Melt-Banana’s joyful noise.

035It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music.  Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.

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Devilspit – Grim, Hateful and Drunk (Caligari Records, 2015)

a2394422930_10With an album title like Grim, Hateful and Drunk, it’s pretty easy to guess what you’re getting from France’s Devilspit.  Filthy, punk-influenced black metal is the name of the game here, so if you’re into similarly scuzzy shit such as Whipstriker and DeathCult, you best grab a bottle or twelve of your favorite rotgut and cuddle up with this disgusting tape, which is currently being peddled in a limited edition of two hundred by our pals at the venerable Caligari Records.

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-(16)- / Brainoil / Kowloon Walled City / Church @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA 04/25/16

039If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Sacramento in the ten months I’ve lived here, it’s that this city loves its doom and sludge.  I’m sure as hell not complaining, especially when we get shows of this caliber; long-running LA sludge godfathers -(16)- descending upon the Starlite Lounge along with Oakland sludge/punk legends Brainoil, SF noise rockers Kowloon Walled City and hometown doom-lords-in-the-making Church was indeed a dream show for fans of all things slow ‘n’ low.

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Bretwaldas of Heathen of Doom – Seven Bloodied Ramparts (Caligari Records, 2015)

a1537650385_10It’s been a few months since we last heard from the increasingly prolific Caligari Records, but fear not, because the label has recently released yet another slew of great tapes, the greatest of which just might be Seven Bloodied Ramparts, a reissue of the third album from obscure UK metallers Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom. Originally seeing an extremely limited physical release back in 2010, Seven Bloodied Ramparts might be a bit of an oldie at this point, but make no mistake, this is an album that deserves to be heard well beyond the handful of diehards that picked up on it the first time around.

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Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media, 2015)

Napalm-Death-Apex-Predator-Easy-MeatHow good is the new Napalm Death death album?  Against all odds, this band continues to age like a fine wine, and Apex Predator – Easy Meat continues the unfuckwithable fifteen-years-and-counting roll they’ve been on since 2000’s Enemy of the Music Business.  I pretty much said everything I have to say about the band’s late-career renaissance in my review of 2012’s Utilitarian, but it’d be downright shameful if I neglected to spill at least a little bit of digital ink on the stunning piece of work they’ve unleashed in 2015.

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Dropdead / Full of Hell / Noisem / Plague Widow / RAD @ Midtown Barfly, Sacramento, CA 08/24/14

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My second show in Sacramento was in some ways a throwback to my younger years in Des Moines; I used to walk down to Hairy Mary’s by myself to see shows because my sorry ass didn’t have a car and to make matters worse I didn’t know anyone else who gave a shit about the underground.  Not being much of a grindcore fan, my wife decided to sit out Sunday’s matinee at the Midtown Barfly, and as a result I found myself flying solo once again, which is always a delightfully awkward experience given that I’m not exactly the most outgoing person out there.  Also, many of those shows I hoofed it to back in the day were heavy on grindcore bands such as Black Market Fetus, Strong Intention, Catheter, Entrails Massacre and Phobia, to name but a few, so I was excited to experience a show in a similar vein in my new city.  A complete and utter lack of social skills doesn’t matter much when you’re being pummeled at a million miles an hour by some of the most vicious and unrelenting music out there.

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