100% Support: One More Time, For Tim Allen
If you’ve still got a few dimes clinking at the bottom of your cargo shorts pockets, Bandcamp is once more, and for the last time (for the first time) for the time being, waiving their fees on July the Third. If you have a burning desire to spend, you overspending capitalist you, but can’t think of anything, or anyone, to throw your hard(ly) earned cash at, I’ve got a few more suggestions for you. Just for you.
A fairly new German black metal duo with two demos and a split between them under their belts, Nimbifer does not play a kind of black metal that’s in some way inventive in 2020. On the contrary, theirs is a very traditional take on the genre with riffs and melodies that you’ve heard some version of before, several versions of, in most cases. But they’re also doing it all, very, very well: an absolutely ferocious vocal performance, piercing drumming with a semblance of dynamics and just the right kind of rawness in the production. The rougher first demo is good too, but I’m talking about Demo II, not far from being the best three Second Wave BM songs in 2020.
In isolation, Joel Violette decided to write and record Thrawsunblat‘s next chapter as a solo EP, being unable to carry on the work on their next full-length as a group. It came to be titled Insula, for the Latin word meaning an island, “something that many of us are on in this time”, and was inspired by Chris Hadfield’s four keys to thriving in self-isolation: identify the actual risks, identify your goals, identify your obligations, take action. I already mentioned this in This Toilet Tuesday when it was dropping, but this is as good a time as any to remind you of its existence, and encourage you to get it. Despite being a solo effort, Insula bears all the hallmarks of a Thrawsunblat record. Violette’s harsh vocals do sound a little thinner and more coarse than they used to, but that may be just the mix, and when those cleans hit for the first time in “Spectres in the Mist”, in tandem with the guitars, anything less than a half mast is the mark of a dead man.
The Girlfriends / Pussies
The Girlfriends were, and are, for sure the best damn horny rocking band in all of Turku. 2015’s Giddy is extremely worth checking out, in that you outright have to check it out. Forged in the hottest flames of hell itself, and baptized in erotic majesty, they drew more than a few comparisons to the Bad Seeds circa the mid-’90s, but with a double dose of noise rock, or hell, even The Birthday Party. This split is their first new material in 4 years, and while especially Speed Wülf Pulver’s vocals still carry those same tones, much of the music has become simultaneously more chaotic and mellow, giving it an additional vibe not unlike a bad psych trip. Their half made for (some of) the best rock in 2019, and will in 2020 as well.
Pussies is a newer group, debuting with this split. Comprising of Sami Hynninen (Opium Warlords, Spiritus Mortis, Tähtiportti) and Harri Kuokkanen (Hooded Menace, Horse Latitudes, Hail Conjurer), they’re possibly even hornier than The Girlfriends. And not necessarily musically. Think of The Stooges and MC5, but heavier, and with a 2020 garage sound and you won’t be far away. Also very good.
Pitchshifter began their life as something of a Godflesh tribute band. Stylistically speaking that is, their songs were their own, but their brand of industrial was more than heavily indebted to the originator giants. There were some crucial differences; for instance, their rhythmic background was always notably different, even back when they were using a drum machine. Their full-length debut, Industrial, could very well be called Streetcleaner wearing death metal influences on its sleeve. But as far as I’m concerned, none of that ever took anything away from them. Hell, even when they added a drummer to their line-up on Desensitized, a revolutionary album in that it also drew influences from Killing Joke, I ate it all up. Then they put out Infotainment? and all of a sudden it got very hard to convince myself the few and far between moments of quality were worth the album.
Afterwards they started to write their name as one word, changed into an incredibly fucking shitty industrial rock bands flirting with nu metal and released a string of impotent records before fading into obscurity. However, www.pitchshifter.com was propelled to some commercial success through some of their songs’ inclusion in games like Twisted Metal 3, Test Drive 5 and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
As every other band with any kind of popularity back in the day, they’ve returned, but their few singles have failed to elicit much of a reaction, and though not necessarily their worst material, they’re hardly worth a second spin. Nevertheless, Industrial and Submit especially continue to make regularly irregular rounds on my table.
Recently I discovered to my delight that their Bandcamp page had been flooded, if you will, with older material. Their original 1990 demo, their official 7″ debut single Death Industrial and live recordings from ’94, ’98 and a couple from 2000, as well as a bunch of their later crap, to which one could argue the 2000’s live recordings’ already belong.
The quality of sound on those 2000 gigs is pretty good, especially the Stockholm one, it’s just that the songs aren’t. Luckily the 1998 Paris show recordings are also of fairly high quality. You still get a crock of their later material, but also some Infotainment? material, which in comparison sounds much better than otherwise. But the real cherry here, besides the demo and Death Industrial, is the 1994 gig in support of Carcass. Sure the audio is rougher but the songs are all gold. A couple of Industrial picks against a handful of Desensitized songs, which aren’t even available on the popular streaming platforms.
So this next chance, go drop a dime the good Pitch Shifter’s way. Maybe they’ll get the hint.