Record Reviews: October 1993
When their first LP, Ignorance, came out in 1987, Sacred Reich was just another of what seemed like millions of second-string thrash bands; listenable, but not much more and often less. Although their lyrics betrayed excellent socio-political insight (and disgust), the vocals were awful and the music was generic thrash with a strong slatedroid tendency. In other words, ho hum.
So what the fuck happened?
When did these guys turn into one of the best thrash metal bands around? This album is easily one of the best thrash albums in years. The eleven cuts here display a maturity and a quality of songwriting that frankly seemed far beyond the reach of these four Arizonans; brutal and thumping, yet hooky and melodic, coherent and musical. I wish everybody wrote such consistently good tunes.
The playing is razor-sharp, and lead guitarist Wiley Arnett has grown into a ripper to reckon with, while rhythm axe Jason Rainey keeps up the pace admirably. Yet the real star of this show is Phil Rind (bass/vocals); the man has actually learned how to SING! Sure, he strains a bit on some of the slower, more melodic stuff, but compared to the guttural grunts of earlier Reich, he sounds like an entirely different voice; cool and crooning one minute, and roaring maniac the next.
Gotta mention the new guy, too: Dave McClain (new drummer) brings an exceptionally fine double-bass thunder to his harder, livelier Reich. He sounds like he’s been in the band all his life, instead of just a few months.
The songs are just that: songs, not desperate clumps of haphazard riffs. First track “Independent” is a furious, hard-charging attack track, as are “Pressure” and “Do it;” while darker, moody numbers like “Product” and “Just Like That” twist more intricate interplay of tempo and melody into an irresistibly mosh-inducing slam. The acoustic instrumental “If Only” conjures the ghost of eerie Black Sabbath “token” mellow songs; and “I Never Said Goodbye” is not a “power ballad” as the band claims, but rather a eulogy for Phil’s recently deceased grandfather.
Killer songs, killer playing, killer sound (Dave Jerden strikes again!), what else is there?
Phil sums it up best himself: “Like body blows with a blunt instrument.” Yeah, but slamming with subtly, intensity with intelligence. A welcome breath of fresh air in a genre increasingly dominated by Nirvana-clones, Helmet wannabes, and death-metal dorks. Good stuff. —The Subhuman
Imagine a bust wreck involving Poison Idea, Obituary, Helmet and Septic Death. Next, take the remains and in the words of Anger Overload’s guitarist Johnny Bend: “Tune to D and turn the distortion to 10” … that, in a nutshell is Ugly, nine new songs of pissed-off mayhem and chaos by Salt Lake City’s Anger Overload.
Lyrically, Ugly is a chronicle of the modern world—disappointment, futility, absurdity, bitterness, suffering and self destruction. All this and is more furiously spit forth by vocalist Brad (and ensemble shouts), awash in crunching guitar riffs an a harmonic leads on a foundation of thundering bass and drums. Loud and heavy as hell.
As for the official release date? Sometime in the future. Keep your fingers crossed and look for it soon. —Blaine Hopkins
Interviewer: “How long have you been doing this music?”
Achim Wollsheid: “Since my mother carried me in her womb.”
There is no artwork on the pale sleeve. Upper left corner: “last.” Lower right corner: “S.B.O.T.H.I.” (acronym for Swimming Behavior of the Human Infant. though S.B.O.T.H.I. has been a group to parade their peculiar name around the marketplace). Turn the sleeve over. Lower right corner: “produced by Achim Wollscheid 1989-1990, copyright Selection SLP 021 1991.” Remove a plain white sleeve from the cover, and the sleeve contains a completely transparent LP with no labels. Put the record on and sounds effects never heard before begin to issue from the speakers. Did the needle go skipping across the vinyl? Is there a loose connection somewhere? Speaker blowout? Power failure? Seismic disturbance?
S.B.O.T.H.I. and the other groups on the Selektion label (P16.D4, LLL, Mixed Band Philanthropist, and others) have been stretching the limits of music and sound since the early ’80s. A little searching will yield any of a number of intriguing releases from these grounds. And don’t worry those discs by Helmet and the Bee Gees will always be in the racks as well.
Organum / The New Blockaders
“Organum music is certainly not non-intentional […] chance procedures have never been of central artistic importance for me. I like to shape it. […] as I don’t work with every theory but with specific sounds and an internal urge there can’t really be any goal. So each track has its own end. Really, there’s no mystery to the music; I just make it because I want those sounds to exist. There’s no reason.”
– Organum’s David Jackman
“The Church of the Absurd marches on! Anti-books, anti-newspapers, anti-films, anti-art, anti-magazines, anti-poetry, anti-music, anti-clubs, anit-communications! We will make anti-statements about anything and everything, we will make a point of being pointless, we will drive backwards up one-way streets! Typewriters will become pianos … with which we shall compose anti-symphonies!”
– The New Blockaders’ Richard Rupenus
In which Organum and The New Blockaders join together for their desperate, yet not too dissimilar positions to record the great din of the world collapsing. —Doug
I really don’t like rap, but Cypress Hill kicks my big white ass. This is the first and probably last rap band I’ll like so I decided to write a few lines about their new release.
Black Sunday, or as it should be called for Hemp because that’s what this band is: pro pot, and not just the smoking aspect of it. The overall feel of this album is dark, and in your face. Not letting up from song one “ I Wanna Get High,” through “Insane to the Brain,” which deals with people going crazy when they see them live. Track 10, “Hits From The Bong,” is just that. A big bong hit. Word for word. The band doesn’t let up. Their album shows that. When you think all is calm and mellow, they show you you’re wrong with a slap in the face, as on “Cock the Hammer” which is a verbal eye-for-an-eye thing: you jack me and I’ll jack you back. Definitely in my top 10 with 3 1/2 stars, but don’t take my word for it. Go see them live at Salt Aire in Oct. with House of Pain, and bring your buds for the added pleasure.
Confuse A Cat 7”
Got a Gun / Messiah / Heart Attack
At first I was pretty confused myself, Confuse a Cat is a fucking weird sounding band. To me they sound like Nirvana mixed with Bauhaus, only with more childish lyrics and vocals.
The music on this three-song, seven-inch is noisy but calm at the same time. To me they sound totally original. Punk rock is still expanding its horizons.
Hurry up and Wait
If you haven’t heard about the Creamers yet, sit down, shut up, and bite, bite, bite.
They could be the tough New York cousins to the Muffs. It’s a punk album I think anyone would like.
Dead Boy influenced guitar, and a great Back Beat. 10 songs: none of which suck. My favorite is “Grandma Slings that Crack” which is self explanatory, “Pissed” is cool, but there are two cover songs that are just hot. —Chopper
Here’s another classic case of a premature release. Instead of letting their prized treasure mature and put out a fully realized effort, DGC Records just had to have another hit.
“In Utero” may sell them some records, since the singles “Heart-Shaped Box” and “All Apologies” got additional, squeaky-clean attention from studio doctor Scott Litt.
However, those of us who weren’t in love with “Nevermind” will be frustrated, and it’s not just Litt’s fault.
Much has been made about Steve Albini’s production, but Albini goofed here. Instead of his typical production, “In Utero” sounds like it was recorded on a tape recorder in his bathroom.
Kurt Cobain’s guitar is relished to a supporting role, as Krist Novoselic’s bass and Dave Grohl’s drum crash aimlessly all over the place. Of course, Kurt didn’t give any of the songs a melody to speak of, so he’s not in the clear either.
I may be more critical than usual because “Nevermind” was so huge, but any discerning fans will be greatly disappointed—and probably pissed at jock-boy’s screaming along cluelessly to “Rape Me” (while not understanding the point of the song). Save your money for some Washington bands that deserve your support, like Tad or Silkworm, folks. —Jeffy