Metal!: Tomahawk, “Oddfellows” and More
On the 25th day of the 12th month of 2012, the Six-Tongued Hellgoat was summoned to rise from the ashes and bring darkness to this place called POPdose. Join him in his quest.
Ritual Thrust into the Profane Maw of Churning Filth
There isn’t much that’s predictable about Mike Patton. Really, the only thing that is, is that you absolutely never know what you’re going to get from release to release even on the rare occasion that a project lasts for years, like Tomahawk. Actually, it’s also quite predictable that all six tongues of the Hellgoat get lathered into a frenzy when a new Patton release is on the way. He almost passed out twice waiting for Oddfellows to arrive.
The Hellgoat realizes that many fans of Tomahawk really enjoyed the last studio record, 2007’s Anonymous. He did not. That’s not to say he thought it was a bad album but after the electrifying Mit Gas, switching up to an album of mellow Native American influenced compositions wasn’t exactly the most thrilling thing in the world. Maybe if Mike Patton had released it under a different moniker than Tomahawk, it might have been digested a little bit better. The Goat realizes that you may think he is full of manure and he’d like to point out that he is a Goat and therefore that’s a real possibility. Mixed with hay.
The Hellgoat really enjoys Oddfellows though. In fact, it plays out like a handbook on how to marry the mellow with the upbeat, the soft with the loud and the minimal with the complex. The album features longtime Patton cohort, Trevor Dunn on bass and his influence is felt in a major way, especially in the mellower parts of the album.
The whole record has a common vibe. Mix one part basic, minimal rhythms and one part rock riff, add a sprig of jazz influence, shake and repeat. What you get from that is one of the most accessible yet challenging records that Patton has released since the days of Faith No More. The 2012 record store day single, “Stone Letter” is probably as straightforward a rock song as he’s put out in years and “South Paw” has a bit of a punk vibe throughout the track with some of the unique lyrics that we’ve all come to love from him, such as: “You rub me so wrong / rub me so wrong / please keep your clothes on / keep your clothes on.” or “What’s that / the thing / on your lip / you’ve got / some shit / hanging off your lip.” On the opposite side, “Baby Let’s Play ____ ” is actually one of the few times that the group plays softly throughout, forcing focus on some lyrical wordplay. And if I found out later that “I.O.U.” was a non-auto-tuned remake of a Kanye West track from 808’s and Heartbreak, I wouldn’t be shocked.
There are only two things that the Hellgoat finds a little off putting on the record. “Rise Up Dirty Waters” is a tune that showcases Dunn’s upright bass and has a serious jazz vibe to it, that while really solid, kind of feels out of place with the rest of the album. And while the disc is around 40 minutes long, it feels like it’s moving much quicker than that and when it ends rather abruptly at the end of the two-minute-twelve-second track “Typhoon,” the album ends up feeling rather unfinished. I’m sure that’s intentional though.
The Hellgoat refuses to say it’s a “return to form” like he’s heard many times already about the record. Since most people liked the last record that doesn’t make much sense and even with Tomahawk being the most accessible thing Patton puts out these days, there just is no “form” to anything he does anyway. So it just needs to be evaluated on its own and that makes it a fantastic album.
(Yes, the Hellgoat realizes this isn’t a metal record but he feels that Mike Patton is sufficiently badass enough to warrant inclusion here. And if you don’t like it, remember he’s got burning saliva and he’s ready to spit. The Goat, not Patton.)
Somnolent Regurgitation of the Scrolls of Proselytism
(The Hellgoat wishes to convert you to the ways of the metal. But he prefers to let the press release and bio do most of the talking on these nefarious black circles.)
Album: Terminate, Ascending To Red Heavens
Release: February 18, 2013
Genre: Death Metal
Press: Consisting of veterans of the Chicago metal scene as well as the New York metal scene, the band has quickly made a name for itself, catching the attention of not only within their home city of Chicago, but also a core of underground fans across the world. Taking influences from death metal stalwarts Bolt Thrower and Autopsy, while maintaining a melodic sensibility akin to Swedish greats Dismember and Entombed is what defines the Terminate sound.
Hellgoat’s Take, 4/10: Woah, Swedish death metal from a US band. Shitty production make the drums so in your face that they drown everything else out, including all the power from the guitars and the monotone vocals.
Album: Heavatar, Opus I – All My Kingdoms
Release: February 22, 2013
Genre: Power Metal
Press: Heavatar is the new project from Van Canto Mastermind Stefan Schmidt, who exchanges the “A Cappella” sounds with loud guitars on All My Kingdoms. The debut offers modern Power Metal. Each song borrows – some more, some less – a motif from classical composers – ranging from Bach to Paganini and Beethoven. On All My Kingdoms, Stefan takes care of rhythm guitar and vocals, and is supported by drummer Jörg Michael (Ex-Stratovarious) amongst other musicians. The epic songs are filled with mighty choirs, which are performed by members of the [Blind Guardian] choir team and of course, Stefan’s friends in Van Canto. All My Kingdoms is a celebration for Power Metal fans, who love catchy refrains, epic choirs, classic tunes, heavy riffs and thundering double-bass. The debut will also take supports of different genres by storm – to the Metal!
Hellgoat’s Take, 7/10: Well, it’s a power metal record, that’s for sure. For someone as talented as Schmidt, the Hellgoat wishes this was better but power metal fans could do much worse even still.
Album: Mortillery, Origin of Extinction
Release: February 22, 2013
Press: Thrash Metal fans should fasten their seatbelt, as the universally praised debut Murder Death Kill was merely the beginning and just the calm before the storm. Without a single warning, all hell breaks loose on the new album Origin of Extinction and Mortillery leaves nothing but a path of destruction in their wake. Posers beware, because the band from Edmonton riffs through the new songs with a deadly precision. This is the powerful meeting point of aggression and melody! The drums give the songs a deadly groove by providing a hellish tempo. Vocalist Cara seems to have gargled with razor blades – rarely has one heard such brutal vocals! Origin of Extinction is the album that elevates Mortillery from the status of an insiders’ tip to the next league of Thrash Metal!
Hellgoat’s Take, 7.5/10: The Hellgoat hears such brutal vocals every day so these must only be called out because she’s you know, a girl. In fact, “No Way Out” duped him into thinking about one of his favorite groups, 3 Inches of Blood. But if the Goat is being honest, he likes the music way better than he likes the vocals. It’s a headbanger for sure but Murder Death Kill is the better record.
Album: Sannhet, Known Flood
Label: Sacrament Music
Release: February 19, 2013
Press: The Sacrament Music/Saint Vitus [bar] crew brought local outfit and close cohorts Sannhet on board, and have locked down the label’s maiden release. Founded in late 2010, the instrumental trio known as Sannhet has amassed a diehard audience within Brooklyn’s broad underground music circuit through their abundant live performances throughout the borough, always choreographed with electrifying visuals. Known Flood, Sannhet’s sprawling debut LP, features nearly forty-five minutes of their electrified post-metal, fueled with domineering riff-building movements and intense percussive hostility, unifying in a slightly blackened and trance-inducing atmospheric style,
Hellgoat’s Take, 8.5/10: The first track is called “Absecon Isle.” Absecon Island is in New Jersey. The record is called Known Flood. Hey, is this a track about Hurricane Irene which the Hellgoat was right in the center of? The Hellgoat’s getting emotional right now. This is some powerful shit right here. Thank Lucifer they don’t ruin it with vocals.