Sunday, January 31, 2016

Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of 2015

It's only a few days later than when last year's list was posted, but we made it just under the wire! This past year's Top 20 list took awhile to put together so we won't add on needlessly with a long intro. So without further ado, here is Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of 2015 in no particular order (see the full list by clicking on "the jump")

Beauty Pill – Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are
I want more life, fucker.”  That quote from Bladerunner is the first lyric for the “Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are” album.  It’s a pretty appropriate movie quote for an album that’s so electronically organic. That phrase seems even more apropos when you realize that years ago the mastermind behind Beauty Pill Chad Clark was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy and had to undergo emergency open heart surgery to save his life.  The surgery is one of the main reasons it took so long to record this new album, which is the band’s first release since 2004.  Their artsy, electronically-inflected indie rock was a strange fit on the legendary Washington, D.C.-based hardcore label Dischord, so they opted for a more fitting home for this release with Butterscotch Records.  This album is so full of life, colors, and joy that it transforms the opening phrase into a declaration of exuberance as opposed to rage.  Beauty Pill Describes… seems so celebratory that it manages to make words like fuck, junkie and asshole sound almost innocent.  With its thick yet sleek production, inventive rhythms and nuances this album is definitely more appreciated within headphones.  “Describes Things As They Are” is lush, fresh, extremely listenable and engrossing.

Endon – MAMA
MAMA was originally released last year in Japan on CD through renowned Japanese label Daymare Recordings. This album was produced by Atsuo the drummer of the famed Japanese band Boris. It also garnered so much attention that it received a worldwide release via Hydra Head in 2015, which is considerable since they technically closed their doors as a label in 2012. There seems to be a lot of star power that believes in Endon and for good reason. The Japanese quartet's sound is intense. So much so that it often defies categorization. Endon are about noise. There's some black metal there, and some grindcore and a dash of hardcore too but they're mostly about noise. Despite this fact you would be hard pressed to call their music noise metal. They don't sound like Today Is The Day, Unsane or Ken Mode, so calling them noise metal would be more of an understatement to the term noise. There are lots of bands that sound like the sum of their influences, but it is rare for one to sound like all of them playing at the same time. Guitar riffs are enveloped or beaten into submission by distortion as harsh electronics whirr and stutter. Often times the drummer sounds like he’s playing blast beats in a typhoon as schizophrenic screams and tongues spoken with both anger and anguish terrorize the tracks. That isn't to say that this album was put together haphazardly, there's an obvious method behind the madness. There is structure underneath all the chaos. Yet there is also more madness behind the madness as well. This is very challenging anti-music so proceed with caution.

Rapper Big Pooh & Nottz - Home Sweet Home
Little Brother came onto the scene at an opportune time.  The North Carolina trio was credited for bringing positive throwback Hip Hop back to the forefront at a time when it was sorely lacking.  Even their name itself was an ode to the 'big brothers' of Hip Hop they admired; A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, De La Soul etc. With the group's disbandment it was no question that the members would thrive on their own with 9th Wonder producing for Mary J. Blige, Jay Z and Destiny's Child and Phonte creating his own Grammy nominated duo The Foreign Exchange.  With the meteoric rise of the two it would be easy to assume that the lesser noticed Rapper Big Pooh would be left by the wayside.  Pooh had done quite the opposite actually dropping a multitude of mixtapes and albums while proving himself to be a strong solo artist.  "Home Sweet Home" touches on more personal subject matter, making it highly relatable.  Memory lane is definitely the major theme that is driven over on this album as songs about home, high school and nostalgia dominate the release. In the opening verse to 'Welcome Home' Pooh raps “all respect due to the elders in the room” before rapping about coming home to family - when's the last time you heard a Hip Hop artist give respect to their elders?  That respect is reflected in Rapper's music as well as his life and is quite refreshing to hear. But Big Pooh’s wise and insightful lines would be nothing without the hard-hitting production from Nottz, who’s break-heavy beats pushes this album from a solid one to one of our top albums of the year.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Insect Warfare Reunite to play Obscene Extreme 2016 July 13-17

The other day Dobber Beverly, the drummer for War Master and the last drummer to play for legendary Texas grindcore act Insect Warfare posted the above picture of said band.  Rahi, Dobber and Beau's current bands just happened to be sharing practice space and posted the pic on Facebook which instantly spurred comments and questions on whether or not they were getting back together.  Apparently the rumors are true because it was just announced that the trio will reunite to play Obscene Extreme Fest an open air metal and hardcore festival that takes place in the Czech Republic!  Hopefully this also means more shows planned for the future and maybe even some new music.  With this and the At the Drive In announcement this is turning out to be an incredible week!  Here is what festival founder Miroslav "Curby" Urbanec had to say about the fortuitous reunion:

"Thousands of grinders all over the world have been waiting for this moment for many years and now it is here! An exclusive show at Obscene Extreme fest and a comeback we have been impatiently waiting for!!!

INSECT WARFARE will crush the Trutnov Battlefield with a power of grind hurricane!!! Precise riffs, intense cyclone. We are expecting nothing less!!! This band has ruled the world with their ingenious album “World Extermination” that brought an awesome portion of totally devastating music!!!

Uargh! You just cannot miss that!!! Our enthusiasm knows no limits!!! Where is July?"


Thursday, January 21, 2016

At the Drive In announce 2016 World Tour and New Music

Seminal post hardcore group AT THE DRIVE IN have announced that they are reuniting for a world tour and to work on a new album!  This would be their first new album since 2000's classic "Relationship of Command."  At the Drive In formed in 1993 in El Paso, Texas and rose to prominence over the years for their energetic live shows and critically acclaimed albums.  They became one of the most influential post hardcore groups of the late 90s and early 2000s and their last release is considered by many to be a landmark album.  The band broke up in early 2001 and vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López formed The Mars Volta while Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar formed Sparta.  They first reunited in 2012 and played a string of festival shows including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Splendour in the Grass, Fuji Rock, Reading and the Leeds Festival.  You can check out a teaser for their new music below and see the dates for their 2016 World Tour after the jump.


Posted by At The Drive In on Thursday, January 21, 2016