On My Turntable: Vreid, The KLF, Snares, YOB, Tombs

10 Jan
Vreid, Tombs, The KLF, YOB, Snares

London winters are shitty

Amid the murky gloom of the grisly London winter, I warm myself by raking through the dying embers of the musical year just gone.

I love pecking like a vulture on the carcass of year-end lists, yanking out the gems I missed like so many scraps of bloody intestine .

Of course that’s in the very limited time I have left after doing my best to suck every last drop of pleasure from Trap Them’s Darker Handcraft and the Balaclava record.

I am seriously addicted. Darker Handcraft is utterly narcotic in its intensity: blissed out on buzzsaw guitar.

Anyway. On my (metaphorical) turntable this week are Vreid, The KLF, Snares, YOB and Tombs.

Vreid – V

Given that I rather enjoyed Vreid’s last album Milorg at the time and the prominence of their latest offering in the upper echelons of many a 2011 round-up, I had high hopes for V. That it was billed as “catchy” and even “black n’ roll” had me rubbing my thighs in unseemly anticipation.

The motherchugging gallops and irresistible reach-for-the-sky riffing that opens the album certainly had me punching the air (much to my embarrassment on the Tube)… only for a the dying wheeze of an asphyxiating forest dwarf to utterly kill it for me.

Goddamn. Somewhere down the line I really stopped like the black metal rasp (TM).

Sorry black metal, it’s not you, it’s me.

So, despite lashings of wonderful palm-muted rifferama, I won’t be coming back to this for a while. Especially as the cheese quotient increases exponentially as the album progresses.

I won’t even mention the appalling clean singing on Sound of the River and Fire on the Mountain (oops).


A rather random Google tangent recently led to an evening watching old clips of The KLF after a search on the late Phil Vane of Extreme Noise Terror referenced their notorious Brit Awards performance together.

The KLF have faded into obscurity a little thanks to the deletion of their entire back catalogue in the UK but they were absolute legends.

Who else – on a live primetime television broadcast of a stuffy music establishment awards show in the socially conservative UK of 1992 – does a near-unlistenable crust/grind/rap version of their biggest dance hit and then top it off by firing a machine gun full of blanks at the besuited crowd and quit the music business?

“This is television freedom!”

I loved the normal versions of their songs – utterly monstrous rap-house slathered with rave sirens and synth stabs. Here is 3am Eternal in all it’s po-faced, pretend-serious glory.

It was so cheesy and so over the top that it was brilliant.

Bizarrely, I remember giving equal listening time to this and Iron Maiden Live After Death on my walkman at high school that year.

Snares – Sabbath Dubs

I wasn’t expecting much from this as metal and dub aren’t the most natural bedfellows despite a shared density.

The main riff of Black Sabbath has been transposed down several octaves into sub-bass territory and injected with mutant wobble.

It’s amazing that the spirit of the original lives on inside this take-no-prisoners dub monster.  Then again, this is the genius that is Aaron Funk (who typically records as Venetian Snares).

The video is a bit silly but it was the only one I could find.

YOB – Atma

All this d-beat, crust, metallic hardcore and primitive death metal appears to have damaged my ability to concentrate.

Give me a proper doom record and it’s like switching from comics to Dostoevsky.

Atma sorely tested me. My finger hovered over the stop button a few times but I forced myself to stick with it.

And I tell you what by the end of the (seemingly) two-day-long closer Adrift in the Ocean I was banging my head. Thirsty, hungry and barely conscious in a pool of my own fluids, sure, but most importantly, bangin’ my noggin.

Maybe there is hope for me yet.

Tombs – Path of Totality

It’s becoming pretty clear that I have fallen out with black metal. I like tremolo picking as a technique and enjoy the shape of black metal riffs but I want density, thickness, weight and other synonyms for heavy.

The watery, scratchy, thin,  lo-fi “treble attack” of much black metal leaves me unsatisfied.

Now Tombs are far from a black metal band. BM is just one ingredient in a stew containing hardcore, noise rock, deathrock and sludge.

The heavier Tombs get, the more I enjoy them. Yet whenever the overall sound shifts closer to traditional black metal, I start to lose interest.

So -for now at least – I can’t see this getting under my skin in the same way as my favourite records of 2011.

Full credit though: the good bits are bloody good. Check the tribal drumming on Vermillion.

5 Responses to “On My Turntable: Vreid, The KLF, Snares, YOB, Tombs”

  1. hhbrady January 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    I tell ya, I wish I liked Tombs more; they (and Yob) were two of the only consistents in metal year-end lists; I just don’t get it. They’re just fucking boring. (And I love Sunn O))).

    • Kuz January 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

      I have been trying to click with Tombs on and off really since June but felt I should try harder as it was so highly rated.

      I like it a lot more than I did but man is that album playing hard to get!

  2. Full Metal Attorney January 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    That’s too bad you’re having a hard time getting into Vreid and Tombs, since I think they’re both great.

    It’s weird that on the one hand you hated the cheese in Vreid, and on the other you liked it on The KLF. What differentiates the two, I wonder?

    • Kuz January 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

      When it comes to cheese, I love Camembert but can’t stand Gorgonzola, what can I say?!

      There’s lots to like about Tombs but I just haven’t clicked with it completely. As I say though, just as I start to think I’m not enjoying it they will switch it up and suck me back in.


  1. More D-beat Sir? Victims « Monkey Defies Gravity - January 26, 2012

    […] may be old news that I remain obsessed with Trap Them’s Darker Handcraft as the latest manifestation of my […]

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