Music Review: R.A.I.D. – The Strong Survive

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raid - the strong surviveR.A.I.D.
The Strong Survive
Rottweiler Records
2018

Rottweiler Records have been on a roll the past couple of years, here. The most recent release has been from the band R.A.I.D., which would be the label’s second artist to hail from the country of India*.

The band’s acronym stands for Reuben & the Imperium Division, and have been active for a few years before landing on Rottweiler. They’re labeled generally as “hardcore”, but after checking out their pre-release lyric video for the song “Soul Of A Lion”, I picked up their EP release The Strong Survive when it was released back in July.

Maybe is my not being as savvy about with the history of the Hardcore scenes through the decades, but after a few listens, I would have to say that, if it does apply, the style of hardcore R.A.I.D. goes for has more akin with the 1980s kind of crossover groove and the elements that brought about the whole 1990s Nu Metal thing. I’m far too used to equating “hardcore” with the mid-90s style of dissonant power-chord pounding and whiny screaming about sociopolitical whatever. This is not that; The Strong Survive is the kind of thing I can get into.

The album kicks off with “Detonate”, which has a good, heavy and chunky hook, and settles into a nice groove that gets the head bopping along. “Soul Of A Lion” gets you in with a nice thrashy riff and a furious pace, then incorporates the groove style within for a really good heavy piece. “Driven” finds the sound being experimented with, incorporating some interesting bass effects with the opening and some muted palming effect picking, while maintaining the heavy metal groove hook. “Semper Fi” is the heaviest song on here, with a great thrash-driven riff that’s furious and just awesome. “Iron Mind” gets a bit darker, with some spacy and psychedelic melodic structures built into the riffs. “Haymaker” features a fast, furious Motorhead-inspired riff that I completely love; while “The Beatdown” wraps things up by bringing things back to the groove metal riff hook after a rather epic metal opening.

Overall, The Strong Survive is a rather satisfying debut from R.A.I.D. The style of hardcore here has more to do with Struggle-era Six Feet Deep and M.O.D. with a heavy dollop of Pantera and Meshuggah for flavoring. There’s variety to this, which kept things from going stale. Definitely check this one out, and definitely be looking out for more from R.A.I.D. in the future.

[* = the other band being Final Surrender; and if you haven’t checked that band out, you really should do so as well]

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Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hard And Heavy From Down Under

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hard and heavy from down underVARIOUS ARTISTS
Hard And Heavy From Down Under
Rugged Records / Rowe Productions
1996

So, since I finished up the reviews of the remaining Australian Metal Compilation releases, I felt it was appropriate to do a review of the American release that featured cuts from Australian metal bands, Hard And Heavy From Down Under. I’ve only seen this CD once, at a small family owned Christian bookstore tucked away inside one of the malls in Omaha, Nebraska back in the mid-1990s, within their paltry “Rock” section of the music wall. Hardly any information as to the history behind this release can be found, although there are entries on the standard music archive sites that I use for research.

Hard And Heavy From Down Under was essentially a collaboration between Rowe Productions, which released the original Australian Metal Compilations, and Rugged Records, which started up as a label in the early to mid-1990s as a place for old 80s metal bands to retire to, originally. Then it turned into yet another alternative type label, but that’s for a different rant. Anyway, from what I could gather, this was released here in America as an easier way for us Yank metalheads to check out the bands on the Rowe Production label from Australia, without paying exhuberant shipping prices.

The compilation starts with a cut from Mortification, “Peace In The Galaxy”, which first appeared on the EnVision EvAngeline release. Interesting way to kick things off. Next is two cuts from the band Cry Mercy, “Time To Go” and “D. A. M.”, both from their self-titled release. Then, it’s some death metal goodness from Metanoia — “Acute Obliteration” and “Dimensions Of Life” — both from the In Darkness Or In Light release. Then it’s the three-part Plague suite by Screams Of Chaos (“Fighting For Breath”, “The New World” and “Destroy The Plague”), which was lifted from the second Australian Metal Compilation release, Raise The Dead. But, that’s not all this compilation lifted from that release, as there are two cuts from Embodiment that were found only on the Raise The Dead compilation (“Loophole”, “Incorporate Body”). And we’re not done pilfering from the Australian Metal Compilation series, as these are followed by a couple of cuts from the hardcore band Callous that appeared on the third Australian Metal Compilation (“Hate” and “The Mind That Rots”), and then two cuts from Ethereal Scourge that appeared on the second Australian Metal Compilation (“Death Of Hades” and “Tombthroat”).

Back in the day, when I first encountered this CD, I held off purchasing it because, save for the two Cry Mercy cuts, I already had all the songs on here. And even though I didn’t have the two Cry Mercy songs, I did have one, “Shut Up And Listen”, from the first Australian Metal Compilation. I was good. Even now, I just picked it up as a curiosity. To me, this wasn’t that big of a deal, as I mentioned, I already had everything this sampler featured. But, if you’re not really up on the global Metal community, here’s a good crosscut of what used to be on the Rowe Productions label back in the day. Worth a look, if you can find one at a good discounted price somewhere.

Music Review: XL & DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR – Offensive Truth vol. 1+2

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xl & death before dishonor - offensive truth vol 1xl & death before dishonor - offensive truth vol 2

XL & DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR
Offensive Truth vol. 1+2
Independent
2016

XL & Death Before Dishonor. They are one of those bands that sadly never got the respect they more than deserved back in the day. They released their debut album, Sodom And America, in 1993, but instead of being recognized for being the genuine article as far as the burgeoning Rap/Rock hybrid that was emerging in the very early 1990s (before it got lumped in with the Nu Metal tag later in the decade), they kind of got lost on the wayside, while bands like Pillar and Payable On Death got more attention. Fortunately, main man XL kept busy, releasing other albums quietly both with DBD and as a solo artist. Then, in 2016, the group released a double album entitled Offensive Truth vol. 1 and vol. 2.

In case you’re not familiar with XL & Death Before Dishonor, and thinking they’re just another P. O. D. wannabe band…no. You can maybe say they’re a Rage Against The Machine clone, but they were contemporaries, releasing their debut a year after Rage released theirs. However, I would say, if you want to make a more apt comparison, Body Count is closer to the mark. Regardless, XL& DBD is awesome. So, enough of that, and on to the album. Or albums, as it were.

Vol. 1 opens with “In Need Of Therapy”, a nice rocking track with an infectious hook and groove, and a catchy melodic chorus, and you realize that XL & DBD haven’t skipped a beat, in a manner of speaking. The music is heavy, but has a variety going with hardcore, metal, rock and funk grooves that keeps things from going stale. Vol. 2 continues on with this, giving us 20 solid tracks of rap/rock hybrid that will get your head bopping along, no matter what the speed.

Mind you, XL and the gang are talented enough as it is (a fact pointed out in “Yeah, I Know Right”). What makes this double album even more awesome is some guest spots by Deliverance main guy Jimmy P. Brown II (“Devastated”, “The Wilderness”, “Daddy’s Too Friendly” and “Corporate Elite”), Oz Fox from Stryper (“Best Friend, Worst Enemy”), musical Jack of all trades, but remembered most from Poor Old Lu., Jesse Sprinkle (“Because Of This”), Crucified guitarist and Applehead guy Greg Minier (“Rapist”), the guy from Crystal Lewis’ band, Joel Goodwin (“The Wrath To Come”), Whitecross and King James guitarist Rex Carroll (“Methamphetamine”) and Jim Chaffon from The Crucified and The Blamed, among others (“My Hour Of Desperation”). Also, there’s a redux of the song “Armed For Battle”, which was originally from their sophomore release, Live From Nineveh, another release there’s hardly any information about online. Trust me, it exists.

Bottom line, if you happen to be one of the people who picked up Sodom And America and wore that down to a nub, here’s two more that you’re going to love. If P. O. D. is your only idea of rap rock nu metal whatever with a Christian message, you really need to pick up Offensive Truth vol. 1+2. They don’t mess around or mince words. Which…okay, I’m beginning to see why maybe these guys didn’t catch on to your standard CCM crowd. Highly recommended.

Music Review: SPLIT – 100 Philistine Foreskins / Preacher

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split cd - 100 philistine foreskins-preacherSPLIT
100 Philistine Foreskins / Preacher
Handmade Overkill
2009

Some time ago–I don’t recall exactly how long ago it was–I was half-heartily surfing around the interwebs, and came across a band listed on the earlier iteration of the Firestream Music Vault as “100 Philistine Foreskins”. It took maybe a nanosecond for me to then vow to track down any existing music from this band, regardless of the style or even if they were any good. The name alone dictated I search high and low for anything from this band. And finally, several years later, I did come across something: This split with German hardcore band Preacher.

Released in 2009 on the Handmade Overkill label, I ran across this release as a download on Bandcamp. I don’t know what the availability of the physical media version of this album is, but since I don’t mind purchasing the MP3 downloads of album (doesn’t take up as much room in my very limited living space), I got the download. And while I don’t really know if 100PF recorded any more songs beyond the four included on this split, at least there are these rather brief snippets into the general insanity of this particular punk band.

After listening to the entire split, I have to say that, of the two bands on here, I did enjoy the four cuts from 100 Philistine Foreskins over the cuts from Preacher. Mainly because 100PF has a very…shall we say, quirky and unique kind of punk rock style that can only be described as Oi! punk for the ADHD crowd. This is awesome stuff, and a pity there’s only four cuts available from this Scottish group. The cuts from Preacher are your more standard straight-forward hardcore style, heavy and basic, with a bit lower production, and the songs seeming to almost blend together from track to track. I’m afraid I didn’t find them remarkable. Passable, maybe.

So, overall, I do recommend checking out this particular split album, if only to get a brief taste of 100 Philistine Foreskins. Still an awesome name, pity there’s no shirt to buy to wear to church. Otherwise, giving a pass on the Preacher material.

Movie Review: GREEN ROOM

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green roomA24
2015
R

“It’s funny. You were so scary at night.”

Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker, a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.

I know, I know. I had the chance to see the movie Green Room during its blink-and-it’s-gone run time in the theaters. I kept hearing very, very good things about the movie, how it’s not only a tense independent thriller featuring great performances from the cast as well as a fantastic cinematography that really brought out the claustrophobic nature of the story, but I kept hearing from acquaintances in the underground punk scenes that the depiction of the hardcore punk aesthetic was quite legit. The thing was, I rarely want to go to the movies alone nowadays, and since most if not all of the Exalted Geeks I would go with aren’t into horror movies, I decided to wait until the VOD release.

My mistake. I admit that now. I should have worked past my anxiety to take in this flick on the big screen when I had the chance. Because, boy does Green Room pack a significant roundhouse kick to the midsection with a steel-toed boot.

So, here we have a story about a hardcore punk band, named the Ain’t Rights, trying to get by on their DIY ethos and playing some seriously righteous hardcore punk wherever they can. Before they decide to call it quits on the tour, they’re given a shot at an out-in-the-boonies bar for a decent payout for gas to get back home. Only, the bar has a rather narrow kind of clientèle–namely, skinhead Nazis. But, money is money, and they do the set anyway, and when they’re getting set to leave, they accidentally stumble upon a murder in the titular Green Room, and now they have to spend the rest of the night trying to survive getting snuffed by the bar’s owner and his army of skinheads to cover everything up. Things…don’t go well.

There are two things that make Green Room a fantastic horror thriller: 1) the depiction of the whole hardcore punk aesthetic, I’m told from acquaintances who adhere to that scene, is pretty authentic. I say “I’m told”, because I don’t claim to be part of or even an expert on the scene; while I read up and try to understand and have an appreciation for the scene and the music, I also hold no delusion as to claiming I’m part of it. The ones I know of who are have given their seal of approval, though. As long as they’re not really messing with Poser Boy here, I’m going to accept it. 2) This is a well-crafted and tight horror thriller that is claustrophobic, quick-paced and doesn’t take any easy way outs. There were a few times where I caught myself drawing my knees up to my chest and getting unnerved at the goings on I was witnessing. Add to this a fantastic performance from none other than Patrick Stewart as the head Skinhead, and you’ve got yourself a chilling time.

Really, don’t make the same mistake I did. If you haven’t watched Green Room, do yourself a favor and rectify that oversight. Highly recommended by your Uncle NecRo.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – 4-8-2017

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APRIL 8, 2017

Not even having a massive head cold will stop Uncle NecRo from dispensing the Brutal Music Therapy!

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO -February 18, 2017

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February 18, 2017

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