Radio Free Yonkers…1,158 Miles North of Tampa.

If you were one of the chosen few self-respecting death metal cats shredding about in your bedroom in the mid to late 80s, the seductive siren call of Tampa Florida was never far off.  For many it seemed to ooze in and out of those single coil Seymour Duncans like an unrealized T.S. Eliot poem.  That shitty backwater swamp stood as a gilded mecca of generic death metal and miserable sporting franchises with the prospect of full employment at any number of horrible college town pizza franchises.  Mothers would be proved wrong. Homeroom bullies would be forgotten.  The future would be an endless parade of friday night shows and saturday morning shift openings. The anticipation of such greatness was all the promise most needed.  It was Gatsby’s green light…

But this shit ain’t about the FLA.

Anyone with a minimal understanding of Yonkers New York will not find it a surprising breeding ground for an art form whose entire existence rests on the unrelenting theory that we exist in a godless universe with no purpose or hope and that we are ultimately either damned to hell or doomed to failure in a shitty, crime ridden pocket of the world’s best known city. While New York City is better known (in hip music terms anyway) as the birthplace of hip hop and the gritty, street level strut of hardcore (“Don’t Forget the Struggle, Don’t Forget the Streets,” “We don’t fake it, we just take it,” etc.), a fistful of brilliant death metal outfits have risen from the rubble of burning tires and the Broken Windows Theory over the past 25 years to not only record some of the genre’s most seminal albums, but also to establish a surprisingly sustainable and enduring career path. While Long Island’s Suffocation and Incantation are often hailed as the big rotten apple’s gift to All Things Death Metal, Immolation has, with their epic Majesty and Decay, thrown down a bold claim as NYC’s finest.  And while they may have, like the majority of their contemporaries, moved from the “scary, can’t see my face through my brutal locks” look to the “I’m not going bald, I’ve chosen to shave my head and grow my goatee out cuz I think it looks nice” look, Yonkers’ prodigal grinders have raised the bar to levels not seen since Pierced From Within.

Majesty and Decay is Immolation’s ninth full length album since the heady Rigor Mortis days of the late 80s.  This is a blue-collar, wheat meat and potatoes slab of cold-blooded American death metal at its absolute best.  No breakdowns, no keyboards, no neck tattoos; just three slightly smart dudes and a genius on lead guitar producing the type of stripped down yet complexly dense brand of metal that has defined the genre for nearly three decades.  From the obligatory creepy minute and a half moody intro (a metal phenomenon first realized on Motley Crue’s God Bless the Children of the Beast, later reaching its apogee on Sepultura’s Arise) through the unrelenting double bass groove of the trouncing title track, to the final seconds of The Comfort of Cowards, the Immolation lads have proven yet again that they have carved a well-earned niche at the top of their craft. Guitarist Robert Vigna’s ghastly vision of a bemoaning harmonic dystopia is on its best behavior here, uncovering beauty in the most dissonant of places with his simple yet commanding use of doom filled noodling.  And while Ross Dolan’s classicist approach to the guttural growl is a long way from setting the genre on its head, it’s nice to hear an artist at the top of his game holding on to a sound that sometimes seems out of vogue in this mosh laden, black metal, grindcore worshipping epoch.  With Majesty and Decay, Immolation have created a modern death metal classic without forgetting the sounds that drove them to pick up their instruments in the first place.

I was contemplating uploading a “rip” file or whatever for this album so you might have a free listen, but upon further thought I feel like it might serve you better if you were to buy a copy of your very own.  The layout is dope, and has just enough cool stuff to look at in an average length number 2 in the reading room.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a decent record store in your corner of the universe, you can always order it here: 666Yonkersrepresent. You can get a great t-shirt also, and those hard workers in Immolation might actually see a dollar or two…


Regret & The Grave

Sorry I’ve been such a horrible blogger recently.  Shit has been busy, and I’ve been the victim of uninspired, flaccid pizza making of late.  Things will change…

Till then, I leave you with this brilliant Cattle Decapitation video.  In case you’ve lived in the woods for the past 10 years (which would make me very jealous), these San Diego death metalers are brutal vegan warriors who produce great art in their spare time.  Hope you like it and stay tuned…


Life Can Be A Real Ball

I’m honored to welcome a new contributor to heavy metal cassettes in the form of Sarahjane Blum.  Sarahjane comes to us by way of lovely Minnesota and is the only person I know who claims to have gone to the American Carnage tour twice last year. I’m also fairly certain her brain weighs a metric ton.

Be All End All Pizza

When I was just a wee little metalhead, back in junior high school, with a befuddled sense of style which melded a chelsea girl hairdo with a nose ring to earring chain inspired I’m sure by Rachel Bolan in Skid Row, I still had a lot to learn about what should and shouldn’t go together.  What I did know, and something that has served me well, is that Anthrax’s State of Euphoria makes every fucking thing better.

It turns my depression into righteous anger and confusion into, well, righteous anger.  And then it makes me dance like a headbanging thrash-punk little girl.

So with that, and in honor of the new year, I bring you, the Be All End All pizza.  Now go change your attitude, like you change your shirt.

Also, listen to Anthrax while pounding out your dough, it will infuse it with a little bit of New York and make it that much better–like me, they have had their sartorial challenges, but even if your pizza ends up a little funny looking, it still will be better than any pizza you can come up with while listing to Slayer or any of those California groups.

The key to great pizza is that magic trick where each component comes across with its own distinct identity, but then the whole thing combines to give you one complete sensation.  And that trick is worked by repeating a few key ingredients, so you get their flavor more than once.  Also, it helps to not treat your poor pizza dough like a damned sherpa, piling every last thing you can think of onto its back.

So the Be All, End All pizza has two toppings, mozzarella-style Daiya and field roast sausage, a garlic-tomato sauce, with plum tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes (see, repeating flavors, but different at the same time–), and a roasted garlic crust.  There I go again with the garlic in the sauce and the different  garlic in the crust.  It’s just that easy.

I also make a small pizza treat for my dog, cause she rocks even harder than the American Carnage tour.


Product Spotlight: Bute Island’s Mozzarella Sheese. Or, The Best Vanilla Candle You Ever Put On Pizza.

To be filed under “Why The Fuck Even Make This Stuff?”

While I realize that expecting a Scottish company to produce a decent mozzarella cheese analog is tantamount to asking a Sicilian to develop a vegan corn dog, I couldn’t resist giving this stuff a shot. Those blokes at Bute Island have been producing some very popular and highly regarded vegan cheeses for at least a decade now, so I figured it was finally time to try it on a pie.  While I considered myself a marginal fan of their cheddar cheese line (my favorite being smoked), I’d heard from several reliable sources that none of them melted worth a damn and were best enjoyed cold on a cracker or sandwich.  One well-meaning blogger even went so far as to say that “the Sheese refused to melt on my pizza, even after cooking it for 40 minutes (emphasis mine)”  First of all, anyone who cooks a pizza for 40 minutes should be tried for treason. Second of all, I’m not going to let some charlatan who tortures a pizza for three-quarters of an hour discourage me from my pizza chemistry.  I put the stone in the oven and set it at 550…

After opening the strange little resealable package, I gave the wheel a bit of a sniff and was unpleasantly surprised by its Pina colada cheesecake/white russian aroma. Not what I expected at all.  From what I remember, mozzarella has almost no detectable smell, and if it did it certainly wasn’t birthday cake. Anyhow, I cut a slice and gave it a try. While the texture and feel under the knife was pretty legit, the taste was less than spectacular.  The first sensation was an agreeable creaminess (“hey, this isn’t so terrible”) quickly followed by a waxy violence (“what is this, 1996?”).  After a few chews that odd vanilla ice cream sensation reemerged and I could only hope that once I had it shredded and mingling with the sauce that things would get better. They had to, didn’t they?

One positive thing about this Sheese is its shredding ability.  It’s consistency and firmness lend to a shredding that is more legit than any other vegan cheese I’ve come across.  Of course this means absolutely nothing.  It’s nearly as annoying as folks who constantly yack their faces off about the melting ability of certain vegan cheeses.  Big deal. Ice cubes melt well also. Going to put ice cubes on a pizza? There’s more to cheese analog integrity that the visual appearance of “real cheese”.

Ready to go on the stone.  Used some left over meat sauce from my third Brutal Lasagna Night of the holiday season for this one.  Getting a bit tired of this sauce to be honest.  To damn meaty and over spiced for a proper pie. Going to go back to my bright San Marzano sauce come the new year…

Crust came out lovely.  The rest was an unmitigated disaster.  While I do feel that the quality of the crust is 80 percent of the overall pizza eating experience, I couldn’t even bring myself to finish this sad, sad pie.  This is perhaps the third time in my life that I stopped eating pizza before I was at least overly full if not near death.  Vmass said it was like giving a child up for adoption but much worse.  That damn vanilla flavor survived the oven and extended its evil scope all over my beautiful creation. The cheese also didn’t melt at all well, even though I trickled a generous amount of olive oil over it and put it under the broiler.  Anything that seemed the slightest bit “melty” soon regained its crayon status once it hit room temperature.  Blech.

The crust was the one positive on this day…

The cornicione was slightly doughy yet light with a nice snap.

What else can I say?  Everyone is different.  Some folks like their pizza to look like traditional college town American style pizza, some folks like their pizza to be simple and edible.  I champion the latter.  The original pizza, the Marinara, was vegan by default.  It was simple dough made from four ingredients, crushed tomato, olive oil, oregano and/or basil, and maybe a bit of rock salt.  That was it.  If prepared with the proper ingredients and cooked in an appropriate manner, the Marinara is, in my opinion, the most perfectly gratifying food experience on the planet.  And while I’m far from making a blanket condemnation of the vegan meat and cheese experience (my friend Cooper made several pizzas over the weekend with Daiya that were out of this world), I still contend that less is more.


Thanks Everyone! You Are All God’s Special Angels!

Thanks to everyone who’s been checking heavy metal cassettes out. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider my blog to be “on fire,” I am happy that a few regulars seem to be checking in with consistency, and for you I will continue to lay open my pizza making, metal heart. I have mind-blowing stuff planned for 2011, including a new feature I will be calling “Scathing Product Spotlight: Why The Fuck Do They Even Make This Stuff?,” as well as the old classics you’ve come to marginally appreciate/blatantly disregard. Little Miss/Santa Clause gave me the new Immolation and Atheist cds for Jesus Day as well as a great book on pizza called American Pie.  It was a good day all around…

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 20 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 111 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 24mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 1st with 231 views. The most popular post that day was Vegan Pizza or Death.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were foodfightgrocery.com, facebook.com, sz0161.ev.mail.comcast.net, mail.yahoo.com, and metalsucks.net.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for carcass heartwork, heavy metal cassettes, heavy metal cassettes vegan, death metal vegan pizza, and ritual.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Vegan Pizza or Death November 2010
3 comments

2

About Me July 2009
2 comments

3

Vmass Is Doing His Best To Make You Healthy… December 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

Codifying Carcass: 3 of the Best From Earache and Columbia Records’ Strange Encounter December 2010
3 comments

5

The 5 Most Underappreciated Masterpieces of Thrash Metal’s “Wilderness Years” (’92/’93) November 2010
4 comments


Tom and Jerry Drinking Sherry. Merry Merry Y’all…

May Jesus bless the crap out of you this holiday season.


A Bit of the Ol’ In Out. The Ultra Violence Lurks in the Damndest of Places…

So, upon finally finding myself with a free day of my very own, I decided to scour lovely southeast Portland in an attempt to purchase any and every thrash/death/speed metal cassette I could possibly get my grubby paws on. (For the sake of context, let’s say any album falling between Overkill’s Feel The Fire and Megadeth’s Youthanasia. Two albums, while not disasters, remain unlistenable for two very personal and very irrational reasons, but I digress.) As you may already be aware, this is no easy task.  It’s become difficult enough to find a used copy of such albums on cd or vinyl nowadays (what with all the pentagram shaped, stale cookie cutter black metal Necro Crypti bands now dominating the artistic landscape once occupied by such mindnumbingly brilliant, sweatpant wearing acts as Wrathchild America, Sacred Reich, and of course, the incomparable King Diamond), not to mention the added challenge of finding these timeless classics on cassette. The gauntlet had been thrown down, and I would answer, with vigor…

I’m forever suffering fools…

After several frustrated attempts, I shuffled my sad ass into yet another record establishment that felt the need to further indoctrinate me with the sacrosanct notion that Rubber Soul was somehow more important and culturally relevant than Nuclear Assault’s Something Wicked album.  This is the type of worn out verbal masturbation that makes me want to cut my own face off with the broken shards of a Joshua Tree cd. Can you in all honestly tell me that London in the 60s was a more artistically fertile and vital region than Tampa in the late 80s?  I mean, had these people even heard Death’s Spiritual Healing? I think not.  Anywho, after rifling through yet another flaccid excuse of a metal cd section (where I actually picked up a copy of Youthansia. What can I say, I’m a glutton for overly produced self-hatred), I poked around a bit looking to find what I assumed to be a nonexistent cassette section.  But wait, what’s this?  A fucking shitload of cassettes. And only two bucks each?  I bolted to the “metal” section where I was battered about my head and torso with two copies of Def Leppard’s Hysteria album, some monstrosity from the Bullet Boys, that shitty Extreme album with the suicide inducing More Than Words, and three more copies of Hysteria. I swear I heard laughter.  Defeated yet again, I decided to glance through the “Rock & Pop” (sounds like a sports drink) in a half-hearted attempt to unearth some under appreciated pop masterpiece from my shelf stocking days like Paw’s Dragline or the Galactic Cowboy’s oddly affecting Space in Your Face.  Just at the point where I realized that my killing time until a burrito was posturing as “record collecting,”  I saw it.  Suicidal Tendencies Suicidal for Life. Now, I’m quite aware that Suicidal for Life is a far cry from Lights, Camera, Revolution, and is probably not even as good as The Art of Rebellion (an album that I’ve always considered the opening salvo in what I audaciously refer to as “S.T.’s Suicidal Snorefest Period”), but like I’ve always said, even the worst Suicidal cassette is at least WAY better than the best Atreyu cassette.  Or Killswitch Engage cassette. Or fucking Dragon Force cassette.  And while it can’t quite compare with Coma of Souls or say, any Carcass album, it was pretty good for a misty Oregon Tuesday morning.

One quarter Scottish, three-quarters insane…

So, after fighting a losing battle against a couple thousand copies of R.E.M’s Monster, I, with great nonchalance, sauntered up to the counter with my cd and cassette and handed them to the bearded fatman working the register, who I’m convinced, even under the duress of torture, would steadfastly maintain his conviction that Sly and the Family Stone were somehow more “artistically viable” than Bolt Thrower.  After our obligatory monetary exchange, and what I was convinced was a condescending chuckle in the guise of being “folksy”, I took my treasured cassette out into the street, where it belonged.  I fished my Walkman out of my bag and hurriedly opened my new (old) Suicidal cassette, the voice of Mike Muir already reverberating through my brain.  And then, as if in slow motion, it all kicked off.  The Golden Cassette went crashing to the cold, wet sidewalk (don’t worry, it’s not broken or anything) revealing itself, not as my anticipated booty, but as Death Angel’s 1987 debut release, The  Ultra Violence. Now, at the time I couldn’t say for sure if this was a positive development or not. While being only marginally acquainted with Death Angel’s Act III (which I thought was quite good), I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. For a moment, at the risk of withstanding more patronizing folksiness (all absolutely imagined of course) I considered bringing the cassette back to the fat man, thinking that there was just some mixup that could easily be remedied.  I quickly dismissed this notion as an impossibility of course, as the image of my sad, unloved Suicidal cassette resting unrealized in a Death Angel case somewhere in the wastelands of suburban Milwaukee slapped me back into reality. Oh well, I thought.  Death Angel is still pretty damn good.  I put the cassette in my Walkman and hit play.  Oh…my…

There are some things in life you can’t be certain of.  When you’re young, you anticipate your future as having some sort of certainty, a degree of balance.  But this is not the case with most.  You may realize that the anticipation of great events are actually the great events that you were waiting for all along, and there are never actual arrival points.  We can’t even be sure that we’ll always want to know our parents.  But one thing, dear reader, that you can be certain of.  The Ultra Violence? A Fucking Masterpiece.


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