Hard to believe its been almost eight months since the last one of these roundups, but 2020 is finally starting to cough up some quality brutal death metal and slam, so you know what that means…
I’ll probably catch a ton of flack for this, but I have to admit, Gaahl / King ov Hell era Gorgoroth is my favorite Gorgoroth. Don’t get me wrong, early albums such as Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell are classics in their own right, but the band became meaner and more brutal when Gaahl and King entered the picture on Incipit Satan and subsequently began their hostile takeover attempt, beginning with Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan) and culminating in Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam.
More so than just about any other metal album I’ve ever heard, Demoncy’s Joined in Darkness is about creating and sustaining an atmosphere. The music is a trance-inducing hellish miasma of tremolo-picked riffage that seems to move at a snail’s pace; even the fast parts feel like they’re being played at half speed, making it the perfect album to listen to in the dark on a good pair of headphones, preferably while in a heavily altered state.
In 1994 I was a freshman in high school. A good boy who followed the rules, got decent grades and showed up to work on time… on the outside. On the inside I was a fucking maniac, an animal caged inside a pressure-cooker that wanted to kill, fuck or destroy everything in sight. A ball of hormones and confusion, tightly wrapped in a nice little Catholic school attending, grocery bagging for $4.65 an hour package. I couldn’t wear my black jeans and Metallica shirt to Catholic school, I didn’t have the strength or the self-confidence to stand up to the privileged, pampered, future white collar scumbags of America that ran the place and I definitely didn’t have the courage to be anything more than friends with the ladies.
First thing’s first; yes, realize that Thrall-Demonsweatlive is an EP not an album. But it deserves a place in the top one hundred because it marks the beginning of my life-long obsession with all things Danzig. Like many Danzig fans in my age bracket, I was mesmerized by the video for “Mother ’93,” a clip mainly comprised of footage from the band’s legendary 1992 Halloween performance at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater; the image of Chuck Biscuits’ 15 foot high skull drum riser is permanently burned into my brain. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that “Mother” is a fantastic song, but combining it with the imagery of a rowdy-as-fuck live show took it to a whole other level.
When you’re young and just starting to get into a specific style of music, you tend to start with the biggest, most well-known band in that style and work your way deeper and deeper underground from there. When I was first getting into death metal, one of the gateway bands of the genre was Cannibal Corpse. I mean, they were in Ace Ventura for fuck’s sake; but even before that they were one of the most easily accessible death metal bands there was for a kid growing up in the bowels of the Midwest, their gruesome album covers leering at me from the stacks at Musicland and Disc Jockey, beckoning me to sample their disgusting delights.
I remember the first time I went to Amoeba Music’s Hollywood location like it was yesterday. It was actually 2006; I was interning for Metal Blade Records and living in Simi Valley, CA. I had the day off and I was itching for adventure after being stuck in an office all week, so I decided to take a commuter train down to Hollywood for the express purpose of visiting one of the largest record stores in the world.