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Random Stabbings 13b

img  Tobias

The Sammus Theory “Man Without Eyes” (Mia Mind Music)
Floating in limbo between Bauhaus and metal, Sammus Theory appears to be a demo vehicle for single-named guitarist/singer Sammus, whose whiz-bang guitar work outshines his singing (photogenic though it is – he’s a ringer for Ozzy during “Answers”).  Our Sammus likes Stone Temple Pilots quite a bit, as proved in the “Sex Type Thing”-pilfered “Take Your Face” (in which his voice pulls an overacted I-am-a-rock-zombie job that emulates the Scott Weiland of that period), but Sevendust-type nu-metal plays a part as well (“Lead Foot,” where he imitates James Hetfield’s rumble). Unlike the album artwork, the production is not stellar, but it’s no worse than what you’d get if a Metal Blade drone put out something that was British Steel speed. There’s potential aplenty, but Sammus needs to reach out to less familiar influences – Ministry would help immensely – if he’s to make a real run at it.  Order from


Lord Belial “Seal of Belial” (Candlelight Records)
Black metal is enjoying unprecedented respectability thanks to bands like In Flames and Cradle of Filth, but what’s more important is the level of songwriting that’s begun to rise dripping out of the murk. Raw-throated demon-mocking vocals are one thing that separate Lord Belial from goth hard-rock like Fields of the Nephilim, hyperspeed bass-drumming and punk-like speed-jams here and there are another, but unlike their great-grandfathers Celtic Frost and Venom, Lord Belial table some vicious melody and incorporate a few odd elements – military snare in “Abysmal Hate,” angelic chick vocals in “Scythe of Death” – in a sincere effort to either reinvent the genre or pull a crossover angle out of their hat. This fifth album from the band should be taken as a serious throw-down, and more importantly, a record that targets a wider spectrum than their stubbornly obtuse competition. Order from

Das Ich “Cabaret” (Metropolis Records)
Further proof that Berlin is much cooler than your town. EBM pioneers Das Ich may have lost a few (okay, many) followers with Lava, but Cabaret is an attempt to win them back to witness a schooling of Dresden Dolls in pre-war European weirdness. It all goes down better with a German-English dictionary kept handy (gothies had better get used to all this – all German bands seem to have drunk the Rammstein Kool-Aid), but “Moritat” exudes haunted French café darkness in any language. Though it rambles a bit, “Macht” delivers a mighty Simple Minds-ish chorus that represents the most accessible track, and “Opferzeit” is a cracked-beat trance-bopper that tosses electro-operatics in a swirling pot of organic, breathy synth. Order from

Thee More Shallows “Monkey vs. Shark” (Turn Records)
Or Sufjan Stevens vs. Nyquil. Extra-super-deluxe-weird San Franciscan Dee Kessler has half-sings as if he’s trying to keep cool while hiding under the covers from monsters, his accompaniment chirpy, flitting, morose and sometimes danceable synths, mostly in the vein of fringe rebels of mellow frazzledness like Yo La Tengo. The Brits love this so much they put it on BBC 1, meaning here in the states it’s what you’d expect to hear coming from the Walkman of your oft-suicidal dorm mate and pretty much no one else. Order from

Outraged ranting, indie label release news and spaghetti sauce recipes are always welcome.  Email

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