Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Well, I guess my 2009 can really be distilled into one single moment. Text message sent to Dave from Slaughter Strike upon arriving at our hotel in Baltimore for MDF: "Dude, I just saw Proscriptor McGovern helping an old lady across the road."

The only other significant musical thing this year for me was after seeing Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and Bolt Thrower (alas not on the same bill) I finally got to settle the question my teenage mind of many a year ago could not firmly decide upon: Jo Bench or Lydia Lunch?

It's that time of year when every pratt with a blog (like this guy) wants to share with you their top ten of the year and lo and behold doesn't everyone just love the same Isis/ Torche/ Deathspell Omega/ Mastodon/ Liturgy records?

Personally I've always been more of the "I can see a Kakerlak tape underneath a dog chew toy, there's a Nuclear Hammer CD in the mail that I know I'll dig and I listened to Nazi Dust on my iPod this morning on the way to work" school of top tens.

Definitive top tens aren't worth the effort; the best record of 1996 is not the one I thought it was in 1997 after all (it's probably Duh, The Big City by Hammer Head, but I could change my mind at any second).

My top ten of this decade goes something like:

Infest - No Mans Slave
Iron Lung - Sexless/ No Sex
Grunt - Seer of Decay

And then I start looking at Werewolf Jerusalem CDRs and thinking "fuck it, this one was pretty good" and the list turns to shit.

I used to write reviews for Short Fast and Loud magazine then had to stop for a number of reasons.

One of my reasons was that when it comes to music and art borne from a specific culture (punk, black metal, whatever) I no longer believe you can review the object in and of itself. You have to look at the other aspects of the culture that produced it or its relationships with other objects produced by the culture.

A Mayhem record as an isolated artefact is not 'black metal', it's an object created by a larger current known as black metal that Mayhem happen to be a part of. Mayhem records do not contain the defining essence of black metal.

And if you want to look at neo-power violence you can't just take Eric Wood's word on the subject or look at your local sloppy blast beat and weak screaming about pizza and circle pits band. You have to look at Iron Lung, Hatred Surge and Mind Eraser, three very different bands with very different forces that created them that when looked at together give a clearer idea of the culture they belong to.

Over the last few years I've pretty much come to despise the cult of the individual. Every single person knows exactly what's wrong with the world and how to fix it. I know the world would be a better place if people could understand their utter insignificance in the scheme of things and could accept that measuring time in minutes and seconds is inherently flawed. And my grandfather knew that conscripting young men into the armed forces would solve the world's problems.

Everyone knows everything, so fucking what.

Anyway, all this nonsense just informs my attitude to music; I don't want quirky stand out gimmick bands thinking they've reinvented the wheel. I like and demand bands that have a good sense of tradition in their approach and a sense of internal consistencies. I like bands that strengthen their genre, not those that try and rise above it. Fuck off all post-hardcore or avant-garde shoegaze black metal.

With that in mind these are the two releases that I can honestly hand on heart say are the two full lengths of this year that I can fully stand behind:

Hatred Surge, Deconstruct. Can we stop with the Despise You 2.0 idiocy now? It makes almost as little sense as the haircut in Providence that told me Blockade sounded exactly like a cross between Cryptopsy and Isis. Hatred Surge: "it got girl vocals like Depsise U!"

Clearly there's no great surprise that a guy from The Endless Blockade would pick this as one of his best records of the year, but it's fucking bad ass. Hatred Surge is finally a full band and if anything it's focused the approach even more.

And I'm jealous Alex wrote Infinity before I did.

And the other utterly predictable entry is Slogun's Bloody Roots CD. I've already mentioned it briefly before. The whole disc is perfect and we managed to get John on the Unearthly Trance split doing some vocals.

I like his smart guy approach to death and violence; reading interviews on his site shows he's clearly not the dumb power electronics serial killer fan boy it would be lazy to peg him as.

Music to put on when you're in a foul mood and scream "FUCK LIFE" to the world.

Two other acts i have to mention are Bastard Noise and Magrudergrind.

Bastard Noise for challenging their audience in significant ways. In this micro information era of Tweeting and instant downloads who the fuck releases a five disc full length? Let alone mere months after the truly inspirational Rogue Astronaut CD. Well, Bastard Noise did it and it and Our Earth's Blood IV is an incredible piece of work, all five discs of it.

Bastard Noise released more exceptional music in 2009 than i've been able to manage in the last fifteen years of playing in active bands. Perhaps that's not saying much?

Anyway, two stunning albums, one of which is five CDs long. Fuck, that's committal to the cause.

Magrudergrind for proving me wrong. Hmm, how to start? Fuck it, bluntness: Magrudergrind to me were the benchmark for circle pits and pizza party. In a word they were as lowest common denominator as it can get; the Labbatts Blue of Grindcore. Anyway, this year I finally said yes to Avi's annual request to play shows with them. Their newest LP is very good indeed (I also love the totally incongruous cover art) and live they were a blast and great guys to tour with.

Anyone who knows me knows this is probably the highest praise I can give someone, to publically state that something i formerly thought was terrible is now actually really good. I still haven't heard the previous LP but i'm sticking to my opinion that their earlier recorded output just wasn't worth much.

Anyway, Magrudergrind 2009, no longer the embarrassing little kids you'd run across all over the continent.

I doubt many of these were published in 2009 but of everything I read this year these are the books I enjoyed the most:


James Ellroy - Blood's a Rover
David Peace - 1974
Samuel Beckett - Stories and Texts for Nothing
GK Chesterton - The Man who was Thursday
Will Self - The Book of Dave


Howard Bloom - Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
Nicholas Schreck - The Satanic Screen: An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema
Gary Lachman - Politics and the Occult: The left, the Right and the Radically Unseen
Dan Falk - In Search of Time: Journeys Along a Curious Dimension
Mark Sedgwick - Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the 20th Century
Charles Freeman - AD 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Christian State
Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth

Monday, December 14, 2009

oh Lord...

i'm now a "composer"

i'm so over power violence and harsh noise, see you plebs on the other side

Friday, December 11, 2009


Locals only.

Black Paintings = Eric's first public noise performance outside of Death Agonies and Blockade

Black Paintings cassette should be finished sometime this month, but i've heard Eric say that before.

i guess this is my annual Ryan Bloomer related live outing for Joshua Norton Cabal.

Norton/ Nekrasov split cassette on Survivalist in january, Inner Light CD on Chimera/ Survivalist is currently being mastered.

Piss Horn LP on Survivalist sometime next year maybe. We'll see if late night drinking conversations can cross the threshold and materialise in the physical realm...

Remlap played with Blockade before and it was great

Burrow Owl just moved here from BC. Her parents were harsh noise loving peace punks that lived in a van.

some pics from the last Death Agonies show

Death Agonies - Dust in the Lungs of God C20 out on Cathartic Process shortly

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trapped in a Scene

Like it says, UK Hardcore, 1985-1989 and personally speaking also the era immediately before i became involved in anything punk related.

Anyway, Ian Glasper's written a third book about the development of the UK underground punk scene.

I must confess to having not read the other two books in the series as i pretty much hate most peace punk and the mental stranglehold i feel it placed on European punk for twenty plus years. And the UK82 brigade were never a bunch i had much time for on any level whatsoever, i dunno, i'm just reminded of the Post Card Punks that could do little else but drink cider, fall over and bleed everywhere. I think that breed finally died out in the late 90s but they had a good run.

Anyway, Trapped in a Scene gets my thumbs up, it covers the essentials and a lot of stuff that was anything but essential (often in great detail).

Reading UK message boards i see a lot of bitching and complaining about the book, from the mundane ("nobody called it UKHC") to the missing the point ("the author didn't send any of the interviewees a copy"; seemingly some people thought it was a zine and not a 500+ page book). But fuck, the British are either mindlessly violent or mindlessly petty, frequently both and on the whole aren't worth listening to as a nation. So ignore their message boards.

Sure, it's not perfect, personally i feel a better approach would be to focus on a handful of the important bands (which is not necessarily the ones that released records, which the book definitely gets right) for each area and give a broad overview of the political situation and punk landscape rather than interview (almost) every band from the region. For example the Warzone Collective in Belfast, The Station in Gateshead and 1 in 12 Club in Bradford were/ are monumentally important aspects of the UK scene and the point isn't really made to people who wouldn't necessarily know. Plus any non-UK readers (or readers younger than a certain age) won't be clued in to certain political aspects like life under Thatcher or the Northern Ireland issues.

Other than that a small amount of editing wouldn't have gone amiss; way too many exclamation marks (an irrational personal ire of mine) and there's far too much text that reads something like:

"then Darren joined on bass, but switched to guitar when Becki left and then Trogg didn't show up to practice in 1987 so we had Adda from Apocalyptic Pig Torture fill in for six gigs in Dudley and then Jimmy returned when Spastic Thatcher broke up".

Lots of talk of John Peel and his role in popularising the scene as well which is great, a true legend whose importance can neither be downplayed nor really understood fully by outsiders.

I also have to give Glasper a backhanded compliment, i liked his book despite the voice and validity he gave to countless stupid London and Belgian bands in the pages of Terrorizer throughout the 1990s and lets face it, the inevitable two books on 90s UK hardcore should be interesting and potentially aggravating. Well, as long as my own personal favourites Downfall, Kito, Disaffect and Health Hazard/ Suffer make it in there somewhere i can skim through a few hundred pages of a bunch of southerners talking about how they reinvented the wheel (Knuckledust excluded, which is surely a sign i'm getting old if i'll finally recognise the effort they put in to getting their shit done).

What really struck me whilst reading the book is just how many of the major players from over twenty years ago are still very much active, still very DIY and are not mellowing with age, which is something i haven't found in North America on the whole. Bar Eric Wood (Peace Corpse - Bastard Noise) and John Brannon (Negative Approach - Easy Action) and a few others pretty much all the players dropped out or tried continuing to trade on decidedly past it legacies. Fuck, would you rather have Geriatric Unit or Dave Smalley playing the acoustic guitar opening up for Negative Approach? Hell, if anything one thing the UK is still good for (other than curry) is forty year old men playing really hard punk and grindcore.

Anyway, i totally commend all the old bastards from the 80s scene still going strong in Bait, Violent Arrest, After Birth, Meat Locker and a shit load more.

Some of my favourite recordings from the bands from era covered in the book:

Heresy - Whose Generation? 7"
Ripcord - Harvest Gardcore 7"
Napalm Death - Scum LP (duh)
Hellbastard - Ripper Crust demo
Doctor and the Crippens - Raphanadosis LP
Sedition - Dealing With Cliches 7"
Pink Turds in Space - Greatest Shits LP
Generic - For a Free and Liberated South Africa 7"
Stupids - Peruvian Vacation LP
Intense Degree - War in my Head LP
Deviated Instinct - Rock n Roll Conformity LP


Geriatric Unit (ex Heresy):

Jinn (ex Generic, who i couldn't find a video of):

Gruel (ex Generic):

Deviated Instinct:

Bait (ex Deviated Instinct):




Friday, October 30, 2009

fuck off nowadays global pandemic

Whilst the rest of Toronto is in a panic about a possible H1N1 epidemic and desperately trying to get barely plausible vaccines adminstered to them (in a rush that resembles an iphone marketing campaign in structure and effect) The Endless Blockade is sitting with middle fingers exposed to the world.

Eric is so fucking hardcore he went and LAUGHED in the face of H1N1, daring it to kill him.

Eric lives, Swine Flu was destroyed by his immune system and he was only hospitalised for a mere 24 hours. Take that disease culture! The Endless Blockade lives on with our no longer in hopital and 100% not dead from Swine Flu drummer!

Anyway, the upshot of this cage match is that we're no longer siq moshing with Cro Mags (jam) and Iron Lung in Montreal this weekend.

What this means to you is that i'm reluctantly forced to do mail order for two dfferent shirt designs. Vishnu/ Crowley and Serpent/ Messiah Rasputin are both available. $15 each post paid anywhere in the world. E mail theendlessblockade@gmail.com to enquire about sizes, availability and paypal details

(dog hair not included)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Currently being pressed

I'll write more when it's actually available.

This has been a long stressful time in the making.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Nation of Shop Keepers?

The British Isles is a collection of small nations made up of former barbarians and conquerors lost in time and unable to understand how to work in the modern era. At least when there was an Empire we could still console ourselves that we were a force to be reckoned with.

You only have to observe almost any group of Brits Abroad as we drape our flag over ourselves and urinate on sleeping Spanish homeless dudes in some atavistic territorial marking to see that we're a lost bunch of savages with absolutely no idea how to behave. Anyone familiar with Amsterdam can attest that the British are the only thing that can actually lower the tone of the red light district anymore than it already is.

And far worse than Brits Abroad is actually being one stuck on the Islands with all the other displaced savages. It's modern times, go work in a shop and raise capital, go drive mass transit systems. Fuck, have you met Glasgow bus drivers? Whilst spending some time in Spain a few years ago i was amazed at how easy it was at the time to scam on to the subway system for free right in front of the workers eyes. If i tried that back home they'd have chased me out of the station and kicked the living shit out of me for daring to avoid paying.

Any excuse for a fight and i'd be lying if i said i didn't suddenly spark to life when near any form of conflict. The hardest thing about moving to Canada for me six years ago was changing the way i intereacted with people on the streets and in supermarkets. The casual offerings of violence that in general aren't going to actually transpire and usually merely demarcate personal space and community standing don't mean the same in sunny Toronto.

It took me a while to figure that one out and actively change the way i interact with strangers.

When people talk about looking for the meaning of life i think what is more accurately being done is looking for a way to experience a life most of us feel divorced from. I've always found that playing in the bands i stick out for the long haul fills a large part of that existential gap relatively well for my needs.

Shank started two years after i moved to Glasgow, Ebola overlapped the first eighteen months of Shank's five year existence and i think i'd parted ways with Sawn Off about a year prior.

I've written some stuff of this before.

I guess i was revisiting Shank recently to hear how i used to write songs; i'm in the midst of a lengthy personal experiment where i'm writing in an intentionally mechanical and highly restrictive way in Blockade. Not that it's entirely comparable as regarding direction Shank was mostly a duality and Blockade is generally a dictatorship.

Shank's formation was essentially the same as Ebola's; life is shit, let's do something better.

At the time i was working in a shit job at a community mental health residence. I intentionaly put myself on to permenant night shift and work would generally consist of making long distance calls from the office phone, write songs on the beaten up acoustic guitar rescued from Carstairs (god knows what former cannibal descendent of Sawney Bean that had belonged to..), smoke a bunch of hash whilst watching a horror film rented on the unit's microscopic entertainment budget then fall asleep listening to whatever harsh noise i'd traded for that week. Seven hours later i'd get up twenty minutes before the boss came in and just barely pretend to have been awake all night.

Anyway, Shank, four displaced angry bastards that used to drink in Halt Bar on Woodlands Road together and happened to all have the necessary skills to be in a barely functioning band together

Getting anything done was always a major problem; we owned no equipment, none of us could drive (and most of our friends lacked that skill as well), no one ever had any money and there was always the black hole pull of Glasgow's legendary entropy of the human spirit holding at least one of us back.

It's funny i look back on it all with fond memories (and typing this with the rain pelting against my window inspires even more nostalgia, all i need is a screaming smack head outside my apartment door and i'm set) but at the time it was a nightmare. Amazingly we never came to any physical blows amongst ourselves despite all butting heads constantly, though i do remember quite clearly one on-tour suicide threat that had the rest of us almost relieved that if carried through we wouldn't be compelled to do this shit anymore.

Looking back on the recording of our LP now seems almost farcical to me. We set up in our by-the-hour practice space with our friends new fangled hard disk eight track recorder (a big deal in Glasgow circa 2000) and blasted through twenty one songs live (like, actually live) in less than four hours. About three months later we recorded a second guitar and i did a small amount of additional vocals in a sketchy lock-up on some industrial estate in Edinburgh.

And this all took fucking months to plan. Hell, it took so long that Slap a Ham (the label it supposed to come out on) folded and 625 and Deep Six had to step in and release it.

And live? Equally ridiculous; Playing with an anarchist puppet show in Bradford (you have no idea...), being chased out of a squat in Poland by neo-nazis, three of us chasing some poor kid up the stairs and out on to the street (over God knows what) in Glasgow leaving Jason playing drums on his own to a perplexed audience.

Oh, and let's not forget the perfect end to that band; me having chronic pneumonia on tour in California and playing our last ever show almost unable to breath. Two nights earlier in San Diego i was hallucinating my arse off in the van immediately before we went on and i had to be propped up against a pillar just to make it through a vastly reduced five minute set.

Alas the proposed gig in Glasgow that would've been Shank, The Exploited and a bunch of Gabber DJs never happened. That night of old school crazy Exploited punks Vs young Mad Skwad Team Gabber Ned would've undoubtedly been punks answer to the Heysel Stadium Disaster of 1985. I guess i'll never be able share that tale of adventure with my grandchildren. Still, at least i'm not dead because of it...

Here are some download links:

Coded Messages LP and split split LP with Iron Lung
Curse of Shank pre LP discography

Shank was undoubtedly the most "real" band i've ever been and ever will be involved in. On a romantic level i miss that, but on a practical level i'm glad those days are long gone.


Orcustus - s/t
Grey Wolves - Judgement
Spacement 3 - Playing With Fire


The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

slaughter strike shirts

New shirt by Chris Reifert, $15 plus postage, also have a few logo shirts, black on white or white on black for $10 plus postage

Paypal info here.

Also made another batch of demos, Nurse Ettiquette from Detroit will also be releasing a version in a few weeks to keep up with demand.


Mammoth Grinder - Extinction of Humanity
Swans - Real Love
Prosanctus Inferni/ Witchtomb
Grunt - Terror and Degeneration


The Good, The Bad, The Funny - Ramsey Dukes
LA Despair - John Gilmore

Saturday, October 10, 2009

come friendly bombs pt 2

Noise label Dada Drumming released Come Friendly Bombs as his first non-noise release after Greg Dada had been my online stalker for a few years. Greg managed to drag Joshua Norton Cabal out of wilfull inactivity not once but twice and is still one of a very small handful of people i will record noise on request for if the occasion requires it.

Anyway, Greg took a break from the world and resurfaced again recently.

Apparently Greg also found a box of the first press of Come Friendly Bombs on colour and some Blockade rat king shirts.

Feed his addiction to crystal meth and send him an e mail mail@dadadrumming.org to purchase

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some vague ramblings about the commodity of truth in art

In my opinion the two most important aspects of musical development of the last fifty years were John Cage and Discharge. And certainly guitar and volume based bands that have no connection on at least some level to Discharge, Hell Hammer or Autopsy usually hold little to no interest for me. Bands influenced by Sabbath is a little less cut and dry for me...

Beyond these, on a cultural level the two musical currents of the last fifteen (ish) years that have resonated the most with me are Riot Grrl (the worst genre name since Power Violence) and Black Metal; both of which polarised (and still do) a lot of people.

In both genres intent became more important than proficiency, proficiency being often consigned to a lower rung on the ladder of importance.

Both genres were (past tense intended) about the acknowledgement of being a part of something larger. Of course Black Metal's aims were usually more obscure, but that was always an important facet of distinguishing outsiders and intellectual interlopers from the core who "got it". And some of the less political aspects of Riot Grrl were also arguably similar in intent.

Anyway, this lead in is just that; a lead in. I have no desire to attempt a comparitive study of two only superficially similar and largely impossible to correlate cultural strands. I'll leave that to some boring post-grad and i'm sure the book version of the thesis is just around the corner. I'll no doubt ultimately shelve it alongside some of the more recent stunningly bland books about noise that have been published.

This weekend i was in Montreal (yes, American readers, that's where some of them speak French), Teenage Jesus and the Jerks entertained me on friday night and Blasphemy formed the centre of my saturday night escapade down the path of drunken revelry.

Lydia Lunch falls into a group of people along with Boyd Rice, Throbbing Gristle, Robert Anton Wilson, Jello Biafra, Oliver Fox and Anton LaVey that quickly and dramatically reshaped my teenage interests and thought processes. Of course more than a few of the above now irritate me to varying degrees, but they were good access points to other perspectives.

Like anyone at the frontier of some cultural plague, from Ragnar Redbeard to Tim Yohannan to Dwid Hellion, Lunch's legacy has a lot to answer for. And that legacy can be summed up as 'endless boring pricks bending over, spreading their gaping anuses and commanding you to stare into their honesty'.

For every Emilio Cubeiro there's twenty Elizabeth Wirzel's and something like two hundred and fifty seven Netto's Henry Rollins.

Though in all honesty i don't know if i should be blaming Lunch or Annie Sprinkle for the Stare at my Ugly Truth untertainment cult.

So, after suffering through one and a half (i liked half of one set) rotten self professed weird and strange bands whose weirdness and strangeness was their major selling point (bar camel toe and shit haircuts). Teenage Jesus and the Jerks played and they were really good, hell, far far better than my relatively low expectations were (i felt time may have completely passed them by).

The mosh pit was inexplicable and the well placed boot to the face of one would be stage diver glorious.

For a woman who's made her name in spoken word there was a lack of on stage banter and the set was pretty short. THIS IS A GOOD THING. God damn i hate almost anyone that thinks i should listen to them for more than twenty minutes (generally it's ten) unless it's Godflesh before 1992 (in my all time top five shows ever), Hijokaidan (ditto), Bastard Noise or the upcoming Autopsy one off i promised myself i'd go to despite swearing off MDF after playing there earlier this year.

Oh yeah, and unlike Throbbing Gristle in Chicago back in May there was a welcome lack of middle aged bank managers desperate to prove to the world how much more of a transcendental experience than anyone else they were having. Fuck, i wish i'd secretly filmed some of those wankers, eyes glazed over in rapt nostalgia which is essentially the lowest form of emotional connection, as sarcasm is to wit and Christianity is to Divinity.

Basically it was still relevant (and didn't need a Burning Man overhaul a la TG), unpretenious and far heavier than any number of riffless amplifier bands the youth seem to dig these days. Just a great performance.


Much is made of Black Metal's tendency towards the Kvlt and the True at the expense of the False (and occasionally the Posers).

As mentioned briefly above, initially this was a great way to ward off outsiders. The scene was small and insular enough to have its largely unwritten rules and a structure akin to a magical order intact (initiates, probationers, adepts, illuminates etc etc etc). But it got too big, its uncommerical edge became it's suprise selling point.

Point in case when i saw Mayhem recently i was amazed at how insanely awful they were, not just terrible sound and poor performance on such a huge stage to large audience, but also just how utterly unforgiving and listener unfriendly the music was. Clearly this is a band who have triumphed somehow in managing to sell what many would assume to be unsellable. And on a personal note i've enjoyed every Mayhem studio recording immensely (bar A Grand Declaration of War which is laughable) .

In 2009 a lot of the Scandinavian bands might as well be Led Zeppelin (fuck Led Zep) and a lot of the Americans are for all intents and purposes idea-free punk rockers trying to liberate themselves from punk but without any real idea of what to replace it with. As confused and as useless as what appears to be a current trend for people describing themselves as 'spiritual atheists', only with bad drumming and tinny guitars.

When the only real value a scene seems to (superficially) have amounts to being true to the unholy spirit of Black Metal a mass cop out occurs and we have an inversion of meaning on a level with Britney Spears singing about love and devotion.

In general it's the one's who don't get it that become obsessed with truth and falsehood, their own insecurities around both their personal motivations and their tenuous grip on what they hold in high regard are vomited forth endlessly. People just keep yelling "False!" like some Antichrist Tourettes War Command Fallen Angel of Truth because that way they'll never have to hear anyone elses criticism or be alone with their own terrifying thoughts for a minute.

Let's face it, almost every worthless False has a project that sounds "exactly like Ildjarn (dude)" these days. The commodity of being True is being sold back to us by the False en masse.

And to my mind the real problem with never getting past endless what's True and what's False is that they've become such arbitrary and comical terms. Which means that bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and the unimaginably rubbish Krallice get a free ride because barely anyone can muster up any criticism beyond a sheep like sour grapes bleat of "false black metal". Or worse, any one that can muster up a half decent critique is easily dismissed as yet another stupid Tr00 Kvlt Black Metal moron.

Which brings me to Blasphemy.

In the last four years the amount of redirection towards Blasphemy (and to a slightly lesser extent Von and Beherit) has grown massively. As people search for truer and truer alibis to their own sense of self worth they fall back on these guys.

And with good reason; Blasphemy pretty much broke the mold on every self-conscious nerdy metal jack off that made you laugh whenever they spoke of their 'warrior spirit'. No one else was really like Basphemy before and really, there won't ever be another band like them again.

Proclaiming themselves Satanic Black Metal Skinheads (a seriously bold move) twenty years ago they synthesised youth cultures in the most honest and quite frankly genuinely terrifying ways imaginable.

Satanic Skinheads? That was a weird fucking proposition, sometimes easy to forget how out there that was at the time.

And of course they're inadvertantly responsible for so much dreadful music masquerading as 'True Black Metal'. A simple scan of the sub-sub genre they're responsible for reveals that little is needed to fool a lot of people.

Chris Moyenesque cover, song titles more pathologically obsessed with Christ than most Christians and a whole bizarre mish mash of incongruous imagery liberally lifted from the western occult tradition. Throw some inverted crosses with some Enochian script and maybe a key of Solomon or two and Black Winds is your uncle. No need to add any actual substance to it.

It's more disingenuous than Cradle of Filth and it's being sold as 'real' and Kvlt. The reality is that it's frequently a passing lip service to theistic Satanism with occult clip art profusely splashed all over the cover. And don't forget your five bullet belts Young Warrior.

Which is not to say that it's all bad, Diocletian are doing something genuinely interesting with the style and i love the utterly neanderthal approach of Proclamation.

But really all underground cultures suffer this contraction of thought being sold back to people as either pushing the envelope or guarding the tradition. And like i said, most of it (in any underground culture) is largely dishonest and an inversion of the actual principles that they profess to embody.

In any case, the Blasphemy show. There were far less posers yelling about reality like some kind of Satanic Hip Hop all stars than i had anticipated. I think art witch Diamanda Galas performing the same night probably split that vote. Better being seen as cultured than intentionally cultureless if the occasion calls for an either/ or in some peoples mind i guess.

So Blasphemy, way too quiet to instantly endear me to them, but writing this on the train home two days later i'm struck with a lasting sense of how powerful a spectacle it was on a primal level.

Blasphemy were exactly what a gang (as in GANG) of 40 year old Christ hating coke dealers would look like; intimidating mother fuckers without even having to do anything 'intimidating'. In my line of work i meet a lot of people, a lot of them talk big, but in general the really mental ones don't need to do a damn thing; they just exude 'don't fuck with me' and are usually very friendly. But you know they could kill you in a heartbeat and wouldn't loose any sleep over it.

(this is a version of a larger piece that may one day eventually make it in to the print zine i've been threatening to do for a few months now)


The Rita - Skate/ Snorkel
Drowned - Aerth (these guys need to release more)
Black Sabbath - Peel Sessions
Cro Mags - Age of Quarrel
Kito - the Long Player


Psychogeography - Will Self
Cinema Purgatory 2 - Rick Tremble
Magic and the Qabalah - W E Butler

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Slogun - Bloody Roots CD

holy mother of fuck, this is probably the best straight up angry record since West Side Horizons

i rarely get very excited about much music anymore. Sure, i still like a lot of music, but i don't find much that i would call significant. Slogun however is a project i always have time for and follow what he's doing with great interest. As i've said before, Slogun and Crossed Out are almost exactly the same to me.

i still need to convince John to do a Slogun/ Blockade show in Toronto sometime

a Slogun cover will be on the Blockade/ Unearthly Trance split LP that we're currently in the end stages of writing

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Theta Clear

Matthew made a short zine of some his oddball collage work. At times it reminds me of a cut and paste punk version of Norihiro Sekitani.

Anyway, he seems to be experimenting with some kind of Neo-Luddism currently so if you want one send an e mail to theendlessblockade@gmail.com and i'll direct his attention to it.


Slogun - Bloody Roots
Kaos Ritual - Svøpt Morgenrød
Bastard Noise - OEB IV
Mare - Throne of the Thirteenth Witch


The Trial of Gilles De Rais - Georges Bataille
Aghora, at the Left Hand of God - Robert E Svoboda

Friday, September 11, 2009

Into The Slaughter

Well, finally Slaughter Strike has an 18 minute demo tape availble for public consumption.

$6 North America, $8 World, paypal dkristiansen80@yahoo.ca

If you want more than one demo or a shirt e mail first

Death Metal is a strange old beast, until 1993 i loved the stuff then it very famously became a steaming pile of shit and even the good LPs suffered from three good songs at the beginning and a whole bunch of crap afterwards. Too many songs that sounded like a bunch of transitions sequenced together with no real song underneath it all.

Then it went 'professional' and 'respectable' which lead to vomit inducing moments like in this documentary where some random dullard (maybe it was one of the Immolation guys, i forget) tries to convince us of death metal's merit because some of the guitarists are awesome and can play anything, even classical and jazz. LIKE THAT'S A FUCKING SELLING POINT YOU CLUELESS MORON!

And suddenly death metal was utter shit. Bad songs, boring riffs, laughable PR, horrible "professional" studio sound and worst of all no actual sense of horror or death. Cue several Norwegian's derisory and 100% spot on remarks about Life Metal. I blame Swedish teenagers and the entire state of Florida.

In the last few years the state of death metal has got considerably better once again, possibly thanks in part to underground black metal's continued longevity and people relearning some lessons from that crowd. Stand outs in recent years for me have been Drowned, Repugnant, Hooded Menace, Nominon, Necrovation and several others. And no one with any interest in this stuff can ignore Abscess or Nunslaughter's continued refusal to progress.

And it's funny, apparently now it's the return of Old School Death Metal. Within three days of our myspace page going up we'd had several offers of full lengths based on three roughly mixed songs (the final mixes aren't actually that different to be honest). Hell, more than one of these labels was a fairly big name which says one of two things to me. Either 1) Slaughter Strike is the best band in the whole universe and we've somehow managed to reinvent the wheel or 2) the music industry is fucked and will try and grab anything that might be half decent and might fit in to an emerging trend. Take your pick, or come up with your own.

And a lot of people congratulate us on such groundbreaking moves like our lack of triggered drums. Which really says something about the state of death metal.

So is this the return of Old School Death Metal? Personally i don't think so. Clearly journalists and some record labels need to pretend loose collections of shared values are a scene. It makes it easier to sell things.

We can learn something from hardcore here. In the 1990s hardcore was suddenly predominantly all that unlistenable fucking garbage like Coalesce, Dead Guy, Earth Crisis, Kiss it Goodbye, Snapcase, Starkweather, Refused, Cave In etc etc. At the end of the decade and at the start of this one bands like DS13, Career Suicide and more than i can be bothered mentioning were touted as retro hardcore or old school hardcore. Now that this trend has turned out to not be such a trend after all and is here to stay it's just hardcore. A different shade than the JNCO wearing lactose intolerant crowd, but still *just* hardcore. And if anything the bands that were called hardcore in the 1990s that bore little to no relation to hardcore before it are acknowledged as the abberation.

And anyone reading this that thinks hardcore is eye liner on dudes (Kevin Seconds and Jack Control excluded) and spin kicks at the local enormo-dome energy drink sponsored show needs to educate themselves.

And death metal is the same. Foregoing drum triggers and riffs that sound like a collection of eight million notes over gravity blasts, singing about a zombie apocalypse, getting away from photoshop album cover hell, releasing tapes and vinyl, having an underground DIY approach to booking shows and much much more is not old school death metal. It's just fucking death metal.

So yeah, we have a tape. We're recording a 7" and another tape before the end of the year and working on a full length next year.

Long Live Death.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New York's Alright...

On a recent stay in New York a planned musical get together with Tim Wyskida and Jay Newman didn't manage to occur (maybe another time in the near future...)

I did however throw down a small amount of additional noise on fellow Manson/ Crowley/ Erikson enthusiasts Unearthly Trance's re-recording of their song VVVV

find it here for a free download

On a related note The Endless Blockade have almost finished writing the 11 songs that will make up our half of the Unearthly Trance/ Blockade split LP due out on Chrome Peeler/ Humanless sometime early next year.

And on another related note there's a Joshua Norton Cabal/ Abandoner collaboration in the works, Abandoner sent me some material and as soon as i get my amp fixed i'll start adding my take on the material.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Semen in the Eye Socket of Michael Bryant

I promise not to do another post like this until Thatcher dies.

As much as i dislike modern society's seeming reliance on Schadenfreud as the only acceptable way to voice elation i can't help but smile for Michael Bryant's messy fall from grace that is doubtlessly only just beginning.

Michael Bryant, the most detestable politician since Margaret Thatcher (and it's not just the Bill 132 thing) .

Well, karma is a bitch Bryant, i hope your conscience eats you up for years.

The Mekon smirks at Michael Bryant's pain.

My condolencies to Darcy Sheppard

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ebola - Imprecation ep

God bless the emotional time machine...

The real problem with immigration is not the fact that your qualifications are worth shit in your new country or that you can barely even open a bank account to deposit the wages from your demeaning new world job into.

No the real problem is that most of your record collection is stuck back in the mother land and everytime you think "fuck, i could really do with listening to Death Church/ A Light in the Darkness/ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (it's a Macronympha record...) you realise they're 5,000 miles away.

Anyway, i found this yesterday and figured i'd share it. Kind of hard to believe i recorded this almost 13 years ago, i guess progression really is over rated.

I started Ebola with vocalist (first album only) Jonathan Shaw in the summer of 1995, we lived in Benwell, check this awesome photo of the street we lived on:

Need anything from the shop while i'm out?

Clearly we needed some escapism from our lives and Ebola was our ticket. I asked Micky and Karin from One By One to play guitar and second vocals (it was the 90s...) and Chris from my other band Sawn Off to play drums.

There's not much to be said really, the politics of Ebola were far more straight forward than anything i've been involved in in recent years and i was far less, uh, metaphysical in public then than i am now. Not that i'm one of those people that grows up and attempts to distance himself from his embarassing early forays into opinionated bullshit, i still stand by the necessity to say the things we said due to our time and space.

At the time there was a lot of backlash (and some of it with much merit if we're honest) against bands that were trying to say something about the state of the world. A common criticism i would hear was that punks would never change anything so what was the point. And it's true, on the whole punks will never change a fucking thing, hell, the only things they ever changed in Newcastle were my Crossed Out and Drop Dead records at parties when they wanted to listen to some useless awful dirgey bullshit like, hmm, how about Crass? But i digress.

Well, punk managed to change my life. As gay as that sounds it gave me the tools to travel regularly for free, open up my horizons significantly and ultimately led me to Canada, a move which after six years still isn't old for me.

Previous to this 7" we recorded an LP which i think has aged a little more poorly than Imprecation.

Nick Loaring replaced Jonathan Shaw on vocals between the first two records. After Imprecation came the horribly recorded split 7" with Servitude that took us far too long to write and marked the start of our inability to keep a drummer for very long. I left not long after the split 7" and the band managed another record before imploding under shakey line ups and too much physical distance to keep the impetus alive.

Micky and Karin recently moved to Belgium and have two children, Nick lives on a boat, Chris plays in the recently reformed Sawn Off and Jonathan tragically died of cancer three years ago. Jonathan was probably the most important person that's ever been in my life.

There was some kind of talk of a discography CD a number of years ago. Honestly, i can't say i was paying too much attention about it and i suspect none of us really feel that strongly about the need for an Ebola CD to exist. Having said that maybe five will turn up unannounced in my mailbox next week and i'll have to rapidly edit this blog entry...

RIP Lobster
A brick through a car dealership window as an act of love.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The third Windscale tape was just released by Actual Noise AKA 20 Buck Spin's non-Decibel Magazine friendly label.

Two tracks of simple synth noise and vocals and one more rigidly composed track that i listened to again last night for the first time in a good few months and was actually quite proud of.

Windscale deals with our disillusionment with the modern world and our sense of detachment from what we perceive as an inherently flawed dystopia and an age of vice.

The project was started two years ago as an ongoing collaboration between myself and Jim Fellahean from Cleveland.

Fellahean's Insignificant Scrap CD is a fine example of current US harsh noise that revels in decay and collapse. A great CD worthy of further investigation for any harsh noise fan.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"She's coming down fast"

So it's the 40th anniversary of the Tate- LaBianca slayings, Lynette Fromme is about to be paroled and Bobby Beausoleil’s incredible soundtrack for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising has finally been given a worthy reissue.

I don’t think Charles Manson is ‘cool’, but nor do I have a particularly adverse reaction to him either. I think the “Charlie is awesome” brigade (maybe they’re slightly less visible than they once were though?) and the “Manson is the most evil serial killer ever” people in the other corner basically display the same inability to process the information available and both sets turn to reactionary knee jerk responses.

Manson related iconography can be found to some degree in most Blockade releases, several of our songs and a number of our shirt images (and Susan Atkins in the Survivalist banner at the top of this page). I’ve brought up Manson in a two band interviews in the last few years and rather than repeat myself I’ll just republish my answers again:

What's this obsession you have with Ulrike Meinhof? You have herpicture on your webspace and one of your songs' is named after herbrain. How do you feel about RAF and militant struggle in general?

The song "Ulrike Meinhof's Brain" is about how after her death in 1976 herbrain went missing after her body was unofficially exhumed. In 2002Magdeburg University admitted they had been studying her brain to see if theremoval of a tumour in childhood had caused abnormal brain development andleft to the development of her terrorist activities.

One of the more interesting things about the RAF is when you compare theGerman government's treatment of Nazi war criminal's post WWII with thetreatment of RAF members.

Most Nazis tried in Germany by German courts weregranted amnesty during the 1950s whereas surviving RAF members received muchlonger sentences and many of them are still behind bars to this day. Now, I wouldn't be ascrass as to suggest that the German government is favourable to the Naziparty but it is telling that crimes committed in the name of the State(though a State since overturned) are dealt with less harshly than crimescommitted against the State.

Militant struggles in general are of broad interest to me, just as militantposturing in general is of broad interest to me. My interest is in the pointwhen militancy leaves the realm of ideas and manifests into action, whether I can agree on a moral level or not. Some examples would be SozialistischesPatientenkollektiv, Shining Path, Khmer Rouge, various Volkish groups,Black September, The Angry Brigade, Aum Shinrikyo / Aleph and many many more.

I guess a classic demonstration of my interest would be The Manson Family; from a heavily institutionalised ex-convict picking up the dregs of thehippy movement (already long in decline when Manson arrived on the scene) tobutchering families and hiding out in Death Valley trying to find a hole inthe Earth that would lead them to an underground kingdom.

My interest is not in death and murder per se but in the process that people go through to makethat decision that terror and violence are the only options for them to engage in.

I'd also like to make it clear that I only have a passing prurient interest in most serial killers. It's the ideological aspect of violence that I’minterested in, not random slaughter.

-It’s More Than Music, 2007

Should radical groupations such as "the family", "aum shinrikyo", and others who strive for their goal even though they are swimming against the current be considered heroes of our time? I'm not emphasizing the shock effect of their actions, but the driving force and the extreme willpower. Defying the modern society in a very explicit way is something that is worthy of respect in my book.

These people aren’t heroes. Bombing a subway with nerve gas, I’m sorry but I’m just not really into that. It stems back to my yes/ no on the death penalty; who the hell has the right to decide that complete strangers need to be put to death for a cause?

Personally I’m not into idolising transgressive actions simply because they’re transgressive. If you get into that game you might as well put up shrines to all the paedophiles, shit eaters and dog fuckers that are out there because they’re also following their desires and goals to the extreme.

If someone wants to nail their dick to a plank of wood because they think they’re bringing back some ancient shamanistic practice that mankind lost a long time ago, go for it, just don’t expect me to care. I hate self proclaimed transgressive cultural terrorist idiots.

So that’s where I stand on supporting people who undertake these activities because of their inner force.

However, this is not simply an open and shut thought in my mind. Sure, I don’t consider these people heroes by any stretch of the imagination but they do fulfil a massively valuable function over and above merely being viewed as society’s pariahs.

I’m an unapologetic misanthropist; people generally make my skin crawl. In groups they’re stupid and obnoxious and many people deserve all the misery they get. Conversely however I’m still an idealist; I want to live in a better world, mostly for me, but sure, might as well make everyone else happy whilst you’re at it. I’m also not really into blatant injustices and people fucking other people over. I shouldn’t care, but for some reason I do. My politics can be boiled down to the radical notion (sarcasm fully intended) that people should basically leave each other the hell alone.

So, when you combine idealism, ideology and violence my interest is piqued. And it’s piqued because it’s symbolism I can put into my daily life. I’m not some retarded Manson worshipping fan boy, but give me an image of Leslie Van Houten or Lynette Fromme and I’ll turn them into my own personal avatars of revenge, my own guardian angels of fucking shit up.

We all need to pray to things and for things, whether it’s to Discharge, Jesus or whatever. Fuck, give me Abraxas; I’ll pray to Him when I need to. I’ll make Ulrike Meinhof my Saint of Justice. I’ll make Jim Jones a facet of my alter ego when I feel utter alienation from everyone around me: “If we can't live in peace then let’s die in peace. We are not committing suicide-it’s a revolutionary act”.

Lets give ourselves new rallying crys, new credos, new avatars because the old standards are almost completely irrelevant. “Throw out Christ, bring back Thor” as Boyd Rice said.

Fetishising (in the truest meaning of the word) death and pain and in my case people like Baader Meinhof, Aum Shinrikyo and the Symbioses Liberation Army is exactly the same as other people reading romantic novels, listening to love songs and buying kitten calendars. A million tired songs about death and violence has the same root as a million tired songs about love. The world is often a cold and unforgiving place; we make our peace with loneliness through idealised romance. We make our peace with death and our acceptance of the complete and utter entropy of the human race through idealised gore and violence. Barbara Cartland and Peter Sotos are the exact same things. Barry White and XXX Maniak are the exact same things.

On a different note, the violence of The Manson Family and of Baader Meinhof and their ilk is committed in the way it’s committed because of the belief that spectacular violence will bring about real change. This is a totally modern concept, one of the few we really have in this world. Guy DeBord was really on to something. The Spectacle is everything. Even in destroying The Spectacle we participate in defining The Spectacle.

And finally, let’s not forget that other than Charles Manson, most of The Family were actually children. Fucked up street kids on the whole and you know, if you’re going to be a weird drop out that hates your life you may as well kill movie starlets and low rent Hollywood drug dealers, point loaded guns at U.S. presidents and make some kind of a statement bar “spare some change” even if it is slightly garbled.

- Freak Power, interview conducted 2007, currently unpublished

Originally I had the idea to release a ten song Blockade 12” on the anniversary of the Tate, Frykowski, Folger etc killings. Each song would reference an aspect of the events and each song would also in turn reframe those situations into potentially new meanings and metaphors.

Obviously this didn’t happen. The ongoing destruction of my sanity caused by the Bastard Noise/ Blockade split (perhaps more on that at some future point) is probably largely to blame.

And big deal anyway, I don’t know that we need to do a whole record about it anyway. Pig Life on Primitive was essentially a clichéd ‘fuck society’ punk song written into a hex using the Manson Family and the SLA as servitors.

And besides, Death in June beat us to it by ten years with All Pigs Must Die.

As for Manson himself, well, he’s never getting out of jail and it’s probably for the best. We’re talking about a man who’s spent around 10% of his entire life outside the confines of institutions.

Watching Manson talk is mildly interesting to me. For the last seventeen years I’ve earned a living working with the severely mentally ill and I got my start working with people who were severely institutionalised. Manson pretty much hits most of the negative points you’d expect to see; flight of ideas, grandiose ideation, manipulative behavior, extreme narcissism, his audience defining his role and occasional flashes of humility and modesty. Whatever, I can walk out of my apartment and find these same character traits in any number of rummies at the dive bar at the top of the street or the helpless bastards shouting at pigeons at the bus stop.

The reason people still pay attention to Manson is because despite his delivery his content is often bang on and he’s clearly not stupid. It’ll give you a headache if you try and keep up with him but you’ll find some interesting stuff if you listen for a minute and can make the connections.

Of course it depends on your own perceptions of the world and if anything he quickly says before moving on to the next point hits your own reality models.

Anyway, if you’ve only ever read Ed Sanders hysterically bad book (oo-ee-oo) or Vincent Bugliosi’s cash grab of a book there’s a lot more to it (and sometimes a lot less) than either of those two tomes convey.

All The Way Alive.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blockade/ Agoraphobic Nosebleed split 7" out now

It's true, after giving up much hope of this ever coming out it's finally available here. Please do us a favour and demand clear vinyl.

When we finished recording Primitive we felt that it was slightly too long for our intentions so we decided to cut several tracks from the running order.

At the time we were also avoiding Scott Hull's request to be involved in what became This Comp Kills Fascists. Comps in 2009 are all complete fucking garbage, hence our refusal to do them ever again. Anyway, we offered six songs from the Primitive sessions up for a split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed as a compromise.

It's pretty much cut from the same cloth as Primitive and the song Phantom was lyrically intended as a companion piece to Do Not Resuscitate on Primitive.

Mick Harris does vocals on one song and the art was done by Mike Diana, here's his explanation of an early version of the image:

"Hi Andrew, Here is a sketch I did, was thinking a giant flying skull that has a face of manson with X carved in forhead. Its a giant skull so lots of people are in the mouth,nose hanging on, he is not eating them but saving people from the flames in the city below. "

And here's a picture of me swanning about my apartment drunk off my ass with the original artwork:

Friday, July 17, 2009

"we honour with these our songs, the Universe's Father"

New noise, Joshua Norton Cabal - Victor Over Death cassette.

Two ten minute pieces exploring different aspects, ambiguities and uniting of opposites of Shiva. A companion to my half of last years Burial Hex split in tribute of Mahakali and Vama Marga.

Available from Gaping Hole/ SNSE, it should be on their website next week for order.

And while you're at it pick up the Diaphragm - Sublimation CD which has kept me fairly captivated for about a week now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michal Majewski

Shit, how to even write this? How does a life hating misanthrope even begin to mark the passing of a friend?

Well, basically it’s not how important you think you are that matters, it’s the effect you have on other people’s lives and opinions that make you important.

Artist, musician, non-jaded ardent supporter of DIY grindcore as a true artistic current, nature lover, total bad ass and a guy who made some mean fucking pirogues that i drunkenly scoffed in the back of the van on the way home from a great show in Peterborough once. Actually, his mother may have made them but that isn’t the point here, they were great and i got them from him.

Mike was an early and enthusiastic supporter of The Endless Blockade since day one and had a genuine commitment to the underground Network of Friends ideals that have largely died out in most of the world this decade. There’s been someone who’s asked me if i know Mike from Oshawa pretty much anywhere i’ve been in the world with Blockade.

Mike fully understood that local scenes are all connected and that strengthening your own part of the world has a knock on effect. The larger movement is made of smaller localised scenes.

Anyway, Mike’s death is a loss to the Southern Ontario scene, the Canadian scene and the world scene. Mike’s death is also a loss to many people, me included, that considered him a good friend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Point. Click. Grind.


Insect Warfare - noise 12"
Aspirin - We Do Painkilling to Your Anger 7"
Mudlark - LP and superfluous bonus 7"
Kaaos/ Terveet Kadet - So Much Fun LP
Sutcliffe Jugend - Transgression LP
The Rita - Shark Knifings 7"
Organum - Horii 12"
Gary Lachman - Politics and the Occult
Jonathan Kirsch - A History of the End of the World
Bryan Talbot - The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
William Hope Hodgson - The House on the Borderland
(an ongoing industrial action has been great for my reading if nothing else)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Traumatone Fest Conclusions

Well, firstly the weekend was obviously a success. The bands were of a high standard, Orodruin had a decent show in Toronto for a change and none of the shows felt like they had a noise ghetto segment or token metal band on the bill.

When we talk of bands being good we often are unable to define even loosely what that entails above and beyond a simple (and valid) “i like it”.

As i’ve hinted at in the opening section of the review of day one i don’t think a scene can be defined by a singular band or record but by an individual’s responses to the culture and artefacts produced by the scene in question. To me art by necessity should provoke an individual experience that has the art object (i.e. music) at its centre.

With this in mind i feel strongly that genre bands absolutely must subscribe to and understand their traditions thoroughly. The primary function of most underground bands as far as i’m concerned should be to strengthen their genre of choice. A type of musical eugenics if you will.

Bands that stand out merely via gimmick and superfluous baggage receive too much focus and rarely add anything positive to the culture that spawns them. Obviously there are exceptions to this that i don’t consider gimmick bands; Man is the Bastard, Sigh and Ulver (i like all periods of Ulver if not every release) instantly spring to my mind.

First and foremost bands that are spawned by specific underground cultures should have being the best damn band of their chosen genre that they can be as their main priority. Being the fastest/ slowest/ loudest/ most offensive or whatever other meaningless window dressing people get caught up in is fruitless. I guess that the short of it is that i have a problem with what has been coined the is of identity when it’s applied to music.

And intrinsically linked to the above are the following qualities that i personally use to judge underground music with:

  1. It needs to be honest.
  2. With that honesty ideally there should be a sense of an internal process being somehow externalised by the performer.
  3. It needs to be both immanent and transcendent. Bands that are only immanent leave no lasting effect when the experience leaves. Think of how many records you own that you think are great when you listen to them but you’ll never reach for them again this year (or how many great records you’ve listened to three times then filed away). Bands that are only transcendent are generally boring and academic and lack the visceral passion necessary to be noticed (and in my experience frequntly consider themselves ‘above’ the genre that spawned them). Bands that have neither of these qualities are abundant in every city and fill up most shows you can attend.
  4. As discussed in the review of day one that transformative aspect (on performer and audience) is the goal that we should be reaching for. Though this is rarely successful we should still be striving for this. And importantly the transformative aspect can’t be mere nostalgia.

And just some random observations that the weekend made me think about:


I ignored vast sections of the noise (i’ll intentionally not define the term so i don’t get bogged down in micro-genres) world for a long time and upon re-immersing myself back in it over the last two or three years i’m pleased by some of the evolutions that a lot of north American noise has undergone.

In the mid-late 1990s i felt that north American noise often came from a place i had no time for (there were some major exceptions though) . It was brash and loud and garish and often had little to no soul beyond a weird moronic post-death metal obsession with brutality for brutality’s sake. And hell, nothing says brutal less than an army of boring twits armed solely with tape hiss and Rat distortion pedals.

Essentially i felt that it was all celebrating nothing. Now i find a lot of the artists are celebrating nothingness (there’s a difference) and i welcome that change.

The whole ‘is noise the new punk?’ question i’ve seen a lot of over the last few years is bullshit and needs to fuck off; it’s a complete dead end. Is Thelema the new Freemasonry? Is living in the industrialised world the new living in an agricultural society?


Not all music is for all people and i dispute the idea that elitism is necessarily a bad thing. Elitism and wilful obscurism have been a part of underground culture since day one. The attempt in some quarters to remove this idea (and they conveniently tied it to a business model, capitalism never dies) all but killed vast sections of hardcore punk in the 1990s. Proclamations of musical open mindedness are often just code for an inability to rank the value of experience (and there’s room for both Magma and Bizarre Uproar in my life).

Personally i have no need for the current Scion style sponsorship of underground culture lite, but it’s not the end of the world, i know my place and why i continue to be involved with underground culture. It isn’t a threat to me. Consequently if the people whose only involvement is to go to some Rockstar Energy Drink Extreme Mayhem Summer Slam Fest, spend $30 on some bullshit CD from HMV and occasionally turn up at something that means a little more to people like me then that’s fine too. Some people will never get that elusive ‘it’, so there’s no point in even bothering with the discussion as to why someone’s scraping a metal sculpture across a table (or why black metal production sounds like ‘that’) or why some releases aren’t on CD (or even why cassette tapes are still a perfectly valid format).


To bring this back to the weekend again. I feel that the whole event largely captured my criteria for musical value as outlined above. I go to and play a lot of shows and most of them don’t encapsulate the above. I still have fun at them but they’re nothing more than a single point in my life with about the same value as drinking a good beer after a hard day at work.

I’m also not deluded into thinking that the course of events was anything other than the same as a good beer after a bad day to most attendees; therein lies the root of perception.

I feel that Trauma Tone fest managed celebrate a distinct sense of ‘now’, something i feel hardcore punk is currently unable to do most of the time. Hardcore punk often appears to self-consciously use a current lens of perception to compare present events with events of almost thirty years ago and the disconnect is at times crippling*
The same criticism can be made of much of black metal too. I wonder if people mistake nostalgia for a greater force and connection to events.
* See any internet discussion as to what power violence is and who contains the elusive quality of 'being' power violence for an easy example. Similarly i feel hardcore punk often constantly turns everything back to Black Flag, Poison Idea et al without taking into account the greater culture both then and now (like dismissing Fucked Up's importance by simply stating "yeah, i like Poison Idea too"). Again, it boils down to the is of identity.

A minor playlist of sorts:

Current 93 – Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain
Death - ...For the Whole World to See
My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun
Wadge – Double Take Hawaiian Style
Body Collector/ Task Master split
Contagium – 7”
Incriminated – Death Noize

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Traumatone Fest Day Two

Day two started with Zenta Sustained, a collaboration between Ryan Bloomer (Traumatone, Piss Horn, Ride At Dawn ad infinitum) and Sam McInlay (The Rita). Their cassette on Nurse Etiquette is a fine example of an obsession with the breaking point of sound and sustained (no pun intended) focus on the moment of collapse. A great piece of work and all the more reason why i’m a complete fucking idiot for missing their set as i’ll probably never get a chance to see them live together again. I guess i’m just getting old and can’t keep up.

I also missed Grand Nord, Martin of Wapstan/ Selfish Implosions and many more. Martin described it as a budget version of Knurl. Despite myself i really enjoy a lot of Martin’s projects, even though some of the elements are pretty much everything i find reprehensible about the presentation of music/ noise.

Martin tends to dress up his acts in a degree of the ridiculous. I know he performed his Grand Nord set in a specially made hockey mask and gloves and his Selfish Implosions project is “skate power electronics”, complete with garish clothing, tie dyed bandanas and yelling abuse about long boarders. But fuck, Selfish Implosions were great when we played with them in Montreal last year; i just needed to close my eyes and ignore the words.

I guess part of my repulsion to this tongue in cheek approach is that i find it idiotic and to me it makes me think people aren’t serious about their art (and i use that word in the loosest of ways). As Martin put it to me once he is deadly serious and from his perspective there is nothing more ridiculous than the cliché of the po-faced power electronics approach. And he’s correct in a sense but i still don’t believe that punk, metal and noise would be dramatically improved by the addition of humour and sense of fun and good times.

But yeah, great guy with some good projects, i just have to get over my prejudices.

Warlock Moon were next, i saw part of their set and wasn’t really in the mood for it. They played an inept style of raw punk black metal. And when i say inept i don’t necessarily mean that as an insult; i find much joy in many acts that are written off as inept. I should probably listen to their demos more and get a better sense of them.

They finished with a song called "Slums of Israel", complete with a lyric that sounded like "Die fucking jew". They make reference to the song in question in this interview.

Murder Squad i missed as i was in desperate need of food. The audience quota of studded denim and facial tattoos was high and they’re probably Toronto’s longest flag bearers for DIY crust metal. And Mike makes a mean Bloody Mary.

Crux of Aux from Hamilton are still completely under rated. They play a blend of weirdo noise rock (the influence of which is strongest in their singer’s vocals and actions), hardcore, borderline thrash metal and bands like Melvins and Keelhaul. Far more unique than merely being a bunch of bands all blended together as i may be suggesting. A great band all around, certainly a great choice for this fest and great for me because some of the dudes are clearly even more middle aged than i am.

Obviously thus far day two, to me, was a lot different in atmosphere than day one, and that’s not a complaint. Not every show can or should be a stirring up of a room full of shitty attitudes into one giant punk rock love-in. Sometimes i just want to turn my brain off and listen to some good bands as they are.

Paranoid Time reverted to day one’s performance altering the performer aspect but in a very different though no less valid way.

This was an interesting one, due to the more straight up metal and punk nature of the show there were more people present who clearly didn’t care for noise, which is both understandable and welcome. Watching reactions and attempts to get to the bar by pushing past a guy rubbing a metal sculpture on a table whilst yelling his head off was funny.

Pat’s set was basically a very haphazard metal bashing, vocals and feedback affair but performed with a lot of heart (the same analogy of noise as modern soul music applies to Paranoid Time as it does to Body Collector). Pat’s enthusiasm is both clear and hard not to get swept up in; he’s obviously having a total blast doing it and wants you to join in. It’s the idea of fun and humour conveyed without the need to dress up as a giant skateboarding banana or whatever (which always felt like a curse when seeing UK noise performances in the 1990s).

Sharp blasts of noise are stopped every minute or so as Pat stops to interact with the crowd and give a fake sense of it being a set of songs. And big deal, it’s not like The Endless Blockade has some really every-song-is-unique approach to music, quite the opposite.

Pat’s personal aesthetic is clearly rooted in hardcore punk and DIY grindcore; it translates through his energy and his label’s approach to graphic design. Observe the difference between his more ‘respectable’ label SNSE and his offshoot Gaping Hole with its more over the top dirt bag punk/ grind approach to uniform packaging, both homogenous and incredibly personal (meaning it gives a sense of Pat) at the same time.

And then my other band Slaughter Strike played. We’re still pretty new but every show we’ve played has been packed and well received, we totally have the “ex-members of” thing in our favour. I guess we play a lot of death metal influenced music but filter it through an unforgiving lens of misanthropic hardcore punk narrow mindedness like Discharge and No Security. It’s a totally different mind-set to The Endless Blockade for me.

What attracts me to what i consider ‘real’ death and black metal is the idea that an obsession with death and morbidity is really just a longing for a universal silence and an inner stillness. Witness relatively recent acts like Necros Christos, Ofermod/ Nefandus and several others for perfect examples. If it doesn’t have that sense that the maelstrom and fury is leading to an inner meditative calm i generally don’t care for it in metal.

Orodruin finished the fest off in fine style, really, the perfect end to events. Honest and emotional old school doom. I have to say i’m loathe to refer to them as old school just because they forgo the 0bpm and screaming approach that passes for doom amongst a lot of people these days but it fits a certain frame of reference i’m aiming for.

They have a great sense of melancholy and a sense of searching for hidden knowledge, much like the much missed Warning, though far less down on themselves than Warning appeared to be.

End of day two. Conclusions still to come.