Archive for August, 2012

Discharge Live: Victoria Hall Hanley Stoke

Posted in Gigs with tags , , on August 31, 2012 by Magadh

The fine people at Cvlt Nation have alerted us to this amazing live set from Discharge. Please enjoy their destruction of the Victoria Hall Hanley Stoke. The set is from 1983

Gloom Descends Upon the West Coast

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 30, 2012 by Magadh

The nice people at Tiny Mix Tapes have been good enough to alert the world of Old Man Gloom’s impending West Coast tour this September. While they are originally from New Mexico, it has been some time since they’ve ventured from the East Coast. The doomy super group (featuring members of Isis, Converge, Cave In and Zozobra) will also be joined by co-conspirators like Big Business, The Melvins, and Ides of Gemini. These shows are not to be missed!

Check out Old Man Gloom here

Catch them on tour here:

09.03.12 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo*
09.04.12 San Diego, CA – SodaBar*
09.05.12 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of theHill**
09.06.12 – Chico, CA – Origami Lounge
09.07.12 – Portland, OR – The Hawthorne Theatre+
09.08.12 – Seattle, WA – The Highline

+ The Melvins, Big Business
* William Fowler Collins, Sad Vicious, & Ides of Gemini
** William Fowler Collins, Sad Vicious

Review: Wrathcöbra

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by Magadh

Wrathcöbra s/t Cobra Cabana Records

I’ve been meaning to review this Wrathcöbra record for a while now. I listen to it a lot, mostly because I have a car that is so old that the cd player doesn’t even have a jack to plug an ipod into. I’m therefore limited in my listening choices to whatever I can get it together to burn onto a cd and take out there. It will probably surprise no one (at least no one who knows me) that it is a rare day when I find the wherewithal to do so, and as a consequence I end up listening to the same stuff over and over. It is for this reason that I have listened to Wrathcöbra’s disc every day for about two months now.

Wrathcöbra come from Pittsburgh, and the fact that both they and Heartless come from there suggests that the Steel City is really humming. This self-titled disc comprises their 2008 demo and their Fang and Tail 12”, released in 2010. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know if they are still together, although this interview on The Noise is Ours suggests that they are still alive and kicking. If that is the case, I respectfully request that they head up I 80 as soon as possible.

So far as their music goes, comparisons to bands such as Skit System and (even more justifiably) Wolfpack are common on the interweb, but the band they really reminded me of was Misanthropic Generation era Disfear. There is definitely a strong element of d-beat represented in their style. You also get the feeling that they’ve probably listened to a lot of Motorhead, and more power to them. Their music has a more galloping, metallic feel than some of the more straight hardcore type band with which they share this genre. They have a lot more sort old school guitar solos than bands like this tend to do. Fans of A New Dawn Fades will notice a distinct similarity here, but Wrathcöbra’s solos tend to be a few bars longer, as well as being more organized and melodically developed.

If I hadn’t looked it up on the web, I wouldn’t have known that this release compiled two earlier ones. The recording and production values on both are comparable, as is the quality of songwriting. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that these guys don’t get more recognition, given the current renaissance of d-beat. Well, he’s hoping I’ve done my little bit to rectify that. Their record is available from Bandcamp.


Infernus Fires Pest From Gorgoroth

Posted in News and Notes with tags , , , , on August 24, 2012 by Magadh

This saga occasionally reminds one of a black metal Van Halen; according to Gorgoroth’s official website Pest has been kicked out of the band by Infernus (again).


Out of respect for and loyalty to Gorgoroth’s audience and collaborators, Infernus has kicked Pest out of the band, effective immediately. This after Pest informed the band that he would not be prioritizing doing the upcoming Latin American tour after all, just two weeks before the band was set to depart for Brazil. Infernus has decided that the tour will go on as planned, though, and Hoest of Taake will replace Pest as vocalist on the tour starting on September 7, 2012. As for the next Gorgoroth studio album “Instinctus Bestialis”, vocal duties will be handled by a Serbian Satanist known as Atterigner, of the band Triumfall (Forces of Satan Records).

We must admit the prospect of seeing Hoest from Gorgoroth is mouth watering indeed. We are certain our South American brothers and sisters will be in for a treat.

Goodbye Pest:

Hello Atterigner:

-Captain of Games

Black Breath, Rabid Hands and Old Iron

Posted in Dispatches, News and Notes with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2012 by Magadh

The Seattle Tattoo Expo itself was a bit disappointing (the state of Washington decided they would make up some of the budget shortfall on the back of tattooers) but the events surrounding it were fantastic.

The first day of the Expo ended with a party hosted by the fine people at Super Genius Tattoo. The copious amounts of free whiskey were much appreciated by the boys from Analog and Fulcrum, to say nothing of the excellent company and fantastic artwork on show.

Sufficiently lubricated, it was over to Neumos to see the mighty Black Breath! Even though I’ve seen them several times I was still smarting from missing Southern Lord’s Sound and the Fury showcase in June. As always, they destroyed! Their special brand of Dis-tombed and Slay-charge never disappoints. In addition, they are always appreciative of the audience and openers. Solid dudes and an epic band!

Saturday was a bit more sedate, mostly due to our hangovers. We took in the Tekla Cafe in North Bend, WA which is also the home of Twin Peaks Cherry Pie. It was good little road trip with amazing scenery. The evening saw us down at Under the Needle for a great art show and amazing grub.



Sunday ended the affair and I was sad to see Jim and Demian hit the road. However, it did provide me a chance to delve into Old Iron, a local metal act featuring amazing tattooers Jerad Shealey (Rabid Hands) and Jesse Roberts (Lucky Devil). They are heading on the road in the next couple weeks, be sure to check them out.

Jerad also put this on me


-Captain of Games

Musica en Español

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on August 20, 2012 by Magadh

I’ve been checking out a bit of Spanish language music lately. Partly it’s motivation for my campaign to relearn Spanish. Partly it has to do with the fact that there is a lot of good stuff out there that has, perhaps, been overlooked by those of us who spend their time waiting for the next hot thing to come out of Umeå.

The immediate impulse for this project was hearing the Mexican band Rhuckuss (thanks to Paco for pointing me in their direction). They come from Mexico City as near as I can tell and they’ve been going since 2010 or so. They have a 12” that’s available on Bandcamp (and elsewhere I’m sure if you’re kind of person who wants the actual artifact). They play metal tinged crust with some melodic and other creative elements thrown in for good measure. Lots of thumping double bass gives this a sort of galloping feel that holds the attention well. They mix in some more classic rock elements here and there, but in a way consistent with their style, so the feel of the record remains consistent and powerful.

Searching around for more information about Rhuckuss, I stumbled onto Esclavitud Voluntaria, a demo released last year by the Argentine band Disnube. Esclavitud Voluntaria contains five songs of extremely raw dbeat crust. This is the kind of thing where you have to really love the format to get into it. That said, the delivery is passionate and aggressive. They also try to deviate somewhat from the normal dbeat format by including soundbites in a rather different way than one would expect from a band with such obvious artistic debts to bands like Discharge. Speaking of stylistic debts, the demo also contains covers of Doom’s “The Money Drug” and “Visions of Chaos” by Disclose, which gives one a pretty good idea of from whence they are drawing their ideas. I think their demo is still available here and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Moving from dbeat to a more straight hardcore approach, I’ve recently been rocking to a band from Spain called Inu. Hailing from the city of Coruña, Inu have come out with a couple of releases in recent years. In 2010 the released a split with the Indonesian band Kroia. They followed it up with a full length of their own entitled Hacia El Abismo. They play fast hardcore that at times is almost bouncy. There is no downtuning here and their songs are in the higher pitch range that was characteristic of US hardcore in the 1980s. They also have their share of sing along choruses. The songs are melodic without being sappy, often breaking out to some really raging tempos. Inu are tight and hard rockin, and their recordings are readily available on Bandcamp, which shows the right sort of attitude in my book.

Last but not least, Spanish dbeat merchants Instinto will be heading out on the road at the end of this month for a tour of Europe. The tour dates, at least as they stand now, are available here. Regular readers of this blog will know that we are kind of obsessed with these guys. We strongly urge you to get out and see them if possible and let their awesomeness wash over you.


Murderess, Vektor, and Others

Posted in Gigs with tags , , on August 17, 2012 by Magadh

I’m going to concede at the outside that this is pretty poor rock journalism. In my days writing for The Rocket, I was schooled in the practice of reviewing shows. Start with something to catch the reader’s eye and then talk about the bands in order of importance: headliner first and if you say anything about the opening band, it can be something like, “they played.” For reasons that will become clear as this goes on, I will not be employed this format.

With the Captain out on assignment in the wild west, I’d been hanging out alone in the bunker for days. I’d really been at loose ends. Without the Captain’s witty banter to motivate me, I’d found myself wandering the corridors, quietly singing snatches of Discharge songs, or watching old episode of The Rockford Files on our broken down VHS. Having nothing else to occupy my time, and needing to come up with something to post, I headed over to the west side to what was going on at Now That’s Class. I’d heard of the headlining band, Vektor (who hail from Tempe, Arizona), but it’s not like I was desperate to see them.

In fact, I was a bit jaded. Sitting at the bar, waiting for things to get going, I sketched out the opening of the piece that I was going to write. It went like this:

Going to shows has a Groundhog’s Day sort of feel to me. Sitting under the blue glare of a neon Natural Light sign, listening to Maiden on the bar sound system, drinking Pabst, wishing I had a cigarette. It could be Portland, Nottingham, New York, Seattle, Cleveland. It really doesn’t make a difference at this point. In my younger days, I thought that rock was infinite variation. Now I know better, but the sameness has a comforting aspect. At least I always know what to expect.

Having nattered on like this for a while, I wandered into the back room to see the first band. I figured I’d take a couple of pictures, then head back to the bar to await more interesting fare. What happened next jarred me out of my self-indulgence. Portland’s Murderess took the stage, having been added to the bill on an impromptu basis to fill in the space between shows in Toronto and Pittsburgh. As a Portland old boy, I recognized the name, but I didn’t know their music. They were kind enough to introduce me and everyone else in the joint to it by laying down an absolutely blistering set.

Their stuff runs a hardcore gamut from d-beat to straight thrash and even incorporating black metal elements. Their singer had a voice that sounded like someone tearing a piece of steel in half. If you listed the very best thrash band front women, the likes of Tam from Sacrilege, Amy from Nausea, or Gerda from Misantropic, Murderess’s singer would certainly belong among them. She absolutely tore it apart. She was just the tip of the iceberg. From first to last, Murderess tore it up. There was a really funny vibe in the room. No one there expected to see this band. No one there (or very few) knew what was about to happen. About five seconds into their first song, there were jaws dropping around the room. There was a sort of collective “oh shit” moment as everyone in the gaff began to recognize the blazing thrash on offer.

This is one of those moments of beautiful serendipity with which the underground is so rich. I had absolutely zero expectations (and my self-indulgent moping above makes clear) and I was rewarded for taking the trouble to come out by a really awesome experience. This too I will say, I had the chance to chat with them after they played and they are really pleasant people. I had a lot of fun talking about some people that we knew in common, and they were very polite about listening to me drone on about things that happened years before they were born.

I ended up sitting around at their merch table talking their guitarist Rachel (one of those really bright individuals that you occasionally run into who renews one’s faith in the scene). At a certain point, I realize that I’d missed all of the other bands and that Vektor was about to go on. I had no idea what to expect, but I was in for another pleasant surprise. Their logo bears a certain similarity to Voi Vod’s. It’s not a coincidence. Their sound is very old school thrash, although the referent point that came to mine was less War and Pain and more Dark Angel’s We Have Arrived. Lots of damped back picking and songs of rock opera length were their stock in trade and they took to it with aplomb.

This show really reminded me about why I come out to stuff like this. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I walk into something I didn’t expect. Ears ringing, I headed happily back to bunker land.


Tattoos, Turntables and Our New Bunker Guard

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , , on August 12, 2012 by Magadh

One of the great things about the Seattle Tattoo Expo is the tremendous talent on show. One of my favorites is Jeremy Justice. Justice is a  true Southern gentleman who also happens to make great tattoos. That said, tattoos aren’t the only things Justice makes he also makes amazing custom turntables.

Check it out here.

Analog Tattoo’s Jim Miner also took at turn guarding the bunker. He didn’t do a half bad job.

Occult Vibrations and Foreign Visitation

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by Magadh

This week finds London’s Demian Cervera visiting the bunker. The Westernmost exit is in the Pacific Northwest and with Cervera in town Mags has let me go walkabout in order to attend the Seattle Tattoo Expo as well as catch up with old friends. The fine people at Artcore Tattoo and Under the Needle Tattoo are hosting Cervera as well as a veritable whose who of the tattoo community (dudes like Phil Holt, Joel Kennedy and Jim Miner) so it promises to be a fine weekend indeed.

I’ll have some additional updates as the weekend progresses but wanted to bring Shawn Porter’s Occult Vibrations to your attention. Porter describes it as, “a blog for people interested in the symbolic legacy of tattoo culture” and I think that’s a fairly apt description.  I particularly appreciate the wealth of video Porter has painstakingly converted from VHS to digital media. If you enjoy the history of tattoo and appreciate the better bits of tattooing Occult Vibrations is for you.

– Captain of Games

Review: Tragedy

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on August 8, 2012 by Magadh

Tragedy Darker Days Ahead Tragedy Records

There are few things I really regret in life. One of them is moving out of Portland, Oregon in 2000, right about the time that half the punks in Tennessee seem to have moved up there. If I had known beforehand that From Ashes Rise and Tragedy were in the process of decamping for the Pacific Northwest I might have thought twice about skipping town. Well, there’s no use crying over spilt milk I suppose. I do remember seeing Tragedy in a living room somewhere in northeast Portland, surrounded by a lot of spiky, dyed, and dirty people who thought that they were much cooler than I was, so I guess it wasn’t all beer and skittles while I actually did live there.

There is a vein of American hardcore in the 1990s that is defined by From Ashes Rise, Tragedy, and His Hero is Gone. Although each had their own individual sound, they shared quite a bit, certainly in terms of personnel, but more importantly in terms of atmosphere. HHiG was the first of these bands into which I came in contact, and the thing that struck me was the absolutely stygian character of their presentation. Thick, swirling guitars gave even the more melodic elements of their music a murky quality, redolent of utter despair. From Ashes Rise were similar, although employing a more d-beat oriented approach. Tragedy, comprising three former members of HHiG and former FAR bassist Billy Davis, represented not so much an amalgamation of those two sounds, as an attempt to take the project forward.

Darker Days Ahead, Tragedy’s first release since Nerve Damage in 2006, represents the perfection of the theory, so to speak. All of the trademarks that have defined Tragedy’s music for a decade are present and correct. Tragedy isn’t the kind of band that is going to blow you away with blazing speed. Their approach is defined by a guitar sound the heaviness of which must be measured in tons. Darker Days Ahead is more overtly metallic than previous releases, but this approach has been undertaken judiciously, giving the guitars a sharper edge while retaining the melodic sensibilities that have always defined their music. At points, the darkened churning sound seems to touch on regions visited by Neurosis in the era of Souls at Zero/Enemy of the Sun. In other places, Tragedy executes a more rocking approach in which the attentive listener will discern traces of FAR in their slower moments.

In sum, it’s fair to say that Tragedy have delivered another bit of excellence. From the guitars swimming in distortion, to the tortured vocals, to the dark and threatening mood, Darker Days Ahead contains all the elements that made Tragedy influential in the first place. This is not one of those records that will appeal to the shorter, louder, faster set. But imbricated with its titanic onslaught are subtleties that retain the attention through repeated spins. And that, at this point, is about the best that one can ask for.