Boards of Chaos

Following up on that last post - here’s something to check out if you're interested in an even more demoniacal take on a Dick Dale type of sound, as brought up by a commenter (whose comment, by the way, due to some annoying Blogger glitch, can't be seen anymore*). Said commenter reminded us of the existence of a number of "1960’s Trve Kvlt svrf music" tracks that have been posted on YouTube by bands with names like The Darkthrones, The Mayhems, and The Emperors. Yes, black metal covers done surf style!

We're pretty sure that at first they were the work of one person, playing real instruments, and then some other folks decided to get in on the fun, using MIDI (which has its own special charm). Either way, they're all pretty cool, complete with amusing parallel-universe band histories and track titles, i.e., "Californian Hunger", "Surfin' Moon", "I Am The Surf Wizards", etc. Kinda makes you realize just how many black metal 'hits' there are, with so much recognizable melody, and yeah they sound totally rad as surf tunes. Such grim reverb!

Perhaps you've heard these already, they've been around for a while, several years... In fact, long ago, Andee even attempted to make contact with the person(s) responsible, hoping to put a compilation disc of 'em out on his label tUMULt, but unfortunately got no response… So, they remain internet-only tracks, ah well. Here are a couple examples, and if you poke around on YouTube you'll find a bunch more:

*It seems that some folks who were nice enough to comment already, found their comments double-posted, and then, when they tried to delete the duplicate, both were deleted, AND on top of that now nobody can comment or even look at comments on those posts anymore, it's all messed up. At least in the browsers we’ve tried. D’oh. C'mon, Blogger/Google! It’s a free platform, but still. We're thinking that if we switch the template we're using that might fix the problem, we'll see...


Surf 'til death


I became a fan of surf music long before I got into metal, after hearing "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris as a kid. And I have always thought that there's a bit of a connection - instrumental surf music is mostly guitar-centric, often speedy, with the "ripping" qualities that I found I later also prized in metal. Still, it was a surprise to see that instrumental guitar slinger Davie Allan, famed for doing soundtracks with his band the Arrows for B-grade biker exploitation flicks back in the sixties (like The Wild Angels), now has a release out on extreme metal label Relapse! Even stranger, it's a split EP with the prolific Joel Grind, of one-man retro thrash outfit Toxic Holocaust. WTF??

Joel Grind seems like a cool guy and all; I've wanted to like his stuff, but Toxic Holocaust aways fell short for me, even though it for sure always looked the part. I will confess, however, to loving some tracks, especially "It's Fucking Happy Time," from the D-beat Street Rock n Rollers album by Tiger Junkies, Joel Grind's not-terribly-PC collaboration with the guy from Japanese sleaze thrashers Abigail. But anyway, what's Joel Grind doing on a split with Davie Allan? Well, guess what, he's ALSO playing surf music, and his tracks (they each do two instrumentals) are remarkably rad.

First up are Davie's cuts, both the sort of fuzzed-out rippers you'd expect from this past master of cycle-delic rockin', his guitar having plenty of vroom-vroom to it, while the beats are gonna get the beach-blanket go-go girls dancing. One of 'em has kind of got a rhythm reminiscent of "Please Don't Touch" (the '50s tune later popularized and metalized by Headgirl aka Motorhead & Girlschool), and the other is a perhaps a bit of a "Peter Gunn" variant, nothing wrong with that.

Then Joel Grind offers up two tracks of his own, and damn if he doesn't hang just fine with Allan, despite his relative inexperience in the surf genre. With rapid pulse and sinister vibe, you can hear how they're really sort of metal songs (listen close, is that a guitar effect or a blackened vokill grunt?), done surf-style, which works great, as I would have expected.

All in all, a pretty cool, unexpected blast of, uh, surf-sludge music? The biker/horror imagery (nice art direction here, btw) also helps to explain why this makes sense on Relapse. So, points for presentation, points for being a wonderfully WTF? pairing - and heck, this is probably the best thing I've heard from Joel Grind yet, wouldn't mind a whole album of him doing these sort of surf/biker instrumentals. (-Allan)


Out of the womb...


Man, it's been like almost three months since I've written a review… Let's ease back into it… Here's something I was super excited to get, the full-length debut on Castle Face from Geelong (Australia) rockers Orb. No, not The Orb, just Orb. No techno here, nope – it's riff-tastic, fat and fuzzy heaviness in early '70s style, from one of those modern-day bands that're all about Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath, nothin' else. Was already into 'em thanks to the cassette, Womb, they put out on Tasmania's killer Heavy Chains Records And Tapes label last year, so it was neat to see Dwyer & Co. scoop 'em up for Castle Face stateside. Maybe that had something do with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, also bringing the psych rawk from Down Under, being on Castle Face as well, dunno.

Anyway, this is garagey enuff for Castle Face (recorded by dude from Total Control), but much heavier than their usual fare, like I said these guys are all into Geezer Butler-y bellbottomed bass lines and shivery guitar wailin' worthy of Leigh Stephens and/or Randy Holden… The vocals, done in a fairly lackadaisical Ozzy-esque chant-speak style – a bit like Om or the aforementioned King Gizzard really – are perhaps the weakest aspect of this, but that's not a big problem since this band relies more on the instrumental jammage anyway, stuff that sounds f'n awesome when you crank it up, whether they're whomping ass with boot-stomping riffs or getting into loose-limbed groovy grooves complete with breakbeat worthy percussion action. Oh, and then there's the way the disc wraps up with some bleep-blurp sci-fi trippiness, sounding like a stoned Silver Apples, that's cool too.

All in all, Orb's Birth is a fun, fuzz-filled forty minutes for anyone with a predilection for the whole retro-proto-metal thing. RIYL: Fuzz, Blue Cheer, King Gizzard, Dzjenghis Khan, Dead MeadowSleep's Holy Mountain. (–Allan)