Monday, February 28, 2011

THE BEST OF METAL BLADE, Volume 2 (Metal Blade, 1987)

Just received my copy of The Best of Metal Blade, Volume 2, the vinyl edition from 1987. Which I ordered from Amazon last Wednesday and which I was expecting to arrive in much better shape. As the seller had listed it: Used - Very Good I was expecting barely noticeable wear but was shocked when I noticed how fucked up the jacket was. 

On the comments, the seller had noted that 'binding is frayed' which I do not recall reading when I made the purchase and which I must add, is an understatement. The binding is completely fucked up, sliced open and barely holds both sides together. The lettering in the spine is totally gone. Clearly, this is not the result of weathering but of an attack en masse of moths, termites or some other cardboard-loving parasite. When I opened the gatefold a sheet of dust covered it all. It was like one of those movies when the starring character discovers an ancient tome and blows on it just so that he can see what the title is. I am pretty sure this record has not been played in well over a decade.

The seller also added 'some slight wear on cover' which yeah, is quite accurate. What he failed to comment on was the state of the record sleeves. Both were ripped and yellow and in both instances the records were portruding at the bottom. The records play fine but both have light to heavy wear which the seller also failed to comment on. Oh well. These records and I go back in time and I guess I can't ask for gold when all I am paying is $17.

A couple of decades ago, my older brother was the proud owner of Volume 1, which included Celtic Frost, Bitch, Nasty Savage, Hirax, Pandemonium, Slayer, Omen, Fates Warning, Tyrant and several others and which was an absolute rarity in South America. As I kid I worshiped this compilation. Since my brother was much older and made good use of his dickish character  every chance he got I was not allowed to go anywhere near his vinyl collection. But I couldn't have given less of a fuck. Every time he'd go off to school or work I'd dive straight in, usually spinning Volume 1, or a few other personal favorites from his collection like Celtic Frost's Into the Pandemonium (which I now own after having stolen it from him sometime in the late 90's), Manilla Road's Open the Gates or Grim Reaper's Fear No Evil.

It was either in 1989 or in 1990 that a local record company issued a series of metal releases on cassette format. One of their releases was The Best of Metal Blade Volume 2. But in typical local fashion they managed to screw it up in every possible way. I bought the tape as soon as it hit the market. To say that it looked cheap would be to praise it. Instead of releasing two cassettes like the American version, only the first record was issued. If they had to pick one out of two for budgetary reasons it made sense, as the first record is where the most quality acts were; Slayer, Sodom, Slayer, Detente, Hirax, Hallow's Eve, as opposed to Sound Barrier, Krank, Cities, Exxplorer and Juggernaut.

But that wasn't it. The cassette had no info on it. There was only one panel with one side printed; the cover, which listed just a few of the bands and on the reverse we could find song titles but no band names. My favorite songs of this half compilation were Sodom's incredible "Deathlike Silence" and "Holy War", which I had no idea who played it. For the longest time I thought it was Tyrranicide but a few years ago I came to find out it was Detente. 

I am listening to the second record right now and with a few exceptions it ranks right above decent. The fourth half starts off with a horrendous live rendition of "Live and Let Die" by Lizzy Borden and that is a guilty pleasure I could have never envisioned had I not purchased this record. Even if it is in such a horrid state, it was $17 well-spent.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I still owe stoner / doom band Romero a review of their debut Solitaire. I suck for taking so long. The thing is, with 7 inches I have to get the necessary time in. To go through at least eight 7 inches at once takes longer than expected. So my apologies for sucking and for taking my sweet time.

Anyway, the band is hitting the road, so make time if they are coming anywhere near you:
Mar 11, 2011 - Winona, MN (US) @ CANSWER HAUS
Mar 12, 2011 - Fargo, ND (US) @ Red Raven Espresso Bar
Mar 13, 2011 - Rapid City, SD (US) @ Skullets
Mar 14, 2011 - Great Falls, MT (US) @ 406 Club
Mar 16, 2011 - Seattle, WA (US) @ The Funhouse
Mar 17, 2011 - Portland, OR (US) @ Plan B
Mar 18, 2011 - Portland, OR (US) @ The Know
Mar 19, 2011 - Boise, ID (US) @ The Shredder
Mar 20, 2011 - Salt Lake City, UT (US) @ Bar Deluxe
Mar 21, 2011 - Denver, CO (US) @ Rockaway Tavern
Mar 23, 2011 - Kansas City, MO (US) @ Harling's Upstairs Bar & Grill
Mar 25, 2011 - Milwaukee, WI (US) @ Ground Zero
Mar 26, 2011 - Green Bay, WI (US) @ The Crunchy Frog

Romero has issued their seven inch through the new label Grindcore Karaoke, which as far as I can tell is the baby of Jay Randall, vocalist for Massachusetts freakazoids Agoraphobic Nosebleed and who is also kind enough to offer all his releases as free downloads. These can all be found on their website right FUCKING here....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WARFARE NOISE I - Compilation (Cogumelo, 1986)

When I was a kid I knew this dude who was a total fucking dick. A real asshole. A total douche. I was best friends with his younger brother and he used to beat him up. I kind of hated him for that. But I also hated him because he was an asshole, a smart ass who used to pick on everyone who was smaller and younger than him.

When I was about eighteen years old I sold him a broken walkman. It was yellow and pretty small and he thought it looked pretty modern. That's why he wanted it. I thought it looked kind of girly. That was the second reason why I wanted to get rid of it. The first one being that it did not work very well. The following day he came to my house. He was pissed off because I had sold him a walkman that didn't work. He threatened to beat me up. He could have. Easily. He was about twice my size and used to lift weights in his backyard. He had filled a couple of buckets of paint with cement and had connected them with a metal rod. He would lay on his back and do bench presses with that.

I told him that I was not going to give him his money back and that he had probably broken it and was now trying to return it. The conversation cooled off quickly and concluded when this asshole walked back to his house with the walkman in hand. He was clenching it. I was a bit shaken. Never been much of a fighter but that day I realized that it takes an asshole to confront an asshole.

Anyway, I had to put up with this dick because he was the one who introduced me to Mayhem, Minotaur, Sarcofago and the whole Brasilian movement. He had connections who were into underground metal and on one occasion even showed up with a copy of Slayer fanzine. He talked about Mayhem with reverence. I loved their logo but had never heard their music. And we are talking late 80's, way before the whole Norwegian scene blew up. He used to dub tapes of his friends of pretty obscure bands. Imperator was his favorite. Minotaur was a close second. He was pretty good at drawing logos, which he would work on for hours in the spines of tapes. He learned silk screening and started putting logos in white T shirts. 

One day he showed up with a tenth generation copy of Warfare Noise. He had taped over one of his mother's bolero tapes in his shitty boombox. The quality of the sound was beyond disastrous. You could barely distinguish between songs, but to him, it all sounded fantastic. I kind of admired his blind resilience in the face of bad sound. 

Dickboy does not listen to metal anymore. He is one of those people who outgrew metal and considers it childish. Back then, I could not listen to this compilation and take it seriously. Nowadays, I love it. I now possess this blind resilience in the face of bad sound.


MUTILATION RITES - Tour Dates + New Release

Brooklyn-based black metallers *MUTILATION RITES have been furiously busy doing the devil's work since 2009, criss-crossing the USA (and Mexico!) bringing total aural devastation unto all who fall under their spell. They have just announced the beginning of yet another mammoth American tour, one that hits nearly every corner of the country and sees them sharing stages with the likes of Batillus, Hull, The Body, Weekend Nachos, Valdur, Necrite, Woe, and many other underground dwellers. The band will be appearing at this year's edition of SXSW as well as the Oakland Black/Death Fest, and are kicking things off with a hometown show with Eyehategod, Magrudergrind, and Misery Index tomorrow night (February 18th, 2011).
After a few lineup changes, MUTILATION RITES has solidified into their deadliest incarnation yet. Their sound draws from the poisoned wells of blackthrash, doom, and crust punk, as well as referencing the ravishing grimness and ice-cold tremolo picking of the mid-90's Scandinavian masters; the result is ugly, hateful, and distorted, just as a New York black metal band should be. The band features current and former members of Tombs, Disassociate, Curandera, Rabia, and Heuristic.
MUTILATION RITES are also gearing up to release three brand-new songs on cassette (courtesy of Poison Infiltration) as well as a split with Brooklyn bros BATILLUS on Shinebox later this year. The songs were recorded with Kevin Bernsten (of TRIAC) at Developing Nations in Baltimore, and will rip your fucking face off.
Friday, February 18 @ Club Europa ,Brooklyn, NY EYEHATEGOD, Misery Index, Magrudergrind, Strong Intention
Friday, February 18 @ The Charleston, Brooklyn, NY EYEHATEGOD after party with Woe
Wednesday, February 23 @ Helter Skelter, Pittsburgh, PA My Left Uterus, Free Clinic, Eric Ciora
Thursday, February 24 @ The Leathershop, Lima, OH
Friday, February 25 @ Crown Liquors, Chicago, IL Black September, Welkin Dust, Pilgrim
Saturday, February 26 @ The Monkey Bar, Milwaukee, WI w/ The Antiprism, Architects of the Aftermath, Subjugation, Embitterment
Sunday, February 27 @ The Rathole, Minneapolis, MN w/ Taboo
Monday, February 28 @ Nick and Eddies, Minneapolis, MN w/ Taboo
Tuesday, March 1 @ BFG House, Appleton, WI
Wednesday, March 2 @ Lothlorien’s, Madison,WI
Thursday, March 3 @ The Replay Lounge, Lawrence, KS w/ Mansion, and Melting Point of Bronze
Friday, March 4 @ Live Music Institute, Topeka, KS (matinee)
Friday, March 4 @ Detto’s Barn, Liberty. MO w/ Boreas, Sucked Dry, Weekend Dad, Bait Fish
Saturday, March 5 @ Blast-o-Mat, Denver, CO w/ Weaponizer, No Thought, Expurgate
Sunday, March 6 @ Salt Lake City Recording Services, Salt Lake City, UT w/ Doomed to Extinction, All Systems Fail, Moon of Delirium
Monday, March 7 @ Liquid, Boise, ID
Tuesday, March 8 @ Plan B, Portland, Oregon w/ Winter In The Blood, Heathen Shrine, and Grim Ritual
Wednesday, March 9 @ Charleston Music Venue, Bremerton, WA
Thursday, March 10 @ The Morgue, Seattle, WA
Friday, March 11 @ Black Forest, Eugene OR w/ Boogie Monster
Saturday, March 12 @ Oakland Black/Death Fest, Oakland, CA w/ Valdur, Necrite, Chronaexus, Pale Chalice, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis
Sunday, March 13 @ The Knockout, San Francisco, CA w/ Population Reductions
Monday, March 14 @ The Mountain Bar, Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, March 15 @ Eleven, San Diego, CA
Wednesday, March 16 @ TBA, Phoenix, AZ
Friday, March 18 @ Triple Crown Tattoo Shop, Austin, TX W Hull, Batillus, Pack of Wolves, Lions of Tsavo (starts at 1 pm)
Saturday, March 19 @ The Phoenix Project, Dallas TX
Sunday, March 20 @ TBA, Houston TX
Monday, March 21 @ Siberia, New Orleanes, LA w/ The Body, Hull, Batillus
Tuesday March 22 @ The Archive Gallery, Atlanta GA w/ Vimur, Weekend Nachos, Death in the Dirt, In Ruins
Wednesday March 23 @ The Pony Pen, Savannah GA
Thursday March 24 @ Slim’s Downtown Distillery, Raleigh, North Carolina w/ Man Will Destroy Himself
Friday March 25 @ TBA, Richmond VA
Saturday March 26 @ TBA, Baltimore, MD
Sunday March 27 @ TBA, Philly, PA
Monday March 28 @ Lit Lounge, New York City, NY

STIFFS, INC. Nix Nought Nothing (Onion, 1995)

I wanted to post a download link to Nix Nought Nothing but I was unable to find one. I am sure there are links floating around somewhere, I am just not in the mood to spend twenty-five minutes searching for one. 

When I first started Deaf Sparrow it was my mission to dig up bands that I had loved in the past. Stiffs, Inc. was one of my first assignments. If I remember correctly, somewhere around 1995 I read a review of this album in Rip Magazine. Then I went to a The Wall music store located somewhere in Philadelphia and bought a copy of it.

At first listen, I hated it. At second listen, I thought it was just as unbearable and annoying. But I kept my copy which I dusted off when I moved to Missouri to attend undergrad school. Little by little, I kept on going back to Nix Nought Nothing until I realized I was forever sold on its Buzzcocks' like exuberance.

I know Stiffs, Inc. have a small cult following because I have been contacted several times regarding the Oral History piece on the band I posted here.  I never intended this piece to be so long. At the start I just wanted to do a brief interview with one of the members of the band regarding the album. To my surprise, guitarist Paul Boering and the rest of the band were very eager to work on a comprehensive interview which ended up taking about two weeks to edit.

Anyway, I was just watching the show Oddities on the Discovery Channel when a familiar character showed up at the store with the intent of selling some sort of pump. The face and the attire got my attention. When the host of the store Obscura mentioned that his name was Whitey and that he was a regular at the store I realized that it was Whitey Sterling, the eloquent vocalist of Stiffs, Inc.

I love Nix Nought Nothing. I really do. It is brattish and youthful. It is upbeat and humorous. It brings back great memories and I wish, I could find a download link. If you are a fan of 70's punk I urge you to get it. You can find used copies for next to nothing online.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Creating unique moonshine-soaked organic rock in the hills of Tennessee, ACROSS TUNDRAS seamlessly meld classic rock, folk, country, psychedelia, and doom into an original, organic style of rock that defies classification and bleeds true Americana. In true nomadic style ACROSS TUNDRAS have previously set-up camp on multiple labels including Crucial Blast and Forgotten Empire, have now found a home with Neurot Recordings.

Stated Neurot/Neurosis' Steve Von Till on the signing: "It is with great honor that Neurot Recordings welcomes Across Tundras to our home. Their past releases have shown immense dedication to spirit and commitment to growth and sonic evolution. Those are traits that we admire and look for when declaring kinship among those also on the quest for emotional release through sound."

ACROSS TUNDRAS' Tanner Olson this week also made a statement on their induction into Neurot's family: "The opportunity to stand alongside such a talented and driven group of artists and musicians is something we have been working along time for. Neurot Recordings releases the most inspired and original music out there, and its a huge compliment that they see us as kindred musical spirits. Eternal gratitude to the Neurot family for believing in us and giving a proper home to our nomadic sounds."

Here is a band that definitely deserves our attention. I have spent many afternoons listening to Western Sky Ride, an album that is 80% awesome. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PENTAGRAM - Last Rites Album Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. – February 14, 2011 – PENTAGRAM, the band that has been churning out widely admired hard rock/doom metal for over four decades, has just revealed the track listing and artwork to the band's highly anticipated full-length album Last Rites. Last Rites, out on April 12th via Metal Blade Records, contains 11 new tracks of behemoth tunes that fans have been clamoring for since the last Liebling/Griffin masterpiece was released in 1994 (Be Forewarned).

Last Rites track listing:
1. Treat Me Right
2. Call the Man
3. Into the Ground
4. 8
5. Everything's Turning to Night
6. Windmills and Chimes
7. American Dream
8. Walk in Blue Light
9. Horseman
10. Death in 1st Person
11. Nothing Left

Cover art for Last Rites was handled by Mo Moussa ( who is best known for his work with Marvel & DC Comics. Mo Moussa's other credentials include New Line Cinema, Nickelodeon as well as the four major TV networks. A Philly native and a huge fan of underground music, his work also graces the covers of several of his favorite local bands including Total Fucking Destruction.

That is one of the worst covers ever. Hopefully the contents of the album won't be as cliched.

GRAVEYARD Awesome Artwork for New Album

Psychedelic doom rock band GRAVEYARD from Gothenburg, Sweden have unveiled the artwork for their second full-length studio release, Hisingen Blues.  The album was produced, recorded, and mixed in 100% analog by Don Alsterberg (JOSÉ GONZALES, JUNIP, SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, THE INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY) at Don Pierre Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will be out in Europe on March 25 and in North America on
April 19th.

The band shares details about the album artist, Ulf Lundén:

"We wanted a cover that wasn't your average rock/metal cover, and our friend Ulf Lundén was just the right guy to do it. We had seen his work for his own band, Bombus, and we knew he had a wild imagination. So we just let him loose. He put us up against the green screen, took his photos and that was that. A couple of weeks later, he showed us what he had done. We were astonished by his work, a perfectionist indeed. We got what we asked for, a cover that isn't average. Rich with details, swamp/jungle feeling, weirdness and a lurking evil feel to it."

Ain't that a beauty? Saw these guys live opening for Clutch. Unfortunately to get to Clutch I had to sit through a whole show of The Sword. Graveyard kicked it though. Wonderful mellow stoner tunes. Good vibes all around. Looking forward to this one.

RAZOR Announce First Montreal Show inYears

Canada's RAZOR are announcing their first show in Montreal in over five years at Foufounes Electriques on Friday April 29th,2011. Playing only a few shows a year they are also set to headline the 2011 'True Thrash Festival' in Osaka, Japan on February 11 and the show in Montreal will be one the only shows they play in North America all year.The show will also include support from Riotor as well as FTME an S.O.D. cover band. Tickets are available for purchase online at and instore tickets will be available on February 18th, details for in store locations can be found at

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Los Angeles black metal heathens, LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH, are preparing to level the masses on a month-long U.S. tour supporting Czech Republic-by-way-of-Chicago death metal legends Master. The band will join the tour on March 4 in Brooklyn, New York and march through 30 cities throughout the country before winding down on April 3 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The band will be joined by Ohio thrashers Mobile Deathcamp on select dates.

Commented vocalist Autarch of the journey: "This is a pilgrimage reaching many places in our own country we have yet to poison with our gospel. We shall bring them the great gnosis of kaos, death and ecstasy. We will teach them to strangle the mundane with intestines of the apathetic."

LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH will be touring in support of The Extra Dimensional Wound, their second full-length, released via Metal Blade Records last year. The record, which Stereogum commended for being 'brutal, icy hot, super heavy, [and] full of lurching grooves, was released on vinyl in December via Canonical Hours Records and is available as a deluxe gatefold LP featuring two 200-gram discs with a 12-page booklet and expanded artwork in a limited edition of 500 copies.

w/ Master, Mobile Deathcamp
3/04/2011 Europa - Brooklyn, NY w/ Strong Intention
3/05/2011 Diablo - Buffalo, NY w/ Strong Intention
3/05/2011 Montage Music Hall - Rochester, NY (late show) w/ Strong Intention
3/06/2011 Popeye's - Peekskill, NY w/ Strong Intention

Mobile Deathcamp Joins Tour
3/07/2011 Now That's Class - Cleveland, OH
3/08/2011 The Summit - Columbus, OH
3/09/2011 Macs - Lansing, MI
3/10/2011 Vollrath Tavern - Indianapolis, IN
3/11/2011 Reggie's - Chicago, IL
3/12/2011 Fubar - St Louis, MO

Master/Lightning Swords Of Death Only
3/13/2011 The Bourbon Theater - Lincoln, NE
3/14/2011 The Marquis - Denver, CO
3/15/2011 Club Vegas - Ogden, UT
3/16/2011 El Corazon - Seattle, WA
3/17/2011 Branx - Portland, OR
3/18/2011 Thee Parkside - San Francisco, CA
3/19/2011 The Metaphor - Escondido, CA
3/20/2011 The Blvd. - Hollywood, CA
3/21/2011 Ub's - Mesa, AZ
3/22/2011 Launchpad - Albuquerque, NM
3/23/2011 Emo's - Austin, TX

Master/Lightning Swords Of Death/Mobile Deathcamp
3/24/2011 The Rail Club - Ft Worth, TX
3/25/2011 007 Rock Bar - San Antonio, TX
3/26/2011 Walter's - Houston, TX
3/27/2011 Rouge - Fayetteville, AR
3/28/2011 The Muse - Nashville, TN
3/29/2011 Hideaway - Johnson City, TN
3/30/2011 Volume 11 - Raleigh, NC
3/31/2011 Tremont Music - Charlotte, NC
4/01/2011 Club 306 - Roanoke, VA
4/02/2011 Mojo 13 - Wilmington, DE
4/03/2011 31 Street Pub - Pittsburgh, PA

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

GARY MOORE - Dead at 58

As a metal fan I was always a fan of guitarists. As a fan of guitarists I was really into virtuosos until I found out I could get much more joy out of masturbating myself instead of seeing other people masturbate. As a teenager, after hearing Still Got the Blues on South American radio, Gary Moore became my favorite guitarist. Here was a guitar hero who for once service the music instead of himself.

My admiration for the Irish blues man grew larger once I got into Thin Lizzy and realized Mr. Moore had been part of the greatest Irish band to have ever existed. 

After 1992's After Hours, Moore's popularity waned in the new world and I Iost sight of his work. More recently I have written badly about his early work with his band Skid Row. You can find the post here.

Just a couple of hours ago I was moved after I learned Gary Moore died in Spain on February 6th. As of February 8th, his Wikipedia page rules a heart attack as cause of death while early reports that appeared in Britain's Sun tabloid mentioned, 'choked to death on his own vomit after a night of hard drinking', which prompted outrage from the musician's fans. Whatever the cause of death, it is a tragedy that a great soulful musician has been robbed from us at such a relatively young age.

Thanks for the music Gary Moore.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Couldn't Sleep Last Night - DOGTOOTH

Couldn't sleep last night indeed. So I ended up watching the Greek movie Dogtooth. Twice.  It was about 3:30 a.m. when the movie finished and by then I had been shaken so hard I was unable to get any sleep until the following night. 

I am not an Academy Awards historian but I bet this has got to be the most disturbing movie to ever be nominated for a Best Foreign Film Award. Admirable if we consider that the gathering of old farts who pick this and that for this ceremony have us used to Driving Miss Daisy type of fare. A pervert must have squirmed his way through their puritanical ranks.

The word 'weird' does not begin to describe the extremes Dogtooth reaches. And one needs not be shown any grotesque images to realize that Dogtooth is going to be a unique and shocking cinematic experience. As the movie opens, the father is driving a woman to his house to fulfill his son's sexual desire. Once there, communication is minimal and the sex is quite explicit. Judging by the son's expressions we could deduce that pleasure is the last thing he gets from sex. But he is a boy and his father at least understands his urges. The daughters are then left to discover sex on their own and so they do, with each other.

For a good while it is hard to get a grasp of what Dogtooth is all about. The language the protagonists use is rudimentary and the acting is minimal. And when I say minimal I mean there is rarely any acting, as each sentence is delivered with the grace of a sack of flour and the phisicality the actors display is non-existent, maybe because our physical movements are to a degree learned from interaction and these greeks have been deprived of the outside world. Regardless, I guess you have got to have some acting chops if what you are going to do in front of a camera is give somebody a handjob or get your head bashed in with a VHS tape. By the way, both of those scenes are pretty cool.

Once one is in the loop and those distinctive dry notes Dogtooth strikes about every second stop distracting us from what is really happening it is obvious that director Giorgios Lanthimos has created a whole separate world, one in which the patriarch is an absolute dictator and his family has become an aberration, they have been minimized to play peons in this world of his. The world outside does not exist to them. And the promise of escape, says the father, will only come true when their canines (hence Dogtooth) appear.

If you are going to watch Dogtooth I suggest you prepare for incest. Explicit incest. And also prepare for violence. The physical violence this movie shows is hard to watch but is not as intense as the emotional violence this movie unleashes. In the most memorable scene we can observe what to them (the characters have no names) equals a fun night out. 'Out' meaning the living room. 'Fun' meaning the son playing guitar and the daughters dancing like a couple of epileptics whose last bit of memory is a scene of Flashdance. If their parents are in delight of the show, they sure are good at concealing it. As we understand it, this may be fun for them, but for the moviegoer it is pure fucking torture.

Somebody called Dogtooth an 'erotic horror film'. I disagree. The sex shown here is far from erotic. But the horror is all too real.