Review Round-up

Since I’ve been busy as of late and haven’t had time to work on reviews as much as I would like to, I thought I would to a handful of quick blurbs about some of the albums I’ve been listening to the most as of late. Also, there will be more Simpsons content in the near future. I plan of suffering through all of the new episodes and reviewing them as the upcoming season airs (please don’t be horrendous). So, be on the lookout for that.

 

Twilight Fauna – Fire Of The Spirit

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Focusing on fringe religious ideas, like snake handling, for example, Fire Of The Spirit is an intense listen. Paul Ravenwood is an anomaly in the world of black metal. No one else writes music like he does. Mixing in acoustic instruments with his usual sonic overload of guitars (I like to refer to Twilight Fauna as the black metal equivalent to Sunn O))), sonically), Fire Of The Spirit is fascinating, engaging, and often times overpowering. The sound clips of people speaking in tongues and snake handling sermons are strange and enlightening and add a nice touch of depth to the music.

Fire Of The Spirit on Bandcamp

 

Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation

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Gatecreeper play death metal in the old school vein, and they’re really good at it. The riffs are groovy and not overly technical. They drums don’t rely on blast beats the whole time and have a really nice mid-paced death metal meets hardcore feel to them, sort of like Covenant era Morbid Angel. The nine songs on Sonoran Depravation are always engaging and harken back to the early days when death metal was fun. Also, the song ‘Desperation’ is the circle pit jam of the year.

Sonoran Depravation on Bandcamp

 

Cara Neir/Wildspeaker – Guilt And His Reflection

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This full length split follows one narrative storyline covering both bands sides and is possible the best split release I’ve ever heard. Cara Neir’s unique take on black metal is always refreshing and works well when paired with Wildspeaker’s blackened crust onslaught. Garry Brent’s bass playing is exceptional and keeps the Cara Neir side almost jazzy, while Natalie’s vocals and Ricky’s drums absolutely crush the Wildspeaker side. This is album of the year material. Buy it immediately.

Guilt And His Reflection on Bandcamp

 

Chepang – Lathi Charge

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This is absolutely crushing! I have a huge soft spot for unrelenting grind that is reminiscent of early Napalm Death and Chepang brings the grind in a big, bad way. Featuring 8 songs in just under twelve minutes, Lathi Charge never outstays its welcome. Everything is fast, with just a handful of slower moments to keep things interesting. Lathi Charge is an impressive debut.

Lathi Charge on Bandcamp

 

Green Elder/Pensive Ceremony Split

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I’m mostly focusing on the Green Elder side of this split because it’s gorgeous. Green Elder is the neofolk project from Twilight Fauna’s Paul Ravenwood, and he offers up three of the saddest songs I’ve heard in a long time. ‘Scattering Ashes’ is so morose and beautiful and by the time the banjo starts, I’m in tears. The vocals on ‘Winter Spirits’, provided by Heather L. Galloway-Barker are full of sadness and work to highlight Ravenwood’s simple guitar playing. The wind instruments throughout the Green Elder side are a great touch, as well. The Pensive Ceremony side is just sounds like six different ambient intro songs and I’m dumbfounded as to why they were released like this.

Green Elder/Pensive Ceremony on Bandcamp

 

Crowtein -King Ov The Rats EP

crowtein

Crowtein is a powerviolence band inspired by the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, because why not? But unlike most gimmick bands, Crowtien is really, really good. The music is heavy and catchy and the lyrics are hilarious. You’ll find yourself singing along to the chorus of ‘The Dennis System’ (“You’re a fucking sociopath!”) while smashing everything in your house. And let’s be real, the world needed a song that starts off with someone screeching “Waitress, why won’t you love me? Come and see my play.” More of this, please. But first, what is your spaghetti policy here?

King Ov The Rats on Bandcamp

 

Cara Neir – Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition

cara-neir

How Cara Neir aren’t more respected and well known in metal circles is beyond me? Their music almost makes me mad at how good it is. Garry Brents (all insturments) and Chris Francis (vocals and lyrics) are genius and have managed to stay vital and interesting even after 15 releases. Black metal can feel very stagnant a lot of times, but Cara Neir always brings something new to the table and Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition is no different.

Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition on Bandcamp

 

Sallow Moth – Moss Deceptiva EP

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Garry Brents strikes again! Instead of the black metal he’s usually associated with in Cara Neir, Sallow Moth is death metal with lots of d-beat influence. The three songs offered up feature killer riffs, brutal vocals, and excellent drumming from one of the best musicians in metal today. Also, 90% of the sales Garry makes through Bandcamp go to a different animal shelter each month, so you get some new death metal and animals in need get some  help. Win/win.

Moss Deceptiva on Bandcamp

 

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

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Nick Cave released the saddest fucking album of the year.  Skeleton Tree is full of weird, ambient noise with Nick Cave’s lyrics that are incredibly poignant after the death of his son. Nothing else you hear this year will prepare you for how truly depressing this album is. Yet, it’s still truly brilliant and wonderful. It’s like the title track to Push The Sky Away pushed into a weirder territory, spread out over nine songs. This is Nick Cave like you’ve never heard.

Skeleton Tree on Nick Cave’s Webstore

 

Mar – Trust In Nothing

mar

Mar released one of my all time favorite demos in 2015. Trust In Nothing is their first full length of soul crushing doom. The two piece focus on slooooooooow and raw doom that has a nice punk feel to it. The lyrics are emotional and deal with heavy issues (“These lines aren’t cuts, they’re my map”). Honestly, my words can’t do justice at how good Mar is. I completely adore this band and their music. If you like doom that is slow and heavy, pick this up. I would also love to hear a split release between Mar and Vile Creature to happen sometime.

Trust In Nothing on Bandcamp

 

Vile Creature – A Pessimistic Doomsayer EP

vile-creature

Following up last years incredible album, A Steady Descent Into Soil, Vile Creature are back with a new slab of emotionally raw and intense doom metal. A Pessimistic Doomsayer is one 17 minute long song that is a natural progression of what Vile Creature was doing with A Steady Descent Into The Soil. I enjoy that Vic sings more on this and her interplay with KW is enormously fulfilling. I love Vile Creature because they wear their hearts on their sleeves and have no problem screaming about the issues they hold dear. Trans rights, gay rights, animal rights, and anti-oppression are their calling card and all things I fully back.  The lyrics on A Pessimistic Doomsayer and raw and thought provoking and are relatable to anyone that has ever felt like an outcast (“We live like cicadas, burrowing for years, avoiding predators. When we emerge, our lives are short, time tenuous, days spent in fear. Craving escape but knowing it will lead to demise is our nature. We cannot see. refuse to believe. We do not submit to corporeality.  Sleep knowing death will come.”). These 17 minutes are emotionally brutal and leave me a wreck every time I listen to them.

A Pessimistic Doomsayer on Bandcamp

Album Review: Fortress Of My Dark Self by Oceans Of Grief

Oceans of

With a lyric like “Guards of my emptiness/keep away the joyful feels”, it’s safe to say that Oceans Of Grief aren’t here to deliver feel good moments. In fact, pretty much every lyric on Fortress Of My Dark Self is bleak. There is no silver lining. Everything is terrible and you just have to wallow in it. 
Oceans Of Grief come from Greece and their debut EP is a gloomy throwback to the 1990’s doom metal scene. It’s slow, incredibly heavy, and full of atmosphere. Most of the time, it’s very reminiscent of My Dying Bride, minus the Gothic flare. And while playing melodic death doom may not leave a lot of room for interpretation, Oceans Of Grief are perfectly adept at paying tribute to those that paved the way while doing their own thing. Their riffs are excellent and heavy, while just melodic enough to remain memorable. The vocals are low and harsh and fit will with the depressive lyrical content being spewed forth. 
The five songs on display don’t stray too far from the path of slow and heavy, but there are some really great moments throughout. The solo in ‘House Of Misery’ is beautiful and encapsulates everything I love about 90’s death metal. ‘The Birth Of Chaos’ is an excellent closing track and features a spotlight on the bass that is great. ‘Spiritual Fortress’ is definitely the album standout for me, though. It’s a damn near perfect death doom song. It’s a perfect opener and sets the tone for all the doom and gloom that follows.
Fortress Of My Dark Self may not be the most original album ever made, but it’s a well-crafted piece of 90’s inspired doom. I look forward to hearing what they do in the future, especially with a full length album. If you’re a fan of early My Dying Bride and their ilk, don’t let Oceans Of Grief pass you by.

You can pick up Fortress Of My Dark Self on Bandcamp HERE!

Follow Oceans Of Grief on Facebook and Twitter.

Album Review: Air by Astronoid

Air

There is a moment a little over halfway through Astronoid’s first full length album, Air, that is so gloriously beautiful that I can’t help but smile when I hear it. It’s like experiencing the Aurora Borealis localized entirely within your kitchen, but unlike Superintendent Chalmers, you bare witness to it in all of its glory. The song is called ‘Tin Foil Hats’ and it’s a wonderful mix of fast black metal-esque riffs, pop melodies, and gorgeous vocals singing lyrics about clouds and the sun. If there was any justice in the world, it’s a song that would be a monster hit during the summer, with kids blaring it through boom boxes while enjoying themselves in the Springfield Pool-Mobile.
Astronoid are an anomaly in the world of metal; A band that can straddle a fine line of being really fast and heavy while writing killer hooks and catchy melodies. They’re reminiscent of current era Cynic, but with more metal riffs and a lot less prog. The vocals are light and airy (pun intended) and fit nicely over the astounding guitar work on display throughout Air. The guitar work is maybe the best I’ve heard all year, if not the last decade. There are riffs upon riffs upon riffs in ‘Up And Atom’ (with “at ’em” spelled A-T-O-M in a delicious pun) that will have you screaming out “jiminy jilickers!” The three guitars work together well without overbearing each other while also being different enough to make sense.
Most metal fans have probably already logged onto alt.nerd.obsessive and logged their complaints about how Astronoid aren’t metal or that the clean vocals aren’t metal and whatever else metal fans like to complain about. But if you’re open minded and S-M-R-T, there is a world of amazing music to discover in Air. ‘Resin’ is a fast paced banger than will make anyone air drum along to the incredible drum work. ‘Homesick’ is one of the best pop songs I’ve ever heard, buried in heavy guitars. The closing track, ‘Trails Of Sulfur’, features unrelenting drums and some of Brett Boland’s more dreamy sounding vocals. All nine tracks on the album are incredible. It’s really hard to pick out specific moment as almost every song features some of the best musicianship I’ve ever heard. Air is like a coffin and each song is a nail, burying you in beauty.
So, the next time you feel like life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead, put on Air and let it’s beauty and heaviness wash over you like acid, but be careful because the goggles, they do nothing!

You can pick up Air from the Blood Music Bandcamp page HERE! You can also hear their previous albums on the Astronoid Bandcamp page HERE!

You can follow Astronoid on Facebook HERE!

Otto’s Band Of The Week: Astronoid

otto

Massachusetts metal band Astronoid is this weeks band spotlight. Forming in 2012, Astronoid’s music is beautiful, heavy, airy, and often times features dense, extraordinary guitar work. Sounding like a mix of Coheed & Cambria, Alcest, Sigur Ros, and some of the heaviness of Jesu and Cynic, Astronoid are unique and definitely stick out in the metal scene. And with their newly released full length, entitled Air, Astronoid are setting themselves apart even farther.

Air is a masterpiece of thrashy riffs and pop melodies. The vocals are beautiful, the drums are heavy while not being overly blasty, and the three guitar attack creates a dense layer or some of my favorite riffs of the year. Released on Blood Music, Air is a must listen. It also features a song called ‘Up And Atom’, and this site is always into a band that uses references from The Simpsons!

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You can pick up Air from the Blood Music Bandcamp HERE and the rest of Astronoid’s dicography HERE!

Follow Astronoid on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Prince

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Where does one even start when discussing someone like Prince? His body of work, and life in general, was so massive and expansive that it’s a bit overwhelming even thinking about trying to write about it. In fact, this is probably the seventh time since his death that I’ve tried to sit down and write something, anything, about Prince. His art means a lot to me and his body of work is staggering. 39 (!!!) full length studio albums, 136 music videos, 104 singles. That’s insane to even fathom. To put that in perspective, Bob Dylan had over 2 decades of recording before Prince released his first album and Dylan only has 37 studio albums. Needless to say, the man was prolific. It’s also rumored that he has enough unreleased material to be able to release a new full length album every year for the next century. But that’s all just statistics that you can find anywhere. I wanted to write something personal over losing someone whose music has become incredibly important to me.

prince batman

I’m basically a new comer to the world of Prince. I haven’t been listening to him my whole life. Yes, I remember watching his music videos on MTV as a kid and he’s always kind of been in the ether of my life, but I wasn’t actively listening to him. Like everyone else, I was familiar with his major hits like When Doves Cry, Kiss, 1999, etc, but my introduction deeper into the music of Prince came from three things: Jonah Matranga covering The Cross, Ween covering Shockadelica, and Kevin Smith discussing him at length, especially the 1989 Batman soundtrack. The covers by both Jonah and Ween became absolute standouts in my world. The Ween one being goofy and basically making the second half of it their own, and the Jonah cover being unbelievable heartwarming and personal. I would listen to both of them all the time. On top of that, the more and more I listened to Kevin Smith’s podcast and the more I heard him talk about Prince, I knew I had to dive in.
Now, the obvious move would have been to start out with something like his greatest hits or Purple Rain. But the first full Prince album I sunk my teeth into was the aforementioned Batman soundtrack. I was hooked immediately. It’s weird and counter intuitive to the dark and gritty take that the Dark Knight’s first foray into serious film was going for, but it works so well. Songs like Partyman, Batdance, Lemon Crush, and Scandalous are poppy, sexy, grandiose and everything else Prince was known for. And most of all, the album was fun.
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After becoming obsessed with Batman, I started to immediately devour his ‘classic’ albums. Prince, 1999, Around The World In A Day, Purple Rain, Sign O’ The Times, Emancipation. I fell in love with all of them. I’ve spent the last 5 years basically living off of Prince’s music. There hasn’t been a full week that I haven’t at least listened to The Hits/B-sides compilation. I listen to I Wanna Be Your Lover and Little Red Corvette every single morning when I leave work. Prince has become a part of my DNA and one of the things that I’ve bonded with people over. I could talk endlessly about his guitar playing at the end of Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad or how I Would Die 4 U is an absolutely perfect song. Or how I get chills at the scream he uses on If I Was Your Girlfriend (“Sometimes I trip out on how happy we could be, PLLLEEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEE”). Or how much his cover of I Can’t Make You Love Me effects me on a deep, emotional level.
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On the day Prince died, I woke up to text messages, tweets, and direct messages from people offering me condolences like I had lost a member of my immediate family. It was weird and wonderful and actually incredibly comforting. I had never met the man, or even seen him perform live for that matter, but his impact on my life had been so big that people knew I was going to be devastated. And I was. I was in complete shock, as most of the world was. No one really saw it coming. Everyone on my Twitter timeline was sharing stories and their favorite songs that whole week. It was wonderful and therapeutic and beautiful to see how many lives Prince had touched with his music. It was especially great to see the usually serious and stoic metal community come out and talk about how much Prince inspired them or how much they loved his work. Hearing stories of practically every band playing shows that week opening with Purple Rain (shout out to Mutoid Man for the best version I heard) or seeing a band like Noisem paying respect was great. But the thing that finally sent me over the edge and made me tear up and cry was seeing the video of the massive crowd of people celebrating his life and work in Minnesota. It looked liked blocks had been taken over, with every light being turned purple, and everyone singing along to Purple Rain. It hit me hard just how much he resonated with people. His songs were the soundtracks to millions of peoples lives. I can’t even imagine how many awkward sexual awakenings happened to his music videos. Or how many dance parties 1999 or Let’s Go Crazy have been played at. The sheer magnitude of the lives he had made better through music is awe inspiring.
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If anything comes from his death, I hope that a new generation of people discover his music and check it out. In my opinion, he has at least 4 perfect albums (Purple Rain, 1999, Controversy, and Prince) that should be heard. I envy the people that get to experience his work for the first time now. It’s a journey into musical genius that is unrivaled. Prince was on a whole other level. He wasn’t weird, he was unabashedly himself and turned that into an exceptional musical career. He was constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of popular music. There will never be anyone else like him and the world is a lot less magical without him in it.
 This is a video for Prince’s cover of Bonnie Raitt’s song I Can’t Make You Love Me. It has been on constant rotation for me since Prince left us. It’s one of the most beautiful renditions of an already beautiful song that I’ve ever heard and it makes me equally happy and sad while listening to it.

#MetalBandcampGiftClub Spotlight

I posted about the #MetalBandcampGiftClub and how awesome it has been a couple weeks ago (you can read that here). I decided to start a weekly segment on Xtapolapometal to spotlight albums I’ve been gifted through the gift club as a way to promote the bands and the people participating. Each week will be 2-3 albums that I’ve received and the a link to the wishlist of the person who gifted them to me. That was if you are already participating or want to jump in, you can find great people to follow.

For the first #MetalBandcampGiftClub Spotlight, here are four short and cheap noise albums from the band Full Of Hell. Most of the time, when Full Of Hell have an album up for pre-order, they will have a limited edition run of noise cassettes for the first 50 or so people to buy their album. They always sellout very quickly, so Full Of Hell put them up on Bandcamp. All four are sold for a very cheap 50 cents and are incredible worth checking out.

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 1

FOH vol 1

Pick up Vol. 1 HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 2

vol 2

Pick up Vol. 2, HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 3

vol 3

Pick up Vol. 3 HERE

 

Full Of Hell Noise, Vol. 4

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Pick up Vol. 4 HERE

All four of these were gifted to me by one of my favorite human beings on Earth and an all around lovely person, Ross Mckendrick. You can find his wish list and follow him HERE!

For more info on the #MetalBandcampGiftClub, visit the official website.

Band Crush Wednesday

simpsons bowie

I’ve been working on this for 2 days, trying to articulate what I feel, and still don’t know what exactly to say. This weeks Band Crush Wednesday is David Bowie, for obvious reasons. I’m still in shock and very mournful about his death. Bowie, along with The Cure, are the two longest lasting musical imprints on my life. My mom listened to both while she was pregnant with me and both have lasted with me to this day. A lot of people way more eloquent than I have written much better things on the man and his music, so I won’t try. If you have listened to David Bowie, you know. If you haven’t, I urge you to jump into his vast and amazing discography.

Life On Mars?

I’m Afraid Of Americans

Rebel Rebel

Blackstar

And finally, as a fitting tribute, this is Seu Jorge playing Life On Mars?, which is one of my all time favorite covers.
 

#MetalBandcampGiftClub

The world of metal, like the world in general, is a constant bombardment of shit. Metal news sites and blogs are usually a pile of negativity. There is a lot of “OMG Dave Mustaine said something stupid again!” or “Justin Beiber spotted in a Slayer shirt. Get outraged!”. Most sites that cover metal seem to be more interested in the clicks that negativity and shit talking bring them than actually covering cool things that happen in metal or promoting up and coming bands. How many times can someone really read a ranking of Metallica songs or a post making fun of something the singer from All That Remains said?

Last week, in the midst of a bad night, a friend of mine on Twitter named Jeremiah Nelson (@_jeremiahn on Twitter) decided to go onto Bandcamp and send people gifts from their wishlists, trying to turn his bad night into something positive for his friends. In the morning, as people were waking up and seeing emails about new albums they were gifted, Zachary Issac (@MannyOWar on Twitter) came up with the simplest of ideas: people should randomly gift Bandcamp albums to each other all the time. Thus, the #MetalBandcampGiftClub was born.
The idea is that anyone who was interested in partaking, get on Twitter and post your Bandcamp profile with the hashtag #MetalBandcampGiftClub. People follow you, you follow them. You gift people albums from their wishlist (or if you know their email, you can send them albums you think they would like) and you get albums gifted to you. The first day, I received 13-15 new albums, most from people I had never even talked to before and now we have back and fourths on Twitter daily. It’s incredible. You’re receiving the gift of new music, the gifter gets the satisfaction of making someones day a bit brighter, and bands / labels are getting their cut, while metal sites have settled for just writing scathing takedown pieces aimed at dismal Spotify rates without, you know, actually offering a solution of any kind.
There have been some pretty amazing positives that have come out of this whole idea in the last week alone. A lot of people will gift albums from bands they are friends with when they see them in a wishlist. We actually got the Couch Slut album ‘My Life As A Woman’ into the top ten best sellers for about 2 days straight and a bunch of Slaves BC albums into the top ten as well. It’s extremely gratifying to see bands be like “Hey, we were able to fill our gas tank and buy ourselves dinner for the first time in a week!” all because of some metal fans being nice for once. Funny story: David Hall, the man behing Handshake, Inc., actually tweeted out about how he was worried someone from Couch Slut had died because of the spike in sales. Which in itself is a sad condemnation of the way the media in general works. “Oh, someone died? I guess I should buy their album now.”
It’s amazing to me how many metal news sites basically decided that this rad thing “wasn’t news.” But so be it. That’s the world we live in now. If it isn’t clickbait-y enough, who cares? All that matters in the end is bands are making at least some money from fans being nice to each other instead of bickering endlessly about how everything is terrible. Bandcamp has taken notice and has contacted some of the people who spearheaded this whole thing about interviews. They’ve stated that in the first 4-5 days, over 250 albums were gifted. Take into account that a majority of those albums are at least $5, meaning bands and artists have made roughly $1250. IN FIVE DAYS! All from the simple idea of giving things to friends and trying to put a smile on someone’s face. Viva #NiceMetalTwitter and the #MetalBandcampGiftClub.
If you are interested in getting involved, check out the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club website (created by Mr. Skull Toaster and all around excellent human being, Seth Werkheiser) for all of the details. (There is also a list being compiled of everyone’s birthdays so you can be bombarded with a bunch of new music on your birthday!)
Also, the podcast As The Story Grows had Jeremiah and Zach on to talk about the whole thing. It’s about 30 minutes and a fun listen. Check it out HERE!
And a shameless plug: My Bandcamp profile is HERE if you want to follow me. And follow anyone I follow on their because they are all amazing people and linking 65 something people on here would be too much.

Eye On Springfield with Matt Solis from Cormorant

eye on springfield

One of my favorite parts of running this blog has been meeting some pretty awesome people working within the metal community. Finding people that can quote The Simpsons along with you from metal has been completely satisfying and fun. Ben Handelman from Black Metal & Brews turned me on to Cormorant earlier in the year and informed me that Matt was a huge Simpsons fan. Matt plays guitar and sings for Cormorant and appears on their three full lengths (Metazoa, Dwellings, & Earth Diver). Cormorant are beautiful and heavy and progressive and write some of the best black metal happening today. Check them out at the links after the interview. Thanks so much to Matt for taking the time to answer these questions!

What is your history with The Simpsons? Do you remember the first time you saw the show?

I’ve been on board since the beginning. When I was six years old, my mom came in my room and told me there was a Christmas cartoon on TV that she thought I might like. I ventured into the living room and there it was, the original 1989 Christmas Special in all its glory. It was unlike any cartoon I’d ever seen, and I loved everything about it. About six months later, the regular series premiere aired and I was once again transfixed by this crazy yellow family and their hellraising son. Those early episodes focus a lot on Bart as a catalyst for conflict, and I remember my mom being concerned that I was being influenced by his bad behavior…even though she was the one who introduced me to the show in the first place! But I turned out fine. No cherry bombs in the toilet, at least.

Who is your favorite character?

My favorite member of the family is Maggie—I even have a tattoo of her on my leg. I just think the writers use her brilliantly, particularly in the Golden Era episodes. She’s so much smarter than Homer and Bart, and it creates this hilarious dynamic where she’s always doing something that calls attention to their stupidity. My all-time favorite Maggie bit is in “Lisa on Ice” when she jumps up and catches a beer bottle that’s rocketing toward Homer’s head. Kills me every time.

My favorite non-family member is probably Mr. Burns. I love the running joke of how insanely old he is, like when he’s putting together a softball team full of ringers and all the players he wants have been dead for like 100 years. His old- timey vocabulary, infant-level strength and cartoonishly evil motivations are also constant sources of hilarity. Whether he’s blocking out the sun or stealing Marge’s mom away from Grandpa, he’s always up to something entertaining.

Do you have a favorite episode(s)?

There are probably 50 that are in the conversation for Top 10, but my all-time favorite episode is “Bart of Darkness.” I think it’s a perfect representation of how good the writing in The Simpsons can be, and it has the best film parody they’ve ever done (Rear Window in the third act). One of my favorite bits ever is the “Can we have a pool, dad?” scene; I can’t even count how many times I’ve recited that one.

“Homie the Clown” is a close second—that might have the best first act in the show’s history. “Itchy & Scratchy Land” is also right up there. “We need more BORT license plates!” Basically, anything from Season 6 is untouchably brilliant.

The Simpsons has a wide array of guest stars. Do you have a favorite?

Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio immediately comes to mind—that performance is unbelievably funny (“Homer, if you want to kill someone on your way out, it would help me a lot.”). James Woods in “Homer and Apu” is also absolutely classic. When he’s on the phone with his agent while he’s cleaning the Kwik-E-Mart microwave…it doesn’t get much funnier. Both of those guys ad-libbed most of their dialogue, too, so maybe that’s why they’re so great. And of course, who doesn’t love Cypress Hill’s appearance? “Come on, people, somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra…possible while high.”

Who from the world of metal would you love to see guest on the show?

Before he passed away, I always thought Dio would be a good fit. Maybe Abbath? The Simpsons are going to Norway!

What character would you be most excited to find out was a fan of your work?

I think Otto would have an appreciation for our shredding guitar solos and general acceptance of the Dark Lord. Maybe he could even drive the bus on our next tour!

Do you have a favorite musical number from The Simpsons? Also, what band would you love to see cover said song?

I love “The Stonecutters’ Song”—it has some really clever lyrics that work well with the all-male vocal melodies. That one needs to be covered by a really epic band, like Blind Guardian or Sonata Arctica. The entire “Planet of the Apes: The Musical” sequence is great; I could see Between the Buried and Me doing that one.

“Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?” is another classic with some hilarious lyrics. I’ll go with Neurosis to cover that one, just so I can hear Scott Kelly scream out, “I doooooooooooo…”

I’ve always thought Lisa Simpson would be the one character to end up getting into punk or metal. Who do you think will grow up and discover metal or punk?

Lisa would definitely be way into L7, Babes in Toyland, Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill. Obviously Jimbo, Kearny, and Dolph would get way into the thrash/skateboard culture and listen to stuff like Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan.

I could see Ralph getting into some seriously avant-garde shit like Arcturus or Sebkha-Chott. And then there’s Baby Gerald…a future grindcore enthusiast without a doubt.

Do you still watch new episodes of the show? If not, do you remember what made you stop watching?

I haven’t watched any new episodes in probably 10 years. I did enjoy The Simpsons Movie; it was smart to bring in a lot of the best writers from the series’ history, and they did a pretty decent job. I started realizing that the show’s quality was rapidly declining around 1999 or so…there were still some funny episodes here and there, but the consistency was nowhere to be found. The writing went from this sharp, outside-the-box satire to “herp a derp, look how stupid Homer is!” and I just totally lost interest. I wish they would just put it out of its misery already, but on the other hand, it’s crazy to think about how long it’s been on the air now.

Regardless, no one can take those Golden Years away from us (Seasons 2-9 in my opinion), and those episodes alone make any later shittiness well worth it.

How would you like to see the series end? Any ideas on where you would like to see the family end up?

I definitely don’t want to see it end too wacky, like something from Treehouse of Horror where they end up in space or some shit. Maybe an episode where they move out of Springfield for good this time (sorry, Cypress Creek!) and spend time with characters that have impacted the show throughout the years, like what they did in “22 Short Films About Springfield.”

matt

Follow Matt & Cormorant at:

Matt Solis on Twitter

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Cormorant on Facebook

Cormorant on Bandcamp

BCW – Mi’raj Aswad

miraj

Digging through Bandcamp one day, I stumbled across the debut EP from Mi’raj Aswad, a black metal band from Singapore. The EP immediately caught my attention and engrossed me with their form of black metal that would fit perfectly alongside early Alcest, Heretoir, and Ghost Bath. I don’t know much about the band, as it seem that they are another black metal band shrouded in secrecy (band members are listed as F., (S.), and some weird X with a triangle symbol). But their music speaks for itself.


Follow Mi’raj Aswad at:
Mi’raj Aswad on Bandcamp
Mi’raj Aswad on Facebook