Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

August-September Review 2011

Beginning now, Jerry Magoo will begin our annual August Review. Throughout these months, when the art world grinds to a halt and few new shows are opened, we will take the opportunity to reflect on the most memorable posts. These items will be labeled with “ASR:” in the title, which will help distinguish them from new posts by William Wheaton. A trickle of new posts will continue to be published as well, but at an aptly lower frequency.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Midnight: Satanic Royalty

Review: William Wheaton

This is the new single Satanic Royalty by Midnight. Midnight is a metal band from Ohio that sound very much like 80’s metal, specifically the very beginnings of black metal as it grew out of N.W.O.B.H.M. (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) sound. Metal fans will have guessed it immediately, they sound a lot like the band Venom. Hey that’s not too bad- to sound like Venom. They’ve been putting out music since 2003 but only this November will they have their first full-length album released.
Goth and metal are starting to be at very much the same impasse these days. A good band is able to pass off as an eighties band. My friend Sean McBride’s band Xeno & Oaklander is a goth band that has that problem- they can re-create 80’s art student type music from Europe but they can’t seem to create the new moment. Another band I saw this week hanging out with my friend Kevin Shea called Le Sphinxx is a New York goth band that sounds a little more distinctive. And then for metal I’ve already written about the band Children of Technology who have picked the excellent Voivod to sound like, but they haven’t seem to be able to create something truly new yet. We’ll see with all those bands what happens. I don’t know, maybe Le Sphinxx, Xeno & Oaklander, Midnight, and Children of Technology should all get together and switch up members or something like that. I don’t know. Maybe that would be the new moment. I doubt it will ever happen though. I think the impasse may unfortunately be permanent.
All is relative, though, considering there is a new Strokes album. That to me is a deeper impasse, an impasse deep within the functions of the human organism. It’s hard to create something truly new.
Well, if you don’t care about that so much, you’re fine with a newer band that sounds much like Venom, crank it up!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Children of Technology: It’s Time to Face the Doomsday

Review by William Wheaton

This album actually came out last year, but Children of Technology are currently on- tour in Europe still promoting it, so it is still a viably current topic. When I was living in Las Vegas last fall, this guy was hanging out with my neighbors had on a t-shirt I misidentified as a Voivod t-shirt and was corrected that it was actually a t-shirt for the more recent but strongly Voivod-influenced Children of Technology from Italy. Indeed, Children of Technology are very similar to the early years of Voivod, except that they incorporate female vocals. That’s something the original Voivod line up never did. Then again, a very similar band of the same era, Celtic Frost, did incorporate female vocals.

In general I like the early years of extreme metal in the 80’s, the beginnings of black metal/thrash metal/death metal whatever you want to call it back then. Children of Technology’s lyrical fixation with life after nuclear war is straight out of early Voivod. Children of Technology even have a song called “Nuclear Armed Dogs”. Children of Technology The 80’s was a glorious time when metal bands were grabbing aspects of punk and in the case of Celtic Frost from goth and re-incorporating into structures as intricate as they were aggressive. It’s not that bands of this period were flawless Voivod ended up breaking their streak by putting out the Angel Rat album that out of nowhere sounded somewhat like Rush which alienated their hard metal fan base. Celtic Frost did almost the same thing with an album called Cold Lake when they seemingly tried to adapt themselves to LA hair metal. However, in looking back to the early years of bands like Voivod and Celtic Frost, Children of Technology really picked the right albums to be into. Reading any of the interviews with Children of Technology is a pleasure because they have an encyclopedic knowledge of 80’s metal and punk bands.
The question that all that leaves is “what can Children of Technology do to take that music forward?” They’ve only existed for three years, so they might be able to come up with something. If they don’t, they can remain purists to the early extreme metal of Celtic Frost, Voivod and so on from the 1980’s. If that ends up being how it plays out that would still be better then a whole lot of bands.
I guess it’s worth noting that Children of Technology’s music is released by the on-line metal store that put out the absolutely essential Metalhit Free Download Series in late 2010-early 2011. Those little free Mp3 collections are the best musical release I’ve heard in the last few years, unless you count the unofficial release of Phillip Garrido’s music on YouTube. Children of Technology didn’t make the cut for the Metalhit Free Download Series, but they make it onto the Metalhit store. That band Goatpenis they just had me review on here is also on Metalhit. I don ‘t know if they did or ever will, but those little free sampler Mp3 albums that Metalhit put out should have changed music forever. However, from what I’ve heard, Metalhit seems to have really put their best foot forward with those. That’s a very good gauge of how good of a band Children of Technology are- they’re good enough to be carried by the Metalhit store, but didn’t make the cut for the best of type collection-about the same quality as Goatpenis.
As I’m thinking of it, if I had to put together a list of best albums ever made I think that Voivod album War and Pain probably would be right up damn close to number one. A couple of the Metalhit Free Download Series albums would probably up pretty high.