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Video Premiere: Vicious Blade – “Siege of Cruelty”

Pittsburgh’s Vicious Blade play thrash like a race car driver with a death wish. Their souped-up songs all rumble by in three minutes or less, steroid-boosted Discharge riffs and Show No Mercy-style solos flying wildly in all directions, threatening to spiral out of control. The band never do lose control, though, and their self-titled 2020 EP was a highlight of the latest wave of crusty thrash revivalists. Later this month, Vicious Blade will return with its follow-up: another five-song dose of ripping insanity called Siege of Cruelty.

Everything hits harder this time around. Frontwoman Clarissa Badini (also of death metal pugilists Castrator) has honed her instrument into a weapon of throat-shredding destruction. Lead guitarist Jeff Ellsworth (who also played on Don Caballero’s game-changing World Class Listening Problem) shreds like eyeshadow-era Kerry King, with more of a sense of melodic sophistication. Siege of Cruelty feels like a pronounced step up for a band who already kicked a considerable amount of ass. Decibel has the exclusive first taste of the EP in the form of Steve Turselli’s video for the title track, “Siege of Cruelty.” Watch the evil, red-drenched video and read a brief statement about it from Jeff Ellsworth below.

“We got together with director Steve Turselli and producer Aaron Streiner to bring to life the concepts we had. We wanted to capture the band’s imagery and stay true, old, old-school metal. They used flaming swords, skulls and red lighting to make it look like we were playing in hell.”

Stay tuned for the vinyl release via Pittsburgh’s own Our Ancient Future label. “No pre-orders because fuck that pre-order bullshit,” in their words.

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Kreator and Candlemass

There’s a lot going on right now—and very little of it is good—so hopefully me reviewing some new releases will be a welcome distraction. Remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

Thrash stalwarts Kreator are back in ripping form with their new one Hate Über Alles which translates to “Hate above all.” I gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised by this. I’ve been listening to them since I was a hatchling, and although not QUITE as fierce as Extreme Aggression and earlier, this still has the fire of the thrash band they were. Sorta. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid thrash record, and although some of the fire is still there, it’s certainly a record played by guys in their 50s. Guitars and vocals sound mean and raw, but the processed drums take a lot of bite out of this. Still good, though. 9 Fucking Pecks.

Classic doomsters Candlemass hit us with a very important reissue. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (take THAT spellcheck.) For those not in the know this is a doom CLASSIC recorded under a Stockholm subway. I’m not sure these guys knew what they had non their hands. This is heavy, slow, groovy and possibly the first extreme doom record of all time. I cannot say how much I love this. If you’ve ever heard this, remedy that, and then come watch the band perform the full record for the first time EVER in the U.S. at Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Philly on June 10. It’s a must-buy. Classic. 10 Fucking Pecks.

Well, folk, I’d review the new GWAR but can’t get my feathers on it, so until next time…

Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Misery Index, Terror and WOORMS

What’s up, beak geeks? It’s ya boy Waldo here to review some good and some not-as-good new releases for you. Remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

American death grinders Misery Index are back with their seventh Complete Control. This is unlike any other Misery Index record you’ve heard before. Seems like they really dug down on songwriting here and this is a less “streamlined” album. There are some post-rock, ISIS-y moments here, but overall, this is a grinding, unrelenting record. What really stands out are the intricacies in the songs. There is an impressive blend of styles, and even though that may sound weak, this is NOT a weak record at all. Punk, death, grind all abound here. Digging it. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Pissed off hardcore band Terror hit us with Pain into Power. Wow, what a barnburner of a hardcore record. This thing has life, it moves and my feathers, the mosh parts. This is pure unadulterated hate, if not for being super formulaic to other hardcore records. Did I mention this thing is PISSED? This band used to have a pre-Nails Todd Jones. This is hardcore. 6 Fucking Pecks.

One of my favorites the Melvins-esque WOORMS is releasing Fatalismo on Steve Austin’s SuperNova. This is a heavy drudge through music, heavy, plodding, upbeat, you know, a bit of everything. A bit of everything that has a Melvins like vibe. Not that this band is derivative, they’re not at all. I dig this band, and have for a bit. You should check them out. 7 Fucking Pecks.

Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Undeath and Devil Master

There’s a lot going on right now, so hopefully, me reviewing some new releases will be a welcome distraction. Remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

Wow, seems like I only heard of Undeath a bit ago, but here we are with a new release called It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave. Old-school death metal prevails here, and well, a lot of ghoulish fun. Undeath definitely owe a debt to Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse here, b not bogged down in brutality. Not to say that this isn’t heavy, because it certainly is. It’s got an energy that I haven’t heard from newer OSDM acts in years. There is a simplicity here, definitely a more American thrash vibe as opposed to a lot of Swedish inspired contemporaries. A lot of chunks and chugs abound here but it’s cool. Never comes across same-y. I’m pecking digging it. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Philly’s Devil Master is coming back with more fun on Ecstasies of Never Ending Night. Man, I gotta say I beaking LOVE Devil Master! Always ones for fun and EVIL, Devil Master deliver their unique brand of black metal mixed with punk yet again on their second LP. Expect a lot of cobwebs, fun and devilry. There’s plenty of GISM here, but also fair amounts of Celtic Frost and Mayhem. Single “Acid Black Mass” really sets the tone with warped riffing and fun darker atmospheres. Needs some low end tho. Peep it. 9 Fucking Pecks.

Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Meshuggah, the Hellacopters and Satan

There’s a lot going on right now, so hopefully me pecking over some new releases will ease the pain. Remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

The djentlemen of Meshuggah have been busy because April 1 sees the release of Immutable. Coming in at 66 minutes—oof—this release really begs the listener to revisit passages they’re already familiar with. That’s not to say that there aren’t stand outs, but mostly this is a groovy, lower BPM (for them) affair, and that works in this case. The length of the songs can sometimes be a drudge, and the band asks that the listener consume the whole thing as one piece instead of piecemeal. Certainly though, this is a gnarly record. I mean it’s heavy no doubt and the hooks really grab you. This isn’t their masterpiece, but a solid, effort by the djents (I know, I already made that joke.) 8 Fucking Pecks!

Hella yeah! The Hellacopters are back! Love these guys! Eyes of Oblivion is, well, a Hellacopters record. Their first studio album of original material in 17(!) years has more soulful, old R&B vibes but the rock can’t be stopped! Nicke Andersson (Entombed, Death Breath) fronts this band for those who don’t know, and he’s still rocking as hard as he did years ago. Not metal—hell, not even hard rock—but THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL! 9 Fucking Pecks!

Old—VERY old—NWOBHM band Satan are back with Infernal Earth. THIS is what reunion bands should do, this isn’t some overprocessed piece of bird shit, this is a natural sound record! BUT how does it SOUND, Waldo?! It’s cool, this band hasn’t lost a step. Got your typical stuff here: proto speed metal with a ballad thrown in. A solid heavy metal record from when the words “Heavy Metal” meant something much clearer. 8 Fucking Pecks!

Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Crowbar, Vein.fm and Vio-lence

There’s a lot going on right now, so hopefully, me reviewing some new releases will ease the pain. Remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

Just like everyone, Crowbar is releasing a pandemic record called Zero and Below. Not to birdshit on this release before I even review it, but enough with saying “pandemic releases” we get it… In their own press release they quote themselves, “the heaviness is coming.” Well, that’s an apt description. Here we have the squashed but full sound that Kirk Windstein is known for. We have some songs that really lay it down thick—and I mean thick—and some more groovy stuff, and a couple of more upbeat songs, for Crowbar that is. This certainly will not disappoint any Crowbar fans, and like the press release states, it is heavy. While being one of their more solid records in recent years, the issue here is it’s kinda just like all of the other Crowbar records. I was looking to make some Kelvin—the temperature scale joke—but it’s a solid record. 7 Fucking Pecks.

The hardcore band Vein is now Vein.fm (when did I miss that?) Coming out with their new release This World Is Going To Ruin You. This is not your mom’s hardcore band, touching on everything from jazz to industrial, this moves around quite a bit. Did I mention that this is a pissed-off sounding record? like most modern hardcore bands, Vein.fm is not really afraid to take chances, without straying too far from there genre. This is what you’d think (mostly), fast parts, skank parts, mosh parts with the occasional Dillinger part thrown in. Love the drummer, too. 7 Fucking Pecks.

Vio-lence is back at it with a new five-song EP called Let The World Burn, and boy, this thing is not good. Vio-lence used to be a great thrash band and even Bobby Gustafen (ex Overkill) can’t save this Quantized, processed garbage. These old thrash bands need to look at their old sound and try to remember why they got together in the first place. 2 Fucking Pecks.

Well, until next time… Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Voivod, Hammerfall and Insineratehymn

The new release schedule is starting to peck up, so…

Here we beaking go! One of my pecking favorites are back! Canadian prog thrash heroes Voivod are kicking feathers with Synchro Anarchy. Let me first say that guitar player Dan Mongrain (Chewy) and bassist Dominic LaRoche (Rocky) are—and have been—apt musicians filling in gaps that no one thought possible. So, what about this? This is by far the best of the “reunion” records. Vocalist Snake sounds the same and drummer Away has not lost a step with his interesting fills OR his artwork. The “jazzy” feel is still there, and so is the “weirdness.” Though, it would be cool for Away to pound those drums like he means it like he did back in the day. All in all, this is a fresh new release from a band that’s been around in one incarnation or other for 40+ years. Good stuff. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Why do so many metal videos include some girl lost in the woods. Well, I don’t know, but what I do know is that Hammerfall’s new record Hammer of Dawn (not very creative guys) sounds like the in-store music at Hot Topic. While admittedly, this type of thing isn’t normally my thing, and it’s certainly not the most egregious release on Napalm, but this record kinda encompasses what Hammerfall is all about. There are operatic and symphonic parts, and the solos are cool. But stuff just has no teeth (neither do I, it’s called a beak) but just why crank out another mediocre record? 5 Fucking Pecks.

I guess naming your band after a Deicide record is a “who cares?” moment but Disembodied by Insineratehymn is a slab of solid old-school death noise. What really grabs me here is the guitar tone—I LOVE it. This is cool, but certainly not the most creative thing, but I assume that’s what they’re going for. Pro Tip: Just write lyrics, no need to raid the pecking Thesaurus. Cool stuff, though. I dig it. 6 Fucking Pecks

Well, that’s all this time—you’re never going to get me to review the new G N’ R. Waldo Out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Cloakroom, The Last Ten Seconds of Life and Saxon

What’s up, beak geeks? It’s ya boy Waldo here to review some good and not-so-good new releases for you. And remember, I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.

Cloakroom is releasing Dissolution Wave on Relapse. So, the first thing is this would not traditionally be called “metal.” It IS a heavy and more of a gloomy pop affair. Mostly a kind of doom gaze sorta thing here. Sludgy an oh the fuzz. What’s a real headscratcher here, is Dissolution Wave is described by the band as a “Space Western.” Uh, OK. I guess that makes a little sense since the band claims they write their music on acoustic guitars. (I mean so does James Taylor, so…)  This is good though, and like most “pop” records, not all the songs are the same. But really sticking out of all the distortion here, is Doyle Martin’s heavenly voice, it cuts through the heavy mire, and really brings this together as the centerpiece. Think My Bloody Valentine with A LOT of distortion… Pretty cool. 6 Fucking Pecks.

The Last Ten Seconds of Life are releasing a self-titled record on Unique Leader. Are you ready to pecking mosh? This is metalcore, to a “T” and while not super different than many from the genre, this thing is PISSED. A YouTube comment from the singer describes the vibe: “When I wrote this song, it was a fictional story of me losing everything.” Wow, that’s EXACTLY what this sounds like. Tight musicianship and screams. AND THE MOSH PARTS! The keyboard moments are a little odd, but… While not a fan of this genre, I dig this. 6 Fucking Pecks.

While I know people dig them, I personally see NO reason for Saxon to release Carpe Deim. Sigh. I know peeps are gonna hate but whatever. On second listen, I like SOME of this (the cheesy ballads can go.) So, you know what this is, rockin’ guitars, driving songs. The production here is solid, and they sound like they never lost a step. Singer Biff sounds just as good as he ever did. Surem there are some cheesy-ass moments here and clearly no “Denim and Leather” moments. This is a band that’s been around for 40 some years and still rocking and having fun. I dig it. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Waldo out!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Kreator, Phenocryst and Mad Butcher

This time of year is always bad for new releases, so… remember, “I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.” Hope everyone has recovered from dBMBF west coast!

Kreator oh my is re-releasing the techno-ish Endorama. Technically, I’m not sure why. Late in the year, there are often a lot of reissues and not all of them are good. Remember the dark days of Kreator? The “hey, we’ve been treading water, so let’s try some new stuff?” Well, this was it. As far as their discography goes, this was a breath of fresh air comparatively, but most fans hated it. Personally, I liked this one. Definitely NOT a trash record, but kind of a gothy sorta NIN-pumped-through-the-Kreator-filter. Think gothy—not dancey—electro Kreator. 7 Fucking Pecks.

Wow, from Portugal, comes Phenocryst with Explosions on Blood Harvest. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot for me to go on here. Blood Harvest is usually great at getting OSDM that’s pretty good. You know the deal here, groovy riffs, blast beats, growled vocals, but all of this is not “just another OSDM band”—or whatever I could gleam from this song. 5 Fucking Pecks.

Explosions by PHENOCRYSTHey, look it’s a Mad Butcher from Germany re-release! Metal Meat is back in print. Man, I loved these guys in the ’80s. Speed metal at its finest. Not a lot to say, but this is exactly what you think it is; fast riffs, kick-ass vocals, and odes to metal! I’m pretty stoked to see this gem unearthed. Every metalhead should know this one, so get with it! 8 Fucking Pecks

See you in the New Year! Love, Waldo!

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For Those About Squawk: Waldo Pecks on Genocide Pact, Teeth and Fortress

Happy Turkey Day, sucker birds who are tasty! It’s your boy Waldo coming at you with some new releases, and remember, “I’m not an elitist, you just have bad taste.”

Welp my boys in Genocide Pact are releasing their second on Relapse titled Genocide Pact. A little early to be self-titling a record, guys? That aside, I’m digging this. Death metal the way it’s meant to be played—dirty, nasty, not super precise and crusty. Definitely walking a clone line of the more “punk” of the OSDM acts. Growls, disgusting harmonies, and various tempo-ed blasts abound here, nothing getting so bogged down that it becomes boring. For those uninitiated, think Obituary, Terrorizer and Bolt Thrower without entirely aping any of them. Lyrically, the songs embrace the ugliness of the last year if not the last 20. “You turn on the news and see mass shootings, a global pandemic, endless war, and corporations and politicians trying to sell you bullshit. You pick up your phone and another friend or family member has died. On top of that, you’re broke as fuck and work endlessly for a boss that doesn’t even know your name. You find yourself paranoid, pissed off, and embracing nihilism,” Well said, my dudes. Nice collage artwork, too. 8 Fucking Pecks.

With an unholy roar comes… Teeth’s Finite on Translation Loss. How does Translation Loss always get the great unknown bands? Anyway, Teeth—who the sharpest of you caught the 2021 Philly edition of Metal & Beer Fest—come at with a bunch of different genres (sorta) to create one cool-ass amalgam, Part noise rock, part metal, part death metal, part black metal and throw in some breakdown and you have Finite. This is no third-rate hardcore band gone metal, but rather a very unique sounding record, full of angst and vitriol. Those vocals have me shitting my cage! Can’t wait for more! 7 Fucking Pecks.

Finally, we have Fortress’ Don’t Spare The Wicked. This is power metal—duh. Uh, what’s with that goofy sounding keyboard? This is OK—if you’re an idiot fuck, which you definitely are. Just kidding! Passable, by-the-numbers power metal. Nothing special. I’m sure people are going to shit on me because they’re “classic” or whatever. 5 Fucking Pecks.

Now, this is cooler:

Waldo out!

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