Friday, March 24, 2017

Duffy’s Cut Killers on the Dance Floor review

Duffy’s Cut
Killers on the Dance Floor
Oi! The Boat

Philly’s mighty mod warriors are back! Duffy’s Cut swept the punk world with their debut; a fiery, hip-shaking rock and roll 12”. Then, they brutally teased us with only one track last year on a split with Idle Gossip. Well, the wait is over. The Hammond is warm, dancing shoes are laced tightly. The whiskey has been poured. Killers on the Dance Floor challenges all you stuff armed tough guys to submit to your roots and get sweaty!

Killers is harder, heavy and charged, and catchy as ever. The opener, “Feeling Alright”, is a boiler. It builds and explodes in frantic energy. As the organ simmers, we move to the title track, a demonic scorcher. This is a powerful rocker, with spots for each instrument to stand out as the tease before the breakdown (that bass!) and then a forceful sprint to the end. “She Don’t Dance” is centered around a killer bass line. This is downbeat fury! This track embraces a dirty tone that pushes. “The Long Con” steps back on tempo, a catchy, punchy track which seduces the listener. Nice to hear the organ get so much room to play here. “Strawberry Mansion Nights” builds sweetly. The foreboding pounding backbeat mesmerizes as the guitars and organ build anticipation. Fiery vocals come in and stir a sweltering fever. The lyrics are challenging, dark.

First two tracks of B side are less jam based or indulgent, getting down to business. “Fade to Olive Drab” kicks. This with the aptly titled, “Keep It Moving”, have strong bass lines. The both push, fast and engrossing. The social lyrics of “Fade to Olive Drab” make a working man think. “The Judge” has us return to a mid-tempo head bobber. This is infectious rider, bopping along with a low down sound. “99” has a more flamboyant beat, a slow plod that bounces. It’s a re-interpretation of the Wilson Pickett/Eddie Floyd classic, maybe. The sound is different. The tempo is down, and really only the one lyric line is the same. Mavis Staples, CCR, Don Preston, Detroit Cobras, and more have all covered this classic. This is more of a sparked tangent than a cover. It’s fun. Duffy’s close side B with bluesy ode to the working man again. It’s a sharp upbeat charmer. The guitar lead is fun, as they often refrain.

The mix sits the guitar dangling over solid rhythms and the ever-looming organ. Dropping the needle on this LP transmits you directly into a claustrophobic rehearsal space. You can feel the bodies gyrating around you, the beer spilling, the feedback ringing. I have seen this band three times, and always in a packed bar venue. Killers on the Dance Floor’s recording champions the band’s live sound. Duffy’s Cut knows when to use gang vocals and get their audience primed for sing alongs. The speakers ooze sweat and energy. Duffy’s frenetic pride of reviving the mod and British Invasion, without the delicate tendencies, focuses on pushing the RnB factor. This 2017 interpretation is welcome and invigorating.

RIYL: 45 Adapters, Suede Razors, The Who, Young Rascals, Yardbirds, Them, Small Faces, Standells, Adjusters, Gas Huffer, Supersuckers, The Bomboras, Boss Martians

Oxleys Midnight Runners The Battle Vol I Review

Oxley’s Midnight Runners
The Battle, Vol I
Oi! The Boat / Randale
Review by hutch

Oxley’s Midnight Runners are an Oi! Band that have been rocking hard punk jams for a few years now. They have dropped four 7”s; We are Legion, Invasion, Combat, Conquest. All release have been splits from Oi! The Boat and Randale Records. Their sound is tough and thick guitars with a punky bounce. The Battle collects OMR’s 4 EPs into one spot. So, if you only like getting up for beer and are too comfy to lug out OMR’s four 7”s to dictate a night of flipping vinyl every 1-2 songs, this collection is for you. The members are comprised of Jesus Rodriguez from Warlords, drums on half the songs, Dave/Jeff of 90 Proof (I loved that band!), Mike Fatskin from, well, the Fatskins and Lars (of Rancid, OLF).

Oxley’s Midnight Runners’ sound is stark, a dark tension is salient through this album. The lyrics approach subjects of surveillance, war, faith, government or the fake sketch fuckers in “Combat”. These are days of violence and war. While threads of rock and roll permeate the foundation, this is crunchy guitars playing heavier riffs. A dark overtone is fluid through the tracks. “Combat” has a cool guitar ‘solo’, feeling like Blitz ‘80s sound. “Don’t Give Up the Fight” embellishes with a cool slide guitar at the end. “War Cries” and “Spear of Destiny” relish rocking solos with a bluesy feel.

But this is all icing, showing that there is strong musicianship here. The attraction is the beefy sound delivering hard Oi!. Mike’s voice is always commanding, serious as a heart attack. His unique pitch is undeniable. He grabs attention. There is lots of opportunities for an audience to sing along with catchy choruses and gang vocals. The simple but direct graphic design continues via the handsome Wynn Pettit (DDC, Fatskins)

If for some reason you have not checked out Oxley’s Midnight Runners, here is your ultimate choice. Luckily the album is named, “Volume I”, whetting our ears for more to come. Remember this is true music of the streets. This is not fun punk. This is angry movement music for angry people to vent to. I didn’t say ignorant, I say  indignant. Check “Land of Gold” as they vilify politicians and news anchors for wrongs such as Fukishima and Monsanto.

“They're the Enemy to everyone to you and me! Lies! Lies! Lies!”

“Nation of Hate”, “We Are Legion”, “Vengeance”, “Combat” stand out but each track is killer. Everyone is comprised of grit and punch. In this resurgence of Oi! And punk, Oxley’s Midnight Runners stand out. Tough, brash, and catchy.

RIYL: FatSkins, APA, Brick Assassin, DDC, Concrete Elite, Lions Law, NOi!SE


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Public Trust The Leper EP Review

Public Trust
The Leper
Boston Strangler Records
by hutch 

Public Trust, as I’m told, is three members of Boston Strangler. The record site confirms BAN is the same vocalist. Excuse me, “The infamous and notorious BAN”. Which, upon listening to first pugnacious syllables spewed, is rather easy to discern. Which, means killer, angry vocals. Also, as I had heard a few people note, this is similar to BS but stripped down, more vile, more raw, more Neanderthal version of BS. This is meant as a selling point, like if ignorant could be used as a compliment. However you label it, it’s a ripper. Public Trust stay in their 80’s Boston HC worship mixed with dirty punk of the same era. The band gives us four tracks. The sound varies somewhat between them but all are deliver with resentment and fury. This was released late December 2016; but I just have to help spread the word. I picked it up late February 2017 and am writing about it now. It’s a damn fine record.

The first track boasts a great title and perfects Boston hardcore punk. “Everyone Smokes in East Boston” is an instant classic.  The riff is outstanding. The song contains venom. Hell of a way to open an EP. As much I tout that I will never play my How We Rock twelve inch, I love the slower rock swing of “The Leper”. I would equate it to an Easy Action, Stooges type feel. The recording of lo-fi and loose lends itself to the ugly words and the jam-feel of the song. This is live at practice; in a Black Flag, unhinged and sweaty repulsion manner.

“Trip to Germany” and “She’s A Psycho” cover the B Side. These joints thrash and move fast. Similar sounding, mid-tempo to fast hardcore. “Trip to Germany” rips hard employing fuzzed out guitars. The energy is boot stomping rage. The genius of the production – and the players – is that through the chaotic, distorted cloud of noise, you can pick out the bass line. It is glorious. Confrontational and obnoxious, this track is catchy and repulsive. “She’s A Psycho” is a charger of rudimentary punk and beautiful for it. It punches quickly and often as it drives a fast tempo forward with rigid drums.

FFO: scummy New England punk shit like The Freeze, Jabbers-era GG Allin, Unnatural Axe, FU's, early Out Cold, and only the finer moments in KBD/BLOODSTAINS history.

one-time pressing of 500... buy or cry.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

M Dot Ego and the Enemy review

The Ego and the Enemy
Own Lane Music; EMS Productions

featuring: 7L; B.A.M; Camp Lo; DJ JS-1; Djaz; Dominique Larue; Jaysaun; Krumb Snatcha; LP2; Marley Marl; Method Man; Tribeca
producers: Buckwild; Es-K; Hi Tek; Jon Glass; KAN; Khrysis; LP2; LX Beats; Large Professor; Marco Polo; Marley Marl; Snowgoons; Soulplusmind; Whatson

The man got a joint produced by Marley Marl. That could be the review. That should speak to M-Dot’s style and skill and street cred enough to make you know to buy this album. But there is so much more to The Ego and The Enemy, drenched in skilled multi syllabic bars and storytelling lyrics and boom bap beats all through the record.

There a few issues or distractions one can list with this album, if any. M-Dot spews lyrical dexterity and skill relentlessly throughput this album. The Ego and the Enemy is long at 17 tracks averaging 4 minutes each. But nothing drags here, each track bangs. M-Dot utilizes this extensive outlet to touch on many aspects of life; channeling his anger and frustration and appreciation. He explores many facets of life. He tells sad tales of people’s self-destruction on a few tracks. He highlights the love of his daughter. M-Dot also reminds you of his skills and lyricism and tenacity repeatedly. He is frank and personal like Brother Ali or Slaine or Esoteric, exhibiting traits that portray flaws and vulnerability as well as skill and mastery of this rap game. With the Boston accent and delivery, it’s hard to not think of Slaine. But M-Dot shines on his own that the thought is fleeting.

The beats are amazing, cultivating dope beats from all areas of hip hop. There is soul, reggae, jazz, blues all accented by dope scratches and hooks. The first track (after the intro) is “Dreamscape”, Marco Polo’s beat is so dark! A slow, doomy guitar line; something you would hear from La Coka Nostra or DJ Muggs. It swirls and looms as a jangly piano line jingles in the back to contrast. Another guitar line of a squealing solo is layered over it too, so bad ass. “Foreign” is a popping beat, by Jon Glass, with elements of pitched vocals, dreamy strings, and sloppy drums. Its hypnotic and and pounding, the accordion chop is dope and adds that unique flavor. “Days Are All the Same” carries a theme repeated often in my world of punk rock. The anti-cubical, anti-corporate, anti-9 to 5 and materialism and consumerism is a refreshing spark in hip hop. Second verse attacks the world which females can get trapped in when they subscribe to vanity and selfish technology. Hi-Tek’s dense beat is killer. The choral voices and the scratches over atmospheric waves and organ loops provide a stellar foundation to approach these subjects.

Marley Marl’s “Gleamin’”, featuring B.A.M., is a jazzy gem boasting a crunchy trumpet. “Give It to Me” is a banger, the dusty beat with super scratches and samples provide a ample boom bap for M-Dot to proclaim why he ain’t leaving the game anytime soon. Fellow Boston ripper, Jaysaun, joins M-Dot on a Jamaican inspired thumper. The main hook is heavy while the verse is a small sparse pluck; both angles deliver on that bumping track must. M-Dot’s lyrics flow and slip through a plethora of multis. Jaysaun spits short but potent. His razor tongue is rarely paralleled. I wish he would drop a proper studio album. Meth comes in and ignites the swing of “Shine”. Tical still got it and he brings his signature charisma and wordplay to the track. It’s an uplifting track with Dominique Larue spitting ferocious on the second verse. The sung chorus is a positive vibe, which usually turns me off, but it’s cool here.

M-Dot, on “No Excuses”, says “You either want it or you don’t”. That sums up his drive and fortitude as he writes. You can hear his hunger in his bars throughout the entirety of Ego and the Enemy. There is no doubt that talent is innate, but work is earned and proven by labor. M-Dot has created another level for himself on this superb album. M-Dot touches on fun subjects and dark ones. Divorce, strained relationships, raising children, travel, rap as a business, drugs, drinking guns, society. Every beat is a landscape of potent emotions to hit visceral paralleling his words. While the digital release came out on January 27th, the hard copies come out on March 17th. Celebrate St Patty’s Day with this Boston MC tearing up wax.

Twitter: +M-Dot Boston  

Xibalba Diablo Con Amor Adios Review

Diablo Con Amor Adios
Closed Casket Activities
Review by Hutch

Three songs fill up quick EP from the boys who devastated eardums and venue floors with Tierra Y Libertad in 2015. This EP dropped a month ago, so i am a touch late, but hey, it's killer. Xibalba played their tenth anniversary show on 2.26.17 and have no plans of slowing down. These SoCal titans match beatdown hardcore with death metal mastery perfectly. The slow churn of the riffs are amazing as they contort and twist the definition of a breakdown.

In one aspect, a review is a little silly, because these dudes have not changed their sound, per se. But they are taking that sound to the next level on Tierra Y Libertad and now, Diablo Con Amor Adios. Each release steps up their song writing since their multi-released debut. This EP, on Closed Casket, is available on a cool orange splatter vinyl 7" and other variations. The band knows precisely how to execute the hard ass sound they cherish.

The title comes from the culmination of the three song titles, "Diablo", "Con Amor", and "Adios". "Con Amor" blazes forward, fast hardcore or death metal, whatever you dub it, it slays. Gang vocals ensure maximum crowd participation. The chunky breakdown in the middle is barbaric. Thus track is 3 minutes; "Adios" is 5:23 and "Diablo" is shorter at 2:22. In this 11 minutes Xibalba fuck with time changes and delivery. There is enough variety to keep all parties interested. "Adios" has a cool swing in the mid-swing riff that adds soe flavor before it jumps into a gallop tempo. Never concerned with too much with tech (hence they hardcore feel over some DM band wanted to be worshiped for solos). Xibalba is all about heart, sweat, blood and spirit. This music is savage and should be bridging fans of all genres. Grimy and raw, evil and tough - this is a great release.

Buy Vinyl

Deathwish Interview with Biddy

Unleash Hell
Beer City
Interview with bassist/vocalist, Biddy

Biddy, bass/vox; Guinea Pig Champion, guitar/vox; Jimmy Claypool, lead guitar;  S.W. Macleod, drums

Blasting out of Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Deathwish release their second LP, Unleash Hell, on Beer City early 2017. Their thrashy brand of the Motorcharge style has been honed here to a vicious surge. Biddy, bassist and vocalist, spoke with me after getting home from work. His frank admission to the allure of dark and rebellious music has become a life defining mission.
Biddy begins with his excitement for Unleash Hell. “This has better production, better written songs. The artwork is completely different but phenomenal. Our guitar player, Rob (aka Guinea Pig Champion) writes 90% of our music. Our first record took all the time in the world. So, now the pressure was on. Can we write a better record? I hope so…” jests Biddy. Biddy also plays in Wartorn and grabbed a new lead guitarist, Jimmy Claypool, who is from In Defence. That pedigree would ensure a better record.

“This is more aggressive. It rages more while being a little progressive, a little more precise.” Biddy’s lyrics demand the feral snarl of these heavy riffs. While he may not be writing the majority of the music, Biddy appears to be the director of the band; subject matter, musical direction, and tour planning all is his responsibility with this monster that is Deathwish.

Unleash Hell was recorded by Adam Tucker at Signature Sound Minneapolis. Tucker has been recording since the ‘90s. Biddy holds only admiration for Tucker. “He is the best I have worked with. Adam throws in ideas and they accentuate what we were doing, not pushing the song somewhere foreign. The process is smooth as glass.”

Deathwish had an April 2016 tour with MDC, their second tour with OG punks. First was Chicago, then looping through NY, PA, VA, GA, LA to eventually Fort Collins, CO. 34 shows in 35 days. “When I woke up the next day, I had to be at my mom’s for dinner. I didn’t know what state I was in. When MDC tours, it is the pedal to the floor. They give 110% and we are right there with them.” Biddy adds, “This past year, we played 100 shows with tours, that’s not including weekend gigs.” Deathwish will embrace the road to spread the gospel of Unleash Hell. They have upcoming tours in Europe eastern plus two fests. The band is also doing another future tour with MDC and DOA, plus a DRI tour coming. DRI took them out before and Spike (Cassidy) wants them to come out with DRI again.

The intent and motivation remains the same, to play demonic rock and roll and leave venues in their wake. Armed with new material that engages and punishes, Deathwish forged Unleash Hell with an even darker commitment. “This record was inspired by things I grew up on. That song (Rolling Stones’) ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, all the stuff that alluded to Satan; Sabbath, Maiden. I was into it even as a small kid. There is something about it which is very powerful. As a child I believed in that, because I grew up catholic. And they scared the hell out of you with fire and brimstone. But, as a small child, I was like, bring on the fire and brimstone!” Biddy was drawn to the dark elements of this oppressive religion not for shock value, but as a side effect of his defiant search for truth.

Biddy’s push toward the forbidden came from a rather natural reaction to how the world treated him. “I have a mental illness, Tourette’s. I have a mild case, dealt with it my whole life. I don’t experience happiness, just depression and mania. As a child, I had paranoia.” He quickly connects his disability to seeking out alternative answers. “The devil made sense when I was kid. The church tells you about a great God, giving people gifts. Here I am, suffering. Why? Does god hate me? What about children with cancer? What about wars? Where is God then?”

Biddy continues with the honesty of a kid, an aspect that has left a permanent impression. “Even as a believer, I was angry. How do you rationalize that? The Church’s explanations were never making sense. They never added up, just devoid of logic.” He continues to explore the contradictory stories in the Bible that most doubters question. “God says ‘Thou shall not kill’ but he floods the planet? Which is because he’s angry at people… that he created.” His skepticism is palpable. But having heard this example countless times, this isn’t the impactful moment. The following reveal is Biddy’s true stake in the fight. “At same time, I am highly emotional. My mental illness makes me more emotional or depressed.”

Defiance is a genetic propulsion for Biddy. He immediately offers the heroic stances of his ancestors. “The rebel was engrained in me. I am a German Jew and Ukranian. We didn’t do so well in WWII. My great grandfather was thrown between two train tracks because he told the Brown shirts to go fuck themselves. The other side of my family were Ukranian farmers who said ‘fuck Stalin, because he’s starving us’. And even others were rounded up into camps as Gypsys. My family is made up of rebels. We did not listen to the status quo. If something doesn’t make sense, its bullshit. And we are going to call out the bullshit.”

“In the garden, Satan told them they were naked. Satan told them the truth. As an agnostic, I know Satan is probability not real. But, if he was real, God made him that way only to have a scapegoat to blame. That’s where I identify, because I was born with mental illness, someone society can blame. In private school, I had learning disabilities. But I didn’t have learning disabilities according to them. I had the devil in me. So, they were going to beat the devil out of me. I got the shit beat out of me all the time.”

Biddy reports his parents, “being totally cool”, out of those environments. The understanding parent was often missing from the equation in the ‘80s. Parents were still very much part of the system, never siding with a pugnacious child. But still the trauma of abuse of these institutions had impressed their brand into Biddy. He reflects on their distorted logic. “Oh you can’t spell? You have a disorder? We’ll put you in a harder class. All the solutions were backwards back then.”

“Kids say oh things are out of control these days,” Biddy expands. “No. Things were way more dangerous when I was kid.” We quickly reminisce about how exactly close minded the general public was in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. But instead of dismissing this new generation, as a child of rejection, Biddy takes an empathetic approach. “I am going to defend the millennials. The joke is (about millennials) that ‘oh they are so easily offended’. But, I couldn’t have blue hair back in 1985 without being called homophobic slurs and being beat up. I can’t tell how many times I got hospitalized because I was a skateboarder. People couldn’t handle me eating in a restaurant in the mid 80s because I had a blue Mohawk and two pierced ears.” Biddy then recounts a few specific attacks. Luckily he was armed with an alliance with his parents. But when his father called authority in one of these incidents (which equates to attempted murder upon Biddy’s 16 year old self by an adult), “the cops said, ‘yeah but isn’t your son a skateboarder?’”

Biddy had always had music as an outlet and weapon of retaliation. This album is a sharper sword that Out For Blood. Unleash Hell is reflective of that sentiment’s cinematic origin, gladiators with nothing to lose attacking the system’s corrupt leaders. The fury in Deathwish’s music attacks with speed and precision and killer riffs. The term Motorcharge (combining the sounds of Motorhead and Discharge) is often used, but Deathwish pushes even those limits. “I think we are different. We have a more metal influence like Disfear, Toxic Holocaust, and Midnight.” Not that Biddy denies pure adoration for Motorhead. “I had been seeing Motorhead since I was a kid. But then when I saw Inepsy, I thought ‘this sounds like Motorhead, but they’re killing it’.”

Biddy doesn’t want to fit into a genre slot. He wanted to join a band but d-beat or Motorcharge or crust usually come with fettered characteristics. He knew the style which he wanted, especially after playing in a slower, doom/stoner band. Biddy wanted an electric rush; grit and rage to be the driving force. “But, I couldn’t because they made up 800 rules of how it had to be. When I play in bands, I ask bandmates ‘what do you want do to do?’” He takes their response and pushes, “Let’s do that, plus three more things.” Biddy continues, “You can see the excitement on their face to start to begin with what their passionate is. I’m trying to play with the most passionate people I can find.”
“I’m addicted to rock and roll. That is my drug. It is what I will do until the day I die. You can’t OD on it. Well, we’ll find out.” Playing guitars since he was 15, Biddy has always used music as a release. But 30 years later, it’s more of a lifestyle than ever. He still works, as a barber. I comment on the recent resurgence of barber shops with the cool kids. “That’s just more competition. I have been doing this for 25 years.”

Despite his dedication to his art of haircutting, his music will always be his primary focus. “I’m playing more than I have ever done. And have got to tour with my favorite bands; Municipal Waste, Oi Polloi, DOA, MDC, DRI, Hellshock. How the fuck did I get this lucky? If I end up in a stroke tomorrow, it would balance out.”

Cheers to Biddy and New Noise Mags and Earsplit PR

Obituary Interview with Don Tardy

Relapse Records
Release March 17th

Interview with Don Tardy by hutch

“It’s that band member cliché, when people say, ‘what’s your favorite album?’, the fans that read that are hoping we say, Cause of Death or Slowly We Rot.” Don Tardy replies, “you’re only as good as your last album. I could not be more excited and proud of this album.” This is no token response from Don Tardy, drummer and founding member of Obituary. Thirty years ago, Tardy and his brother, vocalist, John, and, guitarist, Trevor Peres, transformed their band, Xcutioner, into the forefathers of death metal. Possessed, Death, and Morbid Angel had started the sound, and Obituary defined USDM vocals when they released 1989’s Slowly We Rot. Thirty years and nine albums later, Obituary now 
preps to drop their tenth, Obituary, on Relapse Records, on March 17th. “It shreds,” Tardy proclaims.
Shred it does. Obituary crushes with a down-tuned, sludge drenched energy. The album is heavy, menacingly heavy. Angry riffs push fast drums, writhing in blast beats. Track four, “End It Now”, is a fierce ripper. While most of the track lies within mid-tempo, headbangers will relish the pounding rhythms. Obviously, fans cherish the early work that defined a global genre which thrives today. Part of the Morris Sound Tampa scene, Tardy and company, now joined by death metal’s legendary bassist, Terry Butler (Gruesome, Death, Massacre, etc) and guitarist Kenny Andrews, whose been on board since 2014’s Inked in Blood, represented their version of horror, blood, and vengeance. Inked in Blood alerted fans that the band’s new line up was focused and vicious. For the tenth installment of studio ferocity, Obituary wanted to get back to simplicity.

 For Obituary, Tardy reports that these veterans are honed and poised. After recording in their own Redneck Studio in Tampa, headed off to Europe for a tour, Tardy states they “handed it off to our buddy, Joe Cincotta at Full Force in New York. He mixed it. He did a fantastic job.” Cincotta’s magic helps, but it is the foundation of Obituary’s talents that shines. “The song writing, I am so proud of it. It’s a really great feeling. All pistons are firing with this band. My brother’s voice, he’s getting to be an old man. But his voice is unbelievable; stronger now than it has ever been. My feet are faster than they’ve ever been. My drumming is some of the best that it has ever been.”

Obituary is booked for a solid year, through February 2018; and talking more touring after that. Tardy turned 47 years old the prior Saturday. As his body ages, Tardy rises to the demand. “Guitar players can get away with drinking whiskey or a few drinks before show time. They’re just hands, finger, and wrists that need to function properly. Me? It’s all four limbs. It is about being in shape. It’s a physical challenge to play 18, 19 songs each night. I keep myself in check. As much as I love burgers and fries, I do fruits and vegetables as much as I possibly can. I stay active. I play drums nearly every day. I still love practicing and learning. When we get on the road, it’s all business.”

Tardy relays the health factor to be important, but sees his familial bond as the essential aspect of Obituary’s fortitude. “We’re fortunate. We’re very lucky. The band has been together for 30 years. My brother and Trevor and I are best friends, true brothers. Other bands, even extremely popular ones, the thing that breaks up bands – it’s not the physical stature of their bodies- it is relationships. It’s being in a band together, the politics of being around other human beings.” Obituary not only tours the world together, or just plays together, these three run the company, Obituary, together. “We are three great partners.” Obituary has lasted this long, in a post label paradigm, because they embrace the DIY ethos. “We are super self-sufficient. We do all the recording, the producing, managing the band, building the website, organizing the merchandise, dealing with booking agents; we do it all. We are very happy with who we are and what we have going on this day in age.”

Being a band since the 1980’s, Tardy has remained steadfast and determined. The band has adjusted with the changes which time brings. But he has gotten to maintain his habits and work traditions. Handing off an Obituary album to someone else to mix was new. Cincotto was Obituary’s live engineer and dear friend, so the transition made sense. Necessity breeds change. Obituary was headed to Europe with Exodus. And the new album had to be mixed. Another new experience for Tardy and crew was the use of technology. They have always produced in house. But, this time, they needed technology to bridge the continents and provide constant feedback. “We trusted (Cincotto). We were on the phone with him, skyping him, WhatsApping, telling him our opinions and what tweaks to make. We knew we had a deadline. We were down to the wire. We knew what the release date needed to be. What date we had to submit to the record label so that they have their four months to get the album to be pressed, printed, distributed and marketed.” The experience with this digital approach was intimidating but salvation for the band.

Obituary starts with “Brave”, a blazing fast joint with a melee of sounds; piercing riffs, venomous vocals, and full drumming. This killer sets the tone for an impressive nine new tracks (the final, tenth track is last fall’s single “Ten Thousand Ways to Die”). Obituary built their own Redneck Studio a decade ago. Their last four albums have been recorded and produced there. “Obituary is old school. We get in the same room, burn down, drink some beers, and you know, brotherhood. We write music together and record right there. If you mess up, do it again.” Tardy quickly adapted to the process, with excitement. While most of the record was finished, Andrews had not recorded all his solos before the tour. “Ken was doing some solos right from his laptop and sent that to Joe (Cincotta). Joe re-amped them in his session. I know probably many bands do sessions like that these days, but this was the first time to us. It was cool to see Ken bring his guitar into his laptop. He got to get the solos that he was hoping for. It was a cool experience. I could not be more excited about the release of this record.”

March 17th is not only the release date for the album but the initial night of this year’s Decibel Magazine tour; which is Kreator, Obituary, Horrendous, and Cleveland’s Midnight. Obituary is anticipating nothing short of an epic journey. Tardy is a big Kreator fan. “Mille (Petrozza) is just awesome. Kreator are the kings, good songwriting executed right.” The bands play 29 shows in five weeks. “Then, the madness begins. We’ll be busy for two years touring off this album and hit every corner of the planet. 2017 is a done deal. We go back and forth three times over the summer. We hit all the fests, Bloodstock, Summer Breeze, Hellfest.” Then, the band does another tour across America again in the fall. Tardy also hopes to bring last year’s Battle of the Bays stateside, where Obituary and Obituary battle song for song.

The cover art, a dragon creature blended into the Obituary logo was done by Andreas Marschall. Compared to albums like Frozen in Time, Back From the Dead, Cause of Death, which were intricate and ornate, soaked in ghoulish scenery and blood, this album is refined. Inked in Blood had a limbless, decapitated torso with the title slashed into the bloody chest. “We are not trying to top Inked. In fact, we want to do the opposite. Andreas created a logo that is classic and basic; where the fan sits and holds the big vinyl and just stares at it. It’s classic and clean, not a bunch of color; exactly what we needed. We didn’t need to try to top Inked. We needed to go to a different realm.” The boys did that. Here is a black logo with a piece, independent and strong. The image is stripped down, simple. The logo is all impact. It appears glowing, as if freshly forged. Tardy continues, “It’s perfect. The logo is cool, but the game plan for Relapse is to have the logo embossed, the little skulls and faces raised.” Tardy roils with excitement, explaining further details. Tardy thinks of the practical applications of the image, reminding the loss of Frozen tin Time when it was scaled down. He considers the image as it will appear on the larger vinyl, the smaller CD, what transfers to a t-shirt well. “The gold and metal are rich, like a piece of pewter being pulled out of molten. This is exactly what we need. People will be proud to walk around with this on a shirt. For the tenth album, we needed clean, classic, plain, but rich looking cover. After being in a band for 30 years, we’ve learned that you’ll never please everybody. And this band is totally okay with that. People that don’t love it, you’ve got your opinion and were not mad at you. This bands not going away anytime soon. Next album, look out.”

Life of Agony Interview with Mina Caputo

Life Of Agony
A Place Where There’s No More Pain
Napalm Records
Interview with Mina Caputo

(This album has) a lot of intense great moments that speak of the past but in a more articulate way.

“The world needs a record like this; creative, explosive, heartwarming, motherly, soul-nurturing.” Mina Caputo relays her deep sentiment of the revered Life Of Agony’s new offering to the world, A Place Where There’s No More Pain. On April 28th, Napalm Records welcomes the fifth studio album from this near 30 year old band. Born in Brooklyn in 1989, LOA has continually shaken genres. Simply, Caputo adds, “I think a lot of people can use a real flow of material from an obnoxious, paradigm shifting, punk rock band.”

Life Of Agony has consistently melded alternative, hardcore, metal, hard rock into emotional, groove-filled, heavy music. Each album has its own flavor. LOA is consistently original while always penetrating a listener’s emotional barriers. “I have always had a hard time categorically placing LOA. We always try to redefine what music means to us as a band and individually,” Caputo admits. She offers humbly, “I’m excited. It brings a smile to my face.” LOA have broken up and been reunited a few times, even having different vocalists and drummers. But this album has Caputo back on vocals, as always has been in the studio, and drummer Sal Abruscato (Type O Negative), returning to his rightful place behind the kit. Alan Robert, bass, and Joey Z, guitars, churn out thick, and textured riffs for a mighty album. 

Caputo is soft spoken and tending to her dog, fighting exhaustion after a long day of consecutive interviews. Caputo still lives in Brooklyn; other members are in NJ (Roberts), Long Island (Joey Z), and Woodstock (Abruscato). A Place Where There’s No More Pain was recorded in a few studios over time, Queens, Brooklyn, etc. The band started the process of writing well over a year ago. Caputo explains, “I was already demoing vocals last year.” The process was broken up continually as the band has been touring frequently in this resurgence, as they would go out to tour for three week jaunts over the last year. This was beneficial for the band in matters of perspective and true discrimination with what songs worked. But it was also a detriment, as Caputo appreciates momentum when recording. Regardless, the dynamic of the group was fluid. “It was extremely collaborative. We threw a ton of shit a way, too. There were no bruised egos. No bullshit,” Caputo unveils. “The process was a very open, fearless dialogue about what didn’t work. We had a priority, a focus. That was to make the best LOA album.”

Life of Agony began in 1989, released two cassette demos and appeared on the legendary, East Coast Assault, on Too Damn Hype Records with early Converge, Only Living Witness, Next Step Up, Disorder, early Merauder, Dmize and others. By 1993, Roadrunner released the iconic, River Runs Red, completely conceived as a concept album by Alan Robert writing and arranging all the music and lyrics. Having played drummer roulette, they borrowed Type O Negative’s Sal Abruscato. One song was a collaborative with Brooklyn’s surging stars of crossover metal, and label mates, Biohazard, on “Method of Groove”. Playing small to medium clubs, sharing a label with Obituary and Sepultura, touring with Madball and Dog East Dog (also on Roadrunner) Life of Agony, a ‘hardcore band’ with a keyboard and a powerfully crooning Caputo, LOA was cherished by the hardcore and metal community. The fierce exposure of depression and suicidal ideation was a blessing for all distraught kids with tracks like “River Runs Red”, “Through and Through”, “The Stain Remains”, and really the entire album front to back.

By 1996, Ugly was released with a different vibe; losing some of the fans who pined for the rage and aggression. The ferocity and isolation was still there, but with all members now writing, and Abruscato as full member now, the songs were softer and more polished. New fans from outside hardcore were acquired, bigger venues and shows followed. Certain old fans still found the isolation and depression furrowing through with harder songs like “Damned”, “Ugly”, “Lost at 22” and others. Soul Searching Sun followed in 1997 with a new drummer and hippie vibe. While the single, “Weeds” was a classic LOA song, the rest of the album was musically indulgent. Which is good for rock bands and musicians, but lost the hardcore crowd who want monolithic rhythms and execution. This was taking influences like The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But it saw the band go worldwide and embrace many other scenes and fans. As LOA continued, other members’ writing saw the songs get slower and more whimsical. The band’s sound grew softer. Through break ups and other turmoil, and leaving Roadrunner, a solo album for Caputo (which resulted with Ugly Kid Joe’s Whitfield Crane on LOA vocals), other bands for Roberts (Among Thieves and a rockabilly/rock and roll influenced, Spoiler NYC) and Joey Z (Stereomud), Life Of Agony seemed to be what it was and left behind. Their comeback album, after a few live LPs and DVDs of reunions, Broken Valley in 2005, sounded like Stone Temple Pilots. The band seemed to rescind back again into their individual lives.  

But here, on A Place Where There’s No More Pain, a harsher, combative, heavier Life Of Agony returns. The album shows growth and the band indulging into an artistic freedom that only maturity and tenacity can birth. “This is an album of the best of Life Of Agony’s moments,” asserts Caputo. The production is big; big sound, big thick riffs, big grooves. This is the pure LOA sound. 1993’s River Runs Red is an undeniable classic, in the eyes of punk and metal fans, and in Decibel’s Hall of Fame. It was the fourth installment of the heralded honor. We get echoes of that here. A Place Where There’s No More Pain was produced my Matt Brown. Caputo exclaims, “We’ve been friends with him since fifteen. He played in and produced Sal’s other band, A Pale Horse Named Death”. After the year plus of recording, the album was handed to and mastered by Ted Jensen (Chi-Lites to Dead Boys to Alan Parsons to Billy Joel, etc) at Sterling Sound, a NYC powerhouse since 1968.

A Place Where There’s No More Pain showcases LOA’s defining attributes. Joey Z is known for his Hammett-esque wailing, piercing leads. Robert’s low end thunder and unique groove looms heavy while Sal Abruscato’s entrenched, pounding drums push songs. There are even the slower like “Bag of Bones”, where the album’s title is derived. There is a low-tuned grit to the guitars and a faster part for the bridge, finally more Anthrax than Velvet Revolver. But, there is support for Caputo’s statement of a mix of all LOA. “A New Low” embraces a dark and atmospheric thunder, a real ugly (a-hem…), gnarly sound; sludgy and reminiscent of Type O Negative, or even Corrosion of Conformity, but definitively LOA. It again gathers speed in the middle before reeling in a churning riff. Caputo boasts, “Each song has a different dynamic,” as I inquire about the lyric on “Right This Wrong”: “My wrath will come for you all”; Caputo comments, “There is anger, forgiveness, and sadness in the record.”

This the first Life Of Agony in twelve years. The elephant in the room is that this is the first Life Of Agony album with Mina Caputo, as opposed to Keith Caputo, singing on this record. Keith began his transition in 2008. His tumultuous struggle, from depression to drugs to sexual identity is reflected here. But again, all members contribute, so this is not solely Caputo’s strain exhibited on the album. Referring to the comparison of the ferocity of River Runs Red to this album, Caputo adds, “I definitely think there are bone-crushing moments, but the intention is different. This is dark lyrically, a kaleidoscope of emotions. The only thing which has changed is us; our musicianship, our experiences. I would hate to have the same tone on every record. That would be a fail.”

Again, as the intense emotions, which is Life Of Agony’s strongest trait, is addressed, with a hint of losing some edge. Caputo defies this claim ardently. “Just because I’m a transsexual doesn’t mean I don’t get angry.” The aforementioned soft spoken Mina recoils into the Brooklyn bred upstart that lies within her core. “(being transsexual doesn’t mean) I won’t want to punch you in the fucking face. I don’t follow any cliché stereotypes. (mocks a comment) ‘I don’t think that’s very womanly of you.’ Well, I don’t really give a fuck.” Mina laughs. Without restraint, she continues, slightly riled, “I can be very angry. I am a human being. I experience a slew of emotions in one day. Just because I’m feminine doesn’t mean I won’t grab my mic cord and choke you, cuz I will if I have to.”
Caputo continues her defiance of feminine clichés as she establishes her individuality in these tumultuous times, relating to everyone’s stress and gender politics. “I don’t ‘stand against’ bullying. I bully the fucking bullies, ok? That’s the difference between me and a lot of other people.” Translating that to her vocals on A Place Where There’s No More Pain, “There are a lot moments of angst of the record. Vocally, I get brutal as fuck. I out sing all the boys. And all the girls. I get as real and as bloody as emotion can get.”

As certain elements of Life Of Agony’s are gathered to this album, a new fresh feeling is portrayed here. The anticipation from fans, balanced with their own personal expectations, is cherished by Caputo as quickly as she excuses them. “People want LOA to be their own little secret. That’s sweet, that’s special. I love our fans. But, it’s nice to share things with the world.” The metal fans seem to be more forgiving of change and growth than the hardcore kids, (writer included). Hardcore and punk expect bands to stay the same, to remain niche. But Caputo thinks beyond those terms, obviously since it is 25 years since the first album. “You can’t drag the past into the present. People need to really listen with an open heart. Things are always changing, things are always new. People shouldn’t have expectations on how the band should sound. That’s obnoxious. Just because we spoke to them on one level (years ago).” But Caputo is quick to bridge the sound of A Place… to the early records, and deservedly so. This could be seen as tougher Ugly in some aspects. (This album has) a lot of intense great moments that speak of the past but in a more articulate way. We didn’t reach every destination we tried to musically (in the past). People miss out with expectations. People are too dismissive too fast. It’s a sin. I would never do that to one of the bands I listen to, like Radiohead. What motherfucker is going to tell Thom Yorke what to do.” Caputo expands on these thoughts, relating the audacity of fans in the tighter knit, underground genres. “Time owns us. People that lack creativity don’t understand that. These songs were already written and were filtered out through us. I have some peculiar beliefs, I know. But that’s what makes me me.”

Caputo reports feeling liberated and easier to access these days. She acknowledges her quirks and spirit are sometimes shown through mood swings. She is sensitive in a world of hate and friction which impacts her easily. However, new coping skills and the appropriate body free her in a manner which past drugs and booze did not allay. “I still get depressed. I still get anxiety. Music is the best drug for me. If I don’t pick up the guitar or sit down with the piano, I get very depressed. Songwriting is my ultimate high. (All the peripheral responsibilities of music) are completely irrelevant; the shows, the tours, the interviews. I am here to write music.” The music ties in to Mina’s ability to cope with the stress of life, again, granted to her by her gender transition. “I knew it and felt it. I can feel the wholeness of me now.”

The other aspect of finding relief from depression is the drive to want to. “I care about how I feel now. I care so much about feeling good. That’s where it starts and ends. Once you focus on and hone in on that – those two feelings – you have to go for the things that bring you good feelings and fun times in life. My anxiety comes from confusion. Politicians, bombings, people trying to blow us up, all this drives people beserk. And the regular people do not get the credit for it. (But) we are holding it down and they keep on fucking things up. We are confronted with infantile people running the world. It drives kids and parents crazy. Then, parents take it out on kids and that’s how it all starts, the cycle. A lot of people don’t acknowledge how they feel so low. They ignore the pain.”

Caputo delves into the obvious trauma of her childhood. “I came from, well, I lived with my grandparents, a major generation gap. My grandparents were Italian, in Brooklyn. I lived that stereotype, right out of Raging Bull. The shit I saw as I kid, my father drugged up, falling down flights of stairs; my grandfather beating up my father, beating up my grandmother. I can’t believe I made it his far. I can’t believe I survived all those beatings. I could remember how it scarred me, changed me. It made me depressed, made me feel unworthy. Some things in my life trigger me to go back into that childhood momentum. But, you have to be your own pill, forget all the pharmaceuticals. That stuff will hurt your nervous system and your brain and your soul.”
Adding a confused adolescent to this environment must produce PTSD. Growing up around this masculinity drenched environment impacts fear and trepidation on a young kid. “I was afraid my entire life to come out to family. People knew I was eccentric. People maybe assumed I was bi-sexual. They always saw Keith with a girl by his side. But I was very feminine. I was never a masculine man. I could not cover up my femininity.

“It took my whole life to get to the point where I had to stop feeling responsible for other people’s feelings. That was my breaking point. I just can’t give a fuck what other people think or say, even if I lose my career. I’ll throw everything away to be happy. I need to be open. I was too busy dying, not living. I need a happy being. That’s when I am most productive. I’m most productive when I’m happy, for no reason, just from living.”

Caputo is frank in her realization of her struggles with gender. “I couldn’t deal with playing this male role. I couldn’t take it anymore. It sucked. I hated living as a guy.” This conflict of innate feelings and outer presentation devoured Keith and was a vortex of self-destruction. “I thought, ‘I’d rather be dead, let’s start consuming lots of drugs and harming myself’. I was not facing what I knew I had to face. I was afraid. There is no time table on when one should be expressive or transsexual or homosexual. Or even if you want to put a loop in your lip. Whatever. Expression is such a part of people’s humanity and experience here on the planet. A lot of people are living, they don’t remember their origin. We’ve been derailed. So, when someone like me pops up in their lives, it connects them to their own nature. And it frightens them.”

Caputo quickly appends these thoughts to the stress of our society. She testifies to this separation of individuals and their feelings, their realities, as significant chasm in society. “Pretty soon women will give birth to babies with a phone in their hand.” While the hyperbole is amusing, Caputo brings it back to a truth. “People are disconnected. Which I also see the other half. I think a lot of people are awakening on the planet and tasting the true mystery of why we are here. It’s not to observe and ridicule. Society has it all wrong. As do our politicians and institutions, religions, food companies, corporations. Some kid has to die cuz some CEO wants to make another 100 grand.” Her frustration is palpable and commendable.

Life Of Agony adds a significant new chapter in their history, and consequently, there present. There will be tours and festivals around the globe. As soon as the Brooklyn and Boston shows were announced, they were sold out. Fans are rabid for new material. A Place Where There’s No More Pain is vibrant and confrontational, grinding and liberating. The rage and disgust are ever present, sure to appease older fans. The sound has returned to a heavy groove. The album cultivates Life Of Agony’s best qualities and presents them from a new perspective of freedom and truth without losing the members’ intrinsic bite and snarl. 

Thanks to Mina and Jon Freeman PR for the interview

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Abatuar Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta Review

Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta
Dunkelheit Produktionen
Release: 17 April 2017

Abatuar is a one man Panamanian Firestarter named Cadaver. He has worked in other metal bands, but this is his baby, his shining moment. Metal-archives shows other members covering guitars, as Cadaver is a drummer. But he gets this credit for all of this, so I must assume he plays guitars on this as well. Call it black metal, but Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta pulls in influences from grind and death. This LP is raw and ugly, confrontational. After two impressive – and sought after – demos, Abatuar now unleash their debut full, Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta, length on Dunkelheit.

Thick, sludge drenched guitars flog with whips of razorwire. The aesthetic here is clearly the old school ethic of recording in a subterranean cave with a boombox. That’s cool. But, I do wish the production was a touch crisper with some punch. The songwriting is strong and hits like a tsunami. Drums lay a frantic foundation, constantly rolling and pounding. Guitars bandy on a riff. The time changes (check “Decapitacion Latrinal”) give some texture and variety which I appreciate. “Adoctrinemantio Colectivo Genocid” is unfettered fury; grind core speed and rage. These are the platforms for the album. “Deidades Sepultades con Restos” has a, dare I say, groove? Not really but a catchy riff and a mid-tempo beginning that moves into a 4/4 beat. Then, it moves faster. “Ordalias de Hierro Fundido” messes with time and the listener’s mind. It is a rapid beast. But it truly pushes, grinds, as it pounds forward. Some killer death metal riff embedded in it reminiscent of the Swedish 90’s sound.

 Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta slithers unapologetically. Abatuar create a dungeoness atmosphere of belligerence and fury. Compelling riffs and tumultuous drums, adorned with ghastly vocals, elicit terror and seething acrimony in a listener. The lo-fi production beckons true black metal and grind. This LP conjures a feast of primal urges with sounds of Hell.  

AVailable in black or red vinyl or CD: shop

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New killer Abatuar LP streaming at No Clean Singing

Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta
Dunkelheit Produktionen
Release: 17 April 2017

Suspicious Activities PR is pushing this new album. I have been rocking the promo for a month and its spellbinding. I have been in love with this album.

Brilliant black metal, embracing chaos and espousing damage. This is a brutal album from Panamanian one man cyclone, Cadavar. After two demos, Abatuar come with 12 tracks of raw metal. My review will be up soon.

Check out the full LP streaming at
no clean singing

Abatuar Facebook

spend some money

pick up the threat

Just like every post eventually posts, i will say this. It's been over a year. But i swear i will make a valiant effort to get the momentum back on this beast.  The reviews and interviews have been over at new noise magazine if you want to see. Also, the empty hands podcast is close to completing editing of episode one. up soon. stay tuned