Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Album Review: Danzig - "5: Blackacidevil" (1996)

Danzig 5: Blackacidevil

What a fucking mess.

After give or take about 8 years of recording and touring for awesome albums with a strong, sturdy line-up, Danzig decided for whatever reason to fire all of them (except Joey Castillo, the drummer he'd had for a year or two at that point, and the only guy who hadn't been there since the beginning) and 'allow himself to evolve' (read: do what everyone else was doing at this time and pretend they're NIN/Ministry/Manson.) Now it's just Glenn, Joey, and a guy named Joseph Bishara (whose name I only recognize elsewhere from being credited for some NIN and Manson remixes) with some occasional reinforcement by others... But we'll get to that.

The new direction kind of abruptly comes out of nowhere. Where there was once stripped-down bluesy metal (though there had been more liberal use of production effects on How the Gods Kill and 4) there is now extremely derivative noisy, gothy electro-industrial/industrial metal. Now, don't get me wrong, I love industrial music. And musically, there are some good moments here. But frankly, it just doesn't sound very good or interesting for the most part. Combine that with the painfully bad lyrics, by far the worst Glenn has ever written, and it becomes a chore to listen to. There are lots of sounds that I like; clanging metallic percussion, grinding filtered guitar noises, spooky synthetic atmospheres, but more often than not with this album, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

It almost seems like Glenn was bent on sabotaging himself at this point. He had a lot of fans, and a lot of fans were let down by this album, which I can understand. I'm sure then he thought that playing this newfangled industrial music that all the MTV-watching goth kids were running to would be a good career move, but he fails at doing anything interesting or original with it, and even when he makes a song in this style that's not bad, he has to ruin it with terrible lyrics, as is the case of "7th House" or his cover of "Hand of Doom" (which, in his infinitely large ego, Glenn foolishly thought he could successfully rewrite.) Not even Alice in Chains strummer Jerry Cantrell's magical guitar chops on a few songs are able to overcome Glenn's overwrought GOTH EXPERIMENTAL INDOOSTRIAL crap.

That's really all there is to say about this album. I mean, I am pretty hard on it, but it's not the worst thing I've ever heard or anything. I will say this though, it's by far Danzig's worst album. But hey, at least the reissue has cool artwork.


Friday, March 25, 2011

You are entering... The Scary Door

Want to know something that gets on my nerves? People who are of the opinion that, because I or somebody else takes an interest in something morbid or "taboo", we are psycho/sociopaths who must be avoided or looked down upon. Not even talking about wearing goth-attire or constantly musing about death and murder and suicide and stuff like that, but just... the people who act shitty to you just because you're interested in the way psychopaths' minds work, or you listen to unconvential music, or you like horror.

This also segues nicely into another thing that annoys me: people who think that, because you acknowledge, or expend thought on something, you are condoning it. Therefore, if you like dark music, you want to kill yourself; if you like horror films, you want to kill other people; if you examine demonic themes (even within a work that at its core takes a positive view on Christianity), you want to kill God... I've seen so many people condemn art that agrees with their fucking point of view as being "of the enemy" because it simply acknowledges whatever they disagree with in a more realistic way... or sometimes even for a more arbitrary reason. An example of this kind of thing would be how, after Ozzy Osbourne (a Christian who had religious themes in quite a bit of stuff he sang, contrary to popular belief) sang "Miracle Man", a very pointed song specifically condemning the hypocrisy of one Jimmy Swaggart (a televangelist who once condemned Osbourne and was later caught soliciting a prostitute), some figures in religious media made extremely defensive complaints about Ozzy mocking the noble practice of televangelism... after which, they condemned the hypocrisy of Jimmy Swaggart. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Album Review: Ministry - "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste" (1989)

ministry [1989] the mind is a terrible thing to ta

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

Let me get a few things out of the way here. First, Ministry is one of my favorite bands. Second, I am a huge fan of industrial music. That said... This, which is often considered to be Ministry's, or even industrial music's (or at least industrial rock/metal's) finest hour, doesn't take me to such heights of elation for some reason, even though I do like it. I feel that its reputation precedes it. Why is that? Well, I like the songs. I quite dislike "Test" but other than that I enjoy everything on here. However, this album's gestation and recording/production period was a chaotic mess and it shows here, to the point where, though the quality is fairly consistent, the album seems to fail as a cohesive work. It's certainly not a bad thing that there is a lot of experimentation with different styles, but it just doesn't work as well as it could. Feels like it could have been stitched together better.

This was the first album with the main team being the trio of Al Jourgensen, Paul Barker and Bill Rieflin (though poor Rieflin, as always with these guys, is not credited as an actual member of the band.) Also on board in various roles are Nivek Ogre, Chris Connelly, and several lesser-known people that Al and/or Paul decided to collaborate with. This creates the album's problem with feeling disjointed; different tracks had material written by different people, some parts were written or recorded for other, non-Ministry projects, and it has been said that during this time, Al became obsessed with the idea of being a 'puppet master' conducting a crowd of guest collaborators, rather than just putting his all into it and getting assistance where it was warranted.

Again, most of the songs themselves are good; "Thieves", "Burning Inside" and "Breathe" are excellent, fierce, militaristic industrial metal tracks. "Cannibal Song", "Faith Collapsing" and "Dream Song" are great examples of Ministry doing awesome atmospheric non-metal industrial stuff. "So What" is one of Ministry's crowning moments of awesome, so of course Al would try to credit himself with doing Connelly's excellent vocals on the song. The only one on here that I don't like to some extent is "Test". Fucking shitty rap-metal song with pitifully predictable lyrics. Fred Durst probably found a divine light of inspiration within the song, which provides me with another reason to want to knee Jourgensen in the groin.

The album provides probably the most abrupt shift in Ministry's style; all their albums prior to this had some kind of progression in sound, but this one is probably the biggest jump. While With Sympathy was poppy new wave, Twitch was new wavey electro-industrial, and the Land of Rape and Honey was electro-industrial with elements of metal here and there, this one is almost entirely metal, with a few post-punk and industrial (not electro-industrial) touches here and there. The synths are hugely downplayed, live drums feature on every track, the vocal style has entirely shifted to metal screams (except for "Cannibal Song" and "Test", of course.) This one sets the stage for the style Ministry would carry for the rest of its career, more or less. Not nearly as strong as its two predecessors and not quite as good as its follow-up, but still a good album... Just not the masterpiece it is made out to be.

RATING: 3.5/5

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gira Be Not Proud

Continuing to be kind of frustrated with my musical endeavors... Having a hard as hell time finding people to collaborate with. No matter where I look, nobody seems the slightest bit interested in what I'm doing. Everyone within a statewide radius seems to either want to play classic rock, country, emo, or radio-friendly metal ("stuff like Slipknot"). The ones who seem a bit more open are looking for someone with more traditional experience than I have (which I can understand, much as I'd love being able to experiment and do nontraditional stuff). People I've tried to hire for session jobs have turned me down because they "don't think they can do intense industrial type stuff" or the like. Grr. Oh well, I guess I'll have to keep practicing and get more of my own instruments and see if I can do this stuff on my own.

Also, funny/fitting that a song by God came up on my playlist as I write this. Industrial jazz for the win!

In the meantime... So glad tomorrow is almost here! It's going to be a fun "late weekend".

Tonight shall be a night of much anticipation. And also playing Fallout: New Vegas and possibly watching The Human Centipede :3

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

So, today was less boring than I expected. Good. It included going out for a birthday lunch/dinner for someone, then heading up to Greensboro to look at houses to possibly move into a few months from now. Cue the usual whining and racism/judgmental complaints from a certain someone in the car.

Most interesting thing to happen was seeing a woman stumbling down the street with blood on her face and dripping from her wrists. Despite the "certain someone" wanting us to keep driving and forget about it, to the point where she was yelling and crying when we stopped, we pulled around the corner and observed while dialing 911 and filling them in on the situation. At this point, the woman (who was obviously intoxicated) had sprawled across some stone steps at someone's yard, and another person (unknown if he was a bystander or what) walked up and started screaming at her to "Get the fuck out of those people's yard! Get out of here!" We were afraid to get too close but we stuck around until the police showed, then we got out of there.
Creepy, unnerving, and very strange. And, for me, noteworthy.

Very much looking forward to Monday. For obvious reasons. Nowadays, I'm actually finding reason to look forward to things. I used to spend way too much time dwelling on the past and lamenting where things went wrong. I feel lately like I've finally climbed over the fence I was pushed against and am running free, open to all kinds of possibilities. I actually feel kind of content, and like there's something to the philosophy of savoring life, rather than enduring it. It's mighty refreshing and comforting. I have one person to thank ;)

In other news, my mom scored tickets to a concert next weekend. Now, normally, our tastes in music sort of clash. Especially for bands either of us would care about enough to go see live. HOWEVER. It happens to be a show by this guy right here:

...the androgynous purple-clad fellow to hold a surprisingly large amount of credibility in my book for someone playing in his genre. I love me some muddafucking .
So... Yeah. Possible concert review forthcoming. Yay!