Into the Pit: Thrash Metal Mailbag

Hello fellow pit-sters! This month, I thought we could do something a little different. You all know I’ve been playing fast and loose with the schedule of this column, and August will be no different! Fellow thrash Josh Bulleid and I thought we’d introduce ourselves to you all a little…

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All Them Witches – ATW

If there was anything to glean from All Them Witches’ previous output, it’s that they aren’t the kind of band to repeat themselves. Each album serves as a unique Polaroid snapshot of the group at that particular moment. They’ve been there. They’ve done that. Continuity is of no concern; variety…

Heavy Vanguard: Red Krayola // The Parable of Arable Land

Let’s dive into our album this week: The Parable of Arable Land by experimental rock/psych band Red Krayola, made in collaboration with “The Familiar Ugly”—a group of the band’s friends. RK consisted of Texas art school students, and this “outsider” influence (i.e. not trained musicians) shows up in their music in the best way possible. Lo-fi? Check. Tons of tracks that sound like noise (referred to as “Freak-Outs”)? Double check. If you like your music psychedelic, experimental, and given to flights of all-out, Brötzmann-esque free jazz, this is your record.

Riffs from the Crypt – Lord

Stumbling in funereal darkness, I’ve chanced upon the tomb of a long-forgotten Lord! Their only album, The Second Coming, was released in 1988. That’s a bit late for a Riffs from the Crypt post — generally, I try to reserve them for bands who had the talent to become pioneers in their respective genres (like Rat Attack), but were unable to break into the mainstream. But what’s special about Lord isn’t that they were groundbreaking in any way — rather, the reason this album deserves more attention is because it’s a culmination of everything that was good about metal in the 80’s. Nearly every song on the album seems to represent a different era of metal, from its hard rock roots to thrash metal, prog, and everything in between.

Heavy Movies: The Slacker Comedy Years

One of the biggest misconceptions about rock and metal fans is that we’re all dreamer slackers with daydreams of musical superstardom. However, in the 90s, that didn’t stop Hollywood from churning out a slew of comedies which adhered to this notion. That said, the history of heavy movies is beleaguered by stereotypes anyway, so why should the 90s have been any different? The good news is that the decade did produce some hilarious efforts – a few of which went on to become cult classics – and that’s all that matters. Hollywood assumptions about subcultures aside, at least the cinema itself was entertaining.

Hexvessel – When We Are Death

It’s always interesting to see how instrument choices and production techniques can have such a strong effect on dating a band or album. Whether it’s the arena-sized, cannon-shot snare drums of the 1980s or the hyper-compressed, extended-range guitars of today, there are a host of characteristics within rock and metal…

Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud

Despite album art that is easily likened to a certain Shephard Fairey piece, “hope,” “progress” and “change” are not accurate descriptors for Under the Red Cloud, Amorphis’ twelfth offering as a Finnish metal amalgamation. After debuting as a death-doom band with The Karelian Isthmus (1992), Amorphis metamorphosed on their sophomore…

A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost Speaks With Noisey

While I haven’t had the good fortune to witness a live performance from Ghost, by all accounts it’s a pretty unique and interesting experience. Their ‘black mass’ setting  So hopefully, they’ll come around some time, but in the meantime, I’ll make do with Youtube footage and this surprising interview with…