Thrashatouille – U.K. Chef Metal EP

U.K. Chef Metal EP Cover Art

Thrashatouille – U.K. Chef Metal EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 28/04/22
Running Time: 09:35
Roasted by Dark Juan
8/10

If there was ever a massive mistake made by a young band, it was by Thrashatouille when they sent an email to Ever-Metal.com HQ and said (this is a direct quote), “I have attached everything for the latest Thrashatouille EP if anyone fancies taking the mickey out of us in a review?”

Challenge accepted. 

Thrashatouille is composed of four young gentlemen so ugly that when they were born the midwives slapped their dads. They are a part of the Manchester metal scene, which means they rub shoulders with plastic gangsters and mop-topped parka wearing twats who have such adenoidal voices they could be members of Manc Bee Gees cover bands. Or they could be the parka wearing twats. I try to avoid Manchester. However, they are posh boys from Northwich and therefore not to be trusted as Cheshire is perilously close to not being Northern, hence they have to come to a good Northern city and infiltrate its metal scene in a vain attempt to get some recognition because over in Cheshire they have golf clubs and soirees and garden parties where scuzzy young metal shitheads would not be welcome. Although Ellesmere Port is Cheshire, as are Widnes and Warrington and they are rougher than an entire flock of bird’s arses. Having had many a night out in Warrington and pulling some absolute monsters, and all that… One can only imagine the culture shock as these delicate flowers of well-monied manhood turned up in an industrial city where men are men and the women are… well, as hard as the men to be fair. You don’t piss about with a Manc lass, I tell thee… Only Geordie lasses wear less clothes in winter. Thrashatouille claim to be the first UK chef metal band because they clearly aren’t old enough to remember Lawnmower Deth’s “Did You Spill My Pint?” and most of Carcass’ early back catalogue (although they have beaten The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara to the punch with “The Chef’s Song”, which is remarkable as Thrashatouille are so young they really should still be in their bedrooms furiously masturbating over whatever is a modern analogue to the lingerie section of the Grattan’s catalogue. Don’t lie and say you didn’t ever do it, male metallers of a certain age pre-internet. Finding a dog-eared grumble mag in some bushes and getting it home safely was a highlight of our teenage years. Club International was for posh wankers) and these hairy-palmed herberts apparently are composed of a Head Chef (who, in a staggering overturning of musical hierarchies is the bass player, one Chris Hargreaves. I’ve seen a picture and it ain’t fucking pretty. Trust me. Thank god for the chef’s hat), Pastry Chef (vocalist Rob Sutton, who is Ever-Metal.com’s very own super special little hyperactive pixie. And was foolish enough to let me do this. Bet he doesn’t know the difference between choux and puff pastry though…), a Sous-Chef (James Gerber, who plays guitar – the dynamics of this “band” are all wrong. Sous-Chefs are the lowest form of life in a kitchen who actually prepare food and I was actually a guitarist in a band once and all our hate was witheringly directed towards the rhythm section) Sous-Chefs do shit like dressings and salads, not peel off finger-shredding solos so this is clearly not right. They also have a Pot Wash (Daniel Brown) on the drums. At least that’s fucking accurate. All Neanderthal tub-bashers are good for is shoving dirty plates in the dishwasher anyway… You just have to communicate in grunts and whip them into compliance.

So, “Brain Freeze”. A paean to the dangers of rapidly consuming frozen confectionery treats or a description of the horrors that assailed my poor abused brainspace when Thrashatouille let rip. Like a wet fart you just know you’ve followed through on. Yes, I just managed to tell you that Thrashatouille are skidmarks in your trolleys without actually saying so. Their blurb states that they have Killswitch Engage style riffing in their music, with vocals inspired by Heaven Shall Burn. This is an egregious lie. Nay, nay and thrice nay.

Mid-paced thrashy numbers. That is what Thrashatouille play, and the Pastry Chef alternately sounds like he’s saying ta to the checkout girl in the local Tesco Express or emitting a grunt so forced I hope he’s wearing a Tena Lady to contain the inevitable leakage. There is the odd shriek from him too but I just assumed he had hurt himself on the corner of a table or amp at that point. The guitar player (he’s a Sous-Chef so worse than bloody useless anyway unless he’s “garnishing” something, fnaar fnaar) appears to have only one working ear that cannot discern tone and he fizzes and buzzes around the three tracks at my disposal. Which, to be fair, is something he and I have in common.

The next song is “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. Never have I wished this on myself so much as hearing this disjointed piece of foetid rat crap. Silly, unadulterated nonsense that sounds like it has been recorded in the local B&Q warehouse. I want to comfort eat myself to death to make the pain stop. The Pastry Chef still sounds like a lung is going to drop out of his leaky arse at any second, with the odd added squeal (presumably of pain or orgasm, I can’t discern which, and this is QUITE disturbing). My will to live is being sapped slowly by the third rate thrashings of this posh boy bunch of gurning metal chancers. I have consumed so many calories of junk this evening to alleviate my suffering I run the risk of being mistaken for a Glaswegian. Thrashatouille – about the only thing in the world that would not benefit from being deep-fried in a Scottish chippy.

The last “song” we are going to consider is entitled “Maccies Monday”. This hurts already because McDonalds is only tenuously related to actual food as opposed to plastic shit made for obese Americans to shove down their capacious throats by the metric fuckton and wannabe Mancunian metal kids really should be getting a balanced diet. Seeing as all of Thrashatouille have faces that only a mother could love, unfortunately not their own mothers, the least they should do is shove some veggies down their necks to sort out the skin conditions that Clearasil won’t. Anyway, this is a staggering piece of work which is basically a stoned (“I say, Tim! Got any ganj?”) posh lad in the local Maccy D’s (I’ve been to the one in Northwich. “Would sir please like to peruse the menu and then make your selection, and I shall send your requests instantly to the kitchen for immediate preparation?” said the liveried waiter as he handed me the menu and an extensive wine list. I ordered the 1922 Chateau Yquem to go with my McPlant meal. That’s how posh Northwich is) ordering the entire fucking menu in a slowly building crescendo, until the hyperactive metal pixie roars “Doooonnnuuuuuuuttttttttt!” at the top of his voice and I can then die in peace. Never in my life have I been so excited about a donut. At least the Pastry Chef didn’t sound like he was prolapsing his arse this time. Although he is a total donut.

So, in conclusion, Thrashatouille are more shit than the entire contents of Audenshaw Sewage Treatment Works. And Audenshaw smells better, too.

I shall leave you with the glorious mental image of Rob the Pastry Chef grunting that hard he expels his own anal tract. You’re most welcome.

DISCLAIMER: This is a light-hearted roast of Thrashatouille, who are actually a really good, fun young band who write decent songs and are a very nice bunch of young men. Their three-track self-titled EP is available now and is a bloody good listen. More power to their collective elbows! All three tunes are very worth your time, shot through with humour and an infectious sense of cheeky fun. And their gigs have to be seen to be believed. Inflatable ice creams and donuts abound! Thankfully, the guys just throw them about a bit. I was worried they were going to start fucking them or something.

 The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards a rough around the edges but bloody entertaining bunch of metal chimps 8/10 for three very silly, but still cracking songs.

Portrayal Of Ruinn, you can consider yourselves avenged!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Brain Freeze
02. Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead
03. Maccies Monday

LINE-UP:
The Head Chef – Bass
The Pastry Chef – Vocals
The Sous-Chef – Guitars
The Pot Wash – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

10,000 Years – III

10,000 Years – III
Interstellar Smoke Records
Release Date: 24.06.22
Running Time: 47:07
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Guess who’s back? Back again? Dark Juan’s back, tell your friends…

Good afternoon, greetings and salutations, earthlings of all known genders. I, Dark Juan, have returned to share with you all some wisdom and nonsense. Not necessarily in that order. You know my rabid writings now. It’s 95% nonsense and 5% wisdom although these quantities vary according to how pissed or fatigued I am. I am seated in Dark Juan Terrace, wearing my Second Invocation Robes (Summer Weight) and wondering just why French Bulldogs are cursed with an arse that makes my home smell like a thousand Chennai shithouses. Not even incense, threats of death or the promise of a cork, personally applied, up said canine arse will make it stop. I have had to open the window and now I daresay the neighbourhood smells like the gutters of a Belo Horizonte favela on a ridiculously hot day.

I daren’t show my face outside. The poor people working on the house over the road are wrinkling their noses at the infernal stench and they are in the open air! So, because of abject shame and considerable embarrassment I have clamped my cans to my poor, abused ears, shoved wads of Olbas Oil infused toilet roll up each nostril and have given my attention to Swedish sci-fi stoner metalheads 10,000 Years and their imaginatively titled new platter, “III”, being the third part of an epic musical sci-fi trilogy of albums. Although their debut was called “II”. I am confused. Today, this is not a hard thing to do.

The opening offering on this record is entitled “Cult Axe” and is a suitably thunderous affair and a fine soundtrack to the explosive demolition of large buildings. It is also rather faster than I was anticipating (I read stoner in the blurb and was expecting mogadon-sloooooooooooow grooves) and instead offers the listener a surprisingly speedy, almost thrash metal vibe, especially with the vocals of (also bassist) Alex Risberg having a decidedly punky edge to them. An impressive opener that jolted your correspondent out of his indolence and into surprised attention. The second and third tracks, “Megafauna” and “Deserts Of Madness” step off the gas somewhat but remain rather rapid by stoner metal terms before 10,000 Years totally change gear with “The Secret Of Water”, being a languid, liquid instrumental piece, all gentle swirling guitars, fluid bottom end and a snare drum sound to kill for. Regular perusers of the shit I write will know that I deeply appreciate a well-honed snare sound, because most drummers (or possibly their producers) favour a snare drum sound not unlike whacking a taut, wet tea towel with a particularly flaccid dead trout. How many of you were expecting me to say “penis” then?

“The Green King Rises” soon puts to rest any thought of the band mellowing for the rest of the album though, as they crank up the fuzz and deliver a mountainous, monumental slice of stoner grooviness before they hit the amphetamine again and race through “Il Cattivo”. This means “The Bad” or “The Evil” in Italian and the vocals remind one greatly of Slayer’s Tom Araya. Which is a sentence I never thought I would hear myself say with regards to a stoner metal band, even if they seem to be pioneers of speed stoner. The obligatory half speed break, with mental tube screamer guitar solo and planet-sized riffs beloved of stoner bands makes a welcome appearance before the crafty bastards slow it down to quarter speed. Special mention must go out to the super fuzzy bass guitar at this point as it errs perilously close to the brown frequency…

Production wise, apart from slightly flat floor toms, this record properly hits the stoner spot. A sound that is more dense than the chav population of Doncaster and Worksop combined tips the heaviness quotient towards “forming a new geological fault in Scandinavia” and remarkably remains eminently listenable and maintains clarity throughout, even when these mighty Swedes pick up their metaphorical skirts and give their instruments a damned good thrashing.

Things take a decidedly strange bent halfway through “Escape From Earth” with a small section apparently channelling Aunty Bob Smith and The Cure before morphing into a decidedly prog aesthetic with the guitar sound on the solo courtesy of the most aptly named guitarist in existence, Erik Palm, yet throughout, planet-fracturing heaviness is maintained. “To Suns Beyond” (the album closer) starts with more languid British pop-goth channelling with the echo and reverb infused guitar before plastering the unsuspecting (actually, I wasn’t. I’ve got the measure of 10,000 Years and their use of the loud-quiet-fucking LOUD dynamic now) listener back against the door he just came into the room from, especially on this extended instrumental track. One (if you’re a sad old goff like me) could easily imagine wispy, consumptive goth girls in taffeta and lace and extremely pointed footwear waving their hands around in front of their faces in a dreamy fashion during the quieter sections…

One thing I haven’t mentioned about 10,000 Years that I really should bring your attention to is the epic quality of their compositions. There is a grandiosity around their arrangements and playing that elevates them above the drug-obsessed stoner masses. Epic stoner-thrash-prog. Now there’s a new genre to conjure with if there ever was one…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade Dark Juan-systemet för blodstänk) awards 10,000 Years 10/10 for a superb album, chock full of surprises and originality from a genre that normally prizes the power of the riff above all else. I don’t have a clue what’s going on today. I have delivered a review that could almost qualify as professional. This is unheard of. And it is under a thousand words long which is entirely not appropriate for my style. To remedy this travesty, I’m going to use some rude, crude words as there also has been a distinct lack of cursing and swearing today.

Girl’s pants. 

Girl’s DIRTY pants.

Now we have over a thousand words. I can rest easy. Until next time, farewell. May ye gang faur and fare waur.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cult Axe
02. Megafauna
03. Desert Of Madness
04. The Secret Of Water
05. The Green King Rises
06. Il Cattivo
07. Escape From Earth
08. To Suns Beyond

LINE-UP:
Erik Palm – Guitars
Alex Risberg – Bass/vocals
Espen Karlsen – Drums

LINKS: (234. Sorry, sometimes I cannot help myself. I’m giggling like an idiot… must be sleep deprivation.)

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Combinator – Re//Combinator EP

Re//Combinator Album Cover Art

Combinator – Re//Combinator EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 25:25
Review by Dark Juan
6/10

This is getting ridiculous. Dark Juan is not an early riser, yet today I was up and out of bed before 7am. This is highly unacceptable. It is still midmorning and I have been up for hours! There is only so much tea one man can drink before his liver cries enough. How am I to get through the rest of the day? I’ll be asleep by 4pm and bored by half twelve! I should do something to entertain myself…

Oof. That’s better.

Today’s offering to the musical gods is by a gentleman named Sean Fairchild, who I am assuming is American, although he was born abroad and has lived in places as diverse as France and China, among others, and he’s one of those. You know, one of those annoying bastards who can play more than one instrument REALLY well, when you can’t even pick up a guitar without fucking it up beyond all repair? Yes, Sean can play the bass, keyboards and do drum machine shit and sequencing and programming and stuff. I am viridescent with envy. Positively green. However, it would be very difficult indeed to describe “Re//Combinator” as a metal release. It has certain roots in rock and metal, yes, but it is a rather more gentle and electronic affair. The closest it gets to metal is the fact that Sean Fairchild is a superb bassist in the same mould as Les Claypool and that his music has a strong progressive vibe, and it is very ambient. There’s elements of drum and bass, French pop music, little Eastern flourishes and the odd little hard edge, especially on the opening track, “Guest In Your Own Skin”, which starts in a very promising fashion, sounding almost like a Muse intro before going left-field and ambient, yet with egregiously technical bass. I also enjoyed the vocals, which are soaked in vocoder effects and spliced into the music rather than sung over it.

“Things That Should Be” is about as metal as it gets, a shuddering, nervous, complex song that starts with a technical, progressive rock intro and opening movement before popping in and out of a drum and bass and EDM flavoured section through the verses. This is underpinned by choppy, discordant bass throughout. This is by far the most aggressive song on the album and by far the most of interest to metal fans. If the rest of Sean’s output were like this, I’d be a rabid fan. It goes on for about a minute and a half too long, though.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Combinator remind me of a beastie composed of Pink Floyd, Air, Daft Punk and Primus – there’s the sweeping soundscapes and expansive songwriting that Floyd do so well, the quirkiness and idiosyncrasy of Air and their lithe and unusual dance-based pop, the funkiness and jollity of Nile Rodgers playing with Daft Punk and the sheer out to lunchedness of Primus. It’s all rather… amorphous, though. 

I don’t find the music particularly inspiring to be honest. It beeps and squelches its way around an undefined, fuzzy middle ground, sounding rather like a Nine Inch Nails filler track in places (the second remix of “Respira” by Jesse Holt sounding especially like it belongs on the second disc of “The Fragile”) and curiously unsure of itself in others. The most complete track on the whole EP is the funk-blues hybrid called “Through The Fog” which apparently is a bonus remix, but has a killer bass hook and a superb vocal performance. It is this track that reminds us that Sean is actually a very good musician indeed.

Having a gripe about the record doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, though. It’s good music and it would be very entertaining if you were in a quiet mood and wanted to listen to something that isn’t too challenging, but it really isn’t heavy metal in the same sense that other electronic bands like Master Boot Record and The Algorithm have managed to achieve, but it does occupy a unique musical niche. I like uniqueness. That has always been a quotient in my enjoyment of music.

ALTHOUGH – REMIXES! What is the fucking point of remixes? Let’s just release four different versions of the same bloody song!!! The punters are stupid enough to pay for it – just look how many people buy remixed classic albums even though they already own three copies of it! If we can do this on a song by song basis we’ll be quids in, chaps! They are needless and pointless and are nearly as bad as fucking ballads! I need to find someone to remix and chop up old Doomcrow songs in five different ways and then I will no longer be reliant on Mrs Dark Juan obtaining payments from dippy French hippy all-female dance companies who want animal brooches that somehow represent the women who dance – some wanted bears. I took this to mean they were bear-shaped people. I didn’t want to speculate about their body hair. Some wanted eagles, which I interpreted as them being predatory and noisy and disturbingly tough to get rid of when they have got their claws into you. 

There was also a sperm whale…

I am somewhat conflicted, because I don’t mind some laid back grooves now and again, but I am writing for a metal site and I think the only people who would listen to Combinator are the most intrepid of proggy metal fans and there simply ain’t that many of them about, apart from Rory Bentley and his band of prog dads in Diceratops, representing the largest gathering of progsters outside of an HRH Prog gathering, where they can be safely corralled before they start corrupting the good folk of metal with “Brain Salad Surgery” and “YesSongs”…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can’t believe that it is still only 1130 in the morning and it is wrapping this review up. It awards Combinator 6/10 for an EP that is wispy and ethereal, yet curiously unsatisfying, and of very limited interest to the long haired family of noisy miscreants that are metalheads. Marks have been deducted for this, and for three remixes, two of the same song, one after the other which is frankly fucking unforgivable.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guest In Your Own Skin
02. Things That Should Be
03. Hide and Seek
04. Cartoon Character Child
05. Respira (Jesse Holt Club Mix)
06. Respira (Jesse Holt Chill Mix)
07. Through the Fog (Chi:Child Mix) [BONUS]

LINE-UP:
Sean Fairchild – Bass, vocals, synths, programming

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The Algorithm – Data Renaissance

Data Renaissance Album Cover Art

The Algorithm – Data Renaissance
FiXT
Release Date: 03/06/22
Running Time: 40:49
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

It appears I have been gripped by some kind of disease of which a side effect is writing. At the moment I can’t fucking stop. Every minute I am not writing is a minute wasted. Mrs Dark Juan is being cruelly neglected whilst I listen to everything new I can get my hands on and then I’ll write about it. I am compelled… absolutely compelled. The Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover hasn’t had his nightly Fight Club in over a week, such is my desire to write. Igor gets lairy when he doesn’t have Fight Club. I’ll tell you, for a French Bulldog, being a breed which is supposed to be sociable and gentle and goofy, Igor is a dangerous and wily psychopath. Take Hodgson Biological-Warfare  for example. Hodgson is a dog that has torn holes in Dark Juan. Hodgson would reduce a human trying to harm Mrs Dark Juan to their component parts in mere seconds, and thinks nothing of having a bash at dogs three times his size, including on one memorable occasion in a river when he attacked a German Shepherd peaceably swimming in it, nearly drowning himself in the process, because Hodgson can’t actually swim, leaving it to me to rescue the dozy fuckmuffin. Igor, being a third the size and weight of this dangerously unstable protector of Mrs Dark Juan (I daren’t go near her) for some reason has managed to convince the violent nutjob of the family that he is in fact the boss and has trained Hodgson to incessantly wash him. And give him something that equates perilously closely to blow jobs. Igor tolerates NO dissent. Igor will attack Hodgson if Hodgson goes anywhere near his (Igor’s) food and for some reason Hodgson accepts this without issue or complaint from the tiny dog führer, even though Hodgson could comfortably swallow Igor without the aid of a glass of water. I have no idea why this happens.

Oh, well, let us away. Away to France, where Dark Juan had a home until recently. Dark Juan was not deported because of a small incident with the daughter of a local farmer, a wild boar, the altar of the village church, Satanic trappings and Twin Temple and Coven on repeat on the church PA. Oh no. That would have been bad. And very unchristian. We are away to France so I can tell you about the gentleman from that august nation named The Algorithm. Unlike, say, Master Boot Record, where Victor Love basically identified as an IBM 486 processor for several years, I can say with mucho accuracy that The Algorithm is a gentleman named Rémi Gallego and to say that Dark Juan likes his music is like saying that Dark Juan likes beer and defiling young Christians. The Algorithm tickles Dark Juan in many special places because he plays the kind of metal-infused synthwave that makes Dark Juan weep for joy. And starts the sex wee tanks filling quickly…

A harsh metallic undercurrent of punishing rhythms and serrated, spiny guitars underpins the kind of glorious 80s, Neo-Miami neon-drenched synths that make vaporwave and outrun such notable genres of synthwave. Where The Algorithm differs from contemporaries such as Carpenter Brut, Pertubator, Gunship and Scandroid though is that he is not afraid to chop and change and cut up the grooves in favour of sometimes creating a mesmerising, dangerous, lethal hybrid of metal, industrial and synthwave. “Object Resurrection” perfectly illustrates this – having an uncompromising industrial backbeat underneath riffs that are mightily chunky, and the swirling, smoke-like synth lines waver and change shape until they are chopped into unrecognisable shapes. “Multithreading” reminds this correspondent very much of “Bucephalus’ Bouncing Ball” from Aphex Twin’s seminal “Come To Daddy” EP, being choppy, uncomfortable and repeating blippy patterns until the guitars come in and slam your poor body clear against the nearest wall, leaving cranial fluid leaking from your nose and your brain wondering why it feels like it has just done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson. So, we can safely add a bit of classic futurist drum and bass to the influences at work here. This is a Very Good Thing.

In fact, I’d describe The Algorithm as a less insane Master Boot Record, crossed with some Epoch Of Chirality. This music is not pure synthwave as per the likes of stalwarts Gunship, where the synthesiser rules over all, and the vibe is a darkworld equivalent of the Strip in Miami or Vegas, where the neon is bright and the people happy and colourful although there’s murder and vampires and a seedy underbelly in the alleys behind the neon – no, The Algorithm occupies a darker place even than that. The bright, happy people scurry furtively into the shadows, escaping from the robot snatch squads driving up and down a neon-drenched Strip to take humans to work in assembly plants, except here the neon is all scarlet and blacklight. The sounds of lamentation and gunshots abound as tech-boosted mercenaries try to kidnap or eliminate zaibatsu board members on holiday and tangle with assassins and bodyguards. The illuminated signs jitter and sputter as electricity junctions are disabled and power is rerouted. The casinos and bars develop a quality where the entrances suddenly transform into steam belching, dripping maws hungry for flesh and money, where the broken, wall eyed, vain and insane enter for the last time in their miserable lives as the blood machines within flay them alive, and the strippers dance with dai-katana in hand, flowing through kata that leave fingers and ears laid weeping blood on tables and their stage. In short, if cenobites took over the nightlife of the world, The Algorithm would be the soundtrack to their victims discovering suffering and ecstasy simultaneously. A world where sex and violence and business and death and entertainment has all melded into one…

“Inline Assembly” is another song where the glorious synthwave vibes are traded for the insanity of fast paced drum and bass, but it makes for a punishing listening experience at volume, before the last song on this instrumental album, “Protocols” takes us back to the retro-futurist soundscapes that synthwave does so well. This piece would not be out of place as you watch the glorious last stand off the Starship Vengeance as it plunges headfirst into battle against overwhelming alien odds, seeing superstructure and armour stripped from it, bodies tumbling through rents in pressure hulls into freezing, airless space as every last erg of energy is pumped into overdriven energy weapons and enemy craft explode in vivid nuclear fireballs…

The production of the record is absolutely fucking lush, mates. The instruments are all pushed to the max, yet clarity and ease of listening is maintained at all times. The power of the production is unquestionable, even during the more frantic drum and bass influenced parts.

See what this synthesis of synthwave and metal does to me? It creates entire cinematic experiences in your head. It is the sound of echoing, vast halls filled with server farms and blinking indicator lights moments before saboteurs detonate many kilos of plastic explosive. It is a lush, invigorating soundscape of sweeping, vast beauty underpinned by violence and aggression. It is battle scenes in tropical rainforests. It is fucking perfect music. First, Master Boot Record and now this. Fuck me dead.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour mes amis Francais) awards The Algorithm 9/10 for an almost perfect record. The only reason it wasn’t full marks is that there were a couple of points when a groove had been settled into and could have been exploited, but then The Algorithm got bored and went and did something else. Which is a pretty small point, but it still counts against. Sometimes. If you like Epoch Of Chirality and Master Boot Record, this album operates in the same continuum and will be a worthy addition to your collections. I’ll be raiding the back catalogue of Rémi in no time. Fnaar fnaar.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Segmentation Fault
02. Interrupt Handler
03. Decompilation
04. Read Only
05. Cryptographic Memory
06. Object Resurrection
07. Multithreading
08. Oracle Machine
09. Data Renaissance
10. Inline Assembly
11. Protocols

LINE-UP:
Rémi Gallego – Everything. Talented bastard.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Sijjeel – Salvation Within Insanity

Salvation Within Insanity Album Cover Art

Sijjeel – Salvation Within Insanity
Comatose Music
Release Date: 03.06.22
Running Time: 33:18
Review by Dark Juan
7/10

Well, now. In a classic case of first world problems, I have sat down to write a review of Sijjeel’s album and my headphones broke. I have had a flounce about it and been royally mocked by Mrs Dark Juan for moaning about something so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Talking of unimportant matters…

There was a young effeminate gentleman in his early twenties near Dark Juan Terrace this morning, attempting to pull in his car wing mirror so it doesn’t get knocked off. Said young gentleman (who was a VERY slender body type and looks like he enjoys nutritious meals composed mainly of several liquids) took SIX attempts to do this rather simple task. Granted, he had arms and legs like pipe cleaners, but a monkey one third his size could have done it without any major problem. Honest to Satan, the man was wetter than a bank holiday in Mablethorpe and had ACTUALLY WORKED UP A SWEAT as he went back to his friends and partner, complaining about how hard it was. This got me thinking about victim types, and whether this clearly not very physically strong person would be seen as easy meat by a serial killer or an abuser. How would he be able to fight off someone who was going to do something unspeakable to him if he can’t even fold in a fucking car mirror? Still, he was impeccably attired and seemed happy with his partner and probably has a different set of important values to me. So, I wandered off with Hodgson Biological-Warfare and didn’t trouble myself with worrying about it. Then I went to a farmer’s market in Heckmondwike, which was shit so I came home again, ensconced Mrs Dark Juan upon her large sofa with two thirds of the home’s complement of annoying furry bastards and have stuck the latest offering from Sijjeel on the spinny deck of deth – Sijjeel being a Saudi Arabian/ European death metal band.

Now if you know anything about Saudi Arabia, you’ll also know that it is not a very welcoming place for heavy metal, the hardline Wahhabi sect that the country follows claiming that metal is not Islamic. I’d fucking love it if we ended up with some proper Islamic Metal, where the followers of that august religion bid defiance to their more conservative clerics and make their own music to praise Mohammed (peace be upon him) and Allah.

It’s the same fucking problem with all religions, isn’t it? It’s a fucking man in a dress and a silly hat claiming he has the direct word of some (possibly imaginary) sky being and foisting their belief on many others and making them follow him on pain of death/ eternal damnation/ shame. This is why I do not like religion. Why should I be damned to eternal suffering because I refuse to accept their narrative? I don’t want their fucking pity either. I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO problem with people choosing to follow a religion, or dedicating their lives to a religion. That’s their free will and I will respect their choice, even if I don’t agree. I will not insult their religion either, to their faces. I will in my rantings and when I am not directly speaking to them though. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, yes even Satanism – all creeds that require you to stop using your intelligence, that was supposedly given by god. He gives you the intelligence to think, and according to religion will punish you forever if you don’t think what he wants you to think, according to the adherents of these religions and the men in funny hats who wander around waving censers. Fuck THAT for a game of soldiers. What I do have a problem with is unquestioning slaves to religion (the same applies to politics – the apathy of Brits to what is being done to them is truly staggering to behold) and people who will insist that being of their religion is the only way I (or my good deeds) will have any worth or value.

Those people get a middle finger, a loud and disrespectful “Fuck you” and no more of my time. Dark Juan will embrace decency and respect, but not people who tell me not to swear, or wear a t shirt because it upsets them and their god. Shove your god up your arse, you credulous dickhead…

Sorry. Dark Juan rejected religion many years ago as an unprovable truth.

Sijjeel (I didn’t know what it meant, so I did a bit of research. Here is the best bit of translation and information I could find – The word SIJJEEL is borrowed from Farsi, and is defined in Al-Munjid as حجارة كالطين اليابس. The Saudi Arabian “official” translation of the Qur’an actually uses the expression “burnt clay.” It is not clear whether the reference is to:

– clay that has naturally hardened into stone;

– shards of pottery (which is made of clay and hardened by being baked at extremely high temperatures in special kilns); or

– fire-hot stones (possibly used in ancient warfare).

Some commentators even suggested that the expression is not meant to describe the actual objects, but rather their effect on the victims, who felt as if they were being pelted by fire-hot stones. The affliction may have been a viral skin epidemic, for instance) are the band of Hussain Akbar (guitars and drum programming) and they play a rather beguiling bit of brutal, yet technically complex death metal. 

Opening with “Isolation Behind Unrealism”, the band set out their store in a remarkably uncompromising fashion. There are no fancy intros, or humorous skits, there is just violence. Pure, unadulterated sonic violence. Of immediate note is the influence of Tool, Necrophagist, Meshuggah and other technical bands – there are some beautifully complex passages throughout the record, but I liked the syncopation throughout the opening song but this is a pure death metal album. Particularly impressive is the icy sharp, clear and absolutely brutal production, which allows the bass through the mix with ease, but maintains clarity and a hawklike, predatory sense of purpose. That purpose is to bludgeon you until you are chunky salsa.

However, I think Sijjeel would benefit from a human drummer. You can immediately tell the drums are sequenced and it takes some of the humanity away from the music. The guitar and bass work are absolutely fucking top drawer though, and the guitar’s tone the proper level of death metal meaty. The gut destroying vocals from Floor Van Kuijk are completely incomprehensible, yet supremely aggressive. The whole band hit you in the belly and keep on hitting you until your torso is a gore filled bag leaking from small rents in the skin. Which, frankly, is what death metal is supposed to do to you. “Mental Paralysis” is a listening experience not unlike being trampled by a herd of vildebeest. With an elephant in the middle of them.

I do have problems with the album though. The sequenced drums I have already described. Sijjeel are considerably better than this album gives them credit for. There is too much reliance on warp speed and blastbeats when the band are capable of far greater feats of musicianship and that’s annoying. Death metal can be just as brutal with more inventive arrangements. Sijjeel themselves demonstrate this on the album opener and then seem to fall back into the death metal event horizon of speed and incomprehensible gutturals, leaving the truly interesting bits of the music until the end of songs when they are looking for a way to end them. That’s a shame because I like those bits best.

I’m actually a bit conflicted, because I really like Sijjeel and their sound is immense and there is considerable promise to them, but I can’t help thinking that this record is a bit… lazy. There’s so much more Sijjeel could be doing and they have the capacity to be able to take death metal forward in a unique and powerful way, instead of the hackneyed reliance on speed and palm muted staccato riffing. “Inflection To Thee Smut” is a prime example – a chopped up, dissonant, intricate riff is just stopped after a few bars on the introduction, and doesn’t come back till the middle eight, and then that’s the last we hear of it. To be fair “Inflection” is my favourite song on the album, where complex riffs and time passages come together in interesting ways although there is still too much reliance on speed.

Less velocity, more virtuosity, please.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Sijjeel 7/10 for a very good, but ultimately unspectacular album that is a gnat’s wing away from greatness.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Isolation Behind Unrealism
02. Inverted Contentment In Salvation
03. The Affliction Of Deteriorating Minds
04. Mental Paralysis
05. Climbing Into The Abyss
06. Departing From Human Nature
07. Indignation Overcame Me
08. Inflection To Thee Smut

LINE-UP:
Floor Van Kuijk – Vocals 
Lukas Kaminski – Bass
Hussain Akbar – Guitar/Drum Programming

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Master Boot Record – Personal Computer

Personal Computer Album Cover Art

Master Boot Record – Personal Computer
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 63:01
Review by Dark Juan
647,332,196,003/10

Good afternoon, dear friends. It is with considerable sadness that I start this review having heard of the untimely and tragic death of Trevor Strnad, a gentleman of the first order. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for Ever-Metal.com during one of the many lockdowns over Skype, and found him to be a gregarious, charming and funny man, and understanding and amused at an ersatz metal hack bungling his first big ticket interview as well as him being a walking encyclopedia of metal. This is a sad loss, and Dark Juan’s thoughts go out to the rest of The Black Dahlia Murder and of course Trevor’s family and friends in their time of loss and grief.

May Trevor Strnad rest forever in peace and power.

This leads on to another point before I actually start telling you about the genius that is Master Boot Record – Yet another man has been lost to suicide. Dark Juan is also going through a difficult time and suffers from dark thoughts frequently, thankfully I’ve been able to turn to certain people in my life (and for this I thank them all profusely and without restraint – they know who they are) to help drain the black away. 

IT’S OK TO TALK.

I IMPLORE you, struggling gentlemen who read my barely literate shite, to go and seek help from Andy’s Man Club or Samaritans or whoever the fuck you need to, to obtain help and counselling before it gets too much to cope with. It is NOT weak to share your burden. You are NOT less of a man if you realise you can’t cope and reach out for support. I don’t want to have to know that any of my acquaintances and friends have joined Trevor Strnad and Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell and  Kurt Cobain. I would much rather have you all fucking get help. I need it sometimes and I am one of the most resilient motherfuckers you will ever come across. Today, however, a long dirtnap would be amazing but you (and I) have to keep fighting because that long dirtnap, you aren’t coming back from that. Suicide is a permanent (and horribly painful for your family, significant others and friends) method of dealing with a temporary situation. TALK, MEN, TALK…

Enough seriousness. Let us instead discuss a musical project that has brought me considerable joy ever since my friend Metal Carl (yes, that is his nickname and it is a running joke around the area of West Yorkshire where I live that Metal Carl is more metal than ACTUAL physical metal) sent me a link to the song “IRQ 0 SYSTEM CLOCK” and told me that I might like it.

How right he was. He has given me a whole new obsession with this Italian electronic auteur (being as Master Boot Record is a project from a 486DX-33MHz-64MB computer, processing avant-garde chiptune, synthesized heavy metal & classical symphonic music. It is also shockingly productive, this being the 8th MBR album proper as well as its work with Keygen Church) and its colossal, expansive instrumental soundscapes. Master Boot Record derives some of its pleasure for me from the fact that it is the work of an Italian man called Victor Love who has spent years making out he is an IBM 486 processor. I love daft shit.

Now, the blurb states that I shouldn’t call Master Boot Record’s music synthwave, and that it should be in fact described as electronic metal. I actually have some sympathy with that description, but fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me. Unless you’re a devastatingly attractive woman ordering me into her boudoir while waving a packet of dex at me. Then it’s a case of fuck you, I’m doing what I’m told… but I digress – Master Boot Record plays a style of music that encompasses Outrun synthwave as part of its alternative silicon based DNA before being fused cybernetically with the heaviest and chunkiest of metal. The resulting musical behemoth is A) terrifying to behold and B) fucking brilliant.

If you have ever read William Gibson’s Sprawl books, or Burning Chrome, or Mona Lisa Overdrive, I humbly submit that Master Boot Record is the soundtrack to his fevered tales of the Net and its denizens. The music sends my imagination into turbocharged high gear – I picture Chiba-boosted assassins with scalpels underneath their fingernails battling vat-grown zaibatsu samurai armed with monofilament wire that can cut two-inch-thick steel in the rainy, slippery, gomi-filled back alleys of a neon-lit geodesic nightmare, fighting over the capture of a strung-out mnemonic courier chain-smoking Yeheyuan filters who has just offloaded the data packet he was carrying in his wetwired brain to a drug addicted, cybernetically enhanced and armoured dolphin who’s fighting his own infowar with his Lo-Tek allies against the zaibatsus. I close my eyes and see people with grey lenses surgically implanted into their faces to cover up the Hong-Kong made cybernetic eyes they see through, and rain slick black leather and PVC hiding boosted musculatures and micro-pistons replacing tendons in the hand of a colossal Russian bouncer, whose jacket falls open just enough for you to see the well-used shok-stik and tape-wrapped grip of a rusty, knock-off Vietnamese made Tokarev pistol in a shoulder holster outside the bar from which heat, dry ice and the sound of Master Boot Record emanates…

Master Boot Record is not necessarily just about future shock though. There are some absolutely delightful neo-classical moments on “Personal Computer”, especially the intro to “80486”, where Love gleefully creates beautiful pieces of music and then records them using sounds that would have just been considered acceptable on a ZX Spectrum – essentially taking classical influences and turning them into 8-bit chiptune renditions of themselves. However, it’s not as banal as it sounds, trust me. Equally, you can’t discount the sheer heaviness of Master Boot Record, even though purists and gatekeepers will be spilling bitter tears of trad-metal loving horror all over their authentic 1980s W.A.S.P. t shirts. MBR’s music takes the sheer scale and grandiosity of trve (sic) heavy metal, and adds it to the uncompromising, unstoppable qualities of machinery and the endless possibilities for sonic fury that electronics offer the seriously unhinged, and the result is something that is so supermassively greater than the sum of its’ component parts it can form its own event horizon. The music has a cinematic quality reminiscent of 80s action flicks where hundreds of nondescript bad guys are blown away by a musclebound leading man for the cause of freedom/ America/ rescuing daughters and sons/ wives/ favourite second cousins/ pets (I’m looking at you, John Wick. I wholly approve), yet said musclebound leading man seems to be able to survive being blown up/ nearly drowned/ STILL USE HIS FUCKING ARM AFTER BEING SHOT THROUGH THE SHOULDER (this ALWAYS pisses me off) and otherwise shrug off anything that might floor a less perfect specimen whilst cracking the sort of one-liners that only dads should have permission to use (my favourite ever being, “Are you a Virginia farm boy? Here’s a couple of achers” mere milliseconds before booting some poor evil lackey right in the gentleman vegetables). In short, although there is a strong techno-historical (by that I mean that MBR’s music could easily be the theme tune to any number of SF or 80s fantasy TV shows – Stuff like Airwolf, Street Hawk, Knight Rider, Automan, that kind of thing) quality to Master Boot Record’s music, it is also tremendously futuristic and forward-looking, hinting at a future where electronics supercede traditional instruments and change the face of the planet, “80486SX” being a perfect example of how this could happen, being as it is heavier than a regiment of plutonium panty-clad Soviet hammer throwers named Olga, yet brightly-lit and forward looking and inventive and almost…. Utopian in outlook and scope, as it charts endless sunny vistas of progress and promise in front of it. “80686” ends the record with a bastardised electronic harpsichord playing the kind of chamber baroque that makes goths weep with what equates to joy for goths (probably crushing sadness and clove cigarettes and absinthe whilst having a candlelit Xmal Deutschland marathon, or if you’re a boy, all of the above whilst wistfully lusting after Sisters-era Patricia Morrison) before crashing into the heaviness like an endless parade of heavily armed and augmented cyborg automatons marching in lockstep right past your foxhole, and then taking a hard left turn into the kind of soloing that would not look out of place on a Rhapsody Of Fire record (but done on keyboards) and returning to the vastness of intergalactic starscapes and glissandos and epic coruscations of music swirling through a continuum all of its own creation… Fuck me, I love Master Boot Record so much it hurts!

So, there are nearly thirteen hundred words on just why men should talk more and why Master Boot Record are absolutely fucking magnificent. You don’t need to read any more. Go listen, instead. And fucking talk to someone, chaps. Dark Juan is sick of losing good people to the black dog and requests and requires that you are not next, please and thank you.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan) was going to award Master Boot Record a full 10/10, but has decided that it is going to make an absolute mockery of the Ever-Metal.com scoring system and actually score “Personal Computer” 647,332,196,003/10. Just for the lulz.

Heh.

TRACKLISTING:
01. 8086
02. 80186
03. 80286
04. 80386
05. 80386SX
06. 80486
07. 80486DX
08. 80486SX
09. 80586
10. 80686 (No. These song titles are not me joking. They do actually correlate to the IBM 86-series PCs I learned to do stuff on in college in order of release and processor speed…)

LINE-UP:
Victor Love. He does absolutely fucking everything and I hate him for it. I can’t even play the guitar properly.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Graham Bonnet Band – Day Out In Nowhere

Day Out In Nowhere Album Cover Art

Graham Bonnet Band – Day Out In Nowhere
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 47:14
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Well, it’s been a funny few weeks. Remember when I told you all that I was quitting wrangling recalcitrant young gentlemen in favour of being in charge of people wrangling recalcitrant young ladies?

Turns out I fucking hated it. So I quit. And then went crawling cravenly back to my old manager and asked for my old job back. Surprisingly, considering Dark Juan (even in his professional capacities) is not known for mincing his words and had uttered a home truth or two on his way out of the door, my old manager was very receptive to my coming back to work for her, which means on May 27th I return to wrangling the same young gentlemen I wrangled before. That should be interesting, especially considering I have only got my old job back on the understand I fucking apply myself to the academic aspect of the job this time and become a senior wrangler like what I said I would when I blagged my way into the job for the second time. So, I’m actually going to have to do some work instead of drag the lads off to Alton Towers and to Manchester Storm ice hockey games in Sheffield, where Dark Juan would gleefully embarrass the fuck out of the plastic gangster teen with him by being incredibly noisy and chanting and generally being a total arsehole because I really REALLY like ice hockey.

None of which has absolutely anything to do with the fact that I am listening to the new release from one of the greatest rock and metal vocal gymnasts who has ever lived, the incomparable Mr. Graham Bonnet, wearer of metal’s sharpest suits, most impenetrable sunglasses and proud owner of metal’s most incongruent coiffure, being as his barnet has always looked like it belonged on an accountant from Bognor Regis, rather than a howling rock colossus who has bestrode world stages with Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Impellitteri as well as his own band – the band that contains the fragrant and divine Beth-Ami Heavenstone on bass. Dark Juan had a bit of a telling off from Mrs. Dark Juan about his adoration of Beth-Ami Heavenstone when I reviewed Graham’s last release, so I will merely content myself with stating she is a superb bass player. 

And that’s all I’m saying this time because I don’t want I don’t want my balls sawn off with a blunt tin lid. Which was one of the more minor threats to my person. Corkscrews, bits of four-by-two in an anal interface and tearing my arms off and beating me to death with the wet ends were mentioned in passing.

“Day Out In Nowhere” opens with the quite stupendous “Imposter”, a song about Graham (why the fuck has this man not been made a Knight of the Realm for his services to music? He even had to overcome coming from Skegness, for fuck’s sake!) understanding that age is slowly catching up with him and how it affects him and his life and performance, which has a pathos that’s almost touching, however, his vocal channels the anger against ageing (believe me, as I approach my fifties, I feel the man deeply) and what could have been a bit moany turns into a massive battle cry for us greying hordes to pull our fucking socks up. The chorus is sublime – “Who are you, pretender? Now I can see, the man that’s reflected, that man is me…” sums up everything us gentlemen and I daresay a few ladies and other genders feel every time we drag ourselves out of our beds of pain and stare blankly at the tired and no longer flawless faces gawping back at us in the bathroom mirror. 

How the hell this man manages to consistently write such monolithic choruses is beyond me. “Uncle John” is a stand out here, with its story of a possible paedophile, with a short intro reminiscent of a musical box before some absolutely incendiary riffing from Conrado Pesinato kicks you in your lazy-ass pants and shocks you into attention. Graham’s voice soars effortlessly over it all – the man just can do no wrong. He is another one of my pantheon of musical gods – Graham Bonnet and Andrew Eldritch being top tier gods, anyway. “Uncle John” is one of the more aggressive songs and one of the most metal – The Graham Bonnet Band have always angled to the more melodic side of heavy metal, but this is a spitting firebrand of a track. “David’s Mom” is a song about a lady the  young Graham had a bit of a thing for, with yet another massive chorus in a paean to young mothers taunting gauche and tumescent teenage lads, touching an almost sleaze metal vibe before going to a middle eight with what can only be described as the most trad metal solo I have ever heard in modern music. This isn’t a criticism, it reminds me of good times, as does the keyboard solo by Alessandro Bertoni.

I’m lost. I can’t criticise this record. The man can do no wrong. Dammit, Graham Bonnet. Why do you have to be so amazing? I adore the man’s voice and have done so ever since I heard “Since You Been Gone” for the first time when I was 10 years old. I gently tease him about his haircut but he has always dared to be different, and as he gets older his voice, although rougher around the edges, still grabs me by the throat and shakes until I’m a gibbering mess. 40 fucking years he’s done that to me, the Skeggy git. The musicianship is top fucking notch, the production absolutely perfect for the music (who’s responsible for it? Conrado Pesinato and the superb bass player Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Hopefully I’m off the hook, now…) with every instrument easily discernible and Graham’s voice exactly where it needs to be, forward in the mix but not overpowering the music. The musicians sound hungry and like they are enjoying themselves and the record is notable for some fucking big names guesting on it – Mike and John Tempesta of Powerman 5000 and White Zombie respectively, Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Arch Enemy and Roy Z of Bruce Dickinson’s solo band and Halford to name them…

Also, DON FUCKING AIREY is playing on this album. Keyboard legend, mate…

“Jester” is another heavier song referencing climate change and ecological damage and the soloing of Jeff Loomis on this song is so tasty Dark Juan is salivating. No, not over Beth-Ami. Stop that, you’ll get me in trouble. I’m already on thin ice…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards the Graham Bonnet Band 9/10 for yet another stonking album. I have deducted one mark for “Suzy”, but that is because I FUCKING HATE BALLADS! I don’t care whether it’s Graham Bonnet or anyone doing a ballad. You do a ballad, The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is deducting a mark, end of. That’s the law. I don’t care how overarchingly splendid and epic it is, what with the full orchestra and all. Ballads suck. Ballads are the musical equivalent of a butcher doing a vegan fucking chorizo sausage. Or American Football versus proper football. They should be forbidden and the perpetrators shot, with only Graham Bonnet, the Wilson sisters of Heart, and Andrew Eldritch excepted. But that’s only because I like those musicians that much. Then again, however, if the superb bass player Beth-Ami wrote “Suzy” then it is the best tune ever and she should be applauded… 

Oh, boy, this time I’m fucked!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Imposter
02. Twelve Steps To Heaven
03. Brave New World (ft. Roy Z)
04. Uncle John
05. Day Out In Nowhere
06. The Sky Is Alive
07. David’s Mom
08. When We’re Asleep (ft. Mike Tempesta, John Tempesta)
09. It’s Just A Frickin’ Song (ft. Don Airey)
10. Jester (ft. Jeff Loomis)
11. Suzy (Orchestra)

LINE-UP:
The man, the legend, the improbable haircut – Mr. Graham Bonnet – Vocals
The fleet fingered king of the fretboard, Conrado Pesinato – Guitars
The superb bass player, Beth-Ami Heavenstone – Bass

Guest musicians:
Don Airey – Keyboards
Alessandro Bertoni – Keyboards
Levi Dokus – Drums
Shane Gaalaas – Drums
Jeff Loomis – Guitars
Takanori Ozaki – Acoustic Guitar
John Tempesta – Drums 
Mike Tempesta – Guitars     
Roy Z – Guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gonemage – Master Of Disgust EP

Master Of Disgust EP Cover Art

Gonemage – Master Of Disgust EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 19:21
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and I am slightly annoyed because the furry parasites I share my home with (no, NOT Mrs Dark Juan) are being a set of quadruped irritants. They are up and down more times than a whore’s knickers and also in and out of the house more often and faster than said whore being serviced by a man who’s done a gram of Billy. I tested a theory as to just how long it would be before one of the fur-covered shit machines would disturb me when I started crafting this piece of information transmission for your delectation. 

One minute and thirty-fucking-four seconds. And that was a combination attempt from Hodgson Biological-Warfare, General Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, DFC and Bar, MM, DFM, Croix de Guerre and Order Of The Red Banner, and the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover (who has now been christened Princess Susan in my house because of his absolute insistence on being transported downstairs via the medium of indoctrinated human to his food in the morning) rushing outside and shouting at EVERY SINGLE passerby. All Hodgson wanted to do was go out and quietly sunbathe because he is a goodboi, even if his arse appears to be requisitioned from Satan’s own personal collection of torture devices. The other two, on the other hand, are complete knobheads and seem to regard the road outside Dark Juan Terrace as their own personal property and that the Ocado man is out to rape and kill us all and must be defended against at all costs. Having seen the prices of Ocado stuff, financial abuse appears to be a given at the very least… Saying that, if my abode was invaded by nefarious persons, Igor would do the shouting about it, Hodgson would do nothing to defend me but will shred anyone trying to hurt Mrs Dark Juan into a bloody pile of human spaghetti, and Zeus would just show them where the fucking family silver was and sell us all out for a sausage. Note that your correspondent does not even FEATURE in the furry terrorists’ list of priorities, yet it is my bank account that gets roughly fucked up the arse every time (sans lubrication) every time one of the wankers gets ill…

Dogs are rubbish. Something that isn’t rubbish, however, is the platter I am currently spinning, being Gonemage’s “Master Of Disgust”. This nasty little 5 track EP is the brainchild of Cara Neir main man Galimgim (or Garry Brents to his mates), and is loosely based around the famed computer game character Wario from the Mario games. Where it gets really interesting is the fact that Galimgim has fused some absolutely filthy and uncompromising blackened death metal with chiptunes and old SNES samples. Also, Gonemage is a one man show, so there’s been a bloke painstakingly sampling all the old sound effects from SNES and Game Boy Mario games, and then writing tunes around them, and then carefully integrating those samples into his songs. That’s a work rate that needs to be applauded.

The EP opens with the title track “Master Of Disgust” with a cheery “Here we go!” before descending instantly into musical anarchy where absolutely filthy DM guitars vie for your attention with contrapuntal cheery electronic bleeps and blips and it appears that Galimgim has been at the whizz again as he launches into hyperspeed from a dead stop in less than three seconds. The velocity is pretty astonishing, actually. And he doesn’t slow down. This is not music to have sex to. It would be over in four seconds and that would include the first bite of pizza, such is the mental musical speed. Also, having Wario chuntering away in the background would put you right off your vinegar stroke.

The second song, “Mega Toss Into Crypt”, doesn’t dial down the madness either, terminal velocity blastbeats slamming the unfortunate listener straight back against the wall and pummeling them until they submit, a bloodied, panting, broken mess, with the same pseudo-cheerful chiptune squeals and squeaks sneaking around in the back of the mix, like shadow-dwelling predators just waiting for their moment to strike. Colossal, mountainous riffs batter you around the head as the electronic element slashes your Achilles tendons so you can’t run away any more and the percussion sets the time for your subsequent torture. Very fast.

“WarioWare – Possessed Console” reduces the speed very slightly, as the electronics crawl all over the face of the song like little, brightly coloured, highly venomous spiders. When I say the speed is reduced slightly, it’s still lightning fast, just not as fast as the first two songs. I think Galimgim has some issues he needs addressing by professionals. His music is absolutely insane, and therefore by extension so is he. You know what I mean, the kind of person that speaks in a strange high voice and stares intently at a point somewhere over and behind your left shoulder. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses do when they are trying to make you join the Church and flog you copies of Watchtower, and instead you want to be rid of them because you’re in the middle of a Satanic ritual and the debasement of that nubile young virgin won’t be doing itself on the altar, so you quietly smile and invite them in, close and lock the door behind you and grin as you raise your sacrificial dagger behind their God-fearing backs and wonder how their God will protect them now after you cut their spinal columns and turn them into basically heads on a stick, a la Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek. Praying doesn’t help you when you can’t talk…

Galimgim is also possessed of a voice (or just possessed) that surely belongs to some demon from at least the third circle of Dante’s Inferno – a guttural, volcanic grunt that hints at imminent lava flows exploding from the subterranean and is spectacularly violent and aggressive, and this is at odds with the electronic element to the music. The cheeriness and exuberance of the chiptunes and samples form an otherworldly, decidedly uncomfortable counterpoint to the metal, but rather than distracting from the music or just being an irritant, they have a scratchy, predatory quality to them that enhances rather than detracts from the musical narrative.

The EP closes with “Foul Portal To Delirium”. This is a fully electronic piece that is replete with samples, yet it still has a gnarled and grotesque quality – like a circus from hell. Brightly painted clowns and ringmasters and gymnasts entertain a crowd in the Big Top, but you start to notice little details… The tent is made from dyed skins sewn together, and you see a nipple in the tanned dermis. The clowns caper but you see the buckets of stuff they are throwing at each other is actually gore and blood, and their teeth are sharpened, lethal points designed especially for tearing flesh and the ringmaster bellows his commands to his performers in a voice that echoes from otherworldly, sepulchral depths. The trapeze artists drop lower and lower from the heights of the human skin big top and you can see the flash of wickedly sharp blades attached to their lithe legs and ankles and the gymnasts flip and tumble and release clouds of neurotoxins from pouches attached to their wrists. Lion tamers whip crudely stitched together chimeric crosses of man and beast, their bladed bullwhips eliciting whimpers from cruelly abused human mouths… And through it all, the calliope. The mechanical, steam powered music from the calliope cheerfully underpins the beginning of the slaughter of the crowd. The infernal calliope becomes ever louder and ever faster until it is a screaming, colossal thing that fills the entire universe and all you can hear is the white noise of the calliope and all you can see is a combination of red and black as your nervous system collapses from a combination of sound and neurotoxin…

Well, that was rather more of an instinctive reaction than I was expecting from this record. Gonemage are the calliope to that circus of horrors.

Fuck.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Gonemage 9/10 for a frankly fucking brilliant little EP that manages to beguile and bloody you in equal parts. A mark has been deducted because I feel that the mix of chiptune, Super Mario Brothers and superturbo blackened death might be a little too challenging to some metalheads. But it is a fantastic record if you want to be brutal with a sense of warped fun.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Master Of Disgust
02. Mega Toss Into Crypts
03. WarioWare – Possessed Console
04. Demon Head And The Reign Of Stench
05. Foul Portal To Delirium

LINE-UP:
Galimgim (Garry Brents) – Guitars, Bass, Drum Programming, Synth, Vocals. 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Chimpgrinder – Vol 666, Oliver, Simian Space King (Remasters)

Chimpgrinder – Vol 666, Oliver, Simian Space King (Remasters)
Electric Talon Records
Release Date: 22.04.22
Running Time: Vol 666: 9:22, Oliver: 9:05, SSK: 15:47
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, my fellow followers of the Left Hand Path. Have you made your obeisance’s to our Dread Lord yet? And if not, why not? I am Dark Juan, and I am here to lead you to life of debauchery and salaciousness that would make a porn director blush, via the medium of a poorly written and even more poorly punctuated record review in which I shall scribe lengthy, nonsensical sentences that don’t have ANY ACTUAL POINT to them and are simply here for my own left-field amusement because that’s the way I roll, homeboys and girls, and other people whose gender I am not going to assume at this point because I don’t do gender politics. If you’re a good person, regardless of how you identify yourself, I am going to treat you with respect and friendship and expect the same back. I will get cross if I am not reciprocated with…

Now then, Chimpgrinder. A name to conjure with if there ever was one. What does it mean? Are we discussing a bunch of horrible bastards who are shoving simians through mincers? In which case there is a special place in hell for you all in which I shall PERSONALLY put you all very slowly through a bacon slicer, feet first. It gets exciting and interesting when you get near the gentleman vegetables. The begging and screaming are music to the ears of this Hellpriest… Or is it the name of a dating / pick up website for homosexual hominids? Where big bollocked bull chimps can find their significant same sex other for sexual shenanigans? It does beg the question as to how a chimpanzee might communicate with another of his species over the interwebs. Yes, I have been imbibing. Lidl and Aldi are selling single malts for £16 a bottle and it frankly would be rude not to.

Now I have dragged myself back to reality and what I am actually listening to, I shall tell you the tale of the band Chimpgrinder. A group of gentlemen from Philadelphia, PA, in the former colonies of Her Majesty the United States of America (the Queen called by the way. She’s appalled at the way you govern your country and has indicated Her wish to return the US to British rule. You all owe us 400 years of back taxes and NO TEA PARTIES THIS TIME…) and the fact they are super scuzzy fuzzmeister generals. To quote the chaps themselves:

“The origins of the band evolved from the necessity of cheap band rental space.  Having cycled through a few roommates, and tired of sharing rooms with flaky Emo and Deathcore bands, our landlord suggested a cheaper discounted space in the decommissioned animal wing of the human centrifuge building in the bowels of the Johnsville Naval Air Development Centre. Walking down the dark hallways to the practice space, large metal ring tie downs are spaced intermittently along the floor leading to the tiny 11×11 concrete room with no air conditioning or heat. A large incinerator and animal cages were our only neighbours.”

This area, and the equipment surrounding them, caused the band to come up with the concept of Chimpgrinder, being a band documenting the history and tale of an astro-chimp named Oliver, and his subsequent murders, lust for his blonde nurse, dissolution and attempts to form a cult after his escape from the facility he had been a prisoner of for twenty years. The band writes from the first-person perspective of Oliver as he tries to make some kind of sense of everything and form a useful allegory to the same feelings in humankind as we stagger our confused, often drunk, way through life.

We start our odyssey with “Vol 666”, as we are listening to these records in order of their release, so as to form a coherent narrative of the journey of Oliver and the band’s musical metamorphoses, and the first thing that strikes you is the angry, snotty, Punk attitude of the players, even though the music is Sludgy as fuck. Consulting the liner notes for the record, we discover that the band recorded the songs in single takes and this DIY aesthetic carries through into the sound of the finished work. It’s furious, claustrophobic and not unlike being hit in the face by a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, even with this expertly remixed version. I can recall the somewhat chaotic production of “Vol 666” on the initial release and this remixed version manages superbly to keep the anarchic quality of the music, but is also able to lend it depth and clarity (to a certain degree – this is Sludge, remember?) although the vocals are far too low down in the mix for my taste. Otherwise it’s fucking brilliant. 

Dark Juan is more than partial to a good heavy dose of Sludge, and Chimpgrinder’s treacly, warm and sticky sound is just delicious. And they have a concept. Dark Juan fucking LOVES concept records. The other great thing about Chimpgrinder is that they do not fuck about. Each record, and each song doesn’t outstay its welcome. Short sharp shocks are the order of the day and that is fantastic because most Stoner and Sludge bands spend so long noodling and fucking about the listener can go and make a full roast dinner and the band will still be playing the opening riff of the first song while the singer scrabbles desperately around for the LSD he has misplaced. This record sounds that dirty you’re in danger of catching any number of STD’s from it. Trust me, that’s a Very Good Thing.

Next is “Oliver” and the first thing that grabs you (by the balls, natch) is how the band has evolved from the filthy Sludge-Punk-Metal of the first record to a more Doom Metal based blueprint, with the Sludge dialled down the tiniest amount. The vocals are now discernible as well, instead of disappearing behind walls of Stoner sound. The songs are more coherent and much easier to read, although the basic building blocks of huge superfuzz, mogadon-slow grooves and a bottom end so heavy it crushes matter into neutronium are all still crushingly there. There’s nothing clean about this music. It’s all used hypodermics, beer cans, half empty Chinese food containers and oil-streaked clothing. I don’t even want to speculate on the state of the band’s underwear. 

The very small space that Chimpgrinder rehearsed in gives their music a massive, yet closed in and dangerous quality which couldn’t be replicated in a studio. Yet they can pick up their skirts too and break out of the drug-fuelled musical realms they inhabit and kick you straight in your big fat head, as evidenced by ‘The Blonde Lab Assistant’ and ‘She Has Visions’. It’s safe to say I am becoming a bit of a fan of Chimpgrinder, although their name is conjuring up images in my head I really don’t want to contemplate at any great length. Even a libertine has limits. ‘An Ill Advised Harem Experiment’ amply displays this, being as it is about a drug-fuelled, psychotic simian trying to form a human harem. Yuck. But as a musical concept, fucking awesome.

The last of this triumvirate of remastered recordings is “Simian Space King”. At this point in the narrative universe of Chimpgrinder, Oliver, who had been attempting to form a cult in Africa composed of hedge-fund debutantes, auto-didactic celebrities and sympathetic tribesmen, has been recaptured by the government and has been fed all kinds of psychotropic drugs and flung daily into a centrifuge to force his mind back into negative space to find a door that should open when he nears it. This is the kind of shit I wish I could write. All my stuff tends towards kink and body horror and having a bash at religion. I am VERY jealous. The aggressive nature of the music has been turned down a notch on “Simian Space King” and veers more towards Stoner grooves than the aggressive, thick Sludge of the previous two records. However, that is not to say that Chimpgrinder have wimped out on this one. It’s a more considered, open record. The instruments breathe and the musical arrangements show considerably more consideration. It is the sound of a band hitting their stride and kicking all the ass in the world on behalf of their much-maligned simian brother. The music is cleaner and less treacly and thick than on “Vol 666” and “Oliver”. The title track itself is kind of like… a Sludge ballet, if you will. Put your cans on and shut your eyes and the music conjures up images of endless lines of rainbow-lit chimps gyrating and posturing in a complicated, otherworldly dance in a fractured, jagged representation of space and NO-ONE KNOWS WHY THEY ARE DOING THIS. I would like Chimpgrinder to explain just what they are doing to my psyche, why, and how I can make it stop.

Well, that was a fucking musical journey and a half. I’m seated, quietly, in Dark Juan Terrace, wondering just what the fuck happened to me. The answer is Chimpgrinder. Chimpgrinder happened and now I don’t know what is real anymore. I’m just going to leave you with the explanation of the story of Oliver the band provided kindly while I attempt to re-join the actual continuum I should be in, as Chimpgrinder have blown me utterly out of universal sync. Wow.

“For twenty years Oliver had been kept in a small, isolated compound. Agent Jefferson was his only friend. He exposed Oliver to the blues, he shared cases of Budweiser with the Astro Chimp as they watched boxing matches and the Discovery Channel, he brought in armfuls of magazines Oliver used to make collages; Agent Jefferson was the one-time space chimp’s pipeline to the outside world. Jefferson was also the man paid by the government to keep Oliver satisfied and imprisoned. When Oliver found a photo of a certain blonde nurse in the wallet that Jefferson carelessly left out one day, 20 years of friendship, and imprisonment, came to an end. Now Oliver, with blood on his hands, must face the legacy of a past he doesn’t understand and a future that has flashbacks of Centaurus A screaming across his mind.

Oliver would get sick from the combination of psychotropic drugs and centrifugal force he was subjected to on a daily basis. His handlers would in turn use the lust he felt for his nurse to reorient him. You might sometimes think about how we swirl around a black hole like so much uneaten meatloaf heading to the garbage disposal but Oliver was continually spun into the reality of that void and then jerked up by an unnatural appeal to his instincts. The eternal stomach of the void and then the heliocentric flesh of the blonde woman.

You might remember in the last album he killed the nurse’s husband and fled to Africa to start a cult comprised of hedge fund debutantes, autodidactic celebrities and sympathetic tribesmen (if you weren’t around yeah that’s what happened). But the government caught up to him and put his mind back into negative space to find a door that should theoretically open. A narrative occurs to Oliver in disjointed fragments. Like the pieces of it suggest a direction. Can he ride the arrow back home? Home to what? What will he bring with him once he learns he’s got a full crown of doors like 13 burning black diamonds slanting upon his simian brow?”

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Chimpgrinder a fully universal 10/10 for their absolutely amazing concept sludge. Which in itself is something to which The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has never been exposed before and is now blown into realms of imagination better left unexplored.

TRACKLISTING:

Volume 666
01. Obliteration and Bliss 
02. Paid
03. The Blonde Lab Assistant
04. Oxygen Thins Out
05. She Had Visions
06. An Ill Advised Harem Experiment

Oliver
01. Warm Beer, Cold Ape (Intro)
02. Turning From the Sun
03. Meetin’ My Baby
04. Just an Animal After All
05. My Crime
06. Sacred Ape

Simian Space King
01. The Arrow Ritual
02. High Ground and Looking Down
03. Waylaid Way Out
04. Simian Space King
05. Stomach of God
06. Infinity Creep

LINE-UP:
Aaron Gerwer – Vocals
Steve Mensick – Guitars
Chris Scott – Bass Guitar
Chris Turek – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (True Welsh Black Metal)

Metel Du Gwir Cymreig Cover Art

Iselder – Metel Du Gwir Cymreig (True Welsh Black Metal)
Marwolaeth Records
Release Date: 15/04/22
Running Time: 28:58
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Well now. Dark Juan here, and in an unwarranted moment of sensibility I have not yet started drinking and it is a quarter past eight on Easter Monday. Clearly either age is catching up to me or my liver has cried enough and will only accept tea from now on, which is a shame as there are 40 pints of brown ale waiting to be bottled in the pantry at Dark Juan Terrace. We will put this theory to the test in around ten days when it has conditioned in the bottle and becomes drinkable. Also, I am eyeing up the single malts that Aldi are selling for a mere £16 per bottle. I quite fancy attempting the Islay. In the meantime, the latest album on my review list is playing and I am giving it my consideration…

Ladies, gentlemen and gentlepersons, may I introduce Iselder. Iselder is a one-man Welsh Black Metal project and the man in question, Gofid (Distress in English, or possibly Trouble), is FUCKING ANGRY about what has happened to his proud nation historically at the hands of English governments and the wealthy English who came and bought all the houses and priced the rural Welsh out of their own fucking country. Now, it should be pointed out that I am English, but I lived and worked in Wales for years (even to the point of attempting to learn the language and mainly failing because I simply cannot wrap my head around all the mutations) and I have a certain sympathy for Gofid’s position because I love Wales, I loved living there and I loved the sense of community and the people, especially when Mrs Dark Juan and I opened Flibbertigibbet Tattoo (Tatw Flibbertigibbet Cymru) in Castell Newydd Emlyn many moons ago. I have many Welsh friends and was a part of the South Wales Metal scene when I played in Doomcrow. I could be considered a Welsh nationalist without actually being Welsh and I’m not sure how that could be viewed. Anyway, I’m very pro-Welsh and indeed our Head Honcho and Chief Wrangler here at Ever-Metal, Beth “Cymru Am Byth, Bitch” Jones is as Welsh as it is possible to be without being born in Splott.

Anyway, Iselder is Welsh for depression or lowness. And the music is heavily Punk-edged Black Metal, very much in the vein of the early years of Black Metal, although at least the production job is miles better than the early BM stuff that sounded like it was recorded on a 10 watt Starforce amp, with a badly tuned Stagg guitar, on a kids’ karaoke set from the opposite end of a massive, echoey hall. The description of the sound is by NO MEANS autobiographical. Iselder do still have the Lo Fi Black Metal aesthetic, but have thankfully managed to pull off a coherent sounding album.

Opening with ‘Cyflwyniad’ (‘Introduction’ – should have thought about it instead of running through Google translate with that one) Gofid reminds us just who tried eviscerating and killing off the Welsh language, who destroyed the laws of Hywel Dda and who vanquished Owain Glyndwr, who drowned the village of Capel Celyn, among others (cofiwch Dryweryn!) to create a reservoir to serve the city of Liverpool and just how Wales has been brutalised and exploited historically by England before crashing headlong into ‘I’r Gad’ (‘To Battle’ or ‘To Arms’. I actually knew that without recourse to online translators, so I’m probably wrong) and subjecting us to the kind of fury that normally can only be achieved by a lady with an arse like two poorly parked Volkswagens complaining about something trivial. Instead Gofid does it all himself – waspish, razor guitars, pounding martial drumming and rumbling, threatening bass underpin his visceral, hate filled bark on all the songs but especially vitriolic are ‘Rebecca’ (remembering the Rebecca Riots against the Turnpike Trusts in Sir Gaerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire), Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire) and Ceredigion), ‘Llosgi Bwriadol’ (roughly translates as ‘Arson’ referencing the holiday home burnings of the late Eighties and early Nineties) and ‘Gwlad y Meirw’ (‘Land Of The Dead’ probably referencing Llanelli. The only good things to come out of Llanelli are Felinfoel Double Dragon cwrw and the roads to Swansea and Carmarthen).

I’m not sure whether saying I enjoyed this album is correct. I enjoyed the music and hearing about Wales again, but this is a record that spits hatred towards the English government. I can’t help but agree with Gofid about it all. It just goes to show how long injustice can live on in the memories of an oppressed people and how music can be a powerful reminder of that injustice.

A good record that is venomous in tone and savage in execution and has a powerful political message. It will always be an outsider in anyone’s collection but it’s a worthwhile listen and I’m with Gofid all the way. Cymru am byth, er mai Sais ydw i a cofiwch Dryweryn!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Iselder 8/10 for a great record that reminds us of the history of Wales, bloody and otherwise.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cyflwyniad (Introduction)
02. I’r Gad (To Battle or To Arms)
03. Cofio (Remember)
04. Cont (Cunt)
05. Brad y Llyfrau Glas (Betrayal of The Blue Books)
06. Llosgi Bwriadol (Arson)
07. Rebecca
08. Gwlad y Meirw (Land Of The Dead)
09. Rhyfela (War)

LINE-UP:
Gofid – fucking everything, butty bach!

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.