Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Muffs - Happy Birthday to Me (1997)

Pretty much perfect SoCal power-pop-punk. Simple, old-school rock 'n' roll chord progressions shot through with thick alt rock guitars and punk energy, and carried by vocalist Kim Shattuck's gravelly yet sugary-sweet delivery. Think a snottier Weezer, circa Blue Album. It kinda seems like someone with good taste at Reprise tried really hard to make The Muffs famous -- I first heard them on the Angus soundtrack, they were also featured in Clueless and a few others -- but the world just wasn't ready, I guess.

Track listing:
1. Crush Me
2. That Awful Man
3. Honeymoon
4. All Blue Baby
5. My Crazy Afternoon
6. Is It All Okay?
7. Pennywhore
8. Outer Space
9. I'm a Dick
10. Nothing
11. Where Only I Could Go
12. Upside Down
13. You and Your Parrot
14. Keep Holding Me
15. The Best Time Around / New Jazz Daddy-O [hidden track]

And I will read your mind instead
And I could tell you that you are very dead

You'd probably also dig:
The Queers -
Love Songs for the Retarded (1993)
that dog. -
Totally Crushed Out! (1995)

IC Rex - Sielun Kadotuksen Sinfonia (2005)

Finnish raw black metal. A chaotic, red-lining onslaught of drum machines, quasi-symphonic keyboards, distorted vocals, and razor-like guitars, all blown-out to the point of being nearly indecipherable.

Track listing:
1. Tulikäärmeen Kutsuhuuto
2. Luciferin Miekka
3. Tuli Kylmästä Jäästä
4. Ikuisen Tuskan Hybris
5. Luomattoman Jumalan Pauloissa
6. Asura
7. Kasvotusten Absoluutin Kanssa

I wield these swords of death
To make art of this mortal flesh

You'd probably also like:
Cryfemal -
Fuck You God!! (2000)
Black Wood -
Religious (2003)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Bile - Suckpump (1994)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Bile - TeknoWhore (1996)

Debut album of dense, antisocial, mildly pornographic, and occasionally surprisingly catchy industrial metal from Long Island. A personal favorite of mine for the better part of my life. Wanna see me get fucking AMPED? Play "I Reject" really loud when I'm drunk.

Track listing:
1. Head
2. Burnt
3. Ura Fucking Loser
4. I Reject
5. Feeling Like Shit
6. Get Out
7. Suckpump
8. Get Out (Radio Edit)
9. Ura Fucking Loser (Radio Edit)

I am the living dead
I see in infrared

Similar listening:
Virus (1989)
Skrew -
Shadow of Doubt (1996)

Haunting Depths - Death's Sacred Fire (2017)

Truly excellent occult black metal from parts unknown. Songs of Satanic dark magic permeated by the beautiful sorrow of mortality. Some of the best-constructed raw black metal in recent memory. Definitely would have placed high on my year-end list if only I'd goddamn heard it.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. A Strict Master Named Death
3. Gleam of the Defier
4. Lies into the Aging Heaven
5. The Unique Magick of Rigor Mortis
6. High Necromancy
7. Blood Vicar

Perverse invocation of death

You should also listen to:
Csejthe -
La Mort du Prince Noir (2009)
Thy Dying Light -
Forgotten by Time (2018)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Guy Called Gerald - Essence (2000)

Dreamy downtempo/drum n bass. Essence was the followup to Black Secret Technology -- a masterpiece that looms large over the rest of A Guy Called Gerald's discography -- and can be heard as a comedown. Where that record piled on layer after layer of sound, Essence is a restrained, comparatively minimal, and vocal-centric affair.

Track listing:
1. The Universe
2. The First Breath
3. Humanity
4. Multiplies
5. Fever (Or a Flame)
6. Could You Understand
7. Alien Report
8. Glow
9. Beaches & Deserts
10. Final Call
11. I Make It
12. Universal Spirit
13. Hurry to Go Easy
14. Scale Circle
15. Landed

It's just my humanity getting the better of me

Also listen to:
We™ -
As Is. (1997)
Phil Western -
The Escapist (1998)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Moonsorrow - Tämä Ikuinen Talvi (1999)

Magnificent third and final demo from these Finnish masters. Ripping, folk-leaning symphonic black metal of the most epic kind. This may be the first time they've come up here, but I want to be very clear: Moonsorrow are one the best metal bands on the planet.

Track listing:
1. Taistelu Pohjolasta
2. Vihreällä Valtaistuimella
3. Talvi
4. Luopion Veri
5. Kuun Suru

This journey won't be forgotten
Shall be written on a sacred stone

You should also listen to:
Obtest -
Tūkstantmetis (1997)
Kroda -
Fimbulvinter (2007)

Chavez - Ride the Fader (1996)

Triumphant melodic post-hardcore. Indie Rock That Actually Rocks™. Legit some of my favorite guitar work on any rock record. Classic/essential/etc.

Track listing:
1. Top Pocket Man
2. The Guard Attacks
3. Unreal Is Here
4. New Room
5. Tight Around the Jaws
6. Lions
7. Our Boys Will Shine Tonight
8. Memorize This Face
9. Cold Joys
10. Flight '96
11. Ever Overpsyched
12. You Must Be Stopped

Wash out your lungs
Light up your gongs
Right all your wrongs
I won, I won

You'd probably also enjoy:
Rival Schools -
United by Fate (2002)
Aereogramme -
Sleep and Release (2003)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reverence - Chamber of Divine Elaboration (2007)

10/10 French industrial black metal. Sonically dense hypno-dirges somewhere in the same lightless realm as Blut Aus Nord in industrial-mode. Seriously can't believe it's been over ten years since this masterpiece came out. I am an old, withered man.

Track listing:
1. Infra-Code of Perdition
2. Institution of the Dirt Archetype
3. Infected Forms of Distance
4. Inner Phaze
5. White Journey Inc
6. Astral Noise Projection
7. Pride of Inanimate Emptiness

Mental pleasure of the weightlessness

If you like this, listen to:
(V.E.G.A.) -
Cocaine (2002)
N.K.V.D. -
Hakmarrja (2014)

Luke Vibert - Big Soup (1997)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Luke Vibert - Lover's Acid (2005)

Trip-hop week continues with a lush, spacious contribution -- with the occasional diversion into drum n bass -- from British producer Luke Vibert. Much more in line with his Wagon Christ records than the other stuff he'd release under his given name.

Track listing:
1. Intro - Welcome
2. Rank Rink Ring
3. Voyage into the Unknown
4. Fused into Musick
5. No Turn Unstoned
6. Reality Check
7. M.A.R.S.
8. Stern Facials
9. Am I Still Dreaming?
10. 2001 Beats
11. Music Called Jazz
12. Space Race
13. So Long - Outro

Perhaps you might like to help us tell the dramatic story of a voyage into the unknown?

You'd probably also like:
Voyager -
Future Retro (1997)
Breakage -
This Too Shall Pass (2006)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Red Snapper - Making Bones (1998)

Y'all, I am on a major trip-hop kick, and you're coming with me. Making Bones is an extremely dynamic record, and definitely leans to the more uptempo, electro side of things -- including some grime-flavored, hyper-speed rap verses -- and there's a distinctly dark tint to a lot of the tracks. However, it's still way more conducive to sitting on the couch in a smoke-filled living room than anything else.

Track listing:
1. The Sleepless
2. Crease
3. Image of You
4. Bogeyman
5. Tunnel
6. Like a Moving Truck
7. Spitalfields
8. Seeing Red
9. Sucker Punch
10. 4 Dead Monks

Space sickness

Also listen to:
Meat Beat Manifesto -
Subliminal Sandwich (1996)
Mad Doctor X -
Picnic with the Greys (1997)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Velvet Cacoon - Northsuite (2005)

One of the best bands that Portland, OR has ever produced, and one of my absolute favorite black metal records. Northsuite compiles the band's first two demos, and was my introduction to the mysterious, narcotized world of Velvet Cacoon.

Track listing:
1. Northsuite
2. Winterglow
3. Fire Bloomed from Frost
4. Chapelflames
5. Salts & Ashes
6. Bloodscents
7. Fire Bloomed from Frost
8. Dieselflame Novapyre 1892

I do not think they were asking why they were dying, but why they had ever lived.

You should also hear:
Cendres -
Ungeziefer (2007)
Endless Dismal Moan -
Curse of Underground (2010)

Scanner - Mass Observation (1994)

Unsettling collages of hissing radio feedback and distorted voices -- often of real, private conversations captured via radio scanner -- set to ambient drones, warbling synths, and minimal beats. Feelings of paranoia, voyeurism, and modern malaise abound.

Four untitled tracks

Can you see me?
We are watching
You are fading in the daylight

You may also enjoy:
blackhumour -
It Was Inappropriate (1989)
Stephan Mathieu -
Wurmloch Variationen (2000)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Dehumanized - Prophecies Foretold (1998)

Totally killer NYC brutal death. A bit on the tech-y side but not really, and a few parts that you could almost call melodic but not really. Some death metal bands like to start their albums with a sample from an obscure horror movie, but not Dehumanized: right off the bat, they hit you with an (obviously not cleared) clip from Independence Day. L O fucking L.

Track listing:
1. Prophecies Foretold
2. Kingdom of Cruelty
3. Fade into Obscurity
4. Solitary Demise
5. Infinite Despair
6. Doomed to Die
7. Terminal Punishment
8. Condemned
9. Drawn by Blood

Rising from the bowels of Earth
An immense creature appears
Spewing its vulgarity and evil
To all mankind

You'd also like:
Disavowed -
Perceptive Deception (2001)
The Sickening -
Death Devastation Decay (2009)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Torturium - Deathcult's Temple (2005)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Torturium - Misanthropic Angels Burning Winds (2005)

More raw, riff-y anguish from Torturium. Definitely leans towards the depressive side, but he's Finnish so he can't help but bring the riffs. Pretty sure dude recorded his parts while strapped to the rack.

Track listing:
1. Dead Light's Shadows
2. Cold Blades of Death
3. Deathcult's Temple
4. Rivers Flow Ever Red

Black spirits howl to the dark mother

More along these lines:
Gorugoth - Ankoku Shinwa
(Myth of Darkness)
Pure - Art of Loosing
One's Own Life

James Clarke - Mystery Movie (1974)

Breezy, quietly haunting, jazz-funk-rooted sounds from keyboardist/composer James Clarke. Sweet-ass grooves, breakbeats galore, fuzzed-out guitars -- essentially, a brilliant soundtrack for a blaxploitation or giallo film that never existed. And it looks like it got reissued just a few months ago and there are still copies available -- get yours here.

Track listing:
1. Mystery Prelude
2. Car Patrol (Title Sequence)
3. Breathless
4. Breathless (Short Version)
5. Waiting Game
6. Mystery Moll
7. Mystery Movement
8. The Heavies
9. Dirty Scene
10. Study in Fear
11. Empty Streets
12. Night Watch
13. Foot Patrol
14. Quiet Girl
15. Relaxed Scene
16. Routine Procedure
17. Quietness Sustained

Long burn the fire

You should also hear:
Stone Alliance -
Stone Alliance (1976)
Various Artists -
The Films of Jean Rollin (1994)