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I always considered reviews sub-art (Speedwolf)

 
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Kojiri



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
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Location: I'm here to mainstream your kvlt

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:30 pm    Post subject: I always considered reviews sub-art (Speedwolf) Reply with quote

But this review is as close as it gets to art.

Not by me, by some guy named Crush_Depth17 on RateYourMusic

My Great Uncle Paul was a hard nosed yet carefree sort of guy. He was drafted into the United States Marine Corps in 1969 and with the blessing of a bereaucratic establishment was handed an M-16 and shipped off to Southeast Asia to fight some god forsaken war that ultimately amounted to the biggest nothing in modern history. When he returned home, he found himself alienated from society. Unable to commit to the mundane lifestyle of a "traditional" American man, he did not desire marriage nor children nor a job in some shitty factory. On the other side of the coin, he was a war veteran, and the faux-progressive lefties were far, far too open minded to accept someone who had been sent to fight an unjust war, not on his own terms but by the beckoning of the quasi-nationalist government in power. He always hated hippies and I never understood why, but I guess I'd be pretty pissed too if they treated me that way over something I had no control over.

This introduction actually does have a purpose, so hang in there. Go pop a bag of popcorn cause I'm not done yet. Anyway, Uncle Paul who was still young in 1970 upon returning home simply didn't fit in with anyone. He alienated himself from his family, who celebrated him as a hero, but the war itself nagged at him like a shadowy figure that refused to leave. He never told me or anyone what happened during his stay over there, but he was a combat soldier so the imagination can run wild. He had five skull tattoos running up his left bicep, obviously crudely drawn and probably done by some guy in a Saigon parlor, and I understand that was customary for soldiers to decorate how many enemy troops they killed. I really don't know, I didn't ask, and I wasn't there in 1969 so I can't pass judgment on him. So, Uncle Paul ended up in a biker club. He spent the better part of three decades on the road, his motorcycle his closest friend (it was a Harley, to him anything other than a Harley was blasphemy) and spent those years with little by way of income but he was by far one of the happiest people I ever knew.

One of his favorite sayings was, "When you wake up in the morning, you ride with Death. When you go bed at night, you ride with Death." I was like 6 when he first told me that and I remember trying to beat Death in the first Castlevania game, so the thought of that 8-bit sprite coming out of my closet to kill me at night scared the hell out of me. That wasn't the point though, that saying basically just meant that your time can end at any time, at any place, so why not just have fun today? Uncle Paul definitely rode with Death, that guy was embroidered on his favorite leather vest he wore while riding. In 1998 Death came calling, so I guess Uncle Paul's philosophy eventually came true.

This unnecessarily long introduction has nothing to do with the music, so much as the philosophy of this band, plus it was a way to tell stories about Uncle Paul (who has been very absent in my reviews so this is the one where he makes his debut.) Speedwolf's amusingly awesome cover art is what attracted me to the album. Sure its hand drawn and kinda crude, but good god man, you've got Death up there sneering as your time is running out (is just me or does Death seem like prankster?) with three lycanthropes donning motorcycles and tearing ass down the highway into oblivion. Now THAT is manly. I always wanted to morph into a werewolf and ride a motorcycle at the same time, I never knew it was possible, but Speedwolf have shown me that it is. Anyone out there a Level 89 Wizard who can turn me into one? I've got some pretty cool shit I'm willing to trade...

If you're still reading this, you deserve a medal. My cousin bought some Jamacian coffee (and probably some potent weed too but he didn't share) and I've had like 4 cups and I have more energy than the Ultimate Warrior. Okay, so Speedwolf is basically Motorhead. Its your daddy's speed metal basically, its like Lemmy went out and partied with some werewolves (the cool ones on the cover, not those effeminate jackasses in Twilight) and told them how to play guitar. Basically this thing rips ass, drinks whiskey, and fucks sleazy women the whole duration, maybe pausing occasionally to bust a chair on some poor sap's noggin. Sure it can get a bit tedious since it rarely changes things up, most Motorhead records can be the same way, but since this thing just kicks ass from start to finish who cares? As much as I liked Chrome Division, THIS is the band CD wishes they could be.

At times, the band does deviate a bit from the Motorhead formula, but not by much. There are times when the bass is omnipresent enough that I think the spirit of Cliff Burton descended from Heavy Metal Valhalla to jam with these guys, though its lacking the technical display of Mr. Burton. Something like the title track is pure fucking speed metal, a bit thrashier than what Motorhead was usually up to, kind of reminding me of the gritty, riff oriented thrash style of 1985 or so. The songs are mostly short, sweet, and to the point, with very little by way of bullshit. Sure its a Motorhead clone in many ways, but its a GOOD clone, and when you're rocking out to stuff like this, you're not going to pause to see how many times they ripped of "Ace of Spades."

The modern "retro" scene has produced alot of shit, but its also produced alot of gems. Europe has hogged most of the quality stuff these days, except for their fascination with flower power metal with no riffs and tons of keyboard wankery. Its rare to find an American band that isn't sporting some baggy hip-hop clothes and dabbling in hardcore stupidity in some form or another, so its a nice find here. Sure its not perfect, this album could have been 7 tracks and nobody would care since much of it does sound alike. Yet it keeps in spirit with quality that Motorhead usually had on their better albums, so I can't complain too much. Its about fucking time some American band came along who can kick my ass and give me good music at the same time. Take that Europe (no offense my European associates, don't unfriend me!)

If you love Motorhead, and you do whether you know it or not, go out and find this. Its an album for a raunchy Saturday night where the attire is jeans and a leather jacket, a pretty girl on your lap, and never ending rounds of beer. Drink up and be merry, bitches, and remember, you're always riding with Death so buy him a round too while you're at it.



If you haven't read it Reed, this is what you were going for I'm sure.
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Dodens Grav



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would you consider reviews anything but critique? Of course reviews are only related to art insofar as they talk about art.
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Atommächt



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodens Grav wrote:
Of course reviews are only related to art insofar as they talk about art.


Interesting. Are they some sort of meta-art then? Idea
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Dodens Grav



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atommächt wrote:
Dodens Grav wrote:
Of course reviews are only related to art insofar as they talk about art.


Interesting. Are they some sort of meta-art then? Idea


No, that would be art about art, like Duchamp's Bottle Rack or something. Reviews are simply criticism, evaluation, analysis, etc.
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Conservationist
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodens Grav wrote:
Reviews are simply criticism, evaluation, analysis, etc.


I'd group them in with analytical texts as well.

However, there is an art to writing, and thus to the writing (conveyance) of reviews.

None of it is shown in the excerpted sample however...
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AngelBlake



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he cut out the tangent and just started with "My uncle Paul, a Vietnam Vet, used to say..." it wouldn't be nearly as bad. And he doesn't actually say anything about this album that's different than what anyone else has said.
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Professor Black



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool review until he tried to talk about music.
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AngelBlake



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Mr. Burton"
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AngelBlake wrote:
If he cut out the tangent and just started with "My uncle Paul, a Vietnam Vet, used to say..." it wouldn't be nearly as bad. And he doesn't actually say anything about this album that's different than what anyone else has said.


True. The whole thing could benefit from an edit. It could also stop overusing cliches from hipster tv shows.
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