Welcome to Monkey Defies Gravity.
This blog is just somewhere to keep track of my musical explorations. I am forever diving headfirst down the rabbit-hole online following my curiosity about bands and genres that are new to me.
Hours go by in a flash as I skip from link to link learning about black metal, pysch-folk, the tragic history of the Allman Brothers or whatever took my fancy that week. Rather than let this disappear into the ether, Monkey Defies Gravity will allow me to collect and curate this research. Plus if anyone reads and discovers a new favourite band or sound then everyone’s a winner.
Today, my latest obsession is D-beat.
Specifically Disfear and their raucous 2008 album Live The Storm. Put simply, this record fucking rocks. The Swedish kinda-super-group features Tomas Lindberg, formerly of At The Gates, and ex-Entombed axeman Uffe Cederlund.
While I am not yet a devotee of ATG, I know they were a very significant band and not to be sniffed at. I once almost got into a fight at a posh bowling alley because ATG weren’t in my top 10 metal records of all time, but I digress.
Entombed, on the other hand, were responsible for Wolverine Blues. This was certainly ahead if its time in 1994 and can be considered as perhaps the archetypal death n’ roll album. It’s really influenced many of the metal-crossover sounds that I really love at the moment and just on its own terms is well worth the regular spins it has been getting lately.
Anyway, back to Disfear. What do I love about this record?
- One, its balls-out energy. It’s fast and in your face with that primal d-beat rhythm pioneered by Discharge. There are loads of d-beat bands living off that well-worn drum pattern though, so there’s more to it than that.
- Two, there’s a liberal dash of Motorhead – that twanging bass, galloping groove and scuzzy hooks.
- Throw in gang vocals, lots of metal elements and a hardcore mentality then you’ve got some turbo-charged genius.
100% guaranteed to get the blood pumping through your veins, neck snapping and foot tapping.
It’s also engineered by Kurt Ballou of Converge, which is a common thread to several records I’m loving right now (Kvelertak and Black Breath in particular).
I discovered Disfear by happy accident. Another recent obsession was Nachtmystium and this review of Black Meddle Pt1 (a fine album and perhaps the subject of another post) in Pitchfork featured the line “because these tracks kick ass in a way that best Watain, Disfear, Mastodon, or Motörhead tracks kick ass”. This certainly piqued my interest but I only just got around to listening to Disfear, many weeks later, despite making a note to listen to them.
After listening to the album about 10 times, I have the usual itch to find more bands with a similar sound.
I’ve checked out Discharge before when tracing the heritage of Slayer and Metallica and… I just can’t quite get into it. Look, I can imagine that in 1982 this was mind-blowing. But in 2010 and coming from a metal background rather than punk, I just find it lacking substance and heaviness while the vocals are just plain shouty. I’ll keep coming back to it, maybe someday it will click into place for me.
One review of Disfear mentions His Hero is Gone. After some research, I decided I wanted to listen to Monuments to Thieves, which allmusic describes as a masterpiece. It’s not on Spotify though, they only have The Plot Sickens, which I suspect may have been recorded past their prime.
I’m quite excited about listening to Tragedy though, which arose from the ashes of HHIG. All three albums get 4 stars plus on AMG and are on Spotto so that should keep me occupied at work tomorrow!
I’ll report back soon on whether I’ve found any gold.