Jordan Campbell

Stuck in the Filter – February’s Angry Misses

Stuck in the Filter – February’s Angry Misses

“In the first of what will (hopefully) be a monthly column, Stuck in the Filter will shine a light on a handful of albums that didn’t get proper love upon release date. So, without further chatter, here’s some quick samples and quicker blurbs on some notable releases that didn’t get the full five-hundred.” In any given month, mistakes are made and things are missed. To partially ameliorate this unavoidable fact of life, we delve into the greasy, unclean filter of the AMG promo bin. Wear your gloves.

Benighted – Carnivore Sublime Review

Benighted – Carnivore Sublime Review

When you’re talking about what makes a record engaging, responsibility usually falls in the drummer’s lap. A guitarist may come up with a given riff, but it doesn’t truly take shape unless sculpted by capable limbs.

Death metal bands—especially of the “brutal” variety—have an overkill problem. They’re too busy, too serious, too caught up in their over-the-top culture. That cool riff the rhythm guitarist turns in is usually in danger of being strangled by octopus-powered flashsizzle. (Remember We Are the Nightmare? Or any Spawn of Possession song ever?) The result of such overkill? Teflon. A scribble-logo’d sea of arms-clasped, black-clad, NO SMILING, GODDAMMIT Teflon.

But somehow, Benighted always manages to stick.

Alcest – Shelter Review

Alcest – Shelter Review

Alcest’s trek to Shelter has been a long and gorgeous journey. Over the years, Neige has taken his most-loved project from black metal soil and sprouted upward, spinning his branches and leaves into beautiful, soothing soundscapes. His ambitions have long been combated by black metallers that thrive on ugliness and rebellion; Alcest’s inherent prettiness seemed at odds with the genre’s core ethos. Yet it was hard to argue with the results.” Does the beautification of black metal continue on Shelter? How much lush gorgeousness can the blackness take before turning that frown upside down? Valid questions all.

Bones – Sons of Sleaze Review

Bones – Sons of Sleaze Review

“Do you like it raw? If you don’t, you should. As noted last week, extreme metal is constantly (and inadvertently) aspiring to castrate itself. The best metal wares are rooted in rebellion and danger, and the more we compress and homogenize the art form, those elements become diluted. The human element is erodes. Bones are a band comprised of humans. Dirty humans. Angry humans. And they sound like it.” Raw, dirty, angry music? Seems like a “can’t miss” kind of proposition. Jordan Campbell rolls the bones and tells you if that’s true.

Shitfucker – Suck Cocks In Hell Review

Shitfucker – Suck Cocks In Hell Review

“On the surface, there’s a lot to hate about Shitfucker. The hacky, try hard Vice interview that introduced them to the world didn’t do them any favors. Neither did their stylized swastika logo, nor the fact that their moniker is reminiscent of the nickname I gave to my third grade bus driver. Combine these elements with the comically lo-fi crap-stomp of lead single “Sex Dungeon,” and this band was easy to hate: A group of low-talent, low-class scum-fucks looking to capitalize on a strange metallic affinity for sleaze that rarely reconciles with the listener’s world view. Red flags were everywhere. I mean, how could an album called Suck Cocks In Hell be construed as anything other than cheap gimmickry?” How indeed?? Watch as Jordan Campbell somehow makes sense of this senseless abomination.

Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse Review

Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse Review

Inquisition might be the greatest black metal band on Earth. But they weren’t always gunning for that title. In fact, they’ve taken a long, unlikely path to the upper echelon. Guitarist / froghammer Dagon thrashspawned the band in Colombia back in ’89 before relocating Stateside in ’96, where he linked up with drummer / hellmachine Incubus. The duo released their debut, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult, in 1998. Then, they quickly settled into a rut of obscurity for the better part of the decade, releasing three albums to a small-but-devoted cabal of black metal weirdos. They did okay for themselves, assuredly, but there were a handful of hurdles preventing Inquisition from reaching a wider audience…” Are you a black metal weirdo or aspire to be one? Want to know what hurdles were holding these guys back from the big leagues? Jordan Campbell has all the answers.

Beaten To Death – Dødsfest! Review

Beaten To Death – Dødsfest! Review

“Extreme metal has a problem: It’s aggressively conservative. For a culture that’s supposed to be about pushing forward – physically, intellectually, musically – it too often circles back into itself. The supposed outsiders and iconoclasts that comprise the metal scene rabidly pounce on opportunities to become insiders and conformists. Wanna write about metal? Rub the right elbows and suck ass for “access.” Wanna proclaim your allegiance to poseur-crushing death metal? Join a club. Wanna start a band? Grab a template and start building your box from the inside out. Ah, you want to go for the gusto, don’t you? You want to start a band. Good for you. Now: What kind of metal do you want to play? Thrash metal? Death metal? Black metal? Because there are rules, kid. You need to tweak your tone. Bolster your BPM. Hire the right artist. Wear the right t-shirts. You need to minimize risk. Unless you were born with gigantic balls. And you’re Beaten To Death.” Got an appetite for risk defying grind? Follow Jordan Campbell to the promised land.

Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light Review

Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light Review

“It was only a matter of time before a high-profile tech-death / djent mashup appeared on the scene. If you were hanging from your 8th string with bated breath for this moment, it has finally arrived: A mere year after their inception, Pennsylvania upstarts Rivers of Nihil are crashing the gates via Metal Blade. Their debut, The Conscious Seed of Light, is slightly baffling. On one hand, it’s easy to dismiss the album as an aural collage of the t-shirts in the band’s collective closet. At times, it plays out like a modern metal Power Point presentation: Bass-lick dropouts, open string chughammers, and spiraling-into-spaaaaaace shreddery all pop up within the first handful of minutes. The trope-aping is achingly obvious. That other hand, though? It itches to wipe away the clouds of cynicism.” Tech-death meets djent? How did this take so long, and now that it’s here, is it any good? Complicated questions indeed and here’s our man Jordan Campbell with some answers.

Ulcerate – Vermis Review

Ulcerate – Vermis Review

Ulcerate’s emergence was rather inauspicious. Their first work, The Coming of Genocide, didn’t hold much promise. It was pretty standard for mid-aughts uber-blast brutality, assaultive to the point of redundancy. But there were some gnarly guitar squalls nestled in their amateurish blastfuckery, and on their first true album, Of Fracture and Failure, things started to get wild. Then, Everything is Fire happened, and things got real.” First Carcass and now this? It’s all big releases, all the time and and Jordan Campbell is on the job with his always insightful musings.

Vista Chino – Peace Review

Vista Chino – Peace Review

“No, this isn’t the title of the second Palmsszzzzzzzz record. Vista Chino is the mercifully rechristened Kyuss Lives! (A moniker so abysmal that even something like Kinda Kyuss would’ve been an acceptable alternative.) John Garcia and Brant Bjork’s resuscitated baby now has a name befitting something classier than a casino-circuit cabaret act, and they’ve got eyes on reclaiming the long-abdicated stoner / desert rock throne. 2013 is becoming the year of comeback records: Gorguts, Carcass, and now Kyuss. Well, kinda ,
Kyuss.” There’s a special sandy place in many hearts for the desert rock of classic Kyuss. Can the members of that seminal act recapture the magic with the awfully named Vista Chino? Jordan Campbell reports from Sky Valley.