Saturday, June 13, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: Twist Ending "Musica di Morte" 2014 Demo (2015)+Steve-O Dobbins, A Prophile of Putrescence

Ok, so right off the slab, let's get one thing straight, Twist Ending's 2014 demo was released in January 2015, so it's a 2015 release. Right, got it?

Moving on, this post is also to be a celebration of Steve-O Dobbins and his many projects, as he has been a huge influence on me musically and I can't get enough of his various projects. Perhaps I should say "creations" with the appropriate implication of some sort of hideous monster.

Firstly, let's review Twist Ending's demo, which also features Vanessa Nocera and Gregg Metzger. Cassette edition limited to 150 copies, also available as a digital download from the label's (No Visible Scars) bandcamp.

A celebration of Italian Horror films, this release is replete with samples; it takes nearly 2 minutes for the first song to actually start! Stevo's vocals are sufficiently demented, however he keeps his range limited to the middle (no super-high Crypt Keeper shrieks, no super low belches). Tormentula relies on basically one riff to carry the song forward, it's mid-paced and has one foot in 80's Heavy Metal, one in early 80's Punk Rock, and one other limb (of your choice) in the grave. Shadow in the Gallery has a much punkier, D-beat sound/style and is my favorite on the demo. It reeks of Impetigo albeit without the grind bits 'n' grits, though it does have faster parts. These are mostly tremolo-picked versions of the main riff it begins on. Evil Iris, Summoner of Misery also relies on one riff, but makes good use of the bass guitar to drag the cadaverous riff out into sunlight while it is backed by the guitar. Music of Death is a collection of samples with no Rock/Metal present. There is an underlying vibe of NWOBHM that plays with slightly faster Doom Metal on these songs as well, comparable to Witchfinder General or Angel Witch. I think this is mostly in the guitar production and repetition of riffs, with a 'twist' of it on the riffs themselves. Overall, an exciting demo! I'm eager to hear more from this group.

Stevo's pre-Impetigo band, Sgt. Rock, recently enjoyed a re-release of their 1987 demo on the same label, along with 2 rehearsals from the same year. All this on  a single cassette, limited to 150 copies! The tracks are also available as a digital download from No Visible Scar's bandcamp

This was my first introduction to Sgt. Rock, and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Early versions of My Lai and Revenge of the Scabby Man, here called My Friend Lost His Face can be heard, before their respective putrefaction in Impetigo. The quality is actually quite good all throughout, including on the rehearsals. Normally, rehearsal recordings are limited in their entertainment and replay value, but the high quality and hilarious inter-/intra-song banter make this quite fun. I felt like I was just hanging out in the corner, listening to my friends practice. There's some SOD covers (with many false starts, you'll see) and a cover of the Misfits' We Are 138.

Get your skin care kit ready, because now it's time to talk about that impish act of arcane ill-repute, Impetigo! From the moment I put on "Ultimo Mondo Cannibale" I was hooked, right through the chest! The use of a prolonged Horror movie sample into slow, guttural gurgles, followed by the brilliant disasterpiece that is Dis-Organ-Ized, opened my eyes to the possibilities of Death Metal. I had been heavily focused on the NY and FL scenes at this point, so to hear something this catchy, punky, over-the-top, and gritty was a life-changer. Impetigo's unique sound has seldom been copied and never reproduced. I could extol the effluence of grue and grime for pages unending, but Impetigo's cadaverous blend of horrific humor and pulp gore is best experienced for oneself. As a personal aside, Dear Uncle Creepy has been a rallying call for me to combat the forces of weak horror across all entertainment formats.

Now to extol the effluence of eulogies present in Church of Misery's catalog. Not to be confused with the band of the same name from Japan, USA's Church of Misery, whilst also still doomy, brings the speed to the funeral level. Sounding like a mix between Skepticism and St. Vitus (played at the wrong speed), this Steve-O project brings me down every time! Effective use of keyboards and agonizing guitar riffs draped in deathly distortion drag this album through the grave dirt and into my rotting heart chambers. Steve-O sings cleanly here and the effect is quite mournful. If you like it slow 'n' sad, this release is for you! I can't seem to get the chugging guitars and depressive, but melodic, chorus of Old Man Tree out of my head...

The final project I'd like to discuss is Tombstones, which features Wayne Sarantopoulos (AKA Elektrokutioner) of Decrepitaph, Father Befouled, Encoffination, Ghoulgotha, Howling, etc. on drums. The format is shrieked, Crypt Keeper introductions from Steve-O alternated with the actual songs (as separate tracks, so you don't have to skip ahead!). The intros are so amusing that I might like them just as much as the songs! Honestly, if Steve-O released an album of him just making creepy/funny voices, I'd buy it in a (skipped) heartbeat. The songs are deathly, with a heavy dose of Speed, almost Thrash Metal. If you're already an Impetigo fan, the fact that there's a track called Re-Organ-Ized that basically describes the surgical reverse of its companion song, the aforementioned Dis-Organ-Ized, should be enough to rouse your interest. Additionally, title track Not For The Squeamish accomplishes for Tombstones what Dear Uncle Creepy did for Impetigo.

Steve-O does have other releases/projects under his coffin lid, but all not mentioned are extremely difficult to find/hear. If you have a line on some of the Steve-O stuff, shoot me an email, I'd love to hear it!

*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*

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