Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Extreme Truth

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the extreme truthVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation III: The Extreme Truth
Rowe Productions

Third entry in the Australian Metal Compilation series from Rowe Productions. When I first picked this one up with the others back in 1997, I didn’t think too much of it at the time. Not as much as the first two, at least. Over time, though, like a lot of other releases that I didn’t like when I was younger and much more stupid, The Extreme Truth‘s roster has grown on me.

The disc starts off with four cuts from hardcore punk band Callous (“Why”, “Hate”, “Stop”, and “The Mind That Rots”, no info on if they came from a specific demo, but the band went on to be called Three Times Fire), moves on to three cuts from the death metal band Sanhedrin (“Not Worth”, “Creation” and “Gates Of Death”, from their self-titled demo from 1994), only one Screams Of Chaos track, which is evidently titled “Screams Of Chaos”, and is nothing like what I expected, three tracks from the doom metal band Desolate Eternity (“Without Time”, “Graveyard In The Snow”, and “Wastelands”), and the entirety of the Karrionic Hacktician album from old school grindcore band Vomitorial Corpulence. I’m not going to type out the entire track list here. You can find it on the Metal Archives site if you’re wondering about that.

Again, like the others in the Australian Metal Compilation releases, The Extreme Truth serves its purpose well by exposing Midwest Americans like myself to various talents that otherwise would have never been heard from before the internet became much more accessible. Even now, it’s hard to get information on some of the bands listed, outside of either the aforementioned Metal Archives site, or the Firestream Music Vault site. Of the bands listed on here, I gravitate more towards the cuts from Sanhedrin, Desolate Eternity and Vomitorial Corpulence (this being my first ever exposure to old-school grindcore, I found myself saying “Wait…that’s it? That’s the entire song?” more often than not). Callous is serviceable, and the Screams Of Chaos track is…well, I tend to skip over that one, mainly because of how it doesn’t seem to fit with their output previous and since then.

Really more of a split CD than a compilation, if you really want to be pedantic about this (and I normally do), The Extreme Truth is worth a look, if you come across this sometime.


Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed


australian metal compilation - godspeedVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed
Rowe Productions

Back in 1994, Steve Rowe — the founder of the band Mortification — started up his own indie label named Rowe Productions, as a means to help promote the underground Christian metal bands, not only in Australia, but all over the world. As such, the first release on the fledgling label was a rather ambitious compilation of Australian metal bands called Godspeed.

I purchased my copy back in 1997, at a much-missed record shop that specialized in Christian metal. I figured it was time to get about doing a proper review for this one, as I’ve already reviewed the second in the compilation series. Here goes, then…

Cry Mercy – “Shut Up And Listen”
Decent groove metal tune, good hook; this one seems slightly different than the version that appeared on their self-titled release…

Mortification – “Time Crusaders”
This is the studio version of the song that originally first appeared on the Live Planetarium release. This is the first time the studio version showed up, as it wasn’t included on the Blood World release, like “Symbiosis” did, for some reason. Anyway, good cut regardless…

Nu Humans – “Shattered”
Decent heavy metal cut, good riff, bit tinny on the production, but listenable…

Discarnated – “William Melancholy”
Melodic death metal with a pretty good groove and some doomy bits hither an yon, good cut…

Doxology – “Fight”
Melodic heavy metal with a good riff and decent, if muddled, production…

Deracination – “Fourth Dimension”
Rather good straight-forward death metal tune, from their four-song demo that came out after the full-length. You know, it’s really high time that and the four-song demo get the remaster/re-release treatment. But, I digress…

Harbinger – “The End Is Near”
good NWOBHM riff going, builds up to a rather good straight heavy metal cut…

Krioni – “Black”
Melodic metal cut, female vocals, bit of a poppish veneer to it. Catchy hooks, not too bad for what it is…

Screams Of Chaos – “Eyes Of Chaos”
Interesting industrial cover of the Light Force song. This was my first exposure to Screams Of Chaos, by the way, one of the better finds to grace my collection…

Beheadoth – “Mine Heart Doth Beseech Thee (O Master)”
This cut is actually an early incarnation of the better-known Black Metal project Horde. This song is in keeping with the blistering, face melting second wave Black Metal sound, and is one of the best cuts on this compilation…

Rockin’ Rabbies – “Be Alert”
Representing the quirky hardcore punk genre is Rockin’ Rabbies. The sound is befitting the name, really, as it’s straight forward and snotty…

Embodyment – “Dishallowent Grounds”
Not to be confused with the American post-hardcore band Embodyment, this Australian Embodyment (they would go on to change the “y” to an “i” later) features a doomy death metal cut that is pretty good…

Justice – “Proven Infallible”
Straight-forward hard rock cut, good hook and riff going, but rather bland in the execution…

Metanoia – “Ripped In Two”
Really good Death Metal cut, originally from the Screaming Fetus demo; this also was my first exposure to this great Death Metal band, who fortunately didn’t just release one full-length like Deracination and Discarnated did…

Ignite – “Sanctuary”
Now, this is a good doom metal cut, with a raw and heavy groove and baritone vocals…

Thrash Puppies – “Fastest Song In The World”
Crossover thrash, again with the interesting name choices. This one is decent, if a little standard, if you get what I’m saying, here…

Rosanna’s Raiders – “Mr. Magic”
And ending the compilation with something of a wet splat is this early cut from Rosanna’s Raiders, which is an odd addition to the collection, as the band was more commercial rock than actual metal, per se. Regardless, kind of a weak cut to go out on…

So, here we are. For a compilation, it’s a pretty decent collection, running a good portion of the Metal spectrum with the styles and genres represented on here. For the most part, there’s nothing too bad with the production quality with each song, as I think Steve just took the songs directly from the demos and didn’t do much tweaking. But, I could be wrong about that. Overall, the Godspeed collection is something to get for the fact that there are some good rare cuts on here, including the first instance of Mortification’s “Time Crusaders” studio cut, with only a couple of cuts I’d skip over.


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APRIL 1, 2017

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Music Review: The CRUCIFIED – The Complete Collection

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music-review_the-crucified-the-complete-collectionThe CRUCIFIED
The Complete Collection
Tooth & Nail Records

The Crucified was one of those bands that I sadly discovered too late in the game. By the time I was aware of their very existence (that being about, say, 1994, around the time when Tooth & Nail was able to re-release their earlier stuff), they had broken up and went off to other individual endeavors. Over time, I did come across their standard discography, but as far as getting my hands on some of the demos that weren’t re-released by Tooth & Nail, that seemed like a pipe dream. Until 2009, when the Tooth & Nail label released a boxed set featuring their entire discography, including those demos, all remaster and collected on a two-disc set.

Disc One features all the songs from their demos: 1985’s KGB (“Apathy”, “All You Need”, “Jesus”, “We’re In A War”, “G.O.D.”, “Crucify Me”, “He Is The Reason”, “I’m Not Afraid (Of Nuclear War)”, “Bummer”, and “I Am”); 1986’s Take Up Your Cross (“Silent Scream”, “You Don’t Understand”, “G.O.D.”, “Seal Number Four”, “Conviction”, “No Decay”, “This Howl”, “Be Warned”, “Rebellion”, “All You Need”, “Problem Solution”, “Directed Youth”, “Washed Out/Apathy (Medley)”, “Freedom”, and “I Want To Be A Bug”); 1987’S Nailed (“I’m Not A Christian Punk”, “Death To Death”, “Your Image”, “God In A Cage”, “Crucified With Christ”, “Give It Up”, and “Disposal”); 1989’S Live At The New Order (“Conviction / Seal Number Four”, “Disposal”, “I’m Not A Christian Punk / Death To Death”, and “Your Image”); and two that were recorded back in 1993 before the band called it quits, that were originally released on a couple of obscure compilation albums put out by Ocean Records that are long out of print (“Straining Life”, and “Power Of God”).

Disc Two includes all the tracks from the two full-length recordings, 1989’s The Crucified (“The Pit”, “Diehard”, “Your Image”, “Getting A Grip On Things”, “Hellcorn”, “Rise”, “One Demon To Another”, “Unity”, “A Guy In A Suit And The Pope”, “Back To The Cross”, “Confidence”, “The Insult Circus”, “Thread”, and “Crucial Moment”), and 1991’s The Pillars Of Humanity (“Intro/Hateworld”, “It’s All About Fear”, “The Wrong One”, “Mindbender”, “Path To Sorrow”, “Fellowship Of Thieves”, “Focus”, “The Strength”, “Blackstone – So-Called Living, 1991”, and “The Pillars Of Humanity”).

If you got the physical collection, there’s a third disc that is a DVD featuring various live performances and other rare footage of the band between 1987 and 1992. Mind you, I bought my copy from Google Play as a download, and only got the first two discs. But, really, it was the music I was much more interested in, so the lack of the DVD is no big deal. Though, I’m sure the more hardcore of collectors out there would strongly disagree.

Overall, for the price of the thing, it’s a very good deal. You get four full-length albums, a couple of EPs and a two-song maxi-single’s worth of music, some of which hadn’t been available for a very long time. One of my pet peves about the original studio releases was the rather thin sounding production; here, all the songs sound nice and thick again.

For my money, getting this was pretty much an answer to prayer. Okay, maybe half-joking on that. But it is a really good thing to get for your hardcore punk/crossover history.

Music Review: JOIN THE DEAD – Join The Dead

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1-14 - Music Review: JOIN THE DEAD - Join The Dead

Join The Dead
Roxx Records

Join The Dead is a band that consists mostly of former members of Deliverance and Fasedown, and if you know anything about those two bands, then that should be enough to get you interested in this particular release to begin with. You can actually stop reading here and go directly to whatever source of music buying you use to find and purchase this self-titled four-song EP, and I wouldn’t blame you whatsoever for doing so. However, if you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, I would be remiss to not go on and explain to you why you really need to pick up this release.

As mentioned above, Join The Dead is really a four-song EP that was originally released by the band as a promotional-only CD. However, Roxx Records had the good idea to release it to the general public, both as a digital download of the four-song EP, and as a physical release that features the EP, plus 11 extra tracks of demos and a live cut from each of the band members’ collective past. For all intents and purposes, I’ll be covering the deluxe physical release.

The first four songs (“Mask Of Fear”, “Out Of Breath”, “Self-Inflicted Pain”, “Idol Faith”) are from Join The Dead EP, and boy howdy, if you decided to just stop with those four and call it good, I would not blame you whatsoever. These songs are fantastic thrashy Testament-inspired HEAVY METAL the likes of which we need more of. They’re heavy, they have a good groove and can hit speeds that will rearrange your spine if you’re not too careful, with vocals that are delivered with a hardcore attitude and a thrash attack. I did note, though, the song “Idol Faith” seems to have co-opted a bit of the Deliverance tune “Self-Monger” that’s a bit too uncanny to be a mere coincidence. Whatever. They’re fantastic, and I want a full-length full of more of this. It’s been four years now.

Moving to the bonus stuff, we have two songs from the Decadence demo from 1989 (“Killing Disorder”, “Disgraced”) that are 1980s style hardcore punk; three songs from the Testimony demo from 1991 (“Blinded”, “Strings Of The World”, “In The Dark”) that are thrash that kind of suffers from some bad production quality; an instrumental from Michael Phillips (“Sea Of Glass”), three songs from the Synagog demo in 1995 (“Existent”, “Steps Of Mankind”, “Idol Faith”) and a Fasedown demo from 1999 (“Hallow”), then it caps off with a live rendition of “In U” by Deliverance.

Overall, I would say that, whether you go with just the four-song Join The Dead EP, or get the Roxx Records physical CD with all the extra goodies, you’re going to come out of this satisfied. I really hope this is just a taste of things to come, and not a one-off project.

Music Review: CHASM – Gye Nyame

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CHASM - Gye Nyame
Gye Nyame
Boot To Head

Heavy, fast, snotty, in-your-face…this is old school hardcore punk rock at its rawest and finest. One of Boot-To-Head Record’s bands, they released this full-length and the 7-inch Squander, Squander The Bright New Dawn on the underground punk and hardcore label. All of the songs from Squander… are featured on this CD. The lyrics are upfront, and in-your-face Christian as they come, sticking an unwavering musical finger in your eye socket. Not for the suburban Hot Topic punk rock posers…

Music Review: CHASM – Squander, Squander The Bright New Dawn

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CHASM - Squander, Squander The Bright New Dawn
Squander, Squander The Bright New Dawn
Boot To Head

While I’m not a big fan of the sugary commercial punk that’s out there (how big of an oxymoron is that?), I do have a deep-seated respect for the unsigned, unknown and totally underground punk bands that you have to dig to find. There’s a rawness there that would only be lost to slick production.

‘Squander, Squander The Bright New Dawn’, a 7-inch by the highly underrated band Chasm, evokes images of really, really early Crucified, Black Flag and the Misfits. Hard, fast and to the blunted point would be the best way to describe the style here. “Word Of Faith” takes a jab at the “name it and claim it” teachings; “MTV Generation” and “Race War” denounces the crass commercialization and the public’s tendency to eat it all up blindly; “Squander The Dawn” again deals with being dooped into thinking everything’s better than it really is; “Last Night” calls for accountability in our Christian walk.

I could say something ultra-cheesy like “All the Green Day and MxPx fans need to be taken to [old] school”. . .oh, wait, I just did. . .heh, heh. . .I’ll just say that if you consider yourself underground punk, get this 7-inch into your collection. . .

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