The season sets the mood and the music – this seems to be more and more accurate in my case. Although it has been rainy as ever here in Finland, the occasional festivals and other happenings have injected rock and roll into my veins. So the trio for July is about booze, sweat and pumping energy, more or less.
SATAN’S SATYRS: Wild Beyond Belief! (Trash King 2012)
This has been an interesting ride: a promising demo, then a kick-ass EP and now a full attack into your ears. Mastermind Claythanas knows how to rock and rot, and his unholy garage trinity of Electric Wizard, Venom and Black Flag is oozing dangerous charm. The groove is there, and although SS isn’t getting trophies for the tightest playing here, this motor of mayhem is rolling just fine. And those hazy organs humming in Bellydancer’s Delight and Satan’s Satyrs – insanely genious! Wild Beyond Belief! is like a random alcoholic maniac making noise in your basement (also sound-wise!) in the middle of night. But in this case you don’t call the police but open a bottle of whisky and start banging your head.
This is how Claythanas described the common factor between different influences in Satan’s Satyrs back in beginning of 2011 (taken from my interview for Imperiumi.net):
– I think that “common factor” that I like to find in music is that fucking primal power. Music that gets you into a mood, into a groove. Just listen to Damaged and then Dopethrone. Both extremely nasty records, both fucking crushing. But both come at it from different angles. And those similarities and differences are very exciting and inspirational.
GEWAPEND BETON: Big Dumb Kids (Dirty Faces 2011)
Nothing can beat a good aggressive live gig. This was the case when I witnessed Dutch Gewapend Beton at Puntalarock Festival in the end of July. Full-pressure violence in the form of fast punk rock, these young dudes really took it to the limit and beyond. But being just faceless mass of noise, the songs had their own catchy vibe and the guitar work by Oeds Beydals (also in The Devil’s Blood, by the way) shredded things to pieces. Zeke meets Motörhead meets Turbonegro? It’s easy to be a victim of namedropping in GB’s case, but that’s how it goes when you play punk rock – although I could replace all those bands by saying that this band is simply good. Of course they can’t reach that same energy level on the album but that doesn’t make Big Dumb Kids a bad release. So hunt down the full-length but more important, see this band live if you have a chance!
TESTAMENT: Dark Roots of Earth (Nuclear Blast 2012)
From thrash metal’s Big Four I only adore Anthrax and Slayer. I never got over Dave Mustaine’s voice and character, and when I was a teenager, somehow I forced myself to choose between Metallica and Iron Maiden – and it was up the Irons. But there was one band which made its way to my personal thrash metal elite, and it was Testament. Low (1994) was the first actual CD I bought and I still love that fierce slab of modern thrash metal. Of course this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t drool over their earlier releases: the first three albums are perfect combinations of melody and aggression, and the music video of Electric Crown (from The Ritual, 1992) has been tattooed on my mind. Demonic (1997) was a bit letdown, but The Gathering (1999) brought back that good ol’ Testament – and you can’t forget the tight re-works on First Strike Still Deadly (2001) too! So many good memories…
Now Eric, Chuck and the rest of these nice fellows are back again, and Dark Roots of Earth has everything I could wish for: brutal thrashings in the vein of The Gathering, groovy and melodic songs, some darker shades, old school speed, and even a thrash ballad (Cold Embrace) which reminds me of Low’s über sentimental Trail of Tears. This band knows how to age with style and even picks some new elements on the way. Of course you wake up here and there “Have I heard this before?” in your mind, but Testament has enough experience, guts and great riffs (and two great guitar players, Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick) to plug the mouths of naysayers. Thrash the Dead, Mosh the Head!