Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dark nights and that soul thing

Can't sleep, clown'll eat me. Can't sleep, clown'll eat me. Can't sleep, clown'll eat me. If it's vacation, it must be sick again, though not just flesh this time, and that's the wart of worry. The rewrite's usually harder with each passing line, tricksy 3am wrenches jambed, but that cleansing fire was loaded with extra Nyquil, or Benadryl, some kind of i/yl(l), so either the disturbingly easy confessional's a lie, the noxious seep of a tingle I want no part of (fear being the mind assassin, after all, or is it laughter, as long as it's not irony, and, most pertinent, which I are we talking about), strike while the iron's hot. Or (which) I can sit back, shake my skull like a piñata getting whacked by a bunch of overmedicated children, and wonder what the fuck is going on.

Monday, December 24, 2012

They sent the same fucking card last year

'Twas the night before staycation, when all through the books
Not a patron was stirring, not even that crook,
She tried to hire a hitman without a care
In hopes that workers would soon be buried there;

Said peons were nestled blank in their internets
Exhausted from scowling like Plantagenets
at fools, middle management; how 'bout a night cap
Or five until I get home for an old man nap?

When out in the stacks there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our chairs to see what was the matter.
Away to the mold we flew like Gordon, Flash;
Not the serial but the camp, trainwreck crash.

The fluorescent lights, yellow like dog-marked snow,
Gave a lustre of wise to bestsellers below,
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
But a wizard van in a cosmic veneer!

With a stoned, greasy driver that was not Bear,
We wondered how the hell he got up the stair.
More rapid fire than Judas Priest they came,
Throwing horns, he shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Jimi! now, Ritchie! now Tony and Eddie!
On, Harris! on, Burton! on Pike and Ozzy!
To the top of the glass! through the concert hall!
Now smoke away! drink away! burn away all!"

As tokes that before the wild truncheon fly,
When they meet with the fuzz and riff to the sky;
So out of the speakers the music it flew
With the bong full of woo, and every bottle too—

And then, in disbelief, we heard on the roof
A thunderous chord like the fourth horseman's hoof.
As we drew in our heads, and were turning around,
Down the elevator he came with a bound.

He was dressed all in robes, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with opium soot;
A bundle of wands he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a smoker just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they frightened! his dimples, how scary!
His cheeks were like corpses, his wart like a Lemmy!
His marvelous spells he began to weave,
And the beard on his chin was as long as the eve;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his gums,
Whose acrid funk burned like a stomach sans Tums;
He had a gaunt face even Death could not curb
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of herb.

He was skeletal but alive, a right jolly burnout,
Whether corn chips or the arcane, had much clout;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Laying Marshall stacks that would curse every jerk.
And pushing the button, and wiping his nose,
Giving a nod, in the elevator he rose.

Turning the key, the stoner cranked the speakers loud,
And away he flew, barreling through the crowd.
But we heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and don't forget to light!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Nut Cracked Suite

While the Wizard Sangfroid transmutes lead into gin, Bear and Rex argue over what to do about Li'l Edgar's Sartre Affective Disorder.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Handsome B. Wonderful's Thirty-Ninth Annual List of the Top Ten Rock Albums of the Year

Yeah, just used this. Wait and see.

Negative plain [see?]: these things, like everything else, are Mohs and Mohs difficult to scribble with each passing suck. Where once we had to sacrifice a goat to Reagan 'neath an eclipse, a comet, and a dragon after walking ten miles in the snow to & from school whilst barefoot merely to pretend hear windy whispers about new tunes, our ears permanently corked by the alchemick residue of burning pungency [read: existence] itself, The Kids get the fucking interwebs smorgasbord, and some of these clownshoes claim to jam to thirty, forty, a hundred platters over a calendar with justice for all. Ye are charlatans, or wizards, or both, ye are. Fuck, I didn't even know Jerome Fucking Reuter put out a new Rome LP -- that's long player, once upon a vinyl, following 2011's equivalent of three long players -- until after it had been out for a month. Someone get me a new telegraph, or fund Chips & Beer to publish weekly. Luck be a lady tonight & help me churn out my first verse in, yeah, a month. Goddamn, there's so much fucking music nowadays, so much fucking argh in my head.

Groove, get snatchin'.

Oh, instead of album covers, easily findable, samples, also easily findable, but much more useful. I love you like lazy Ozzy.

1. Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild. Motherfucking doom blues. Last year's South of Salem came out of pretend nowhere, a near-decade hiatus triumphantly brushed away like the bones that once held the Sword of Aquilonia. This album's hip-swingers hammer over the enemy's shards like clouds, razor solos feathering over stops & starts, Uta Plotkin's pipes timeshifting between soaring, come-hithering, withering, graceslicking, nwobhming, half the time in every song, four masters having crafted something as rare as a good day, an album grabbing your collar, ordering 'let's rip this gyp joint.' 

The Bloodhound 7" and bringing it live only cements.

Season of the Witch, baby.

2. Katatonia, Dead End Kings. Like the Alcest [see below], this one was a grower, forsaking a batch of instant coffee hooks over textures for a recipe of nearly entirely the latter. Ain't nothing groundbreaking, but so fucking what. Mood music for mopes and I'm a moody mope. No one taps the vein better.

3. Agalloch, Faustian Echoes. The devil's apprentice with the blues dressing his milieu. Venomous & beautiful & epic like only these guys can do, especially since Opeth gave up the ghost for mellotrons & smoking jackets.

4. Worm Ouroboros, Come the Thaw. It ain't heavy, but brother, is it heavy.

5. High on Fire, De Mysteriis Vermis. Call me an old curmudgeon. Rightly so, because modern, desert-dry production, crisp or no, ain't helping. This plate sniper punches on headphones, but live? Everybody's doin' the toxic waltz.

6. Unto Ashes, Burials Foretold. That old gang of mine. Darkness, loss, big-R romanticism, lotta shared aesthetics with the rest of this list. Gravitas doesn't require a stack of Marshalls. Don't tell anyone I typed that.

7. Les Discrets, Ariettes Oubliées.... There's no Song for Mountains, but there are songs mountainous in their craft that lift the gaze from the shoes to the above.

8. Windhand, Windhand. Turn your noodle on, tune in, drop out imagining Electric Wizard fronted by the fairer sex. Slow and murky like a gravestone.

9. Occultation, Three & Seven. So spooky, even the Secret Imam refuses to come back. Negative Plane's Nameless Void hooks up with a couple of chicks, and their ménage à trois thumps as it trumps nearly all the bullshit "occult" metal the cool kids triumph after suddenly discovering their older bro's worn VHS copies of vintage Hammer and Tigon flicks.

10. Alcest, Les Voyages de l'Âme. Started the blurb, stopped, went to sleep help some patrons, read what the Duchess churned, which was pretty much what I was gonna pen, but since she got there first, credit where it's due.

11. Degial, Death's Striking Wings. Death metal these days is either Sominex math-tech or ineffective, borderline grindcore. Once upon a corpse, it was nothing but a vampire circus of fucking morbid riffs that even a hesher's angel could hum. Bless you, Sweden, for your scamps sure are drinking the Kool-Aid.

12. Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth. I don't give a fuck if it's misty watercolor or not, it's Diamond Fucking Dave and The Maestro, together again. And, some filler aside [this truth is different], the best's pretty vintage.

13. Teitanblood, Woven Black Arteries. Last year's Purging Tongues shorty and a newbie. That's one song each, one long song of filthy fucking riff whorls, just dirty fucking shit, a shift from Seven Chalices to one big cup o' disease & blacked-out alleys, less bestial stomp this time 'round, more a morass of massed sound that'd make Dickens cringe right after he stepped in, what is that, offal, blood, shit? Probably all three and been here for a week. Who knew the Spanish economy had folks this unhinged.

bonus! Deathspell Omega, Drought. Some, not me, expressed disappointment with the last DsO LP, the final panel of a triptych heard less as Dies Irae holy fire and more watered-down, tech-accessible brimstone, & sure, 'twas neither Si Monumentum nor Kénôse, but also wasn't mimicking the incredibly overrated Meshuggah, & yours truly thought the hallucinatory, atonal layers fit the Patmos shroom trip's spiraling denouement. Omega, here's your Alpha, all spit & knuckles, save the legitimately pretty instrumental opener/closer, blasts wedlocking Satanica esoterica to old school, inquisitorial riffing.

bonus! Morbus Chron, A Saunter Through the Shroud. Violent riff blasts that flip the bird to their native NWOSDM melodicism in favor of sweaty American death metal, gleefully aping Obituary before those jerks started to suck.

Shit I neither inhaled nor cuddled with enough. Music, man: Rome, Fester. Rome, Hell Money (BEING PROLIFIC AIN'T COOL, PAL). Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay. Conan, Monnos. Winterfylleth, The Threnody of Triumph. Wodensthrone, Curse. Castle, Blacklands. Asphyx, Deathhammer. Weapon, Embers and Revelations. Overkill, The Electric Age. Graveyard, Lights Out. Orchid, Heretic. Ihsahn, Eremita. My Dying Bride, A Map of All Our Failures. BDR's favorite Blunderbuss, Jack White. Evoken, Atra Mors. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers. Undersmile, Narwhal. Elder, Spires Burn/Release. Adrian H and the Wounds, Debut. Boss de Nage, III. Om, Advaitic Songs. Witchcraft, Legend. Kadaver, Kadaver. Uzala, Uzala. Pilgrim, Misery Wizard. Napalm Death, Utilitarian. Locrian & Mamiffer, Bless Them That Curse You. Ghost Tower, Head of Night. Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The plane truth

Sure, the headliner was the Aussie Vomitor fostering their late thrash/early death lager, but we, and I think I can speak for the SBH, were there for Negative Plane, and if you'll permit me to indulge, a word on labels. Black metal: are NP such a beast, are they not, who fucking cares. Spectrally, an amped Mercyful Fate, the number of measures supersized, the falsetto replaced with a diabolic echo. Whatever they be, they're the skull maniacally grinning from atop the pile of bones.

Evul grins were out in force, too, magic mouths on tobacco smokestacks bricked in denim & leather, Angles, Saxons, & Jutes, a lotta denim & leather miniskirts & pants, backpatches from Celtic frosted classics to new breeds, a Bathory Hammerheart purse for good measure. Fetching young lady, whomever ye are, horns, though 'twas straunge to be one of the least metal looking dudes in the darkness. Shelled in a plain black hoodie and shorts -- after all, was nearly 50° -- even my proudly sported Darkthrone tee couldn't keep me from chortling at looking the odd man. No matter, metal's not out, but in the blood, brain, & soul. Look around, you know it when you see it, like pornography.

Negative Plane @ Now That's Class: Angels of Veiled Bone, Staring Into the Abyss, Lamentations and Ashes, Death Mass, The Number of the Word.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Partial-birth catharsis, or, I CAN'T FUCKING HEAR YOU

Most interesting cat of the night was the long-haired Aesop Dekker -- From the Future! being all gruff bouncer for the gothy photog chick in the black tights adorned with the upside-down crosses & her blonde companion, more petite than even the SBH and who threw mock face punches inside the pop-up pits that I'm not entirely convinced were one-hundred percent mock but being a petite thing, the burly dudes, to their credit, did nothing more than the required push-back, all while the long-haired Aesop Dekker -- From the Future! landed scowls with the marksmanship of a veteran sweet scientician.

If Matt Pike is the Pope of Saudi Arabia Metal, and he is, then Des Kensel is his secret ecclesiastical weapon. Kudos, too, to Jeff Matz and his bong-rattling bass. Straungely, didn't inhale a single whiff of weed but did on occasion an unenchanting musk. Old Spice, dudes, Old Spice.

Yeah, it was loud.

High on Fire @ The Grog Shop: Serums of Liao, Frost Hammer, 10,000 Years, Devilution, Last, Fertile Green, Speedwolf, Rumors of War, DII, Fury Whip, Madness of an Architect, Snakes for the Divine.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This is the end, my friend, a play in one-half act

Miss Prunella Vulgaris, The Duchess of Hammer-on-Dulcimer, esteemed member of the Peonage
Juan, The Earl of Valdez, less esteemed member of the Peonage
Captain Single-eye, Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Island of Heretofore Unaccounted Knavery, relation of Ivar the Boneless, who had both eyes until the day of his decease, unlike his descendant who had only one, as previously mentioned
Dog-bird, hideous laboratory creation and anthropomorphic hench-creature
Alexander Nevsky, part-time Russian folkhero & full-time spectral entity
Benito of the Hamlet, anachronistic blackshirted blackguard
Just Like Che, noted motorcycle enthusiast & muse of hep cats everywhere
Ivan, Russian Bear & camp guard
Wojtek, Polish Bear & prisoner
Lady Herefordshirebroke, The Marquess of Upper Silesia, esteemed member of the Peonage
Noman, background scenery
Master Baytes of Tampa, dread piratical buccaneer
Jack the London, noted Western wildman
Jack the Kerouac, noted Neolithic hipster
Jack the Ripper, noted English arch-slasher
Mysterious Stranger, chapeau'd
Lemmy, noted baritone bassist & collector of blow-em-up baubles
Fryer Bungy, English conjurer & skillet gourmand
The Potato Witches of the Caucasus, pastiche weirdos who know a big secret
Baba Yaga, dancing Slavic sorceress
Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor, made not of iron but of duh
Aide-de-camp, NPC & Hessian
King Diamond, King Diamond
Hannibal, no-star general & playboy son of a noted Tripolitanian fashion plate
Fadades, Gaulish misanthrope, pretend musician, & sky pie aficionado
Zardoz, freshly served serf who in fact wasn't eaten by Bear but your humble playwright is too lazy to retcon an explanation
Erich Zann, noted viol player, concert master, & lunatic
Zombie Johannes Brahms, famous composer & corpse
Zombie Clara Schumann, famous pianist, keeper of the mad, & corpse
Kid Darkthrone, not-very-noted local misanthrope, reformed
Good King Wenceslas, Duke, not King, of Bohemia
Krampus, legendary dread purloiner of joy & stuff various & valuable not that your playwright still humble is saying that joy isn't valuable only that it's fleeting & you shouldn't get too attached
Michael Buffer, egomaniacal microphone
The Infant of Prague, Our Lord and Savior
The Christmas Goat, Swedish Wicker Man knockoff
Snowpocalypse, noted archfiend
Children, children
Stagehand, stagehand
Cashier, cashier
Bear, bait, & lovable ursine scamp 

When we last left our intrepid Peonage, well, your humble playwright doesn't remember. It's better to burn witch burn but let's try that fading away gig instead because it's less work. Anyway, a bunch of dread piratical buccaneers, led not by the dreadest, most piratanical buccaneer of the hairy palms, but CAPTAIN SINGLE-EYE himself because someone said he was the supervillain told you I didn't remember, have abducted, no I don't know how, probably magic or some crap, most, if not all, of the characters from past one-acts and brought them to his mysterious island, new and improved with extra knavery.
DUCHESS: Are we fucked?
EARL: Probably.
NEVSKY: Veer are vee?
BENITO (to NEVSKY): Communist!
JUST LIKE CHE (to BENITO): What of it?
IVAN (to no one in particular): Growl.
MARQUESS: [in Polish]
WOJTEK: [growling in Polish]
JACK THE RIPPER: Black sheep?
LEMMY: Historically inaccurate.
MYSTERIOUS STRANGER: So this is what it feels like when Lemmys cry.
FRYER BUNGY: Food soothes the savage bassist.
BABA YAGA: Wait! Where's --
OTTO: -- my Fabergé Potato?
AIDE-DE-CAMP: Where's his Fabergé Potato?
KING DIAMOND (singing): It's for the Peonage, so lay off the doobage!
HANNIBAL: Veni vidi arrivederci!

HANNIBAL exits, gets eaten by a cannibal. See, extra knavery.

FADADES (screeching): SCREECH!
ZARDOZ: Do I have to work?
ERICH ZANN: Tentacles from beyond!
KID DARKTHRONE: Speaking of brains --
WENCESLAS: -- how are we going to get out of this?
KRAMPUS: You aren't! Nor are your children!
MICHAEL BUFFER: Let's get ready to rumble!
CHRISTMAS GOAT: Bleat the halls!
SNOWPOCALYPSE: So, what's the deal, Single-eye?
STAGEHAND: Yeah, I still haven't gotten paid for last time.
CASHIER: Don't look at me, this economy's a bitch.

CAPTAIN enters, brandishing a rick derringer.

CAPTAIN: You tell 'em, Dog-bird!

BEAR enters. 

BEAR: Growl.

CAPTAIN: Enough of this hoochie koo! All of you! I've got your precious Fabergé Potato, and as for the Krypton Stone, let's just say I had to call in a few favors of the congressional variety. Oh, the Third Thing, oh, that Third Thing, one and two and three makes true universal power you were born to be my baby and I was born to be your man, but since Captain Single-Eye couldn't find it --
DUCHESS: What a diva.
CAPTAIN: I've decided to blow you all, but just you and no one else especially not me, to that third-rate Zeppelin knock-off, Kingdom Come!
EARL: What, no Trixter reference? Who writes this shit?
KID DARKTHRONE: Use your allusion.
DUCHESS: Don't feed the fintroll.
EARL: Ahem. Single-eye, it's Doomsday, Single-eye, the end of the world. Can't you understand? For God's sake, help us!
CAPTAIN: Stay away from me!
EARL: You damned animal!
CAPTAIN: Don't touch that!
DUCHESS: Help us! Help us!
CAPTAIN: You asked me to help you? The Peonage is evil, capable of nothing but destruction!
EARL (confused): What the fuck.
DUCHESS: Shush. He's on a roll. The sooner he's done, the sooner we're outta this off-Broadway train wreck. Um. (leafs through the script) Ah, here we are. You bloody bastard!
KRAMPUS (to CAPTAIN): Fire! Fire!
NEVSKY: Foor Good's sock, eetz the Doomsday bomb, zee end of zee vorld!

KRAMPUS takes gun from CAPTAIN SINGLE-EYE, shoots EARL, whose body falls on the button.

In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-sized star. And one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead.

EVERYONE exeunt. Except EARL who is woken by a pinging noise.

EARL (waking): You won't believe the dream I just had. Damn golf balls. Wait.

EARL gets up and looks out the window.

EARL: Oh. Well, this suc --

In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-sized star. And one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead. No, really. Go home. Don't forget to stop at our gift shop!