Posts Tagged ‘1990s revival’

1990s Revival: Avail – Over the James (c1998)


03 Oct

For all who saw Richmond, Virginia’s Avail play with Lagwagon earlier this year, you’ll know they can rock the house down. And now, here is their new album: much heavier than their last effort but still in keeping with the great vocal harmonies and melodies that filled the last disc.

14 phenomenal tracks are what’s on offer here and it has become obvious that the metal head drummer has had his evil way with the rest of the band, as their style has just gone through the roof as far as heaviness is concerned. But don’t get me wrong, this is a very good thing. No-one will be disappointed with this CD at all; there is just nothing bad to comment on and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.

From the song names, lyrics and the interview I did with the guys before, the issues put forward are all local to them and you can tell this by the amount of emotion put into each performance. It just shows really well that if you write about something that directly affects you, it will sound that much more natural and powerful. It worked for these guys tenfold.

I’m sure any one of the 380 people at the Pitt on January 9 will either have already bought Over the James or are going to buy it, aren’t you!? No really, this album is the perfect example of how to write and record the perfect CD. Congratulations guys.

3.5/5

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1990s Revival: Junkie XL – Saturday Teenage Kick (c1997)


06 Sep

Now this is different. A techno disc featuring rap vocals and guitar loops recorded by one of the music industry’s heaviest weights: Dino Cazares from Fear Factory! Yes, that is correct, it is actually different enough to become part of my collection; and I’m a metal head!

I believe a lot of the Triple J-listening community would have heard the first track off this, their debut album: ‘Underachievers’. From my point of view this is the catchiest and least disjointed of all the tracks on the disc; some which border on the self-indulgent. This is a shame, because at times you end up thinking to yourself, ‘if only he had have…’, or ‘only it were more…’. Anyhow, it is still an unusual and new sound, and I like it.

The artwork must have taken an age to create because it is so intricate, involving different backgrounds and images and all this stuff that looks so cool – it’s fantastic. Obviously the computer generated tuned had a big influence on the artwork, too. Cool, I am a big fan of computer assisted design. One thing that  was also different was the length of the tracks. Often with techno you’re wading through tracks that seem to go on forever, but Junkie XL has been able to keep the songs down to the typical three to four minute, radio-friendly limit with only a few tunes running long.

If you don’t already have this, then get it. Hey, even I have a copy and I’m supposed to hate techno. But I don’t really; that’s just the common perception.

3.5/5

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1990s Revival: Zimmer’s Hole – Bound By Fire (c1997)


17 Aug

Forget extreme sports; this is extreme FUN! Zimmer’s Hole is one of the side projects of Strapping Young Lad. No, Devin isn’t directly involved; it was the other guy’s project and the band member’s names read like this: El Smooche – Lorde of Electric Winde; Banglsey Starnipples – Lorde of Strobe Lighting; Sickie Moochmaster – Lorde of Greased Thunder and Dr Heathen Hooch – Lorde of Ass-Fire.

Now, if you can’t tell that this is going to be fun from the names of the band members, why not try some of the track names: Pork Rind Toes, Two-Headed Anal Baby, Hell Comes to Breakfast, This is Metal and Gospel Sodomy Boy on Blow! Funny enough for ya? Now, one warning, the music depicted on this disc ranges from heavy rock to death metal, with the more extreme styles being the main theme. So, it isn’t for the squeamish. Another thing that sets this apart from other satirical metal recordings is that all the musicians involved can actually play: the singer has an incredible range, the drummer is super fast and the guitars and bass never miss a note. Add to that the fact that Bound By Fire is well produced and this is simply miles apart from anything vaguely like it.

4/5
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1990s Revival: Secret Chiefs 3 – Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws: Hurqalya (c1998)


15 Aug

Secret Chiefs 3 (SC3) are in a category all of their own as far as comparisons go. You couldn’t even compare them to Mr Bungle; which is kind of strange because the main man in SC3 – Trey Spruance – is in fact the guitarist/keyboardist with the legendary freaks themselves… Mr Bungle, that is.

Anyway, I guess if I had to go to extremes I would say that SC3 are the same as Mr Bungle in the sense that the song structures can often end up just as chaotic, but that is about it. here you have distorted, demented surf songs, classic eastern-cum-western songs and downright stupidly fantastic aural noisescapes. Wow, that was a mouthful!

Even though I am a huge Bungle fan, I would have to say that my favourite track on Second Grand… is the opening number, ‘The Rose Garden of Mystery’ because it was the most coherent. The artwork is whacky. Just imagine Bungle’s Disco Volante and add more colour. What you’re left with is SC3! Wonderful.

If you’re asking yourself, who the hell is this Trey Spruance guy anyway, or for that matter ‘Who is Mr Bungle’, then the answer is as such: Spruance actually played the guitar parts on Faith No More‘s King for a Day album, but left saying that he wasn’t going to be able to handle the touring commitments. So, then you get the connection between Trey and FNM and in turn, Mr Bungle (whose ranks include FNM’s Mike Patton). Talk about six degrees of separation!

If whacky music is what’s on your agenda, then SC3 and their album Second Grand Constitution and By Laws: Hurqalya is for you. Get it now.

3/5

(NOTE: These reviews were originally published in 27twelve: a ‘zine originating in Newcastle Australia in the late 1990s. They’re being published onto the internet now more as a matter of record and whimsical self interest than for any other reason and should be considered as such. Check out the ’1990s’ category of the blog in the coming months for many more 1990s CD and live reviews.)