Monday, January 30, 2012


If my parents had a list of things I shouldn't have spent my hard earned paper round money on then arcade games where public enemy number one when I was a child. Even more so than comics and records! I could happily piss away a whole weeks wage ( back then, that was a lot) inside of an hour at any number of amusement arcades dotted around my home town. I have always believed the appeal was the fact that you believed you would never see these games on your home computer, couple that with the amount of violence and the prison-art-therapy artwork adorning most of the machines casings and you had a sure thing when it came to relieving young people of money.
I recently spent a bit of time messing around with a MAME emulator and revisiting some of these games. Suffice to say, it becomes obvious you were not designed to complete most on a single credit. A few have held up pretty well while others still hold a small corner of my memory hostage. Following my research, these are my sure fire, revisit, classic arcade cash devourers.

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (1992)

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs not only combined all manner of awesome things ( dinosaurs, cool cars, guns, post-apocalyptic story and girls) to appeal to a young man, but it also managed to keep me going back time after time. Despite being Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales bolted to the Final Fight game system, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs held my attention for years. You had guns! Final Fight didn't have those. You could kick the shit out of dinosaurs! Final Fight couldn't do that.

That's what you think dick neck.

The story had you fighting off poachers, mutants, bikers and various nasty types from messing with the balance of nature. That didn't really matter to me. The clincher was halfway through the first stage, being able to blast someone out of a window with a shotgun before punching a Rock Hopper (Raptor. None of the dinosaurs go by their real names) in the face outside in an alley! Throw in being able to smash through bikers and barrels in a car and I was sold. My pockets rapidly emptied.

Ignore the System of A Down tune at the beginning, Some people have a nerve.

A.B. Cop (1990)

AB Cop was the easiest of my childhood arcade adventures. Being as I once managed to complete it on a single credit, sadly there was no one to witness my amazing skill on that fateful day in a derelict amusement arcade in Blackpool. AB ( Air bike, air biscuit) Cop took the Hang On template of third person, full immersion racing ( you had a bike to lean left and right on, or if your arcade was cheap they just had the cabinet with handle bars ) and added enemies to battle. The levels all took the same route, ram various nasty biker types before confronting the boss. You then had to use your turbo charge to jump and smash him off the road to complete the level and get a satisfying thumbs up from your rider.

The main appeal of AB Cop was the difficulty scale. It was so easy to have a single credit and get through about 3 levels before you had to dive into your pocket for a follow up go. Once you worked out the main tactic for dealing with every boss ( jump, turbo charge. steer left/right, repeat) you could rampage through the whole game on a single credit. Of course the appeal of showing off to all and sundry in the arcade by reaching the completion screen of any game was impossible to ignore. No matter how easy said game was.


Long before you could take cover with a fancy foot pedal in Time Crisis and such games, rail shooters gave you a big machine gun and threw waves of enemies at you. Beast Busters ( from the ever reliable SNK stable) was always the game I saw in arcades but never managed to actually play as they always seemed to place Operation Wolf or Rambo 3 in my way as a distraction. Luckily, I found a flea pit on a family outing that only had assorted pinball tables, Asteroids and Beast Busters. No contest really, sorry Asteroids.

The wafer thin plot had you as gun nuts trying to escape a zombie infested city. Gun toting zombies at that. Pretty ahead of its time stuff? The gore was a major factor in how cool I thought this game was. Enemies exploded in blood and bone pieces, green slime was everywhere, they had zombie bikers, Jason like hockey masked monsters and then along came the absurd bosses! A driverless Jeep that shoots missiles before coming alive! A typical 80's street punk that transforms into a massive dog! A floating eye made of bodies! Next level shit for any kid. Even the soundtrack was sweet.

It had 3 f**king guns!

Party Bus

Thanks to the wonders of MAME technology you can enjoy all these titles from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to worry about all those dodgy, blatantly criminal looking dudes that used to hang around arcades, you don't have to worry about putting your hand in the never clean ashtray that adorned pretty much every machine and you don't have to worry about any bigger boys coming along and shoving you over while you where playing. The world of arcade gaming is far less dangerous these days.

P.S. If anyone can help to hook me up with any of the soundtracks to these games or other arcade classics then that would be sweet.

Part 2 to follow.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Above: Shelby Cobras lives! Self-portrait shot 1/27/2012

Fuck, dudes!
First off, my apologies for all but abandoning my loyal public lo these past few weeks. Things have been more than a bit chaotic around Casa Cobras for a bit, and between Apocryphon shows, work, life drama, the podcast, and the unfortunate demise of Megaupload (with it 75% of the content uploaded to IC in the last 3 years), I just couldn't bring myself to face you all until I had my shit back together. Which I do now. Really. Don't mind the twitch.
Anyhow, I don't have anything ground-breaking or spectacular to drop on you guys today, just a quick how's-your-father to let you know that you still give me warm fuzzies in my man-parts. Also, a couple quick bullet points:

First off, Illogical Contraption Radio has been a fucking BLAST lately, especially last week's interview with David Liebe Hart (right), celebrated songsmith of Tim & Eric fame. Go listen to that if you haven't already, then stick around until 10pm PST tonight, when we'll be going live again. Wanna call us? Sweet! The number is (415) 829-2980, and we look forward to verbally destroying you with our far-superior vernacular and brain functions.

(PS: The added bummer of the Megaupload shutdown is that several episodes of IC Radio, which never made it to iTunes, were stored therein, hence rendering them extinct to the ages. I've re-upped the surviving episodes to Mediafire as of today, but seeing as that particular file host will most likely be shut down within the week as well, I suggest you just man up and subscribe via iTunes.)

Who do we have on tonight's show, you ask?
What a wonderful question! Why, it's none other than the amazing FREEMAN, who blew our minds with tales of attempted murder by the Grateful Dead, the Friendship Bus, and CIA mind control via symbolism way back in Episode 7! I think it's safe to say that Freeman was one of the most enjoyable guests we've ever had on the show, and tonight's freak-out should be extra loopy, as our pet subject will be DISNEY AND BRAIN-WASHING. Dang.

ALSO. Apocryphon has a bunch of shows coming up (last weekend's shred-fest with HAZZARD'S CURE and Seattle's CRAWLIN' was the very definition of EPIC), so if you're in or around the Bay Area in February, come out and kick it with us. There's this:

Sunday Feb. 5 at Sub-Mission with PLAGUE WIDOW (they RULE), OLD CROW, YOUR ENEMY, HUMAN WASTE, and PILLAGER (just added)

Oh, and Dalton has a show at an art gallery with Street Justice on the 16th, then Apocryphon has another show at Eli's Mile High in Oakland with Worm Ouroboros, Bell Witch, Alaric, and Sutekh Hexen on the 24th. And let's not forget about the upcoming four-way split we're working on! I'd like to tell you more, but instead, I'm just going to post the best video ever uploaded to YouTube ten times in a row. If you play all of them simultaneously, you will achieve utter enlightenment and leave the plane of human material existence altogether. Enjoy:


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pagan Altar - Volume 1 (1982)

I'm not entirely sure what to put here to be honest. This band simply rules. Pure, plain, and simple and if you think otherwise, I'm not sure what to tell you other than: "...that's a bloody shame!" As I sit here typing in between my Ecology class and Senior capstone class, I am actually wearing a Pagan Altar shirt. Yep, you heard me correct! I'm THAT much of a fan...

Normally I'd discuss the band in more depth, and I'd probably would disclose more detail on my introduction and experience with the band, but seeing as I only have a few spare minutes to type said post, and furthermore I still have yet to run to the restroom, then eat, and prepare for my next class of course - not to mention get to the damned class on time - I'm going to leave you with this:

This band rules. Period. This release, titled Volume 1, was Pagan Altar's first full length and recorded in 1982 but was not officially released until 1998. If you're a fan of doom metal, and further NWOBHM, you cannot go wrong with this release. Fans of Black Sabbath, Witchcraft, Candlemass, Angel Witch and Pentagram look no further!
This is truly a great listen and is recommended to all who are into heavy metal, doom, and rock. Again, this band rules.

Get it Here, Here,
or Here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Frippin' Out Part 1 - Before Crimson

Warning: This post contains no metal and barely any prog.

Another Warning: I HATE whimsical boopty doopty Black Adder-Downton Abbey-Harry Potter British school boy BULLSHIT but this shit fuckin' rules.

It would be pretty lame to make a King Crimson megapost on Ill Con, especially in light of their recent battles with Spotify. Every dork on the internet knows and loves KC. You would be hard pressed to find a techy guitar player that doesn't worship Red and I know I've fallen into a YouTube rabbit hole or 3 watching old Crimson footage. So hey let's not be lame, let's be awesome and post these pre-Crimson all-killer-no-filler little known recordings by one of the greatest psychedelic rock outfits ever: Giles, Giles and Fripp.

Their first and only release, 1968's "The Cheerful Insanity Of..." is exactly that. Totally drugged out, blissful, trippy and silly. A bit Bonzo Dog Band, a little Beach Boys, A LOT of Monty Python, all Fripp'd out with his jazzy shreds all over. Just a complete awesome (non-brutal) listen.

I'm not going to get into a whole bio and life story on these guys because British people are hella boring. Basically these two bros (actual brothers) wrote a buncha songs and needed a singer and keyboard player. They took out an ad and this awesome guitar player that couldn't sing answered instead. They let him live with them and proceeded to produce a ton of home demos. Their demos kicked so much ass that they got a record deal and put out that thing I just posted up there ^^. These demos circulated in the underground prog dork circles for years and now I present to you THE BRONDESBURY TAPES for your listening pleasure. I like these a lot. Better than the actual album.


These songs are pretty much the polar opposite of the cold, bleak paranoia one feels when listening to early KC. Some say this has a lot to do with the poor reception/sales of "The Cheerful Insanity Of..." Fripp was essentially beaten down by the music industry his first go 'round. A lot of that negative energy was channeled into his new band a year later and is one of the reasons those first albums are so fucking magical.

Next time: PART 2 - After Crimson! The NYC Trilogy and lots of cocaine with Eno and Bowie!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

HELLCRAWLER - Wastelands (2011)

How about some crusty, Slovenian, old-school death metal all about apocalyptic warriors and nuclear wars?

I discovered these guys on one of those late night cruises around Bandcamp we all undertake when bored. Wade through numerous shitty bands before finding some gold. Its not quite polished gold yet in Hellcrawler's case but its nearly their. Ignore a few generic drops in riffing and they prove themselves pretty adapt at synthesising Motorhead, Entombed and Autopsy into big, nasty d-beat tunes with sludge overtones. They seem pretty into apocalyptic fiction due to the numerous samples from Mad Max and The Roadwarrior, another reason Illcon followers should dig it.

Don't go watching any of the videos of these boys on Youtube if you don't want the apocalyptic vision ruined. They don't look like crazed, bearded bikers, just some normal metal dudes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WINTER NON-MIXTAPE 2011 (A Month Late, Sorry)

Dang. It seems that while we were all cheerleading for the defeat of SOPA and patting each other on the virtual back, somebody snuck in and shut down Megaupload. Bummer. As we bid our old friend MU adieu (and with it, about 75% of the music on this site), we must remain calm and determined in the face of adversity--for there are vast, terrible things still upon the horizon, and our only weapon against the forces of greed and evil is our unity. Stay strong, O my internet brothers and sisters. Stay strong. (PS I don't plan on going back and replacing every single missing Megaupload link, but I'll re-up files on request if you guys ask me nicely.)

Speaking of staying strong, I assume most of you are abreast of recent happenings over at our long-lost twin blog The Living Doorway (we must share at least, like, 90% readership, right?), namely Brother JGD's introduction of the TLD Fit Club, a forum for fat Hessians to talk about (and act on) getting skinny and healthy. As JGD and I share a brain, it comes as no surprise that I am fully on board with the Fit Club, and had actually already undertaken the monumental task, lo these past few weeks/months, of shedding my massive suds-gut, eating right, running, lifting, exercising, etc etc etc. That's right, folks: you can kiss Cobras' fat ass goodbye, and enjoy a much longer, sexier, and more sensual kiss with my brand new, toned, skinny ass. Pucker up.
But enough about my rippling torso and rock hard pecs. I was thinking about things a little, and realized that, via the weird psychic connection between JGD and myself, I'm probably more responsible for the TLD Fit Club than he is. I mean, we do share a brain. We like all the same shitty wigger slam and proto-death. We both buy stupid Santa hats to put on our cats at Christmastime (pictures available on request). Doesn't that basically qualify me as CO-OWNER of the Fit Club, if not outright CEO? I think it does, and as such, I've put together a little treat for all you pasty slobs looking to get blasted in 2012. It's been done before (by Sergeant D, I think), and by God it'll be done again, but I made a sick workout mix for you guys as an entry for the (month late, sorry) Don't Call It A Mixtape series, to guide you on your path to utter washboardism. Behold:

Today's delayed mix comes in two hour-long volumes, and basically serve as a Greatest Hits collection from the Cobras DM pantheon. I know when I'm blasting through my fiftieth set of inverted lat-curls, I need some super-crunchy, nad-pumping death metal spewing into my earholes, not too tech-y, too slow, or too slammy (although slam is often cited as a worthy workout companion--rightfully so). So that's what we've got here. Two rock-solid hours of cardio-friendly grind, spanning the entire twenty-plus year existence of the genre we all love so much.

Use this mix wisely, and you will reap the benefits for years to come. I'd like to thank JGD for introducing the concept of Fit Club invite JGD to join in on MY new Fit Club idea, as well as extend the invitation to all you sad, pathetic, fat fat fatties out there too. Let's get ripped.
Speaking of JGD, can you guys believe the crappy graphics he puts together over there on The Living Doorway (right)?
Seriously? MS Paint? You're better than that, Bro.


61:05, 103.4 MB



60:46, 97.1 MB


Pictured left to right: Cobras, Swayze, JGD.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trou Noir - Echoes in Black Holes (2011)

When I finally got around to compiling my favorite records of 2011, I couldn't believe what I picked as my number 1. But it was undisputed. Didn't I eventually love every second of 777 Sects? Didn't my eyes fly out of my skull when I cranked Entity? Didn't Immolation's corporate-sponsored riff fest satisfy my secret guitar-squealing fantasies? I thought Ruin Lust blew my mind when I saw them play some ratty basement in the suburbs of New Jersey? WHAT ABOUT ASH BORER, MAN?

Nope, none of these beat out a record that exuded so much undeniable charm and misanthropic enthusiasm that I forgave almost unlistenable production. The volume on each track varies. There is zero bass. The vocals are crackly and indecipherable. The drums make no sense. It sounds so freaking kvlt! I thought I found that off-putting?

So why did Trou Noir's Echoes in Black Holes trump every other record 2011 had to offer?

Let's start with my personal highlight of the album:

Atmospheric, check. Peaceful, somehow. Menacing, a little. And cool riffage, bros.

But what gets me every time is the goddamn drummer. What the fuck is your deal, Worbid? Your timing is off and you sound like you've never listened to anyone, ever, in any genre, play any drum set. YOU ARE BREAKING ALL THE RULES, MAN! You can't just hit the crash cymbal and nothing else for 4 bars straight! You can't just fall on the double bass during a guitar interlude! You can't just hit those toms anytime you damn well feel like it! WHO SAID YOU COULD HIT THE TOM AND CRASH AT THE SAME TIME LIKE THAT? Where is the structure? Where are the familiar hand holds like blast beats and a STEADY BEAT ON THE HI HAT, is that too much to ask, Worbid?

And that's exactly why I find this record so charming. They inspire question after question. After countless listens I'm still interested. They are inadvertently breaking all the rules and they're doing it so compellingly and authentically that I have absolutely nothing but reverence for this 30 minute deluge of childlike exploration. Do I hear myself? This is ridiculous. I can't believe I'm talking about a black metal album this way. I should be ashamed of myself. I'm going to put Entity back on.

In the meantime, enjoy the most straightforwardly unusual black metal record of 2011. Crank it, but not too loud cuz the next track might just be 10 times louder than the last.


Metallum /

Monday, January 16, 2012


Credit to former Cretaceous/current Apocryphon bassist Jumanji for suggesting Rochester, NY's KALIBAS to me recently--dude is a Bro amongst Bros despite his misguided Republican ideals, and beyond the sick grindcore recommends he even stooped to being my stand-in date for a Devo concert at the Fillmore this Saturday past. What a dude.
Anyhow, Kalibas' ultra-chaotic brand of spazzy, sample-laden death fits in nicely with the ol' IllCon Value System, although it's their dirty-basement-dwelling, semi-DIY aesthetic that really sets them apart from the camo-shortsed pack of hyper-riffadelic Suffo-clones out there. This is DM with a big old set of nasty, hairy balls--crunchy as fuck and miles from the sterile, studio-perfect tech that we've all learned to settle for a decade later. Apparently, they broke up shortly after the release of this album, but realized the folly of their ways and re-formed in 2007, enjoying a second life that brought us the epic Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Barely Exaggerated in 2011. I recommend checking it out, along with the smattering of other demos and splits these Sasqautchian Malmsteenites have produced over the years.

They're no Devo, but they'll do for a lazy Monday afternoon.
Your face = melted.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE



Episode 18 of Illogical Contraption Radio is now up for download and streaming HERE.

Get lost in labyrinthine conspiracies about Kubrick’s The Shining with a cavalcade of goofy guests: our old pal Dr. Franklin Ruehl, drag goddess Peaches Christ, filmmaker Rodney Ascher, and Excepter’s John Fell Ryan. A stunningly redundant journey through the mind of Hollywood’s most brilliant hack, with heavy metal and drunken stupidity to spare.

Canada is Just Plain Better at Music

It wasn’t until I started doing research for this article that I discovered how important the 1990’s were for Canadian music. During that glorious decade Canadians were producing some of the finest examples of contemporary soundings. While us U.S.ers were certainly churning out the hits, Canadians weren’t content merely to do the same thing well; they wanted to do it beauty. Canada took it from mere musicianship to pure artistry, honing each style into its philosophical essence as if distilling from an undisclosed variety of average grains only the finest of whiskys. Who can forget the saucy rock baladeering of Bryan Adams, who although he had a number of hits in the 80’s, managed Jesuslike to pinch off a second Billboard No. 1 hit in the early 90’s. It’s as if NAFTA resurrected his rock. There was of course also the reformulation of feminism into mass marketability which can be attributed at least in part to Canadian Sarah McLachlan, the songstress who stormed the adult contemporary field in 1993, taking her sweet grrl time to found Lilith Fair four years later. And then of course was perhaps the brightest of Canada's stars, North York native Snow who simultaneously pushed two genres, rap and reggae’ into previously uncharted territory and was also justly rewarded with a Recording Industry Association of Japan Best New Artist Award. The list goes on, but I think I’ve made my point. Texas may think they’re not to be messed with, but actions speak louder than words my friends, and Canada doesn’t answer to anybody, they already are their own country.

Still, there was one genre of music that dominated them all to define the 90’s. In the United States a lot of people, at least in my generation, look back at the Clinton Era with a sense of shame or bemusement. Sure, we wore a lot of stupid clothes and listened to a lot of shitty music, but hey, at the time it was all optimism and progress right? For the first time in 12 years we had a president that actually seemed like he might be a genuine bro. Well anyway, he knew how to burn one and liked to jam. Economically we were more prosperous than any time in the last two decades and it looked like an awesome future was literally right at our fingertips. Leave it to white people to be all depressed and despondent when they have it so good. And yes, the Canadians once again showed us how it was really done. No I’m not talking about Saints and Sinners because nobody was listening to metal in the 90’s. I’m talking about the band that boiled the Grungy slacker essence of poor-little-rich-boy Anglo-Saxon misanthropy into a potent sauce of pure despondency. I’m talking about Grivo.

Formed in Toronto in late 1995, Grivo came on the Grunge scene pretty late, but man they were fucking apathetic. Taking their name from front man and vocalist Dan Grivo, the band featured former members of a number of unremarkable Canadian alt-rock bands, but the new combination was magical. Unfortunately, as we know from far too much experience, a star that burns fifteen times as bright burns only 6.66 percent as long, and Grivo was no different.

Although the band had yet to record an album, by the following year they were already well known outside of their home country as one of the most nonplussed bands of the decade. It would be hard for me to describe it better than Wikipedia, so I won’t: Grivo became phenomenally “famous for their bleak lyrics, as well as a general indifference toward their audience, fame, and music.” Although rumor had it the band might be working somewhat half-assedly on some recordings, nothing ever materialized and it seemed that Grivo had all but disappeared and left virtually no record of their passing except for fragments of a single live performance in early '96.

Suddenly, as that same year was drawing to a close, Dan Grivo himself reappeared backed with an entirely new lineup. Making their debut on MTV, their very first  music video went on to win the Best New Video in the Jangly Upbeat Pop category for that year. And for a second time in less than 2 years, Grivo again proved that lightning strikes lots of times in Canada. They just does things better than we do up there.

Thanks to TooYube user Badjackcutter for the rare archival footage.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Suppression/Grief - Split EP (1995)

Growing up in a relatively small, somewhat culturally isolated city tucked away in the recesses of the Blue Ridge Mountains, punk rock came as a fucking godsend. I'll spare the whole getting-into-the-music story that's been done to death, but suffice to say it made an impression. However, while it tapped into a lot of feelings I had previously no understanding of how to articulate, most of what I could find out about the music in those days before the internet was the ubiquitous force it is today seemed to indicate that it had ended around the time Sid Vicious died, or in the case of hardcore, around the time the Bad Brains broke up the first time around and all the New York bands went metal. Coverage was scanty, so I took what I could get. I discovered Heartattack and more contemporary bands – His Hero Is Gone, Gehenna, Rorschach, etc. - not long afterwards, but it still seemed like something that happened a million miles away.

But I would search out what I could, often spending my limited early teenage income on whatever records looked cool. Not a great formula for finding killer music, but in one notable case it provided more than a little blowing of the ol' mind. It was such a small thing, something that would've been so easy to overlook, a split 7” with a flimsy green cover with some photos of dudes playing and destroying instruments on one side and some shit on the other that looked like it could've come from some high school stoner's art project. And it was a dollar. So I took my chances.

And one side was good. A band from Massachusetts called Grief. I'd heard some slower heavy music before – Melvins, Sabbath, etc. - but Grief took it all and injected some serious psychotic depressing vibes to it. I enjoyed it (if “enjoy” is the right word for something so nihilistic), gave it a few listens and flipped it over. The other band, Suppression, simply fucking destroyed. I'd heard some grindy shit before, had my mind similarly blown by Napalm Death not much earlier, but Suppression was next level. It was a feral blur, sheets of sound draped over blastbeats with harsh noise textures clawing their way through.

I didn't really know much about this sort of thing. I had no real exposure to noise beyond my dad's Sun Ra albums. I had no idea that there was this genre of lurching start/stop noise called power violence and that Suppression was one of the most vicious yet interesting examples of the style. And until finding that record, I had no idea that they (or anybody with ideas so extreme) were operating in the same small, punk rock-deprived city that I lived in. And that was the other facet to how mind-blowing Suppression was. Their music was – and remains – fucking killer. But that such a band could pop up in the same boring, backwater town in which I felt so isolated was an amazing feeling. It brought the world closer to home and provided an example of how great things can be made out of mediocre surroundings.

I managed to get most of Suppression's releases over the years and the majority of it is spectacular. It's like if Man Is The Bastard kept the noise parts, but instead of wandering off into the more technical instrumental parts, they opted for the blunt ferocity of Crossed Out or No Comment. Even after power violence turned into a higher-profile subgenre in recent years, with hordes of shitty youth crew bands throwing in a few blast beats and thinking that turns them into the next Infest, Suppression's music remains as bracing and compelling as when it was released.

During the late '90s, the band moved more into noise/ power electronics material and for several years their only performances and releases saw the band indulging their most dissonant impulses. It was interesting to watch – I recall one show where the band attached amplified contact microphones to bibles and beat them to shreds with dildos – but not always easy to sit down and listen to. In more recent years, the band has operated as a bass-and-drums duo, working in a vein that's somewhere between Ruins and early Butthole Surfers – frantic, obnoxious (in a good way) noise rock (sample song title: "Well Hung Toddler") that surprisingly doesn't stand in too stark contrast when the band breaks out some of their old power violence material, as they've thankfully been doing recently.

Bassist/singer Jason Hodges (the only consistent member of Suppression) runs an excellent label called CNP Records, which put out a compilation of all the Suppression material from their early years that's definitely well worth picking up. But as a bit of a taste of the mayhem inside, the band's split with Grief, the sort of new lenses that helped my younger self view the world differently, can be acquired below.


When caged like animals, we will act accordingly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Karma To Burn - Almost Heathen

Words cannot begin to describe how much I uphold this album! It simply rocks! I recently found it on vinyl at a record store here in my hometown. I remember getting a copy of this album when I did my stint as a DJ at KHSU-FM and while it wasn't technically "metal", I could not stop listening to it! There's crushing, doomy riffage abound, no vokills, a classic rock vibe, and a steady and even paced drive to this recording that blends itself well with the band's overall approach. And for going against the norm even further, they have numbers in the place of song titles! What more could one ask for? Unfortunately, and probably due to the promo coming in a "slip-disc" case (i.e. cardboard sleeve, no jewel case), my CD version is scratched to shit thus I was stoked when I happened across it in vinyl form. I almost figured they were no longer together so I was surprised the band was listed as still 'active' on Metal-Archives and even more surprised that they released a new album titled, V in 2011.

Hailing from West Virginia, Karma To Burn show both their southern roots and their influences on Almost Heathen. They are an obscure band. Roadrunner initially picked them up, and they were forced to record their debut with a vocalist at the demand of the the record company. Almost Heathen was put out by Spitfire Records and this gave the band a bit more freedom to do what they wanted. They have since left Roadrunner and moved to greener pastures at Napalm Records. They are completely instrumental and it's a breath of fresh air to listen to something without vocals (I'm a vocalist, so bear with me here). This album rocks on so many levels! This is what "stoner metal" is all about! (In my opinion at least).

Fans of Corrosion Of Conformity, Down, High On Fire, Dragged By Horses, Machete, Pentagram, and the like will undoubtedly like this album.

So without further ado, I am simply going to allow you the chance to check it out for yourself. I'll even give you a download link (how's that for being nice?!) just don't be a a complete hippie and simply download it... Buy it man, dude! (Wait, I'm asking the IllCon readership to do what again? Ha! I must be high...)

Buy here

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Velvet Merlin, Merkins, and Such.

Seeing as my last post related to beer was a hit, I'd figure I'd post another one. I recently found a new beer that I think is worthy of your attention so sit back, pop open a cold one, and enjoy (or something to that extent).

Recently, I went down to an old watering hole of mine here in town appropriately called Humboldt Brews (or otherwise known as Humbrews by the locals here). Humboldt Brews was once the fabled and renowned Humboldt Brewing Company, Arcata's one and only brewery during the 90's and early 2000's (Note: Arcata has a new brewery, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., that opened two years ago but I'll expand on this another time). Humboldt Brewing Company were famous for their Nectar Ales and Hemp Ale but the brewing rights were bought by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in 2000 and the brewing process was relocated to Paso Robles. Humboldt Brewery ceased operations entirely in 2003 much to the dismay of the town's residents. Despite the change, the Nectar Ales line have continued under the auspices of Firestone Walker.

The main bar and pub that once housed Humboldt Brewery reopened in 2004 under the new moniker Humboldt Brews complete with a remodel, new menu, expanded beer selection, and an employee-owned staff. The place is currently owned and run by two of the original employees who remodeled and opened the former "brewing room" adjacent to the building that houses the pub as a main music and events hall complete with a full stage. At the time they reopened they boasted the largest selection of beer on tap in the Arcata/Eureka area (20 beers) and have tried to keep a relative good selection on hand. The place is still a draw for both locals and tourists alike but the atmosphere has changed significantly from the days when one could smell fresh malt permeating the streets of downtown Arcata and one could walk into the pub with a serious case of the DTs and no one gave a damn. The new incarnation of the brew-pup is friendly enough though, with good waiters and waitresses, large portions of food, and a relatively constant rotation of beer on tap as well as live music almost nightly. However I usually find myself making the one-mile hike down to Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. on the premise that the beer there is brewed on site and the walk down allows for some exercise. Plus, it helps to know those who work there ;)

So I found myself at Humbrews the other evening with my roommate and knowing that I wasn't really into an "IPA mood" I was curious if they still had a particular stout on tap that I remembered trying a month prior that was pretty impressive.

Velvet Merlin, formerly known as Velvet Merkin prior to bottling, is an oatmeal stout that is brewed by Firestone Walker and while I'm not the biggest fan of Firestone Walker, this ale is outstanding!

The original name "Merkin" is in reference to a public wig that were originally worn by prostitutes after having shaved their genitalia. Why the beer was given this moniker is a mystery but the origin of the pubic wig dates back to the 1400s when women would shave their pubic hair and wear a merkin in an attempt to combat lice and cover up signs of disease. Merkins eventually came into use for more decorative and erotic purposes by both women and men alike; they can be found in use during public events such as Burning Man and film shoots by actors and actresses to prevent inadvertent exposure of the genitalia. Perhaps Velvet Merlin's silky-smooth character is a reflection of the velvety feel of the merkin as is protects your private parts against the elements? Hell, I have no clue...

Anyways, I could understand changing the name to make it sound more appealing to the mass of beer consumers out there but I think "Merkin" is a much better name than "Merlin" for this ale. With that said however, this beer has an element of mysteriousness and boldness that one should not take lightly so "Merlin" is appropriate to an extent. This stout is dark and velvety with a decent head when poured correctly. It is exceptionally smooth, especially off the tap, and it has an element that is lost in many stouts (this no Guinness!!). It has slight elements of coffee, chocolate and vanilla and possesses a medium body and a low abv of 5.5% that makes for a really easy-to-drink beer (and good breakfast food if I may add, especially if you happen to be a poor, starving student as myself!). It is technically an oatmeal stout but is much more smooth and silky than most out there.

I could blabber on about how awesome this beer is, and you're probably bored if not drunk by now, or hopefully both, but truth be told it is you who need to make your own decision regarding this tasty beverage. I highly recommend picking up a 22oz bomber or 6-pack of it should you come across it! I'm not sure how long Velvet Merlin will be available. Firestone Walker's website states that it is a seasonal, released for the fall and winter months only. One thing to remember is that this beer is not pasteurized and thus can spoil so the sooner you find it, buy it and drink it! It is definitely one of the better beers I have had in a while!

Check out the brewery here for more information.
Also remember to check with your local or regional distributor to see if they can carry this or another particular beer (especially if you live in bumfuck-Egypt Humboldt County as I do).
Lastly, please drink responsibly!