Tuesday, 25 March 2014

DEAD AND GONE


San Francisco's Dead And Gone are one of those unique type of Hardcore bands that don't come around often and seem mostly confined to the 1990's era I have often used them on here as a reference point for some of the more interesting hardcore i have posted on here but I had not listened to them in quite a while and decided after digging out their discs that a post was definitely in order! Formed from the ashes of the bands Filth, Blatz, Jack Acid and Special Forces the members of this band had a grounded history in the Bay Area hardcore scene centered around the renowned Gilman Street scene. Formed in 1993 and debuting with a self titled 7" EP in 1994, listening to that EP whilst there are some fairly unique touches to their sound it is very reminiscent of something like the first 2 Neurosis albums (and recorded by Noah Landis who coincidentally had just become a member of Neurosis at this time) whilst the EP has a good clear sound it lacks a little in bottom end and whilst good hardcore with some "different" touches was only a small indication of what was to come. Next release the "TV Baby" 12" on home of the best hardcore and crust coming out of the U.S. Prank Records took the sound of the debut EP and expanded it further there are some great twisted melodies and bass driven tracks on here but to my mind the early Neurosis influence is still quite prevalent and the production is still lacking a little but you can see that the band are working hard and developing their own sound with some atmospheric spoken parts and some great song structures and dynamics that are quite unusual for hardcore and the music is definitely a good bit more complex than your average hardcore band with plenty of twists and turns that keep your attention! However after joining the vast Alternative Tentacles family for their debut album in 1997 the band unleashed "God Loves Everyone But You" which through the wide distribution and reputation of AT and a sound that is wholly original is the album that brought them to the attention of many! "God...." is a great album i don't know if it's the better production or just that the band are progressing further but this is one great listen whilst again you can still hear elements of early Neurosis, Black Flag & BL'AST! in there their quirky take on the style is something wholly their own, whilst the sound is still familiar from the EP & 12" the production on this release is way better giving the band a much richer sound than on the preceding releases you can also hear so much progression there's more of the melodies i mentioned on the first EP and some effects on the instruments added here and there and used well with great dynamics plus the drummer is all over his kit filling out the sound with some great and original drumming! I can't state enough that while there are some straight up hardcore parts mixed in with the more complex parts that there's just no real benchmark or comparison for these guys! This is an album that takes you on a twisted journey from start to finish with some dark and atmospheric parts that also put me in mind of noise metal crazies Today Is The Day albeit without the crushing heaviness of that band! This album is an interesting listen and because of the variety of pace and dynamics on display it really does keep your attention throughout. Now at this point in 1998/9 something kinda weird happened Dead And Gone broke up and reformed with a slightly different line up and a different singer and changed their name to Creeps On Candy who released one album on Alternative Tentacles now I can tell you very little about this band as I have never owned the album and although i was vaguely aware that Creeps On Candy were related to Dead And Gone i had no idea how closely till i started researching info for this post however I downloaded the album to have a listen this morning and having had a listen to it  i would say it's not a million miles away from what Dead And Gone were doing however the sound of Creeps On Candy is more leaning towards a punkier noise rock type sound more suited to the AT label's style of unusual bands and a lot less dark and twisted than Dead And Gone were, I'm about 10 mins into listening to Creeps... album and I like it a lot however the d/l I got is only 128kbps so whilst an important part of the bands history I will save that for another time if i can lay my hands on a decent quality copy I may update this post sometime. So Onwards....

In 2000 a new Dead And Gone double 7" appeared called "Shiny And Black" (why a double 7" as the 4 tracks could have just as easy fitted on a single 7" as they are quite short) what else is quiote unusual about this is that it was released on home of quirky "hardcore" Gold Standard Laboratories a label co-owned by The Mars Volta/At The Drive In member Omar Rodriguez Lopez and was home to a ton of apparently influential bands I have heard SO much talk about but have had no interest in such as The Locust and Mohinder, anyway all 4 original members of Dead And Gone were back with a new record as i said you get 4 songs of which the longest doesn't quite hit the 3 min mark however these 4 songs are all intense and powerful numbers the deep noise rock type bass underpinning an utterly shredding sound taking the sound of "God Loves..." into new and far darker and more frantic places than even that album! A blistering return for this great band! So it would be a further 2 years till 2002 before we would hear anymore from these guys and still with Gold Standard Laboratories they released what would be their last album "The Beautician" with 13 songs clocking in at a fairly short 28 mins it would seem this renewed Dead And Gone had totally dropped the more expansive numbers from earlier records and going for an altogether more compact and frenetic sound whilst the sound is still undeniably Dead And Gone i would say that they have now moved away from their punk/hardcore influences and had a sound more akin to the bands like Unsane or the heavier, more mental early releases on Amphetamine Reptile records like Surgery or Helmet (THAT is what I mean by "Noise Rock") however as i said it is still undeniably Dead And Gone the great drumming and dynamics are still there along with the more atmospheric parts and bass driven parts too, Dead And Gone had always been a progressive band and unafraid to utilize different elements in their sound that stray far from what is generally accepted as "hardcore" and this album is definitely a logical progression whilst there are odd breathers here and there for the most part the album is uptempo and a solid wall of sound that will completely floor you! However unfortunately this would be their last album and i have no idea what the band members are doing now if anything because info is really sparse on this band I do know that one of them went on to join that other great hardcore band Talk Is Poison (See my post on them HERE) which is a real shame as where this band could have gone next who knows!

So I present you here the entire recorded works of this great band all of them ripped from my own CD's at 320kbps except "Shiny & Black" which is a vinyl rip as it has never been released on CD, go check these out if you are a fan of bands like Talk Is Poison, (Early) Neurosis, Econochrist, Devoid Of Faith and you like your hardcore to do what hardcore is actually supposed to do which is go AGAINST the rules where most hardcore sticks to that music's rigid, self imposed restrictions and narrow sound, Dead And Gone do not. It really is a shame more bands don't take the kind of off the wall ideas that Dead And Gone had and run with them because hardcore as a genre would be far more interesting if there were more bands like these. Enjoy!

Dead And Gone EPMediafire

TV Baby 12"Mediafire

God Loves Everyone But YouMediafire

Shiny & Black 2 x 7"Mediafire

The BeauticianMediafire

Thursday, 13 March 2014

CURSED



Cursed were from Hamilton Ontario Canada they broke up around 2009 and the majority of their members went on to form the more garage rock influenced hardcore band Burning Love however their members had a great pedigree in the Canadian hardcore scene members having served time in Left For Dead, Ruination, The Swarm, IRE, Haymaker, Acrid and The Black Hand to name but a few! and if you know any of these bands you will know every one of them are an utterly crushing listen and the lessons learnt from their collective experiences have been distilled into the mighty band that was CURSED!

I have to say that though their experience may be based in hardcore Cursed definitely fall into the Modern/Epic crust vein their sound is chock full of fast D-beat type drums super thick and heavy guitars and plenty of fat breakdowns and mournful melodic leads which basically is the formula for this kind of music but it has to be said that these guys were head and shoulders above the majority of their contemporaries and would definitely be in the top 5 of the first load of bands doing this style putting them right up there with originators like Tragedy and From Ashes Rise.

Whilst I am a big fan of Cursed I have to say that it is mainly the first 2 albums i like and more so their debut album "I" from 2003 out of those two. When I first heard "I" i was beyond shocked at the sheer wall of music on display there's thick multi-layered guitars, plenty of serious riffage and the sound has such a serious bottom end it's in danger of blowing out your speakers for example there is the track "1974" which has a breakdown at the end where the riff comes in again and again with layers of guitar until you wonder how much more they can seriously put on there and when the drums kick back in it is the apocalypse in musical form! Yeah they are that good! Above all the songs are memorable and have enough great twists and turns to keep even the most jaded listener hooked in! I cannot understate what an utter juggernaut of an album this is the sheer brilliance of the songwriting and the great playing and sense of dynamics for a band this intense and heavy is staggering!

So second album "II" from 2005 well whilst the sound of the first album has been retained in part the guitars this time are just a little bit cleaner and the production is great but has a little less bottom end than it's predecessor also this time round there's a lot of use of what i can best describe as that specific Voivod style of discordant guitar,where on the preceding album the leads had been sorta mournful and melodic this time round they are a bit more discordant and overall whilst the band still definitely fall into the epic crust style there's more complex song structures giving a slight  feel of those sorta "math" metal type bands like Converge or whatever you want to put in there anything from the early Hydra Head records roster really! Still a great album but less of a pummeling than the first, however it's preceding single "Hell Comes Home/Search And Destroy" (2004) contains a brilliant original on the A-side which would not have been out of place on "I" with a seriously brutal run through The Stooges classic on the b-side (a hint of what was to come with Burning Love there i think) However do not be confused there is a song called "Hell comes Home" on the "II" album but it is an orchestral outro not the pummeling A-side that I mention here.

So next up for these guys was an EP in 2006 "Blackout At Sunrise" 3 tracks and the production on this is great it's not as thick and heavy as "I" but not as slick as "II" the a-side title track is a great builder which is just slaying and really one of their best. Of the 2 b-side tracks there is one original which is high speed Cursed business as usual and a cover of "Hawaii" by a Canadian noise rock band called Kittens I have never heard the original and know nothing about Kittens all I can say is it's a good song and they do a bang up job with some seriously gnarly bass rumbling away on this!

And Lastly (as far as studio work at least) comes 2008's "III : Architects Of Troubled Sleep" their last album opening with some scary keyboard and political samples it really sounds like it's building to something there then the album opens with blast beats and a scream and we're off, I stated at the beginning that i was more of a fan of their 1st 2 albums than anything else by them well the reason for this is this final album here the bottom end has been taken right out of the sound whilst the guitars still have a heavy tone there really is little bottom end to this sound and there's even more dischordant guitar lines on here and to me it sounds like they have tried to give themselves a bleak almost Black Metal sound on this album that is in the sound NOT the music! The songs are still fairly decent on here but try this experiment take a good heavy crust album something like say a Tragedy album put it on your stereo and then turn the bass knob to zero there you will basically have the production sound of this album! I'm not ragging on Cursed i reckon this would be a great album if they hadn't chose to record it this way but even turning the bass up to full doesn't help really, I have bought everything Cursed have released except for this album and i still haven't bought it even for completions sake! This album is truly a paradox because the songs are great and i have no idea why you would remove the very thing that makes you sound the way you do... the bottom end! The other thing that is shocking about the production on this album is Radwan Moumneh is a founding member of this band and he is the co-founder of Hotel2Tango studios who pretty much record everything on Godspeed You Black Emperor's Constellation label now whilst the majority of that music is Post-rock and not known for bottom end really you'd still think Radwan Moumneh would be a man who knows a bit about production values??

So very lastly here we have the final release from cursed a 5 track 7" called "The Last Session" recorded live in the UK on their final tour for a radio show the quality is decent enough but being live and a vinyl rip doesn't really match up to the studio stuff I include it here for completions sake.

So there you have it a discography of one of Canada's finest bands, Burning Love are good but they are definitely not in the same league as Cursed and it's a shame they chose to end the band and start something new in a different direction but if more albums that sound like "III" were planned maybe it was the right time.

So your files... you have "I" & "II" ripped from my own CD's at 320Kbps "III" is a download and has 210 Kbps quality but is as good quality as the other albums you can download these separately below there is a further file called "EP's" This contains the "Hell Comes Home" 7" (my own vinyl rip) "Blackout at Sunrise" EP (320kbps from my CD) and the above mentioned "The Last Session" live 7" from a net download of a vinyl rip quality is OK but not amazing. and that's yer lot if you have never heard these before i strongly recommend you start at "I" and work your way forward but these were one seriously PUNISHING band and we are much the poorer for them no longer existing.

CURSED IMediafire

CURSED IIMediafire

CURSED IIIMediafire

CURSED EP'SMediafire

Bitch Witch


Bitch Witch (Pictured Above) are a band who I only discovered yesterday I was doing some research on Swordwielder who have released their recent "Grim Visions Of Battle" album (stream it HERE it's fucking amazing) on the Hawaiian label Cubo De Sangre (Check their page out HERE ) and i saw this.....


Now I am a sucker for all things that give a nod to Black Flag (though this is more of a Headbutt than a nod really ha ha) however the added inclusion of pictures of members of the Manson family in each "bar" was an added incentive as I'm sure like everyone who has been a fan of Black Flag or underground culture i had a bit of a Manson fixation in my younger years! Anyway I downloaded the above pictured EP and I figured a good friend of mine would really like these so I uploaded it for them and decided it was definitely good enough to share with you guys!

Bitch Witch hail from Spain and are a 3 piece band 2 girls on guitar, bass & share vocals and a fella on the drums and whilst displaying the bars and using the Black Flag font for their logo on this EP are not exactly what you would think whilst their instruments have an undeniably punk/hardcore sound I think that may be partly down to this EP having been recorded in their practice space (DO NOT FRET it's not rehearsal/practice quality it has more of a "Live in the Studio" kinda sound) What you get on the EP is an absolutely brilliant mix of styles there's black metal riffage, nods to Celtic Frost and early Bathory loads of great punk and hardcore riffsand hooks by the bucketload however they are a confusing bunch whilst there are elements of Black Flag in the packaging and in part of their sound they also have some references to crust as well but it's not until the final song "Hell On Heels aka Disfuck" which is a parody/tribute of "Hell On Earth" by Discharge that there's any crust type stuff to be had on here, for example the track "Starchild" wavers from great mid-paced punk hardcore with some riffs straight out of the 80's US HC manual but then descends into a tortured and discordant slow part which you'd be more likely to find on a black metal record out of Norway circa late 80's! Whilst this all may sound like a total mess it actually works amazingly well and this band have an utterly unique sound the like of which i have never really heard elsewhere plus it would seem that the 2 girls fronting the band share the vocals and this is really great cos one of them has an utterly unearthly and brutal howl of a voice where the other tempers that with a more shouted punk/hardcore style plus there's also a little really nice clean singing on there in parts as well however the majority of the vocals are from the unerathly howling side but they are all great! whilst there are loads of parts that put me in mind of other bands and styles everything on this EP is something that is all their own and the more i listen to them the more i find it utterly addictive.

When  looking around for more info on this band i discovered they had released another EP called "Too Old Too Punk" in Jan of this year it was streaming on bandcamp however i utterly despise streaming so i went off in search of a download to no avail but some kind soul had uploaded all 6 of the tracks to youtube and well I ripped the music from them tagged and assembled it and can also give you that EP here as well! as i said I only got onto these guys yesterday so I have not intensley listened to this 2nd EP yet but from what I've heard so far it sounds more like it was studio recorded as the sound is a little more polished and to me i feel it has lost a little of it's bite from the debut EP however it's still a great EP but i feel what they are doing on this one is a bit more straight up hardcore/punk than the debut there's still some great speedy parts and metal licks and the nods to frost/bathory/black metal can still be felt but as i said it just doesn;'t seem to have the same gnarly raw and garagey feel of the first EP  and any Black Flag pilfering has also gone as you can see by the cover....



Anyway below is a file containing both the debut and the "Too Old Too Punk" EP have a listen and see what you think i personally feel they are a refreshingly original listen and worth your attention as i had no idea these existed and stumbled across them by pure chance and prob would not have even checked them out if the cover of the EP wasn't the Black Flag tribute it is but I am beyond glad i did cos these are a great discovery and I'm glad to be able to spread the word here and will definitely be keeping my eyes on this band!

Bitch Witch Both EP'sMediafire

Totalitär


Totalitär should need little introduction for any fans of Swedish Käng Punk through various line up changes and quiet periods Totalitär have been releasing records since 1987 whilst this places them a little outside the revered "classic" era of Swedish punk they are none the less an essential part of that sound and were one of the only bands of that era to last some 20 years before finally calling it a day in 2007.

I wouldn't say Totalitär were a mysterious band but it would appear despite their popularity that not a lot has been written about them really and what information I have found on the net is sparse in fact I did a google image search for a picture for this post and i could not find one picture I had to lift this one from their discogs page however luckily it turned out to be the one i was looking for as one thing i do love about this band was the fact that tho adored by the crust scene as you can see above they were never really a "stud's'n'spikes" type of band.

I came across Totalitär in 1989 due to their "Luftslott" EP which was released on the brilliant UK label Loony Tunes Records this was before there was crust and a million sublabels it was all just punk or hardcore but Totalitär never fit neatly into either category in my opinion! As i have said their is little information to be had about this band so i'm gonna keep this brief but here's what i can tell you that they originally formed in 1984/5 it would seem that longest standing members of the band throughout the majority of their existence were Poffen - Vocals, Lanchy - Guitar and Andreas Lönnquist - Bass however it would seem according to discogs that the only members of the band to appear on every release are Lanchy and Poffen so I'm guessing that there has been a bit of a revolving door as far as the rhythm section is concerned. I believe though that as long as a band retains their original vocalist and guitarist they are generally consistent in sound and this is definitely the case with Totalitär, they are on of those bands that when you hear them you can be in no doubt who you are listening to.

So for the uninitiated what do Totalitär sound like? well they have a fairly unique guitar sound equal parts fuzz and classic Swedish punk thrashing the majority of their material is fast aggressive tight classic Swedish Punk however what separates them from the legions of band with a fast punk sound centered round a D-beat drum style is the fact that they are not afraid to mix up their influences or to slow the pace over the course of an album or an EP you are just as likely to hear things that will put you in mind of classic 80's European and American hardcore or just straight ahead punk! there's also some great melodies in some songs and above all even tho there are some 137 songs in this discography they do write some memorable tunes as well top that with Poffens unique vocal style which has an intense and urgent feel to it but isn't too gruff or too screamy and fits the music perfectly and there you have it Totalitär  . I can understand with the speed an intensity of their music why the crusties worship them however there's far more than just D-beating and thrashing to be had here and that is i guess why Totalitär managed to endure for so long.

So onto your discography! I have managed with the kind help of Andy Agz Rose of Lord Agz 77 not 666 blog (find this recently resurrected and great blog HERE not only does he post great music but he's really funny as well) to actually complete the Totalitär discography and now EVERYTHING they did is here for you I have compiled some of these together in "packs" as there are 11 EP's 3 albums and 5 split LP's and EP's and i did not fancy giving you 19 links so I have given you each of the albums separately and packaged the rest into 2 files "EP's" and "Splits" but here's a breakdown of what's in them so you can decide what you want to take if anything!!

*NOTE* The majority of these files come from net downloads of vinyl rips but virtually none of these have been compiled on a CD outside the first 4 EP's being compiled on "Wallbreaker" however i have never found a decent qulaity download of "Wallbreaker", anyway bitrrates and quality vary from release to release but if you can find better quality versions then take them from there and send the links to me! Nothing here is of terrible or unlistenable quality guaranteed and this is after all raw punk would you expect pristine quality and production??)

EP's File
Snabb Livsglädje EP (Demo 1986)
Luftslott EP
Multinationella Mordare EP
Vand Dig Inte Om EP
Klass Inte Ras EP
Vansinnets Historia EP
Dom Lurar Oss EP
Allting Är På Låtsas EP
Spela Bort Allt Du Har EP
Vi Är Eliten EP
Vi Är Eliten Bonus EP (ltd to 100 copies came free with the initial press of Vi Är Eliten LP)

Split's
Split LP W/ Dismachine
Split EP W/ Tragedy
Split EP W/ Autoritär
Split LP W/ Disclose
Split EP W/ DROPDEAD

Then there are the 3 Albums "Sin Egen Motståndare" "Ni Maste Bort" and "Vi Är Eliten" and that my friends is as far as anyone can tell me the COMPLETE works of this outstanding band. I have done this post before when i did a few posts on the classic Swedish sound last year but it was lost in the 4shared mess plus then i was missing about 4 or 5 items from the discography but thanks to good old Agz I am now able to present you this post I hope that Totalitär find some new fans through this as this band desperately need to be kept alive even if they don't exist anymore and I know for a fact that at least 3 of the releases i present here are not available anywhere else for free download i know i tried so go fill your ears with some fucking crashing classic Swedish Käng Punk!

EP'sMediafire

SplitsMediafire

Sin Egen MotståndareMediafire

Ni Maste BortMediafire

Vi Är ElitenMediafire