A haiku about top album lists in June

Oh broken pencil
Like top album lists in June
Pointless

Peter Clegg

Advertisements

Visions: The Bendal Interlude – Ron Salmon

The last time we featured Scouse noisemongers The Bendal Interlude on our Visions segment, it was for their nasty video for ‘Odourama’, which was full of all kinds of insides and visceral visuals. This time, they’ve put out a video for another track from that EP, entitled ‘Ron Salmon’, which sees the presumably titular man (wearing some sort of mask) annoying the blue hell out of presumably willing participants in steadily more and more disgusting fashion, eventually getting in on the band’s jam session and trashing their kit.

I say disgusting fashion, although it doesn’t compare to the repulsivity of ‘Odourama’s vid. Still, it’s a great vid, created by Tom Lee Rutter of Carnie Film Production and for a meagre £8 within a week, according to the band, and continues what is proving to be a great year for the band. Enjoy. 

Peter Clegg

Also: The Bendal Interlude – Odourama (NSFW)

Coffins – March of Despair

image

Coffins
March of Despair
Hammerheart

Japan’s death/doom metallers Coffins have been around the block for a fair old while now and aside from a couple of line-up changes, their latest EP ‘March of Despair‘ is largely more of the same elephantine sluggery as they’ve pedalled for most of their career. If you’re not familiar with them, what you can expect is a blend of the best bits of Celtic Frost, Winter, Hellhammer, etc. -.basically, if you like your old school thrills, you’ll probably love Coffins.

For the initiated of course, there’s nothing greatly spectacular about this release, but it does tick all the right boxes, with new vocalist (and former drummer) Ryo getting in some Tom G. Warrior-inspired ‘ugh!‘s in at the beginning of a couple of the tracks. ‘Till Dawn of the Dooms Day’ and ‘Grotesque Messiah’ are both riff-heavy, with thick motoring grooves that’ll bring about the urge to hold your finest proverbial oranges in the sky if you’re in the mood. The doomier elements of their sound take hold on the later tracks, blending in nicely as ever with the deathier elements, before an obligatory cover, this time Death’s ‘Corpsegrinder’ rounds off proceedings in reliable fashion – although said cover isn’t a patch on the original.

Still, better now than ever to get into Coffins, who remain true to the adage of not fixing what isn’t broken. This is solid stuff and new and old fans should enjoy this, despite lacking any surprise.

Peter Clegg

 

Coffins – Till Dawn of the Dooms Day

Buy ‘March of Despair‘ here

Official site
MySpace

Facebook

The Cult – Nico

image

The Cult have just released their new studio album ‘Choice of Weapon‘, and while they no longer possess chart-busting popularity, it would be wildly wrong to suggest they’re far from being done as a musical force, still being able to pull in huge crowds the world over and their standing as a quality rock unit far from diminished. Their 2001 album, ‘Beyond Good and Evil‘, was a quality album, lacking in label backing and packing real understated stadium rock anthems, including the track ‘Nico’, which really is deserving of wider acclaim.
‘Nico’ celebrates the life of the German singer, musician, fashion model and actress Christa ‘Nico’ Päffgen, famous for her role with The Velvet Underground on their debut album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico‘ before becoming an accomplished solo artist and forging an acting career in French cinema through her relationship with director Phillipe Garrel. She died in 1988 of a severe cerebral haemorrhage while on holiday in Ibiza. Credited as a huge influence on the likes of Morrissey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bjork and many others, she still commands reverence today. The Cult, through the song ‘Nico’, count as one of the many to have celebrated her in song.
Opening with the riff that gently guides the verses through their course, it sounds every bit the stadium anthem you’d expect from a band of such status. Most lines of each verse begin ‘Hey Nico‘, initially softly spoken but then almost joyously sung by Astbury. The most poignant line in the song comes during the chorus, when Astbury sings ‘I watched your spirit fly/across the velvet sky/the secrets that you hide‘; a sure reference the aforementioned collaboration between The Velvet Underground and Nico.
The Cult – Nico
 
The mid-section takes a slightly darker turn, with Astbury repeating the line ‘And then you fell/straight to hell‘. What this may refer to is something I’m not too sure about, given that if there is a heaven and a hell, judging from the sheer praise Nico received in death, she’d be practically a saint. In an online chat transcript available on the Cult’s website, conducted with Astbury and drummer Matt Sorum in 2001, they answered one fan’s question about the influence two songs on ‘Beyond Good and Evil‘ drew from Nico and another star of the Andy Warhol camp, Edie Sedgwick. The Cult responded regarding ‘Nico’, describing it as ‘…more complex. Nico is one part Nico, one part my girlfriend Rachel, one part an assassin‘. I don’t know jack about Astbury’s personal life, so will not even attempt to analyse that lyric in this way – although I can perhaps see how falling to hell might represent the assassin in Astbury’s view of the song – particularly through the line ‘the secrets that you hide’. The mood soon lifts back up and there’s one more triumphant verse and chorus before the song plays into fadeout.
However, despite charting solidly in America, Spain and Canada, ‘Beyond Good and Evil‘ only sold around half a million copies as sales began to drop. The album and indeed ‘Nico’ are destined to remain one of those overlooked classics thanks to the atrocious handling of the album and the band by then label Atlantic Records. Astbury has claimed in the past that Atlantic attempted to choose singles from the record, the record cover, and even apparently tried to tamper with the lyrics.
 
image
 
Beyond Good and Evil‘ was released roughly around the time I was getting into rock. Someone had lent the CD to my brother and I remember he seemed to like it at the time, and by fledgling interest led to me to give it a listen. Those days don’t half bring back some personal memories. Days when downloading hadn’t truly taken off yet, streaming wasn’t quite possible as broadband had yet to take off. I was still in college, spending my free time wandering around the streets of West Yorkshire, often wandering invariably towards record shops that existed at the time. Yes, record shops! Halifax had Bradley’s Records, Revo Records and Wall of Sound (still around today, now the brilliantly named Vinyl Tap in Huddersfield); Huddersfield had an MVC, a Virgin store (not quite a Megastore) and possibly a HMV, all pre-Kingsgate, and maybe one or two others as well. Summer days were often drifting around these town centre, complete with personal CD player or even Walkman (this was the advent of MP3, after all). Amidst the popular nu-metal of the time, coupled with the odd Slayer or Foo Fighters track, ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ often found a place on my mixtapes, and usually in the form of ‘Nico’ or ‘War (The Process)’.
Those two remain among my favourite songs off the record, and ‘Nico’ almost invariably ends up getting shuffled to my MP3 player of choice more often than not these days, as if it has some strange sort of allure to my ears. I’ve never tired of the song at all and remains one of my favourite songs to date. For me, ‘Beyond Good and Evil‘ is a period from the Cult’s history worth exploring further, even if its not considered their classic material. When you can write songs as good as ‘Nico’, who cares if it was a hit or not, deserving as it should have been?
Peter Clegg

Tree of Sores – A Cry of Despair

image

Tree of Sores
A Cry of Despair
Witch Hunter 

There is something immensely satisfying about stumbling upon that album that really hits the spot. That gets everything just right, that leaves you think ‘hot damn’, leaving you with nothing more than a positive feeling upon the closure of that record. It happened last year with YOB’s ‘Atma’, courtesy of a fantastic five-track set that concluded with ‘Adrift in the Ocean’. Its albums like ‘Atma’ that can simply carry you away and almost get you complete lost in its tumultuous journey. I truly believe that Leeds trio Tree of Sores capture the essence of this paragraph on their second album, the singular, twenty-eight minute track, ‘A Cry of Despair’.

Tree of Sores certainly wowed critics and fans alike on their debut album, capturing their chief influences of Neurosis, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc., blending into a sonic post-metal mass that got the band some worthy recognition, having dutifully pulverized the Leeds scene for some time. They have taken that one step further this time with this solo track, unashamed to display their influences but still creating an identity of their own. This time they called in Joe Hall (Wiht) to handle bass duties, no stranger to long meandering songs himself, and right from the off there’s an air of something rapturous from this triumvirate.

The band describe ‘A Cry of Despair’ as six or seven riffs or ‘movements’, ranging from the bleak and quiet to the powerful and unrelenting. Vocals aren’t the most important aspect of Tree of Sores music, notable as the track wears on, but where guitarist/vocalist Matt Faragher does yell, he does so with both ferocity and forlorn, helping to drive the song forward after nearly three minutes of foreboding build-up. A third of the way in, things take a turn for the elegant and the previous drive subsides for a moment of graceful sparsity. Before long, the song powers back up and you’re being pummelled into submission by Ben Hague’s relentless pounding. The band continue to ease between moments of sorrowful echoes and further crunching drive for the continuation of the song, finally ringing out at the end with one final movement.

Huge songs aren’t everyone’s bag but Tree of Sores haven’t just mastered it with ‘A Cry of Despair’, they’ve made it look easy. The shift between atmospheric reflections and power surges ensure the song doesn’t have any time to become stagnant, dragging you along in its undertow instead. The US has been chock full of bands of this ilk lately, including the likes of Tombs and the aforementioned WitTR. Tree of Sores can certainly match these and judging from the reaction they’re getting from the blogosphere at the other side of the pond, they’re not doing a bad job of it. Put simply, this is essential listening, and if this review or any other positive review doesn’t convince you this band is the real deal, then I guess Tree of Sores isn’t your thing. That, or you’re a clown.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘A Cry of Despair’ here (name-your-price)
Buy a physical copy here (CD)
Stream it below:

Bandcamp
Facebook
Twitter

Melvins – Freak Puke

image

Melvins
Freak Puke
Ipecac

This is the first Melvins album since 2004 to not feature the Big Business rhythm section of Jared Warren and Coady Willis. Instead, joining stalwarts Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover is returning member Trevor Dunn, performing on this album with an upright bass. And without disparaging recent Melvins’ efforts – cos they’ve generally been pretty good – the combination the band themselves have dubbed ‘Melvins-Lite’ is Melvins’ freshest-sounding for years, thanks in part to the chunky sounds of that bass and a slightly stripped back sound all round.

Unfortunately, it does feel like ‘Freak Puke‘ takes a little while to get going, owing a lot to the experimentation that seems to be going on during parts of this album. Its easy to get lost in the avant-garde of ‘Inner Ear Rupture’, and the jam session feel that overruns ‘Baby Won’t You Weird Me Out?’ Yet despite this ‘Freak Puke‘ does have some welcome moments on it. The opening track ‘Mr. Rip Off’ is certainly a grower, brooding in its lurking presence with Dunn plucking the thick bass strings to mysterious effect, and the riff fest of ‘Leon vs. The Revolution’ is thoroughly righteous too.

Melvins – Leon vs The Revolution

It perhaps speaks something to me though, when the track I enjoyed the most was their cover of ‘Let Me Roll It’, originally a Paul McCartney & Wings track. It becomes a smouldering blues-rock slow jam and if I heard this version of the song in a bar I would drunkenly sing along to every word. Sure, McCartney and Wings deserve credit for their genius in writing such a song that the Melvins can turn into a dive bar singalong. I can’t say I’d have done this for the original, given all I hear about as a non-fan of Wings is ‘Band on the Run’ or ‘Mull of Kintyre’. Whatever, ‘Let Me Roll It’ is a massively overlooked song, a quality one at that, and the Melvins did a fantastic job of this cover.

All in all, Melvins-Lite is a combination of the Melvins I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing more from in future, given the added groove provided by Dunn’s upright bass. That said, ‘Freak Puke‘ is almost like an unfinished article – not an unfinished work, because that would denote half a job. It’s not their greatest work and I’m still unsure about bits of it, but the Melvins have at least made an intriguing album, which, thirty years on, is no mean feat.

Peter Clegg

We Must Obey v2.0

Hello again one and all to the brand new home of We Must Obey. Due to some issue with Blogger that ultimately erased our patience, we decided to up sticks and transfer the site over to WordPress, which, we’ll be honest, we’ve had our eye on for a while.

You can be assured that coverage here will be no different to that which was available on the original site. We’ll still be providing reviews, videos, streams, features, rants and more, surrounding the usual topics of rock, punk, hardcore, sludge, doom, grind, heavy fucking metal, beer, and whatever else takes our fancy.

We have transferred all content from the original site across, although some of the links may not work. We will keep the original site open, which you can find here, should you wish to locate any streams or fully functional content, until we finally update all linkage here. Which could take a looooong time.

Without further ado, we here at We Must Obey welcome you once again. Stay heavy!

Peter Clegg & Michael Collins