Friday, March 26, 2010

Oystein Lives

Not sure why exactly Mayhem opted out on a US tour with Ludicra. Quite lame of them, really, seeing as audiences are deprived of witnessing the all-time legends of tr00 Norwegian black metal sharing a stage with some Bay Area veterans who were undoubtedly inspired by Mayhem in the first place. I like to think that Mayhem cancelled because they knew that if Ludicra were at their best, America would have triumphed and rendered the Norwegians irrelevant once and for all. That’s probably not the case, but whatever. It’s a nice thing to believe.

With that in mind, let’s go back to a time when Mayhem was an underground metal band who may very well have jumped at the opportunity to spread the word across the United States alongside their American black metal brethren. Deathcrush, their vinyl debut (which you already knew), is how I prefer to remember Mayhem. Bad recording, inept musicianship, and not giving a damn either way. Back in 1987, Mayhem were still a bunch of drunken heshers kicking up a godawful racket like the Venom and Bathory fans that they were. Their image wasn’t anything to take seriously. Their ideas and convictions had yet to fully form. But this record still made a loud enough noise to spark a flame that eventually became the Scandinavian black metal scene.

The opening riff to the classic title track still gets my goat to this day. Let it get yours too. Let it make you forget about the cover band who carries on the name and pusses out on testing their mettle (no pun intended) against the mighty Ludicra. Then make sure to go see Ludicra on tour in the gods’ country next month.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Black Witchery vs. Conqueror

This week, we’ve got two legends of the North American black metal underground duking it out to see who gets first dibs on raping the ass of Christ. Both of these bands are fueled by an irrational hatred for Christianity and probably don’t like Jews, fags, or the kitchen staff at the nearest expensive restaurant either. They’ll never win any congeniality awards, but this split somehow managed to attain cult legend status amongst followers of all that is grim/kvlt/nekro. Since I never really followed black metal that extensively, I don’t know how or when that happened. But I do know that Hellstorm of Evil Vengeance occupied a space in my music collection well before it got to that point. When you bespectacled black-clad dorks were still listening to Korn; I was annoying all of my punk friends with this ugly black metal trash. Then again, a bespectacled black-clad dork told me about this disc in the first place, so maybe I shouldn’t be so mean.

Ten years ago or so, I used to sit in front of coffee shops like Java Rama in Alameda or Wall Berlin in Berkeley and talk about music with this guy John. Like me, John was also undergoing a fascination with black metal at the time. But he was a bit more technologically advanced than I was, so he was able to download all sorts of raw and crazy-sounding black metal shit that wasn’t in the local record stores. While talking about Darkthrone one day, John mentioned a band called Black Witchery that had the potential to make Fenriz and the gang sound like choirboys. Not only that, but they were from right here in the good old US of A. It was still difficult to find a lot of American black metal bands at the time, so both John and I were interested whenever one would pop up. With John’s high recommendation, I picked up the Black Witchery/Conqueror split CD and gave it a spin.

Florida has been the birthplace for many a metal band over the years, but one would figure that it’s an unlikely locale for a nasty black metal outfit like Black Witchery. Yet they started there in the early ‘90s, playing death metal under the name Irreverent. By 1996, they changed their name to Witchery and headed in more of a black metal direction. Three years later, they became Black Witchery and the transformation was complete. They issued a seven-inch called Summoning of Infernal Legions before doing this split, and continue on to this day. Apparently these guys are so evil and misanthropic; they don’t even like having sex with women. After all, the bitch might get pregnant and produce another worthless human life. I guess the band members prefer scat orgies in their practice pad, according to some bizarre story told by their bassist/vocalist Impurath. Yeah. Obviously, these guys know how to party.

Conqueror also started in the early ‘90s, originating in Victoria, BC. After four years, the dynamic duo of J. Read and R. Forster released the Anti-Christ Superiority demo in 1996. Forster and Read opted to keep it sounding raw and disgusting long after most of the big death metal bands had become more technical and produced. This isn’t for everyone, but I think their lo-fi approach would appeal to those who still yearn for the days of tape-trading old death metal and grindcore demos. In fact, Conqueror’s half of this split is a reissue of the aforementioned 1996 demo. They would release another demo in 1998 and the pummeling War Cult Supremacy LP a year later before calling it quits.

So, which band gets a piece of Jesus’ ass first? Click on the link below and make your own decision.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bruce Roehrs, R.I.P.



Bruce Roehrs passed away peacefully in his home.

There will be a memorial. As soon as we know more we will let you know.

If you’d like to contribute any memories of Bruce, please get in touch: mrr@

We will miss him and can hardly imagine MRR without him. Play Agnostic Front “Victim in Pain” as loud as you can — and see you fucks at the bar.

My favorite Bruce Roehrs review in MRR was of a United Blood 7-inch. He referred to the record as "the fuckin' HAMMER!" What does that mean? Does it matter? Nope. One of my favorite people to see at shows, and was very gracious and supportive of P.U.N.K. zine when we brought it back ten years ago.

Every spoiled, jaded fool in the back of the club could stand to gain some perspective from Bruce and his undying enthusiasm. Our music scene has lost a true friend and supporter. RIP. See you in hell, see you at the bar.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crush the Race of God

Did you like the Hemlock/Black Army Jacket split that I posted a while back? If so, perhaps you’ll also dig Hemlock’s Crush the Race of God album, released in 1997 on Norway’s Head Not Found label. Similar in approach to Darkthrone’s Panzerfaust album, but I like this a lot more. The Cradle of Filth/At the Gates/Dimmu Borgior fans would always cringe when I played this for them and deemed it unlistenable. That’s how you know this is real black metal, not any of that wimpy keyboard crap that turned this shit into a joke in the late ‘90s. Since everything else I had to say about Hemlock was already done so in my previous post, all I can say is click here and unleash Armageddon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Burn Metal

Axes to the Sky hailed from the corn fields of Nebraska and were a live favorite of my friend Scarrie Carrie’s when she lived in Lincoln for a spell. They came out here in the summer of 2006 and played a handful of shows in the East Bay, the best being a backyard barbecue hosted by a local metal/punk couple that had a Nebraska connection. I was undergoing weird breakup drama with the girl I was seeing at the time, so I was determined to have a good day. Sure enough, it was one of those awesome summer days where most everything went right. The herb was plentiful, the vibes were good, and the BBQ was delicious. Axes to the Sky set up in the living room and delivered the kind of metal power that went down nicely with near-perfect spare ribs. During the festivities, I came across a stunning vision. She was a breath of fresh air in the smoke and Oakland crusty funk. Clad in a blue denim jacket amidst a sea of black, this redheaded beauty’s name was Lisa. Being a nondrinker and finding out that we both had that in common, it was only natural that we became good friends. For the next year, we would do just that. Lisa’s birthday was this past Monday and even though she probably already has a copy of this CD, we at The Evil Eye would like to post it here as our way of wishing her a happy birthday.