamp page.

Smartpils tracks from all three comps here.

Although the "All And Everything" tape has many of the songs from the demos, there are some interesting odds and ends, plus, even though the bit rate on these rips isn't great, the clarity of the songs is better than some of the rips in the demo link.  In addition, there's a 40 minute live side.

"All and Everything" 

Requested Re-ups:
Deformed Conscience/Excrement of War split LP
Harsh/Control Mechanism split 7"
400DayHeadache comp
Lana Dagales 7"
Grievance 7"
"Le Garage" Comp

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From Our Red Halo's Hands

With the positively bubonic scourge of dark, gothy post-punk infesting the distros and venues these days, I decided a Zygote revisit would be in order.  For years I thought the "89-91" LP was the band's demo with a live set tacked on.  Turns out it's the "demo to their full length" (with live tracks), but there was another demo done earlier (which happens to follow the studio/live format).  I'd be a real bastard if the next thing I said wasn't that I have a copy and have ripped it for you.  I have, although this is one of those "elitist completist" posts in that if you have "89-91" and "A Wind of Knives" already, then you're pretty much set.  The cassette boasts only one truly exclusive track, which is a live recording of "Conspiracy."   Beyond that, there's additional demo and live versions of tracks you already know, but it should be mentioned that the title of "God is Dead" was changed to "Scarred" on later releases.

For those of you who have somehow avoided the acrid stench of the still-smoldering crater left by Zygote's short existence, they were a very polarizing band in that they had two members of Amebix, yet sounded little like them (and they started up shortly after "Monolith," which probably alienated some fans).  Less concerned was Zygote in the end of all; their obsession seemed to lie in the more subtle agony of living in the half-dead world of right now, and the desperate attempts we all make daily to rise above the filth.  The dark post-punk alluded to above is a starting point in describing their music, which is a swirling kaleidoscope of squealing reverb/flange and pulsing rhythm.  The full demo experience is a bit much to take all at once, but it really captures in full the nightmarish psychedelia that was the essence of the band.

Zygote- Demo Cassette (Bluurg, 1990).  This is a large file (about 160 MBs) and was ripped at 320 from an old tape... just a heads-up.

"A Wind of Knives" is the band's only proper full length, and is completely essential.  If you need it, here it is at 320 with scans of my copy's insert (damaged as it is after all these years).

Zygote- "A Wind of Knives" CD (Epistrophy, 1994)

Monday, April 28, 2014


What's that creaking underfoot? Is this derelict barge finally starting to budge?  Yes, it's sailing once again, but the waters ahead may be choppy and a bit foggy.  I can't be sure it will get far, but it's time to leave dock and let the current take it where it will...

This post consists of the other two bands I alluded to in the Acursed post.  Lest they be forgotten, I thought it'd be a good idea to post a retrospective on a band that really hooked me in to all the dark scandi-core of the late nineties/early naughts.  The first album by Kontrovers seemed to gush an endless supply of manic, thrashing riffs, made endlessly listenable by their tasteful touches of guitar melody.  I'm sure this garnered them many lazy comparisons to Tragedy, and genre-wise that isn't entirely off.  But I certainly wouldn't want them to be written off as some disposable derivative.  I think their discography speaks volumes to the band's worth, and below is the bulk of it.

The idea behind these posts was to gather the odds and ends, so this link is in keeping with that goal.  It collects the band's early 7" and splits with Beyond Description and Mass Separation.  On many of these tracks we see a slightly "grindier" and more raw approach.  While I prefer their later, more intricate song writing, there's not a thing wrong with these little records.

All three records here.

In case you've passed Kontrovers up before, I wouldn't feel right letting you go without loading you up with my favorite releases of theirs.  Their two albums offer some of the finest work this sub subgenre produced.  The massive 20 track debut is a real feast, but the final LP exudes a confidence and mastery that really distinguishes it.

Kontrovers LP (Putrid Filth Conspiracy, 2002)... If anyone has better quality rips of this one, let me know! I really didn't feel like ripping my copy of the LP

Kontrovers- "När Spelreglerna Ändras" LP (Putrid Filth Conspiracy, 2003... 320 Kbps)

The lesser known of the "K" bands, Konfrontation only managed to drop one LP, but it was quite the doozy.  From when I posted it before, I vaguely remember using imagery of finely crafted surgical instruments to describe the way this band can rob you of your vitals with a precision that is both artful and savage.  Instinct of course led me to explore their back catalog, and while none of their EPs quite match "Nedbrytningsprocessen," they still collectively make for a great listen. If you missed out on the LP, though, you can find it here.

 Two Konfrontation EPs and their split with The Slicks (also a Swedish band, but with more of a punk 'n roll thing going on).

I hope to do the impossible and get another post up before the end of week, along with new favorites in the side bar, and, after I check all my e-mail, some re-upload links.  Stay tuned, those of you who haven't given up on me yet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We Can Do Anything!

Ah, the sound of children's voices, so green, carefree, and heart-warming, especially when shouted over grinding fast hardcore punk!  It's thanks to another blog visitor that I was pointed in the direction of a record virtually unseen on these shores.  The "Making Children's Songs a Threat Again" comp might suggest a themed collection, and that is indeed the case.  The tracks, writings, and interview responses are all concerned with either growing up, or the ongoing conundrum punk/anti-authoritarian parents face as they struggle to reconcile their ideals with the choices they make for/with their children.  Some documentaries have been made on this subject, but the interviewees and bands on this one are not as mainstream as the ones in those flicks.  In addition to fantastic music and discussion, this comp was put together with that ingredient foodies love to allude to-- I'm talking about the "L" word here, people.  There's a hand-bound smaller booklet with lyrics, a comic book clipping, and even some handwritten messages.  The larger booklet is less involved, but nicely and simply laid-out, and contains interview responses from some members of contributing bands, members of other hardcore bands, and some label proprietors (Deep Six, Profane Existence...).  And, just look at the international line-up:

This is an incredible comp; something I seldom ever say.

Some other things you may want to know about it:
  • It starts off with a long spoken word in French by the singer of 20 Minutes de Chaos.  But that is the only track of its kind.
  • Yes, a couple of tracks do actually have band members' kids on vocals.
  • Some European distros still have copies of this, such as here. This one is worth owning just for the packaging alone!
  • Many of the tracks are exclusive to this record
  •  There are some between-tracks sound bites and music; I often wasn't sure where to cut them off.  Sorry if I goofed.  However, this comp seems designed to be heard all the way through, no interruptions. 
"Making Children's Songs a Threat Again" LP (scans of all booklets included), (Guerrilla Shooting Records, 2005)

Recent Re-ups:
Servitude/Ebola split 7"
Servitude 7"
Multi-Facet/Sheephead split 7"
Token Tantrum 10"
Assassinators early EPs/Demo CD

Okay, next up, we return to the Swedish series...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Eye of Nix

From Seattle, whose water supply must be nightly tainted with goat's blood by some dark, hooded figure, comes yet another smashing addition to metal's grayest enclave. Eye of Nix is the sound of Empire crumbling: a lone woman's wailing is heard, awakening old despair.  The populace stirs to a mumble of discontent traveling mouth to ear, thrusting the gyres of dissent into motion; the throb and pulse mounts to a critical mass that the mechanisms of power can no longer contain.  Chanting and drumming dissolves to caterwauling and crashing; before long, all is dust and rubble, and the hazy promise of things to come.

Call it black metal, if you have to call it something. Cold, ambient, hypnotic, noisy-- the kind of band you'd want to have play at your next black mass, yet whose lyrics (that aren't in Latin) are refreshingly straight forward.  I came to know Eye of Nix because of their connection with other Seattle favorites, Same-Sex Dictator and Hellgrammite, whom I hope you'll check out too.  For a time, I'll post my tape rips of the Eye of Nix demo below, but I hope you'll go to their bandcamp page and support them if they appeal to you.

Eye of Nix demo, 2013

Live video of another EON track.

Counterblast EPs
Counterblast first LP
Counterblast second LP
Mine first 7"
Grinch/Lost Goat split LP