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Villains - Qotsa - Review

Once   upon   a   time,   the   Queens   of   the   Stone   Age   were   the best   band   on   the   planet.   They   had   the   songs,   the attitude,   the   drive   to   make   albums   that   could   knock everybody   out   and   they   had   the   people:   Mark   Lanegan who   sounded   like   a   villain   from   a   Stephen   King   novel, Nick   Oliveri   the   unpredictable   agro-punker,   Josh   Homme the   captain   and   visionary   of   the   band,   Dave   Grohl, Troy   Van   Leeuwen,   Joey   Castillo,   Dave   Catching, Alfredo   Hernandez.   It   was   a   drug   fueled   machine   that left   audiences   across   the   globe   in   awe.   “Songs   for   the Deaf”   still   stands   one   of   the   greatest   rock   albums   of all   time   and   deservingly   so.
Then   things   started   to   shake   up.   Josh   Homme   sacked Oliveri   and   “Lullabies   to   Paralyse”   came   out:   an atmospheric,   dark   album   that   lacked   the   punch   that made   “Songs   for   the   Deaf”   so   irresistible.   Its follow-up   studio-album   “Era   Vulgaris”   was   despite   its qualities   pretty   forgettable   and   I   completely   ignored “Like   Clockwork”   after   hearing   the   rather   plain   “My God   is   the   Sun”.   Now   there   is   “Villains”   and   it   makes me   want   to   put   on   Kyuss’   “Blues   for   the   Red   Sun” again.
QotSA   have   never   released   a   truly   awful   album,   that much   is   true,   and   “Villains”   is   by   no   means   really   bad but   nothing   presented   here   really   makes   impact. Somewhere   in   my   notes,   I’ve   scribbled   “just   because   it sounds   interesting,   doesn’t   mean   it’s   good”   and   that pretty   much   sums   up   the   new   album.
The   album   kicks   off   very   promising   with   “Feet,   Don’t Feel   Me”   with   its   quirky   but   extremely   infectious groove.   Say   what   you   want   about   Homme   but   the   dude   can pen   a   groove   like   nobody   else.   “Fortress”   is   an adorable   indie   ballad   that   drags   on   just   a   tad   too

long.   “The   Way   You   Used   to   Do”   has   a   very   charming rockabilly   feel   and   also   an   annoying   handclap   that sounds   very   artificial   and   reeks   of   drum   computer (which   given   QotSA’s   history   with   excellent   drummers stupefies   me).
“Un-reborn   Again”   is   a   great   title   but   a   song   without any   substance.   “The   Evil   has   Landed”   could   have   used   a better   mix   and   a   grittier   tone   but   that   still   wouldn’t hide   the   fact   that   halfway   the   song   I   had   almost forgotten   about   the   track   before   it   was   even   over   and “Hideaway”   is   just   boring.
Closing   track   “Villains   of   Circumstance”   is   a   track that   should   have   been   sung   by   Lanegan.   Homme’s   voice is   not   demanding   enough   to   sing   such   a   brooding   dark track   and   this   is   somewhat   symptomatic   for   the   current version   of   Queens   of   the   Stone   Age.
During   the   “Rated   R”   and   “Songs   for   the   Deaf”   era, Queens   of   the   Stone   Age   was   not   a   homogeneous collective   but   a   mishmash   of   personalities   and   styles. That’s   not   all   too   strange   if   you’re   familiar   with   the now   defunct   Desert   Sessions,   the   recorded   results   of Josh   Homme   entering   the   studio   with   befriended musicians   and   making   music   together.   The   friends ranged   from   high   school   friends   and   nobodies   to superstars   like   Twiggy   Ramirez   and   PJ   Harvey   and everybody   in   between.   The   band   Queens   of   the   Stone   Age was   the   crystallised   version   of   those   Desert   Sessions. QotSA   in   2017   is   Josh   Homme   and   a   few   lackeys.   He   is the   boss,   he   calls   the   shots   and   he   IS   Queens   of   the Stone   Age.   There   are   no   real   contributors   anymore   but guest   musicians.   Despite   his   enormous   talent   as   a guitar   player,   he   has   his   limits   and   therefore   the

New Model - Pertubrato - Review

Music   is   a   living   thing.   It   is   always   in   motion, dancing   an   everlasting   ballad   of   action   and   reaction, a   tango   with   several   partners   from   all   cultures.   And then   there   is   Perturbator.   The   Apache,   one   of   the   most violent   and   sinister   dances,   in   a   dark,   humid   room with   a   concrete   floor   and   subwoofers   that   could   make your   brain   melt.
This   French   band   may   be   best   known   as   one   of   the   two biggest   synthwave   band,   the   other   being   fellow Frenchies   Carpenter   Brut,   but   on   their   latest   album “New   Model”   they   go   far,   far   beyond   what   synthwave once   was.
Sure,   it   is   still   based   on   phat   analog   synths   but   it no   longer   bathes   in   ironic   old   B-movie   pastiche.   No, Perturbator   steps   from   80’s   into   2017   where   trap   is the   all   new   rage   and   they   incorporate   it   in   the opening   tracks   “Birth   of   the   New   Model”,   “Tactical Precision   Disarray”   (which   has   one   of   the   sickest drops   I’ve   ever   heard)   and   “Vantablack”.   Not   that   the band   follows   a   simple   formula   like   “just   replace   the EBM   beats   with   hi-hats   and   half   time   kicks”.   On   the contrary,   once   you   more   or   less   get   what   the   band   is doing,   they   have   already   moved   on   and   building   up   to something   different.   That   makes   the   tracks   not   only varied   but   also   exciting,   fresh   and,   depending   on whether   or   not   safewords   play   a   large   part   in   your bedroom,   sexy.
It   is   not   until   the   fourth   track   “Tainted   Empire”   that we   more   or   less   go   back   to   more   traditional   synthwave. More   or   less.   The   harsh   EBM   sounds   are   back   but   the piece   still   flirts   with   dubstep   and   trap.
“Corrupted   By   Design”   is   a   bit   of   a   breather. Relatively   speaking   of   course,   the   beats   remain  every

bit   as   punchy   as   in   the   beginning   of   the   album   but   the band   is   taking   it   easier   with   basslines   and   effects. Closing   track   “God   Complex”   is   a   track   worthy   of   its title.   Clocking   in   at   almost   10   minutes,   this   is   an epic   wave   saga   that   could   tell   a   story   of   a dehumanised   society   where   men   and   machine   are   so intertwined   that   it   becomes   a   challenge   to   distinguish one   from   the   other,   one   fuels   the   other   becoming   more than   the   sum   of   the   parts   (wait,   did   I   just   summarise “Ghost   in   the   Shell”?).
In   the   34   minutes   that   it   takes   to   sit   through   “New Model”,   Perturbator   not   only   deliver   an   intricate   dark piece   of   art   but   also   demonstrate   that   a)   it   is possible   to   thrive   on   more   than   just   nostalgia   without radically   changing   artistic   course   and   b)   ironically enough   teach   the   rest   of   the   competition   a   lesson   in appropriating   new   elements   in   hard   style   music   without having   to   worry   about   “selling   out”   and   no   longer being   “trve   kvlt”.
- Ivo   VirusWithShoes   -
Think   you   can   dance   the   Apache   on   a   mix   of   EBM,   trap and   synthwave?   Find   out   here   at: https://perturbator.bandcamp.com/album/new-model

Review Demo Black Heroin

Attitude.   For   punk   and   hardcore   it   is   50%   of   the appeal.   You   can   buy   3000   euro   guitars,   point   to   point soldered   boutique   amps   and   vintage   pedals   but   if   you haven’t   got   that   anger,   you   will   never   be   able   to   play HC/punk   properly.   That’s   why   Agnostic   Front’s   “Victim in   Pain”   is   a   classic   despite   being   one   of   the   worst produced   albums   ever   (and   the   solo   on   the   opening track   is   awesome   in   its   awfulness).
In   that   regard   Black   Heroin   from   Ghent,   Belgium   is about   as   authentic   as   they   come.   6   tracks   in   less   than 9   minutes,   recorded   in   a   squat...   This   is straightforward   oldschool   hardcore   that   seems   to   be making   a   slow   revival.
It   will   be   probably   take   you   longer   to   read   this review   than   to   listen   to   the   actual   demo   but   why   not go   over   the   tracks,   just   for   laughs?
Opening   track   “Idiots”   starts   off   a   bit   meek   and forced   but   once   the   intro   is   over,   you’re   in   for   some good,   fast,   underproduced   stuff.
Follow-up   cover   Angry   Samoans   “Todd   Killings”   is   over before   you   know   it   and   “Wake   Up”   is   short   and   barky. “Religions”   and   “Treachery”,   with   2   minutes   runtime the   longest   song   because   one   of   the   guitar   players wanted   to   do   a   solo,   are   the   two   best   tracks.   The   band seems   to   be   playing   a   bit   tighter   while   the frustration   and   anger   just   explode   in   your   face.
Final   track   “Revenge”   closes   the   demo.
What   is   their   left   to   say?   Black   Heroin.   Hardcore   from Ghent,   the   hipster   capital   of   Belgium.   Not   super innovative   but   true   to   the   ideals   of   their   music: don’t   wait   for   approval,   just   get   up   there   and   do   it.


- Ivo   VirusWithShoes-

Luckily   you   don’t   have   to   find   a   squatted   house   to   get your   vintage   hardcore.   Just   lay   back   in   your comfortable   sofa   and   visit: https://blackheroin.bandcamp.com/album/demo