October 29, 2013

Aviators - Mirrors (2013)

Hey, remember our motto? TZEEEAC - a blog about death metal, indie rock and junk food. Well, as you might have already noticed, that doesn't reflect the reality anymore because we've covered basically every genre possible.

Except maybe progressive/alternative/whatever pop that sounds really good, is not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and contains some actual fucking lyrics. Long ass lyrics. But who am I talking about, you might ask. Read the title, you lazy bum.

Aviators is actually just one dude sitting in his studio composing feel-good, diabetes-inducing sweet electro-pop music, presumably in his off-time from taming unicorns and hanging out with the Carebears. I've never felt so fuzzy inside, except maybe the time when I chocked on cotton candy, which was really painful. Anyway, the electro part aka the actual music is tight and very well produced - the synths and sampling are great, and the pacing and overall structure of the songs couldn't be better. It never felt forced or stretched, and every electronica song that surpasses 4 minutes in length should know when's the right moment to stop, otherwise it gets boring and I hate being bored, because weird stuff starts happening to my body.

Album of the year. For now. Lets just see what happens next.

October 27, 2013

Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist (2009)

I have been meaning to write about this album ever since I joined Tzeeeac, however it´s not an easy task. The band´s other releases are also a mystery to me, since The Ichthyologist is such an exhausting listen that I´m having trouble digesting it on a full listen even now, four years after its inception. After all, a concept album (and one based on a graphic novel written by the vocalist of the band) would most definitely suggest a brave incursion into everything else but staleness or boredom, yet to pull that off correctly takes not only skill, but a definite measure of talent and luck.

And luckily for us music lovers (pun intended), The Ichthyologist is a beast that never fails to surprise in the good way. In terms of complexity, The Ocean´s ´Precambrian´ comes to mind, however this one here focuses more on atmosphere and general cursiveness of melodies, feeling rather personal on all levels. 

Yet what, you might ask, what type of music are they actually playing, oh mighty all knowing reviewer? Well, that´s also hard to pin down. On most albums, the underlying base of the songs relies almost every time on a single genre, however The Ichthyologist has two: the first one and the most prominent would be jazz, with cellos, flutes, keys and soft female vocals (one of the more known singers to show up here is Anneke Van Giersbergen from The Gathering) complementing the calm and toned down clean male vocals. And yet, with one short switch of the button the band turns into full-on doom metal, with post-metal tendencies creeping up now and then for the sake of gluing it all together into one massive chunk of experimental music. The occasional shrieks of the male vocalist that eerily resemble the tonality of Serj Tankian are also prone to make you raise an eyebrow, however I´ve come to accept them with ease.

All in all, The Ichthyologist is one giant, slow burning machine that never loses steam, even during its calmer parts. The constant switching between gentle and brutal bits may seem a bit overwhelming, however every transition is handled with sufficient grace that it doesn´t feel inadequate. To spare you all some trouble, I´ve decided that one sample of each bit should be enough to satisfy your curiosity. The first one handles the soft part, while the second stands for the more metallic approach to things. A full on genre definition could be ´Marco progressive metal´, however I´ll need to have a chat with Chester before hand to ensure the possible validity of that particular statement.

Meanwhile, here be the songs.

October 21, 2013

MOTORACT & NEUTRON @Ageless Club Bucharest

I don't even know how to write this review without sounding overtly smug or pretentious. Or both. Not because the music wasn't good, but the general atmosphere in the club was so out of this world, I felt like I was watching the newest rendition of Superman. 

At first, I thought about going for a 'concert notes' type of overview, but that would end up sounding quite emotionless; balance is what I'm striving for in all conditions. So, putting all chatter away, let's present the bands.

Openers Motoract are a tribute band which cover, well, as the poster says, songs played by Motorhead. While I'm not a big fan of tribute bands, I didn't have any overreaching expectations, but after seeing Domination about a month ago live and having a blast, I realize that no matter what they play, if a band plays good, they should get recognition. With regards to their sound, again I'm not really the best person to ask, because aside from the occasional Motorhead song pouring from the speakers at parties and the live show I've seen last year at OST Fest in Bucharest, I'm rather oblivious to the band. But, as bass player Dragos from Neutron told me, Motoract are pretty on par with the originals, so I'll have to take his word for granted. See for yourself (although the recording is weak, it should give you and idea).

The second band for the evening where the guys from Neutron, a name originally founded in 1989 and reformed in 2012 with a fresh line up (which still retains one of the original founding members). Their sound is an unique mix of heavy, trash and power influences which all blend alongside long compositions that would put them, by modern acceptance, in the progressive bucket (although I dare stress once more how progressive music should be looked at).

A truly fearless live performance that at times reminded me of the romanian band M.S. (mostly due to Vlad's vocals), the lads didn't shy away from putting up some great songs for us to enjoy. What they also don't shy away from is worshipping the allmighty God of Riff!

Lastly, let me put up a few lines about what this gig had (or lacked), in no particular order:

- What's with the price? Not even 3 euros for a full show? Don't sell yourselves short guys, because you ain't gonna live forever. 
- Cleanliness. I don't know if this is a plus or not: clean club, clean floor (well, most of the time), clean leather&lace outfits. I guess I'm getting used to muddy outdoors fests, but this felt rather strange. 
- Too many cameras!
- Tables? And chairs? In my rock'n'roll concert? I'm weeping elephant tears here...
- Last but not less important, where was the damn crowd?!? Here I thought it was mandatory to have at least twenty people in front of the stage, and it seems like a big chunk of them were there only for Motoract. Shame on you fellas, it was a fine saturday evening, why leave so early?

Anyways, many thanks for both bands for putting up a great show (and to Teo and Dragos from Neutron for providing the invite) and good luck with bigger venues, bigger speakers and most importantly, a vastly increasing amount of groupies. 

Cheers from Tzeeac-nation!

October 9, 2013

'Club A Trophy' - A micro review of a very short evening

I don't think I've attended a smaller show.

Oh wait, I think I did. It was a couple of years ago, in a far away city from my hometown, where some friends played in a godforsaken pub for a crowd of about twenty people. It was cold, I hadn't slept in two days and I drank only a cup of mulled wine, because believe it or not, there'd be some driving involved later afterwards.

Anyways, let's get back to this show, because it was a bit bigger. Let's assume a peak of fifty people, but I never was any good at counting. 

First band to get on the stage were the ladies (and mister) from Truverii, a group that specializes in medieval songs. They were very good and I'm glad to have the chance to listen to them live, as a well deserved break from all the metal distorsions I slam away from my home speakers. More so, I think they even played the song which inspired Eluveitie to write Inis Mona. Catchy fellows, might want to hear them again if possible.
Next up were the lads from New Age. You might remember them from my latest and most awesomest show review I wrote not too long ago. This was not the proper crowd to mosh to, however (aside from a couple of eager enthusiasts), so I laid low and enjoyed the music; happy to report that vox and bass were on par with the rest of the instruments this time (in terms of volume). 

Also, chick bass players will probably remain the coolest thing ever invented in the history of rock n' roll.
New Age
Ain't this image just beautiful, huh? 

Next up to close the evening was the somewhat new band (I believe that less than I year in this formula would peg them this way) going by the name of Sticks N' Stones (I haven't been able to find a contact page for them) and, just as you'd probably figured by now, there couldn't be a girl missing. Here be them.
Sticks N' Stones
Their type of music didn't appeal to me, as the focus was mainly on alternative. However, I have to give them props for covering 'Killing in the Name' and 'Paradise City' as a show ending and doing a rather fine job of it. I would suggest they leave away the silly alternative outfit and practice on some heavier stuff, because they clearly have the chops.

And that's about it with the 'trophy' evening (I did say it was a micro review, didn't I?). I had one more beer  after which myself and the mighty Haos Abbath from New Age went back to our individual cribs and called it a night.

P.S: At some point, the show herald said something along the lines of "This is THE ONLY rock festival where bands are allowed to play their own music for a full THIRTY MINUTES set!"

I think I loled pretty hard there, but I was graceful enough not to show it.

Rock on!

Zaz - ZAZ (2010)

Isabelle Geffroy launched her debut album in 2010 and managed to obtain significant attention through songs like ''Je veux''. The self-titled album is composed of 11 songs, which add up to roughly 38 minutes of magically woven lyrics and beautiful instrumentation. Being one of the first 100 % French albums that I've listened to, it is easy to see how one can get addicted to such creations: and easy-going flow of emotions and slick rhythms.

The album starts off with quite a pleasant atmosphere with songs like "Les Passant" , "Je veux" and "Le Long De la Route” . The themes behind these songs are quite different from the latter part of the album, it is as if she tries to take the good upfront, together with whatever she "demands" from her lover( In the song "Je veux" she rejects material offerings and substitutes them with her thirst for love, humor, things which are the real reasons behind happiness) .

The second thematical area of the album starts with the song "Prends Garde A Ta Langue” , song which gives off an eerie Las Vegas -esque tone: a song about her trying to protect someone or something from the perils of life (while it is blindly following the bait), ultimately it is revealed that although her efforts were valiant, the world managed to get whatever she was so preciously caressing through her actions. We then see the invasion of the Ella Fitzgerald influences, paired with the bizarre presence of Edith Piaf sounding vocals in songs like "Ni ou ni ou" , "Dans ma rue".

In the end it is an album filled with numerous scenarios that demonstrate what her feelings, are, were, and will become whilst continuing through her life. Throughout it you'd expect Eugene from Gogol Bordello to jump out and turn it into a duet, or maybe that's just me.

Final mark: 7/10, I now like French jazz.

October 5, 2013

This Routine is Hell - Howl (2013) - Marco's perspective

Sorry guys, I know this has been already (briefly) featured on our sleazy webzine, but I couldn't help myself. It's the only hardcore thing I enjoy, and seeing how chester wrote only one paragraph about it half an year ago on his way to the local tsatsiki vendor, I have to do justice to it.

Howl is a I-had-enough-of-it, no-more, fuck-your-face, if-you-stare-at-me-for-one-more-second-i'll murder-your-dog, I-don't-give-a-flying-raccon's-dick hardcore album that is most suitable and efficient after spending the whole day doing boring errands. For me, at least.

For the rest of you, who might not be as pissed off and frustrated with life as I am, Howl is a perfectly head bangleable and mosh-friendly record. The tracks rarely surpass two minutes in length, making for twelve short bursts of fucking ANGER AND VIOLENCE ROAAAR. The guitars are deliciously distorted, the drumming is violent and the lead singer... holy shit, the lead singer. I'd hire him 24/7 just to scream at people that I don't like and then MAYBE beat the shit out of them with a drumstick or something. Chances are that his scream has already perforated a hole through the dude's esophagus, so assaulting him would be not only ungentlemanly, but embarrassingly redundant. As you might have already expected, the lyrical content is comprised, but not limited to, disease, destruction and a general dislike for society and the human race. I, for one, share their views. Nothing more to say here.

I might sound like a fucking scrub to you rusty hardcore aficionados, but trust me, as an outsider,  Howl is something special. It's fun  and to the subject, and I would recommend it even to hardcore rookies like me.  Here's hoping that I won't ditch my snobbish hipster persona for *insert specific hardcore stereotype*, because who will be then left to write articles you never read about bands that you don't care about?


Drake - Nothing was the same (2013)

Young Money

Perhaps this review won't be everyone's cup of tea: a pretty much hated artist , namely Aubrey Drake Graham, partly due to his entourage and collaborations. I will defend myself by saying that simply refusing to accept an artist because he has made some questionable choices(a lot of them hehe) is a bit ignorant and so we continue to this: Nothing was the same.

Basically, the album's name is just perfect, the wave of new fans that came with releases from the album( Started from the bottom) made it an absolute effigy of awesomeness. His sometimes monotone flow matches the beats in such a beautiful way that his past productions seem forgotten, as the young gun manages to bluntly shut the door through which people yell unappreciative sentences at him.

Such art.

He bounces through countless attitudes exposed throughout the album, managing to show that this is the real deal, the Drake that people knew as a small time rapper has made it big: hanging  with Jay Z, Kanye West, having his songs played in numerous videos, amateur and professional alike. Aubrey managed to break into a new level of rap by proving that his work isn't limited to aggressiveness and soft-heartedness but also to a philosophical nature, the album becoming an eclectic mix of feelings.

Jay's shirt is trilla.

The few special mentions that I have (song-wise) are as follows: "Started from the bottom" (pure trap drums combined with a melancholic beat, an epic example of "HEY IM STILL GANGSTA"), "All Me" (the direct message :don't hate bro, I made myself), "WuTang Forever" (Humble tribute to the gods of Hiphop, plus the bonus of RZA throwing in  "It's Yours" throughout the song) and finally "Hold on, We're going home" - a beautiful example of his pop-singing capabilities, he made a song that just proves that he is indeed a great singer.

Final mark: 8/10 , Drake can sing at my wedding.

October 4, 2013

Pissed Jeans - Honeys (2013)

Pissed Jeans are a noise rock/punk band from Allentown, Pennsylvania and, despite their name, which led me to expect a hyperviolent hardcore band, their new album Honeys is more like the musical equivalent of a quirky indie comedy about awkward teenagers who just kinda sit around complaining about stuff. Except Pissed Jeans are a bunch of no-longer-young dudes who are pretty depressed and annoyed by a lot of little things.

After listening to the new Touche Amore and Modern Life Is War albums - both dealing with profound themes like one's own personal legacy, estranged friends, facing the death of a relative and so forth - the songs on Honeys come off as surprisingly mundane: one by one, singer Matt Korvette tackles issues like being a lazy boyfriend (but who should nonetheless be appreciated more by the poor girl by his side), wearing a suit and feeling weird, setting up a perfect social media profile even though you're nothing like you describe yourself (and the not-so-surprising discovery that other people do it too), becoming a dull corporate office drone who can't even muster enough enthusiasm to gloat at the death of his project manager, avoiding doctors because you're afraid of needles and being a good-for-nothing man-child who wastes his life sitting on the couch and watching cartoons.

These are petty concerns compared to other real tragedies one can experience during his or her lifetime, yet Pissed Jeans take these minor nuisances very seriously, just like George Costanza would. The little everyday struggles are set against a backdrop of spastic drumming, fuzzy guitar riffs with occasional nods to stoner rock and some filthy bass lines that just add to the general feeling of frustration. Meanwhile, Korvette screams, kicks and shouts his lyrics with the energy of a guy who just pulled out a shotgun in a McDonald's, pissed off because he missed the breakfast menu by like five minutes. He's angry, annoyed, passionate and, above all else, armed and dangerous.

There's no shame in first world problems, and Pissed Jeans are here to tell us it's okay to be frustrated about your friend's cats who give you allergies or about your shitty boss, even though you're too lacking in options to really afford to tell him to fuck off. Instead, you suck today's dick and keep your mouth shut. Then you go home, put Honeys on full blast and proceed to smash all of your plates with a baseball bat. All in a day's work.

October 3, 2013

Converge - Jane Doe (2001)

After seeing Napalm Death live during the Rockstadt Extreme Fest trip in which I´ve met with Chester and Gherasim, I remember thinking (and maybe saying so out loud, though I can´t be exactly be sure of any memory that´s older than a day´s worth), I remember thinking “Hey, these guys are probably the noisiest band on earth. You can´t understand anything from what they´re playing, yet from behind all this cacophony of sounds you can relate to the passion that spawned the music”.

Such is the case with ´Jane Doe´ from american axe players ´Converge´; it´s built upon layers and layers of metal, hardcore, punk, grind and mathcore, all compressed and condensed in a run time of just a little past the fourty five minute mark, that sometimes feels as double its worth.

It´s raw, emotional and at the same time deeply unnerving on a personal level. For me, ´Jane Doe´ is one of the albums that make me avoid looking up any other songs from the band, from fear I might be dissapointed with the find. In layman´s terms, I don´t think it can get any better.

Cheers to you, unknown one...

October 1, 2013

Pipers Crisps: An Exercise in Chips Elegance and Refinement

It's been a long time since we've had a chips review on our beloved corner of the internets - I believe the last one was by Daniel Witchfinder, who reviewed the latest success in chips design and engineering from Chio Chips. They did the unthinkable and came out with Spicy Wings and Shaorma flavored chips. I've actually tasted the Shaorma ones since then and I gotta say, I was blown away: you can taste every single ingredient of a typical Romanian shaorma, right down to the garlic mayo. A great triumph, indeed! 

Today, however, I want to talk about something much more refined and fancy: the potato chips lovingly produced by the chaps at the Pipers Crisp Company in Lincolnshire, in the East of England. I bought these for my birthday back in February from one of those fancy Greek cavas, or liquor stores. You know, the type where they sell 30 year old brandy and fine scotch, only fit for the most manly gentlemen. Among all the fancy drinks, they had a stand with a lot of Pipers Crisps bags. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful array of different flavors available, most of them paying some sort of homage to the traditions of the old Empire: there were sea salt, black pepper and sea salt, cheddar cheese and onion, vinegar and sea salt, spicy tomato and sweet chili flavors all happily sharing the same rack. An impressive range of flavors, no doubt about it. 

The second thing you notice is the exquisite packaging. The bag feels smooth, doesn't make a lot of noise and it's almost like a paper bag from ye olde days. Each flavor of chips is made with ingredients sourced from various local farmers. On the back of the bag, there's pictures of the farm where the ingredients were grown, along with a beautiful description of the places around it and even an address, so you can go to the farm and see for yourself the rows of plump, ripe tomatoes, the organic onion patches or the cows grazing happily on an open field, making for outstanding milk which in turn becomes delicious cheddar cheese. The package also goes on mentioning how each potato is carefully selected and fried in the finest vegetable oil, then packaged in a protective atmosphere that leaves the flavor intact. 

All of this sounded amazing, frankly, so, being my birthday and all, I was happy to shell out 3.30 euros for a bag of Cheddar and onion flavored Pipers Crisps

Then I got home and they tasted like stinky socks.

I couldn't even finish them in one sitting because it's a big bag, so I ate them over the course of 3 days. However, I think it might be that I just don't get along very well with cheese and onion chips, so I'm willing to give these the benefit of the doubt. I'll probably buy them again soon, but I'm going to go with a more traditional flavor this time, like black pepper and sea salt.

3.30 euros is a pretty big bill for a bag of chips, but I think it's worth to try these at least once or twice because of the diverse range of flavors and excellent packaging. I'm not sure about the geographical availability of these chips (I haven't seen them anywhere in Romania, that's for sure), but you can check out their beautifully designed official website for more information on where you can find them.

Until next time, tally-ho, old chaps!