This Week In Badass:…In Which the Best Record of 2011 Arrives?
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.
I try to hold off reviewing an album until the week before it’s going to come out or the week of release for two reasons. The first is that I just have a ton of rock and metal records in my queue and it’s hard to get to them months before a release date and also because I like the review to be fresh as you guys are looking for them, but every now and then an album appears that I just feel I need to get out there. And that record would be the new Black Country Communion record simply titled 2 (badass’ness: 11/11)coming out June 13th.
The first BCC record came out late in 2010 and I didn’t bother with it until three weeks ago after my buddy pounded it into my head that I really would like this one. And like it I did, in fact Black Country (badass’ness: 9/11) is a fantastic album. But even with that being so good, their second album is so much better.
If you recognize the name but don’t know why, it’s Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherenian, a sweet lineup of musicians that are rocking out like they are 20-year-olds fresh on the scene. The first thing that I’ve noticed on both the albums is how great Hughes voice is. He sounds more alive than he has in years (“alive” being a key word since visually he looks to be made out of plastic these days). He’s got this growl in his vocals like a dude that realizes he part of something really special again. Then there’s Jason Bonham who does more session work than anything else it seems and rarely has created a new group where he can shine. The cool thing with Bonham is that he seems to be unlike most children of well known musical parents. He doesn’t seem to want to distance himself from dad’s shadow at all. Every time he creates a new project there’s something that’s totally Zeppelin-esque on it and Black Country Communion is no different. “I Can See Your Spirit” has a rockin’ blues feel with a riff out of the ’70s, but the brilliant “Save Me” is the one that could be a Zeppelin outtake. In fact, when you listen to this album in full, it wouldn’t shock me at all if this is what Zep would’ve sounded like had they done the reunion with the younger Bonham on the kit. The other thing that was very noticeable on the first record and with two or three songs on 2, is that there’s a huge Audioslave vibe to tracks. Multiple times I’ve said to myself that hearing this album with Chris Cornell singing would be fabulous. But hearing it with Glenn Hughes is fantastic as well, so it all works out.
Black Country Communion’s 2 is a fucking fantastic, rollicking good time rock ‘n roll record. My buddy that passed along the first record said his only complaint was that it dragged a little bit. There’s nothing dragging about 2. Every moment is sheer perfection. If you like rock music at all, you need to get this immediately when it arrives in stores. And here’s hoping these guys realize what they have and keep this group alive.
Despite some really good music coming out besides the Black Country Communion record, starting out with what I’m calling the best album of 2011 means that everything else is going to pale in comparison. But if you want something a little more on the metal side how about trying the new album from Acephalix, called Interminable Night (badass’ness: 9/11). Southern Lord is releasing 2000 CD’s of this monster this Tuesday, so grab it while you can. Acephalix features members of Depressor and Vastum who create a blistering combo of death metal and crust punk. The group began a couple years ago as more of a crust act and eventually morphed into something Entombed fans would certainly enjoy. Strangely enough for having that buzzsaw guitar sound, they are a US based band out of San Francisco, so hopefully stateside audiences will be able to pick up on their sound as they tour. Interminable Night is fierce from start to finish, even if that finish is only 25 minutes after the start. This seven track “full length” runs by in no time thanks to the super aggressive nature of the music. So my only complaint is that I would love more and that’s a good complaint to hear if you’re a band. Check out the title track here (download).
Even though it got pushed back to June 21st, I’ve been listening to the new Atomic Bitchwax CD endlessly for the past week so I just had to talk about it now. The Local Fuzz (badass’ness: 11/11) is pure heaven in musical form and rivals BCC for top billing. It’s so good that it puts all other stoner bands to shame. On paper it sounds like it could be pretentious – one track, 42 minutes long. Rarely does a track this long not have one down moment but by the time this album is over you can’t help but want another 42 minutes. The fact that it’s an instrumental album means the music needs to stand on its own and from start to finish it’s an overwhelming success. I didn’t count, but the band claims it’s over “50 riffs back to back” which even seems on the low end to me. But of 50 riffs, 50 of them are awesome. The riffage mixes downtuned stoner rock with ’70s influenced psychedelic passages with each one flowing into the other flawlessly. This trio has been around a long time and have consistently created good stoner rock but they’ve really outdone themselves with this one though, so much so that I’m really unsure how they could even move on from such a masterpiece.
9-minute clip of “The Local Fuzz”
Sage (badass’ness: 9/11) is the new album from Across Tundrasthat just came out this past Tuesday on Neurot recordings. The album is actually kind of refreshing. Everything I’ve been listening to lately is about death, gore, evil, hatred etc…but Across Tundras talk about adventures and travelling the west. “Hijo de Desierto” repeats the phrase “the cool clear water” over and over again – something a little different from the disemboweling I’ve been getting lately from my metal albums. The record is mostly stoner rock but has a bit of Americana and blues in it as well. “Buried Arrows” features a female voice here and there and actually goes off into a bit of country twang in multiple areas. Make no mistake though, it’s still a pretty heavy record but it’s more like the soundtrack to a horseback ride in the desert than anything else. The slight Americana vibe is really what makes it stand out as not the typical stoner metal record. Even the longer tracks at the end of the album, like the 12-minute “Mean Season Movin’ On,” have enough energy to them to not drag, which is the flaw of many otherwise good stoner discs.
There’s no 12-minute songs on the new Weekend Nachos album, Worthless (badass’ness: 9/11). In a fight for stupidest band name ever, they would have to be on the list someplace but they also might be on the list for most unique. Deconstructed, there’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Together however, is a different story. The album is filled with metal polar opposites. Something between hardcore and grindcore mixed with slow, lumbering doom metal. And this is done within the confines of tracks that are almost always two minutes or less. In the span of :40 the group can take you from bashing people’s skulls in to slowly rocking back and forth. And with longer tracks like the four-and-a-half minute title song they can fire an ear bleeding wall of feedback at you before shaking your bowels with downtuned sludge. “Jock Powerviolence” and “The Fine Art of Bullshit” highlight a disc that really shows off all sides of Weekend Nachos pretty well.
Song: “Jock Powerviolence”