CASSETTE ASSAULT – Speed it Up, Slow it Down!

Yes, you are correct, it's that time again.  Time to pull out the altar that is your tape deck, whatever its size, whatever its age, though we prefer original hardware.  In fact, you know what, you're out of the cult if you don't have a deck from the 1980s, so check it right now.  Good?  Then we move on.  One of our newest features in the past year has been this, our successful delving into all things cassette, with so much plastic it's basically a total assault of your hardcopy music delight.  Vinyl?  Yeah, sure, we dig it too, but there's nothing so sweet as that hiss, that sound of the reel stopping, that necessity in flipping sides, and for today we have a sampling of four different tapes of different genres and aesthetics.  Lick that casing, open it, and play, it's time for another CASSETTE ASSAULT.

Intercourse - S/T

This tape came in awhile ago, so apologies to theses noise crusters, because we were waiting for more cassettes to properly promote their tantalizing name.  Yes, we think of sex, all the time, especially when scribed with Victorian panache.  "My dear, our intercourse has been quite unseeded these past weeks."  Now, if such a conversation went down today, this would be the music to pull out to release all that tension.  Fill yourself with pure violence, close the door behind as you enter your martial chambers and adjust your top hat with a sinister half-grin as mother arches her head back, exposing all of that wonderful hair all over her body.  And you know what, best leave this on because of what shall transpire, drown out the sound so the children stay pure.  Intercourse have got modern punk right, they keep enough of the old format with added power, mixing just the right touch of noise to appeal to the hip of the world, so really they're like the peace treaty the punk underground needs to all come together again, and have sex or something.  For a first release this is a leap into the bed of greatness, and soon you can expect Intercourse to be appearing at a squat near you, and afterwards you'll have the most violent and filthy of sex to get all sticky so bizarre places burn when it dries.  Most of the tracks run under a minute, so note this plastic sex tape comes and go quickly, perhaps two quickly, almost at a two-pump chump kind of speed, yet their style makes up for most of the lack of distance.  Intercourse Official Facebook  Score: 4.3 / 5

Sea Witch - The Blackened Sea

Funeral doom.  A condemned niche genre, which is often abused so banal keyboarding can have a place in the world.  It drags onward, the synthetic organs moan, and you get kind of embarrassed you're listening to it, but at the same time you're so underground you just have to.  "What is this?" someone questions, and all there is to say is it's really, really slow.  This makes it most tedious, usually, unless played by skillful hands.  How about without it's drawn-out vocals?  Almost impossible.  And then there was Sea Witch, who don't necessarily consider themselves funeral doom but probably should because they fit the style.  When this wonderfully black, plastic evil came in the post we knew it could be nothing but a melancholic suicide trip on a dingy straight into a storm in the middle of winter, but since we don't live close enough to an oppressive body of water, we waited until the weather was cooler, put it in, and the entire world sank into nothingness in a world of dead dreams.  Everything about this is bleak, it's a persistently overcast sky, it makes flowers whither, it makes virgins defiled, and it makes children cry because they realize that yes, they will some day die.  Sea Witch is a two-piece from out of Nova Scotia, and man do they crush.  Christ.  Funeral doom can be incredibly powerful if one relies on the crush, but removal of vocals makes atmosphere a must, which is fully provided in The Blackened Sea.  From the macabre guitar lines, to the bass of sloth, to the opium addict drums, this one is proof the niche has occasional goodness.  They completely evoke their imagery of life as surrounded by the power of the oceans, with lurking beasts under the bow and thunder cracks afar.  It would be interesting, though, to see what they sound like with some lonely wails, maybe a groan here or there, just for effect, but for not having any vocals at all, they still manage to overwhelm like an afflicted storm.  Watch them, seriously.  Sea Witch Official Facebook  Score: 4.8 / 5

Strange Broue - Mystifying Oracle

Note to bands, if your choice of name is difficult to search, how about instead of coming up with some combo English/French spelling you just pick a different one?  That aside, the brew provided here is far from strange, in fact it's rather typical, that is if you like your doom IPA and crafted by some bearded dude in a warehouse down the street who talks about weed like you'd expect.  That's class these day, with fancy labels.  What Strange Broue manage to accomplish is a stoned sound that nods to the past until its neck snaps.  This one-man-smoker's music is practically a time capsule, primarily of the 1970s, with references to Jim Jones, Sabbath font, and a late Hammer-era cult obsession.  Further, we're not exactly sure what this is supposed to be titled, because it's S/T on Bandcamp, but called Mystifying Oracle according to Sunmask Records, who're putting out the vinyl this month.  Whatever it's really called, this particular cassette is essentially a compilation.  Some tracks are titled using the skill of doom metal punnery, like Electric Blizzard, and yes we're being sardonic.  In terms of sound, Mr. Brouemaster delivers the expected doom/stoner with class in delivery, just very little in creativity.  Let's make it clear, if you want to listen to practically every 70s worshiping metalhead on the planet, look to Bongripper, Bezlebong, Salem's Pot, or any other "let's make it clear we smoke weed dudes" band that, for some idiotic reason, likes weedplay.  But if you'd rather not, Strange Broue supplies all of that in a single release to get it all out of the way in a single go.  As such, it's a coy, collected listen that, if we smoked anything, would probably work rather well.  When not high, however, it's clear how derivative it is, because after a few tracks you swear you already heard that tune. Stoner through and through. Strange Broue Official Facebook  Score: 3.3 / 5

Utu - Maori Shores

This one is highly unusual, and the artwork gives absolutely no indication what you're in for, and even after listening it's unclear what you're in for.  Utu are incredibly obscure, they don't even have an entry on Encyclopaedia Metallum, avoid Facebook entirely, and their inspiration is a mystery.  The name itself comes from a concept in Maori culture, indigenous to New Zealand, which makes one wonder what Utu is about because they're actually from California, according to their Bandcamp page.  Musically, it's something like taking raw, underground black metal and sprinkling it with samples of the Maori people and quasi-folk themes using outdated keyboards.  Thus, it has a strange presence where, without the cultural references, could be taken as nearly any old black metal done up in a creepy AD&D "mom where's the chips and dips" basement, but with the aforementioned oddities it becomes almost a carnival show.  Folk traditions can be awesome, but only if used properly or with full feeling for their meaning, which Utu do not yet seem to grasp.  If you were to take old Darkthrone and cover it with some Maori references, it would sound something like this, no doubt.  In time Utu may develop a unique sound, but for what it is at the moment, though a tolerable listen, it's not much more than that.  Utu Official Bandcamp  Score: 3.1 / 5

 

Written by Stanley Stepanic