Viewers Like You
Tilt has all the essential ingredients of a punk band -- their music is hard-driving, the vocals are raw, and they're pissed off at the world. Viewers Like You is a marathon of angry choruses alternately condemning our self-absorbed, capitalist, TV-watching society, and finding ways to rebel against it. On "Pious," vocalist Cinder Block croons about the hypocrisy of the religiously dogmatic; on "Dog Collar," she describes one girl's efforts to shrug off conformity and society's expectations with her unconventional fashions; on "Restless, Irritable, and Discontent"...well, enough said.
Musically, the band sounds really tight, and the use of power chords and raucous beats are the perfect complement to the anger and outrage of the words, but I just wasn't impressed by their melodies and the repetitiveness of the songs' themes. I also didn't find the lyrics too inspiring, especially in "Animated Corpse," a song about a necrophiliac sneaking into the cemetery to satisfy her, ahem...urges. I guess this could be seen as a celebration of a sexual liberation of sorts, but I couldn't quite bring myself to sing along.
Although the songs become a bit humdrum by about track 3, there is one song to which I must give props -- it's called "Mama's Little Man," and is a clever tongue-in-cheek ditty slowed down from the rest with a blue-grass twang that is a sarcastic commentary on the proud rearing of a new generation of white supremacists. Aside from this little gem, I couldn't get into this CD; it isn't terrible, but it's nothing spectacular. It's good background music for running or to play in the car if you're in a terrible hurry, but pretty boring on its own. (NL)
(Fat Wreck Chords -- P.O. Box 4579, Berkeley, CA. 94704; http://www.fatwreck.com/)
Standard Sanitary Manufacturing
You may not have seen Twenty-Three at one of their shows at the Oven, but if you go to shows at all in and around Houston, you have certainly seen one of their fine stickers near and even inside some of the most-visited urinals in town. There may be no better way to get your band seen than at the Fitzgerald's pisser, especially if you're on a small budget, as this band surely is. Budget concerns aside, if you have seen them, then you saw a pretty good rock band, and you may already have their homemade disc, the thoroughly catchy, head-scratchingly titled Standard Sanitary Manufacturing.
With a black and white cover apparently lifted from Command and Conquer or some similar computer game and lame song titles like "Korn Logs" and "Leper.con," I was certainly prepared for something a lot worse than the modest slab of appealing dope rock Manufacturing ultimately delivers.
Not strictly given to any particular genre, the band flirts with a sound somewhere between metal and the ubiquitous rap-crap rock, currently heard 'round the clock on the Buzz. Vocalist Robert Thoth grunts and growls and achieves extra-Megadeth credit on the aforementioned "Leper" and "Relapse" (which also features spot-on howling from some other guy); but unlike myriad other Mustaine wannabes, their talented singer does not seem to be allergic to melody. In fact, Thoth has a solid ear for the occasional vocal hook. He is backed by a trio of capable players who, judging from the liner notes and the bona-fide harmonies on "This Box," also contribute vocals. The latter track and "All Played Out" are the standouts here, and sandwiched between them both is "Trollin' for Skanks," which aside from the recording's only competent guitar solo, features incoherent vocals and a vibe consistent with my favorite evil song from my own high school years, "Move to the City." God bless you, Guns 'n' Roses -- Twenty-Three has not forgotten you.
The entire affair benefits from Byron Krone's intuitive and flashless drumming, and their pervasive sense of humor and use of some clutter-free samples don't hurt, either. Also included is an almost-unrecognizable cover of a "good" Doors song (if you believe there is such a thing). By the way, old Pain Teens master Scott Ayers helped mix the record into the all-around pleasing product Manufacturing reveals itself to be. Gradually. And with repeated listening. (MP)
Type O Negative
World Coming Down
There is nothing more profound to a true Type O Negative fan than hearing the very first deep, dark, and brooding strains of a new song created by this band. Type O Negative's long-awaited latest release, World Coming Down, is going to grab their diehard fans by the short hairs and pull them out by the roots. The Drab Four are back in a way that is sure to please not only their fans, but themselves.
It would be sacrilege to even bother to play this CD before dusk, first of all. And if you haven't got at least one candle lit, a glass of Merlot in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and some incense burning in a far corner -- you're doing yourself a disservice. Listening to songs like "Creepy Green Light" and "White Slavery" without the type of atmosphere they require is just, well, wrong!
In the past, each collection of songs has always told its own story; a heavy metal chronology that openly portrays the experiences of the band members and how they feel about what is happening to them. Slow, Deep & Hard and Origin of the Feces were indeed the angry, unpolished, and heavy melodic volumes of the Type O Negative library. Bloody Kisses dabbled with the occult, sex, and death in a way that only Type O can, and October Rust showed us the even more sexual, even yet softer side of Steele.
World Coming Down tells this bedtime story with old-school, Sabbath-influenced moodiness bleeding onto each page. It's evident what you are about to experience from the first few notes of the title track. Be prepared to hear the ever-present black humor and gothadelic crackle in tracks like "Skip It" and "All Hallow's Eve" just the way you did when you used to listen Bloody Kisses. You'll also hear the familiar demanding snap of a woman's whip, as you did on October Rust, in "Pyretta Blaze" and the slow and dirge-like rendition of the Beatles' "DayTripper/She's So Heavy" medley.
But before you even have the chance to wax poetic about the old days and smile wistfully, Peter Steele's deep-as-the-ocean bass and vocals will swallow you whole and Josh Silver's keyboards will spit you back out. Drummer John Kelly is the demure and solid anchor while guitar and vocals from Kenny Hickey are the constant thrashing of the waves.
This collection of songs is telling us the story of what loss is. World Coming Down reminds us that no matter how much we love, "Everything Dies." And with the single, "Everyone I Love is Dead," the plot thickens with each time one of Steele's family members joins the land of the dead. It explains the way you begin to decay along with your surroundings as you age and how everyone else goes with you.
Pick up a copy of World Coming Down and listen to it while you still have the life and the presence of mind in you to fully appreciate it. (LP)
(Roadrunner Records -- http://www.roadrun.com/)