REVIEW: Forward Unto Dawn - ALPHA

Forward Unto Dawn - ALPHA
Red Tentacle

ALPHA garners sort of a mixed reaction to me. On one hand, its pretty well written and there is some talent within its seven tracks - some trickier guitar work. The problem, however, stems from actually finding said talent beneath this endless barrage of the familiar. Breakdowns and dissonant chords were once edgy, exciting, and new - maybe at some point there was some heaviness to that formula but at this point it all feels like a wet-noodle approach to music. Why, I wonder, do bands like Forward Unto Dawn revel in this tired old approach - I'd really like to know. Beyond that, there are a few moments where the band takes some extra effort to add experimental and progressive elements to the music. For instance, the track Concord & Dissolution adds some technical and melodic hints compared to tracks before it. Actually, if anything, its by far the best and most stand out track on the whole damn album - which is a shame considering it contributes the colossal amalgamation that these tracks are. Every song bleeds into each other making the whole thing feel like one big song rather then a album of any sort.  But this doesn't make ALPHA epic or anything, instead it further waters itself down by adding even more to its repetitive nature. Holy crap.

I'm not going to pretend I don't like some Hardcore or 'core' bands in general. Really, I do like a bit of everything - but I don't like everything of just one thing, if that makes sense. With ALPHA, I feel like I've heard almost everything this album has to offer before. Atop that, the band simply beats you over the head with way too much familiarity and comes off as just another 'core' band that sounds like every other.

REVIEW: The Whorehouse Massacre - Altar Of The Goat Skull VI

Transcending Obscurity

I wasn't around when people were exchanging tapes, sadly. My transition from action figures and colorful cartoons into teenage curiosity, where most of my interests began, was at the peak of the Compact Disc's popularity. Most 'heavy' music at that time was neigh always Nu-Metal, the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkut, or P.O.D. However, I was lucky enough that, one fateful summer working at a Summer Camp, the sister of one of the counselors saw I was into Metal and handed me a CD-R full of some truly far-out bands. I'd not heard anything beyond the overly-produced messes and coming across bands like Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum, The Melvins, and such (remember, this was also before Youtube) was like discovering a new life-form. I'd say, it was the closest I ever got to experiencing something along the lines of the Tape-trade days. However, with The Whorehouse Massacre, I almost feel reminiscent of that first CD-R - experiencing something so different among the ever growing crowd.

Truth is, I'm not usually a huge fan of rawness in my music. I don't mind it sometimes so long as the entirety of the music doesn't get swallowed in a sea of caustic tin-box reverb. The Whorehouse Massacre isn't exactly guilty of this but there is undeniably a lot of rawness and amateurism to 'Altar Of The Goat Skull VI' - but, somehow, this just adds character to the whole experience. You see, whats even better then a overly-polished album that thousands are sunk into is a album in which the band takes a lot of personal and creative risks. Call it a lingering similarity but The Whorehouse Massacre's unnerving uniqueness and willingness to lay their creative style out is reminiscent of my all-time favorite band Celtic Frost (Or Hellhammer). In a lot of cases, this huge wall of sound and horror isn't exactly as dark or 'Blackened' as bands such as Old Witch  pull off but the creativity far outweighs that typical route. Much like the bands name 'Altar Of the Goat Skull VI' feels like a old, cheap, but endearing Grindhouse feature.

The album, of course, isn't made for those looking for a Grind or Core type of experience. I've said it before about other bands but the whole thing hits you like a bag of hammers, creative hammers. The Whorehouse Massacre puts up one of the most satisfying walls of deafening fuzz I've heard in a long time, I just love the Sludge tone they've pulled off here. No doubt, if this all sounds up your alley it'd be a shame for you not to pick it up or... download it, whatever you kids do these days.