Category: M

31 Days Of Halloween Albums – Day 27

So, here we are at day 27 of 31. Today I’m going to recommend my favorite Misfits’ album, or is it a compilation? Well, who the hell cares because over the years it has surpassed Earth A.D. as not only my favorite Misfits’ record but also as the best Punk album of all time. If you want to know the backstory you can read the extremely confusing, convoluted history elsewhere. Sure, most of it is probably incorrect but hey, at least you’ll have an idea, yeah?

Misfits: Legacy Of Brutality (1985)

PC077908_1024x1024

I’ve offered my piece on each of the only important Misfits albums on this list so to avoid redundancy I’ll do this one in bullet points with my final thoughts at the end. Jerry Springer is still relevant in 2018, isn’t he?

  • Danzig recorded over raw demos so his vocals are much more pronounced but also more refined with a wider range of octaves not entirely reliant on barbaric shouts and grunts.
  • This is a list comprised of my favorite Halloween albums and this album has a song called Halloween. I’m a simpleton, not a barbarian.
  • Clean, clear guitars with a pronounced emphasis on Only’s bass.
  • The brilliant inverse that are the riffs used on the two opening tracks Static Age and TV Casualty, respectively.
  • Legacy Of Brutality is groovy with a heavier reliance on competent songwriting than it’s predecessors. The songs live and breathe as a result.
  • American Nightmare is a perfect orgy of Tarantino violence and Elvis swagger.

Legacy Of Brutality is an album that could not have existed if it were created in a studio with a hateful cast of characters plagued with the interpersonal issues of this group. There are plenty of interviews with current and past members of the band that dictate how important Glenn Danzig was as a participant but mostly, the leader.

To be frank, Misfits have become a trashy, identifiable novelty at cheesy mall shops for years. What’s impressive is how people who actually enjoy real music can still hold them in such high regard. Yes, I just suggested that I’m awesome but hey, so is Glenn Danzig. Sure, I might sound like a Danzig “fanboy” but he went on to create awesome music without the likes of that band without ever using it as a means for success.

In conclusion, listen to early Danzig Misfits then listen to Misfits without Danzig and judge it for yourself. I’ve tried to enjoy the “newer” stuff and all I can hear are a bunch of apes grinding out the same three chords while shouting trash into a microphone. To say that the band became a joke would be generous. I’ve witnessed people wearing their shirts and backpacks and sneakers and socks and tattoos and bracelets and nipple studs AND jackets loud for years. Only a fraction of them know who the band was or what they mean to people like me. “Elitist hipster fanboy” am I.


31 Days Of Halloween Albums – Day 15

Misfits: Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood (1983)

114721991

The biggest difference between Misfits’ inaugural album Walk Among Us and Earth A.D is the sheer, unbridled aggression. Jerry Only and Doyle’s bass and guitar, respectively bridge almost every gap between songs with feedback noise and Danzig’s vocals are absolutely unhinged and overly aggressive to the point where only certain words seem comprehensible. In a lot of ways it makes the choral chants and playfulness of Walk Among Us seem juvenile by comparison. Robo’s drumming is equally as ferocious and faster than ever, or would ever be again. This might just be the quintessential Misfits’ album.

The title track and Queen Wasp open this album right up with a bombastic one-two punch but things only escalate with the furiously frantic Devilock. At a short run-time of 14 minutes there really isn’t a moment for the listener to grab a breather. This is a prime example of extreme hardcore Punk at it’s finest. It gives bands like Black Flag a run for their money and was a truly revolutionary album in 1983 that remains unsurpassed to this day.

This is a very brief look back at a short but brilliant album. For years it was my favorite Misfits’ and Punk album in general only to be later edged out by another recently. There really is no better band to listen to during the month of Halloween. Misfits are the embodiment of this season. Fun, exciting and entertaining and with albums this short, what do ya got to lose? So, once again sing it with me!
“Neeeooowwwwwwyareallygonnalikeitheeeeee”


31 Days Of Halloween Albums – Day 9

This might be considered a bit of a lazy cop-out but Mayhem’s first official LP is always in high rotation this time of year but I’ve already written my full thoughts on it. After many sleepless nights and laborious consideration I came to the conclusion that I should simply copy and paste my previous post while also adding a link to the original piece. It was a tough decision but I think I did the right thing. Or is it the “write thing?”

Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

mayhem 1

The death of Dead (not something you get to put in writing every day) was a crucial event that lead to Mayhem’s tortured masterpiece: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
Those with sick, interested minds can research the entire story but here I’ve decided to view this album on it’s merits rather than discuss the parties involved.

If it weren’t for the sickly disturbing history of this band, Attilla may not have joined Mayhem as their singer and without his tortured vocals this album just wouldn’t be the same. Yes, I’ve heard the Dead demos. They aren’t as twisted, demented and tortured as Atilla’s takes.
There is something dangerously disgusting about these vocal deliveries. They are ingenious and avoid every vocal convention ever heard. One moment he is snarling directly into the microphone; the next he is barking and seemingly choking himself into a harmonious chorus that never comes to fruition.
It is unique, brilliant and incomparable to any other vocal performances.

“Fuuuuuuuneeeeerrrraaaaaaaaaaaalllllllll FAUGH!”

Oh, but that’s not all!
The other instruments are just as captivating.
Have you ever attended the resurrection of the anti christ surrounded by the ashen embers of a recently incinerated church?
Well, now you can experience that same satanic feeling from the comfort of your own couch through the magic of Mayhem!
“Euronymous” plays his guitar with such furious rage and atmospheric emotion that it is impossible not to give him credit.
I say that because he was a gigantic heap of garbage of a human being and it is a constant struggle to remind myself to separate the man from the music when admiring this album.

Every single song on this record is authentically cold and moody.
The riffs might be simple but they are sophisticated and brilliant.
It isn’t rare that a band loses something with the absence of a guitar player but, in Mayhem’s case there was no replacing this man.

Speaking of walking piles of trash; Varg Vikernes performs bass on this monstrosity and, well it might be my second favourite element of this album.
The bass follows the drums exceptionally well and the fuzzy production allows it to register extremely well in the mix.
When Varg isn’t linked together with Jan (the drummer) he is adding intense rhythms of his own with precise, groovy riffs and unworldly atmospheric swells.
The low-end production is an anomaly; The bass sounds congested and muted when you aren’t paying close attention but once it is noticed it seems to be all you can hear.
That might not make much sense but just have a listen for yourself.
Pagan Fears and Freezing Moon are prime examples of Varg’s eerily unique playing on this record.

Last but not least we have “Hellhammer’s” colossal drumming.
As mentioned with Atilla’s vocals, this entire record is a sum of all of its respective parts and without the frantic blasting of the percussion it would have been a much different experience.
Yes, that might be something one could say about any album but I liken it to eliminating a core member of any of the most heralded musical groups.
The guitar riffs and song structures might be simple in technicality but the varying degrees of speed and conceptualism are well orchestrated and performed.
It takes a very synched drummer to follow along with the tempo changes.
It takes someone even better to contribute to them and make them their own.

The bottom line is that this is a must-have album for any fan of heavy, emotionally driven music.
It is the quintessential “black metal” album in a world obsessed with genres and descriptive terms.
No, the members aren’t people to admire and no, you shouldn’t burn down churches OR try and summon the dark lord to do your bidding.
If you can put your feelings about these idiots aside and enjoy their music on its own merits; this is a must-have record for your collection.
It is emotional, original and vicious and proves that you don’t need to record your music under a mossy boulder with a 4-track beneath a pile of soot to sound effectively dark.
You might have to commit homicide and defile a few corpses for inspiration though.

Original post: Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)


31 Days Of Halloween Albums – Day 1

To celebrate the great Autumn weather and the magically ghoulish month that is October I thought I’d break free from my normal routine and take this time to countdown my personal favorite Halloween albums. So without further ado and in no particular order, here are some of the greatest records that get me in the mood for the best holiday of the year.

Misfits: Walk Among Us (1982)

misfits walk among us

Let’s all go to a violent world with saucer ships and whatever-the-hell THAT thing is!

Oh the Danzig era of the Misfits and how it shaped my youth. Honestly, my love for black and white horror films and B-movies and the Misfits was probably unhealthy back when I was a kid. Though, I just watched the original version of The Fly the other night so I suppose some things never change. My love for this band is in my DNA. The films they derived their entire image and musical influences from came first for me but the Misfits made me feel like I wasn’t on an island with my unhealthy obsession of cheap monster designs and grainy effects. Misfits are the horror genre personified and it is still as shlocky and delicious as a bite-sized Snickers bar.

At the time bands like The Ramones and the Sex Pistols didn’t grab me. Yes, I’m aware that it is punk-rock sacrilege to have never been a fan of the former but there was something about the simple riffs and hokey shouting of choruses that made it all sound too reminiscent of early pop outfits. Sure, I can appreciate the intelligence behind the music now but at the time I needed filthy grit to appeal to my angst-filled brain. Thrash and Death Metal were my answers to the horribly oppressive world of being forced to go to school and do chores. It wasn’t until the early ’90s that my love for all things classic Horror were reinvigorated and validated with the likes of the first Misfits album.

To this day I don’t think a Halloween has gone by that I haven’t listened to the first few Misfits records in their entirety. Without Danzig belting out the lead vocals they have never been able to recapture the raw energy that is present on those releases. Walk Among Us was a given for the first album to introduce this list. At less than a 25 minute run-time it is a tiny investment that anyone even the least bit curious should make. Every song is absolutely phenomenal with the only exception being the live version of Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight simply because it audibly sounds inconsistent and out of place, even though the song itself is great. Skulls, Devil’s Whorehouse and Braineaters are my personal favorites but trust me, when this album is over you will immediately restart from 20 Eyes and listen to every single song again. Now sing it with me: “OHHHHHHHHHHH………OHHHHHHHHHHH…….OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH….AY AY AY AY”


Charles Mingus : Mingus Ah Um (1959)

Essential: Absolutely necessary; extremely important.

MINGUS 1

COLORFUL COLORS!

Mingus’ Blues and Roots was a huge changing point musically. It is also an album I’ve already taken a look at here so I won’t spend much time on it. Structurally, Ah Um is very similar to the aforementioned album. This isn’t a surprise considering how closely the two were released. What is shocking is just how much more brilliant of a whole Ah Um is to Blues and Roots. The latter being no slouch and still one of the best in the genre, this record is an entirely different beast.

Better Git It In Your Soul opens things up ferociously and spectacularly here. Things are firing on all cylinders straight out of the gate which makes Blues and Roots seem like the warmup lap in retrospect. I fail to think of a better opening song to introduce any album in music. It bounces in a jovial manner all around the listener like an overstimulated kid at a carnival. The shouts and instrumental changes are as vibrant as ever but things are just that much more tighter than previous outings to be noticeable.

MINGUS 2

Not a bad pressing in the slightest

Obviously, the main driving force across the entire album is Mingus’ bopping bass. In the past he has had the tendency to overplay his hand which isn’t unusual for bandleaders of the era. It is his name on the marquee and on the record sleeves after all. Still, it is nice to hear him take a few steps back and allow the band to take the lead more often than usual on studio albums. On the more upbeat tracks such as Boogie Stop Shuffle the brass takes the lead and it works well to add variety. Actually, everything here is paced well throughout with some of the best sequencing I’ve heard on any album ever.

Mingus Ah Um, as a whole is a must-have for anyone with even a passing interest in music. It is for anyone in any mood. The songs are so vastly varied from one another and brilliantly composed that it is impossible to turn off once the needle has been dropped. For a tasty introduction give Goodbye Pork Pie Hat a listen, then follow it up with any other song. The differences are so instantly engaging but different that it is a surprise that they are on the same record. This could have been a very easy thing to mess up and make sound disjointed or fragmented like a lot of other albums of this era.

If you don’t own one of the many versions of Mingus Ah Um you are doing yourself a great disservice. The high scores and universal praises are justified, not that anyone else’s opinions should ever matter. At the time it was criminally overshadowed by all of the other big records but it is by far my personal favorite. Any day, any year, any mood.

MINGUS 3

Track List:

Better Git It In Your Soul
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Boogie Stop Shuffle
Self-Portrait In Three Colors
Open Letter To Duke
Bird Calls
Fables Of Faubus
Pussy Cat Dues
Jelly Roll


Henry Mancini: This Is … (1970)

Identifiable: Able to be recognized; distinguishable

mancini this 1

“Hmmm….which Oscar should I bring to the after party tonight?”

Here we are again, opting for another compilation album after scrutinizing the very idea so negatively in the past. So, here is where I come up with my second excuse in order to prevent contradicting my harsh words on John Lennon’s Shaved Fish collection. In the case of Mr. Mancini’s music, there is really no other way of collecting a substantial amount of his best compositions without resorting to a compilation album. Partly due to his enormous body of work but mostly because his most prolific pieces were spread across dozens of television shows and films owned by different studios and across a few eras in entertainment.

My introduction to Henry Mancini was from the Pink Panther films. The theme for the original film is iconic but it wasn’t until I heard A Shot In The Dark that I felt compelled to research some of his other compositions. I’m sure it was bias getting the best of me as that is my favourite in the movie franchise but after purchasing the soundtrack I was amazed at how many other scores he had wrote and composed.

mancini this 2

An interview for Sunday reading with your soup and sandwich before that drive through the country.

This is one of the best collections of Mancini’s film and television scores but don’t let that stop you from exploring his other works. The man wrote some of the most identifiable music in the world. Listening to any of his albums is as comforting as tomato soup with a grilled cheese on a lazy Sunday afternoon. This Is Henry Mancini is one of those rare cases where quantity surpasses quality. The audio could have been better produced but there are nothing but hits here. Couple that with this being an easy find in any bargain basement for less than a dollar and you have over an hour of nostalgic listening on your hands.

Would I spend over a dollar on this collection? Not a chance. However, that has everything to do with the mediocre quality present here and has nothing to do with the incredible selection of songs. Whether your preferences lie in the swanky, uptempo of the Peter Gunn theme of the swift and calming Days Of Wine And Roses, there are no duds here. This is a good gateway album for those wanting to explore more of Mancini’s work. I’d recommend Em Bossa Nova for someone looking for quality in production AND musicianship.

mancini this 3

Track List:

Peter Gunn
Days Of Wine And Roses
Lightly Latin
Midnight Cowboy
The Sweetheart Tree
The Pink Panther Theme
Love Theme From “Romeo And Juliet”
Dear Heart
Snowfall
The Brothers Go To Mother’s 
Baby Elephant Walks
Moon River
My Friend Andamo
Dreamsville
March Of The Cue Balls
Mr. Lucky
Misty
Robbin’s Nest
My One And Only Love
Softly, As I Leave You


Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots (1960)

Fiery: (of a person) having a passionate, quick-tempered nature.

BLUES ROOTS 1

The Legend. 

1959 was a prolific year for touchstone jazz albums.
Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck and Ornette Coleman all pushed out some of the most quintessential records ever created.
After many albums, Charles Mingus was urged to add more swing, energy and swagger to his compositions.
The resulting products are three of the best pieces of music to date.
Blues & Roots is the first.

From Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting to E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too, this album ebbs and flows from earthy blues to churchy soul.
Hearing Mingus shout, scat and beckon to his backing band throughout this piece is a huge highlight.
The energy in each song is unprecedented and everything feels to flow organically.
Mingus as a man was a fiery, emotionally-driven individual who has had many stories told of him.
I recommend reading the autobiography Beneath The Underdog to get an idea of how intense and troubled a man he was.
There are tons of anecdotes written about Mingus but we are here only to discuss his musical output.

I am an avid collector of all things Mingus because his music blends two of my favourite elements of music; technicality and improvisation.
Those may seem like conflicting terms so I’ll explain.
I’m a fan of long, intricate pieces of music not restrained by commercial appeal. No, I’m not a “hipster.” I don’t mind popular music if it is interesting. Flashy, rigid tightness isn’t my bag, though.
Blues & Roots contains well composed pieces of music by the man himself but feels loose, fiery and open enough that the improvisations are audible.

This album blends the well written sophistication of classical composers to the random, off-beat jerky patterns of another personal favourite of mine, Thelonious Monk.
The songs are catchy, accessible but just a bit whacky enough to stay interesting.
Some artists of this era are fit for background music while Mingus, the allegedly bold and pompous man that he was, keeps you locked in and forces you to pay attention.
There is a loose playfulness here that isn’t easy to recreate.

BLUES ROOTS 2

The first Mingus record on Atlantic.

While all of his contemporaries were writing instrumental albums inspired by the then popular Bebop scene, Mingus was finding a way to envelope both into a tight, engaging package.
It contains the grooves and pop sensibilities of hit music while retaining the freeform progressions of classical jazz.
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting is lead by Mingus’ bass accompanied by unconventional horns that leave the listener off-kilter. Things tighten up quick and start to really move as it gains momentum and shuffles through a variety of interesting stages.
Every track on this piece follows a similar template but they are all so widely varied that it is impossible to describe in words.
In Moanin’, each player separately performs blues lines before culminating  to one of the grandest sections in music.

This is an album that needs to be heard to fully appreciate.
It isn’t my favourite Charles Mingus album but it is an excellent entry point for interested individuals.
Every piece of music on Blues & Roots is a tense, well orchestrated affair.
My only criticism is the lack of another slower song or two.
There is so much fiery swagger going on here that it feels like a runaway freight train.
That is purely subjective though as I know that this is one of Mingus’ most well received accomplishments.
In my mind, only two of his albums surpass it and they are two of my favourite albums of all time, so THAT’S saying something.

*Try and find an original or early pressing of this vinyl as some of the represses tend to roll the bass in the mix. It makes for a sad reproduction as Mingus’ feats on the frets should have been done greater justice. If a well produced version is unobtainable or too expensive, I suggest going with a CD.
A lot of older jazz records have been marketed at premium price for low quality sound.
If we stop buying them blindly they will hopefully start taking some care in reproducing these classics.

Also, let’s be honest and admit that “My jelly roll soul” is one of the best songs ever written.
Okay?
Okay.

Period.

BLUES ROOTS 3

Track List:

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting
Cryin’ Blues
Moanin’
Tensions
My Jelly Roll Soul
E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too


Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

Vicious: Deliberately cruel or violent.

mayhem 1

“The Real Ghostbus……errrr….The True Mayhem!”

The death of Dead (not something you get to put in writing every day) was a crucial event that lead to Mayhem’s tortured masterpiece: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
Those with sick, interested minds can research the entire story but here I’ve decided to view this album on it’s merits rather than discuss the parties involved.

If it weren’t for the sickly disturbing history of this band, Attilla may not have joined Mayhem as their singer and without his tortured vocals this album just wouldn’t be the same. Yes, I’ve heard the Dead demos. They aren’t as twisted, demented and tortured as Atilla’s takes.
There is something dangerously disgusting about these vocal deliveries. They are ingenious and avoid every vocal convention ever heard. One moment he is snarling directly into the microphone; the next he is barking and seemingly choking himself into a harmonious chorus that never comes to fruition.
It is unique, brilliant and incomparable to any other vocal performances.

“Fuuuuuuuneeeeerrrraaaaaaaaaaaalllllllll FAUGH!”

Oh, but that’s not all!
The other instruments are just as captivating.
Have you ever attended the resurrection of the anti christ surrounded by the ashen embers of a recently incinerated church?
Well, now you can experience that same satanic feeling from the comfort of your own couch through the magic of Mayhem!
“Euronymous” plays his guitar with such furious rage and atmospheric emotion that it is impossible not to give him credit.
I say that because he was a gigantic heap of garbage of a human being and it is a constant struggle to remind myself to separate the man from the music when admiring this album.

mayhem 2

Bohemian Rhapsody?

Every single song on this record is authentically cold and moody.
The riffs might be simple but they are sophisticated and brilliant.
It isn’t rare that a band loses something with the absence of a guitar player but, in Mayhem’s case there was no replacing this man.

Speaking of walking piles of trash; Varg Vikernes performs bass on this monstrosity and, well it might be my second favourite element of this album.
The bass follows the drums exceptionally well and the fuzzy production allows it to register extremely well in the mix.
When Varg isn’t linked together with Jan (the drummer) he is adding intense rhythms of his own with precise, groovy riffs and unworldly atmospheric swells.
The low-end production is an anomaly; The bass sounds congested and muted when you aren’t paying close attention but once it is noticed it seems to be all you can hear.
That might not make much sense but just have a listen for yourself.
Pagan Fears and Freezing Moon are prime examples of Varg’s eerily unique playing on this record.

Last but not least we have “Hellhammer’s” colossal drumming.
As mentioned with Atilla’s vocals, this entire record is a sum of all of its respective parts and without the frantic blasting of the percussion it would have been a much different experience.
Yes, that might be something one could say about any album but I liken it to eliminating a core member of any of the most heralded musical groups.
The guitar riffs and song structures might be simple in technicality but the varying degrees of speed and conceptualism are well orchestrated and performed.
It takes a very synched drummer to follow along with the tempo changes.
It takes someone even better to contribute to them and make them their own.

The bottom line is that this is a must-have album for any fan of heavy, emotionally driven music.
It is the quintessential “black metal” album in a world obsessed with genres and descriptive terms.
No, the members aren’t people to admire and no, you shouldn’t burn down churches OR try and summon the dark lord to do your bidding.
If you can put your feelings about these idiots aside and enjoy their music on its own merits; this is a must-have record for your collection.
It is emotional, original and vicious and proves that you don’t need to record your music under a mossy boulder with a 4-track beneath a pile of soot to sound effectively dark.
You might have to commit homicide and defile a few corpses for inspiration though.

mayhem 3

Track List:

Funeral Fog
Freezing Moon
Cursed In Eternity
Pagan Fears
Life Eternal
From the Dark Past
Buried By Time And Dust
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas