Circle Jerks frontman's new semi-all-star hardcore band
I saw the Jerks live in 1990, when they were nearing the end of their artistically respectable period. Vocalist Keith Morris (originally from Black Flag) was, and is, a terrific frontman; his long dreads swung wildly as he howled the band's sneering, sarcastic lyrics like a werewolf stand-up comedian. The simple but powerful riffing of the band sent the crowd into a spinning, kicking, punching frenzy; it was one of the greatest sets of pure punk rock I've ever seen. I still have fond memories of that show, and I still have the first three Circle Jerks albums (barely over an hour of music in toto) in my iPod.
Well, now Keith Morris has a new band, the simply-titled, impossible-to-google Off! (punctuation in original). It's something of an all-star unit, featuring guitarist Dmitri Coats of Burning Brides, bassist Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba of stoner-jam kings Earthless. They've released one 7" so far, which contains four songs in as many minutes. They've also made some excellent videos, which can be seen at their website. My favorite video of Off!, though, is this live footage of them playing their entire EP, shot by a friend of the band. Check it out.
The band will be releasing a box containing four 7" singles (their first EP and three more), along with a book containing illustrations by legendary artist Raymond Pettibon, who did all the art for Black Flag's albums and singles in the '80s; that can be pre-ordered here. There is at present no word on whether any of this music will emerge on CD.
Awesome clip for one of the band's shortest songs
War-obsessed Dutch boys turn their attention to the Pacific
"Lemmy" documentary coming on DVD; new studio album to be released
In March of this year, I traveled to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest music conference, where I interviewed Lemmy onstage in front of a live audience. It was a blast; he's a terrific guy, open and friendly and smart as hell. The movie puts that across quite well, including footage from a three-year stretch during which the filmmakers, Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver, followed the band around the world and hung out with Lemmy in his extremely cluttered Hollywood apartment. It also includes interviews with ex-bandmembers from both Motörhead and Hawkwind, testimonials from several dozen of his friends in other bands, and much, much more. It's an absolute must-see for any Motörhead fan, and also highly worthwhile for anybody interested in seeing rock 'n' roll from the inside.
Band features former members of Opeth, Death; sounds like Tool
Metal lyrics expose our hidden lizard overlords
Why are so many metal bands convinced that the world is secretly ruled by extraterrestrials called reptoids who are breeding with humans in their hidden caves?
If you believe reptoid "expert" David Icke, our planet is secretly ruled by extraterrestrials who walk on two legs, appear human, and live in tunnels and caves…when they're not crossbreeding with humans to produce leaders like the Egyptian pharaohs, every U.S. president, and the Queen of England. Icke believes the reptoids are the same race, the Anunnaki, discussed in Babylonian creation mythology, and they are prominently featured in his books The Biggest Secret, Children of the Matrix, Tales from the Time Loop and Infinite Love is the Only Truth, all of which are sold as nonfiction.
This wouldn't interest me in the slightest were it not for Icke's curious popularity within the heavy metal scene. As a journalist covering metal, I've encountered multiple artists citing his books in their album liner notes, and/or writing songs about reptoid mythology. Here are some of the greatest hits of reptoid rock.
High On Fire, "Cyclopian Scape" (from Death is This Communion, 2007)
I'm not sure how seriously High On Fire frontman Matt Pike takes reptoid mythology. I've interviewed him a couple of times, and I get the feeling he just thinks it's a funny and awesomely metal thing to write about. Here are the lyrics to "Cyclopian Scape":
Reptile race crossbred down through the golden age
Lemurian throne taken and usurped by the alien drones
Controlled and honed
Atlantean keys sunken and destroyed by catastrophe
Bloodline kings slither down through society's reptoid dreams
Cataclysm to the elder tribes
Anunnaki have survived
Continents underwater shrine
Ocean vaults holding time
Say ye grace unto the serpent line
Unveil curse and their lies
Contemplate the lengths they'll go to rule
As their fangs dig into you
Embryonic Devourment, "Eating the Flesh of Gods" (from Fear of Reality Exceeds Fantasy, 2008)
The death metal band Embryonic Devourment seem to take reptoid mythology much more seriously—it's the subject of both their albums, 2008's Fear of Reality Exceeds Fantasy and 2010's Vivid Interpretations of the Void. There's no way you're gonna be able to decipher the lyrics of "Eating the Flesh of Gods," the opening track from Fear of Reality…, by yourself, so here they are:
We live by prophecies of fate employed by the reptilian beings inside flesh
Humans from advanced machines they try to keep ties in royal bloodlines
Manipulated by the gods into using military for resolve
We are being played like a filthy game upon a Republican's chessboard
The smell from the conjured bodies resonates the nostril valves
Lizards going mad creating humans for power
We are merely a sacrifice rooted from a small seedling
We are merely a food source for reptilian god breeding
I am brought into a dim light cave
To be shown a special food that's been kept secret amongst the keepers of ancient knowledge
All our members bow and nod for we are eating the flesh of gods
Hungry lizards devour flesh
To get blood that is so pure
So they can see…
Enlightened scenes I now see clearly as I ingest god skin
Its tough chewy scale-like substance
The taste burns my tongue and boils my throat
For the next few days I am sick with a surging power
I am conducted to a different frequency wave
What is this new found power
I feasted upon the reptile race
The Faceless, "Legions of the Serpent" (from Planetary Duality, 2008)
Technical death metal band The Faceless made reptoid mythology the subject of their 2008 album Planetary Duality, making things most explicit on "Legions of the Serpent." Again, the traditional ultra-guttural death metal vocals make things difficult for the casual listener (though the jazzy elements within the extreme metal sound may draw in some non-headbanging listeners from the world of prog rock), so here are the lyrics:
Bring forth the commencing days
An infernal Saurian nemesis appears
The keepers of Earth
Inferior minions of draconian descent
Enforcing the rules of the ancient covenant
Blazing orbs of the Sun
Beating on a helpless Earth
The serpentine order shall no longer hide
The dimensional door brings the Gods to their side
Warm blooded sacrifice to appease the thirst of the creatures who've hidden so long
A servant of the omni-dimensional
Tall and strange bloodthirsty sentinels
Sent to possess the hybrid creation
Keepers of the doorway between worlds
Patrons of destruction
Planters of ignorance
Breeders of malevolence
Sorcerers of possession
There are numerous other examples—Agent Steel put the song "Hybridized" on their album Alienigma in 2007, and the band Nutrition has released three EPs to date for free download from their MySpace page, all about reptoid conspiracy theories. There's also a Chicago-based band simply called Reptoids, but their lyrics seem to be about more conventionally metal topics. And while stoner rock hero Scott "Wino" Weinrich (of St. Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Shrinebuilder, etc.) hasn't actually written about the reptoids, he approvingly cited Icke's earlier, more conventionally conspiracy-minded book And the Truth Shall Set You Free in the liner notes to The Hidden Hand's 2003 debut album, Divine Propaganda.
Sure, you could laugh at all this and take it as proof that metalheads are gullible and prone to believe in crazy bullshit…but what if that's just what the reptoids want you to think?
[This article originally appeared atio9.com, an awesome sci-fi site I visit pretty much daily. Go check it out.]
Or has metal just become a sausagefest (again)?
There's also an accompanying calendar. Here are some images from that, proving that I, too, know the traffic-driving potential of cheesecake.
Here's the (very mildly) interesting thing, though. For four years straight, this issue was known as the "Hottest Chicks in Metal" issue. Now, in year five, it's the "Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock" issue. Are they trying to say that, for example, Alissa and Anissa Rodriguez of Eyes Set to Kill are not in a metal band? Are they claiming that metal doesn't have enough women in it? Or are they trying to expand their territory because they don't think metal offers enough of a revenue stream anymore? I think the choice of Taylor Momsen—a teenaged TV actress with a vanity-project "band"—for the cover makes it pretty clear where they're going with this.
Around the same time Metal Edge, the magazine I used to edit, closed its doors for good, Revolver went from a monthly magazine to a bi-monthly (six issues a year). Their page counts have gone down, too; I've seen some issues that felt barely thicker than a comic book when I held them in my hand. Are they gonna try to make a shift from covering just metal to covering radio rock? Are we gonna see Daughtry or Nickelback on the cover sometime soon?
Hardcore supergroup's new album came out yesterday
Insecurity Notoriety, the first full-length release by Arson Anthem, came out yesterday. The band features vocalist Mike Williams of Eyehategod, bassist Collin Yeo of Ponykiller, drummer Hank Williams III of Assjack, Superjoint Ritual and his own solo country career, and Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Down, Necrophagia, Christ Inversion and Superjoint Ritual on guitar.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Anselmo about Pantera's deluxe reissue of Cowboys from Hell, and while I had him on the phone, we talked about Arson Anthem, as well as some of his other side (as in, "not Pantera or Down") projects. Here's that.
So I’ve heard the new Arson Anthem record…
Do you hate it?
No, I don’t. In fact, I was really surprised by it, ‘cause I was expecting more Discharge-y stuff like the debut, but it’s very different.
There’s too many D-beat bands that just get by by doing that. I’m influenced by Black Flag, I mean really, Greg Ginn, that whole style, but also, I like the anthemic stuff. Like take the title track, “Insecurity Notoriety,” man, to me that’s a great hardcore song. It’s a catchy, anthemic song, man. Yeah, I can do some creative stuff with the guitar. I may not be the best guitarist, but I can write some creative stuff.
Yeah, the band really evolved into something different and unexpected between the first EP and this album.
Yeah and you know what, I don’t think any of us expected it either. We really didn’t. And I gotta say, to me, comparatively, the EP versus the new stuff, the EP’s like child’s play compared to the new stuff. I think the new stuff, it’s true, there really, really is something different there for people to dissect for themselves.
That tends to happen with your bands, though, cause Superjoint Ritual evolved between the first and second records, too.
You know, I play guitar, I wrote most of the stuff in Superjoint as well…I like the first Superjoint better than the second Superjoint, personally. And really I think it’s more of a vocal thing. I think I was a little out of my mind when I did the second record—matter of fact, I guarandamntee I was way out of my mind when I did the second record. Lyrically and vocally I should have taken some more time. But I didn’t. But yeah man, I’ve been playing guitar a while, believe it or not, I’ve written riffs for Pantera that you know totally sound different when I play ’em, for God sakes [laughs], but I’ve written plenty of stuff for Down, most of the stuff for Superjoint, all the stuff for Necrophagia, all the stuff for Christ Inversion, most of the stuff for Arson Anthem, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I love playing guitar. And I want every band I play in to sound different and be different from the other bands. To me, it would almost crush my heart if someone said that Arson Anthem was an extension of Superjoint or something like that, because I think it’s a different animal, you know. Hopefully it inspires people to check out some old Die Kreuzen records [laughs].
So are you planning on touring with Arson Anthem?
We’re discussing that right now and I think—you know, it’s really all on Hank, because Hank does a lot of touring.
Yeah, he gets around. Mike’s been touring quite a bit recently with Eyehategod, too.
Yeah, but he’s been off the road now for over a month, so you know, we been talking, in contact. He’s up for these shows. He knows he has to practice these songs cause he can’t get away with what he does with Eyehategod with Arson Anthem. Cause you know, that’s the clearest Mike you’ve ever heard on the new Arson Anthem. So he’s gotta know his chops, just like I do. But we’re trying to get something together right now. I cannot say anything definite or I’d be a liar. But I would love to do any shows, as many as possible, with Arson. It’s just up to Hank’s schedule, man.