December 15, 2019

Japan - Tin Drum (1981)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop
Style: Art Pop
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© 1981-1984 Virgin Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Partially growing out of their success in the country they were named after, as well as growing friendship and affiliation with such bands as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Japan, on Tin Drum, made its most unique, challenging, and striking album. It was also the final full studio effort from the group, and what a way to bow out -- there was practically no resemblance to the trash glam flailers on Adolescent Sex anymore. Rather than repeat the sheer restraint on Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum is an album of energy, Sylvian's singing still the decadently joyful thing it is, but the arrangements and performances tight, full, and active. The fusion of exquisite funk courtesy of Karn and Jansen's joined-at-the-hip rhythm section and a range of Asian music influences, from instrumentation to subject matter, combined with an even wider use of technological approaches to create the dramatic, sly songs on offer. Only the Talking Heads showed the same attempt at reach and variety at the time, at least in the Western rock world, but Japan arguably outstripped the New York band with its sheer sense of theatrical style. To top it all off, the band was more popular than ever, with "Ghosts," an appropriately haunting ballad notable for its utterly minimal arrangement, almost entirely eschewing beats for Barbieri's textures and Jansen's work on marimba, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.K. The wound-up dancefloor art grooves of "The Art of Parties" and especially "Visions of China," the latter featuring what has to be Karnand Jansen's eternal highlight performance (check out Jansen's jaw-dropping drum break) were also notable efforts. Meanwhile, the evocation of Chinese culture in general continued with such songs as "Canton," a slightly martial, stately march with clear inspiration from the country's classical music tradition, and the concluding "Cantonese Boy."

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Suicidal Tendencies - Join The Army (1987) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Crossover Thrash
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1987 Caroline/Virgin Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
No one could expect 1987's Join the Army, the long-awaited follow-up to Suicidal Tendencies' quintessential self-titled debut, to live up to its predecessor, but few expected it to be this disappointing. Except for a few bright moments such as "Possessed to Skate" and "War Inside My Head," the album is badly written, badly played, and terribly produced. There could have been many reasons for this fiasco, but considering the renewed quality of the following year's How Will I Laugh Tomorrow opus, perhaps the most likely is that Join the Army was a transitional album in the transformation of the band's sound from hardcore punk to thrash metal.

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Suicidal Tendencies - How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today (1988) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1988 Virgin Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
Suicidal Tendencies regrouped successfully for one of its best efforts, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today. The band's thrashy fusion of its hardcore roots with speed metal was fully developed by this point, and Mike Muir's social commentary and self-analysis were as ragingly compelling and by turns amusing as ever. Highlights include "Trip at the Brain," "One Too Many Times," and the title track.

tags: suicidal tendencies, how will i laugh tomorrow when i cant even today, 1988, flac,

Suicidal Tendencies - Lights... Camera... Revolution (1990) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1990 Epic
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
After recording some definite gems in the late '80s, Suicidal Tendencies triumphantly entered the '90s with one of its best albums ever, the commanding Lights...Camera...Revolution! Not since the mid-'80s had the L.A. band sounded this confident, focused and inspired. "You Can't Bring Me Down" and the Motörhead-ish "Get Whacked" demonstrate just how much fun Suicidal can be, but most of all, the metal-oriented album is dark, angry, and troubling. The Angelenos already commanded an incredibly devoted following, and powerful offerings like "Send Me Money" (a gut-level, brutally honest attack on television evangelists), "Give It Revolution," and the dark-humored "Disco's Out, Murder's In" brought even more listeners aboard. This is a disc that no Suicidal fan should be without.

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December 14, 2019

The Magnetic Fields - Get Lost (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Synth Pop
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© 1996 Merge Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Stephin Merritt's homespun (although not carelessly lo-fi) approach to electronic pop is a big part of the Magnetic Fields' charm, but he may be starting to stretch it to the limit with Get Lost. The most electro-oriented of their releases to date, it's also perhaps their least engaging, although the brooding ballad "Don't Look Away" is one of their best songs. They may want to start thinking about varying their synthetic percussions and patterns more, as these are starting too sound a little too boxy and similar for comfort.

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The Magnetic Fields - The Charm of The Highway Strip (1994)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Pop
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© 1994 Merge Records
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Stephin Merritt took more of a narrative approach than usual on The Charm of the Highway Strip, which was in part inspired (as the title indicates) by on-the-road experiences and exhibited a (very slight) country influence. Not as good as Holiday, although it has characteristically agile songwriting and production.

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Galactic Cowboys - Galactic Cowboys (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 1991 DGC
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
After the incredible critical acclaim bestowed upon their management mates and musical stepbrothers King's X, the Galactic Cowboys were quickly snapped up by the usually shrewd (at least in the early '90s) folks at Geffen Records, who no doubt had visions of turning the Houston scene into the next Seattle. Sadly, like King's X, the Cowboys' mind-boggling sonic tapestries would prove much too complex and highbrow for all but the most specialized listeners and sympathetic members of the press. After all, with their Metallica-like heaviness, Beatlesque three-part vocal harmonies ,and wildly fluctuating rhythms, songs like "My School" and first single "I'm Not Amused" (introduced by a mooing cow -- a sign of the band's quirky sense of humor) were simply unplayable at any commercial radio station. And though it may have proved a wiser choice for the airwaves, the slightly less adventurous "Why Can't You Believe in Me" (featuring countless layers of guitars the likes of which would not be seen again until the Smashing Pumpkins' first few albums) was probably passed up on because it sounded a bit too much like King's X. But if you dispense with commercial considerations, this remains a stunning album for the open-minded listener who will revel in discovering new secrets with every listen. After taking a swipe at the Exxon Valdez disaster with the excellent "Kaptain Krude" just to prove they weren't complete space cadets, the Galactic Cowboys really launch into outer space with the five-song suite contained on side two. Beginning with the monstrous "Sea of Tranquility," which sums up their vast array of sounds better than any other song, the band goes on to unleash their purest thrash metal moment with the bloody "Killing Floor" (the tale of a butcher turned serial killer) and zip through two brief interludes (the hillbilly stomp "Pump Up the Space Suit" and the dreamy "Ranch on Mars [Reprise]") before giving way to the soft acoustic strum of "Speak to Me," which gradually builds for ten minutes toward a bizarre conclusion. The latter may be a bit long-winded, but you probably won't care if you made it this far. The Cowboys would grow more accessible with subsequent releases, but strangely, they never sounded as natural and confident as they did on this over the top debut

tags: galactic cowboys, galactic cowboys album, 1991, flac,

Galactic Cowboys - Space In Your Face (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 1992 DGC
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
With 1993's Space in Your Face, the Galactic Cowboys gave new meaning to the term "sophomore slump." The band was either suffering from writer's block (which would explain the inclusion of outtakes and rejects from their first album sessions), or they expected their highly original sound to make up for the mediocre songwriting herein, but the result is a very disappointing album. In fact, it only deserves the above rating because of two exceptional songs: "Blind," which featurees the band at its epic, melodic best; and the comical serial-killer fantasy "If I Were a Killer," their biggest hit with its mildly successful MTV video to boot.

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Galactic Cowboys - Let It Go (2000)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 2000 Metal Blade Records/Shock
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Even before they began sessions for their sixth album, Let It Go, in the year 2000, Houston progressive thrashers Galactic Cowboys had already announced that it would be their last. But even the band's most committed followers were probably unsure about what this meant. Would the long overlooked band deliver a scorching final testament to a decade of fearless (some would say reckless) invention; or would their last "hurrah!" prove to be an anti-climatic conclusion to a frustrating career spent bouncing off the walls of the hard rock mainstream? Sadly, the evidence seems to substantiate the second option, as Let It Go encompasses a mish-mash of leftover song ideas and half-finished concepts strewn about over its 70-plus minutes of sonic chaos. The band once again employed guitarist Wally Farkas to engineer (his producer title only applies in the loosest of definitions) the proceedings; and the fact that founding drummer Alan Doss (who had left the band after their previous release, At the End of the Day, forcing the band to turn to King's X skinsman Jerry Gaskill for help) couldn't even be bothered to perform, adds to the sense of "incompleteness" felt here. Occasional gems like "T.I.M.," "Hey Mr.," and the sweetly reflective "Life and Times" are pretty much buried in the static generated by the confusing smorgasbord of styles surrounding them. These range from hip-hop rhymes, to jazzy interludes, to punk rock thrash outs, to ambient instrumental space music. Galactic Cowboys completists may find something worth listening to here, but all others are encouraged to ignore this ignominious finale to an otherwise inspiring career.

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December 13, 2019

Galactic Cowboys - The Horse That Bud Bought (1997) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1997 Metal Blade Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
By 1997, there's nothing really new to the Galactic Cowboys' brand of progressive metal -- rich harmony vocals layered over bluesy, sun-baked psychedelic guitar riffing, plus intellectual, often bizarre lyrics. A distinct note of bitterness about the band's lack of success and anger with the music industry has crept into many of the songs, some ("Tomorrow") more overt than others. The songwriting is still pretty strong, and the group's fans will find this another enjoyable release.

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Galactic Cowboys - At The End of The Day (1998)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 1998 Metal Blade Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Houston's Galactic Cowboys appear to be flying on auto-pilot for much of 1998's At the End of the Day, making this album interesting to long-time fans only. The raging "Nothing to Say" is probably the record's only exceptional track, and though the seven-song "Machine Fish Suite" has its bright moments ("Mr. Magnet," "Never Understand"), it is generally unspectacular. The record also includes departing founding member and drummer Alan Doss taking his first lead vocal on the gloomy "Through," and the band closes with the eerie instrumental title track "Outer Space."

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Billy Joel - 52nd Street (1978)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
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© 1978-1984 CBS
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Once The Stranger became a hit, Billy Joel quickly re-entered the studio with producer Phil Ramone to record the follow-up, 52nd Street. Instead of breaking from the sound of The Stranger, Joel chose to expand it, making it more sophisticated and somewhat jazzy. Often, his moves sounded as if they were responses to Steely Dan -- indeed, his phrasing and melody for "Zanzibar" is a direct homage to Donald Fagen circa The Royal Scam, and it also boasts a solo from jazz great Freddie Hubbard à la Steely Dan -- but since Joel is a working-class populist, not an elitist college boy, he never shies away from big gestures and melodies. Consequently, 52nd Street unintentionally embellishes the Broadway overtones of its predecessor, not only on a centerpiece like "Stiletto," but when he's rocking out on "Big Shot." That isn't necessarily bad, since Joel's strong suit turns out to be showmanship -- he dazzles with his melodic skills and his enthusiastic performances. He also knows how to make a record. Song for song, 52nd Street might not be as strong as The Stranger, but there are no weak songs -- indeed, "Honesty," "My Life," "Until the Night," and the three mentioned above are among his best -- and they all flow together smoothly, thanks to Ramone's seamless production and Joel's melodic craftsmanship. It's remarkable to think that in a matter of three records, Joel had hit upon a workable, marketable formula -- one that not only made him one of the biggest-selling artists of his era, but one of the most enjoyable mainstream hitmakers. 52nd Street is a testament to that achievement.

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December 12, 2019

Mr. President - Night Club (1997)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Euro House
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© 1997 WEA
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Mr. President - Space Gate (1999)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Euro House
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© 1999 WEA
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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Nattefrost - Blood & Vomit (2004)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Black Metal
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© 2004 Season of Mist
AllMusic Review by John Serba
Literalism is apparently Nattefrost's aim with his debut solo effort, Blood & Vomit: the minute-long intro to "The Art of Spiritual Purification" is literally the stomach-churning sound of the Carpathian Forest frontman vomiting. Childish, yes, and vile, indubitably -- especially when the track "Nattefrost Takes a Piss" is nothing but the sound of the man unbuckling his belt and urinating into a toilet. And why is this refreshing? He's exhibiting something that most of Norway's black metal brethren don't dare publicly exhibit: a sense of humor -- Nattefrost is simply, to use a bit of Brit slang, taking the piss out of the genre. The slogan on the back of Blood & Vomit reads "True primitive narrow-minded black metal," and adheres itself to that politically incorrect ideal; Nattefrost, who dubs himself "Satan's Terrorist," backs up his misogynist and pro-Beelzebub rasps with a blur of gritty and contemptuous black metal, all horde-of-locusts, near-ambient guitars and blastbeating drums, although "The Gate of Nanna" is a fascinatingly doomy slog through molten tar, and album-closer "Still Reaching for Hell" is a strange, artsy noise collage punctuated with ticking clocks, ominous rumbles, and a trumpet-led marching band (!). While Blood & Vomit won't alter the course of music history even one iota -- to its credit, it doesn't even try -- it's still an enjoyable listen for purveyors of antisocial Scandinavian metal. The only thing it doesn't include is an elbow jutting out of the CD case to nudge you in the ribs.

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The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury (1992)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1992 4th & Broadway, Phonogram
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
The Disposable Heroes tackled every last big issue possible with one of 1992's most underrated efforts. Dr Dre and G-funk became all the rage by the end of the year and beyond, but for those looking for at least a little more from hip-hop than that soon-to-be-clichéd style, Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury did the business. The group's origins in the Beatnigs aren't hidden at all -- besides a stunning, menacing revision of that band's "Television, the Drug of the Nation," the Heroes' first single, the combination of Bomb Squad and industrial music approaches is apparent throughout. Consolidated's Mark Pistel co-produced the album while Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers helped mix it with the band, creating a stew of deep beats and bass and a constantly busy sonic collage that hits as hard as could be wanted, but not without weirdly tender moments as well. On its own it would be a more than attractive effort, but it's Michael Franti's compelling, rich voice and his chosen subject matter that really make the band something special. Nothing is left unexamined, an analysis of the American community as a whole that embraces questions of African-American identity and commitment ("Famous and Dandy (Like Amos 'n' Andy)") to overall economic and political insanity ("The Winter of the Long Hot Summer," a gripping, quietly threatening flow of a track). There's even a great jazz/funk number, "Music and Politics," with nothing but a guitar and Franti's fine singing voice, ruminating on emotional expression in music and elsewhere with wit and sly anger. Top it off with a brilliant reworking of the Dead Kennedys' anthem "California Uber Alles," lyrics targeting the then-governor of the state, Pete Wilson, and his questionable stances, and revolutions in thought and attitude rarely sounded so good.

tags: the disposable heroes of hiphoprisy, hypocrisy is the greatest luxury, 1992, flac,

Mr. President - Up 'N Away - The Album (1995)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Euro House
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© 1995 WEA
*No professional reviews available for his release.

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Mr. President - We See The Same Sun (1996)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Euro House
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© 1996 WEA
*No professional reviews available for this release.

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December 11, 2019

Billy Joel - Turnstiles (1976) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1976-1987 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
There's a reason Turnstiles begins with the Spector-esque epic "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." Shortly after Streetlife Serenade, Joel ditched California -- and, by implication, sensitive Californian soft rock from sensitive singer/songwriters -- for his hometown of New York. "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" was a celebration of his move, a repudiation of his past, a fanfare for a new beginning, which is exactly what Turnstiles was. He still was a singer/songwriter -- indeed, "Summer, Highland Falls" was his best ballad to date, possibly his best ever -- but he decided to run with his musical talents, turning the record into a whirlwind tour of pop styles, from Sinatra to Springsteen. There's little question that the cinematic sprawl of Born to Run had an effect on Turnstiles, since it has a similar widescreen feel, even if it clocks in at only eight songs. The key to the record's success is variety, the way the album whips from the bouncy, McCartney-esque "All You Wanna Do Is Dance" to the saloon song "New York State of Mind"; the way the bitterly cynical "Angry Young Man" gives way to the beautiful "I've Loved These Days" and the surrealistic apocalyptic fantasy "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)." No matter how much stylistic ground Joel covers, he's kept on track by his backing group. He fought to have his touring band support him on Turnstiles, going to the lengths of firing his original producer, and it was clearly the right move, since they lend the album a cohesive feel. Turnstiles may not have been a hit, but it remains one of his most accomplished and satisfying records, clearly paving the way to his twin peaks of the late '70s, The Stranger and 52nd Street.

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Burzum - Det Som Engang Var (1993) ☠

Country: Norway
Language: Norwegian (Nynorsk), English
Genre: Black Metal, Dark Ambient
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1993-1994 Misanthropy/Cymophane Productions
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
The man simultaneously known as Kristian "Varg" Vikernes, Count Grishnackh, and Burzum (this last being his virtually self-contained musical alias-as-band) released his second full-length opus, Det Som Engang Var ("What Once Was"), in August 1993, some 18 months after its recording and barely a year before his imprisonment for murdering Norwegian black metal inner circle rival, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth. And in many ways, the album reflected all of the massive contradictions -- musical and emotional -- fighting for Grishnackh/Vikernes' soul, leaving authorities, critics, and fans alike understandably confused as to whether he was a heartless, cold-blooded killer or a desperate man wronged by Euronymous; a bona fide Satanic terrorist or the sort of delusional naïf who depicted one his favorite Dungeons & Dragons modules on this very album's cover. Musically, the evidence was no more conclusive, given Vikernes' conflicting interests in oftentimes avant-garde instrumental mood pieces as well as savage black metal captured in the lowest possible fidelity, yet clearly infused with a wealth of inventive ideas and downright sophisticated arrangements. Astounding variety reigns among the former, and the breadth of Vikernes' inspiration ranges from a surprisingly minimalist "Den Onde Kysten" to the quasi-industrial density of "Svarte Troner"; from the warm electronics of "Han Som Reiste" to the mournfully frozen guitar lines of "Naar Himmelen Klarner." And, among the latter, it's sheer versatility, as Varg mashes blastbeaten onslaughts with morbid doom grinds into mesmerizing repetitions on the likes of "Key to the Gate" and "Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn." Then he showcases his talent for layering guitar parts (and hysterical dying shrieks) into dour mini-symphonies such as the Tolkien-inspired "En Ring Til Aa Herske" ("One Ring to Rule Them") and career standout "Lost Wisdom," the latter a virtual template for many classics yet to come. Of course, Vikernes' claim to musical genius would soon be irreparably stained by his, shall we say, extra-curricular infamy, burying all of the fascinating contradictions inherent in his art under the brutally one-dimensional label of "murderer", and, by extension, forcing complicated feelings of guilt upon all those who would dare experience this otherwise compelling music.

tags: barzum, det som engang var, 1993, flac,

Burzum - Filosofem (1996) ☠

Country: Norway
Language: Norwegian (Nynorsk)
Genre: Black Metal, Dark Ambient
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☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1996 Misanthropy/Cymophane Productions
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
1996's Filosofem is often hailed as Burzum's finest hour, which is quite ironic for an album filled with musical leftovers. Allegedly composed at different times but recorded simultaneously in March 1993 (hence the unique mix of Norwegian and English lyrics), these sessions were later compiled and released two years into their creator's 15-year incarceration for murder! But, since Burzum mastermind Varg Vikernes notoriously held onto his work for months on end before unleashing it on the public, first time listeners will find that Filosofem‘s overall musical aesthetic is not dissimilar from preceding cornerstones of his career, like Det Som Engang Var and Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Hauntingly dawdling opener "Burzum" (literally, the first song Vikernes wrote for his fledgling musical project) and, later, the two-part "Gebrechlichkeit" contrast filthy buzz-saw guitars with chirpy electronic melodies, topped with examples of both Vikernes' desolately unemotional narrations and tormented howls (possibly proving that no prisoner this schizophrenic was ever going to feel entirely alone with himself). Striking within their midst is, arguably, the pièce de résistance of Burzum's entire catalog: "Jesu Død" ("Jesus' Death") -- a blastbeat-driven array of layered, treacherous guitar parts -- as hair-raising as it is hypnotic. And in the 25-minute "Rundtgåing av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte" ("Walking Around the Transendental Pillar of Singularity"), Vikernes assembled his weightiest musical tome -- literally, if not creatively -- since its endlessly repeated electronic patterns (resembling a sparse classical canon) have no metallic quotient whatsoever and therefore weren't for everyone. This does nothing to diminish the fact that all of Filosofem's musical ambitions (including short stories penned for the CD booklet by Vikernes, to frame song meanings) were accomplished almost entirely on first takes, without so much as a studio or even serviceable recording equipment, for that matter. Instead, Varg simply plugged his guitar, fuzz pedal, and in his own words, "the worst possible microphone" he could find, directly into his brother's stereo to achieve the album's distinctively bleak, lo-fi sound. What he achieved was unique, alright, and historic to boot, as Filosofem continues to figure among the most seminal works in black metal history, despite its creator's checkered personal life.

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Carpathian Forest - Black Shining Leather (1998)

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Black Metal
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© 1998 Avantgrade Music
Review by "Goat" for Metal Reviews.com
Following up the excellent Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods EP nasty Norwegians Carpathian Forest released their debut album in 1998, six years since the band formed in 1992, and in many ways it’s a classic of the genre. Nattefrost and Nordavind were joined by drummer Lars Nedland, and the trio created one of the most original artefacts of true Norwegian Black Metal to come from the late nineties. Even if you despise the band for their later tongue-in-cheek Punk antics, you must admit that Black Shining Leather is excellent, a landmark release for the band and the genre. Everything about this album, from the production to the songs and even the skilful if hardly uber-technical musicianship, is original and fascinating, still holding up over ten years later and without a doubt the best thing that the band ever did. If you’re coming straight from Through Chasm... then you’ll be in for a surprise the moment that first track Black Shining Leather kicks in with lustful whispers and orgasming women, before the guitars arise and the attack begins. Unusually, the bass is clearly audible, and even better is its place in the production, not obscuring the other instruments but existing independently, giving the Thrashy assault depth and heaviness. As fans of later Carpathian Forest will know, the band are quite capable of writing maddeningly catchy songs and this album is no exception, it being pretty damn near impossible to avoid headbanging throughout.
If you want a taste of this album, then The Swordsman is the first point of call. Varied riffing, unashamedly catchy, it’s headbang fodder for the corpsepainted set, and even the breakdowns are perfect, yet it’s the moment when all stops and some wonderfully atmospheric synths start to drift across the raging music like distant clouds that’s truly jaw-dropping. These gorgeous keyboards continue into Death Triumphant, which is reminiscent of early Enslaved with added groove and is just one of many enjoyable tracks present that use all the instruments to their fullest. It’s hard to see how anyone could resist the mid-paced pounding of Sadomasochistic (with surprisingly deep and intelligent lyrics) or the oddly bouncy In Silence I Observe. Even mid-album interlude Lupus is effective, eerie synths and whispers creating a spooky atmosphere that is completely shattered when Pierced Genitalia rages in – ‘the toes that you step on today/May be connected to the ass you’ll be kissing tomorrow!’
Black Shining Leather is an excellent mixture of styles, really. Lunar Nights is so wonderfully sombre and restrained after the catchy madness of In Silence I Observe that it hits perfectly, the build-up to the speedy end gripping. Little touches like the whooshing electronics on Third Attempt work brilliantly, and the acoustically-enhanced The Northern Hemisphere is like a more sophisticated Burzum, but it’s the cover of The Cure’s A Forest that really puts the mark of quality on this album. A brave move for the band, especially considering how similar it is to the original, yet the overall atmosphere is darker and enhanced by the Black Metal vocals here and there. Sadly, it’s only available on the digipack rerelease, but it’s more than worth it; as is this album, a vital part of any Black Metal collection and the one vital Carpathian Forest purchase.

tags: carpathian forest, black shining leather, 1998, flac,