KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Terrorama – “Horrid Efface” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   9/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Founded in 2001, Sweden’s Terrorama play a pretty even melange of black, death, and thrash metal. This superb 2004 LP was their first proper album. From the inimitably vicious opening riff of the first track to the head-bifurcating feedback drone that finishes off the closer, the project’s well-developed, expressive take on extreme metal shines darkly here, conveying an appreciable mixture of anxiety and murderous intent. 

Vocals are straight-up black metal hate-shrieks, while the instrumentals navigate between distinctly black-, death-, and thrash-influenced parts, often over the course of the same song. There’s a punky rawness to the material, but it never crosses over into sloppiness; indeed the fact that it’s actually very tightly played makes the loose vibe quite impressive. It’s definitely that great Nuclear War Now! sound you’ll hear on this album, but with enough eccentricity and zeal to handsomely distinguish Terrorama from the rest of the label’s gasmasked legion. Some aspects reminded this reviewer of Cadaver (the Norwegian one) and the mighty Aura Noir. B2 is a cover of 80s Los Angeles thrashers Holy Terror.

A solid disc. “I deserve it. I deserve it. I deserve it. I deserve all the pain.”

Mortuous – “Among The Lost/Mors Immortalis” – [Carbonized]

Lord Gravestench   9/30/2020   A Library, CD

These guys might be the best death metal band to come out of San Jose since Exhumed (or at least they’re tied with Plague Phalanx, although the two groups play such different styles it doesn’t seem fair to pit them against each another). 

Founded in 2009 as the solo project of guitarist Colin Tarvin (Bruxers, Deform, Disinhibition, recently joined Acephalix), Mortuous has since grown into a 4-piece that includes members and alumni of such Bay Area projects as Necrot, Augurs, Cartilage, Vastum, Atrament, Caffa, and the aforementioned Exhumed itself.

Mortuous’s excellent 2018 debut LP was highly regarded and widely heard, earning them a large following internationally. Prior to that point, this ridiculously hard-working band carved out a reputation as a cult act in Bay Area circles, opening a crazy number of shows and releasing two demo tapes. These demos have now been reissued on this 2020 compilation CD from the Carbonized Records imprint (run by their drummer Chad Gailey, who also happens to be a long-time KFJC ally and supporter).

Their 2012 demo tape (t.s 1-6 here) was originally added by KFJC back in 2014, but the material well deserves a second trip through Current. Especially noteable are its crushing guitar sound and absolutely insane drumming, the latter provided by long-time Exhumed bludgeoner Col Jones (no longer in Mortuous as of 2014).

The 2010 debut demo (t.s 7-10) was recorded by Tarvin pretty much on his own, although Derrel Houdashelt (another former Exhumed member) contributes lead guitar on t.8. These 4 cuts have a scratchier, lower-fi sound than the first 6. 

The two demos feature mostly the same collection of songs, but the playing and production differs so much you barely notice when listening through the whole CD. Even the vocalist is different. Both halves of this compilation are great and well worth your attention. 

“We exit from this world/Into the light we are led/Then could the reverse be true/For a dimension of the dead?”

Metal Preyers – "Metal Preyers" – [Nyege Nyege Tapes]

Thurston Hunger   9/29/2020   A Library, CD

Is AfroFuturism still defining itself, and is this part of that definition? Ritual and routers, digital electronics and digits on dry drums meet here in 15 tracks shaped by shamans Jesse Hackett (London) and Mariano Chavez (Texas to Chicago). Important in their electronic stew are the drums and beyond of Omutaba and Lawrence Okello along with the orations of Otim Alpha. The sounds that result are certainly of the ether but grounded in Uganda. The was released on the fine Nyege Nyege Tapes label similarly born within and without Kampala. More likely to paralyze than perculate a dancefloor, the pieces are short but not confining. “Slither Dripper” and “Night Walker” move in mysterious ways, and across boundaries as stealthily as the project itself aims to. Both of those tracks feature a tiny gully of silence in the middle to jump across, and intentional reset that for me is a pleasant jolt. Startled on-air DJ’s might disagree. Otim Alpha I believe sings/invokes on #2, #3, #6, #9 and #12. The title tracks, opening and closing, feast upon the illusion of beats with whistle/whirs of the electronic landscape. For quick pieces, a lot of shape-shifting at play.

The album is both comforting and foreboding, advanced and ancient, a bush of laptops, an e-cafe of ghosts.

Thurston Hunger

Black Taffy – "Opal Wand" – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/29/2020   A Library, Cassette

Black Taffy all over your teeth and ears. Donovan Jones is pulling the sounds here, sea-salt gritty in the sampled grooves is a key element, I imagine Black Taffy and The Caretaker share the same dirty needles and addiction to ancient vinyl. Jones adds crisp synthetic snares broken starkly over the top, and muscle car bass beats beneath all that, and one more ingredient to find some weird harmony of the elements, the album has more harp than a pixie princess hen party. It’s a unique and compelling
combination and one that Black Taffy keeps consistent on this release. The angels occasionally trade their traditional harps for guzhengs, there are other instruments that drift in at times, toy piano tinkles, and sampled horns offer some sad prana breathing. The slow pace of the beats heightens the elegiac feeling. There is a flair of triumph in “And They Saw” and quick ripples percolating “Ocarina” but overall this cassette is for music box ballerinas who’ve run away to dance for themselves atop abandoned Dallas warehouses.


-Thurston Hunger

Clock of Time – “Pestilent Planet” – [Static Shock]

whngr   9/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Berlin Garage Death Rock.

Downstrokes, chorus, reverb. Nihilistic doom rock for the tail end of “Civilization” propelled apathetically in an English accent. You can hear the sneers and feel tears. Drape yourself over a wrought-iron fence of hopelessness and weep for humanity. Or just play this between Christian Death and Joy Division. Whatevah.

Geld – “Beyond The Floor” – [Static Shock]

whngr   9/26/2020   12-inch, A Library

Australia’s Geld is a blistering  hardcore band with metal leanings. They call themselves Psychedelic Hardcore but… though there is a little flange on the guitars, I wouldn’t drop a tab and listen to this. Too negative. Too miserable. Too much rage for lysergic and too much cynicism for psilo but that’s just me. Knock yerself out… with a impact driver to the temple.

Blazing Eye – “Ways to Die” – [Static Shock]

whngr   9/25/2020   7-inch, A Library

Four unsheathed slashers from this four piece out of the city of angels. Growling, smoking fretboards, note intensive bass-lines, hammering the snare, crushing the cymbals, necro-centric hardcore punkrock led by Austin Delgadillo (Deathly) inciting fury, contempt, and violence. Tracks are short with short pauses, stay alert and have some Christ On Parade cued up.

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project – "Scaath Catfish" – [Afterdays Media]

cinder   9/23/2020   A Library, CD

A densely fog covered trip down the rivers of an ancient faux bayou. This is Fossil’s ode to the water, mud, muck and scum of the twisted veins of aqua throughout the lands. Post-industrial sound design, field recordings, found sounds, static tones, distant birds chirping….a collage of ambient distortions and harmonic strings. Alien creature sightings and fluttering drones.

Nghtcrwlr – "Let The Children Scream" – [Dero Arcade]

cinder   9/23/2020   12-inch, A Library

Solo project of Iranian chick Kris Esfandiari, who was the front woman for metal band King Woman for over 10 years. This is definitely nothing like that though! It’s got industrial beats, noise elements, 808s, sound clips, and a tough edge. She sings/screams/deadpans vox, which have a sometimes have distorted or echoed ghostly manner. She opened for Boy Harsher in 2019, and finally has made her music available on physical format. It’s haunting, sinister, twisted and nefarious… but slightly sweet. ‘Firestarter’ is a Prodigy cover (wooooo, ’90s!)

Pillaiyaar [coll] – [EMI (India)]

Thurston Hunger   9/23/2020   7-inch, International

1982 soundtrack single from the Tamil film “Pillaiyaar” Call it Kollywood? I ain’t no expert but definitely a fan! Anyways this has four beautiful pop numbers.
A1 – Super bouncy tabla guides this track, flute flying like a crazy bird while Rajalakshmi Sulamangalam soars ever higher above that.
A2- Male and female voices coasting and cavorting, shenai (?) slithers in and tries to stir up some trouble, but the joy-love vibe is too pure. Prominent violins rise in a closing bridge. P. Susheela hits notes like a shining sun in the sky.
B1- Killer vocal trills to start, male and female trading off while stark guitar adds a little tension, that soon launches into galloping tabla with great wandering vocals.
B2- I should learn the name of this style, it feels related to the Qawwali kind of devotional singing, irrepressible beat and T.K. Kala’s voice circles around it, like sliding a magnet through your brain. A lot of charge and pull.

This little 33 rpm record is a gem and amazing, as is the internet where I could find the actual film (some sort of Ganapathi origin story verily). Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzrZ8mE_wtk
songs are at A1-6:30 A2-56:30 B1-78:50 B2-37.40

Let this clear all obstacles from your path. Enjoy!
-Thurston Hunger

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