This Week in Badass is going to take a look at all the killer music that has reached my ears in current week, whether it be music that was just released or items coming out in the near future. You might even get some vintage badass to get you through your weekend as well. Music will be ranked on the badass’ness scale — which of course goes to 11, the only true way to measure if something kicks ass. So throw your horns up and get ready to headbang along. Bands are bolded the first time they are mentioned if you want to scroll through to see if there’s someone you like.
We’ll start this week with a really unique record, which is something you can expect of course once I say that it’s coming out on Ipecac records. Ipecac has always been one of my favorite labels. They put out a lot of stuff that is very tough to digest but Mike Patton’s vision for the label is something I can get behind. No matter how weird a group or album is, I just like the fact that he provides the outlet from some really avant-garde stuff to hit the media without label interference asking for a single. The album in question is the third in a land-sea-air trilogy from The Book of Knots. The group features Matthias Bossi (Skeleton Key; Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, Frank Black, Bob Mould) and Joel Hamilton (producer/engineer for BlakRoc, Pretty Lights) so with a lineup like that you can expect something a little different. Garden of Fainting Stars (badass’ness: 8/11) holds up to its “air” theme with a spacey atmospheric like vibe throughout the disc based on a narration of an astronaut getting ready to launch into space and what the future hold for him, only to eventually realize that it all comes crashing back down to earth eventually. You get the whole story via spoken narrations like “Drosophilia Melanogaster” and “Yeager’s Approach” while the bombastic otherworldly songs come from the loud, metallic “Microgravity” and the Mike Patton led explosion of “Planemo.” Album closer, “Obituary for the Future” is a grinding metallic track and has a distinct Bjork, “Army of Me” feel to it. Overall, it’s a pretty epic recording and a fantastically unique listen.
Argh! Pirate metal mateys! I happen to love me a good walk-the-plank type record now and again even if there are just way too many bands pretty much making the same music. So I’m always going to get a little excited when a new Alestorm record shows up in my queue. Back Through Time (badass’ness: 6/11) is another record of what they call “True Scottish Pirate Metal.” The thing about records like this these days is that to get that flute filled, swashbucklin’, sailing the seven seas type sound every song almost has to sound the same. The vibe throughout the record rarely changes. In small bits you stray from the power metal and move into a progressive sound, some symphonic moments or a thrash vibe but these moments are very slight and in turn I feel like I’ve listened to this when it was called Captain Morgan’s Revenge (badass’ness: 7/11) on their 2008 debut. I can’t complain too much as it’s certainly a fun sound that I tend to enjoy, it’s just that these pirate bands have pigeonholed themselves into a very specific mood to their music and if there’s nothing really fresh brought to the table it just sounds like every other pirate metal record out there. Even something with a badass name like “Death Throes of the Terrorsquid” can’t help me shake the been-there done-that feeling.
The next fucking disc is a motherfucking badass motherfucker. Listening to the new fucking Debauchery record is a fucking fucktastic good time. Why am I saying fuck so fucking much you might fucking ask your fucking self. Well, I’m just trying to get into the fucking mood for this fucking album where every third word is some fucking variation of the word fuck. Now that I have that out of my fucking system, let’s get down to motherfucking business. Germany’s Next Death Metal (badass’ness: 9/11) is a blast.
Let’s start out by being completely honest. As a death metal band, Debauchery never released an album worth listening to. 2009’s Rockers & War (badass’ness: 6/11) was the closest they came to being good, mixing death metal with some more rock oriented stuff but the album was still pretty medicore. So imagine my surprise when I liked their new one.
See, this is different though. It’s not a death metal album at all. The title of the album and most of its tracks are tongue-in-cheek (and if it’s not meant to be then I’m way off in my assessment of this record). Germany’s Next Death Metal instead is a mix of AC/DC type rock songs, groove metal, Annihilator-like riffs and death growls but nowhere near death metal.
Almost every riff on the record is badass in itself and with titles like “Zombie Blitzkrieg,” “Animal Holocaust,” “Bloodslaughter Onslaught” and “Warmachines at War” its impossible to take it seriously. I’ve had this record for weeks now and I keep going back to it because it’s just irresistible fun, right down to the spoken parts in random songs, like in “Warmachines” when out of the blue you get a clean spoken, “motherfuckin’ war” or in the lead track, “The Unbroken” which features a whole dialog that sounds right out of the mouth of the governator talking about murdering and mayhem (“bitch”). And to add to the humerous nature of this whole thing there’s a curse every ten seconds, or so it seems. I don’t have lyrics to the record and they are sung in a very heavy German accent, but in “School Shooter” I’m pretty sure the character in the song is not only the school shooter but a pig fucker and/or a dick sucker as well. Well, oh-fuckin’-kay. Give this one a chance even if you haven’t liked the group in the past. This isn’t the Debauchery you knew.
I did also promise you another Isis record this week as their second live album is re-released, this one Live II 3.19.03 (badass’ness 10/11) . Just like the first live record, this also includes “Carry,” “Weight” and “The Beginning of the End.” However, this one also includes the awesome set opener “From Sinking” as well as my favorite Isis tune, “Celestial (The Tower).” The latter is a 17-minute tour-de-force that ends this show with a ridiculous amount of energy and almost has to be the definitive version of the song. Since I like the earlier, harder Isis more than the atmospheric later version, I’m pretty sure this is going to be my favorite of the five live discs thanks to it rockin’ from start to finish.
“Celestial” (not the version on this disc, but a live version that gives you a good feel for it)