Sunday, September 30, 2007

VA – Let’s Die (LP 1985)

If it’s deathrock you want, it’s deathrock you’ll get with this gruesomely attractive compilation from cult label Mystic Records fittingly titled Let’s Die. Now if you’re from the mindset that there’s a single mold from which all deathrock springs you might find yourself a bit lost trekking through these nineteen tracks. For that matter, even though most of these bands hail from the same SoCal region that spawned original deathrockers Christian Death - which is the sole band I measure anything tagged “deathrock” against, nothing here sounds much like Christian Death at all. That said… what shall one expect from this fairly obscure, lesser-known collection of cheerless rock songs? Well, really there’s quite a bit to discover - from goth to glam, hardcore to metal, punk to postpunk… it’s a great listen for anyone who likes to dabble in a mishmash of musical styles, all the while maintaining that certain sense of darkness that’s come to be one of the main identifiable characteristics of all things "deathrock." Let's Die is a lost cult classic!

Standout tracks include: “Inside” by False Confession - heavy goth rock with dark cascading organ, menacing guitar, and vocals reminiscent of Peter Murphy; “Hellhouse” by A.W.O.L – punishing, metallic gloom punk similar to some of DI’s output; “Let’s Die” by Patrick Mata – dreary, yet funky, postpunk pow wow; “Darkest Dream” by Party Doll – melodic female-fronted goth punk, like Leningrad Sandwich flirting with Super Heroines; “Kill the Dead” by Slaughterhouse 5 – loud bass-thumping trashy horror punk; “Hives” by Burning Image – like the DEVO of deathrock, essential; “Bad Brains” by The Drab – sizzling slow-mo gloom punk. Track to avoid: “Day of the Jackal” by The Stain – reminds me of NWOBHM… and I like NWOBHM, but this is just painful.

VA – Let’s Die (LP 1985)

  1. False Confession - Inside
  2. Subterfuge - The Noose
  3. A.W.O.L. – Hellhouse
  4. Patrick Mata - Let's Die
  5. Thieves Cross - Slaughter Hotel
  6. Party Doll - Darkest Dream
  7. The White Pigs - When Bobby Comes Back from the Grave
  8. The Mess - Innocent Me
  9. Ill Repute - In the Night
  10. Slaughterhouse 5 - Kill the Dead
  11. Burning Image – Hives
  12. The Drab - Bad Brains
  13. Silver Chalice – Suicide
  14. Samson's Army - The Edge
  15. The Stain - Day of the Jackal
  16. Flower Leperds – Necrology

DOT #17

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

FUNERAL - Self-titled (12" EP 1981)

If you’re a collector of oldschool West Coast punk, chances are that this band is somewhere on your ever-growing wantlist. And if you enjoy high-energy, all-American punk, but have yet to hear of them, you might want to take note... Funeral are a legendary punk band from Long Beach, California featuring future/former members of the Rik L Rik band, Weirdos, and Tex and the Horseheads. The band was active during the early eighties, and, with two EPs under their belt, could be considered an integral piece of the jigsaw puzzle that has since been tagged “So Cal punk”. Members included Mike Martt - guitar/vocals (Tex and the Horseheads), Matt Dorsett - guitar, John Neff - bass, and David Thum (aka Rick Vodka, Tex and the Horseheads) - drums. Their style might be best described as straight ahead punk ‘n’ roll, with earlier material having a gritty hardcore tone, and later material maintaining a more traditional approach with just a bit of a punk pop tilt.

In 1981 the band released two recordings, the first being a 3-song 7-inch EP often called Waiting For The Bomb Blast (named after the single’s A-side), followed by a 5-song self-titled 12-inch EP. Out of the two recordings available, their second, which is where the band truly demonstrate a sound all their own, is wholeheartedly my favorite. Injected with a humble dose of working-class oomph, songs like “Ant Trap”, “Will To Live” and “Bloody Hands” convincingly embody the fighting spirit of punk all the while serving up a tasty helping of apple-pie virtues. Mike’s raspy, soulful voice does a powerful job in delivering line after line in short clean blasts; and the band’s playing is spot-on with great leads, sturdy melodies, and lots of sing-a-long choruses. It's a recipe that could rouse some serious fist pumping action from the timidest of listeners. But let me warn now, there’s one track that stands out from all the rest… and its aim is to extinguish your life. “Darkness On Your Doorstep” is a doom punk gem. Yeah, that’s right… DOOM PUNK. There’s simply no other way to put it! Uber creepy and crawly, it's slow, crushing pace and deathly lyrics could easily give Sabbath, the godfathers of all things doom, a run for their sweet green money. Sure is a pity the band didn’t explore this direction a little further... however, this one track alone is reason enough to investigate all things Funeral. Enjoy!

FUNERAL - Self-titled (12" EP 1980)

  1. Ant Trap
  2. Will To Live
  3. Outer Edge
  4. Darkness On Your Doorstep
  5. Bloody Hands

DOT #16

FYI... Bomp Records have since released a collection of Funeral tunes, including both the aforementioned releases as well as live and unreleased studio material… you can get that here.