Friday, November 30, 2012

Free Music Friday: Satan's Basement/The Baptism Split Cassette

Today's review is an interesting one for me. I'll admit that even a month ago, I was unaware that either of these groups existed. Furthermore, baptisms and Satan are inherently at odds with each other, so I was a bit amused by the unintentional contrast of the names of the bands, which intrigued me. While these names might imply bedroom black metal wizardry of some sort, the music here is definitely cut from a different strain of the metal world. Satan's Basement spends a lot of time proclaiming love for Bolt Thrower and Cavity on facebook, and the influences show here, especially Cavity. The Baptism I've got a hard time pinpointing or naming, but we'll get to that as the review goes on. Regardless of genre, this is definitely a piece of music that belongs on a metal blog, and this is definitely a metal blog.

Starting things off is Satan's Basement, contributing five full tracks and four interludes to their portion of this split. Opening track "Debilitation Through Insolence" appropriately starts things off at a snail's pace with bellowed vocals and dense guitars.  I will admit that I have no idea what is happening with the programmed drums in the faster passages of this first track, but the riffs and the vocals are ominous enough to overcome my confusion, and I'm listening through computer speakers (since my tape hasn't arrived yet), so take that mild criticism with a grain of salt. While some tracks feature more traditional metal riffs, there is a generally thick feeling throughout this side of the split that showcases Satan's Basement's commitment to heavier sounds, displayed quite well on the punky "Jethro Racing Music." Cutting up the slabs of sludgy goodness are well-executed transitional tracks that help craft an atmosphere of anxiety and chaos that pairs well with the phenomenal artwork that accompanies this tape. I'll touch on the artwork more in a bit, but for now it's time to visit with The Baptism.

The Baptism follow up with five tracks of pure hatred. The shrieking feedback and relentless drumming paired with ominous and depraved vocals reminds me of some twisted hybrid of Today is the Day and mid-period Behemoth, back when they weren't sure if they were black or death metal. As both these projects are one-man bands, it's really fantastic to find two groups who sound so different yet clearly have so much in common. Their second track, "Exit," has me thoroughly impressed. It's a dense and confusing affair, but I can't help but nod my head along and tap my feet, which I imagine is the blogger's equivalent of "rocking out," as it were. The only thing I can say I'm let down by with The Baptism's side of the split is that I'd rather see another original piece instead of their cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley" that closes out this album. It's not poorly executed in any way, I'd just rather hear more tunes from this promising new group. Regardless, they manage to not butcher a well-known song, as many metal bands tend to do, so I still approve of their choice to cover this tune.

Finally, I must say that the artwork here is beyond remarkable. You may have noticed that I shared a different album cover for each artist. That's because these guys went out of their way to make sure that the split has the best damn art possible. Both artists run their own labels and each label has its own unique set of art. The mural pictured above is the masterpiece which both individual covers are cut from, and is displayed on the official facebook page for this split album, where you can also find the album available for the free download that you've been waiting for. If you feel like making the official commitment and getting this badass album art along with your music, you can purchase it from either Hildsvfar Records or Excess and Moral Decay Recordings. Since each label only has eleven copies of this split, I don't believe it's featured in either store. Just send them an email and you'll be able to receive a copy of this excellent split tape.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beer Review: Unibroue's Trois Pistoles

Oh man. Every now and then I get beer recommendations from my friends who also enjoy a good drink. These recommendations often prove to be enjoyable, but seldom lead me to the discovery of a beer I can't live without. This fantastic ale from Unibroue leaves me baffled and delighted. I have no idea how I made it this far into my life as a beer nerd without trying this, but I'm glad I was encouraged to try it.

Described as a Belgian-style Strong Ale, this beer is so much more than any name could capture. As with all Unibroue beers, the label on the bottle is incredibly detailed and gorgeous, which complements such a drinking experience quite nicely. The beer pours a rich brown with a very thin head that creeps away towards the edges of the glass before dissolving rather quickly. The nose is thick with fruity malts that hint at the rich and enjoyable beer within. Even a mere sip is a brief moment in paradise, as the malty goodness is paired with syrupy sweetness that finishes so smoothly, the beer's high alcohol content (9%) is masked perfectly. The label likens the flavors to a fine port wine and it's totally accurate. There's even a bit of the delicious bite of a nice glass of brandy. Seriously, I'd say this is the perfect dessert beer, but I would never recommend waiting until after a meal to drink such a delicious beer. Start it halfway through the meal and enjoy a sip or two with each course. You'll be glad you did.

It doesn't appear this beer is seasonal, so grab a four-pack or single at your next opportunity. Stores in my area sell four for an average of ten dollars, so it's an incredible deal. When you find it, leave me a comment with your thoughts. I'm obsessed with this beer and hope you'll feel the same way I do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Review: Enbilulugugal/Gnashing of Teeth split CD

Today's review comes courtesy of two painfully harsh bands from the wastelands of central California. To call these groups blackened noise would be a simplification, as the brand of wretchedness and filth portrayed by each entity is unique and should not be so easily marked with a label. I can say that the music presented by these two terrifying groups is more likely to appeal to open-minded fans of noise than traditional black metal purists, but that should neither deter nor discourage folks who are here for metal. There are certainly enough horrific elements of metal to keep most fans of raw black metal quite content.

Enbilulugugal, whose name is as challenging as their music, occupy the first six tracks of this split, opening and closing with two pieces that are thematically linked in title, if not in sound. "His Ascent From Hell" lurches into existence with the sounds of some fearsome creature awakening from eons of slumber, preparing to climb out from the depths to destroy all life on this planet. While it does not reach the scathing extremes of Enbilulugugal's other tracks here, this is one of the best introductory pieces I've heard in quite some time. The following tracks make the eerie atmosphere of "His Ascent From Hell" sound almost friendly, with sirens blaring, screams echoing throughout, and murky guitars barely walking the line between distant melody and pure, unfiltered dissonant noise. If Enbilulugugal is attempting to capture the sounds of some ancient terror making its way to the earth and bringing about the end of the world, this is a fitting soundtrack. These six songs are more about feeling than "rocking out" or finding a noticeable hook, but if you've been following my blog this far, you'll know to expect that by now. If you're willing to sample the true intensity presented here, brace yourself and give the violent "Ruler of the Gnarled Woods" a thorough listen. It's hardly a pretty endeavor, but it's a worthwhile listen nonetheless. As a denouement and companion of sorts to the opening track, Enbilulugugal bring their destruction to a close with the appropriately hellish "His Descent Into Armageddon." If things opened in a slower and friendlier fashion, then Enbilulugugal is sure to end it in the most violent way possible. This collection of atrocities is the farthest thing from a song possible and is a great way to segue into Gnashing of Teeth's contributions to this split album.

Following the six track description of the world's end is Gnashing of Teeth's aggressive noise assault. The production is denser, the feedback is turned up to 11, and each song sounds like two songs layered on top of each other: one a distant black drone song, the other a harsh noise piece. With the chaos presented here, it's impossible to finish off these four final tracks without some sense of anxiety or discomfort. In fact, discomfort and uneasiness are where Gnashing of Teeth's sole member seems to find his true peace, as if he were at the eye of some hideous storm, conducting the madness from the only safe haven in the chaos. Fully immersing himself in the music, you can almost hear the sanity of the creator slipping away somewhere in the fractured chords and walls of static presented in my personal favorite, "Sea of Broken Children." There are elements of tonality and beauty hidden in the filth here, but it requires a dedication and commitment as a listener that most people don't have and can't develop. Perhaps that's why I'm drawn to music like this: it's impossible to passively listen to this. You either make a conscious effort to digest what's being presented and truly appreciate it, or you'll stand no chance of understanding what you hear. At first listen the music is hardly music, it's just a collection of scratching noise and tortured howls, but after deep inspection, there is so much beauty and passion poured into this music that it's impossible to deny.

If you're interested in purchasing this stellar split, both bands can be contacted through their facebook pages, linked above, or you can enjoy it as a download from Enbilulugugal's bandcamp page. These bands are both dedicated to supporting other musicians in the black noise underground and deserve your attention. Even if this overwhelms your personal tastes, share this filth with your friends. You never know who may benefit from this slab of terror.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Free Music Friday: Florida Noise Ordinance Fest 2012 Sampler

This week's Free Music Friday is a tribute to an event I wanted to attend but will be missing due to car troubles. Featuring a lengthy list of artists both new and familiar to me, this compilation is much more than simply a noise-related release. Despite its name, there's a bit of everything noisy here, and not just of the noise genre. From the opening aural nightmare created by BMAB favorites Crowhurst to the strange cut and paste anti-club music of DJ Fucked UP to the swirling static textures of Nature Abhors Normality that closes out the release, this is a chaotic compilation to say the least.

Since I'm not going to list every single artist with a description, I'll give the simple explanation that almost every song here appeals to me in some way, yet very few of these artists sound like each other. If you aren't into one, you may be into another. While I've never been to Miami or Daytona, if this is an accurate depiction of their current musical climate, I can honestly say I'd love to head out that way for a show, as they've got an intense and productive little community.

If you're in Southeast Florida and find yourself wanting a truly cathartic (and ear-punishing) alternative to the Black Friday insanity that plagues our society, make your way out to this music festival and find your new favorite bands. Buy some merch, have a great time, and be sure to give Jay from Crowhurst and Mike from GRIT high-fives for me, since I can't be there to do it myself. If you're not already stoked on this compilation, just visit the bandcamp page and download it for whatever price you see fit. Throw them a couple bucks if you can or just enjoy a sampler of some excellent bands.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Special: Saison du Buff Series

So today is Thanksgiving. Whether you're tearing into a roasted turkey, a vegan grain cutlet, or even just a plate full of stuffing with gravy, you're probably consuming a lot of delicious herbs and spices in whatever it is you're eating. There's no better beer to pair with your holiday festivities than one of the beers from the magnificent Saison du Buff series. These three beers are all variations on the same recipe from Dogfish Head, Victory, and Stone Brewing Company. All three share a strong love and dedication for brewing excellent craft beers, and all three have achieved a moderate level of fame through their commitment to perfection, so it's a wonderful match for all three to collaborate on this peculiar beer. Each one includes rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme, which makes it the best pairing you can imagine for your holiday meal, whatever it may contain.

I'm sharing this with some close friends, and we're drinking each brewery's take on this fantastic beer. We're drinking them in order of release, beginning with Dogfish Head and ending with Stone. All pour relatively pale bodies with a thick foamy head, but each is slightly different from its peers. Since I can't write a paragraph on each beer due to similarities, I'll instead write a few sentences explaining how they contrast from each other. While the beer doesn't taste like a turkey dinner, it's the perfect complement. Dogfish's take on it is a crisp and hearty take on the beer, with the spices being heavy in the nose and relatively light in the body. More than any of the other flavors, sage takes the focus in this delicious incarnation of the Saison Du Buff. Victory's version of the Saison is a slightly fuller drink, a bit more of a punch in the nose and mouth. It still relies heavily on the sage, but the rosemary also plays gently at the back of my palate with each sip. The head is a little less heavy on the foam here than Dogfish Head's ample pour, but it's still a nice thick little endeavor. Tonight is the first time I'm drinking Stone's version, which is why I'm finally putting out this review that I've waited for months to write. The head is almost nonexistent, which is fine with me, and the nose is very citrusy in comparison to the other two. True to Stone's tradition of brewing strong beers, this one has a slight hint of piney hops added in to the herb-heavy mix, adding a bitterness that works quite nicely.

Whichever beer you choose to enjoy with your dinner tonight, be sure to check out the Saison du Buff family in the near future for some solid evidence that sometimes businesses can support each other rather than simply acting as competitors. I had a great time visiting with friends and drinking these three beers side by side, and I'm sure you'll have an equally enjoyable time whether you get just a single bottle or one from each brewery.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beer Review: Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Today's review covers one of my favorite beers for casual drinking, the legendary Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. It's available year-round, is reasonably priced in a six-pack, and has the perfect balance of flavors for maximum enjoyment. I could sit down and have three or four of these tasty treats in one sitting. Seriously, this beer is like candy in my household. We only buy about one of these six-packs a month, but we tear right on through it when we do. Why do we drink it so quickly? Because it's smooth and easy to drink, while still being a dark and delicious beer.

The beer pours a dark and thick brown, with a thin but definitely noticeable head. The scent is slightly toasty with a sweet smell I can only identify as similar to jelly beans, which I can only assume comes from the vanilla. Taking a sip, the beer has the standard malty and slightly bitter characteristics of a good porter, yet finishes lightly with vanilla that lingers more in my nose than on my tongue. As I make my way farther into the beer, the sweetness does build up slightly, but never threatens to overwhelm my senses and does little to hinder my enjoyment of this well-made porter. While this isn't the beer to end all beers, this is absolutely one of my favorites for casual drinking. If I'm going to buy a six-pack rather than a single bottle, this is easily within the top five beers I'll purchase.

Pair this beer with any album that you'd consider a classic. It may not be something you listen to every day, but if it's reliable and brings a smile to your face, then it works well with this beer. Drinking this beer is like meeting up with a great old friend: it's always enjoyable and pleasant, no matter how long it's been since the last time you've crossed paths.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Free Music Friday: The Weir- "Everything Blaowder Than Everything Else"

Today's installment of Free Music Friday is another release I found from a friend. I know pretty much nothing about this band, and I'm not sure I need to know much. It's obvious to me that they've probably got a decent sense of humor, what with the absurd demo title and the picture of a duck for its cover.

The music is aggressive and chunky, but it doesn't strike me as dull or overdone. It's definitely in the sludgy hardcore category, yet doesn't get caught up in any of the typical trappings of the genre. Instead, The Weir maintains a pretty intense pace, trudging ever onward into some sort of catharsis through heaviness. The three tracks presented here chalk up to only a little over 16 minutes, providing a great introduction to a mysterious and bludgeoning new group. If my memory is correct, these guys have members of the mighty WAKE involved. If that isn't a little extra incentive, just visit their bandcamp and let the music speak for itself. I'm pretty interested in seeing where they go from here. This is a promising assault, and I look forward to more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Music Review: Venowl- "Gnawed Gristle and Bone" EP

Welcome back to another Black Metal and Brews review of a new Venowl release. In addition to being an incredibly enjoyable group for me, they've got an obscene amount of releases for me to cover. While there are sections of their back catalog I'm still attempting to gather and share with you all, today's review focuses on a brand new EP, which is currently up for pre-order (and will be released on November 25th) on Ominous Silence. That's right, this is the first pre-release review and it's a fitting one. While the previously featured "Patterns of Failure" was an absolute nightmare of an album, with dense production only adding to the horror Venowl created, Gnawed Gristle and Bone has a clarity that shows the listener just how chaotic the music can get.

This one song album opens with humming feedback and a glistening ambiance. This album was mixed by Garry Brents from Cara Neir and mastered by Mories from Gnaw Their Tongues, and it definitely shows. If you've ever heard the aural violence of Gnaw Their Tongues or the intensity of Cara Neir, you need only imagine how insane their involvement makes this album sound. As always, Venowl create some of the slowest, most violent music I've ever heard. The shrieks of anguish are no longer buried in the mud. They're now at the forefront of the music, creating an agonizing sense of terror. Every time the song starts to form a listenable pattern or some sort of groove, the band intentionally takes the song out of what could become a comfortable territory and steers it into a new variety of noise. The guitars churn at some of the lowest frequencies possible, providing more of a grinding sound atmosphere more than a collection of riffs. There are no melodies here for you to hum with, there is no hope of escape. Halfway through this twenty-three minute long torture ritual, some sort of keyboard or choral atmosphere creeps into the background. Instead of providing a sense of comfort, it only adds another smothering layer to the discomfort Venowl revel in.

This album's title and sound evoke the sensation of being a live animal on some sort of factory farm, being forcefed into machinery to be packaged and sold as meat to others. You can hear your own heart beat heavily with anxiety. Your breath becomes deep and slow. It almost feels like being hunted. As always, Venowl are the sort of band who are best described in sensations rather than familiar musical terms. Any attempts at giving this a proper categorization will only give the listener a preconceived understanding that will inevitably fall short.

If you like music that might cause your bowels to evacuate, give this a listen. This is definitely a more developed work than some of the material I've heard from Venowl in the past, although it is no more sterile or safe than anything else they've created. If anything, this is the sound of a band who is becoming an incredibly efficient killing machine. This is by far the most unsettling release I've heard all year and I expect it to be even more gripping when it's released in physical format. There will be 75 grey cassettes released, each    with a burgundy/maroon o-card sleeve with letter-pressed artwork, and given this label's commitment to high quality small run releases, I anticipate it will sound incredible.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beer Review: Clown Shoes' Chocolate Sombrero Imperial Stout

Every now and then, a beer comes to me with a recommendation from a friend rather than something I've found on a whim. This beer is absolutely one of those. This is the first beer I've had from Clown Shoes, and it definitely fulfills the reputation my friends have given it. My friend Frank recommended the Vampire Killer, which has moved even higher on my list, but this bottle was given to my partner as a birthday gift, so this dark and delicious brew is my introduction to the massive talent that is Clown Shoes.

First off, I'm a total sucker for dark beers, so I'm both predisposed to liking this and also preemptively jaded on the style. If a chocolate stout is poorly done, I'm going to notice it. This beer is not poorly done. It's incredibly delicious. This beer pours dark and beautifully with a very thin brown head. The aroma is appropriately heavy on the chocolate, but a sip of the beer provides a slightly more complex experience. If you've ever had a Mexican-style hot chocolate, you know what they're aiming for here. For the most part, they succeed. Of course this isn't nearly as sweet and syrupy, but this does good justice to its goal as far as beers can go. In addition to chocolate, this beer has ancho chilies, vanilla, and cinnamon thrown into the mix. They all combine relatively smoothly, with the lightly spicy aspects playing nicely at the back of my throat after each sip. It's a delightful experience and is proving to be richer of an experience than I anticipated.

For a brewery I hadn't even heard of before I started this blog, Clown Shoes have thoroughly impressed me with this stellar stout beer. I'll definitely be revisiting this one, and I couldn't be happier that I've got such generous friends. Expect another Clown Shoes review from me soon. They're on my radar now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Review: Trist & Nuit Noire split 7"

Today I'm examining an album by two bands who have been rather heavily hyped, yet have remained unheard by me until now. This split showcases that bands putting out a collaborative effort do not need to sound alike to complement each other nicely. I'll often hear a split album by two nearly identical bands that only serves to blur the line between the two and I find myself assuming that neither was creative enough to distinguish itself from its peer. The opposite seems to be true here, with two bands playing very different styles of black metal that are both quite pleasant to my ears.

Trist gets side A of this split, using it to continue the "Nostalgie" theme. This is "Nostalgie III", although you don't need to hear the others to appreciate this piece of music. I'll admit that this is my first experience with Trist and I still enjoyed it thoroughly, despite my evident need for further familiarity with Trist's body of work. This six minute track jumps right in with a dense and melancholy atmosphere that instantly reminds me of Amesoeurs' first EP, which is one of my personal favorites. The guitars buzz with sadness and the middle of the road tempo works well to create movement without it feeling frantic and abrasive. There isn't a whole lot of variation to this song, but it honestly doesn't need it. The greyscale photography of old buildings and nature that are paired with this side of the split work to create a true feeling of isolation and beauty. I always love when a band's artwork and music seamlessly fuse to immerse me in the experience, so this gets a thumbs up from me. I've long been a sucker for the depressive side of black metal, but have found a lot of recent attempts to be less than satisfying, so this is an incredibly welcome breath of fresh air.

If Trist's side of the split is meant to convey isolation and nature, then Nuit Noire's conveys madness and fantasy. The lyrical fascination with fairies here struck me as a bit bizarre at first, but the artwork and music are both spectacular and the fairy theme has somewhat grown on me. While most black metal bands seem content to talk about suicide, Satan, or Tolkien, this is an interesting subcategory and it brings me some joy to hear an original idea within a genre that's been worn thin. The thick fuzz of Trist's side does little to prepare the listener for the lo-fi punk-inspired black metal that comprises these two tracks. The vocals are pretty much just shouted/spoken in classic punk and hardcore fashion, which gives these songs a little more accessibility than standard harsh black metal vocals would, and helps gives a more timeless feel to the music. This could have been recorded in the late eighties and would have still been appropriate for the black metal trends of the era, which is not an easy accomplishment. The opening track, "Faerie Was Already There" is played at a breakneck pace yet it still manages to have some great guitar leads that make it memorable and catchy. The second track, "Fairies Fuck Humans" is a bit more varied of a tune, with some slower passages creating a nice balance to contrast the intense faster sections. I like to imagine that this is what one would hear when approaching the ominous gates that Nuit Noire has chosen for their logo.

While each side of this split ends rather abruptly, it only leaves me eager to find more releases from each of these groups. If you haven't already grabbed a copy of this split, you'd be wise to do so. Both groups are prime examples of their respective subcategories within the vast sea that black metal has become, and at only seven dollars from Fallen Empire, this record is practically a steal.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Free Music Friday: Rectal Hygienics- "Even the Flies Won't Touch You"

This week's cheap and filthy download comes courtesy of my boredom. I rarely take the time to scroll through my facebook feed, as I know a few people who tend to post everything that seems to come to mind. However, last week I must have been awfully bored, because I was cruising around and an acquaintance had posted a link for purchasing this album on cassette. The name and the artwork were intriguing, so I meandered on over to the Rectal Hygienics bandcamp page, where I was presented with this putrid assembly of aggressive, noisy music.

With the name and the hideous artwork, I initially expected this to be a harsh noise artist, but my assumptions were quite far off mark. Instead, Rectal Hygienics create the noisiest, angriest music I've heard in quite a while. The lyrics are blunt and violent, the music is all jagged edges and static, and feedback reigns supreme here. I can imagine these guys playing with bands like Unsane or Today is the Day, yet I think they'd still manage to make the audience uncomfortable. While many bands I review here seem like nice enough fellows, these guys create music that sounds like they'd rob you for drug money. I'm into the swelling and dangerous take on noise rock they've presented here, and the fact that it's streaming free online means you, the readers, have no excuse for not listening to this. The rants and horrific atmosphere remind me of a more desperate version of early Swans, which is high praise if you know me.

It's rare that something this unsettling yet addictive comes my way, but I'm willing to embrace it regardless. If you missed the link to the bandcamp up above, click here for a "name your price" download. If you dig it, be sure to order the tape from the Depravity Label store. You'll be sure to scare the living hell out of anybody who gets close enough to you on the road when you're playing this one.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Music Review: Death Fortress- "Pulling Ancient Stone" Cassette

Death Fortress is probably one of the freshest faces I've reviewed on this blog to date. Virtually unknown to me (and likely the black metal community as a whole) until the past month or so, this band has already made quite an impact on me personally, and will hopefully do the same for you as my readers. Everything about this tape screams raw and primitive. The packaging, songwriting, and even production values give this cassette the feeling that Death Fortress are channeling something ancient and ugly.

Opening track "Eternal Enemies" is a barrage of blastbeats, guitars that stay primarily on the lower end yet retain the evil black metal atmosphere, and vocals that sound more akin to a cave dwelling beast than any modern man. The filth and fury here are thick and have made an instant fan of me. As soon as the song feels like it may build up to an overwhelming degree, it slows down just enough to make the second half of the song feel twice as furious. I feel like this band could play with equal success to a crowd of black metal elitists with folded arms as they could to old school death metal purists looking for a good opportunity to beat the living hell out of each other. If the ferocity of the first song wasn't enough, the title track follows with equally venomous intent. The drumming is a little easier to decipher through this song's particular fuzz, and I must say that it's quite impressive for this genre. Black metal bands don't often take care to keep the lower frequencies interesting, so it's nice to hear some truly masterful performance on the drums. A few minutes in, the song slows down into one of the most evil mid-paced riffs I've heard in a long time. I'm not counting minutes because I'm too busy enjoying this, but I seriously wish it could go on forever. While it doesn't last long, it provides the perfect breather and balance to the sheer violence it leads up to. These two songs end as suddenly as they began, leaving me with a desire for more ugliness, but I imagine there will be more to come from this bold new group.

If you're interested in some aggressive new sounds, you can preview this album on bandcamp. As a warning to my readers, when I listened to this from my laptop on , it really didn't do the intensity of this cassette justice. The lo-fi aesthetics that sound great through a high quality sound system can sound rather flat and unimpressive from a computer. As with many other albums, I highly urge you to grab a copy for yourself so you can listen to it in the proper format.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quick Fix: OBP's Toasted Coconut Porter

Here's another treat from the folks that created the OBP, which I reviewed in September. Whereas pilsners aren't usually my cup of tea, I could drink porters all day long and this is no exception. The aroma on this one is rich and malty and it drinks more smoothly than most porters I've had. The slight sweetness of coconut becomes more present as it builds up on my palate while I drink this beer, but never threatens to overwhelm the delicious flavor of this beer. I bought a single bottle of this on a whim, but it's quite possible I'll be buying this in six-packs from here on out. This porter is highly drinkable and still complex enough to entertain many beer geeks. I recommend trying this one against a more highly priced craft beer competitor, you may find a more affordable and delicious beer with this one. I shared mine around a fire at a friend's house and everybody who sampled it found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Free Music Friday: "Four Fanatic Years" mp3 compilation

Today's Free Music Friday comes courtesy of a blog that has helped me greatly in learning about subcategories of noise and extreme sound experimentation. The Static Fanatic shares noise of all varieties and has been a regular read of mine for the past few months. To celebrate four years of blogging and supporting the noise community, The Static Fanatic called upon a few of their friends to contribute tracks for a free noise compilation. Four artists contributed one track each, approximately four minutes in length, leaving us with a perfect glimpse into the many directions noise can travel.

Opening track, "le quartier des spectacles en ruines" by GRKZGL sounds like the inner workings of a great machine, designed to smash or otherwise destroy other machines. There are lots of winding noises and static layered upon each other, with just enough empty space in between to create a tension and sense of anticipation. It's the first I've heard from this artist, but it's definitely a promising introduction. chefkirk follows with "the roger h smith track," which is named after the man behind chefkirk. It's a hybrid of organic sounds and clipping high frequencies, that blend together to create what is apparently a representation of Roger H Smith. I like the shifts in tone presented here, although some of the denser and higher frequencies may be overwhelming to those who haven't yet delved into noise. I've heard a few tracks from chefkirk before, and I definitely recommend checking out more from him, as it's a compelling and unique collage of sounds. Justin Marc Lloyd's track. "touch, teach and hug each other," is much friendlier than the previous two, providing a soothing and chirping soundscape to contrast the harsher frequencies presented earlier in the compilation. I've never heard from him before, but this minimalist noise paired with light melodies in the background works really well for me. It may be the best introduction on this compilation for folks used to friendlier sounds. Closing out this brief but wonderful compilation is Carl Kruger's track, "glacial decay (edit)," which features some excellent background noise paired with the hum of dozens of separate tracks of glitchy electronics. I haven't yet developed the proper vocabulary for explaining noise, as I don't know how to create it myself, but this song is incredibly busy, yet it doesn't have the overwhelming intensity of the GRKZGL track. Instead, I feel as though this song is a glimpse into the future, perhaps when all life ceases to be and machines are left to fend for themselves. Another excellent tune and a perfect way to wrap up this compilation.

In case you missed the link above, click here for the download and be sure to pay The Static Fanatic a visit. You may just find your morbid curiosity gives way to actual enjoyment. Be sure to visit each of the artists' sites as well, as each of them seems to be quite prolific and may have your new favorite album just waiting at the click of a button. Thanks for reading and enjoy the static.