James Murphy. James Motherfucking Murphy... I mean, who hasn't heard of this guy yet?! I recently ran into an old acquaintance of mine who's into the metal scene up here in Humboldt County. We shot the shit, eventually discussing influential guitarists. In turn I mentioned James Murphy. For the life of me he had never heard of the dude! Dude?! He's only been in a few seminal metal bands right? Only bands like Agent Steel, Cancer, Death, Konkhra, Obituary, and Testament. He's appeared as a guest on several genre defining albums and even put out two of his own records under his own name! I know what you're asking: So what? Big deal! Eh, he's no Yngwie Malmsteen or Joe Satriani. Phhht! Blah, blah, blah...
Umm... yeah. Well... Anyways, in my opinion he's better than that! I mean don't get me wrong on Mr. Perpetual Flame or The Extremist, I like both musicians and have respect for them, but we're talking about death metal here not flame-metal. So in light of Cobra's most recent post in the spirit of OSDM (i.e. Oppressor), I present you with this fine slab of blood-drenched, soul-eroding, old-school brutal Death Metal. Its basically as close as you are going to get to a "masterpiece" in this genre!
I remember the first time I heard this record... I was partially drunk, stoned, amped up on caffeine and sugar (possibly coming down from some recent acid trip), prepping for my show on KHSU-FM (which aired between 3-6am Saturday mornings). I had just finished putting together the playlist and was just about to take over the mic when I decided to return some CDs and records that didn't fit into my program that morning to their proper graveyards in the studio. Since I am short (i.e. not very "tall" as they say) and thus found myself precariously standing on an old rickety step ladder, I was in the throes of replacing the last handful of albums I had pulled when I inadvertently knocked this stubborn CD off the shelf. Fortunately I caught it just in time! It must have been fate, or karma, or some fucked up bullshit, otherwise it would have fallen to the floor which was cement, breaking the jewel case (they still make those right?), and likely throwing the CD across into the cavernous corner of that section of the studio (and in the process scratching the hell out of it)... So I stumbled across this record. It was on Roadrunner. It was grim looking with obscure artwork. It had a cool name. So I gave it a brief spin in the back room. Needless to say, I was blown out of my suds-and-buds daze upon first listen! I immediately aired it as soon as I could get it on-air. It actually got some callers to call in from Eureka - mainly those too cracked out to fall asleep and apparently had nothing better to do at that time of the day - but they requested a whole onslaught of OSDM that morning. Man, that show sure rocked! But this album blew me out of the water! I even put it on twice that morning! No joke.
So with this album now "reissued in 2004 by Roadrunner, 2006 by Metal Mind, and 2007 by Displeased" according to Metal-Archives, it isn't as hard to find as it was, say ten years ago, but I figured since this is my first post, I'd do it proper justice in hailing an album that was both considered one of the best of the best as well as ahead of its time. It even has a 100% rating on Encyclopaedia Metallum (shhh! don't tell anyone!). It's technical, brutal, swift, precise, and deadly. "Monarch of the Sleeping Marches" has some of the most memorable riffing Murphy has laid down on record. Supposedly Disincarnate were going to release new material recently but alas they're "on hold"... I'm curious if this has anything to do with the recent recurrence of the tumor he was diagnosed with back in 2001. Hopefully Murphy has a safe and speedy recovery!
Hey look, another new addition to the IllCon Team! Aegipan and I share the distinct misfortune of both putting down roots in the Humboldt County area at one time or another, and our acquaintanceship/correspondence has been long and fruitful. His knowledge of metal runs nearly as deep as my own (JUST KIDDING but no, it is pretty deep), and his thirst for both truth and alcohol are legendary amongst the Northmen. His recommendations and/or donations have made for many a previous IllCon post, what a joy, then, to finally have him in our ranks! HAIL.