Friday, March 19, 2010

Psycho - "The Grind Years" CD

This Boston group's 1990-1994 output is re-released on this fine 52-track collection, and it's packed with fast and fun furballs of noise, grunts, and riffs! Ranging from scuzzy gutter punk to ultra-blast grindcore, Psycho's over-the-top thrash and spittle-covered punk exhibit a wicked sense of humor and some superb musical chops. Fans of everything from classic punk rock to early Napalm Death will find plenty to chew on here. Production is hit-and-miss (invariably due to the numerous recording conditions and time periods), but the mood (?) here is of reckless abandon and good, heavy aggression. It's hard to single out tracks, as the majority of them run about a minute apiece, and some log in at as little as 11 seconds, but suffice to say there are plenty of gnarly and fun blasts here. "The Grind Years" is perfectly-executed old-school grindcore/punk with attitude, poise, and spirit. I dug it instantly! (Selfmadegod Records)


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Burzum - "Belus" CD

Easily among the most influential and controversial bands in the Norwegian black metal circuit (look it up, I won't go into the gory and sensational details here), Burzum's first album in 11 years doesn't disappoint. Opening with the atmospheric "Leukes Renkespill", Varg Vikernes (who seems to be the sole member) descends into atmospheric (and surprisingly melodic) black metal on "Belus' Doed". But his palette isn't as monochromatic as or stifling as that genre has become. "Glamselens Elv" is an epic 11+ minute Viking-style romp that is as much classical in style as it is metallic. "Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning" is just under 7 minutes, but manages to range from dark Norse chant to more traditional black metal wailing - effective and unusual. "Keliohesten" is an unwavering blitzkrieg of rolling drums and thunderous, almost industrial-style riff, while the closing, "Belus Tibakekomst (Konklusjon)" is an almost SWANS-like mantra, with building guitar textures and drones. With "Belus", Vikernes and Burzum proves that he is moving beyond the traditional black metal sound that he helped to instigate, and (shady) politics aside, this is a powerful and triumphant return. (Byelobog Productions)

Varg's personal Burzum site

Unofficial but relevant Burzum site