May 31, 2012

A TZEEEAC Interview: You Handsome Devil


It's never been a secret that there's a lot of love for Toronto's You Handsome Devil here at TZEEEAC headquarters. Their addictive brand of molten hot satanic rock'n'roll infused with a touch of blues sensibility is enough to turn me into a mindless headbanging animal and has propelled their 2011 debut album called The Hell, You Say right into our 2011 best-of list. Not much info on the band has surfaced ever since and the masses were getting restless. Luckily, though, the guys have foolishly written the email address where they can be reached on their Facebook page and I quickly seized the opportunity to get in touch with them and set up an interview. So, even though the city of Toronto does not accept add-requests from bands, You Handsome Devil have been gracious enough to answer a few questions for us. So kick back, relax and enjoy the very first interview we conducted (and what an interview it turned out to be!), as Jeremy, Steve and Alex talk about the band, their favorite movies, fluffy pets, future plans and the godly delights of Poutine. 

1. Hello you handsome devils, how are you? We're just sitting around, smoking and writing down the questions we're about to ask you. What are you up to these days?

Hello you handsome Tzeeeac. We’re just hanging out in Toronto, living it up like rockstars, doing mountains of blow off the backs of strippers and destroying hotel rooms. Actually, we’re not doing that at all.  Currently, we are drinking wine out of tetra-packs and eating substandard pizza. So, life is pretty good.

2. You know, every time I search for live videos of You Handsome Devil, I have to sift through a ton of The Smiths videos, who apparently have a song called Handsome Devil. How did you land on this name and who the hell is Morrisey anyway?
The name, and the band itself, is an homage to the Devil. None of us are religious, so we don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept of the Devil. We’re saluting the Devil as a literary character. Satan, or Be’elzebub, or whatever you want to call him has always been our favourite fictional character besides God.  Once upon a time, Rock n’ Roll was called “The Devil’s Music” and we feel that the moniker is still appropriate today. Rock n’ Roll isn’t safe and predictable; Rock n’ Roll is erratic and dangerous. Rock n’ Roll is not about making love; Rock n’ Roll is about fucking. Rock n’ Roll doesn’t watch its language, or apologize for its actions. Rock n’ Roll is playful and hedonistic, and that’s what the Devil means to us.

We’re not familiar with these “Smiths” that you speak of, but they continue to inconvenience us when we’re Googling ourselves.

3. Let's keep the history ball rolling. Tell us a bit about how You Handsome Devil came to be. How'd you guys meet, how did you convince Satan to grant you the power to rock like beasts, these sort of things.
We have a long history together. We all met in high-school, but didn’t play in the same band together until we were in our twenties. We started jamming, smoked an epic amount of dope, sacrificed a virgin on an altar of living flesh and became the monsters of rock that we are today.  

Okay, so the virgin sacrifice thing didn’t really happen.  

Well, it happened, it just didn’t work.

4. So, hypothetical question: you've just finished playing a gig, it's late at night and you're as hungry as wolves. Where and what do you eat? Is there any amazing fast food in Toronto? If so, describe it in painful detail. I'm really hungry right now.
Toronto has an awesome chain of burrito shops called Burrito Bandidos (www.burritobandidos.com).  They’re always fresh and tasty with the benefit of being open till the sun comes up. Otherwise, shawarma and kebabs are other popular options, but nothing really says “I’m a Canadian, motherfucker” like a large order of Poutine. If you haven’t heard of it before, please allow us to illustrate: a pile of fresh-cut, heavily salted, deep-fried potatoes drowning in gravy and topped with cheese curds. It was invented in Quebec, but it has been the cause of many heart attacks all over Canada.
[Oh, we've heard of Poutine. It sounds and looks amazing. Shawarma and kebabs are popular over here, as well.]

5. Speaking of gigs, your live shows at The Hideout look like a total blast and everyone seems to be having fun, on stage and off. Also, Alex sort of looks like Nate Fisher from Six Feet Under (the HBO show, not the death metal band) and busts out some pretty sweet moves behind the drum kit. How do you comment on these allegations?
Since Alex doesn’t need his ego stroked any more than usual, we’ll just say that all of the allegations are true. The shows at The Hideout are particularly intense and always fun to play. Historically, Toronto has gained a reputation for being a pretty reserved audience when it comes to indie shows. The rep isn’t entirely true, but it’s not completely unfounded either. There’s usually not a lot of dancing, and those who are REALLY liking it will show their enthusiasm with little more than relaxed head-banging so as not to muss the hair-style that they spent hundreds of dollars and a million hours on. That being said, Toronto has quite a few members of the other type of crowd: the type of crowd that dances, and moves and encourages others to do it too, and we’ve always been fortunate to have a lot of those kinds of people in our audiences. Still, we don’t think that there is a single Toronto-based rock band that has not encountered the “Toronto type” of crowd at least once. But if they have, we can guarantee that it was not at The Hideout (http://thehideouttoronto.com/). The audience is always lively, and as the alcohol steadily flows over the course of our 3 hour marathon pretty much anything can happen. From that stage we’ve watched our audience get naked, go-go dance on the bar and get completely trampled on various occasions. Hell, we’ve even had the security guards join us on stage to do background vocals. It’s always a party, and we’re always excited to play there.


6. Can you walk us through the brilliant cover artwork on The Hell You Say? Sadly, we could only recognize Robert Johnson and Henry Rollins among the artists burning in hell. Who are the others? Is it safe to assume that they are among your musical influences?
Really? You didn’t recognize Elvis in the front row? I guess he’s not so big in Romania. Over here, we call him “The King”. [Michael Jackson is big in Romania. Elvis... not so much.] 

The art was the contribution of the lovely and talented Malcolm Cameron Jamison (www.facebook.com/MalcolmJamisonIllustration). He’s sort of the Terry Gilliam to our Monty Python. No matter how funny Monty Python was, you can’t really picture it without thinking of Gilliam’s animation and illustrations. When we started up as a band, we wanted a very specific kind of visual representation, but none of us could draw much more than stick figures with circles for boobs and an inverted triangle for the vagina. Malcolm was able to take our crude stick figures and draw more realistic boobs on them, and he has been drawing absurd things at our command ever since.

Malcolm helped us develop the cover art theme which later became the theme of the record itself: an homage to the Devil and the music he created. We’re not saying that the artists featured on the cover of The Hell, You Say are burning in Hell; we’re saying that they came from Hell, and that the world has been lucky to have them. We’re not necessarily fans of the music of all the artists featured, but we have serious respect and admiration for them.

7. Rock'n'roll is glamorous and all that, but let's tap into the gritty side of things. When you're not moonlighting as You Handsome Devil, what boring, mundane day jobs do you guys hold? I was an intern at a bank last year and every day was more boring than the last. It was awful.
Well, it is funny that you should bring up working in a bank, because Jeremy works by day as a mild-mannered bank teller. Alex manages a Starbucks coffee shop in the west-end of Toronto, and he is completing a bachelors degree at the University of Toronto. Steve is the only one of us who actually likes his day job. Steve is an arborist which means that he climbs humungous fucking trees armed with a chainsaw and cuts off hazardous branches. That’s right, he laughs in the face of danger for a living. Steve got accepted out of high-school to a very prestigious university program for jazz bass-guitar, and instead he decided to go to the same school, but for landscaping. 

Thus, making Steve the most sensible member of YOU HANDSOME DEVIL.

He also likes Nascar. We don’t know what that’s about.

8. After we're done writing these questions, we're going to hit the pubs and party all night. Do you guys regularly hang out? What do you enjoy doing on weekends?
All three of us started out as friends before we started playing music together, so we still like to hang out and have beers and talk shit about movies, but all of us spend so much of our week at our day jobs, that we tend to reserve our weekends for practicing and recording. We have an awesome rehearsal space that we lovingly refer to as “The Club House”, “The Man Cave”, and “The Masturbatorium” at various times. We have a beer fridge for our alcohol, and a coffee grinder for our dope. We can play as loud as we want, and we can listen to what we want to listen to. It's a pretty awesome place, and it's cheaper than a pub, so we tend to spend most of our time there.

9. While we're at it, any craaaaaazy concert stories you feel like sharing with us?
We’ve definitely had our share of oddball shows and strange audience encounters in various cities. Like the time that a stumble-drunk redneck gave Alex the evil eye and said, “I’ll bet you’d suck my dick if I asked you.” We’re still not sure if he was being insulting or soliciting.

All of those stories suck in comparison to an outdoor gig that we did in Niagara Falls. Out of respect for some of those involved, the names will be omitted, the rest is being told exactly as it occurred.
Niagara Falls is kind of like a mini Las Vegas. It sits on a border between Canada and the United States and is host to a huge waterfall that attracts tourists of all ages. It also has two casinos, an outdoor theme park, tons of wax museums, cheap motels with heart-shaped jacuzzis, and a multitude of top notch strip clubs.  More on that later.

The gig was in an outdoor venue overlooking the waterfall. It was free of charge, but donations were accepted. For some reason, we were scheduled to play in the late afternoon, and we were by far the heaviest and most aggressive band on the bill. Also, it was Steve’s birthday, so we had been drinking since we got out of the car, as well as partaking in some other “extracurriculars”. All of a sudden, there we were on a stage in front of a waterfall playing one of the worst performed sets of our lives to an audience of middle-aged tourists and their kids. I shit you not. Four seven-year-olds came up to Jeremy after the show and told him that YOU HANDSOME DEVIL was the best band that played that day. You can’t buy that kind of criticism. Kids are pretty quick to tell you when they think that something sucks. Jeremy was so touched that he offered to buy them alcohol. Their parents, were not amused. Despite that, the tourists donated a lot of money to the bands that night, and we walked away with more money than we would ever had made playing a packed show at any club in Toronto.

And that’s where the strip club comes in.

We selected Sundowners (www.sundownerclub.ca) to be our skin palace for the evening, and it was the greatest decision that anyone has ever made about anything in the history of mankind. This is not an exaggeration. The three of us have all been to our fair share of strip clubs, so believe us when we say that this is, quite possibly, the single best strip club in the known universe. There was never less than four dancers on stage at any given time, plus roving lesbian shows that visited you at your table. Since it was Steve’s birthday he was treated to all sorts of debauchery on donated tourism dollars. He got three private dances, he was pulled up on stage to dance with the girls, he puked violently in the bathroom and bounced right back into a VIP room afterward.

From there we gathered a group of friends and brought the party back to the heart-shaped jacuzzi in our cheap motel room. We also remember someone sneezing a pile of cocaine off of a side-table and spending the remainder of the night trying to snort it out of the carpet, but that’s another story.


10. Let's talk about pets! Do you have any? I have a bunch of cats and Marco has a small dog that barks non-stop. It's a really annoying bark, too, like really squeaky and loud. I hate it. 
Jeremy has a small black dog who is named after a Japanese stoner band and resembles Winston Churchill.  Alex has an ill-tempered cat named after a Star Trek character, and Jeremy is allergic to him. Steve’s dogs compete in agility shows and have won more awards and have garnered more popular recognition than we as a band could ever hope for ourselves.
[The only Japanese stoner band names I can think of are Boris and Church of Misery, and the latter would be a pretty weird name for a dog. Marco would probably add that all cats are ill-tempered and that he wants nothing to do with Lieutenant Worf or whatever his name is. He's not a cat person.]

11. You're offering your album on bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis, which I think is really cool of you guys. This whole bandcamp thing has really taken off, hasn't it?
We wholeheartedly support Bandcamp. It’s a fair financial arrangement that works in favour of independant artists, the interface is easy to use and highly informative, and it’s a sound purchase for the consumer since they can rest assured that their money is going directly to the artist. Bandcamp, YouTube, and the emergence of social media have done nothing but empower the independent artist. The degree to which an artist can market themselves is far greater than anything that a record label can do. The internet age is a pretty exciting time to be an independent.

12. Oh, you know what's fun? Desert Island question! You each get to pick five albums and five movies to take with you on a desert island in the middle of the ocean. What are your picks?
Okay, just so you know, any delay in us responding to you with our answers to this interview are due chiefly to this question. We can’t stress how many times we completed these lists before one of us would exclaim, “No! Wait! I want to change mine because I forgot about...etc.” This is what happens when you ask desert island questions to three guys who have spent the majority of their lives watching movies and listening to records.

Eventually, we decided to lay some ground rules in order to narrow the criteria:
Rule #1:  We assume that all three of us will be going to the SAME desert island.
Rule #2:  We assume that the island is made of marijuana and comes complete with a waterfall of beer, beaches made of cocaine, and an endless supply of slutty, large-breasted native women who get the jokes in Caddyshack. (Note: Caddyshack is not one of our choices for the island. It’s just very important that the natives are aware of why it is funny.)

Bearing all of this in mind...
Steve’s Records:
Queen’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G.
Enter the 36 Chambers - The Wu Tang Clan
Exodus - Bob Marley
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Steve’s Movies:
Talladega Nights
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Trading Places
Bonnie & Clyde
Jeremy’s Records:
A Deleted Symphony for the Beaten Down - Soilent Green
Two Dogs Fucking/Deux Chiens Fourrent - Dayglo Abortions
Sounds of the Animal Kingdom - Brutal Truth
The Collected Recordings of Robert Johnson
Rock for Light - Bad Brains
Jeremy’s Movies:
Pulp Fiction
The Godfather
Stalag 17
Ghostbusters
Back to the Future
Alex’s Records:
Der Ring - Wagner
Made Me Do It - The Haunted
Disco Volante - Mr. Bungle
Slaughter of the Soul - At The Gates
Prowler in the Yard - Pig Destroyer
Alex’s Movies:
Blade Runner
Rosemary’s Baby
Kill Bill
Reservoir Dogs
Raiders of the Lost Ark

13. What's coming down the pipe in the future? Any concerts or tours? A new album? Please say a new album. A new EP, at least? Maybe an official music video? Come on, guys, work with me here.
Well, the next thing to come down the pipe will probably be the substandard pizza that we are currently eating. Musically, however, we have all sorts of crazy shit coming out of us.  

We are getting ready to release a 3-song cover EP called A Band Apart made up of songs that were also featured in the films of Quentin Tarantino. As you can see from our respective movie lists, we are all pretty big fans of his work. In fact, it is safe to say that Quentin Tarantino is our biggest musical influence. For all three of us, the Pulp Fiction motion picture soundtrack had been a treasured record in our respective collections since our pre-teens. If the Devil created Rock & Roll, then Pulp Fiction created YOU HANDSOME DEVIL.  

The other thing is, yes, a new full-length album out before the end of 2012. We’re currently in mixing stages with the fifth member of YOU HANDSOME DEVIL: Metal “Jason” Donkersgoed. Metal was the principle engineer and producer on The Hell, You Say, and he’s been making us sound good on record as far back as any of us can possibly remember.  We’re also working on a video for one of the songs, and Malcolm is already hard to work on a cover. Jeremy still hasn’t written any lyrics. He promised us that he’s getting around to it, but all we’ve seen him do is smoke dope and watch Animal House repeatedly. It’s getting kind of creepy.  He’s been walking around in a toga, and he keeps referring to Alex and Steve as “Pinto” and “Flounder”, respectively.

The new album is going to be called Ragnarok n’ Roll.
[We would just like to add a savagely enthusiastic FUCK YEAH!!!]


14. This one comes from Marco, and you’d better have a positive answer: Do you like The Beatles? If so, have they influenced you in some way? 
Well, we don’t think that there is any band that can say that they aren’t influenced by The Beatles in at least some small way. Even if you can argue that you’re not influenced by The Beatles, chances are that you have been influenced indirectly.  hey were one of the first bands to appear as a collective unit, rather than as a singer with a back-up band. They were one of the first bands to see albums as having personalities unto themselves. Rubber Soul doesn’t sound like Revolver, and Revolver doesn’t sound like The White Album.  Each album sounded widely different. Also, the sheer degree to which they and their engineers helped accelerate the development of audio recording technology is astounding. It’s hard not to be influenced by The Beatles. They were pretty influential.

But the question was, “Do you like The Beatles?”, and our answer is sadly “No.” Sorry Marco.

15. We’ve asked you earlier about some crazy concert stories. What about some extra-curricular shenanigans? We like to kick trash cans at night, so we’re pretty bad ass ourselves.
What a coincidence! We like to walk around the streets in the early morning and pick up trash cans that other guys have kicked over. Sometimes we like to show up at random pubs dressed as Ghostbusters and sit at the bar while we complain about how our wives nag us about how they can never get the ectoplasm stains out of our shirts.

We lead sad and pointless lives.

16. Getting back to the serious stuff, have you ever considered taking your work to the next level? By this we mean signing to a big record company, working with Marylin Manson, stuff like that; things that would make you more hardcore than you already are.
We are always open to the possibility of signing with a label. That being said, the label that we sign to would have to be very progressive and forward-thinking. The old model of the music business is dead, and we as a band would love nothing more than to dance on its grave. There are many labels out there that are making the most of this, and those are the type of labels that we want to be a part of.

We all agree that we are in no rush to work with Marilyn Manson.

17. This one also comes from Marco, because, apparently, he’s obsessed with minor details: Do you put ketchup on pizza? If so, can you tell us how much and how do you live with yourselves?
Who on Earth hates pizza so much that they would even think of such a thing? Marco is a sick man. A sick man, indeed.

18. I know this is a long-shot, but have you listened to any Romanian music? I’m talking about death, black, indie, alternative, whatever, not about the commercial pop/house thingies.
After we read this question, we each turned to our record collections to see if we had anything that was Romanian. Jeremy discovered that he had a metal compilation CD that had a band called Trooper on it, and apparently they’re Romanian. They were a pretty good thrash band. Outside of that, we’ve never heard a thing. Send us stuff that is good.
[Hahaha, that's great. Trooper are still pretty big around these parts. Anyway, check out Phoenix and Negură Bunget, they're probably the best known Romanian bands. Mediocracy are also pretty cool, if you're into furious screaming.]

19. That's it, we're done! Thanks for taking part in this interview and we hope you've had fun answering our dumb questions. The last one is all on you. Say whatever you want. Work it!
Well, if this last section is up to us, then we have some dumb questions of our own.
Question #1: As Romanians, are you sick of people asking you about Dracula?
Question #2: We have to work pretty fucking hard to get a fun show together with a decent crowd in Toronto, what is the scene like on your side of the globe?
Question #3: Should we press vinyl for our next release, and do you want it? 

Looking forward to your answers, guys! Take your time. 

And here are our answers: 

Question #1: It does get a bit irritating when foreigners mostly associate Romania with Transylvanian vampires, attractive women and mămăligă, but as far as national stereotypes go, you could do a lot worse, so it's not that bad. We're more worried about Romanians being perceived abroad as thieving gypsies and uneducated peasants wielding torches and pitchforks. It's worse for Marco, as he's half-Italian and half-Romanian, so he's basically a monster to the outside world. We'd love to expand on the subject, but we're expected at a witch burning soon.   

Question #2: The Romanian metal scene is still relatively small and unimpressive, but things are moving along. Recent years have seen a significant raise in the frequency and quality of major shows - 10 years ago, attending a music festival that featured well-known bands from across the world was just a dream. But Romania is slowly making its mark on the map, thanks to some passionate and able promoters who work tirelessly to bring awesome bands on Romanian stages. We've had some amazing shows by mainstream bands such as Placebo, Alice in Chains, Stone Sour or Rammstein, with first-time performances by Lady Gaga, Linkin Park or Red Hot Chili Peppers being scheduled for this summer, while Romanian metalheads were treated to performances by a slew of great bands - Nile, Melechesh, Sodom, Venom, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Asphyx, Suffocation, Gorgoroth, Vader, Napalm Death are just a few of the names that come to mind. Shows of these magnitude were unthinkable some years ago, so on this front, we're pleased to say that things are steadily improving. 

As far as Romanian bands go, they are also struggling to put together shows with decent turn-outs. Indie-rock bands and electronica artists seem to be more successful, gathering pretty decent crowds at their shows, but metal bands are having a harder time getting good turn-outs. Truth be told, most of the bands who don't garner much interest aren't really that interesting to begin with. It's not easy lurking in the Romanian underground, but hopefully things will improve in time. 

Question #3: I think it's assume that we need and want anything that has to do with You Handsome Devil. Vinyl? Sure. Coasters? I'll have some. Shirts? Yes please. Bedspreads? Hell yeah! 


May 30, 2012

GG Allin & The Murder Junkies - Terror in America: Live 1993



In the spring of 1993, GG Allin was released from prison once again after serving the remaining year of his sentence. He was ready to continue his mission to destroy Rock & Roll and rebuild it in his name. In April, he would once again join forces with The Murder Junkies, who were anxiously waiting to stand beside him in battle. After spending time in a NYC studio recording their final album together, GG was ready to continue his onslaught against society and anyone else who stood in his way. His anger had escalated, and he was spiraling completely out of control. - ggallin.com

This is great shit and it needs to be seen and heard by everybody. I don't care whether you think GG Allin was hot shit or he was a menace to society and should have been locked away in a cage or if you don't really care about him. There's no denying that this is some insanely catchy punk rock that's balls-out fun and instantly headbang-able. Getting beat up at a show doesn't sound immediately appealing, but this looks like it was an amazing show. OUTLAW SCUMFUC.



May 28, 2012

Pornogrind Monday: Torsofuck




I was visiting in Africa two months ago

My goal was to see all those wild animals
Most excited I was when I came close to elephants
They were so big and somehow so scary
Something happened when I snapped a picture
Three elephants surrounded me
One of them ripped off all my clothes
Second elephant came on me and started to spread my buttocks
With its huge trunk
I screamed in agony when I felt it started to shove up my ass
Third elephant forced me to take its giant cock in my mouth
I sucked like a whore while I was assfucked by elephant trunk
After all it wasnt too bad at all
It took only about ten minutes and cock in my mouth started to cum
Extremely huge load of elephant sperm filled my throat and
Spurted allover my face
I was completely fucked up, but elephants had one more thing to do
All three of them huffed and puffed shits on me
Then they left me alone with my ripped asshole
I'll never go to Africa again.



May 25, 2012

Between the Buried and Me - Colors (2007)


(Today we have a lovely contribution from fellow blogger unugeorge, who basically encompasses both Marco and I into one single indie-loving headbanging mutant, rendering our whole schtick pretty damn useless. You can check him out at Pandas in the Throne Room, where he reviews lots of chillwave and electro pop bands I've never heard of, as well as dabbling into progressive metal. It's good shit. Below you can read his review on Between the Buried and Me's Colors, which is great because we haven't had time to write anything today. Thanks for saving our asses, buddy!) 


So a while ago, Chester asked me to write a guest review on this blog. I obviously accepted, while experiencing the weirdest boner ever. After thinking for a while, I decided I shall review Between the Buried and Me, which is one of my favorite bands. So, without further addo, here it is - the review for Colors.
BTBAM was founded in early 2000, and it's probably the best thing that ever came out of South Carolina, really. Their first LP was released in 2002, awesomely blending hardcore and progressive metal (I'm a bit afraid to use the term metalcore, because nowadays it is often used to describe acts like Asking Alexandria or Bullet For My Valentine.)
When we grow up, we wanna be like BTBAM!!!1
I mean, the early 2000's were prolific in terms of metal records - Gojira's first release, Terra Incognita, Mastodon's Remission, Meshuggah's Nothing, and so on. But BTBAM made a name for themselves pretty quickly, getting known for infusing their music with a broad spectrum of genres - blues, punk, melodeath, jazz, power metal and even motherfucking pop - in an obvious tongue-in-cheek manner. And that's just scratching the surface.
2007 saw the release of Colors, their most appreciated album to date. After they released Alaska in 2005, everyone thought "That's it. They can't top Alaska - it's impossible."  And we can't blame them. Alaska is a monster of an album. But, surprisingly, they topped it.
This is, arguably, their most technical and complex album to date, encompassing elaborate sweeps, pinch harmonics, chicken picking and other things that us, mere mortals, cannot do with an electric guitar. But hey, it's alright. I'm totally okay with playing Wonderwall for the rest of my life.
Vocals are ranging from harsh RAWRARAWRAR to soft and peaceful, lullaby-like melodies - Tommy Rogers does a great job on this one, finally perfecting his vocal style. While I don't find the growls very impressive, the soft falsetto bits are really catchy, and his voice fits in very well. It's really hard to keep up with a band like this one, but Tommy sure does his job nicely. (By the way, he has a side-project going on, a cool mix of electronic and upbeat rock, you should also check that out.)
The lyrics don't have a general theme, but usually they range from we're all mindless drones (present on Informal Gluttony) to I'M BATSHIT CRAZY:
My teeth taste funny today...they seem more jagged than normal.
I've been told, I've been told, I've been told, that I have been grinding them like the gears during my dream hours...
I wonder if it's just my thoughts fusing into one frequent dream...
one which parts with the night.

I saw them dragging the other day.
Scraping their knees and elbows against the bumpy pavement.
Blood tracks have been filling the streets.

I'm gonna give it to them - this album is pretty hard to listen to in one sitting, mainly because of how much stuff they manage to comprise in just a 65-minute record. But it's totally worth it - starting with the piano melody of The Backtrack, and finishing with White Walls, a 14-minute long epic song.
But overall, it's an awesome record, and you won't get bored with it. It even got a few chuckles out of me, especially when I heard a small banjo solo, americana-style. So. Rad.

Okay, enough rambling. Just listen to this, mkay? Kthxbai.

 Oh, and don't forget to check my blog.

May 22, 2012

Njiqahdda - Nji. Njiijn. Njiiijn. (2008)


UGH. Please excuse the lack of updates, the final exams are once again upon me and every professor down at the uni is busy finding new ways of raping my sweet butt cheeks. As a direct result of that, listening to dumb metal has taken a back seat to studying my ass off with deadmau5 as background music. That Cattle Decap album is seriously the only metal I listened to during the last week or so, which bums me out. Whatever.

I'm now taking a break to sneak in a post about a band you may not have heard of, lovingly called Njiqahdda. They're an atmospheric/psychedelic/ambient post-black metal duo from the US and they play some of the most soothing black metal I've ever heard. You won't find any of the genre's usual staples here (i.e. lyrics about goats, praising Satan, killing priests, wearing gauntlets and corpsepaint), the band instead dealing with nature, astral projection, meditation, spiritualism, becoming one with the Universe and things like that. I suppose the easiest way to compare them is with Wolves in the Throne Room, but the music is much more quiet and subdued, even though there are plenty of harsh, filtered vocals and pounding drumming to be heard. All their songs have a hypnotic quality to them, employing various chanting vocals and repetitive patterns to convey a sense of grandeur and nothingness. It's like the soundtrack to wandering across an infinite barren landscape or finding yourself stranded on a distant planet.

Njiqahdda's songs are written and sung in a unique language the two nameless members have developed themselves, which is why you're seeing all these weird words that apparently don't mean anything. Add to this the unconventional cover art - check out the artwork for the Nil Vaaartului Nji EP, it's the polar opposite of a black metal cover - and the truckload of various albums, singles and EPs these guys put out every year and your hipster alert should be flashing red, telling you to steer clear of this. I'm going to ask you to go against your better judgment and give Njiqahdda a listen anyway. You might be surprised to find it's pretty damn good.

Or at the very least, it works well as background music for when you have to stay up all night studying for some shitty exam that comes only a day after the last shitty exam. Fuck those dickheads.


May 18, 2012

Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity (2012)


I've never really paid close attention to Cattle Decapitation before, even though they're a long-running deathgrind outfit with quite a few albums under their belts. Sure, I always commended them for their social message - their songs mostly speak against the consumption of animals and environmental and animal abuse -  even though I don't share their eating habits (all the band's members are vegetarian, so they really practice what they preach). But I didn't really have my radar on for their music, so it all passed right by me, except for a few songs off The Harvest Floor.

Their 2012 record, however, entitled Monolith of Inhumanity, has been gathering quite a bit of hype prior to launch, with the band slowly trickling away songs from the album and various studio reports covering the recording process. Like every good sheep, I also fell prey to the buzz - hence these lines of text.



Things are different on Monolith of Inhumanity, though, starting with the cover art, which no longer depicts cows and slaughterhouses, but a wonderfully gruesome pack of cannibalistic apes, with a disfigured half-man half-primate up front and a 2011: A Space Odyssey-style monolith in the background. It's an artwork that instantly draws the eye and compels you to check out the music. And boy, you're in for a treat! From start to finish, this album is an extreme crash course in everything great deathgrind should be. All the songs are varied, well-structured, insane hurricanes of chainsaw guitar riffs, super tight drumming and some of the best vocals in the biz, courtesy of vocalist Travis Ryan. This guy really is the icing on this cake, as his vocals run the whole range from ultra low gutturals to pissed off, thrash metal barks to high-pitched, spine-chilling shrieks. There's a definite catchiness on this album too, as the band chose to incorporate lots of sing-along choruses on songs like The Carbon Stampede and A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat. Also worth mentioning are the artist cameos, as the album features guest vocals by Devourment's Mike Majewski, Cephalic Carnage vocalist Lenard Leal and the Cephalic Carnage Community Men's Choir.

I haven't really had a chance to listen to Monolith of Inhumanity as much as I would have liked, but I'm already digging it a lot and it'll probably make its way to my 2012 best-of list. There's just so much to be excited about here. Cattle Decapitation have really outdone themselves on their latest album and have proven that they can easily break the mold and present us with something new and different. And I love it. If you don't love it, you should feel bad because you're a bad person.

Also, Travis Ryan seems like a pretty sweet dude.



May 17, 2012

2K12 GREASY CHIPS ROUND-UP PART 1 (Junk food aficionados unite! )


So after posting that pasta carbonara bit (which has been a real hit as far as I can tell), readers have been telling me I should do more posts about food on TZEEEAC. I think it's a great idea, maybe we can turn this thing into a food/music blog with regular food features, recipes, best canned tomatoes lists and shit. Marco could throw regular hissy fits about people putting ketchup on pizza and we could even review obscure food places around town. I think it would be pretty sweet.

ANYWAYZ, today's post is all about my favorite chips and why I'll never amount to anything because my definition of happiness and self-satisfaction is sitting on my ass, watching movies, eating chips and drinking beer.


The first stop on this oily journey is, of course, Doritos. I fucking love Doritos. They're my favorite brand of corn chips and if I could, I'd fill my bathtub with a hundred bags of Doritos and just sit in it forever. In the bullshit country I live in, Doritos only come in two flavours - Hot Corn and Nacho Cheese - because apparently the asshole geniuses at Frito-Lay think they're too good to ship some Cool Ranch Doritos over here. I sometimes find that Hot Corn Doritos are overpowering by themselves, so when I'm watching Game of Thrones or Spartacus or whatever, I usually buy one bag of each flavor and dump them both in the same bowl. That way, I get the delicious spicy flavor of Hot Corn, but then it's balanced by the subtle flavor of Nacho Cheese. I've spent many hours to come up with this technique. Shit's damn serious.


Chio Chips also have their own line of corn-based tortilla chips. They're pretty okay as far as taste and crunchiness go, but they're more expensive than Doritos. So you tell me why in the NINE FUCKS should I buy these when I can have MOTHERFUCKING DORITOS for less money? Pass.



When I'm too poor to afford Doritos - which happens a lot - or when me and the bros get together to watch some retarded horror flick and spill beer all over my carpet, I go to the local Kaufland store and buy a shitload of their proprietary-brand K Classic Tortilla Chips. These things are like the best deal ever when you're financially challenged, yet still crave the sweet taste of tortilla chips in and around your mouth. First of all, they're super cheap: they're usually priced at just under a dollar (3 RON), but they're frequently discounted and you can get them for around 60 pennies (2 RON) a bag if you're lucky. Second, one of these is three to four times larger than your average chip bag, weighing in at 200 grams, so that's a fuckload of tortilla chips for dirt cheap. Third, they come in four flavors (plain - with just a little bit of salt added, chilli, nacho cheese and barbecue) so you got the whole diversity thing going on. So you can see why these are great for a movie day or whatever the fuck: buy a bunch of K Classic Tortilla Chips bags, dump them all in a bunch of bowls, have your bros over and dig in, you vile, disgusting pigs! I usually pair them up with the K Classic Salsa Sauce, which also costs less than a dollar per bottle, and the feast is complete.

Moving on to potato chips, Chio have recently released an XTREMELOL brand of chips which come in three flavors: wasabi, salt&vinegar and chilli. The salt&vinegar ones are my absolute favorites. The sour vinegar taste goes amazingly well with the salt and the potato flavor and it's one of the best flavor combos I've ever tasted. Naysayers can go to hell. 


Next on my preference list are the wasabi-flavored Chio Xtreme. I almost had a meltdown the first time I tasted these. It was late at night. I was about to watch the latest Spartacus: Vengeance episode. I had my beer. I had a bag of wasabi chips. The episode started. I opened the bag. I grabbed a chip. I put it in my mouth. I started chewing. FIRE CONSUMED MY MOUTH AND MADE ITS WAY UP MY NOSE, TURNING ME INTO A CRYING BABY. I couldn't even finish half of the bag, but I've since gotten more accustomed to the wild taste and now I enjoy them whenever they are offered to me, because I sure as shit ain't spending any more money on these.

Ehhhhhhh. Chio Xtreme Chili are okay, I guess, but to me, they have no flavor at all, they're just hot. I bought a bag once, wasn't impressed, never gonna buy again. Oh well. 

I've only had these once and I was pretty drunk at the time, but they tasted pretty damn good. I usually don't like sour cream & herb flavored chips, but I liked these. I think it had something to do with the shape and size of the chips. Like maybe they hold more flavor or something. I don't know.  


Viva Chips aren't really chips, they're actually deep fried potato pellets. They're gross, they're way too salty, they're greasy and they only vaguely taste like potato. Yet somehow, I enjoy them and I still buy them occasionally. I think I'm the only one keeping these guys in business. YOU'RE WELCOME, WHOEVER MAKES THESE.


The best is usually saved for last, as the saying goes, but in this case, I saved the horrific for last. I have no idea who the hell pitched pickled gherkins as a chip flavor and I have no idea who thought to themselves "Hey, that's actually not a bad idea. Let's do it!", but these are pretty much the worst chips I've ever tried. Good thing I only bought the smallest bag available. The smell alone is enough to kill a mule or severely incapacitate a charging rhino, but the taste is just out-out-this-world bad. There are a few chosen ones who actually enjoy these, but I just can't get behind pickle-flavored potato chips. Get these things out of my sight.


So there we go! Hope you enjoyed this brief journey through the exciting world of potato and corn chips. Feel free to give me your opinions on this amazing subject via the comments section and, if you work for Frito-Lay, feel free to randomly send me crates full of Doritos. Much obliged.

May 15, 2012

Haemic - Fields of Sanguine (2012)


Haemic is a rather interesting band I might not have heard about otherwise, but guitarist Ray Heberer was gracious enough to post a link to the band's bandcamp on TZEEEAC's Facebook page, so here we are, I guess. Haemic is a collaboration between several musicians in different parts of the world: Adam Farkas (composition, programming) is from Hungary, vocalist and lyricist Mitchell Shinderman lives in the US and 17 year-old Ray Heberer currently resides in Taiwan. The band has its roots in a series of songs Adam Farkas wrote and recorded on synth years ago. After uploading them on YouTube, Heberer contacted Farkas and they started re-recording the songs with Heberer playing guitar. Later, the line-up was completed with Shinderman, whom the two also found on YouTube. Thus, Haemic's debut album came to be. The end.


Wait, no, I haven't told you anything about the music. Fields of Sanguine is a pretty difficult nut to crack, as it combines a slew of different metal genres into one, big, mind-fucking pot of sonic madness. At its core, the music is decidedly symphonic black metal, kind of in the vein of early Emperor and Limbonic Art, as the copious amounts of tremolo-picking, melodic leads and orchestral synth work would indicate. Other songs, though, seem to veer towards a more technical death metal approach, with intricate riffing, lots of sweep-picking and blast beats, while also introducing plenty of progressive and neoclassical guitar fiddling. Most of the guitar work, in fact, is pretty damn impressive. Despite his age, Ray Heberer certainly knows his way around a guitar and is perfectly capable of melting faces with his frantic shredding. The songwriting is also strong - the songs are skillfully crafted and effortlessly move through various tempo changes, always keeping things fresh and interesting. Mitchell Shinderman does a decent job providing vocals for this release, him being the one cloaking the music in a grim black metal atmosphere with his reverb-drenched growls. Bonus points go to the keyboard synths that permeate this release - they're beautiful, they're tastefully done and they never overpower the music, instead augmenting it and contributing to the lush atmosphere. My only gripe with this album is the drum programming because they sound weak and are never quite up to par with the rest of the instruments. The snare sound is particularly annoying, but thankfully, the drums are lower in the mix, so they're not detracting too much from the overall experience. The production quality is way better than you'd expect from three dudes recording their music at home. The album has a definite bedroom black metal aura to it, though, which I think is part of its charm. BEDROOM BLACK METAL IST KRIEG!

Featuring eleven songs and clocking in at a total of one hour and five minutes (including five instrumental versions), Fields of Sanguine is a consistent album and one that warrants multiple listens, as there's so much going on at all times that you can't absorb it all in one sitting. Luckily, Haemic are offering the album for free on bandcamp, so head on over there and give their debut album a listen. I think you'll be in a for a nice surprise.