Review Round Up #82

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews. This edition includes Ox Bow's "Fuckfest," Green Jellÿ's "Musick To Insult Your Intelligence By," Leaves' Eyes' "Njord," Gnaw Their Tongues' "All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity," and Kauze's "Epiphany EP."

Fuckfest

Ox Bow
“Fuckfest”
(Hydra Head 2009)

On this reissue of Ox Bow's 1990 debut, the band shows surprising range for a group dealing out their first record. The band swings confidently from barely controlled scattershot skronk ("Curse") to sleazy, country by-way-of metal boogie ("30 Miles") to bleary acoustic-ish perfection ("The Valley"); with everything tied together by frontman and fighting enthusiast Eugene Robinson's sucking yowl. The (at that time) rookies make everything work incredibly well, until the final two tracks, which veer into abstract, uneven racket-making. "Fuckfest" is still worth checking out, and is an interesting first look at one of noise rock's most enduringly awesome fixtures of the past two decades.

Sounds Like: Several shades of jangly noise rock

Key Tracks: "30 Miles," "The Valley"

B+
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Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By

Green Jellÿ
“Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By”
(Rotten Records 2009)

In a completely unexpected (and many would say unwarranted) comeback, Green Jellÿ have released their first record in fifteen years. And yes, this is the same band that you only know about from that "Three Little Pigs" video. Musically, the years have been kind to the band, who turn in competently crunchy, catchy hard rock that wouldn't sound out of place on a mid-'90s themed alterna-rock station. The music takes a back seat, though, to the supposedly funny aspects of the band, like the art, the fact that "Gefilte Fish" is a complete rip-off of "The Beautiful People," and of course the "star" of the album: the lyrics. But when you base your music around humor and the jokes fall flat, you'll find yourself playing to an empty comedy club.

Sounds Like: "Comedic" hard rock/metal from days gone by

Key Tracks: "Sugar and Spice," "Nothing to Say"

C+
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Njord

Leaves' Eyes
“Njord”
(Napalm Records 2009)

One of the more prominent members of Napalm Records' seemingly endless roster of female-fronted gothic metal, Leaves' Eyes are among the better handlers of the oft-snickered at style. Heavy and melodic, symphonic but not overbearingly so, "Njord" is a rare goth metal album that is epic but not over the top. The real star here is vocalist Liv Kristine, whose angelic voice commands the album, but is restrained when needed. The biggest knock is the inclusion of the ever-popular, completely unnecessary harsh male vocals.

Sounds Like: Scandinavian girly goth metal

Key Tracks: "Njord," "Scarborough Fair"

B
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All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity

Gnaw Their Tongues
“All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity”
(Crucial Blast 2009)

he nine tracks contained on "All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity" can be described as music only in the absolutely loosest sense of the word. Instead, evil genius Mories creates nightmare noisescapes using a collage of fuzzed-out bass, sound clips, sporadic percussion and violent stabs of strings, among other orchestrated noise. The result is a smothering blanket of darkness that, when listened to for a long enough period, is enough to unsettle even the crustiest of horror movie aficionados. Definitely not for everyone, but this will no doubt make fans of abstract music drool.

Sounds Like: Unsettling smashup of twisted noise and effects

Key Tracks: Take your pick, they're all equally disturbing/intriguing/unlistenable, depending on your point of view

B+
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Epiphany EP

Kauze
“Epiphany EP”
(Unbound Mind Productions 2009)

Having drawn much of their influence from Pantera, Kauze pack their second EP with all of the grooves and swinging chug-a-lug that you'd expect from disciples of Anselmo and Co. Some thrash attack speeds up the proceedings a bit, and Lane Steele shows off several distinct aspects of his vocals, although they're not all welcome, as the Eddie Vedder-isms on "Turning Point" illustrate. Unfortunately, the band is in such a hurry to show off their skill and aggression that "Epiphany" never really goes anywhere. It's no coincidence that the best track is "Parallel," which allows itself some breathing room amongst the heaving, headbanging fury.

Sounds Like: Not-so-original groove metal

Key Tracks: "Parallel"

C+
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