Archive for the ‘1990s’ Category

1990s Revival: Spineshank – Strictly Diesel (c1998)

09 Oct

New band Spineshank are proteges of one Mr Dino Cazares (Fear Factory). They play a style that melds most of the popular, current heavy styles into one convenient package.Their sound reminds me a lot of Sepultura in terms of phrasing  and also their general guitar/bass sound. The way they enter their choruses also reminds me of the Seps boys.

From track one until track 14, this band show as much diversity as  a band who have had much more time to grow and mature as artists much older. Yet, these guys look no older than me (about 21), not to mention the live reviews these fellows have been receiving with have been very positive to say the least. If recommendations mean anything to you, then one from Feature Factory and Coal Chamber much have some credibility! Dino from FF and Dez from Coal Chamber both lay claim to supporting these lads and when you listen to this disc, you see why. Roadrunner would be proud of this signing.

Overall, the sound is modern and phat, thick and pounding. There are attempts at industrial crossover in terms of a few rhythm loops here and there, but it isn’t really convincing. I’d be surprised if they used them live – let’s say that. All you hard music fans out there have probably heard of this by now, but if you haven’t heard Strictly Diesel yet, get your arse down to your local and get it before you miss out. It’s hot stuff.


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.



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.



1990s Revival: Talk Show – Selt Titled (c1997)

30 Aug

Talk Show is the new band featuring three of the four members of Stone Temple Pilots, along with Ten Inch Men singer David Coutts. As you’d expect, with this much talent on board this disc was always going to be an absolute ripper and it doesn’t disappoint.

Talk how sounds and feels STP, but don’t be shocked by that because Dean DeLeo openly admits that “being the music of the ‘Pilots basically means what we write is what you get”. With Coutts fronting the band both with vocals and guitar, the album is Stone Temple Pilots through and through but with a new vocalist that reminds me strongly of Robert Plant – a fact that rubs off on the whole CD.

Songs such as Ring Twice, Hello Hello, Wash Me Down and Morning Girl all classify themselves for commercial success as do many of the other eight tracks on offer here. But for me, the highlight is definitely Peeling an Orange with its clever play on words and environmental implications thrown in for good measure. Oh, and of course, a really cool melody.

So, if you’re an STP fan or just want to hear some good, solid pop-core tunes that totally rock, then give Talk Show a listen. I personally guarantee that you’ll like it.

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.


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.


(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.)

1990s Revival: Monster Magnet – Powertrip (c.1998)

12 Aug

They’re back! Monster Magnet return with Powertrip: a jagged yet polished, rough but shiny new album ready to rip you apart with its cool retro/heavy/rock! A mouth full perhaps; but it’s pretty accurate.

Firstly, I have to comment on the artwork, which is bloody fantastic. Glossy, bright and perfectly executed artwork full of what Monster Magnet stand for: sex, drugs and rock n roll; with lots of semi-naked women, too! I’ve never been a massive fan of the ‘Magnet, but I have always liked them and Powertrip is definitely better than the last. I strongly recommend you buy this one if you’re making your first step into Monster Magnet territory – even you metal heads, dance freaks and anyone else who listens to good music (or otherwise).

Dave Wyndorf’s voice is fantastic throughout the album and it really sets the band apart from many other crap substitutes that clog the musical arteries of the world. If psychedelic rock is on your agenda – or even if it isn’t – you’re gonna love Powertrip. Don’t forget to stay up on Friday and Saturday nights to see if you can see the Space Lord video clip on Rage, complete with Ginger Fish from Marilyn Manson‘s band.


(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.)

Loving the '90s Revival

05 Mar

My most formative years occured during the 1990s. There’s almost nothing about them that I don’t look back on fondly.

The music was awesome (I’m listening to Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger right now), I was either in high school, playing in bands, partying hard or at the beach and I still had that residual sense of indestructibility – that feeling that there was so much more ahead and that the end was too far off to even fathom.

While one has to wonder how many more defunct bands could possibly come out of the woodwork and reform, it’s been nice to see bands like Faith No More, Alice in Chains, Cold, and even the return of Dave Ellefson to the Megadeth camp eventuate. If we’re really lucky, it looks like John Bush will make a permanent return to Anthrax as well. On top of all that, we’ve been treated to ‘classic’ ’90s TV, like Heartbreak High each night on ABC3 and daily repeats of Seinfeld, Frasier and a stack of others.

Even the dreaded fashion industry has tried to inject the odd bit of ’90s fashion into recent lines.

But wasn’t it just the other day that we were experiencing and loving the 1990s? It only feels like a moment ago for me… most of the time. Sometimes it feels like three lifetimes ago.

In some ways it is kind of sad that we’re going to soon reach the point where music from the ’90s starts appearing in classic rock magazines and finding itself broadcast onto radio and music video channels for the middle aged, like those ‘retro’ ’80s programmes. That will surely make me feel old. But if you ask me, there hasn’t been anything as earth shaking as the ’90s since. Sure, we had the end of the nu-metal period in the early 2000s, but that was a flash in the pan against such movements as the birth of alternative, the tail end of thrash and the grunge period that was big enough to wipe out hair metal and shred.

Oh what a monumental movement was grunge. It took the world by surprise and grabbed the youth of the planet by the scruff of its new flannel shirt and gave it an almighty shake. It spoke to the kids of every culture in a way that the grandiose nature of rock never could. It’s constituents spoke of fucked up childhoods, broken homes and life’s misadventures in a way that reverberated with teens everywhere – and they listened.

You can’t tell me that new wave did that for anyone, or nu-metal after. Arena rock was too busy singing about getting laid and sinking beers or snorting coke off of hooker’s arses to be relevant to the massive fan base that was the 13 to 30 year olds. It was an inevitable revolution of culture that has lad lasting effects. It was the modern iteration of the blues for a younger audience that spoke of hardship, depression and being trodden on by ‘the man’.

I fucking miss those days. They were fun, exciting and will stay with me forever.

Sadly, it wouldn’t matter an iota if the rock world turned around tomorrow and decided to orchestrate a renaissance of the ’90s. It’s done. It happened. It can’t be replicated. Just like so many attempts at reviving the ’80s have failed to capture that feeling and spirit, only to flood the market place with ugly sunglasses and flouro t-shirts; no one can replicate the experience of the 1990s.

As much as I’d love to jump aboard a time machine and relive them, I can’t. Anyone who tries is simply embarking upon a foolhardy endeavour bound for failure or trying to cash in on the nostalgia fad that has engulfed the scene over the last 5-7 years.

It doesn’t mean I’m not out there digging up all my old ’90s CDs and reminiscing! Ahh, warm, golden memories of times gone by.