Obscure South Park references aside, I’ve got to get back to the ever-growing pile that’s on my desk. And that’s a pile of CDs, thank you very much. A reminder for those just getting here: this is a warts-and-all rundown of the CDs that make it on my desk that, for whatever reason, I never seem to get around to reviewing.
The Dillinger Escape Plan Option Paralysis. I avoided reviewing this album because I did a sweetheart of an interview with guitarist Ben Weinman as well as reviewed their NYC show, so I gave Jersey’s best more than enough love in a short span of time. But it should be noted that Option Paralysis is their best work since Miss Machine, and it even surpasses their first Greg Puciato-led album in certain respects (see “Parasitic Twins,” and “Widower”). To date, my favorite of the nascent year.
Hayaino Daisuki, The Invincible Gate Mind of the Infernal Fire Hell, or Did You Mean Hawaii Daisuki? While I’m pretty sure the title says it all, but in case you didn’t know, it’s ripping speed/thrash metal by four Japanese girls. Eh.
Masta Killa Masta Killa Live. Tied with U-God for Wu-Tang’s least featured performer, Masta Killa shows up here performing material live from his two solo records as well as some Wu cuts (“Triumph” w/ Inspectah Deck and an a cappella version of “Da Mystery Of Chessboxin”) with a host of help from Killa Bees, Deck and GZA on certain tracks. It’s a fairly good performance, but it’s certainly for dedicated Wu fans.
The Columbian Ga-Ga Diaper Dealer Vaccine For Happiness. If Gibby Haynes had a brother, this is probably what his one-man band would sound like. Most of the songs are complaints about fatherhood and marriage. So I guess it’s relatable.
Sweethead self-titled. The debut of the side project of Troy Van Leeuwen (of Queens Of The Stone Age and early A Perfect Circle), Sweethead is a dirty, punky, female-led affair that still boasts a strong Homme and Castillo influence. Tinny, production, dull vocals and endless comparisons drag down a CD with clever moments, such as the chorus of “Amazing Vanishing Conquest.”
Master Musicians Of Bukkake Totem Two. A collection of tribal instrumentals performed by a large number of musicians playing well-known and unknown instruments. Good elephant-riding music, and not in the Clutch way.
Fear Factory Mechanize. Autocannibalization is a scary process to see in bands. I have a fair amount of affection for Fear Factory, but Mechanize simply rehashes old material, despite the reunion with long-estranged guitarist Dino Cazares, along with the addition of SYL bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan at the cost of drummer Ray Herrera and Christian Wolbers. The end result is not even a sum of its now broken parts.
Down Diary Of A Mad Band DVD. I suppose I can’t really write about this one, since its release got delayed indefinitely, but I got a promo for it. Maybe some legal issues. So that will probably whet my appetite to actually watch it one of these days, even though it won’t change the fact that Over The Under was wholly disappointing. “I Scream?” Really?
Nihill Grond. Black metal that vamps its way into your heart after endless minutes of overdriven guitars plus fuzz. The fear lays in until the listener collapses under its growing weight. Simple and good.
At The Gates With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness reissue. While it’s never going to be the landmark Slaughter Of The Soul, there’s plenty of charm to Burning Darkness (“Raped By The Light Of Christ” is an old school crowd favorite with good reason). The true appeal to this reissue, as opposed to the 2003 reissue which added the first album in its entirety, is the DVD of fairly poor VHS footage included with the set. The cover art is now reddish, for some reason.