Record Reviews: April 1993
Self titled, and why not, this is Novagenus. There’s no way around that. This CD, put simply, kicks ass. Mike‘s voice has improved 100% over Slaughterchrist, and music-wise, the whole band has progressed beyond where I thought they could. Take a slowed down White Zombie and a heavy Coffin Break, mix them up in a big bowl and then you have the foundation for Novagenus Next, sprinkle on some Neurosis for flavor, and serve:the perfect mixture. In this CD, each person will find a different emotion; from hating your mom, to hating your wife, to hating yourself—but you will still love the CD. As for the cover, well, it’s like the CD. Novagenus, go buy it. Before it’s too late.
The Land Called Ecstasy
Undertaking a conceptual theme project is no small feat, and Shadowplay merges the halfway mark and beyond with this five-song EP of post-punk resonance interfaced in subtle-gothic undertones. Incorporating a fantastical yet realistic conjected plot, songs From The Land Called Ecstasy bestows upon its agonist-antagonist superhero, the paradigm of a well meaning Godhead gone awry by the spoils of power. Much in the context of a rod-opera drama, Shadowplay succeeds in ameliorating the “concept album” approach via interspersed vocal characterization while emphasizing instrumentation as the main expressive force, thus instigating the superhero’s mental denigration.
Each individual piece stands as a central component without remaining impervious to the entire project formula. In terms of religiosity and jaunting high drama, “one 58” reminded of Jesus Christ Superstar. Shadowplay prepare the guidelines for the listener’s interpretation and imagination as propelled throughout “Rotation,” “Nightmares,” “Blasphemy” and “Tonight!!” A brief compositional outro called “Reputation Unknown” leaves behind a residual working trail for subsequent upcoming concept arrangements.
The EP lags only in “Nightmares” with its head trip quagmire of swirling repetition in need of fine-tuning to hone in on the tormenting dreamscape intent.
Look forward to the finished full-length CD release. Musicians: Van Christensen on drums, Chris Sharp on guitar and acoustic guitar, Zam on bass and vocals with Additional musicians Dennis McMaster on bagpipes and Madison Moran on cello.
Coffin Break: hard, fast, confident and unbelievable. Their new full-length album, Thirteen, is their only full length, but it is their thirteenth release when you add up all the 7″s and compilations, starting with Coffin Break, an eight song cassette that was self-produced, up to their last one, Crawl, on Epitaph.
Thirteen expands on the Coffin Break sound, mixing punk, metal and melodies. You would expect these guys to sound like your typical grunge band since that is all you hear these days, but you actually get a 7 Seconds sound with a lot more testosterone (balls).
Produced by Jack Endino, this album has a fuII force wall-to-wall sound that creates a certain energy that can’t be overlooked. This previous three-piece—now a four-piece—is on tour now. Go see them; they kick ass—and buy the CD.
Moth Macabre is a four-member Minnesota/San Francisco transplant. They list their influences as Sonic Youth, Pixies and the Breeders. That is exactly what you get.—some pure, unadulterated noise. There is a certain imbalance and conflict underlying all the songs on their self-titled debut on Interscope.
From real punk angst on “All Great Architects are Dead,” to a West Coast pop-style on “Malibu,” these four guys have a wide range of talent. The release date is March 9, 1993 and they will soon be on … the road.
If you get a chance to pick this one up, do. It’s worth it.
Souls at Zero
Neurosis is a platform of music and art with a mind set that is different from the nauseating, mediocre mainstream. They are one of the few bands that has a hypnotic state about them.
The musical range on their newest release, Souls at Zero, ranges from a tribal wall-of-noise to serene, hypnotic melodies. These five guys have created an album that may very well rise above the rest with the apocalyptic sound from within.
If you have seen these guys live, then you know that their show is a multi-media mind fuck that takes the crowd by storm.
If you don’t have this one, get it—if you can handle the intensity.
Have you heard the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion? Here’s another one. This style began in the ’50s with the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. He is known for releasing “Paralyzed,” the world’s worst record. Then came the Cramps, The Gun Club, Suicide, psychobilly and any number of lesser known bands.
They all took a style of retro music and mutated it into an almost unrecognizable form. Steve Albini who produced this album, says Mule is “revitalizing the once-exhausted notion of hillbilly punk.” Mule is raw; they are lo-fi (my copy is vinyl, which is all the better), they are almost totally unlistenable … and they are great.
Mule is from Detroit and is comprised of the Laughing Hyenas former rhythm section, drummer Jim Kimball and bassist Kevin Munro. Ex-Wig P.W. Long is the singer and guitarist. Together they combine funk, blues, hillbilly and God knows what into a tight blend of what else but hillbilly, hardcore funk.
Put Touch and Go and their Quarterstick subsidiary at the top of labels to watch for; Salt Lake City exists for them. Tar and Jawbox will be here in March, and The Jesus Lizard hits Salt Lake City in April with Helmet. Go to the show and more bands might realize that this city exists.
Check out more from the SLUG Archives:
Record Reviews: March 1993
Record Reviews: February 1993
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