1990s Extravaganza, Pt. 1 (PJ, Stereolab, Death, Fugazi...)

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Mercury
The wind's howling


Gender: Male
Location: St. Louis
United States

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  • Posted: 05/12/2021 21:21
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WELCOME TO THE NEXT EXTRAVAGENT ARTIST DEEP DIVE (1990s EDITION!)!

This time I'll be just simply listening to some notable artists and bands which gained prominence in the 90s or late 80s. I'll be starting with the debut albums or EPs/albums of these 10 artists and listening and writing some nonsense about the albums and records. Then after posting big monstrosities kind of like what you will see here, I will begin slowly working through these artists' 2nd albums and doing the same , etc all the way through their late 80s to very early 2000s output. Each has "6"albums lolol (i laugh because i lie! Some of these artists had 7 or even 8 LPs in this span and you'll see that my "solution" for this was simply to take 2 somewhat related releases and meld 'em together.)

Let's see how this goes.


Note: the order got super scrambled. There are 14 albums and releases coming up, and I listened to each at least twice and sometimes 3-4 times over the 10-14 days of creating this, so yeah if I refer to something else that I haven't even spoken of as if I had already spoken of it, its because I listened all out of sequence. Also, while this is 14 albums of stuff, future entries won't be quite that massive I hope. I basically had to get Neurosis up to its rebirth in 1992 so listened to their first 2 albums from 87 and 90. I had to get Death into the 90s, so listened to their first 2 classic albums, I wanted to also listen to Unwound's original self titled demo as well as their official debut so I did 2 for them. I wanted to cover Fugazi's early EPs as well as their debut so I have 2 for them. And so yeah there is some catching up to do or there was some to do, as I am writing this after finishing up almost all of the albums and short comments. So the order I will post these is similar genres together, but Neurosis is next to the other metal bands because I honestly didn't know they would be soooo similar to post hardcore early on so maybe they should be next to Unwound and Fugazi (note: I just discovered they ARE next ALSO to the post hardcore peeps nestled betwixt them and the death metal legends. Phew!). Also I think The Jesus Lizard should be next to Fugazi and Unwound as well as they are much more similar to them (and early Neurosis) than PJ Harvey lol. Oh well. This ended up being like 9,000 words. And a much bigger time consumer than expected. I handled that by not rushing myself and just listening to these over a week or 2 and not feeling any push to get done.


The Jesus Lizard's debut album, HEAD (1990)

Head by The Jesus Lizard

What an excellent start. To this project, to this band's discography, and to the rest of my life.

This is a surprisingly accessible start (to my ears). There are a fair share of clattering and noisy and strangely out-of-tune bits, and the lead singer sounds like he is a maniac, but there are also some seriously cool and even beautiful rock n roll moments such as on (edit: just realized I never finished this statement. Won’t finish it now 7 days later. There was some beautiful moment I meant to name here I assure you)

From what I am reading the band only had a drum machine before hiring on their drummer shortly before recording this first LP. And I read some places that that is why they hadn't yet reached their fully formed sound yet, as the band got acquainted with the live drummer. I can't say I have 1) the ear for drummers and drum techniques nor b) the full familiarity with their next 2, classic, albums to say I hear these growing pains. The drums seem good and loud, if unremarkable all-in-all.

After the first 2 clattering and wild, drug-fueled, maniacal tracks, there are a few cool and weird twists. Starting with the utter strangeness which is "My Own Urine". Here the vocalist is at his most wacky and weird., mumbling drunkenly and then exploding in despairing shouts, as this heavy loping guitar line and bass line roll along behind him. This track is followed directly by "If You Had Lips" which is another showcase, primarily, for the utter quirky lostness of the vocalist David Yow. But this time there is a cool muted guitar line and a faux-jazzy backing track that explodes (expectedly and gloriously) into a noisy racket. And the lyrics had me laughing - and we all know that is the way to a Missouri man's heart. "Hey shitmouth. I love you. Hey shitmouth. I love you...When you smile. I can smell your breath. I see the shit. On your teeth" - disgusting and childish yes, but the way that he drunkenly delivers the lines gets me.

Then, later, the album gets really weird by getting... beautiful? Yep. The opening guitar line of "Pastoral" and the way it develops through the track is quite nice and somewhat touching. Sure, Yow is still being a weirdo, mumbling. Right after this unexpected showing of beauty, the band veers hard and harshly toward their noisiest track yet "Waxeater". This is also just a great rock track, heavy, unhinged and glorious. Then the Punk band comes out in full force with the hard charging "Good Thing" and then "Tight 'N' Shiny" - the latter in particular has a really cool guitar riff and a nice almost amateur-hour Hendrix vs Mitch Mitchell-esque Guitar v Drums battle. Its really cool, also no vocals which is fine, at this point I was and am okay with a break from the vocalists shenanigans.

And finally the clattering insanity of the closing track "Killer McHann" which is cool, if a bit anticlimactic. I mean its a great tune and fits well in this short debut, but I guess I am trained and indoctrinated to expect some statement, some musical switch up, some pay off in the final track. Outside of the really bad as guitar heroics of the final minute of this track with its discordant honks and the fact that for 20 glorious seconds at the end the drummer, bassist and guitarist are just going nuts, there isn't exactly a pay off here. Then again the way I just described it seems pretty cool and it is. Whatever, its a fine enough closer to a 27 minute noise punk album

All in all, this was a great listen. Super intrigued (even maybe in love) with their sound and their attitude and their trolling and their insanity without being incredibly unlistenable. Its a badass little debut album for sure. This gets a 7.8/10 - good grade like really good actually, but not an 8 or higher (which is for really awesome albums) because it does seem like the band hasn't yet found their hook just yet. Maybe I am artificially suppressing the grade because I want to have a place for the next 2 albums to go - I suspect based off the reviews and the trajectory of the band and my vague recollections of how much i liked Liar and Goat that their next albums could be 8.5 to 9 material. anyway, enough blabbing! Onto the next debut.

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PJ Harvey's debut LP, DRY (1992)

Dry by PJ Harvey

I can already tell that 1. I've been sleeping on how good the early albums of PJ Harvey are and 2. that she is a front runner in the chase for highest average grade from me in this project. Her style even with this debut that she made when she was like 22 years old is already so damn cool. A mix of alternative/grunge, Blues, confessional singer/songwriter and whatever else catches her fancy.

Even her voice here is pretty unique. I used to find her strange tendency to switch from hurt, nearly-in-tears lover to intense screaming vengeful-spirit a bit jarring and not really "my thing". Even on her one album that I have obsessed over (To Bring You My Love) the vocals were something that I had to get used to. But I don't know if its just my tastes changing over the years or what, but I quite enjoyed her vocal delivery and performances here.

This debut is a break up album, full of angry regrets and lonesome pining, and lots of ultra-emotional songs of love and hate and its solid. Its a great break up album I think. It constantly switches from a desperate feeling of loss and a desperate need for the other person to please come back, to tracks and musical explosions that sound like pure seething rage at the one that dumped you or who you have been forced to sever ties with. PJ pulls off either message and vibe equally well.

"Dress" is a great, rocking, thumping rock track with a really cool refrain of "If you put it on, if you put it on" that ratchets up in intensity the whole way through the 3 minute banger. Love the guitar lines and the , i don't know instruments, but is that like a cello or something? I don't know lol - all i know is "Dress" is a classic.

This is followed up with the groovy, heavy bass thump of "Victory" which is yet another brilliant full throated rocker that just oozes cool and emotional fire. Seriously, that simple yet amazing sounding bass groove is so sexy and those slide guitar lines coming in just make this brilliant. This 1-2 punch of songs is what really makes this album take off. It has a good start that sets the mood and vibe with tracks 1 and 2, but then with "Dress" and "Victory" this record just starts taking on a whole other power that I love.

The constantly shifting and slithering slide guitars and acoustic strums and the whole sonic landscape of "Happy and Bleeding" is just cool as hell. It has more of those thumping bass lines that remind me of Captain Beefheart's seminal rendition of "Diddy Wah Diddy" for some reason. (That track has maybe the fattest bass sound I've ever heard this side of Chris Squire. - check it out if you haven't). Then "Sheela-Na-Gig" is just straight up cool furious grungy rock and roll which is just awesome in its directness and loudness. "Joe" is maybe the heaviest and most disorientingly noisy rockers here and it just writhes with so much attitude and aggressive energy. Its sick!

Just when this album comes into its full force gales of rock power, PJ does something amazing. The folk strums of "Plants and Rags" and the violin and the heartache and the singer/songwriter vibes of it mixed with the discordant melodies and the way this song hits is so unexpected and welcome and beautiful. PJ is such a well-rounded and varied artist. Even on this early album she knows what tools to use to express the heart and soul of a song and its phenomenal.

Finally the final 2 songs are good and especially the huge sound of the closing track "Water" which features an early example of that PJ dramatic and epic close. Also an early example of her love of Water being a major lyrical theme lol

This is just a surprisingly great debut. Surprising because I just never even had an inkling of its existence. Like if you asked me a year or a month ago what albums PJ had released before 1995's To Bring You My Love, I woulda delayed and said I know she released the one that is really heavy apparently that I've never heard Rid Of Me. I honestly thought Rid of Me was her debut album haha. But no, this bad boy here is a beast and as a debut basically sets this legendary rock goddess on the path of greatness. There is something so sexy about PJ while also being vulnerable and also being someone who, when she is out for blood, you wanna stay the fuck away from. She's a complex artist to say the least and her persona is just, in a few words, assured and cool and in charge and intense as fuck. This album is basically all you could want from a PJ rocker, maybe none of the songs are all time classics like she could and would provide on later albums, but after hearing it only 3 times, I can't say that with any sense of certainty - for all I know these songs will stick with me for months. But its a badass debut, nearly fully formed was PJ from the jump. This gets a 8.4/10. And now I am utterly ITCHING to hear Rid of Me and all her other albums. shit Harvey is a legend.


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Stereolab's debut LP, PENG! (1992)

Peng! by Stereolab

This was pretty good. There is a gauzy, dreamy layer laid upon this whole album. A sort of cool, dream pop layer laid upon the other interesting elements - I'm not a massive fan of dream pop or I should say that is a genre I don't gravitate towards, so this somewhat detached dreamy coolness isn't a quality that I'm over the moon for. There are other elements here - including some really cool psychedelic guitar freak outs, some big bouncy melodies, and some really beautifully produced pop and rock songs always presented with a slightly off-center quirk that makes them unique and relatively memorable. "songs like "Stomach Worm" (especially its extended end jam) and closer "Surrealchemist" (one of those dreamy gauzy songs that I actually think is pretty interesting), and Orgiastic" (with its cool krautrock rhythms and cool overlapping vocal parts), and "Perversion" (excellent noise rock song with a really sweet keyboard-dominated soundscape that I got lost in) and "Mellotron" (another kinda krautrocky song with psychedelic elements and strange vocals and an incessant and overbearing in a good way fuzzy tone) etc... are really great standout pop and rock tracks. There are cool, repetitive almost krautrock parts throughout that are pretty dope. And their brand of noise pop even at this early early stage of their quite revered career is excellent. I like the noise parts, the psychedelic parts and the rock parts quite a lot, but there is something essential missing. Maybe this is just an album that laid the groundwork and laid down the fundamentals of the style that Stereolab later mastered. That is the vibe I get - that this is a really solid debut but in no way the band at its peak or even yet approaching their creative zenith. There is also the possibility that this will be a band with a brilliant and unique and maybe even influential sound that I just never fully warm to and always feel at least slightly disconnected from the effusive love for. We shall see. This was, I admit, pretty darn good and I'll give it a 7.0/10.

Also maybe its just that there is a good amount of French language singing here, but I feel like this is a very French album. Not just in language but the pop sounds like french pop and it has some similar stylistic elements I associate with France. Is that just me? I am no expert on what distinguishes French pop and rock of the time and in general from similar acts from England (in this case) or the US or whatever. But that is just a thought, and a persistent one at that, that I had while hearing this.

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Aphex Twin's debut LP, SELECTED AMBIENT WORKS 85-92 (1992)

Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin

there is something about the opening seconds of track 1 "Xtal" that always, without fail, puts my mind at ease whenever I listen to this album over the last decade or so. I have never really and fully embraced this entire album (as I am trying to do now) nor have I ever thought of it as a favorite or as an album that calls to me. Yet I have heard it enough times over the years that whenever I revisit it I feel instantly at ease and at home from the first seconds.

For this project I included 2 absolute icons of electronic music because I feel like this is a whole world of music that I have never given any attention or love (or, honestly, I've given it some time and love and attention, but only for very short spurts before just dropping it entirely). I have spent almost un-countable hours delving into Metal, indie rock, folk, country, singer/songwriter, hip hop, blues and even jazz and prog and all kinds of music, trying to find classics overlooked and gems. But with this most broad of genre descriptions - electronic - as a whole I have never given even a 10th the attention.

As a child and really even to this day to a very limited degree I have had a bias AGAINST purely electronic music with no vocals (or almost no vocals). As a kid I felt that if the music was made on a computer completely it was not real music and didn't really possess any of the humanity and soul that I found in my faborites at the time. Then in about 2013 I fell in love with a half dozen ambient albums and other types of electronic releases and my bias started to loosen. Ambient 1, Ravedeath, 1972, Stairway to the Stars, Music Has The Right To Children, and a few other albums really broadened my horizons. And yet... I, for some damn reason, never delved further than that.


So, here we are and as I type this I am listening to this incredibly iconic debut release by the incredibly revered and influential Aphex Twin for the 3rd time this week in preparation for writing this huge post. And this is probably my 10th time listening to this album in full. I am really enjoying it. But man I have a hard time describing or commenting on electronic music. I don't know what it is. How can I describe the music if I don't really know what the terms are for the sounds I'm hearing. I haven't sorted that out yet but I'll do my best and I'm sure as I hear more Aphex Twin (and Autechre) I will start hearing sounds and connecting dots.

This album always kinda threw me for a loop for the simple reason and silly reason really of it being called "Ambient" works and I don't hear this as Ambient. When I think of Ambient music I think of some of those albums I mentioned earlier, songs and pieces with not much to no rhythm or clear and distinct pulse, stuff that seems to slowly develop and become just a strange little separate world with very few tangible aspects. But with this album even at its most ethereal and formless always has these truly gorgeous percussive sounds and clicks and these bassy synth grooves that I can nod my head to. And on tracks like the incredible "Pulsewidth" there is a dance beat that is intoxicating and very UN-ambient in my little mind.

But once I get over my initial contrary take on the word "Ambient" and just listen to the music here there is no doubt there is something special here. The worlds and atmospheres created here are not of this world. They are glistening and powerful in their boundless, peaceful, ever-outward-reaching grooves and creativity. This is labeled "Ambient Techno" and "IDM" which is more along the lines of what I hear here.

To pick out tracks of particular note is tough because if ever an album just seems to be an example of the sum of the parts being greater than the individual parts, its this. This is an album you put on and forget about it for awhile as you live your life, write your emails, arrange your schedule for the day, go for a walk or jog, do your dishes, update your spreadsheets etc etc and just kinda allow yourself to be delicately split (painlessly) between the clouds of your wandering aspirations and your day-to-day grind and grounded life. This is the type of album that sort of paints the corners of your world some lush and lovely color and fills the gaps with some sensual and melodic beauty. In THAT way I actually am starting to understand why this is called selected AMBIENT works. Because while there are grooves and clicking beats and some more grounded sounds that make up the album, the sum effect of this album seems to be to paint your surrounding world ever so subtly in beautiful ways. This is an album that makes even the most mundane of tasks philosophical. Quite brilliant really. "We are the music makers" is gorgeous if a bit too long. The first 5 tracks before "Green Calx" are all essentially faultless. And even though its a 70+ minute album, if you keep yourself locked in, the back half is full of just as pretty and inventive and intoxicating songs as the first half.

Kinda hard to give this a grade/rating. Its so unlike any other album I've recently graded. And in terms of downsides, there are no obvious ones, but maybe for my tastes its a little long. And the more laser sound-filled tracks with the really squishy and upfront synth bits (such as on "Green Calx") aren't nearly as good to me as the more subtle and transcendently beautiful tracks that dominate this album. And some of the tracks are a bit too skeletal for my tastes, basically there is a fine line the album mostly walks very very well between too austere and not interesting and too adorned and flashy - that middle ground is a state of blissful and peaceful austerity that has just enough truly beautiful variation to awe me. The fact that easily 75% of this album is nicely walking that tight rope makes the 25% or so of the album that falls to either end of that tightrope stick out all the more. Still, an all time great electronic album (in my life or that I have heard - I have heard too little to make broad declarations in comparison to the other branches and artists and albums in this "genre" or family of genres.) and its just an all time "whoa, who the fuck made THIS???!" moment in popular music. In short, one of those era-defining debut albums. This gets a... 8.1/10
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Autechre's debut LP, INCUNABULA (1993)

Incunabula by Autechre

And, as far as pairings with Selected Ambient Works 85-92 goes, this is as good as it gets. Its ALSO a mix of somewhat ambient techno and IDM, but where A[hex Twin's debut was a mostly soft, airy flight across cool clear skies, this album feels considerably more sharp and on the ground, filled with considerably clearer lines and harsher melodies and beats. Yet, I don't want to get it twisted or misconstrued, this is also generally a bright album and that Autechre sound of dread and the unnerving quality that I recall from Confield (the one album I do recall having listened to before) is not here. This was a surprisingly direct and almost optimistic and shimmering album - quite similar indeed in many ways to Aphex Twin's debut a year prior.

This is...actually a really fucking cool album. I wasn't expected such an accessible debut album by this trio. I remember their later works I've sampled to be quite dense and mysterious but also quite alien and cold and unnerving. This was an album, however, that I vibed with right away. The opening 2 tracks are quite lively and bright and easy to get into. But after these 2 tracks is where things get more interesting and a little more complex without loosing their accessibility. The real show stopper and by far my favorite song on this really solid set is "Basscadet". Its just so damn angular and the rhythms are so cold and harsh and the synth parts are so groovy and the 2 rhythms that are alwasy going consistently sound like they are about to break away from each other at any second. This creates this immediacy and tension that I really loved. The little spoken word bit, I have to admit, also made me happy because its always good to hear some vocals on an electronic album almost no matter the style or vibe or genre.

Other excellent stand outs are "Eggshell", "Autriche", "444" and the 11 minute and always great "Windwind" (which actually has a somewhat ambient and atmospheric vibe that is in contrast to most of this album's generally quite rhythmically active and jittery feel.)

Anyway, I know that their next album and then the last 2 I'll be listening to for this project are considered their most brilliant and, for some, just about the best music ever made ever. But I personally was surprised how much I vibed with this massive (for me) 78 minute IDM record. Its a great intro drug to their wider discog methinks. This gets a 7.6/10

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Fugazi's collection of early EPs, 13 SONGS (1989) + Fugazi's debut LP, REPEATER (1990)

13 Songs by Fugazi

For those that don't know, this is a compilation album because it takes the first 2 EPs Fugazi released before their debut LP (Fugazi (1988, and Margin Walker (1989)) and combines them into a nice 13 song, 40 minute album. Kind of a perfect release and an excellent 1 disc encapsulation of late 1980s Fugazi pre-Repeater.

Obviously, I adore Minor Threat and I quite like the one album Rite of Spring released (the 2 main bands as far as I know that the 2 main singwriters and vocalists of this band came from). And I grew up pretty consistently spinning Repeater and Fugazi's 3rd LP In On The Killtaker. Yet, somefuckinhow, I had never listened to 13 Songs. If there was ever a no-brainer CD for 16 year old me to go and buy it is this one. Weird I never did.

Anyway, that introduction aside, I listened to this twice and... its good. Yet it isn't blowing me away for some reason. Almost all the elements that made me love Repeater are here as well, but what is missing is a certain intensity. That may sound weird because Fugazi is one of the most intense and tight bands ever to come out of Hardcore and Post-Hardcore music, and this being them at their youngest you'd think they'd have a certain furious intense power on these 2 EPs. But I honestly felt the intensity and seething rage meter was at like a 6-7 here and that was a little disappointing.

The stars of the show are those drums and that sharp and intense drum sound that I love in Fugazi, as well as the explosive (not explosive enough but when they go off they are great), and the songwriting. Some of the tunes here and the way the songs are structured are quite cool, talking "Waiting Room" most of all but also "Give Me The Cure", "Margin Walker", and "Promises". Not a fan of the Guy and even Ian vocals here. I think they work better together in later albums. They have their moments especially Ian.

I hope this is a release that slowly grows on me over the weeks and months and years. As it is, for some reason I thought it sounded like the band hadn't yet fully gelled into what they would be even 1 year later not to mention by the mid 90s, and there is a certain held back style here. This gets a 7.0/10



Repeater by Fugazi

Of all these artists on this project, Fugazi's debut LP feels the least like a debut to me. That's probably simply because, subjectively I already know of these artists as being the people behind some of my favorite 1980s records and singles and albums. But also I think that experience and professionalism is reflective in the tightness and brilliance of their debut. Repeater is just a complete package, excellent recorded and written and yet intense as hell and passionate. THIS is a great rock album, one of the best. The sheer number of stand out, tight, raging and yet subtle and restrained classics here is amazing. The opening salvo of "Turnover", "Repeater", "Brendan #1", and "Merchandise" blows me away. The bass lines and the way the guitar and bass play off each other in the instrumental "Brendan #1" is so fucking awesome. And "Repeater" is a song that, despite not hearing for years and years, still plays in my head and is as catchy as it comes. The amount of times I just randomly say "1, 2, 3,.... REPEATER!" and then mouth the guitar riff is actually concerning. And "Merchandise" is a coiled and white hot punk rock classic.

The album gets more Guy-led emo with track 5 "The Blueprint" and that is great as a slow down track and also just as a really heartfelt tune. Before going into the next run of brilliant songs. "Sieve-Fisted Find" is another post hardcore/punk rock masterpiece. And jesus the bassist, Joe Lally is such a fucking stud on this track and really this whole album. He may be the low key MVP of this album, always providing these great and active low end melodies that just kill. The drummer, Brendan Canty, also creates some truly towering rhythmic moments as well and those 2 together create such a great bedrock for the rest of the band to soar. After "Sieve-Fisted Find", we have the aggressive screaming start-stop-start excellence of the short but sweet punk chant "Greed", then "Two Beats Off" keeps the run of perfectly written rock tracks goin. This is followed by a pretty good dance punk sounding "Styrofoam", then "Reprovisional" features that passionate classic Vocal style that Guy Picciotto had mastered already by this point in his career. Finally, the closing track, "Shut The Door" is this noisy and atmospheric, dark, track that switches between off-putting and noisy to downright smooth as butter grooviness quite nicely. Its a really cool song and a solid way to close this first album by the legendary FUGAZI

I know this is called Post-Hardcore, and looking at this group of artists, I have another Post-Hardcore legend in Unwound to listen to and also The Jesus Lizard is a noisy and more insane version of Post Hardcore and even early Neurosis is Hardcore with Crossover-Thrash and uber-heavy proto-sludge-era-Neurosis elements but mostly Hardcore Punk, so I have, in theory, 4 bands early on labeled as Hardcore of some type. But Fugazi's debut and their early work is the most restrained and accessible of the bunch. I could see showing this album off to a more traditional rock music nerd and I think it would be a hit. Outside of the shouted vocals and the occasional explosions of noisy and strangely tuned guitar feedback, this is quite simply, to my ears a fully formed and accomplished rock album and one of the better straight rock albums I've heard from this era. Just a stellar album.... it gets a 8.4/10 only cuz the second half is not quite as great as the first, and because despite it being just about as perfectly crafted a punk rock album as ever was, it doesn't consistently blow my mind. Plus In have a feeling by the time they come to their third album and then their 6th album they will be a perfect machine and I will be giving out near-10s. We shall see.

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Unwound's early demo tape, UNWOUND (1991) + Unwound's debut LP, FAKE TRAIN (1993)

Unwound by Unwound

So, this isn't really their debut. Its their demo from 1991 is what I gather. But what it is is a cool little lo fi, noisy mix of post hardcore, emocore, noise rock, and some weird little effects-laden songs. I like it. It's nothing mindblowing and maybe as I come forward and listen to the rest of Unwound's discog I will come back and listen fondly to this messy batch of 8 skeletal songs and find some fascinating bits in it. For now, I am really just being a completionist by hearing this.

Great, now I sound negative. This is good. I like the melodies and the atmosphere especially on the opener "Bionic" and on "L-D Fifty". The creepy opener to "Love & Fear" has a cool Slint vibe with those weird almost inaudible quiet spoken word vocals. Actually, The vocals, in general on this demo, are great and emotive. This is pretty good if a bit incomplete and out-of-context and probably not the first album I should hear by this band (I have heard Leaves Turn Inside You a couple times so thankfully this ain't my first introduction to this band).

I don't have much else to say. This gets a 5.8/10. Note that my enjoyment of this album was also affected by the fact that it is the only album that isn't on a streaming service and so I had to listen to this nicely sequenced youtube playlist and whether because the original sound quality was already quite thin (which is probable) or because the YouTube upload was just a little bit sonically thin (less likely the cause) this album doesn't really HIT. None of the drum parts snap and none of the otherwise kind of cool guitar parts come across and really make themselves stand out. Everything is a bit far off and off. (Note from the future here: I Just got done listening to their actual debut album, Fake Train, for the first time and the thinness problem is DEFINITELY not present on that loud and punchy noisy beast of a debut.)



Fake Train by Unwound

This album has parts that are these noisy jams reminiscent of Sonic Youth. It also features copious sludgy, writhing and painful walls of noise reminsicent of Black Flag or Bleach-era fellow Seattle-ites Nirvana. It also has these crazy scatterbrained, high pitched, seemingly random explosions of notes in somewhat guitar solo form which reminds me again of Ginn/Black Flag. And it has that brutally negative, self-hating, claustrophobic vocal delivery that reminds me...of... idk, lots of screamo and emo stuff before and after this album. There are also some songs, as songs, that kick ass and have that same angular angsty vibe that Fugazi has but louder and more intense (most notably the loud-soft gem which is "Nervous Energy"). All in all this is a really solid debut.

However, I didn't love it. Maybe I'm not fully set up to vibe with such dark and hopeless music. Whereas Fugazi were the legends who already had made their mark when they released their EPs and Repeater, Unwound sound like up and comers who aim to get their messages across through sheer decibels. Whereas Fugazi are extroverted and they have a clear target, a series of clear messages and the songwriting chops to get those messages across, Unwound sound like very very unhappy 19-22 year olds who just need to vent and work out a way to somehow express that roiling and loathsome beast that exists inside them. The bands, in other words, are very very different despite being perhaps the 2 most iconic "Post-Hardcore" bands certainly of the 90s if not all time. The rage and hate seems like a randomly bursting mass on this album and that is cool. And if ever I want to go and listen to an album so brutal, noisy, disgusting, and raw that is manages to somehow express that feeling of extreme agony, then I will listen to this (or maybe some grind stuff or really particularly grimy lo fi black metal or something).

That is not to say that there aren't some great songs here with really gorgeous and creative guitar playing and structures, because there are... the already mentioned "Nervous Energy", as well as "Valentine Card", "Kantina", "Dragnalus", and the most Sonic Youthy song here "Were, Are and Was or Is", as well as "Feeling$ Real" and "Star Spangled Hell" are all really solid and explosive noise rock almost sludge metal screamo tracks. BUT the songs aren't quite varied enough or interesting enough outside of their sheer loudness-quality to make me love the album as a whole and stay interested and invested throughout. I guess its okay that I Only like it. I'll give this a 7.0/10.



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Neurosis' debut LP, PAIN OF MIND (1987) + Neurosis' sophomore LP, THE WORD AS LAW (1990)

Pain Of Mind by Neurosis

As a hardcore punk fan first and foremost, I love this sound and style. Its just testorsterone-fueled mid to late 80s hardcore punk with some really in the red, gross production, venomous vocals and enough songwriting choices that are interesting (musically and lyrically) to keep it fresh.

Look, atmospheric sludge fans and so-called "post metal" fans and progressive and complex arrangement loving metal fans aren't going to like this album, thus the low average rating on RYM especially compared to every album Neurosis released 1992 to now. What metal fans of that style look for in an album will be found NOT AT ALL here. And so I guess that is why these first 2 albums by this legendary and boundary-pushing and innovative band are either forgotten or, if not forgotten, generally written off as practically a different artist's creation. BUT as a fan of hardcore punk and somewhat thrashy hardcore, this is actually really cool.

One thing that is clear even on this most unique sounding of Neurosis albums is that these were really talented punk rock musicians. The bass lines are sick, so thick and cool. The vocals are pretty cool, classic, venomous hardcore crusty-sounding things. The guitars are heavy and grimy and have some cool little embellishments added that keep the mix somewhat interesting. And a lot of these songs start with a cool building up guitar line that sets an interesting atmosphere before exploding into these thundering punk bangers.

If Neurosis had never released 1992's Souls at Zero and instead had continued innovating and working within hardcore punk and post-hardcore areas, where would they have gone? Kind of unanswerable. But if they had devoted that creativity they showed in sludge metal to hardcore and its offshoots, I think Neurosis would already be my favorite band ever. They were a badass punk band before a badass metal band I guess is the entire un-informative or interesting point I am making lol. This is a surprisingly fun and intense and just good punk record. And what is wild is they did stick to hardcore and thrashy hardcore for one more album and managed to get tighter and better produced and more creative and more ominous and released one more EVEN BETTER hardcore album a few years after this. These guys were sick before they got all, like, technical and deeeep and shit. This gets a solid 6.5/10. It does, if I'm being honest, wear out its welcome over 37 minutes. This style and this level of un-diluted rage is best served in like 30 minutes or less packages.



The Word As Law by Neurosis

As I hinted at in that last comment blurb for Neurosis' debut, this is even better. In almost every way. The production is cleaner (but still nice and dirty), the vocals are better with one of the 2 vocalists at least being an absolutely badass on this whole album. The bass tones are just as up front and center and just more pronounced here than on their debut. The songs are starting to hint at what is to come - they consistently have chasm-deep, darkened atmospheres that almost (if you ear-squint) sound like mid-90s Neurosis. There are some cool and haunting guitar solos. And in general while maintaining a good solid base of hardcore punk the band manages to expand majorly here. Still would be a surprise if I hadn't known what their later albums sounded like when I pushed play on them in the next few weeks.

The vocals... one of the vocalists sounds silly here, kinda cartoonishly grunting. And the other, as mentioned previously, is a stud. The good vocalist has that sound of overwhelming angry passion that reminds me of some of the best Zack de la Rocha RATM moments or even some of those more insanely badass screaming parts featured in At The Drive-In albums. It's soooo cooool. Wish he was the only vocalist rather than what it is here where he is the lead vocalist about 60% of the time.

Overall, this is a very good, borderline great, Post-Hardcore album. Should be championed more especially by more general music nerds and by Post-Hardcore and hardcore punk fans. I get that you would be a little disappointed hearing this album and their debut after hearing Through Silver In Blood, but then again, get over the initial shock and enjoy this for what it is.

This reminded me actually of when I was a kid and I got really into the Industrial metal band Ministry. I was listening to Psalm 69 and Filth Pig and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and The Land of Rape and Honey on repeat and I decided to just get all their albums and listen to their whole discography starting from 1983's With Sympathy. So I went online and ordered these CDs and I went to Vintage Vinyl and I bought their debut and their second album Twitch and I got home and I listened to them and... I was very very confused. I knew that with 1988's The Land of Rape and Honey they had massively changed their style (it was just as major a switch-up as Neurosis' in 1992). But they had also changed their style in 1992 when they became more thrashy and more blatantly metal, so I figured the change wasn't probably as extreme as people made it out to be. Boy, was I wrong. I have yet to listen to their first 2 synthpop, new wave and then EBM albums again and its been almost 20 years. I'm sure they are good, but the sound was so opposite what I wanted from the creators of "N.W.O." that I was mildly offended. (I was 13 so please forgive me my childish sensitivity.)

Anyway, side notes, well, aside, I give this post-hardcore 1990 album a ... 7.2/10 (and yes I am aware that means I gave this album a higher score than both Fake Train and 13 Songs and as you will soon see, even with Scream Bloody Gore. This seems wrong, but its how I feel.



------------

Death's debut LP, SCREAM BLOODY GORE (1987) + Death's sophomore LP, LEPROSY (1988)

Scream Bloody Gore by Death (Metal)

Well, this is a blast. I gotta admit I am mostly familiar with Leprosy and Leprosy this is not. Not quite. Most of the same elements are here on album 1 as are on album 2, but this hasn't the same level of any of those things. But I don't want to dwell on what this is not when what it is is still quite good and very special. Despite being not the greatest of the old school death metal albums (from the few I've heard) but this is still maybe the most classic example or most representative of that sound. Love the guitar riffs throughout, and the blast beats and the vocals are nice too. The Bass is hit or miss, where sometimes it is really really strange and doesn't seem to totally gel with the rest of the band. The production would be improved a lot over just one year, and that is good because I feel on this debut Death album the sheer power and aggressiveness of the band is what is doing all the heavy lifting and the way the sounds are recorded seems a bit muted and doesn't pop enough.

The songs here are pretty well written and at times the riffage is catchy, Chuck had major songwriting skills even this early on. Best examples of great songwriting and just absolutely classic beasts are "Infernal Death", "Regurgitated Guts" (this is the song that HITS by far the hardest - to me anyway. Not sure why but the way the drums and guitars sound here is absolutely killer), "Scream Bloody Gore" and, most of all, "Zombie Ritual". A really solid set of songs and maybe (surely!) if I were around at the time and heard this it would scare the shit out of me and blow my ever loving mind. But I literally JUST listened to None So Vile by Cryptopsy, so maybe I spoiled any possible awe I would feel at the heaviness of this album by listening to something released 9 years later and 10x more extreme. Idk. This gets a 7.2/10



Leprosy by Death (Metal)

This album is soooooooooo fuckinggggg classssssicccc! Also so heavy and so good and so rough and rowdy and brutal and excellent! INow that I have given it its much deserved revisit 2 times over I can confidently say that despite how classic and solid Scream Bloody Gore is (and it really is essential listening) this features better more smoking hot and harsh production, more biting and satanic and rabid guitar solos on the level of classic Slayer badassness, more crunchy riffage with more variety and menace, more excellent and punishing drumming, more full throated vocal performances, more memorable Hooks or change ups and just better songwriting, a better flow and some of the most iconic and most vicious old school death metal ever! It fucking slays and kills and other synonyms of violence all the way through. The double bass assault that hits your ears at the start of "Open Casket" is God-tier stuff. Really almost all the songs are perfect and classic, but I mean come on does it get better in the genre than "Born Dead"? or "Pull The Plug"? or "Choke On It"? or "Primitive Ways"? or or or ? No I don't know that it does. This is an 8 track, 38 minute tour-de-force of utterly intimidating harsh HEAAVYYY death metal glory. There isn't a weak moment or song, and none of the instruments are low points, even the bass which I mentioned on their debut sounded a bit strange to me, on this album has this sinister melodicism that just hits some part of my mind in the best possible way. And is there a more iconic vocal delivery or voice than Chuck? ever in the history of metal? His voice is so sick, so gnarly, so emotive and nasty and nuts.

I know I'm about to listen to Altars of Madness released just a year later than Leprosy, and I am excited to give that Morbid Angel debut a new listen after my extreme metal come-to-jesus-moment a few months ago, but as far as OSDM I can't imagine it getting better than this. I mean Morbid Angel very well could match it, and I wouldn't be surprised. But this album also has the advantage of being the first death metal album I loved way back in like 2013 and I remember hearing this and thinking "Finally, something that hits me as hard or almost as hard as Reign In Blood." As many of you may know Reign in Blood is a top 10 all time album for me and is kind of my benchmark and example for extreme metal. I think its perfect or as close to perfect as any metal album has ever been in my eyes. So the fact that 23 year old me all those years ago was gushing over this album and playing it on repeat and comparing it to Slayer was a big deal. Listening to this again after all these years and kind of re-acquainting myself with my love for it has been awesome! This album hits hard. There were later Death albums more technical and maybe more polished. There were later death metal albums in general more extreme and vicious, but I have yet to hear a Death Metal album that slaps as hard as this and taps into that primal part of me as well as this fucking master class in heaviness and speed. LEPROSY IS KING! ---- 9.4/10 (I know its a high score right, but when it comes to this sound and style I can't see how almost anything can match it. It seems to be a near-perfect old school death metal album. Let's see how its main competition does next...)

------------

Morbid Angel's debut LP, ALTARS OF MADNESS (1989)

Altars Of Madness by Morbid Angel

well... this is a lot to take in, ain't it. just finished listening once and ... its fucking wild. It seems like (in my head canon slash what I can tell) that Leprosy (released November 1988) was the perfect death metal album to that point - it was complex sure but generally just absurdly heavy and next level intense thrash/slayer stuff mixed with that chunky death sound and faster and heavier drums and a different more intense sound than thrash had produced. It sounds to me like the culmination and perfection of the strides made in this counterculture metal later called death metal that arose in 1984-1985 and got more and more distinct from thrash as 1986 and 1987 and then 1988 rolled along.

Then, just 6 months later, in May 1989 along comes a band named Morbid Angel and they were a death metal band and here comes their debut, and it sounds like this album was a whole new beast separate from even Leprosy, more complex and more fast and more evil than the other death metal previously released. And it can hold its own heaviness-wise too. But there is a nearly-if not quite - Technical death vibe to this album. It features a vast array of pendulum swinging, whiplash-inducing switch ups, for its time quite mind-boggling drum parts that mess with time signatures and tempos, almost proggy changes to songs all throughout. The vocals are cool and eeeevilll and snarling, the drummer steals the show throughout with some of the coolest and most unrelentingly fast drumming attacks ever heard (at the time and to this day they hold up and are likely to impress). Not to say the twin guitar attack is any slouch, cuz they aren't. The re are a lot of atonal, discordant, devilish, atmospheric and cruel lead guitar lines here that sound straight from some genocidal killing field or hell itself.

The lyrics and the general tone of this album is wildly and cartoonishly devilish and satanic. The themes to my mind are silly and I am just not generally allured or impressed by the tradition of Satan in metal, not because of my Christian sensibilities (cuz I am not Christian) but because I don't know it all seems so flmsy and fake. That lore of Satan and anti-Christ stuff never impressed me. So, if we are going to compare Death's 1988 classic to this Morbid Angel 1989 classic, point goes to the just as childish themes of Leprosy because they are just about gore and death and shit and not sacrificing people to Satan and stuff. The other advantage I'll give to Leprosy is a generally heavier and more impinging production found on Leprosy. The production on Altars of Madness sounds less tangible and real and less like a sledge hammer to your skull and more like a swirling, smoky screen - a screen from which knives intermittently emerge to stab at you. Both sounds are cool, but I have a personal preference for that brutal heavy tangible thump found in Death's early masterpiece over the alluring, chaotic, fleet-footed and less heavy vibe on this debut from Morbid Angel.

Okay, so I will now listen again and see if there is more I wanna say or more I will get out of this dense and insanely groundbreaking debut... one minute off to listen a 2nd and maybe 3rd time...

Okay, I'm back. Yeah this album is cool and probably a grower. There are extremely detailed and nuanced things going on with these arrangements and with the songwriting here. Like as someone with no musical training, I can't put my finger on it, but I can hear it - this albums seems more complex and a harbinger of what was to come in death metal over the next decade. I think more bands were trying to sound like Morbid Angel here than any Death album pre-Human. And I haven't given a listen or a fresh listen to Human or other more technical death albums of late 89 and early 90s, but maybe this debut from Morbid Angel sort of raised the bar of what was expected from Death metal thereafter. Still, I don't love it like I love Leprosy, even if it is every bit its equal in terms of quality in its own field of death metal innovation. And what a brilliant debut statement Altars of Madness is! This gets a 8.3/10 - loved it and was awed in many ways.

------------


aaaaannnnndddddd.... we are done! Jesus h. crispy that was a lot! I am now caught up to the 90s and all done with all the debut albums (and in 2 cases the first 2 albums) by all these iconic artists and bands. The ranking so far is:

#1. PJ Harvey - 8.4
#2. Death - 8.3 (the average score between their first 2 albums)
#3. Morbid Angel - 8.3
#4. Aphex Twin - 8.1
#5. The Jesus Lizard - 7.8
#6. Fugazi - 7.7 (average score between first 2 projects)
#7. Autechre - 7.7
#8. Unwound - 7.0 (not including that little demo in the calculations...IMHO it didn't seem representative of them.)
#9. Stereolab - 7.0
#10. Neurosis - 6.9 (average score of first 2 albums)

and as far as what I'm looking forward to the most in the next round of post... Neurosis' SOULS AT ZERO, PJ's RID OF ME, Stereolab's TRANSIENT RANDOM-NOISE..., Autechre's TRI REPETAE, Aphex Twin's SAW II, and of course The Jesus Lizard's classic sophomore album GOAT are all classics and I have very good fuzzy feelings about them. There's a good chance that Unwound's also quite classic second album will be great and that Death's 3rd album will be better than its given credit for and that Morbid Angel's second album will be dope as well (will be also listening to their 1986 demo as well so we get a double does of Morbid Angel next round) and of course the least heralded Fugazi should be fascinating as well. Bound to be great. As these artists discog's progress and we get closer and closer to seminal mid 90s to early 2000s albums I will be getting more and more excited.

Okay, until next time, peace out.
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my Top 100 Albums of 2021 so far


Last edited by Mercury on 05/12/2021 22:57; edited 1 time in total
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Luigii



Gender: Male
Age: 25
United States

  • #1012
  • Posted: 05/12/2021 22:08
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I still need to read the rest of this, but man what a write up. Do need to mention that Autechre's next album is Amber. Tri Repetae comes after that. And reading about Aphex, I think you might enjoy that a little more? Though it is one of his longest albums clocking at two hours. Though there are two tracks on it that are 10/10 material.
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Mercury
The wind's howling


Gender: Male
Location: St. Louis
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  • #1013
  • Posted: 05/12/2021 22:14
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Luigii wrote:
I still need to read the rest of this, but man what a write up. Do need to mention that Autechre's next album is Amber. Tri Repetae comes after that. And reading about Aphex, I think you might enjoy that a little more? Though it is one of his longest albums clocking at two hours. Though there are two tracks on it that are 10/10 material.


Funny you should say that. The first album the album I was most itching to hear, was Tri Repetae. I then discovered that yep Amber is next. Meant to go and change it. But never got to it.

And yeah 2 hour album coming up. Should be a tough length BUT from what little I’ve heard and remember it (SAW II that is) is fantastic.
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my Top 100 Albums of 2021 so far
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Luigii



Gender: Male
Age: 25
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  • #1014
  • Posted: 05/12/2021 22:21
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Mercury wrote:
Funny you should say that. The first album the album I was most itching to hear, was Tri Repetae. I then discovered that yep Amber is next. Meant to go and change it. But never got to it.

And yeah 2 hour album coming up. Should be a tough length BUT from what little I’ve heard and remember it (SAW II that is) is fantastic.


Hope you enjoy it. Some point I need to revisit Saw II. If your not crazy about it, his 95 album does tackle both qualities of the SAW.
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Repo




Location: Forest Park
United States

  • #1015
  • Posted: 05/12/2021 22:36
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I once saw PJ Harvey open for Jesus Lizard at CBGBs back in the early 90s so that totally works for me. lol. AND Yow is a maniac!!! Jumped off the stage and started fighting some guy and the rest of the band didn't blink an eye. Like it was a nightly occurrence.

I will slowly work my way through this EPIC write-up! Gonna savor it album by album until the next Merc drop! Laughing

Love that you've continued this! Cool

To my recollection, and it's been awhile, I've always put Head and Goat at the same godhead tier and then Liar a rung down from that. To me, and I was really into them back in the early - mid 90s, Head and Goat are where it's at and both are essential noise rock.
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LedZep



Gender: Male
Croatia (Hrvatska)

  • #1016
  • Posted: 05/13/2021 00:02
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This is quite possibly the longest post I’ve seen on BEA lol. And I’m not yet done with the 80s part, there’s several albums I’d like to give a second chance. Guess that will have to wait, cause this looks even more essential to me at the moment. What I find the most interesting is that PJ Harvey is a top 3 contender for both pf us, and yet 2 excellent album and my personal top 2 (White Chalk and Let England Shake) won’t even be covered. How do you feel about those two? Great review of Dry, I agree with pretty much every word. It’s likely that Death and Aphex Twin won’t be dethroned as the favourites of the bunch (not in any particular order), but there’s some quality bands here so let’s not jump to conclusions.

Before (re)listens I have:
1. Altars of Madness
2. SAW I
3. Leprosy
4. Repeater
5. Dry
6. 13 Songs
7. Scream Bloody Gore

And all 7 of them are excellent, Altars is a favourite, 2-6 are at least 8.5/10 and really close, Scream Bloody Gore is high 7.5 or low 8. Looking forward to hearing Dry again (been listening to a lot of PJ lately), hearing The Jesus Lizard’s debut for the first time and not looking forward to Neurosis early work lol.
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theblueboy



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  • #1017
  • Posted: 05/13/2021 16:08
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Re: Peng!

Yeah def agree with the French pop influence (maybe even ye ye singers) and the krautrock (kosmiche) influence on this album. It's crazy though how much Peng! sounds like the Velvet Underground!!! Probably too much. I think they get even better as they progress more towards their own sound on later albums. But I do really like this debut. Some of the layered vocals are awesome in particular, but some of the guitars sound great too. It has good energy, which you often get with debuts. Probably an 8/10 from me.
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Repo




Location: Forest Park
United States

  • #1018
  • Posted: 05/13/2021 17:13
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theblueboy wrote:
Re: Peng!

Yeah def agree with the French pop influence (maybe even ye ye singers) and the krautrock (kosmiche) influence on this album. It's crazy though how much Peng! sounds like the Velvet Underground!!! Probably too much. I think they get even better as they progress more towards their own sound on later albums. But I do really like this debut. Some of the layered vocals are awesome in particular, but some of the guitars sound great too. It has good energy, which you often get with debuts. Probably an 8/10 from me.


Completely agree!
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dihansse



Gender: Male
Age: 57
Belgium

  • #1019
  • Posted: 05/13/2021 19:36
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What a post and so much to take in. I recently mainly listened to the Unwound albums and to me Fake Train is one of their best. My other favorites of this list are Rid Of Me and Scream Bloody Gore but maybe I should also listen to Leprosy when I see your enthusiasm for it.
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Mercury
The wind's howling


Gender: Male
Location: St. Louis
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  • #1020
  • Posted: 05/14/2021 15:28
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Luigii wrote:
Mercury wrote:
Funny you should say that. The first album the album I was most itching to hear, was Tri Repetae. I then discovered that yep Amber is next. Meant to go and change it. But never got to it.

And yeah 2 hour album coming up. Should be a tough length BUT from what little I’ve heard and remember it (SAW II that is) is fantastic.


Hope you enjoy it. Some point I need to revisit Saw II. If your not crazy about it, his 95 album does tackle both qualities of the SAW.


Yeah and its actually 2 hours and 36 minutes! You lied to me! lol jk. I didn't remember or maybe never knew how looong this album is. A MONOLITHIC AMBIENT classic if ever one existed.

And yeah I am chipping away at SAW II already and I kinda adore it. Just for what it is and how well it manages to conjure these outstanding environmental electronic pieces, if it continues being great it may be a 10/10.

Repo wrote:
I once saw PJ Harvey open for Jesus Lizard at CBGBs back in the early 90s so that totally works for me. lol. AND Yow is a maniac!!! Jumped off the stage and started fighting some guy and the rest of the band didn't blink an eye. Like it was a nightly occurrence.

I will slowly work my way through this EPIC write-up! Gonna savor it album by album until the next Merc drop! Laughing

Love that you've continued this! Cool

To my recollection, and it's been awhile, I've always put Head and Goat at the same godhead tier and then Liar a rung down from that. To me, and I was really into them back in the early - mid 90s, Head and Goat are where it's at and both are essential noise rock.


First off that is awesome! Young PJ and Jesus Lizard ... you have seen some cool shit as it was happening. And yeah I got the inkling just from his vocals that Yow might legit be a wild man. Only experience I have ever had with a fight was seeing Ministry in 2003, Al was singing "So What?" and when he delivered the line "Now I'm Ready to Fight" a good 8 minutes into that industrial noise song, he jumped off the stage and tackled a heckler and the show was cancelled and shut down and it was cool.

And interesting about Liar in your eyes being a step lower but still good. I have only ever heard Goat and Liar and I remember them being both some of the rawest and most ravenous rock albums I've heard.

Glad you are following along on this journey my friend! I look forward to your input.

LedZep wrote:
This is quite possibly the longest post I’ve seen on BEA lol. And I’m not yet done with the 80s part, there’s several albums I’d like to give a second chance. Guess that will have to wait, cause this looks even more essential to me at the moment. What I find the most interesting is that PJ Harvey is a top 3 contender for both pf us, and yet 2 excellent album and my personal top 2 (White Chalk and Let England Shake) won’t even be covered. How do you feel about those two? Great review of Dry, I agree with pretty much every word. It’s likely that Death and Aphex Twin won’t be dethroned as the favourites of the bunch (not in any particular order), but there’s some quality bands here so let’s not jump to conclusions.

Before (re)listens I have:
1. Altars of Madness
2. SAW I
3. Leprosy
4. Repeater
5. Dry
6. 13 Songs
7. Scream Bloody Gore

And all 7 of them are excellent, Altars is a favourite, 2-6 are at least 8.5/10 and really close, Scream Bloody Gore is high 7.5 or low 8. Looking forward to hearing Dry again (been listening to a lot of PJ lately), hearing The Jesus Lizard’s debut for the first time and not looking forward to Neurosis early work lol.


Well, if you like harsh hardcore punk I really think you'll enjoy those early Neurosis albums. But yeah they are oddities and treated as almost relics of this legendary band before they were good. Which is unfair. They are solid (especially their second album from 1990) and should be listened to more imho.

As for your ranking, makes sense. I adore Leprosy. I really think it is substantially better in almost every way than Scream Bloody Gore. Didn't know you were a fan of Aphex Twin. Great stuff I am glad I revisited and I am revisiting. I've only ever heard maybe half or a third of SAW II, SAW I a few times years ago and 2 listens to The Richard D James Album and 1 listen to his 2014 or whenever recent come back album. All great.

theblueboy wrote:
Re: Peng!

Yeah def agree with the French pop influence (maybe even ye ye singers) and the krautrock (kosmiche) influence on this album. It's crazy though how much Peng! sounds like the Velvet Underground!!! Probably too much. I think they get even better as they progress more towards their own sound on later albums. But I do really like this debut. Some of the layered vocals are awesome in particular, but some of the guitars sound great too. It has good energy, which you often get with debuts. Probably an 8/10 from me.


Yeah you nailed it. I didn't put my finger on the VU influence somehow as I listened the first couple times. Listened again and yeah the influence is there for sure. Cool album (maybe toooo cool for me) and a great start to what seems to be a burst of creativity in the 90s.

Glad you agree with blueboy, Repo.

--------------

Okay and that is my comment response catch-up post lol. I will be starting the structuring of the next post today and over the next 7-14 days listening to the next batch of 10-12 albums that are on the docket for this project and adding comments incrementally over that time. In the meantime, I have been listening to a lot of 2021 still, have a few "reviews" to write, but yeah the new album by Italian songwriter IOSONOUNCANE called "IRA" is absolutely masterful and super long. Its neo-psychedelic, industrial, electronic, eerie and just a massive triumph of an album. Easily my favorite find from this batch of Friday (the 14th of May) releases.

Also I am working through some very very classic metal albums as part of the You Must Listen To The Next Album Game Thread and that is fun. Dead As Dreams by Weakling is now on my chart from that game and its stellar and the best one I have heard recently. Once I unprivate my chart and that will be when its back in a presentable state, you'll see Dead As Dreams pretty high.

Okay, so long everyone.
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my Top 100 Albums of 2021 so far
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