Thursday, December 30, 2010


Hey, it's that time of year again where i don't provide a list of ten hardly essential things that you all downloaded long before i did anyway.

Sometime between now and mid-january, time permitting, i intend to do three seperate posts on some stand out artefacts of the last year. If the posts never happen and this paragraph is rapidly edited out then i've descended into another fit of self-consciousness and decided agianst it.

There's a reason why most metal blogs catering to a non-niche market all have Agalloch, Electric Wizard, Deathspell Omega and Ludicra in their lists and it's because people moderate their behaviour and opinions in accordance to what other people around them are doing. Or it could be that these were just totally fucking amazing releases, but i kind of doubt it.

Regarding Deathspell Omega i listened to Paracletusa lot (probably more than most other releases this year), still waiting on an easy to purchase vinyl edition before i hail or curse it. Initial listens were utterly frustrating and i'd decided that this was basically the LP where i would stop following them. And repeated listens did not bring anything out that i could say i liked. Yes, i can definitely hear all those parts that have been written off as sounding like Botch and likewise, i'm not all that enamoured with them.

Sometime about two weeks ago whilst walking through a snow storm at 6am it clicked with me a lot more and listening to it in terms of the two major DSO records that came before it (Fas and Si Monumentum) i'm starting to appreciate it more. In this era of instant downloads and instant ill thought opinions via blog, message board and status update alike it's a brave band that will release something that neccesitates repeated listens. (And i offer the same praise to The Body for their All The Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood release.)

Which is why a top ten list of things from 2010 is about as useful as the playlist on the bottom of any of my blog posts; it just captures my thoughts from the previous two days. I'm still figuring out the importance of Deathspell Omega's newest work, it'll either be something that doesn't captivate me at all or it will become an important release to me (and it'll be one extreme or the other).

Drainland's And so our Troubles Began is one of my favourites from 2010 without a doubt. Download it here, get the demo here. Where it would sit in a top ten list i couldn't say.

Shit that was important this year:

A new Burzum LP

This is something that is worthy of a far more in depth analysis than i could attempt. This is something that needs to be discussed in terms beyond "OMG he a natsi that killed a mayhem", "this record is garbage, lol nintendo metal" or "HOLY SHIT BEST GUY EVER RETURNS TO SHOW YOU HOW IT'S DONE AND REDEFINES BLACK METAL"

Maybe in five years it can be discussed.


First, fuck the language of advertising encroaching onto grindcore records and fuck everyone who let it happen (the "who" that entails is a more complex answer than "Magrudergrind gone done fucked up"). Second, fuck almost everyone on both sides of the debate except Ryan McKenney of Trap Them who wrote the only genuinely compelling piece about Scion that i read this year.

My opinion on the subject is considerably more nuanced than the simple "fuck Scion" this reads like (but still, fuck Scion)and will appear in the tenth anniversary issue of Short, Fast and Loud magazine early next year. I was considering posting it here as well, but at 4,000 words it's far too long for a blog post even by my wordy standards. E mail me if you want to read it and buy the magazine anyway when it comes out.

The death of Peter Christopherson.

Most of my heros are dead. See earlier lengthy post about it.

Myspace being irredeemably awful

I wrote all this stuff about complexity theory and eco-cycle lenses in terms of Myspace and their failure to move effectively with the people using their services. Then i figured why even bother and just deleted it. Myspace is a largely dead concern.

The Endless Blockade and Joshua Norton Cabal Myspace pages can stay where they are for now; they're unused anyway. Slaughter Strike's page will be deleted as soon as Google redirects people to Bandcamp more often than it does to our Myspace. I'm trying out a Soundcloud page for Nameless Dread. Here's something:

Crowned and conquering child by nameless dread

I'm still figuring out if i like Soundcloud or not.

My 2010

Well, shit, it feels like i had something released every three weeks this year and 2010 has undoubtedly been my most productive year in terms of physical releases.

The Endless Blockade finally died a death in 2010, i guess it's time to stop pretending we're on hiatus. The Bastard Noise split finally came out and i was pretty pleased with both that and the Unearthly Trance split as being our final major statements.

The BN split was based on taking the formula of Primitive and applying it to a section of chapters to make a linear, yet hopefully cohesive whole. The UT split was a recycling process; taking the weirder elements that the BN split threw up and putting them back into the template i set up for the writing of Primitive.

And i realise that this is very much seen as the blog of That-Guy-From-The-Endless-Blockade so i should probably announce now that after taking a year off writing power violence i recently started working on new material with Eric King that largely picks up the pace where Blockade stopped.

It's early days yet, there's probably less than ten minutes of material so far (based on new writing and finding an unused Blockade rehearsal tape with just the two of us). Anyway, the upshot of this is that there will be something in 2011 by Column of Heaven, possibly nothing more than a demo tape but there will be something.

My time is pretty constrained with full time school, two part time jobs and Slaughter Strike and when Eric says "yeah, i totally want to rehearse this week" there's only a 30% chance that he actually does want to rehearse.

Slaughter Strike continued on at a glacial pace, which i'm definitely ok with. After spending the last seven years as sole decision maker for most things i'm happy taking a collaborative approach to running a band again. In 2011 expect our full length (currently half written) and some dates in the eastern and mid-west US in august. Possibly the west coast of Canada around april/ may, but that's highly debatable at this point.

And in my post-Blockade world i tried my hand at some different stuff. Here's a download for you.

Two of the tracks are by Nameless Dread, one is for the full length coming out on Crucial Blaze the other is a remix of a Cutty Ranks song, probably never to be released and more a learning excercise than anything else. The problem with electronic music is the ability to edit things forever and never stop. After about twenty different versions of Limb By Limb i can already hear things that need to be changed with the mix. The other two tracks are just things i was pissing around with and are unlike anything else i'm known for (Nameless Dread still has a relatively industrial edge to it)


The Thing That Should Not Be said...

I certainly NEVER think of you as being 'That guy from The Endless Blockade', choosing to think of you instead as 'That cunt from Ebola'.

BTW, didn't you think 'Paracletus' was more than a little reminiscent of Gorguts, circa 'Obscura'?

Survivalist said...

Hah hah old timer. While we're on ad hominum insults i love the fact that on the Redrighthand blog it says "no posts to display"

i should put that unreleased album of yours up for a free download...

"The UKs answer to Khanate"

Yeah, i hear the similarities with Gorguts Obscura and Paracletus, especially with all the skronking accent notes (check out my awesome music reviewing skills).

Vegas said...

I'd like to say something like "I don't know why more people don't have 'A Culture of Monsters' on their list," but it doesn't really surprise me at all and I don't honestly trust my own feelings about that record.

Electric Wizard was the only record of those four I actually listened to (I tried Paracletus and turned it off immediately), and while I liked it I didn't think it was up to par.

IMO, Scion encroaching on "our culture" says a lot more about "us" than it does about them. They're simply building brand loyalty, like any good marketer would. I'm not sure what the returns are for them, but judging by the way they continue to throw free shows and sponsor metal-related things, it must be working in some capacity.

Personally, I don't hate them any more than I hate any other corporation. So fuck em.

As for myspace/bandcamp/facebook/etc, I could go on and on because this kind of thing is pretty much all I think about, but I'll spare everyone my ideas about media distribution. I will say that it's interesting to note that the content and information aspects of these bands have been separated (as bandcamp isn't part of a social network that lets you update your fans on when the next show is).

Keith said...

No more Blockade/Death Agonies split?

Survivalist said...

Keith, it's still happenning, as is the Blockade/ PHT split

pentagrimes said...

Well now.You're way, way too kind to single that record we made but you knew that already. Thanks again Andy.

I'm really baffled by this Scion thing the more I hear about it. I read something somewhere to the effect that Napalm Death played one of their shows recently without knowing it was being sponsored, which I find hard to believe, but it is intriguing that there seems to be an endless line of bands lining up to play them, or at least it seems that way. Obviously it's not as pressing an issue as it's not immediately on my doorstep (although with the Magrudergrind thing coming out on RSR it might be a little closer to home soon), but I'm curious to read what you've written. And I absolutely agree about Ryan Kenney's piece, wether I agree with it or not he put his argument very well.

I'm genuinely curious why this big corporations are trying to infiltrate/become involved in what's realistically a scene with very, very small audience in the grand scheme of things. Sure, Neurosis and High on Fire I can see, but like..c'mon, grindcore? Are Magrudergrind a massive draw in the US or something? I can't believe it would honestly gain them any credibility and it sure as hell probably isn't boosting their revenue,so what's the motivation I have to wonder.

And to add to what Robbo said, you've always been "that guy who reviews all the noisy shit in Fast Connection" to me.Blockade Shmockade.

Survivalist said...

I wonder if anyone would like to chime in with "you've always been that surly kid that did the door at Slampt! shows in Newcastle in the early 90s to me" next?

Anonymous said...

After seeing your post on Tumblr about the Drainland LP I downloaded everything from their Bandcamp and have to say it's definitely one of the better records of this year. I find a lot of that type of hardcore boring and monotonous, but Drainland, for reasons I haven't yet discovered, make it interesting to me. Also the power electronics-esque track near the end is a nice little touch. Was also pleased to find out IFB released it, and thanks to a pending trade, I now have copies coming into my hands (as well as my distro's).

The Scion thing has been talked to death over on the To Live A Lie message boards and I really could care less to give any opinion on it anymore other than i's happening, it was bound to happen, it wont stop happening. As far as what Scion/whoever is seeing in all of it: maybe most Magrudergrind fans aren't trust fund kids, but there's a pretty big guarantee that "fans" of Pulling Teeth, Trap Them, etc, etc, have some pretty hefty bank accounts (or their parents do, or they will inherit it) and I can only assume their marketing is geared towards that, and what they are going to be wanting in the future (that their parents will buy them, or they will have enough of their trust funds left to buy it for themselves). Future marketing, or whatever.

As far as ACOM. It's on my "best of list" for this year, though I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it, either. I think it made the cut due to the amount of times I played it, and I think it's a much more concise effort than the tracks on The Red List (some of those tracks do begin to sound the same, though "Mutant World of Shame" is arguably the most brutal/'punishing' piece of work I've ever heard. Everything is pushed to the limits in that song). ACOM, upon some listens, seems to drag at points, and on others it seems very well constructed and pleasing. I think the main deterrents for me are the re-working of the Cyclops tracks, which were perfect in their own right. High points: Connell. Though and through.

Nameless Dread, not stuff I normally listen to, but (and maybe there's a little bit of bias here because it's "that guy from The Endless Blockade) I actually dig it and am looking forward to the full release.

Someone's a little long-winded today (me).

Anonymous said...

You mention Burzum quite often in interviews/on this blog. Is this because you’re into his music in a big way or rather because he's a good example for the 'phenomena' you describe?

Survivalist said...

i'm indifferent to most of his music; a small portion i find very rewarding and i reject outright a similarly small portion.

but it's undeniable that he changed almost everything in certain sub-cultures and it's too easy to write him off because he has some ideas some people find abhorrent. The changes that he instigated are something that most people are unable to really discuss in a particularly valid and meaningful way.

I wonder how history will view him in terms of the artistic current that also includes films like Valhalla Rising, Black Death and Centurion and fiction like Neil Gaiman's American Gods (etc)?

He's also a convenient litmus test if someone immediately brings up the shock value of his history (the murder, the racism etc). More on that in another post about 2010.

In a strange way i think his biggest failing is not that he's been in prison or that he has political beliefs that i disagree with (most people in the world hold political beliefs i disagree with to some extent) but that he's just so unbelievably awful when it comes to self-representation

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

Liar. You love Burzum because you love Hitler.

As for the redrighthand blog, it's not ready to go up yet, but the unreleased album is about to be unreleased no more!

Keep it on the DL, but it's coming out through At War With False Noise soon.

Anonymous said...

Finished reading your piece for SFL, thanks for sending it my way. The last section sums it up quite nicely and, as is often the case lately, essentially reflects the same thoughts I didn't know I already had. It takes writing that lays it all out for people and explains it to them in a way that things just "click" in order for them to get it or even realize they might feel a certain way, or realize that something is actually a problem. I think you do that frequently on your blog, and definitely in this article. There's so much "this sucks" and "not legit" "talk" going on, that it's just one person following another following another, and not much is really worth reading, or even worth being written in the first place. I hope people actually read this one and don't skim it over or ignore it (or simply scoff at it without learning the contents). People still read, right?

Ryan Aircraft said...

Nice to see an "American Gods" mention out of seemingly nowhere, and better yet that it's within a relevant and interesting point I had not considered.

Ryan Page said...

Does anyone else think a certain car company is getting more mileage from the "what the fuck" factor than anything else? Most people into extreme music aren't going to buy there cars, but there are going to argue endlessly about them, post their half baked opinions. The fact that they got a group of people who wouldn't be caught dead talking about cars posting about them for months, is kind of frightening.

I'd be interested to hear your take.

Honestly, much like the past 6 years or more, 2010 didn't really happen for me, except that a new william gibson book came out, and I saw black swan. I suppose there are layers of the year, but the one that will be recorded I certainly didn't live. I actually stayed in for new years.

I have heard the new electric wizard and liked it about the same as the last one (fairly well). The body's release was pretty great.

I might end up taking the same approach for my recap. When I do it. It's tough to differentiate what happened in a particular year and what I discovered in that year. Maybe it doesn't matter.

These Seans said...

this year was really good for me.

I got a significant raise (but had to make other sacrifices that will soon be rectified), got much more into "doom," started making art again (in the form of music) and most importantly I had a pretty significant focus in terms of how I view and how I want to create art. Andy, your own work and writing have been instrumental in these areas, thank you.

The UT/TEB was my "favorite" release this year. I listened to innumberable times. Another highlight for me this year was V by Unearthly Trance and the head first dive that I took into his art.

Can't wait to check out the DL and I am very excited for the remaining TEB splits and NEW stuff from yourself and Eric.

These Seans said...

oh, and do you know of any good online critisms on Valhalla Rising?

I enjoyed the movie and would like to read about it more, but I couldn't find much when I google searched it. Bummer.

Survivalist said...

i know what i like to watch, but that's usually about it when it comes to almost all films

people who lurk/ comment on this blog that would probably be able to steer you in a more meaningful direction regarding Vallhalla Rising than i could would be pentagrimes, ryan page and justin oakey

good to know i've poisoned your approach to writing muisc Sean...