February 28, 2014

Home - Bound To Gravity (2014)

We here at Tzeeeac are addicted to riffs. And groove. And garage type production values. And harsh vocals. Marco might not fully agree to this last statement, but he'll have to just succumb to the authority of the majority. Hey, that's one sick rhyme I just made there! Might have to ask some of the bands that send music our way to incorporate it into one of their songs, so we can claim copyright and make a shitload of money off of their stage performances, haha!

Anyways, enough with the rather monosillabic blabberings and let's get you guys some music to listen to, huh? And while deep inside I had an ungodly craving of listening to some old school death metal, here come Home trio to blow my speakers to hell with their infectious guitar licks and around the corner moving bass lines. If you ever liked This Is Ghost! Country, then Home will hit the sweet spot for you, as the all around abrasiveness of the record (which the band stated that it was purely intentional) will make you put this baby on repeat until there's no more humidity left in your house. It'll be like that because the songs will make you scrape of all the paint from your walls, turn it into some fine powder and then get high off of it while headbanging from a sitting position with your hands glued to your chair.

Then there's the curious case of the closer track, a close-to-ten-minutes seemingly haphazard song (until its not) that, I don't know if intentionally or not, makes me want to go back and listen to early days Lacrimas Profundere. 

So what are you waiting for then? Come home and get yourself a nice little piece of Austrian Sludge/Stoner/Post-Whatsoever, just don't eat it all at once because you might get a sudden case of riff poisoning. 

Recommended tracks: Next To Last, Old Hand, Dead City, Dead City. Yep, I've just listed that last one twice. It's just that good. You also might want to check out their facebook page and drop a like or two. You know, to show that you're nice and all.

February 25, 2014

El Camino Car Crash - Routine (2014)

It can be a good or a bad thing if bands wear their influences on their sleeves. In the case of El Camino Car Crash, well, everybody knows where that name was taken from... but they sound nothing like it. When I put the needle on the record, for the first couple of seconds I seriously thought that I was listening to a Beastie Boys sample because the vocals sound a whole lot like Mike D. But unfortunately... oh well... this is where the good, good things end. 

Jello Biafra said "Cock rock metal is like a bad laxative. It just don't move, you know?" in 1986, and 15 years later I might add: "Amen, Jello! And modern hardcore, too." El Camino Car Crash seem to be good people, their label Take It Back is good ("TAKE IT BACK supports an anti-racist, anti-fascist, religion-free, gay-positive, pro-choice, drug-free, and animal-friendly attitude."), and this EP is pretty nice and decent. But holy fucking shit! I don't want my hardcore to be nice and decent, I want it to be angry, furious, violent, noisy, fucked up and offensive... is that really to much to ask?! 

I don't want lyrics like "Big, big, bigger, we need to grow / don't, don't, don't, don't stop the flow / more, more, more, in the convenience store / earn, earn, earn, and don't forget to learn." ... I mean... honestly?! If there is a band that has a record out with lyrics like these, then I am the fucking Morrissey of the ghetto (which I am, no doubt, but that's another story for another day). Maybe it is something about getting older, but this shit makes me fucking angry... and anger is something that this band would need: scream because you're fucking furious, not because you can't hold a note! And don't put your friends on the cover and in the booklet because I don't feel like looking at pictures of kiddies (unless they are female jailbait), and hardcore is not something everyone should agree on. Hardcore should alienate and offend people! And yeah, well... this record is offensive to me, just not in the way I want it.

I am sorry, dear El Camino Car Crash (well, not really... but it sounds nice if I say that!), but someone has to drop their skinny jeans and get the long overdue spanking from this grumpy grandpa. Today it's your turn. At least the record title is appropriate, I'll give you that. At least the songs are short. That said, Routine is as exciting as: 

  • German political correctness,
  • vegan acoustic hangouts,
  • non-alcoholic beer,
  • the tote bag merchandise line of any "crust" band post-2003, or
  • the reincarnation of Black Flag.

Thanks, but no thanks.


February 24, 2014


Daniel is one talented motherfucker.

Bow before the kings of scuzz rock! Virginia’s Satan’s Satyrs are here to informally deliver the word of doom about their latest out-of-control doom punk soufle. Multi-instrumentalist Claythanas here, dropping the mic on us. Greetings, dear one, ‘tis we!

1. What are the tunes spinning in Satan's Satyrs dungeon lately? Any recent bands shedding some influence on your sound? Do you prefer “Dopethrone”-era or “Black Masses”-era Electric Wizard? 

We've been playing "Vol. 4," "Outsideinside," some Curved Air, the first B.Ö.C., the first UFO. Icecross is a band we've all been digging lately. 

I actually like all the Wizard records. I think that if you listen to one era, but not another you're missing out. Every record has it's own sound and they each serve a purpose in the grand scheme of their discography. I will say that "The Chosen Few" is probably my favorite Wizard track ever.

2. Tell us how you obtain that inimitable fat Satan’s Satyrs sound. Home taping?

By accident, really. I don't even know how I got that sound. But yeah, when I recorded "Wild.." it was at my home. I didn't have a clue. I just recorded everything in the red. It's the only way I know.

3. Describe the forthcoming album with a grindhouse movie title and tag line.

Die Screaming, "You're gonna die with a curse on your tongue and a scream in your lungs..."

4. Does primitive music require primitive lyrics? When penning down the lyrics, do you just shave them from the top of your head or do you require some nice ingredients to "get into the mood"?

I don't know. I take great care when writing my lyrics. It can be a long, difficult process, lasting weeks, months. Sometimes all the words fall right into place, but more often than not I start with one line or a title and just let that brew for a bit while the rest of the song develops. I usually write the music first so I can have the words fit well with the groove of the song.

5. What new and strange apparitions to the music scene do you recommend checking out? Recommend us some lesser known tunes for our sanity.

I can't say that I've been listening to many new bands lately. The only record I can think of off the top of my head was the Purson record. It's so easy to be disappointed by all the new shit out there these days that I usually don't even bother checking anything out.

6. What is the best that has happened to SS? What about the worst? Any fond or less fortunate memories that you want to share? 

The best thing that has happened to this band so far was playing Roadburn 2013. It was a great step forward for the band and me personally in a number of ways. I can't think of a "worst" moment. It hasn't been "easy street" for us, but we've made it this far alright.

7. What kind of events would you rather attend and/or play? Big festivals or club/basement shows?

Firstly, I wouldn't place basement and club shows in the same category. They're totally separate experiences. I think, perhaps especially so in America, there is a certain fondness for basement and D.I.Y. shows, the idea being that those types of venues provide a sort of intimate experience one might not find at an established venue, like a bar or club. I personally don't have such a romantic view on D.I.Y. shows. They can be good and they can be bad. I usually would prefer a club to a basement because that would generally provide more exposure for the band, which is what I'm all about. On that note, I enjoy playing festivals for the same reason. Festivals can be a great opportunity to introduce the band to a wider audience and allow people to hear you who might not have come across your music in any other circumstance. Plus, playing to large festival audiences can be quite exhilarating. We've played every sort of show, from basements to festivals, but I am glad that stayed small and worked our way up. Bands should cut their teeth on the road, touring through clubs. It gives them drive and experience. You can't gain that by suddenly being thrust into headline festival positions. 

8. Any opinions on the evolution and the feedback your band has received since its unholy conception? Do you consider yourselves to have attained the so called "cult status"? Any advice for any young enthusiasts picking up their instruments and letting it rip?

I'm very pleased with the notoriety we've developed over the years, but I'm not satisfied yet. I try not think about our "status" or whether or not there is a cap on our success. I try to keep that out of mind and aim to make Satan's Satyrs as big as it can get. In that vein, I don't think I have advice for anyone. 

9. How did you book your first gigs? What about your last ones? 

In the early days, I didn't care too much about doing gigs so I didn't exactly seek them out. But people starting coming to us so we gave it a shot. That was back in the beginning, it's picked up since then. In the past couple years we've been touring the states with the odd international festival here and there. Now we've got a booking agent in Europe so we'll definitely be playing all around the continent in 2014. It's about time we did a full European tour.

10. Electric Wizard’s Jus Osborn stated about Satan's Satyrs: "They truly understand the spiritual importance of exploitation movies and horror culture (not just ripping it off)". A statement we can absolutely get behind. Everybody has memories of their first horror film, the first time they laid hands on one of 'em naughty horror pulp comics and some of these memories develop into further artistical journeys. Tell us about your experience of this inherent horror culture.

I started with the Hammer Dracula films when I was around 13. Those are still some of my all-time favorites. I was into the classic Gothic horror vibe, vampires and spooky castles and the like, but when I saw "Dracula AD 1972" I got into the 60's/70's vibes, films that had a contemporary flavor to them. From there I started picking up whatever I could find. Some of my early favorites were "Suspiria," "Mark of the Devil," "Brotherhood of Satan," "Werewolves on Wheels." I've always been a sucker for cinematic depictions of a black mass or any sort of devilry and that era was perfect for that. 

11. Any chance of you guys hitting the road for Eastern Europe someday? There are some vampire castles and gangs of spell casting gypsies to behold.

It would definitely be cool to a bring the band to Eastern European. I hear it's still pretty wild out there in some parts. Lots of wolves and vast mysterious forests. We'd do well to play a gig in an old Carpathian castle.

12. I leave to you the final words for the myrmidons out there.

The new album is coming very soon! Get it from Bad Omen Records in UK/Europe and Trash King Productions in the US. DIE SCREAMING!!!

February 23, 2014

Special on: Digital vs Physical music (kinda)

Last Thursday I took the final exam of the winter session. In order to pass it, I had to choose a subject of public interest (I chose Digital music vs Physical in lack of a better subject) and work on a presentation. One of the requirements was to interview an expert source, so I asked my beloved blog-mate Thomas a few stupid questions. Needless to say, the teacher loved my project and I've finished the session without failing a single exam.

Instead of writing an entire article of my own about this particular subject, I followed Chester's advice and decided to post the interview. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas for being a bro and dedicating an entire hour of his already tight schedule to helping me out.

1. First of all, tell us a bit about your past and present experience in music.

My name is Thomas Reitmayer, I just turned 40, and I live in Wien, Austria. I have been (co-)running a record store and skate shop for almost 15 years, I set up shows for nobodies and bigger names alike, I used to run a small DIY record label, did publish 4 issues of a glossy professional music (+ skateboarding + art) magazine with distribution all over Europe and I have been buying records for almost 30 years now.

2. In the last few years, we've seen a dramatic shift towards the digital format. People are willing to pay the same amount of money (around 10 to 15 euros, prices don't always coincide) on a few digital files rather than buying a physical copy, which usually contains all the nice stuff like artworks, lyrics and such. Why do you think this happened?

Are people really willing to pay for files? I don't know, to be honest. I have bought one MP3 file in my lifetime, for a total net value of $1. Half a year later my hard drive crashed and that file was gone. I could and should have known that before, so I only have myself to blame. But to answer your question, I think the reasons are simple. On one hand, the Internet is a great resource to find about about new (or old) music, especially in areas where there are no record stores etc... on the other hand, the necessary "hardware" is already there: you don't need a turntable, you don't need speakers, you don't need an amp. You can just very easily play music on your computer. And I think that a whole lot of people view THIS as the actual process of getting music nowadays, especially the younger generation. Record stores are dying left and right, the economy is a wreck, and let's be honest: music is a luxury item. First comes food, then comes morale. In the era of cell phones, tablets and computers, music has become a commodity. The actual act of sitting down and listening to a full album seems like a relic from a time long gone by. I am not blaming anyone and I am not pointing fingers, but to me an album is always something tangible, something I can hold in my hands. The artwork is as important as the songs, and there is a reason why the songs on an album are in a specific order most of the time - because it is the artist's vision. By simply downloading a file and listening to it on crappy speakers and removed from an album context, I feel that you are devaluing the actual art - for the artist and for yourself. I think I know maybe 2 or 3 people who do pay for digital music files: one of them does it for space reasons, another one can buys the vinyl anyway and wants to support the artists even more (and yes, he can afford it). To each their own, it's just not something for me. I pirate my digital music, I will gladly admit that. If I buy a record and want to listen to it on the go, I'll just download it illegally (or use the download code that came with the record, which amazingly has become a very common thing these days!) and don't feel like I am stealing because I have paid for the actual music anyway.

3. The rise of online platforms such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud have made it easier for young bands to promote and distribute their music without becoming dependent on shady abusive record labels. On the other hand, being so accessible to everyone, there's been an explosion of new bands and music, good and bad alike, and the music industry might experience a sudden ''drop'' in quality. Is this ''inflation'' good for the overall health of the music industry? Should it have some sort of ''filtering'' mechanism?

I really like artist-friendly platforms like Bandcamp! To me, it's all about cutting out the middle man. It does not make any sense to me at all to host music on let's say iTunes or Spotify, because the biggest share of the money goes to these platforms and not the artists and yes, that is very shady and abusive. I don't think that the boom or explosion of uncountable new bands has all that much to do with the available possibilities - it has happened before. In the late 70s, everybody could form a band according to punk, it continued in the early 80's with the US hardcore explosion, it happened again in the 90s when techno and all sub genres eradicated the "star" behind the music and made creating music much more democratic. So in that sense, this is nothing new. What IS new, however, are the means of spreading your music and I think that everyone should take advantage of it. To be honest, I could not care less about the well-being of the music industry. They've had it coming for years. To a major label, a band is a tax write-off. A band merely exists to make the company money. And that scheme has imploded at the beginning of the 00s or even before when the big corporations suddenly found out that no one is really willing to pay 20 Euros or more for the latest Madonna or Robbie Williams CD - which, actually, is just a piece of garbage. In the aftermath of the success of Nirvana, labels were signing each and every "punk" band left and right, hoping to make a quick buck, and the bands thought they were on par and could have a similar career. And this is exactly where the bullshit filter comes into play: customers see through that, then and now. If a band is not good enough, does not work hard enough, or has weird ideas of success, well... they won't be going anywhere. You can sell the biggest trash if you have enough advertising budget, but the real deal will always "function" without. Good music WILL eventually sell, without having to shove it down someone's throat - it just depends on the definition of success. To some band, it might be having a record out. To me, when I was running my record label, it was selling 500 copies of that record. I think the only feasible filtering mechanism (as you called it) is yourself. If you don't feel like digging the crates, literally or metaphorically, online or in a store, then you deserve to be spoonfed what's readily available. Or, as Tim Yohannon of infamous Maximum Rocknroll fanzine said: "The good thing is that everyone can make a record. The bad thing is everyone does."

4. We all know that CD sales have been dropping for 7 years in a row now due to the rise of digital music and that vinyl sales are skyrocketing. Even small bands are releasing their music on vinyls now. Should we see this as a good thing? Is this proof that music consumers have matured and shifted their attention towards a better format?

Oh, I think it's been much longer than 7 years actually. And "skyrocketing", well... yes, in relative terms you are right. I just think that music sales in general have gone way, way, way down (and that includes digital music). Vinyl, just like anything, is neither good nor bad, it just is a medium. Truth be told, MOST music sounds better on vinyl - if it's mastered correctly, if it's pressed on good quality vinyl, etc... too many factors to mention. Then again, it can sound absolutely terrible - lots of recent re-releases are the evidence. If you use a bad master (like a compressed CD, for example), you will end up with a bad result. To me, personally, vinyl has never disappeared. It's always been there. The reason why it might be more "visible" recently is because it is being marketed towards certain target audiences: middle aged men who want to relive their youth, hipsters who think it's oh so very ironic to own a relic from the technological stone ages, audiophile opera lovers, the list goes on. As for consumers maturing, not necessarily. There is a certain stamp collector mentality being prevalent: a lot of people think they NEED to own a very limited edition, sometimes not even listening to it, carefully storing it away on a shelf in order to avoid any minor crease on the album sleeve to not lose re-sale "value". To me, this is far from being mature. But yes, I do see a certain renaissance (for lack of a better term) of taking the time to seek out an album, take it home, and play it start to finish. It is a completely different experience than just a mouseclick, and to me, this beautiful.

5. And finally, how do you see the musical landscape five or ten years from now when it comes to format and distribution? Will the physical format disappear?

I don't really think a lot will change, to be honest. There is a trend of re-releasing rare or obscure or long sold out records, and that will most definitely increase because there is a demand for it and no one wants to pay obscene amounts for a beat up copy. Physical formats will most definitely not disappear, but the CD is a dead medium, there is no way around it. There was a time for it like there was a time for 8 tracks or laser discs or VHS tapes, but that time is running out. Vinyl, just like books, is one of the most durable storage mediums ever invented.

February 22, 2014

Valfader - Opening (2014)

Last time you were prompted to listen to these guys they played a very angry type of stoner metal, garage production, excellent for annoying your parents if you're fourteen years old and on the verge of discovering new music genres. 

Now they've released a single and for the life of me I can't possibly understand how this is still a three piece band. At best, it sounds like a tightly woven collection of part human, part robotic vital parts; at VERY best, it sounds like a band that has been playing around the world for the last three decades. You know, just like Metallica does.

To clear out all vagueness (if that's even necessary), I might even conclude that this ONE song is of such excellent quality that it stands on the brink of ludicrousness. The simple vocal melody upon which the track is build, complemented by a stupidly commendable riff that'd give Isis, Mastodon, Cult of Luna, The Ocean or any other post-related music factory a run for their money, these and all the bits and pieces that glue everything together just make me shiver from unearthly cravings about what could possibly become my favorite album of 2014. 

Because there IS going to be an album out this year, right guys?

Nightcrawler - Metropolis (2014)

Nightcrawler is an 80's-style synthwave artist who creates dark electronic beats in order to please the dark corporate overlords who have contacted him from the future. This time around, they've requested an electronic synthwave concept album set in the aftermath of World War III wherein the only thing that stands between humanity and its utter annihilation is the harsh  city of Metropolis.

You already know how much I enjoy this particular genre and I'm starting to run out of adjectives to describe it, so let's cut to the chase: Metropolis is good. Not mindblowingly good, but competent at the very least. The main problem I have with this album is that it jumps around all the time - it leaves you the impression that it's building up to something explosive, then it crushes your hype and enthusiasm when you least expect it. It's more of a song arrangement problem than anything else - placing chilled out one minute interludes at every two or three songs is not the way to capture, let alone maintain the interest of your listeners. It feels like going on running marathon and tripping over rocks every two or three minutes, just when things where finally getting intense and exciting. 

But don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed my time with Metropolis. The songs are very well produced and make for some really interesting visual images. I'll never get bored of the ''Humanity's gone to shit, 'cept for one dirty place where everybody's struggling to survive'' trope. Metropolis delivers everything you would expect from such a concept: outlaws, shady corporations, mobsters, cyber technology and an overall sense of despair and futility. I also like the ''little touches'', like House of Pleasure, which is basically a two minute long piece consisting of a few synth beats and loads of moaning and Control Room which is about, well, a fucking control room, what did you expect? Oh, I almost forgot to mention that this album is heeeeavy in samples, and I'm happy to report that Nightcrawler has done a great job when it comes to placement and selection. Most of them are monologues, so if you want to know more about the the universe that he's created, that's a good place to start. This dude knows how to tell a story through music, there's no question about that. 

So, do I recommend Metropolis? Yes. It's a good album with a great story, and if you're a sucker for dystopias like I am, you should definitely check it out.


February 20, 2014

Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World (2014)

Remember the story of Snow White, where the Evil Queen or whatever had a magical mirror? And every day the Queen would ask it: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" And the mirror would always reply that she, the Queen, was the fairest of them all, because the mirror was a beta faggot stuck deep in the friendzone who thought that if he hurled enough compliments at her, the Queen would finally see what a good mirror it is and undress herself in front of it. Until one day when the mirror grew some balls, let go of his obsession and got a cute girlfriend, at which point the Queen became jealous and ordered to have her killed by a hunky dude. The mirror understood just what a crazy bitch the Queen was, so he and his girlfriend moved to another city, got a nice apartment and lived rich, fulfilling lives together. That's a good story. 

Anyway, our dearest Volo is kind of like my magical mirror, except for hardcore music. Whenever I ask him "Volo, Volo behind the drum kit, what hardcore band should I rock out to today?", he always replies with at least one band I've never heard of that turns out to be really, really good! Have a Nice Life is one of those bands, except they don't play hardcore, but a weird mix of drone, ambient and doom metal. In fact, if you listen close enough, you can pinpoint exactly the elements from each genre, like a musical puzzle: 
  • dark, depressive lyrics from doom metal
  • a constant state of unease via long, sustained drones
  • gloomy atmosphere and weird, disintegrating sounds
Add to these the ghastly, almost hollow vocals that seem to float around the music and you end up with an album that kinda sounds like Animal Collective in their early acoustic period,  if they were also going through some tough times and instead of dressing up like animals, they just sort of sat around, contemplating the emptiness and pointlessness of existence. All in all, The Unnatural World is one of those very atmospheric and special albums that you owe to yourself to listen to at least once. Although, in all fairness, I'm now listening to their first album, Deathconsciousness, and I think I might already like it a lot more. Suck it and see, as they say.

Valerinne - Arborescent (2013)

Oh man, this post is coming in waaaaaaaay too late, but for a totally valid reason: I've actually been too busy listening to this album instead of writing about it. It's that good. Who are Valerinne, you might ask? If you haven't followed Marco's previous coverage of their debut album, Kunstformen der natur, Valerinne are an instrumental post-rock trio hailing from Bucharest, consisting of Alex Daş (sup?) on guitar, Liviu Stoicescu on bass and Mircea Smarandache on drums. I've no idea how they got together, but maybe we'll all find out pretty soon right here on TZEEEAC ;)

So how does Arborescent fare compared to the first album? I'm stoked to report that it's a huge improvement in every step of the way. That's not to say that Kunstformen was a bad album, mind you - but Valerinne have really hit it out of the park with this one! There are five songs on the album and four of them blow way past they 10 minute mark, yet none of them ever feel boring or tedious. It might have to do with the soaring guitar lines and lush melodies that seem to simply pour out of Daş's guitar and plethora of pedals and effects, entwining into some absolutely mesmerizing soundscapes. Or it might have to do with the excellent songwriting - the songs never dwell in one spot; instead, they wander and shift through movements and tempos, forging beautiful atmospherics that evoke images of vast forests and alien landscapes. It might have to do with the tight rhythm section and Smaranche's dreamy, if somewhat restrained, drum parts that fit quietly into the puzzle and allow the melodies to shine through. Most likely, it might have to do with all of these! And the excellent mixing and mastering by Marius Costache draws everything together into five beautiful, emotional songs that you can listen to on repeat for days and days...

At the risk of sounding like a hipsterish buffoon who gets too easily excited, I'm gonna say that Valerinne are one of the best bands to come out of the Romanian underground scene and you should definitely keep an eye out for these guys if you enjoy post-rock, reverb and a nice cup of drO)))ne with your morning cereal. Oh, and speaking of drone, why not check out Modern Ghosts of the Road, a solo ambient/drone project by Alex Daş? In the meantime, I'm gonna stalk their Facebook page and wait for some new concert dates. My 2014 resolution is to finally catch these guys live. 

February 18, 2014

OHMWAR "5 Song EP" 7" (2013)

These many edges.
It's pretty late at night and I just might have found one of the coolest punk EPs. Talk about winning, this 5 song EP is not only a good punk EP, but a very good trip to the early 80s hardcore punk scene that was about 97% BLACK FLAG and some circle jerking minors threathing blabla. I've gotten word of this band from their split w/ SATAN'S SATYRS which I immediately had to order and got really surprised when the B-side sounded very pounding and self-sustained like that. If SATAN'S SATYRS had not been on that split, it would have still been worth buying, and that's saying a whole lot for OHMWAR, considering the music SS manages to put out. Both bands had a BLACK FLAG cover.

What I love about this EP is that it takes pretty much all of the non-RAMONES aspects of punk that I've come to know and love and combine them together, and by that I mean the rowdyness of BLACK FLAG with the chillness of early-DEAD KENNEDYS, creating something both catchy and gut-wrenching. Random lyrical themes create the perfect picture: 10 minutes and change of unadulterated punk in its true meaning, with a pretty personal touch for good measure.

These guys deserve way more attention.


February 17, 2014

I Want You Dead - ΑΩ (2012)

Dark, furious, grinding metallic hardcore from the Greek region of Patras. I stumbled upon I Want You Dead by accident this morning and I couldn't let go. ΑΩ brings 4 tracks of pissed off noise with anti-Christian themes and surprisingly melodic touches. This EP clocks in at just 10 minutes and it will definitely leave you craving for more. Luckily, there's another EP featuring remixes of these songs that turn them into ominous droning chants, showing off a different side of the music. Well worth your time, I just hope these guys return with more hardcore!

Available as pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp. 

February 14, 2014

Hammerdrone - Clone Of Europa (2014)

Even though I missed out on the debut EP of these dudes, I think it might just be time for me to cover them. 

As Chester said himself in the EP review, the main tool of the trade for these fine gentlemen is melodic death metal. And if that wasn't enough, they've upped the game a little bit so that the cue here for 'Clone Of Europa' is straight up extreme metal. They say so on their webpage, and they couldn't be more right.

Taking everything into account, from raspy and screamed vocals, to black metal style drumming, some insane soloing which will definitely make you want to lick the fret board of the nearest guitar you can find, and lastly some great RIFFS, Hammerdrone offers a no bullshit, no synths, no clean vox, in your face fifty minutes of the most exciting music 2014 has delivered so far to my ears. What adds even more to this feeling is the absolute frankness and baddassness of their song titles. Admit it, you only wished you had wrote an album that starts with a song named 'Prometheus Is Murdered', to which you add the monster title track, spice it up with some 'Death In The Yukon' and top it with two of the most gargantuesque closers ever made (yes, you heard me, TWO!): 'Kelpie' for smashing things up and then 'Stormchaser' to make for a numbness inducing experience that'll make anyone hit repeat, because for damn sure that after you've chased a storm and eventually escaped from it, you'll want to murder Prometheus all over again!

And if that hasn't gotten your attention up until now, I don't know what else will.

Oh yeah, maybe I do: this beast is out TODAY, so brush up your wallets ladies and gentlemen, while you embrace the wonder of Hammerdrone. Just click to get your piece, minions!

February 11, 2014

Arc Neon - Technicolor Workout (2014)

''It's that time of the year'', as Arc Neon himself put it. Not for paying your mortgage or some boring shit that only responsible adults do, but for another Arc Neon release. As you may know, we here at TZEEEAC are suckers for good electronic music, especially if it's inspired by the 80's (a.i, retrosynth). Basically, if the cover of your album depicts cyborgs punching robot kangaroos, you've got our attention.

Sadly, Technicolor Workout does not meet the above mentioned criteria, but we'll make an exception on the grounds of being a killer of a release (just look what one semester at Law School did to my vocabulary!). While Blood Sport 2092 was a bumpy trip to a dystopian near-future where evil corporations rule the world and slaves are forced to fight each other in gladiatorial-like shows, Technicolor Workout is a more, if not optimistic and colorful, less dystopian-ish kind of album. In fact, it's a straight-up workout VHS that every fitness enthusiast from the 80's would've wanted to own. Just imagine a ten minute long 80's montage wherein a pumped-up Arnold Schwarzenegger is jogging, jumping over park benches and occasionally stopping for a few hundred push-ups in preparation for his next big kick-box game, all while dusk is setting in New Los Angeles. You know what, fuck this stupid blog, I'm jumping in the first plane to Hollywood. I'm gonna turn this shit into a movie.

To make things even sweeter, Arc Neon have upped the production values and added a large number of sounds and rhythms. The bitchin' sax from Forbidden Dance, the guitar riffs from Heat of the Night, and Dana Jean Phoenix's voice from the same song... Boy, oh boy! You won me for life. I would've fallen in love with her straight away were I not to know that she is in fact a katana-wielding assassin in the service of whatever shady corporation pays more. 

Technicolor Workout is a welcomed departure from their previous releases. It's flashy, colorful and most important of all, it has an animated hot chick lifting weight on the cover. If that doesn't make it a must-buy for you, I don't know what will.


February 10, 2014

Lay's Chips: Garlic & Yogurt VS Mushrooms & Sour Cream

This post needed to happen at some point, if only due to the sheer shittyness of Lay's marketing campaign for its latest potato chips flavors. Pitting two of Romania's worst taste makers against each other in a series of pastoral commercials featuring mushrooms, garlic and some sort of deep, intense hatred between the two, Lay's has managed to grab the attention of mouthbreathers across the land, appealing to the innate Romanian sensitivity to rural bliss. I have tried both flavors and I am here to give you the 411 on the newest offerings from Lay's. Let's proceed in a highly organized manner. 


THE WHO: Puya is a Romanian singer best known for being part of a Bucharest-based thugged-out hip-hop group back in the 90s, called La Familia. Predictable law troubles and a lawsuit over their name (filed by notorious Romanian rappers BUG Mafia) followed, forcing the band to change their name and drop off the radar. Whatever shred of talent Puya might have had in the 90s is long gone and he is currently known for creating some of the worst, god awful music ever to spam the broad waves. Here, see for yourself. Holy shit, that sucks!

THE WHAT: Puya's flavor is garlic & yogurt. That's 2/3 of the things needed to create tzatziki sauce, which is delicious, so I would say his flavor already got started on the right foot. Upon opening the bag, you are greeted by a nice whiff that smells cool and herbal and foretells good things. Indeed, when I first tasted these, I was pleasantly surprised by the initial cooling yogurt flavor, which is then followed by a slight garlic aroma and some discrete herbs, too. Eating a whole bag of these turned out to be no problem at all - they're tasty and refreshing and I wolfed them down while watching The Walking Dead. Good stuff, would buy again.


THE WHO: Cabral is (somehow) a Romanian TV host, best known for hosting a night-time tabloid-like show on a ladies' TV station where he talks about things nobody but bored housewives care about - petty celebrity gossip and... that's about it. He had minor roles in a few horrible Romanian soap operas, too. He also has a blog about random stuff he likes or whatever. I don't know. 

THE WHAT: Cabral's mushroom/sour cream combo isn't a new flavor by any means. In fact, Lay's has been peddling this flavor in our neck of the woods for what seems like several years now. I'm pretty sure this is like the third iteration of this particular type of chips. They're supposed to be a "seasonal" flavor reminiscent of autumn, but god damn it, I swear you can get these in one packaging or another no matter what season you happen to be experiencing. As you can tell, I'm not terribly excited about them, although they're not bad by any means. The combination of mushrooms and sour cream results in a heavy, full-bodied taste with an earthy feel to it that does a pretty good job of emulating a rustic mushroom stew with plenty of sour cream, for those cold winter afternoons when you get back in the house after chopping wood outside in the blizzard. The hefty, pregnant taste does become a bit much after a while, so perhaps these chips are best shared with someone else. 

THE VERDICT: There's no accounting for taste, obviously, but for this junk food aficionado, the verdict is clear: Puya's Garlic & Yogurt chips are the definite winner of this competition, due to the tasty combination of flavors and the refreshing taste. Even though they're endorsed by an annoying music star I can't stand, I'm definitely buying these again in the future. TEAM PUYA! 

What about you? Which of these two flavors do you prefer? Do you feel cheated that Lay's keeps pushing mushrooms and sour cream down your throat year after year? Why aren't they making tzatziki chips already? Pls respond.

February 8, 2014

BLACK MAGIC "Wizard's Spell" (2014)

The way I see it, there's two ways to play heavy metal in the year of our Lord, 2014: you either want to go all out on looking like you just came out of '83 and be the coolest band this side of Missouri, or focus on actually sounding like the bands you worship for a change. That's the difference between BLACK MAGIC and, let's say, a group like WHITE WIZZARD. Only one of these bad boys forgot that they're not a retro act and have made a solemn pledge to play heavy metal like "it used to be played". No need for that, heavy metal is timeless.

That's where BLACK MAGIC actually shines through. They play something new to your ears, yet so familiar you don't know what's happening. The vocals, the twin guitars, the pounding bass and drums have all settled inside your head since you first heard "Killers" or "Sad Wings Of Destiny", yet only now do you look at them from the outside, and see the whole ansamble: no bullshit heavy metal. No trends. No mosh. No core. No Bullshit. Straight to the point. You've heard it before, now you hear it again and it's just the greatest thing in the world again and again and again.

The cover art and occult themes just seem to be additions to the gift that keeps on giving that this album is. "Mandatory" listen for fans not of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Oz etc. but of top notch metal, fun, magick and fast, fruitful riffage.

Bands like BLACK MAGIC still bring hope as to where metal stands today.


February 7, 2014

CHILL VIBEZ: Juleah - Entangled and Entwined (2013)

Oh man, the recent terrible weather is really wearing me down. Between rain, snow, never ending blizzards and freezing temperatures, I feel like I haven't seen the sun in forever. Lately it's been getting a little warm, so the snow has started melting into that horrible brown, mushy substance that stains your pants the minute you go out. Long story short, it's gross outside and I hate it. I hate you too.

Enter Juleah, a cute singer and multi-instrumentalist from Austria, who seems determined to chase away the winter and bring me the summery vibes I crave. Her newest album called Entangled and Entwined is a superb collection of songs mixing slow rock, jazz and shoegaze and Juleah seems to craft her songs with only one purpose in mind: chilling. The music is guitar driven with minimal percussion and soft, mellow vocals. The album's title is spot on, as Juleah's guitar lines and chords often coil around each other like those sweet neon green snakes that live in the tropical forests, creating a nice, layered feel. If you listen closely, you can catch small glimpses of blues, country, stoner and psych rock in Juleah's guitar playing, but the album lends itself much better as background music to a lazy relaxing morning. It makes me wanna eat strawberries with whipped cream. It makes me wanna sit on the sand by the sea like a beached turtle, with just my feet in the water, enjoying the sun. It makes me wanna pour vanilla ice cream on my head and let it melt and maybe later some dogs could come and lick it off my face. It makes me wanna swim in grape jelly. Gah!

This album is pretty much awesome in every way and Juleah should be really proud of it. Big thanks to Russian Winter Records too, who send us amazing music on the regular. You guys rule. Now I'm going to hit play on Entangled and Entwined again and imagine it's summer all over again. Hoo doggy!


February 3, 2014

FUTURISTIC SYNTH-HOP: Cairoglyphs - The Veil (2014)

Cairoglyphs is the musical entity created by the Kansas City-based producer and hip-hop artist Ryan Forest and the first release under this name, titled The Veil, is the type of debut with the ability to hammer you down upon first listen, while managing to cleverly avoid all the over-used tropes in hip-hop.

Much like his fellow Kansas City native Mac Lethal (pretty much my favorite dude in hip-hop; I've written about his stuff here, here and here), Forest is adept at delivering fast-flowing, intricate rhymes that come together like the jagged pieces of a weird 3D puzzle, making you think to yourself "how in the fuck did he come up with this stuff?!". There's all sorts of mentions and references to scientific, religious, technological and mystical concepts all throughout the 7 songs on this EP, so if you came here looking for songs about swag and bitches, you're in the wrong neighborhood. In fact, I'm pretty much sure you've ended up in a neighborhood where every inhabitant is either a cyborg or a thug with nanoimplants and a skull gun embedded in his forehead and where there is no sunlight, only neon lights. Further adding to the bleak, retro-futuristic atmosphere are the beats - sweet baby Philip K. Dick, the beats! Cairoglyphs' producing skills are amazing, being able to effortlessly produce enticing sonic backdrops for the lyrics, blending synthwave and techno/house elements into dark, pulsating melodies that perfectly complement the grimy, dystopian feel of the music, while also being strangely danceable and headbangable.

Cairoglyphs is definitely one of the most original and enticing hip-hop projects I've ever listened to and if you're interested in dark, ominous, futuristic beats and flawless wordsmanship, you should quit whatever you're doing right now and slam the play button. I've been listening to this for the past week and I'm already chomping at the bit for more material from Ryan Forest. Back to the matrix!