Archive for the ‘Slayer’ Category


Nothing can prepare you for a Rod y Gab concert, but listening to a live album can give you some idea of the aural pyrotechnics you’re in for.

To say it is “just ” two guitarists playing acoustic guitar, gives you a very specific picture.  If you say that they are amazing at soloing on their instruments, it gives you another picture.  Neither of which is correct.

Rodrigo plays an incredible fast lead guitar while Gabriela plays the most dynamic percussive rhythm I’ve ever seem (or heard) on her hollow bodied guitar.   When listening live, if Gabriela is not playing the rhythmic style, it’s impossible to know who is playing what,

These songs are not just virtuoso show-off pieces. They have terrific melodies that run through them.  The songs are instantly recognizable as Rod y Gab songs, but you also recognize the individual melodies too (although I’ll be damned if I can keep the names of the songs straight in any way).

If I had a complaint, which isn’t really a complaint, it’s that you can never tell when the songs actually end. They often pause mid-song and then resume after ten to 30 seconds.  Some songs could be 3 minutes but end up nearly 6.  It doesn’t really matter because the songs are great and could all be one long song because it’s terrific, it’s just a little hard to keep track sometimes.

For this CD, they play 7 of 11 tracks from 11:11 and 1 from their self-titled album.

“Hanuman” opens the disc.  After a few minutes, the song builds and Rod plays faster and louder chords and then it all drops away.  When the riff comes back in, that’s pretty awesome.  “Triveni” beings with some really heavy riffing from both of them.  “Chac Mool” is the one major exception to everything else on the disc  It’s one minute long and is  very mellow and quite pretty.  Nothing fancy, just a a nice melody.

“Hora Zero” has a few moments where Rod plays some really fast arpegiaos and the consistency of his playing is remarkable. (There’s also some wah wah on this song which always comes as a surprise).  This is one of those songs that feels like it ends after four minutes, but it still has two minutes to go.  It ends with a nod to Metallica with the ending chords.

“Gabriela Solo” and “Rodrigo Solo” are, as they say, opportunities for us to marvel at their individual skills.  Gab does a lot of percussive stuff, but also shows her chops on the strings.  Rod’s solo throws in a lot of recognizable heavy metal riffs in between his beautiful Spanish guitar playing: three from Metallica and one from Slayer.

“Santo Domingo” is one of my favorite songs.  I love the riff that is in a different time signature at the end of each “verse.”  There’s some wonderful percussion from Gab. I really dig the bass sound and heavy riffing that he (or maybe she) gets out of the guitar in the middle of  “Buster Voodoo.”

“11:11” features a very pretty, mellow echoing lead section, its kind of trippy rather than frenetic, and there’s some cool tricks that Rod pulls off that sound fantastic.  “Savitri” has some more great riffs and some cool percussive playing from Gab–it turns into a pretty fast and furious song.

“Tamacun” is from their self titled album and it elicits the biggest response, with Rod teasing out the riff and the audience singing along (to an instrumental).  The end is great with some terrific percussion from Gab as Rod wails away.

This does not compare to actually seeing them, but it’s a terrific performance nonetheless.

[READ: January 22, 2018] “Wheelers”

This rather long story seemed to be one thing and then turned into something else entirely.  As if maybe this is an excerpt from a novel rather than a short story (which I see now that it is).

The story begins with a boy talking about his family–his mother’s maiden name is Wheeler.

He grew up in a house with four sisters.  They were loud and demanding.  He tried to ride a wave between them, allowing hair braiding and the like, but they often turned on him: “You know when you mooned me and Faith? We saw your balls and they looked shrimpy.”

The girls’ were nicknames Itsy, Bitsy, Titsy and Ditsy (the dad changed Titsy to Mitsy, wisely). (more…)


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SOUNDTRACK: BIDINIBAND-The Carleton, Halifax, Nova Scotia (December 6, 2009).

There are two recordings of this show up on RheostaticsLive.  There’s an audience recording of the full show, and a soundboard recording of the first set.  Normally the Soundboard is the recording of choice, but the quality of the audience recording is really good and has a bit more ambiance.

Dave greets the folks: “Hello its great to be in Halifax, port city.”

They open with the Rheostatics song “Fat.”  They mess up a few words in “Fat” and Dave goes, “yea, something like that.”  The song is generally slower and less angsty than the Rheos’ version.  The middle section has a real jazzy feel.

He introduces the next song “Desert Island Poem,” “This is a wintertime song for the first snowfall of the year.  It’s really bad snow in this song.  The worst kind of snow.  Cannibal snow.”  Before the songs he says, “We’ve been giving Leo Sayer a hard time. [not elaborated upon].  We’re gonna lay off Leo Sayer for this one.  They change the line to “Pantera and Slayer eat their drummer–who will cool and season the body?”

“Paul and Donna” is a sweet, catchy song.  Dave says “The song was written for Paul and Donna’s wedding.  It’s a wedding song.  “Stairway To Heaven” was a wedding song. Marriage of an evil maiden and a bewitching knight.”

He talks about getting his first photo shoot and addresses “Molly”(the opening act): have you done a photo shoot yet?  It’s so weird isn’t it?  One day you’re trying to play “Two Tickets to Paradise” in a mirror and then some weirdo is taking your picture.  They talk about travelling and a taxi driver asking what kind of music they play. New Wave?  Contemporary.  And while one of them said, yes exactly, Doug said, “straight ahead rock.”  When they ask who you play with they always assume you’re in the The Hip. Its’ cute to disappoint them.  “Not that I was wishing…..”  Being in this band is like being in The Hip.  Dave: “Yea right, $10,000 to be in the Hip?  Yea, I would too.”  Back to the photo shoot, it was in a bowling alley.  The guy said he was a musician too–guys, listen to this story it’s really good.  (Sorry Dave).  He says he wrote a song that’s going to be famous.  It’s called “Led Zeppelin Town” where all the heavies go to when they die.”  Before beginning Wild Ride, Dave starts singing a made up chorus of Led Zeppelin Town.”  The whole song is a short rocker.

“Yemen” has that great guitar line that I really like.  Then Dave says, “Mike O’Neill will you join us–it’s a cavalcade of stars tonight– a cavalcade of ‘staches.”  They sing the O’Neill song “Mr Carvery.”  At the end of the song he says, “one of Ontario’s finest exports.”

“The Continuing Saga of Canadiana and Canadiandy” is an imagined comic book loosely based on the lives of Paul Linklater and Don Orchard.  Only geographically I suppose and their misadventures across Canada.  Doug Friesen starts it with an electric bass solo–Doug I’m really looking forward to this bass part.

“Big Men Go Fast on the Water” has a very pretty chorus.  At the end, he confesses, “that song totally has no ending yet endings are hard.  Come back tomorrow night to hear the ending.  We’ll leave you shy and ending and you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see if we finish it. But we’ll leave a different ending shy tomorrow.  It’s in the handbook… on page 48.  Someone asks, “Is that song your ode to the jet ski…?  Part of the 14 songs you wrote about Lake Ontario and how its being destroyed?  Yes 30 in 30 swim drink fish club, the waterkeepers online music club.  It’s true, you can go download them.  Whoo!  Lets hear it for downloading!  Dave: “How was the gig?  It was a big downloading crowd.”

They play a groovy version of “Earth Revisited.”  The end is stretched out with a nice jam with Dave saying Keep Going and them singing “Keep Going” as backing vocals.  Dave says that song goes back to 1994.  Doug the bassist says, “I was 6….  Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.”   Dave says the young blood is what keeps him going.  During the applause they confirm that “Halifax is a really big Doug town.”

“The Ballad Of 1969” is a song about a lesbian school teacher.  The best.  After a verse, he messes up the lyrics, and says hold on hold on but they keep going with that groove and he catches up.   It’s a great song with and excellent guitar solo and multiple parts.   And interesting story song that is enjoyable multiple times.

They end the first set with “Stolen Car” featuring Ruth Minnikin on vocals.  I don’t know her and her delivery is a little flat (in fairness, it’s a challenging song).  But overall the song sounds good.

We don’t usually do breaks but Mike said he wouldn’t pay us unless we did.  This is the second song from our record The Land is Wild.  I have enjoyed this song, Memorial Day” more and more with each live rendition.  The band seems to be really gelling on this song.  The melody is great and the lyrics are really strong.  Linklater makes some great roaring guitar noises in the middle of the song that sound intense.

Show of hands for those who like to rock.  Solid.  They like to rock and they like to download in Halifax.  This is called “We like to Rock.”  It’s a folkie song, fun and all that, which is not all that loud or heavy.  Doug says, “We like to rock at a reasonable volume.”

We’d like to invite Ian on stage. It’s our first time ever laying with a saxophone player on stage.  Ian how do you feel about what you’re about to do?  “I’m excited and nervous.”  Dave asks, “Do you like the movies, Ian?”  “I love the movie I recently, rented Up.”  Pretty good eh?  “Great, I cried the first ten minutes.”  Someone in the audience goes “Squirrel!” and they kind of have to explain that joke.  “Popcorn” is a sort of song about the movies.  The song seems to sound a little different every time.  This one is more fun than usual. With a really long jam section–and lots of sax (that’s not too loud).

Before the next song the guitars are all playing some weird noises–flat picked notes, the bass sliding up and down.  And over this, Dave starts singing “Song Ain’t Any Good.”  The band kicks in after a verse and the song sounds great overall.

The download seems to be somewhat out of order here.   There’s a song about a Christmas Tree, which I can’t place.  The song segues into “The List” which has some different guitar styles and sounds great, especially the rocking guitar during the Stephen Harper verse.  It segues back to that “Hanging by the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve” song which ends with some futzing around with guitar picking sounds.  They begin “The Last of the Dead Wrong Things.”  This sounds great with the drum solo in the middle (with Dave scratching his guitar strings throughout).

They call up Al Tuck and Dave thanks everyone for coming and Chris for loaning them stuff.   Al says, “I wanted to play my old song ‘I’ve Got to Hand It To You,’ but I’m not going to play that one.”  Then he says, “I wrote this on the piano: ‘What Kind of Soul.'”  He also says he wrote this one his daughter’s birthday.

Dave says it’s fun to visit a city and see friends who you don’t get to spend time with and to have them up on stage.  He talks about the first time he played Halifax.  He feels his life changed after that show–he talks a lot now, but he didn’t talk much back then.  He was less secure, but something changed him in Halifax.  He also says that after the second song they heard muted cheering and wondered where that was coming from.  There were like seven kids behind the back door of the club–they couldn’t get in.

Thanks to Molly for opening for them.

This song is about he life of Bryan Fogarty and it’s the best version of this song I’ve heard.   I love that he whispers “Let’s Go” before the slinky guitar line kicks in.  Linklater adds some great interesting guitar sections to the song.

It’s followed by a quite folky version of “Moncton Hellraisers.”  Note: “Unamplified, Band moving around the bar. Dave on acoustic, Paul on Al Tuck’s acoustic guitar, Don and Doug on tambourines A 13 db boost was added to make more audible.”  You can hear them wandering the floor.  And then it’s time for the solo.  Dave asks Paul:   “Want to stand on the chair so everyone can hear?  It’s a really good solo.”    “Woah–bad table,”  He cant get the solo right, and seems to be trying to climb back on the chair.  Finally he says, “Wanna get on my shoulders?”  The crowd loves it  (“watch your head man.”)  It’s sounds pretty spectacular: Dave plays the main part with Paul on his shoulders (I assume).  The crowd loves it.  Someone says, “That was the most interesting double neck guitar I’ve ever seen.”

Someone requests, Conway Twitty.  “None of us have the hair to pull off a Conway Twitty song.”

Instead it’s a rocking version of “Horses” which sounds very different with Martin not playing the solos.  But the song rocks through to the end where Paul seems to have the song degenerate with crazy warped noises until Dave starts playing the guitar intro to “Michael Jackson.”   It is quiet and has spoken verses.  It works perfectly as a show ender.

While Bidiniband will never match the Rheostatics for amazing live performances, Bidiniband has really upped its game over the years and they sound pretty great–and do seem to out on quite a show.

[READ: April 13, 2017] Sweet Tooth: In Captivity  

As happens with many series, I read the first book and then forgot the rest.  Well, conveniently for me, the remainder of the books were all in at the library so I grabbed them all and devoured them over a spring break.

“In Captivity” begins with a flashback.  In fact, the bulk of the story is about Jepperds.  We see him as a young hockey player–he’s a bruiser and he is currently beating up Jeff Brown.  In the locker room the announcers say that when a hockey player is reduced to that, it means the end of career is in sight.  And then we see him carrying a bag.  This is the mysterious bag that he received at the end of Book One.

Next we flash to Gus.  He is in captivity by a bald guy with red-tinted glasses.  He has just thrown Gus into a room with other “freaks.”  But the scenes with Gus are few and far between and soon we are flashing back to Jepperds again.

He is with his wife Louise.  She is watching something on TV and we soon learn it is a story about the Sick and how people are dying everywhere.  Jepperds wants to flee their house, but Louise thinks they are remote enough to be safe.  Louise doesn’t want to leave but Jepperds insists and tells her that when it’s all over he will bring her back home.

It is then that we learn that Louise is pregnant. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 10, 2017] Dead Cross

I had heard that Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and a million other projects) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer and other things) had formed a band and were touring.  I have wanted to see Slayer forever but never have.  I almost saw them last year but it sold out.  So, I kind of lost interest in seeing them.

And of course, Mike Patton is legendary and I’ve liked so much of what he’s done, but I’ve never seen him either.

I was curious what the album would be like and wasn’t entirely surprised to hear that it was basically a hardcore/speed metal album (10 songs in like 25 minutes).  Despite the two of them, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go to a show like that (I don’t really relish getting in a full-sized mosh pit).  But the more I thought about it (and after reading about the opening band) I decided it would be worth going to.

I checked out their setlists online and saw that they basically played the whole album and a couple extra songs.  Which, by my calculation, would be about 40 minutes. (more…)

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may20014SOUNDTRACK: CRYPTOPSY-“Slit Your Guts” (1996).

cryptI had never heard of this band until I saw the song mentioned in the article.  The song is impossibly fast with speeding guitars, super fast (inhuman) drums and an indecipherable growl as vocal.  In other words, a typical cookie monster metal song.  And yet, there is a lot more to it and, indeed it took me several listens before I could even figure out what was happening here, by which time I had really fallen for the song.

There’s a middle section which is just as punishing and fast but which is basically an instrumental break–not for showing off exactly but for showcasing more than the bands pummel.  It has a short guitar solo followed by a faster more traditional solo (each for one measure, each in a different ear). Then the tempo picks up for an extended instrumental section.  The melody is slightly more sinister, but it sounds great.  There’s even a (very short) bass solo that sticks out as a totally unexpected (and fun) surprise.

Then the growls come back in, staying with the new melody.  The vocals are so low and growly that they are almost another distorted instrument rather than a voice.

After that there’s a lengthy proper guitar solo.  As the song comes to a close,  it repeats some previous sections before suddenly halting.  It’s quite a trip. And it definitely makes me want to hear more from them (whatever their name means).

[READ: April 14, 2014] “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives”

Robbins, who is a poet, but about whom I know little else, takes us on a sort of literary tour of heavy metal.  His tone is interesting–he is clearly into metal, like in a big way (at the end of the article he talks about taking his writing students to see Converge (although he doesn’t exactly say why)), but he’s also not afraid to make fun of the preposterousness of, well, most of the bands–even the ones he likes.  It’s a kind of warts and all appreciation for what metal is and isn’t.  many people have written about metal from many different angles, so there’s not a lot “new” here, but it is interesting to hear the different bands discussed in such a thoughtful (and not just in a fanboy) way.

His first footnote is interesting both for metal followers and metal disdainers: “Genre classification doesn’t interest me.  Listen to Poison Idea’s Feel the Darkness followed by Repulsion’s Horrified and tell me the main difference between hardcore punk and metal isn’t that one has a bullshit positive message and one has a bullshit negative message.”

But since Robbins is a poet, he is interested in metal’s connection to poetry.  And in the article he cites William Blake (of course), but also Rilke and John Ashbery and (naturally) Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as Shelley, Lord Byron and Charles Baudelaire.  He talks about them not because they are cool poets, but because they have also talked about because of metal’s “most familiar trope…duh, Satanism, which might be silly–okay, its’ definitely silly, but has a distinguished literary pedigree”.  Besides, he notes that Satan has the best lines in Paradise Lost (and I note that just as Judas has the best songs in Jesus Christ Superstar).

But sometimes this Satanism turns into a  form of paganism which then turns into nature worship.  From Voivod’s “Killing Technology” to black metal’s romanticism of nature (sometimes to crazy extremes–but that’s what a band needs to do to stand out sometimes).  Metal is all about the dark and primordial, a”rebuke to our soft lives.”

And yet, as a poet, Robbins has some quibbles with metal: (more…)

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lou_reed-620x412 SOUNDTRACK: LOU REED-Metal Machine Music (1975).

mmmfrom Wikipedia:

Metal Machine Music is generally considered to be either a joke, a grudging fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or an early example of noise music. The album features no songs or even recognizably structured compositions, eschewing melody and rhythm for an hour of over-modulated feedback and guitar effects, intricately mixed at varying speeds by Reed himself. In the album’s liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre.

I don’t know how many people have actually listened to this album all the way through.  There are four 16-minute tracks.  Each one is, on the surface, exactly the same: feedback and more feedback.  In truth, the album is a bit more complicated than that.

There is a guitar in the left speaker and a guitar in the right speaker and each one is feedbacking in very different ways.  Indeed, if you listen to only one speaker at a time, you get a very different experience (I haven’t done that with the whole album, although that’s only because I really only found out about that recently, I did for a few minutes and it was pretty fascinating).

And fascinating is what this release is.  It was unlistenable in 1975, there is no question.  Just as something like Slayer would have been unlistenable in 1975.  But twenty years later, when Sonic Youth was riding high, Metal Machine Music seemed a lot less outrageous (indeed, their 1998 release Silver Sessions was essentially the same structure of feedback).

And now MMM seems very forward thinking.  Whether or not it was a joke or some kind of payback to the label or whatever (liner notes suggest he just really enjoyed enveloping himself in feedback), it’s a remarkable record.  If you can actually sit through it, there are some really interesting moments in it.  There are times when the squall and noise turns eerily beautiful, when the ringing notes take on chime-like status.

And unlike the aforementioned SY album in which they just turned up their amps and left, it sounds like Reed was actually hanging around and manipulating the sound.  You can hear times when new notes/strumming comes in and changes the mood.  And of course, Reed had to edit it for the album.

One of the more interesting moments comes right at the end of the disc.  On the vinyl release, he made a locked groove so the final rotation would keep repeating over and over until you had to get up and manually lift the needle (as if the album wasn’t difficult enough).  On the CD, they repeat that section for about a minute.  And that little repeated section is noteworthy for the rough distorted guitar and chiming feedback that all sounds very cool.

All of this is not to say that this album is enjoyable.  It’s really not.  It’s brutal and harsh and best handled in small doses (even Reed admits that in the notes).  But it is noteworthy and fascinating.  And it may have inspired as many feedback based bands as the Velvet Underground inspired droning bands.

[READ: November 2, 2013] “I loved Lou Reed more than you”

I was sad at the passing of Lou Reed, although I’ve never been a huge fan.  But of all of the eulogies, I knew that Neal Pollack would write the best one.

Neal Pollock is a wonderfully pompous “character” (who is the main character in most of the writing of his that I have read).  This article—while much briefer than most of Pollack’s short pieces—is an honest eulogy of Reed, but is also a hilariously over the top profession of fandom.

When Pollock heard the news of Reed’s death, he was polishing the acetate of his producer’s cut of Metal Machine Music.  He wept, mostly for himself but also “on behalf of all cultured people everywhere.” (more…)

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werwolvsSOUNDTRACK: VOIVOD-Nothingface (1989).

nothingI have talked about Nothingface before, but here it is in sequence with the Voivod catalog.

This is the culmination of Voivod’s move toward progressive metal. Even nearly 25 years after its release, this remains one of my favorite albums ever.  The guitar chords are complex and wonderful.  Snakes’ voice is melodic with odd tinges of weirdness thrown in—where he goes up or down a note unexpectedly.  Plus, he has that peculiar pronunciation/emphasis that makes the words sound even more exotic (like “repugnant”).  And despite the fact that they cover Pink Floyd (!), the album is still heavy.

The whole band is in top form here—Away’s drumming is explosive and complex, Blacky has a fantastic rumbling sound that’s not distorted but really fills in the bottom end and Piggy’s guitar is masterful.  “The Unknown Knows” has some cool staggered notes and a great catchy guitar riff during the verses but the time changes come fast and furious.  I love the way the guitar and bass play off each other in this song.  But then comes the cover of “Astronomy Domine”.  Imagine the band from War and Pain who used to cover Slayer and Venom now covering Pink Floyd.  It’s hard to fathom, but man, do they pull it off wonderfully—adding a heavy bass element but keeping it very faithful.  And Away’s drumming is stellar.  It’s a marvelous cover.

“Missing Sequences” starts with a cool bass line and Snake’s great pause… “NOW!” Then when he starts singing again, his voice is phased in a very cool sci-fi kind of way.  There’s also some interesting effects—keyboards maybe–in many of the songs.  There’s also a great part where there’s a rumbling bass and Snake’s scream of “GO!” before a weird guitar solo and then even weirder shifted guitar chords.  It’s magnificent.

As is the guitar playing in the verses for “X-Ray.”  I’m not even sure how Piggy came up with the bizarre chords in “Pre-Ignition.”  And yet despite the harshness, there’s pretty melodies like in the cool catchy “ground and rock and sand” section of the song.  And as for pretty, the quiet beauty that opens “Into My Hypercube” is really impressive for such a dissonant album—Snake whispers his vocals and the guitars are all pretty, major chords.  Until the bridge where dissonance enters and then the post bridge (who even knows what to call these song parts) which is once again a heavy round of dissonant chords.  And then when the “tumult in the dark” section starts, it’s practically a whole new song—until Blacky’s bass section reintroduces the beginning motif.

The final track has a wonderful moment where Snake’s voice follows Piggy’ unusual guitar line perfectly.  And then the very cool almost funky (great bass sound) of Blacky after the “too late for S.O.S.” line.  The album ends abruptly (too late for S.O.S.) and you’re left contemplating everything that just happened (I haven’t even mentioned the lyrics).

It’s a prog metal masterpiece.

[READ: August 26, 2013] Werewolves of Montpellier

I enjoyed Jason’s Lost Cat so much that I went to the library and checked out some other books by him as well.

Werewolves has the same looking characters as in Lost Cat, but they are different people (I assume).  The strange thing about this book is that the werewolves don’t look all that different from the main drawings.  At first I wasn’t even sure that he was wearing the werewolf mask.  But on closer inspection there are subtle differences (the eyes, the ears, the fingers).  Indeed, it took two reads for me to really notice all the subtle details.  Nevertheless, it’s just funny to imagine the characters thinking he was a werewolf when he looks for the most part the same anyway.

But so this story starts with the main character, Sven, dressed like a werwolf and breaking into someone’s house.  When the victim comes home, she catches him, but is frightened and he flees out the window.  In the next scene his next door neighbor, Audrey, (not his girlfriend, as she is dating a woman named Julie) brings him some food and tells him that he was in the paper (unidentified but in costume).

Then we see the main character and a bird looking guy playing chess in the park (and talking about the value of escalators for checking out women’s asses).  The main characters seems to be primarily dog-like and bird-like, but they intermingle freely.

The final new characters are two men talking about the photo.  They say that the werewolf in the photo is not part of their brotherhood and they want to punish this newcomer for causing them trouble. (more…)

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lostcatwarandSOUNDTRACK: VOIVOD-War and Pain (bonus stuff) (2004).

The War and Pain reissue was packed with goodies for Voivod fans.

You get “Anachronism” which is 3 songs from their very first live show in June 1983.  (“Condemned to the Gallows,” “Blower,” “Voivod”). They had (it sounds like) a surprisingly large audience for the show.  You also get “To The Death” which is 3 songs from the Metal Massacre V sessions (“Condemned to the Gallows,” “Voivod,” “Iron Gang”) of which “Condemned to the Gallows” was used on that compilation.  I think this is one of their better early songs, and it’s a shame it never got a proper release (although it’s all over this package).

If the sound quality on their proper album was bad, you can imagine how bad this sounds.  Their first show may have been recorded on a microcassette it is so low-fidelity.  And somehow the Metal Massacre tracks sound like they were left in a puddle of mud since 1984.  I have the Metal Massacre albums and I don’t think they sounded that bad.

That leaves Disc 2: “Morgoth Invasion.”  This is a live show from December 1984.  It has 16 songs (surprisingly no “Voivod” and two covers:  Venom’s “Witching Hour” and Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare”).  Like the previous live tracks, this one sounds pretty dreadful–but not quite as bad.  It is fun for the historic value–hearing the band play fast and tight hearing Snake’s guttural French (he did most of the between song banter in French).  Also hearing how well they play the covers shows how seriously they took their metal.

The third disc is a CD-ROM.  You get lyrics to the album, biographies of the band and comments on the 20th anniversary release.  There’s also band photos and art by Away.  There’s even the old  video for “Voivod.”

But for fans the most exciting part is the “Sounds” section.  In addition to including all of the above audio (in case you wanted it all on CD-ROM?), there’s also seven songs from a 1984 concert.  I am fairly certain that these tracks would eventually be released on the To the Death 84 album (it’s the same order and I don’t have that record).  Again, the sound quality is not great, but it’s interesting to hear these songs played live–to hear just how fast these guys can play.

So the anniversary package is worth investing in if you like your Voivod.  If not, wait a couple more albums when they become amazing.

[READ: August 26, 2013] Lost Cat

I had not heard of Jason before this book passed across my desk.  Jason is a Norwegian graphic artist and comic book maker whose real name is John Arne Sæterøy.  Many of his books have been published in English by Fantagraphics.  This one was translated (from the Norwegian I assume, although Jason now lives in France, so maybe it was written in French) by Kim Thompson.  The interesting thing about the translation is that I didn’t realize it was one at first…I just thought the characters were deliberately speaking in a weird sort of way.  I wonder if this is intentional on the translator’s part.

The striking thing about Jason’s art is that his characters do not have eyeballs (as you can see from the cover art).  This seems to convey an overall sadness to the characters.  And yet he is also incredible at creating mood and tone from these animal people (even without eyeballs!).

This story has a few threads that tie it together.  As the story opens we meet Dan Delon, a private detective.  As he walks home for the night he sees a lost cat sign.  A few panels later he see the cat.  He calls the number and returns the lost kitty.  The kitty’s owner, Charlotte, is very nice.  She invites him in and gives him a drink.  She owns a local bookstore which he was recently in (although they did not meet).  They seem to have a lot in common.  Charlotte is fascinated that he’s a private detective.  But he quickly dismisses the excitement saying that it is mostly just taking pictures of people having affairs–and then upsetting both parties when all is said and done.  He seems to realize the loneliness of his life as he says this (again, conveyed wonderfully with the art). (more…)

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