Monday, March 29, 2010

Wormrot - Abuse

I am 16 again. I'm angry, the world hates me, and Wormrot are the only guys that sound like I feel. Their flesh-eating riffs and eviscerating drums relentlessly pounding my ear-drums are the only thing I look forward to after a day at school of being teased and enduring painfully long classes. No one understands me, yet these razor sharp guitars, these guttural screams of desperate insanity, are the only thing I can connect with. It is the only thing that has meaning.

Fast forward 8 years and I'm a competent reviewer who's been given a release to listen to. Although young I am past my days of anger and despair, and look at the world optimistically. For 24 year-old Angus Maiden, Wormrot's latest release, in all its rage and fury, is just damn fun to listen to.

With songs averaging 50 seconds long, these dudes from Singapore take a less-is-more approach to songwriting, decimating the concept of structure in favour of gunning down your ear lobes. The longest song on this 21-minute album is 2 minutes 15 seconds. The shortest: 15 seconds. Yet balancing this less-is-more approach to the actual form of the song, is a definitively abrasive more-is-more stance on what that song should sound like. More power, more brutality, heavier guitars, more more more death and destruction.

When I first heard this album I immediately posted “Grindcore: where have you been all my puberty?” on Facebook. So admittedly I'm new to the genre. I'm ashamed to admit I only just got into Cannibal Corpse recently, and haven't heard much else of the genre. The bands label, Earache Records, blurb about Wormrot that “The new rulers of the genre display a jaw-dropping mastery of the dynamics and art of blasting which will literally shock even the most seasoned of grindcore veterans.” and for this I'm gonna have to be a bit negative. It's the reason I started my post with a flashback, and the reason for the sarcastic Facebook post about puberty; for a teenager this sort of music is literally shocking, and does mean everything in the world, but I am not even “a seasoned grindcore veteran” and I find nothing “shocking” about this release. To most of the people reading this blog, grindcore is simply fun fast and furious music to put on to wake up to or when gearing up for a night out; nervertheless, Wormrot's latest album “Abuse” is a fine example of it. Three and a a half stars.

Out April 5th through Earache Records.

Monday, March 15, 2010

QPA - Meta Dawn

I listen a lot to di.fm, an internet radio station specialising in electronic music, where you listen to a specific style of music on one of their many stations, eg. The Trance Channel, The Tech House Channel, The DnB Channel, etc. My favourite channel is the Psy-Trance Channel, I often put it on and sink into a reverie of bass and bliss. Whilst listening I am not looking for meaning, or hair-raising moments of poignant vocal prowess; there is no tempo change, there are no surprises, simply really good bass feeding through my really good subwoofer and really good trance lines synchronising my heartbeat to the rhythm of the psy-cosmos. It is a very interesting listening experience and adverse to what I would call my “intent” listening experience, whereby I listen to lyrics, bathe in the different moods of different songs and the different tempos, tonality and dynamics that come with them.

Qubenzis Psy Audio or QPA for short, with his latest album “Meta Dawn” is a di.fm sort of listening experience. As linear and one-dimensional as it is, it nevertheless stirs something deep within me. The preamble to the album is that of aliens broadcasting messages from the depths of space, of cosmic music born from the ether of a timeless, tribal “Worship Of The Vibe”, as I like to (since just now) call it. A theme often found in psy-trance is that of two seemingly opposing concepts: Aliens and Earth. It's either about reverence for The Mother or acknowledgment of Extraterrestrial Intelligence already embedded in our culture through music and dance.

QPA's spin on psy is a curious mix of the two. To quote directly from the album's “Total Disclosure”:

“Knowledge = freedom. Whatever is hidden must be brought into light. The truth is for all to know. Openness and transparency is the only way to go. To embrace the forthcoming age of trust, honesty and love is the only way we can save the planet from… us!.
Until the [meta] dawn we dance and trance into the parallel timeless dimensions of eternal sound and light.”


In psy-trance there has always been this sense of Unity and Light. Whether it be from cosmic E.T.s showing us The Way or by lying on a field of grass staring at the sky with headphones on, it's about the deep Vibe running through our veins and showing us something that may not have existed before it manifested in our minds. This speaks of The Great Mysteries, of psychedelic experiences (with the obvious connotation of and connection with drug usage) and of Love for our planet and all Life.

Meta Dawn” is a vastly optimistic and spiritual journey as good as anything I listen to on di.fm. It may be linear and it may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you're into mushrooms whack this on with your next bag. If you're into magick whack this on as you cast a circle. And if you're just a chilled sort of person lie down in your loungeroom, and yes, whack this on. But whichever way you listen, there is only one pre-requisite: it has to be Loud. Let the bass wind its way up your feet all the way to the cerebral cortex. You will feel Ascended. Let the Light flow through you.

Available from QPA's site, where you can stream the album, download it in 128kbps MP3s for free, or purchase it at ultra high quality for true audiophiles (this is also an interesting marketing idea that I sincerely hope works for Qubenzis).

“A Psychedelic Trance sonic universe delivering imaginatively, intelligently mind-bending, kick ass, electronic dance beats.” - QPA

3.5 stars

Sunday, March 14, 2010

emorej - Songs For And From The Heart

The very first thing that I thought of when I listened to this album was “Air”. Not just because the dulcet downtempo beats reminisce very strongly of “Sexy Boy” by the French trip-hop group, but also because the substance of this music is very much like the element of the same name. Paper thin, so fragile it feels like it would crumble at the slightest touch, it yet holds an enveloping feel to it. One could say the music evokes the feeling of floating in a sea of paper cranes. In gentle ebbs and flows it embraces you like a silk sheet on a mild Summer night – the perfect temperature regulation that the situation calls for.

As I lie in the fading Autumn light at the end of a hot Melbourne Summer, nothing connects more with my state of mind than this sort of music. Entitled “Songs For And From The Heart”, it certainly captivates the essence of that organ that infuses the whole body with warmth. Soft and gentle, soothing and tranquil, the musical energy of this album flows through you like blood, and you can bask in it like a lizard does the sun. Over and around you, it is a delight to feel the closeness of the driving yet perfectly paced rhythms, the high-end chimes running trilling patterns, complimented by a smooth bassline and sunny swirling pads, all held together by a simply sublime voice. I can't tell if it's male or female, which causes some confusion as “emorej” is a play on “Jerome”, the first name of the creator of this music. Perhaps it is a duo with a female singer, or perhaps he simply has a high voice, or perhaps it's pitch-shifted, or my interpretation that “Jerome” is a male name is completely wrong.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. I don't need to do any research on this music as I may have to in other reviews to flesh out what little I can say about it, as the music itself speaks volumes. A highly recommended 5 star album. And guess how much it is? 1 dollar. You get that in change from your coffee or soft drink, so just do it. And if you're feeling generous there's the option to pay more.

Support independent, talented musicians like emorej and buy this album at Bandcamp. Mellow, engaging, calm waves of airy bliss await your appreciative ears.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Red Friday - Worthy Of Lust

Red Friday claim to be the inventor of a new genre, "Street Rock" - angsty music you can dance to. This self-proclamation is not befitting of a humble band who's first album was completely free, who treat their fans with the utmost respect and who churn out simple yet amazingly good music. Let's not get carried away guys, this is not a new genre, it's just rock.

That being said, there is not a single other negative thing I could say about these guys or this album. Having given a glowing review of their first album, which was and still is completely free from their website, they successfully gained a fan for life, and I was happy to hand over 8 bucks for this next release of theirs.

With eager ears I listened, sticking to my dad's favourite axiom: "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect nothing". I was hoping for the best and that wasn't what I got on first listen, I felt more like "hmmm, not bad". It was far from the worst, and it exceeded more than satisfactorily the expectation of nothing. For there is something almost ineffable about the way these guys put their music together, the shortness of the songs, the layering, the production, that although may not be a whole new genre, is certainly fresh enough to excite eardrums that have been flogged to death by every type of music out there.

Then I listened again, and again, and again; and "the best" that I had hoped for began to reveal itself. It's one of those albums that simply grows and grows on you the more you listen to it, as you peel the layers of the onion, getting deeper and deeper into the sounds, sweeter and sweeter.

As I've said there is an ineffable magic about this music, something really great that you can't quite put your finger on and can't quite be verbally expressed; but I think one aspect of it is the ability to take idea and expression from the past and not just copy and paste it, but breathe new life into it. Although they say they are the innovators of a whole new genre, the music in fact builds on the various facets of rock music that have come before it and spurns it into a new setting, a new sound for the now truly taken-off new millennium.

On their fan forum The Red Army they have even admitted to using a completely borrowed guitar line from another song, and have turned it into a competition, offering a free signed copy of the CD for the person who recognises the line and what song it's from. There is honesty here and respect, two highly admirable virtues; there is a recognition that those who have come before have made the band what it is, something really special.

Admittedly the "we're a whole new genre" thing annoys me, yet their music is highly original. The downbeat drums, the watery shapeshifting guitar, the hollow soothing voice, the voluptuous bass, all meld together to form something that at once seems far away and detached in tone and effect, yet formidably close in theme and correlation with the audience. Another impressive thing about the band is that this closeness extends towards their personality, making them extremely likeable guys who take a true interest in their fans. This is embodied in the hoards of dedicated street-teamers who help spread the word about every little going on of Red Friday. Combine this fan enthusiasm with solidly good awesome rock, and you've got "The Next Best Thing".


Red Friday's latest album "Worthy Of Lust" is out now available on their website www.redfriday.com

Definitely worth $8. 5 stars.