Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Speed of Blood

Gallhammer - Ill Innocence

As one of the few Waterloo employees who's spent about an equal amount of time amongst both the the metal and the indie-rock communities, I've never understood why the two just don't get down and make love more often. I mean, when i was a kid, crossover was all the phase. Bands like, D.R.I., S.O.D., and Corrosion of Conformity were showing just how much metal and hardcore had in common. It was fun. I mean, hell, we all know that it was J Mascis's band Deep Wound that inspired a bunch of chaps in Birmingham to form Napalm Death which, in turn, helped inspire a bunch of dudes in Florida to create death metal, right? I could play Celtic Frost's first album to someone who'd never heard it before and tell them it was an eighties hardcore band and I'm sure they'd believe it. Hell, I remember when I bought my first Celtic Frost tape it was only because I'd saved up money to buy Fearless Iranians From Hell (awesome San Antonio, TX crossover band) and someone else beat me to it (irony of ironies, that guy eventually became my roommate and is currently playing bass in Austin's great alt-country band, Brothers and Sisters.)
Anyway, this all brings me to Japan's Gallhammer and their second album "Ill Innocence." Taking their inspiration from the proto-Celtic Frost band Hellhammer and British crossover band Amebix, these three Japanese women have forged an album that, though the press refer to them as "black metal" ( a term that has increasingly come to describe less and less), stands head and shoulders above all their "fellow" revivalists today (I'm looking right at you Municipal Waste; a cut-off denim vest does not a classic album make.) With a dash of Oakland's Neurosis (also influenced by Amebix), a bit of what I hear is Dischord era hardcore, and, giving the press their due, some black metal vocals all laid over a simple crossover structure, you have a band that, based on how many times I've listened to it, should have been my number one album of the year in 2007.

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