Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Ipecac Recordings

One giant forty-five plus minute track of abstraction, “Ov” is an exercise in the exploration of repetitive musical sequences designed to give the listener insight as to the possibilities of music without rules, predetermined form or stereotypical structure.

The brainchild of guitarist Mick Barr and Drummer Josh Blair, Orthrelm at times sounds like a skipping CD as the duo ride out existential musical equations to their furthest limits, but if one listens closely, you’ll be able to pick out distinct nuances that embellish this bizarre experiment with slight flavors that you might not hear at first listen.

In order to pull off the immense repetitive sequences on this record, it must have taken firstly, an intense amount of physical dexterity and endurance and secondly, an extreme passion to discover what could be made of music without limitation. A winding, drawn out exemplification of creativity, this record will most certainly be dismissed as complete and utter noise by your parents, but in it’s almost absurd repetition, one will find that upon careful attention, this is an amazing bundle of noise which is quite unlike any other.

An awkward yet intriguing hullabaloo, “Ov” is a sonic testament to the unusual like none other you have ever heard.

by: Static

Friday, October 10, 2008


Victory Records

Deep, intellectual-minded rhetoric and wild musical arithmetic fuels Between The Buried And Me on Alaska.” as the band does their damnedest to portray their art in an unconventional fashion. Incorporating the pig screams of grind, deathly growls, and heartfelt clean vocals with elements of electronica, thrash metal, death metal, metalcore and progressive overtones, this album is a veritable melting pot of sounds that grab the listener’s attention simply on the basis of their unique attributes.

BTBAM certainly cannot be accosted for a lack of creative influence in their songwriting as songs as “Croakies And Boat Shoes” and the schizophrenic title track surely attest. And by mish-mashing these diverse stylizations, “Alaska” becomes an exercise in musical adventure. At times the band’s wild mood swings can become challenging, making this a record that is not recommended for those that are not open minded, however, in light of the popularity of hybrids these days, the severe variations might be less unusual than one might imagine.

Whether or not Between The Buried And Me will prove to be a continuing force is subject to question, as the massive influx of groups that are spanning genres in this day and age is ever growing, and this type of experimentation is often shunned by those who favor material that is more focused and simpler to pigeonhole. That said, there’s much to discover here if you have the patience to sort it all out and “Alaska” provides more than enough listening enjoyment for those who are intrigued by bands that craft music that runs the gamut of stylistic variations

By: Shovelhead

BEECHER - Resention Is A Big Word In A Small Town

Resention Is A Big Word In A Small Town
In At The Deep End Records - 2004

Clocking in at just less than thirty minutes, this MCD gives you a pretty good idea of what Beecher is all about. The band puts forth some tremendous riffs and interesting tempo changes.

Having said that, Ed Godby’s high-end screeching becomes irritating very quickly. He simply lacks power in his screams, causing the bands thick, gigantic riffs to become ineffective. Godby sounds more like a chicken clucking away than a ballsy ‘core singer (and yes, one must have balls to sing core music). The jazzy beats put forth by Will Shaw in “Megadrive vs. SNES” are phenomenal, ranking with some of the most interesting beats of the year, but the clucking spoils the fun.

Godby doesn’t fare so well when attempting melodic vocals either, often coming in off key and sounding somewhat tone deaf in general. The instrumentation on this record is fantastic and all of these songs would be killer if there wasn’t some mousy fellow screaming “Fuck you” over top of it in that clucky, squeaky voice.

It is even respectable to consider that Godby might just be trying to sound a little different, but it simply does not work. Shaw, on the other hand is an explosive, absolutely rocking drummer, so in that fact, you may find some small solace. The bottom line is that Godby needs to seriously rethink the silly vocal approach if this band ever intends on being much more than an amusing novelty.

Watch for these guys to release an album for Earache Records soon, maybe Godby will get some goddamn grapes by that time.

By: Hardcore Jill

BEECHER - Breaking The Fourth Wall

Breaking The Fourth Wall
Earache Records - 2005

Beecher’s self-titled Earache Records debut finds the group has matured a bit from their last release, with the most notable change being in the vocal department.

The singing on this release is much more forceful than on the group’s first record, the screeching chicken noises of yesterday are almost non-existent here, and that is to the band’s betterment.

The group is still very sound technically with “Dead For Weeks” and “Mercury Switch” being perfect examples of this fact. These blokes pay just a bit more attention to maintaining interesting arrangements than many of their peers do, peering around musical corners where others fear to scope. “Burning Surface” is a textured foray into varied sonic possibilities that is ultimately more than enjoyable, offering a memorable voicing that does the job quite nicely.

“Red Diesel” is utterly rabid, as the group blasts away with a treble-toned aggression that is purely blazing. “Beecher” also includes a four song BBC session which covers some of the album’s most crucial tracks. You’ll hear a voracious rendition of “Let Them Drown” that provides a good representation of the aural thunder that these guys can dish out in a live situation.

Beecher is a group that continues to develop their sound, combining an enormous amount of instrumental ability with a knack for dynamic which leads to a decisively dangerous listen.

By: Hardcore Jill

BALBOA - Manifeste Cannibale

Manifeste Cannibale
Forge Again Records - 2005

Balboa screams through four voracious blasts directed squarely at the status quo on “Manifeste Cannibale”, combining hints of hardcore, noise and progressive elements which give the impression of something that is just a little bit different.

Vocalist Peter Bloom wails away, for the most part putting in a very fine effort, although his singing may at times be a bit to squealing for some tastes. Drew Juergens puts in a superb performance on drums, mixing things up very well and injecting a jazzy performance into the creative and commanding “Kyoto.”

Patriotic Nationalism and partisan politics aside, the title track sounds pretty damn cool. You will find the band slowly but surely lapsing into a spacey groove on “An End To Major Combat” that is fiercely constructive from a musical perspective, mainly due to the attentive dynamics of Juergens, before lapsing into a stream of consciousness torrent that finds Bloom screaming like a stuck pig overtop of massive strumming and pounding beats.

If you are not familiar with this PA-based band, this is a good place to start, but if you’re conservative-minded, the severely left-leaning nature of the group’s lyrical content may stir you up just a little bit.

By: Static


Forge Again Records

Fans of noisy, experimental music will surely be attracted to this split set between Philadelphia’s Balboa and Japan’s insanely diverse Nitromegaprayer. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into here, with Balboa stepping things up in terms of musicianship and Nitromegaprayer proving that you can scream like an Abu Gharib prisoner over just about any type of music.

Firstly, Balboa shows a great amount of progression since their Manifeste Cannibale EP, their attack is more refined and determined and as they unleash the abrasive yet cohesive “Skeleton Bay.” Peter Bloom erupts in a fit of sandpaper-throated vocals here lashing out with a familiar mantra of “No Justice, No Peace” by the tracks end. As the discordant, uncontrollable “Curare” is ushered in by the rhythm team of bassist Armando Morales and drummer Drew Jurgens, the stage is set for a mid-tempo bashing that remains all the more abrasive when coupled with Bloom’s, rabid, irate vocals. But it’s the oddball track of the bunch, the instrumental “Renga” that really proves Balboa to be growing as musicians. Here, guitarist Dave Pacifico issues, bubbling, tap-delay sounds atop Jurgens’ rolling, polyrhythms. Finally, “Rotgut” kicks off with a galloping riff before lapsing into further instances of disharmonic outburst. The sound of Balboa is raw, volatile and sure to appeal to any noisecore fanatic.

On the flipside, Nitromegaprayer offer dialectic disharmony, pitting clean, shimmering guitar sounds versus a backdrop of tortured screaming. The three tracks supplied by the band for this split are performed in Japanese, not that you would be able to understand the squealing ranting of singer Tomo Nakano anyway, as his vocal eruptions are decidedly shrill and incoherent for the majority of the time. “Article 9” breaks down into a more subdued display, before erupting into further spastic noise. But it’s on “Filter” that Nitromegaprayer is most effective. Minimalist, clean guitar tones and fluttering, synthesized pulsations make way for further howling from Nakano, who at times sounds like he’s being castrated in a distant room. His vocals are almost miserably painful to listen to, for those who enjoy that sort of thing. Where the line is drawn between factual art and retarded raving is a subject that can be left to question.

This disc is certainly worth owning for those who are deeply into the noisier side of the musical spectrum, Balboa’s tracks making it worth the money alone. Let’s hope to see a full-length happen from the Philly crew in the near future.

By: Static

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beecher - This Elegy, His Autopsy Review

Beecher - This Elegy, His Autopsy
This Elegy, His Autopsy
Earache Records
Label Website

Boy, Beecher really blew their load in a hurry. Signing with Earache in late 2004 , folowing the issuance of their IATDE Record “Resention Is A Big Word In A Small Town,” 2005 saw the re-release of the band’s “Breaking The Fourth Wall” and this posthumous swan song in the same year. As a journalist, I must admit I felt a bit beat over the head by Beecher, with three releases flying at me in under a year and a half, but let there be no doubt that “This Elegy, His Autopsy” is irrefutably the band’s best work.

Very textured, admirably experimental and most importantly, richly engaging, this 13-track affair is an exercise in sonic deviancy, from Blasting grind, to restless post-hardcore to Dillinger Escape Plan-type trickery. Beecher displays maturity and vast potential. Knob-turning by Kurt Ballou of Converge will no doubt bring up quick comparisons to the outfit of the producer, but Beecher makes an honest attempt to put on their own face, a trait that’s more apparent on this record than any issued by the group thus far.

Ed Goodby issues jagged shrieks and pointed screaming over top of thick dissonance and fluctuating, obtuse tempos. But the sound of Beecher is not always completely over-the-top, the group also takes occasion to throw depth and in small instances, melody into their songwriting. From the reckless chaos of “Function! Function!” to the swelling ambience of “The Biting Cold,” “This Elegy, His Autopsy” is a compelling listen with a massive scope. Although it serves as the band’s epitaph as is, more Beecher music would certainly be welcome, this makes for an excellent parting statement from a group that more than likely burned too brightly much too quickly.

By: Hardcore Jill