Record Reviews: December 1992

Record Reviews: December 1992


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Finally, the long awaited album arrived in the mail. The band comes from what the UK music papers termed The Kamden Lurch Scene.Other members of this “scene” included Silverfish, Sun Carriage and Th’ Faith Healers. The bands hated the term, they said they did not come from a “scene” and according to press materials it was quickly dropped. 

The “Camden Lurch” refers to the audience’s swaying and headbanging reaction to the music. After listening to the tape, I can think of no other reaction. If you are under 30, buy this tape and play it for someone over 30. Force them to listen, tie them up if necessary. If they do not like it, play it for them again. Repeat as many times as needed until they admit that this is a fantastic album.

If you think the heaviest music comes from Seattle, you have not heard anything yet. MILK is about the heaviest thing I have heard in decades, maybe since the first Black Sabbath album. No offense to Seattle, there is still great music coming out of the city as you will see when I get to 7 Year Bitch.

What is Vick, (vocals, guitar) screaming about? I have barely a clue, but I can understand a few words he screams. It has to be important from the screeching, clanging and banging sounds he makes with his guitar, and that insane pounding Chin, or new drummer, Vic Tracy, puts out. 

The vocals are mixed so far to the back as to be mostly incomprehensible. I have listened to this repeatedly, and I can only make out snatches of words here and there. From what I can pick up, one would say the band has had some truly horrible relationships and religious experiences.

Have I mentioned the bass player, Duncan? No, not yet. I will just say he’s no Ron Carter or Jamaaladeen Tacuma. Of course he does not play jazz, unless it is fred jazz, he puts out some of the hardest, rhythmic grind yet. MILK is not a heavy metal band. Sure at times they sound like one, but  there is not a heavy metal band in the world that would lay down the totally free avant-garde noise of “Spyrosulphate.”

In fact, most of the album is pure pounding noise with melody thrown in. The guitar alternates between a swarm of angry wasps and police sirens then veers off into total white-noise feedback. Like the guitar, the bass and drums are in separate bands playing whatever comes into their heads, then all come together for a little truly thrashing metal before returning to their own space.

I’d call MILK the spawn of a plural marriage between heavy metal, free jazz, avante-garde and hardcore punk and I’ll jump on for the ride.


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As the press release says, “Where else can you find a band containing members of all your favorite bands?” That is if your favorite bands are Ministry, Murder, Inc., KMFDM, Silverfish, Rollins Band, Skinny Puppy and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult to name a few.

This is Pigface‘s most accessible album to date. After the heavy metal mke of the latest Ministry and just plain noise of the latest Skinny Puppy, Pigface has released the best of the batch. An album that retains the noise element we all love while adding substance like female backing vocals and a bowed cello to increase the enjoyment.

“Satellite” will please the “metal head” side of you with Paul Raven contributing his truly heavy bass to William Tucker‘s metal guitar and Chris Baskett‘s backwards guitar. “Hips, Tis, Lips, Power!” has deep bass, Paul Raven and Mary Byker‘s vocals layered over a woman chanting her pride in female power.

En Esche from KMFDM has one of the most disturbing voices in music. He thoroughly demonstrates his talents on “Alles Ist Mine.” “I’m Still Alive” and “Gol”. “Alles Ist Mine” is a frightening punk polka and opens the CD.

 “I Can Do No Wrong” ends the album with Martin Atkins on drums, David Wm. Sims on bass and Chris Connelly providing vocals and guitar, banging away and chanting “I can do no wrong.” He is right in my opinion, this is the best Pigface album yet. 


The Jesus Lizard
Touch and Go Records TG 100 CD

I would like to thank the U.S. Postal system. The Jesus Lizard CD was mailed on October 9, I never received the first copy so it had to be re-mailed in November. I finally received it along with a booklet sized press kit. Every music publication in America and England has written about the CD by now soI’ll just plagiarize what others wrote. 

I don’t think so. Ido have some integrity, maybe not the skill of a paid journalist since no one will pay me to do this. If you want to read the opinions of paid journalists, go buy a magazine.

The Jesus Lizard’s Duane Denison (guitar) has never learned how to properly tune the thing. The vocalist, David Yow, sounds like he made a megaphone from an empty toilet paper tube then sang through it into a microphone. Liar is filled with atonal minimalist guitar and pure noise.

 Denison simply practices his scales on some songs, his guitar sound goes from minimal scale practice to full blown white noise. He can play the thing though as he demonstrates by adding a surf tone to “Puss.” The rhythm section of Mac McNeilly on drums and David Wm. Sims on bass provide a solid foundation for Yow’s nightmarish vocals and Denison’s guitar experiments.

There aren’t any horns, but the dissonance of The Birthday Party is everywhere. The Birthday Party never played with the speed exhibited on Liar but Yow’s horribly painful vocals can only be compared to Nick Cave. The Jesus Lizard plays full in your face confrontational rock and roll.

From the opening punk minimalism of “Boilermaker,” through the buzzsaw guitar of “The Art of Self Defense,” to the dark brooding “Slave Ship,” the thrash speed of the DK’s style cowpunk of “Rope” and the vomiting and screams of “Dancing Naked Ladies,” The Jesus Lizard have created a thoroughly unlistenable and enjoyable masterpiece with Liar. 


Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
Metal Blade 8 20848-2 

I can’t understand what the hell vocalist Adam Grossman is screaming about, but Skrew included a lyric sheet, and here are a few examples. “I look into I see my God eating filthy, I see my fear, I see my heart burning up. I see my soulsick and grey.” Those were from “Feast.” I  interpret it as a song about the depression resulting from being dumped.

Reg E.C. provides the rap and Jason Wolford does a little turntable scratching in “Poisonous.” Al Jourgensen contributes some guitar to “Charlemagne.”

You guessed it, this is some extremely hard heavy metal with more gang, along with a little industrial flavor. Take the pure heavy metal guitar of Danny, Lohner and Grossman‘s voice, layer it all with terrifying industrial samples, as well as some banging, clanging and industrial noise, straight from the nearest foundry for percussion, throw in programming and samples from the entire group and their many friends; then take Grossman’s demonic voice and have him scream incomprehensible throughout. That is the sound of Skrew. A frighteningly ear-splitting piece of recorded music.

Is the album any good? I don’t know, but after listening to it a couple of times I took all my old Ozzy Osbourne records and copies of Kerrang! magazine, built a fire in the fireplace with them, and cooked and ate my kid’s pet rat. The album has a parental advisory sticker, I don’t understand why, the vocals aren’t understandable. Maybe it’s to protect the little ones from the horrible sounds. Don’t miss their version of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil”. It is a pure hellish, distortion filled reading of the song and its rules. 


7 Year Bitch
Sick ‘Em
GZ Records CZ8 48

They are an all female band, so can girls rock? What a stupid question. Have you ever heard  of Cordell Jackson? She proved that females rock close to 30 years ago, along with her contemporaries Wanda Jackson, Sparkle Moore and Jani Martin. So quit asking the question!

The album is dedicated to Stefanie Sargent, the guitarist on all tracks, who died one month before the album’s scheduled release. So here’s to you Stef, what a job!

“Sick ‘Em” is a shiny aluminum slab of grinding, pounding, thrashing rock and roll. What do they sing about? Things women should have started singing about 20 years ago when they burned their bras.The first song, “Chow Down” addresses infidelity, money can’t buy love and violence.

“Knot” is about smoking too much and “getting drunk from loving you too much.Moving onto “In Lust You Trust,” we hear about a woman who had been hit, whipped, lied to, raped and if “in lust you trust, you’re goin’ to get left in the dust.” Gun”, “I want a gun, give me again, to see your fear and watch you run.” She wants to point it at a ‘stupid ass fool” with his ‘macho’ poses.

Sargent has the buzz-saw guitar style down perfectly, Elizabeth Davis, bass, can play funk, metal or thrash depending on the song. Valerie Agnew, drums, pounds away in perfect time to Selene Vigil-Wilk pleasantly raw vocals.

 7 Year Bitch don’t hate men, they are just fed up with the treatment women receive at the hands of men. In “Lorha,” Vigil-Wilk sings, “She made love, she didn’t get laid.” In case there are any questions “You Smell Lonely” and “Dead Men Don’t Rape” serve to clarify their stance. 

These girls address women’s issues in a manner that should scare the misogynist rappers out of their “butt crack” pants and heavy metal “hair” bands out of their spandex.

The music doesn’t break any new ground, hardcore punk has been around for well over a decade. Sure it’s hard and will fill a mosh pit.The real reason to buy the tape, CD or record is to hear the viewpoint expressed.

Women received the right to vote in 1920, they burned their bras in the 60’s, and now in the 90’s, there are girls around the world who demand equal treatment, not just lip service. If you don’t give it to them, they just might kick your ass.


Gray Matter
Blackchord Records

After two great 7″ releases over the past year, D.C.’s Gray Matter finally fulfill the anticipation for something more with their first full length album Thog. After a long sabbatical, and a short lived project with the band 3, the members of Gray Matter are back with the furious and intelligent sound one has come to expect from the D.C. music scene, and more respectively, Dischord Records. Hell, with an alumni list consisting of cool bands such as Soul Side, Dag Nasty, Minor Threat, and of course, Fugazi, you know that any new Dischord release is worth the listen.

Complete with the combination of both melodic lyrical notes and upbeat guitar fury, Thog is an album of powerful emotion and intelligent thought. Tracks like “Bite the Bit” and the Hammond organ-laced “Drain” highlight guitarist/ vocalist Geoff Turner‘s true singing talent, spewing out words in an almost story-like manner straight from the gut.

 Suggested tracks are the title track “Thog” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” which is one of the most unique renditions of a Beatles song I’ve heard since The Breeders did “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” So all things considered, this one’s a keeper.

Check out more from the SLUG Archives:
Record Reviews: November 1992
Record Reviews: October 1992