Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tantrum of the Muse: ModernMu$ick(2000)! (5/5)

Year: 2000
Label: Takehold
Genre: Experimental Post-Hardcore
TRT: 44:01

This album was one of my first tastes of truly chaotic music back in 2002, and eight years after it's release, ModernMu$ick(2000)! still holds it's own.

This sophmore (and ultimately, final) release from Stephen Mark Sarro's brainchild delves further into the realm of off-time dissonance than the 1998 debut The Heart is a Two-Headed Sperm, while simultaneously maturing and refining their signuature sound into a cohesive monstrosity.

Both albums deal with the darker side of humanity, but this album is far more subtle in it's attack. Once in an instant messenger conversation, Sarro expressed to me how he hardly refers to himself as a Christian anymore, because of the Church's misdirection and inconsistancy in our day and age. The reluctance of TotM to migrate to Tooth & Nail records once Takehold went under is surely a testament to that. Even if thay had though, I doubt T & N would have kept them for long, as the chorus for 10-10-99 / $Screw the Christian Industry$ would have probably struck a little too close to home:
"...Liars, whores, hypochrites, theives, all in the family of God.
Try and sell this...try and sell this...try and sell this"

01 Bowels of Elkton
02 Went to Hell
03 Chicks W/ Guns
04 Eunuch (The Sinai Orgies)
05 Happy As a Lark
06 Conestoga Cougars
07 10-10-99 / $Screw the Christian Industry$
08 Milk & Meat
09 Victoria Has a Secret
10 Caught With Your Halo Around Your Knees
11 I Bury the Living
12 Chiroptera Armada
13 Send Them the Cow

Search Amazon for Tantrum of the Muse

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mago: Definition of Raw Moments From a Different Perspective (4.5/5)

Year: 2002
Label: Ad Noiseam
Genre: Atmospheric Steller Dreamscapes
TRT: 71:29

Another album I took a chance on based off the meticulously beautiful packaging and artwork. Again I was rewarded. Definition... really takes you on a trip, a soujourn really, through the spaces between time and space. Delicate a caressing, sometimes pushing sometimes floating but always well thought-out and perfectly executed. After falling in love, I found out that one of the individuals involved is also Sanctum and half of Azure Skies. Go figure.

Pick a copy if you are able to do so, this is the sort of album to pass on to your kids one day.

01 Tumbling Down the Rabbit Hole
02 Like Sand Slips Through My Fingers
03 Your Mind Blew Across the Grass in Ripples
04 Enlaced by Ropes
05 Spaceships and Piles of Mud
06 Thought There Was More to Come
07 Sing Me to Sleep
08 Inbetweenworld
09 Infinite

Purchase this album from Ad Noiseam Records

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sympathy: Invocation (3.5/5)

Year: 2002
Label: Fear Dark
Genre: Progressive Technical Death Metal
TRT: 47:33

This was one of the first Technical Death Metal albums I ever heard, and I thought it was pretty cool. With furious drumming, solid guitar work and unaltered depth-of-hell growls, what's not to like? On this album, Canadian Dharok wrote and played everything, but these days guitarist Jeff Lewis (known for his work with Mortification and Abolishment of Hate), and drummer Jim Austin (formerly of Into Eternity).

02 Fey Illusion
03 Occupy
04 Circle of Light
05 Final Ordeal
06 Cup of Demons
07 Arise
08 Realm of Disease
09 Prelude and Toccata in E Minor
10 Christus Factus Est
11 Immolation of the Dragon
12 Death of the Immortals

Search for Sympathy on Amazon

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bon Voyage: Bon Voyage (5/5)

Year: 1998
Label: BEC
Genre: Shoegaze Dream Pop
TRT: 32:30

This album is a collaboration between Jason Martin (of Starflyer 59) and his wife Julie. Their feelings for each other come through very clearly on this sexually charged album, encapsulating the state of being happy, carefree, and in love better than just about any other that I can think of. Makes me want to just get in the car with the one I love, roll down the windows and drive. Let the world worry about itself.

01 Honeymoon
02 Kiss My Lips
03 West Coast Friendship
04 Why Can't You Be
05 You're Wonderful
06 You Got It, I Want It
07 I Just Wanna (Be With You)
08 We Know How You Feel
09 Together
10 No Paradise

Search Amazon for Bon Voyage

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fredrick Thordendal's Special Defects: Sol Niger Within (4.5/5)

Year: 1997
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Experimental Psychedelic Math Metal
TRT: 43:15

This album is absolutely mind numbingly insane. In the period of time between Meshuggah's Destroy. Erase. Improve. and Chaosphere, Fredrik Thordendal recorded this with the help of some of his other friends. Based on a dream he had, Thordendal created a trippy, disturbing journey through alien worlds and altered states of mind. I think it's safe to say that this is one of, if not the trippiest metal album ever made.

This is the original version of the album, and it includes the creepy organ tracks that were omitted from version 3.33, which was released by Relapse Records in 1999.

Sol Niger Within shows a distinct break from what Meshuggah had recorded up to that period (though it was hinted at in D.E.I.), with far more off-time and polyrythmic material. This set the stage for the Meshuggah of the past ten years.

Once you've had your face melted off for awhile, try listening to the album on shuffle for even more insanity. While the album is in theory one long piece divided up in to 29 tracks, the gapless nature allows for nearly seamless playback no matter what order the tracks are played in, and nearly unlimited versions of the album.

01 The Beginning Of The End Extraction (Evolutional Slow Down)
02 The Executive Furies Of The Robot Lord Of Death
03 Descent To The Netherworld
04 ...Och Stjarnans Namn Var Malort
05 Dante's Wild Inferno
06 I. Galactus
07 Skeletonization
08 Sickness And Demoniacal Dreaming
09 UFOria
10 Zet 1 - Reticuli
11 Transmigration Of Souls
12 In Reality All Is Void
13 Krapp's Last Tape
14 Through Fear We Are Unconscious
15 Death At Both Ends
16 Bouncing In A Bottomless Pit
17 The Sun Door
18 Painful Disruption
19 Vitamin Experience (A Homage To The Scientist/John Lilly)
20 Cosmic Vagina Dentata Organ
21 Sensorium Dei
22 Magickal Theatre .33.
23 Zet 2-Reticuli
24 De Profundis
25 Existence Out Of Joint
26 On A Crater's Verge
27 Solarization
28 The End Of The Beginning Of Contraction (Involutional Speed Up-Preparation For The Big Crunch)
29 Tathagata

Search for Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects on Amazon

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stephen Mark Sarro: Sympathy For the Living (4.5/5)

Year: 2005
Label: Teki-Pyro
Genre: Experimental Art Rock
TRT: 41:30

Sarro started out his musical career with the controversial post-hardcore act Tantrum of the Muse. I was (and still am) a huge fan of TotM, so when I discovered this album was being released, I was needless to say stoked. One track was available, and I loved it. Dark, creepy and catchy as hell. This was way back in 2002. Turns out there was some trouble with the original record label, and they wouldn't let the album be released from thier legal grip. So when the album was finally released three years later, I was very excited to hear it, but also a little hesitant because of the time that had elapsed.

I should have had more faith. Sympathy for the Living is a very odd album, but flawlessly executed. Recorded using very little "traditional" instrumentation, almost everything heard here was created using random household items. Everything from a dildo, to old answering machine messages to alarm clocks...and more. The flow of the album is very logical in it's own weird way, with dark undertones always trying to take hold of you, pushing you onwards to escape their haunting grasp.

01 Zzz...Zzz...X!
02 I Have Sympathy
03 The Diary Entries of a Mad Man
04 A Banshee
05 Eye Want Your Girlfriend
06 Roast Beast (Eating a Pig's Thoughts)
07 Kiss Off!
08 I Dance To the Beat of Doldrums
09 Steal My Joy (Mermaid)
10 Weddings & Funerals

Buy this album from Teki-Pyro or from Stephen himself