The Shortlist: Demos, EPs, Splits and Reissues

The Shortlist: Demos, EPs, Splits and Reissues

The Phenomenauts: “I’m With Neil” b/w “Every Day Is Science Friday”: 7”

On the space-surf punk frontier, Oakland’s The Phenomenauts are releasing a 7”. After seeing Neil Degrasse Tyson on “The Daily Show” propagating science education, bassist and vocalist Atom Bomb began sporting a pin reading: “I’m With Neil.” Bomb continues, “Then, I decided to write a song to pledge my allegiance to his way of thinking.”

Tyson tweeted that he was honored, but a little “weirded out” when he saw their video.

“Dr. Tyson declined to be directly involved, but encouraged us to use his publicly available image and words,” Bomb says. “He suggested that we donate a portion of the proceeds to the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, an educational non-profit he’s involved with.”

The B side lauds NPR’s “Science Friday” with the track “Everyday Is Science Friday.” The vinyl—available on Silver Sprocket—is a swank picture disc featuring the astrophysicist’s visage. Bomb hopes the release will fulfill the Phenomenauts’ mission: “We’re not just excited about knowing how the world works, but also by the prospect of using that knowledge to make tomorrow better than today.”

EYEHATEGOD / BL’AST!: Split

SoCal’s hardcore riff pounders of the ‘80s, BL’AST! returned a few years ago. Though they’re perched to drop an album on Rise Records, they tease us first with this staggering piece of wax. Rise split up the limited 1000 piece release into red, red/clear, and black/clear. BL’AST! covers one side, while NOLA sludge mongers, EYEHATEGOD—enjoying an amazing resurgence themselves—release a dirty ditty on the other side.

“I first saw BL’AST! back in the ‘80s at an obscure club in New Orleans after deeming Power of Expression and It’s in My Blood two of my favorite albums ever to be made,” Mike IX Williams, EYEHATEGOD vocalist, states. “I am honored to share this split record with Santa Cruz’s finest, and the fact that both of our bands still exist and are still rocking in this black void in time is a testament unto itself.”

Clifford Dinsmore of BL’AST! matches the excitement: “It seems like yesterday, that I went to Slim’s in San Francisco to hang out with [Corrosion Of Conformity] and met/witnessed EYEHATEGOD for the first time… a relationship that turned out to last for decades. To this day, still one of my all time favorite bands. I hope to God this release gives us all a cheap excuse to play some more killer shows together.”

Agoraphobic Nosebleed: ARC: EP

Agoraphobic Nosebleed surprised and stunned the metal world into submission with their new EP, ARC. Available from Relapse Records in clear, gold, green, white, or black 12” EP form, this is a small step in a bigger, bolder plan. Between the next few true ANB records, each member will write an EP of material with ANB and Pig Destroyer guitarist and writer, Scott Hull, dedicated to a tangential sub-genre of metal. ARC is the child of ANB’s vocalist, Katherine Katz, and her chosen genre, doom. ARC is an incredible masterpiece of sludgey, ugly riffs.

Guitarist Richard Johnson is already planning his installment, focusing on industrial metal. ANB fans may not know how to handle the opposite sound of the band’s signature flashing, spastic grindcore. Johnson says it took “a long time to get the songs together. There wasn’t any rushing at all.” As far as playing ARC live, Johnson admits, “I don’t know when we’ll do that.” But again, playing live for ANB has only happened once—last year at Maryland Deathfest—in Hull’s 20 years of running this band.

Coffins / Ilsa: Split

Relapse Records is releasing some all new material from two sludge champions spanning both sides of the globe. Coffins and Ilsa’s songs share one side of their 12” EP, making room for the limited edition vinyl to include an etching on side B. Coffins erupt for five minutes with “Tyrant,” which is soaked with their iconic noisy rumbles and vomitus growls. Ilsa push the galloping, dark eight minute “Cult of the Throne,” proclaiming, “God is none / We have won!” The fans win here as well.

Voivod: Post-Society: EP

Voivod return with a quick EP, Post-Society, supplementing their 22 year output. From the frosty winds of Canada, Voivod have been slaying audiences since their amazing demo with their take on sci-fi fueled hardcore-punk-prog-thrash. Century Media let loose this five track, 30 minute record at the end of February. Tight production and challenging songwriting push this EP into the stratosphere. The band spin tales of apocalyptic melee to mid-tempo songs.

Primitive Man / Northless: Split [see full review here]

The cover of this split LP is an ugly, broken, debilitated human, inflicted with life. A split between the soiled sludge of Primitive Man and Northless should conjure no other sentiment.

Primitive Man recently celebrated their fourth year as a band. Denver’s masters of sludge have produced two EPs, last year’s Home Is Where the Hatred Is, four splits, and a full-length, 2013’s Scorn. Northless join in the aural obliteration. They have released three albums—including the amazing World Keeps Sinking—three EPs, and three splits. Together here on a Halo Of Flies gatefold 12”, the two bands join to decimate conceptions and expectations.

Primitive Man bless their side of the wax with one 15 minute track of belligerence and bile. Glacially slow riffs and demonic bellows join forces with tempered, tectonic drums to extract your attention span to minute measures. The sound feels like The Hulk staggering and stumbling through a cityscape on elephant tranquilizers. Primitive Man execute their songs with hesitation and controlled restraint, unveiling parts of this song in strikes and dull hammering.

Northless deliver three tracks, totaling 17 minutes. Their approach is more frenzied. Northless’ chaotic twists feed the listener with crippling waves of burden and overwhelming weight. Each side of this split 12” is ugly and combative. Available on green or black wax.

Cara Neir / Caïna: Split

New York label, Broken Limbs, began in 2012. For 2016, they have some killer LPs lined up for release: Atrament’s Eternal Downfall; Palace Of Worms’ The Ladder; a Black Tar Prophet / Iron Gavel split; WODE’s Wode; and Crowhurst’s II. Coming off of their 2013 full-length, Portals to a Better, Dead World, Texan punks Cara Neir have a new track from their upcoming fourth album, Perpetual Despair Is the Human Condition. “Trials of the Lost,” which features vocals by Andrew Curtis-Brignell of Caïna, is now streaming on the label’s Bandcamp. A release date is set for spring 2016.

Also impending is the Cara Neir / Caïna split 7”, which will be teasing both bands’ upcoming full-lengths in 2016. This is an impressive split being co-released with European label, Wolves Of Hades.

Fister / Teeth: Split

Another fierce split coming to the Broken Limbs label is Fister and Teeth, sharing a spring 2016 release for their split vinyl 12”. A trio that musters up ugly sludge, extracting death metal and opaque doom together, Fister violate eardrums and psyches with thick, callous riffs on all four of their albums, as well as on splits with Norska and Primitive Man (on A389).

Teeth echo their side with a similar version of intimidating doom metal mixed with charging death metal. Teeth are coming off of their belligerent 12”, Unremittance. The split includes artwork by Ethan McCarthy and Bag Man Visuals.

Satanic Warmaster / Archgoat: Lux Satanae: Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship: Split

Released on March 4, Hell’s Headbangers gives us a split between Satanic Warmaster and Archgoat. Dubbed Lux Satanae: Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship, the intent and vehicle of these bands’ music are evident. As the album’s name indicates, Archgoat and Satanic Warmaster are Finnish black metal bands, and the split contains 13 tracks that laud the labor and leadership of Lucifer. This record was originally released in 2015 in picture disc form with purple print, but quickly sold out. Now re-pressed 666 times in red, blood hungry fans who missed out should pounce on this. Provided on both CD and LP, Hell’s Headbangers spare no expenses or effort. The 666 copies are pressed on oxblood red vinyl with the logos and text on the jacket in red instead of purple. Traditional black vinyl will also be back in stock with this new jacket. The CDs are a deluxe digipak with each band on their own disc.

Satanic Warmaster gives us four tracks: “Black Destiny,” “Wolves of Blood and Iron,” “Satanic Winter,” and “My Kingdom of Darkness.” The band have been peddling their Finnish fury since 2001, releasing over 13 LPs. Those titles are as subtle as the band’s name.

Archgoat—with titles such as “Angelcunt,” “Penis Perversor,” and “Satanic Oath”—have been making hellish tunes since 1991. After scant releases in the ‘90s, Archgoat exploded in the 2000s, releasing many EPs and LPs.

Lord Mantis: Nice Teeth Whore: EP

In 2014, Lord Mantis released Death Mask on Profound Lore. Now, the metal community is shocked and thrilled over the revitalization of this Chicago band, once again brandishing their horror soaked, abhorrent, vile version of metal, complete with controversial cover art. Nice Teeth Whore was recorded by Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos, Like Rats) and mastered by Collin Jordan (Yob, Voivod, Windhand), and is out April 29. Its four tracks are disturbing and lascivious gold, ranging from five to seven minutes each.

Nice Teeth Whore introduces the new Lord Mantis lineup, which now features vocalist Dylan O’Toole and bassist Will Lindsay, each formerly of Indian, and guitarist Scott Shellhamer joining the core of guitarist Andrew Markuszewski and drummer Bill Baumgardner. Cover art was provided by Manuel Tinnemans (Comaworx), employing a disturbing theme of ovarian rot and decay. The punch of new members surge through speakers as O’Toole’s scathing vocals reassess what metal can be, even over their own three full-lengths.

Northless: Cold Migration: EP [see full review here]

On March 11, Northless ‎released their new 12” EP, Cold Migration, via Triple Eye Industries. The vinyl 45 RPM EP is a limited edition pressed in 20 test pressings, 51 on grey with white and black splatter, 101 on white, and 385 on black. This beast continues Northless’ mastery of the sludge doom genre. Three splits, three EPs, and three looming, tumultuous LPs have provided fans with extensive material. The band’s cold, distant songs leave listeners in a pulverizing solitude. And it’s glorious. No strangers to 10 or 15 minute songs, Northless exhibit the skills and reticent delivery, but the band exploits the short track as well, pushing the speed and drums to focus on more rollicking, destructive tracks. Cold Migration is a great statement in this band’s career.

Veneficium: Demo

Veneficium—on the formidable Iron Bonehead label—spew some vitriol on strips of magnetic tape. The New Zealanders rip out three tracks of devastating metal. Moving into a dark world of doom mixed with death, Venecifium move beyond punishing riffs. The venomous trio vehemently declares their mastery of atmosphere. They indulge in songwriting that relies on talent and dedication. As they spawn swirling tapestries of dissonance and penury growls, they create an ethereal world of despair and feral treachery. Their music is calculating, raw and violent.

Voidnaga: Demo MMXVI: Demo

Also for Iron Bonehead, Malaysia’s Voidnaga conjure up Demo MMXVI. In 2015, this solo project of Adlan of Impious Blood tapped black, death, and doom metal to explore and display his interpretations and lamentations on the occult. Weaving tales of mythological and demonological deities of his homeland on three tracks, plus a two minute intro, spanning 19 minutes. The mystique and ominous emotional stagnation of Malay Magic supplies substance for the lyrics and dreadful tones, or as Adlan puts it, “Meditated Serpent Transforms into a Great Nagas.” Adlan appears in promo shots in his leather outfit with a black hood obscuring his visage. Mysterious and menacing, his image reflects this commanding new demo.

Pig Destroyer: Terrifyer / Phantom Limb: Reissues

Relapse has announced preorders up for the reissues of remastered Pig Destroyer albums, Terrifyer and Phantom Limb. Out of print on vinyl for 12 years, Relapse goes overboard with the color here. Terrifyer LP: red/black half ‘n’ half with white splatter, 100, mail order exclusive; bone white, 200, European import; milky clear with red, black, and pink splatter, 200, European import; white/blood red merge, 500; as well as black. Phantom Limb will be put out on purple/pink merge with splatter, 100, mail order exclusive; bone white, 200, European import; hot pink with black and white splatter, 200, European import; swamp green/purple merge, 500; as well as black. The albums will be available on digital platform with bonus tracks as well.

Phobia: Decade of Blastphemy: Reissue

In March, Melotov Records presented a reissue of Phobia’s Decades of Blastphemy. This is an extensive four CD discography, chronicling the first two decades of the band. Shane “The Pain” Mclachlan, vocalist and founder, has taken Phobia, with many different grindcore legends as members, around the world. The stats for Decades of Blastphemy are daunting, encompassing 17 complete Phobia releases from between 1990 and 2010, equaling over 150 tracks. Represented here are nine albums, and splits with Gadget, Extinction Of Mankind, Abaddon Incarnate, Suffering Mind, Skrupel, Resist & Exist, and Corrupted.

Founded in 1990 in Orange County, then transplanted to Texas, Phobia still release killer albums on top notch labels and tours. Mclachlan comments with exuberance, “We are very happy to be releasing this discography. It means a lot to us to celebrate the history of this band that has worked hard through thick and thin to prosper and grow to become an influential force. I am proud of what has been achieved with the band.” Acknowledging the idea for the reissue came from Karol of Selfmadegod Records, Mclachlan is excited to share it with Melotov: “It seemed like the right time now to do it. Melotov Records is an up and coming respectable label that I thought [could] handle the U.S. release.”

Melanie Voltz, Melotov Records founder, joins in with steadfast declarations: “This release is one of the crowning achievements for Melotov. Getting to work with a legendary band that has been around for as long as I’ve been alive is beyond overwhelming. There are tracks on this CD that have never seen a physical release, so being ‘trusted’ with that is huge. I’m so stoked to be able to do this release!”

Cannibal Corpse: Butchered at Birth / Eaten Back to Life / The Bleeding / Vile / Tomb of the Mutilated: Reissues

Metal Blade ups the ante with five—yes, five!—reissues of death metal’s mighty Cannibal Corpse. Butchered at Birth, Eaten Back to Life, The Bleeding, Vile, and Tomb of the Mutilated are available on Metal Blade’s webshop. Each 12” features, as part of the Metal Blade Classics series, black vinyl, single jacket, two-sided black and white insert, and a 24” by 24” two-sided color poster. Cannibal Corpse’s iconic and provocative painted covers are resurrected in 12” jacket glory. We also get to see Chris Barnes’ best work and his passing the torch to George Fisher. Spanning from 1990 to 1996, these albums cover some of the best releases in the death metal genre and the Florida band’s catalog.

Wolfbrigade (formerly Wolfpack): A New Dawn Fades / Lycanthro Punk / Allday Hell: Reissues

D-beat warriors Wolfbrigade have been propagating and nurturing a global DIY community for 20 years. Now, Southern Lord will be reissuing the band’s first three LPs. Southern Lord relays, “Wolfbrigade’s music stood at the forefront, in no small part, down to their instantly identifiable brand of destructive riffing, riddled with chaos and ire, and with a fatally catchy tendency to structure tracks in a manner that kept the listener captive, slammed between a constant buffeting of high-speed verses and snappy choruses.”

On April 15, Southern Lord released these out of print beauties. Wolfbrigade’s first records were released under the name Wolfpack, but they changed their moniker due to a Swedish White Power crew of the same name gaining in numbers. The band’s releases only grew in intensity and political awareness as they continued. A New Dawn Fades from 1996, Lycanthro Punk from 1998, and Allday Hell from 1999 will be unleashed in LP format, or together in a special box set that also comes with the bonus 7”s Bloodstained Dreams from 1996 and Hellhound Warpig from 1997.

Southern Lord also reminds us, “Additionally, Wolfbrigade will be once again teaming up with Southern Lord to bring the masses their next full-length offering, which can be expected later on this year.”

Okkultokrati: Snakereigns / Night Jerks: Reissues

Southern Lord will also be reissuing Okkultokrati’s firs two records, Snakereigns and Night Jerks in May. The Norwegian band dropped the 2012 album, Snakereigns, and the 2014, Night Jerks, on Fysisk Format. These reissues tease audiences for the band’s impending full-length, which will be recorded this spring and released through Southern Lord later this year.

Okkultokrati smash together black metal, hardcore, and spitfire rock ‘n’ roll. According to Southern Lord’s press release, “They have earned a ferocious reputation for siphoning elements of disparate genres in to their toxic, distorted brew, a trait that can be observed across the whole of the Black Hole Crew collective encompassing Okkultokrati, Haust, Arabrot, Dark Times, Blood Suckers, Drugged SS, and others.” These two albums were bangers, and well received. Given the albums’ initial pressings of 1000 on vinyl, it will be sweet to hold a new version via Southern Lord.

Lifetones: For a Reason: Reissue

Brixton, South London, birthed a band called This Heat in the early ‘80s. This Heat ripped fodder from the headlines into material for rebellious music. When that band split in 1982, guitarist and vocalist Charles Bullen joined with Julius Samuel to form Lifetones. Harvesting influences from the local West Indian community, the duo fused reggae into their catalog of “propulsive, rhythmic, and experimental music made by This Heat,” according to reissuers Light In The Attic Records. The band’s resulting album, For a Reason, was an architecture of atmosphere, constructed by Bullen’s multi-tracked, chant-like vocals teamed with dub beats and Krautrock-informed repetition. For a Reason reached beyond defiant slogans and promoted a mindset, even quoting Bob Marley in its lyrics: “You love the life you live / You live the life you love.” Reissued on Light In The Attic, Lifetones’ single album contains six songs of dance-electro, post-punk, dub-rock that stood as unique for its time and even more rare today.

The Ruts: In a Can: Reissue

After young punks get past The Clash, hopefully they find Stiff Little Fingers. After that progression, The Ruts’ Babylon’s Burning should be required curriculum. This mandatory single from 1979 put The Ruts on the turntables of punks and skins everywhere. Their distinct and catchy mesh of reggae and punk propelled them into many ears of dancing youths. The album The Crack came a few months later, pushing them onto a career with Virgin Records and three BBC One Sessions. Mixing 999, Generation X, The Clash, and The Specials, The Ruts still ping fervent and urgent today. In 2000, Harry May Recording released a compilation of their top material called In a Can. Now, that album is being reissued by Westworld Recordings. In this CD deluxe digipak, Westworld supplements the compilation with The Ruts’ live album from the prolific Live and Loud Oi! series. Thirty-one tracks here give any listener—virginal or old hand—a thorough representation of the band’s raucous hard punk vibe in the studio and on the stage.

Chelsea: Chelsea / Alternative Hits / Evacuate / Original Sinners / Rocks off / Underwraps / The Alternative / Traitors Gate / Faster Cheaper and Better Looking: Reissues

Continuing with classic U.K. punk, Westworld Recordings is kicking off their newly baptized label with a three volume anthology of Chelsea. Starting in 1979, by 1982, Chelsea had released three LPs and 12 EPs on Step Forward Records. They would keep moving forward with many more. Here, Westworld distills their body of brash punk. Each volume contains three albums plus some bonus material, including, in order: Chelsea, 1979; Alternative Hits, 1980; Evacuate, 1982; Original Sinners, 1985; Rocks off, 1986; Underwraps, 1989; The Alternative, 1993; Traitors Gate, 1994; Faster Cheaper and Better Looking, 2005.

Infa Riot: Best Of… Collection: Reissue

Westworld wraps up classic Oi! and U.K. punk with a gem. Infa Riot get the reissue treatment here. Still Out of Order, 1982, and their Live & Loud installment, 1988, are two magnificent claims in punk rock. Their 45 single, Kids of the ‘80s, 1981, is a staple on any Oi! comp. But with tracks like, “Each Dawn I Die,” “Catalog Kids,” or one of the two, “Five Minute Fashion,” Infa Riot stamped their legacy with attitude and unapologetic songs. Westworld puts out the Best Of… collection in a CD digipak for new fans to grab. Do it.

Pennywise: Nineteen Eighty Eight: Reissue

You know the name. Lords of pop punk and melodic hardcore, Pennywise refined their signature sound in the ‘90s. Pennywise share a bond with their fans, and their logo is a ubiquitous tattoo of skateboarders and hardcore kids everywhere. Pennywise and Theologian Records are teaming up with South Bay indie label Hardline Entertainment to reissue the band’s early recordings on a single LP entitled Nineteen Eighty Eight. Nineteen Eighty Eight combines A Word From The Wise and Wildcard, early EPs from the band’s beginnings. Add covers of Black Flag’s “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and fans of the band will be getting misty.

The LP will be available in opaque red, opaque blue, opaque green, and a red/black swirl, as well as a very limited edition 180 gram black/white swirl that will be numbered and signed by the band. Sixteen dollars to 22 dollars gets this revitalized piece of punk history.

The Feelies: Only Life / Time for a Witness: Reissues

Bar/None Records is rereleasing the third and fourth albums from New Jersey based avant-pop pioneers, The Feelies, Only Life and Time for a Witness. Formed in Haledon, N.J., in 1976, The Feelies released four albums, including their influential debut, Crazy Rhythms, which was voted number 49 of the top 100 albums of the 1980s by Rolling Stone magazine and chosen by Spin Magazine as number 49 of the best alternative records of all time. The band appeared on the “The Late Show with David Letterman” and in concert with Patti Smith, REM, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed.

As a special Record Store Day release, Bar None and Coyote Records also co-released the Feelies’ Uncovered. This was a limited edition 12” EP featuring studio recordings of four cover songs, none of which were commercially available before: “Seven Days” by Bob Dylan, “Take It as It Comes” by The Doors, “Dancing Barefoot” by Patti Smith, and “Bar Stool Blues” by Neil Young.

Originally released in 1988, Only Life is their third album. Pushed by major label support, classic tracks like “Deep Fascination” and “The Undertow” garnered heavy attention. A cover of the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” made Lou Reed take notice. He chose them as touring partners, sometimes joining them onstage for encores. The reissue features a bonus download card of a new acoustic version of “It’s Only Life” with live tracks from their last show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., before the venue was closed. It features liner notes by novelist Rick Moody (“The Ice Storm,” “Garden State”). The Feelies’ fourth album, 1991’s Time for a Witness, had the band turn in a heavier direction. Seeing as this dropped six months before Nirvana’s burst of stardom, that shows The Feelies’ brilliant minds foreshadowing the grunge era.

S.P. Metal Comps I and II: Reissues

On February 5, Svart Records reissued on vinyl both volumes of the classic S.P. Metal compilations. S.P. Metal I was released on 650 copies of black vinyl and 350 copies of red vinyl. S.P. Metal II was released on 650 copies of black vinyl and 350 copies of blue vinyl. This is the first time since the original 1984 issue that the album is available on vinyl. The Svart reissue has a layout faithful to the original Brazilian edition. Liner notes and lyrics are presented in English, in addition to the original Portuguese. Work on this album was begun in 1982 and it was released in 1984. Baratos Afins was a record shop and label in Sao Paulo, and the owner wanted to document this new scene and share it with the world. To get this opportunity to hear the peers of Sepultura and Sarcofago as the scene was spawning embryonic cells is heralded in 2016. The magic of these recordings on vinyl regurgitate a time and location that should be available. Being metal in Brazil in 1982 and 1983, the budget was close to nil, but coming to fruition, the result was a spectrum of metal, ranging from NWOBHM-influenced music to proto-thrash headbanging with four bands: Virus, Avenger, Centurias, Salario Minimo.

S.P. Metal I triggered an explosion in recognition of Brazil’s metal scene and the advent of Rock In Rio. Eyes of fans and of record companies turned to the South American hotspot. Then spawned S.P. Metal II, which contained four bands of 1985: Korzus, Santuario, Abutre, and Performances. Each band has two tracks. Again, the adoration of NWOBHM and early thrash-speed metal get equal floor time here. Svart Record has released amazing hard rock, extreme metal, and doom metal albums and reissues, from Convulse, Goatess, Tombstoned, Jess & The Ancient Ones, Speedtrap, Beastmilk, Anti-Cimex, In Solitude, Sammal, Reverend Bizarre, Hour Of 13, and Oranssi Pazuzu. Continuing their flawless catalog and inherent dedication to a treasured subculture, Svart dedicate 24 more inches of wax to these rare and mystical collections.

Spazz: Sweatin to the Oldies I and III: Reissues [read here]

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