Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Disrotted in Japan 2015: Tour Diary

Chicago's Disrotted ran amuck throughout Japan's Honshu last month, blasting their slow-as-shit, 
rot-gut doom. Their vocalist, Adam, was nice enough to write up a tour diary describing their experience. Check it out in both English and Japanese below.

Huge thanks to Zothique for translating!

Pato Thornycroft provided all pictures.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paul Speckmann Speaks with Retch about OEF Asia 2015

Retch got in touch with Master's Paul Speckmann about their relationship with OEF, the crossroads of age & music, and much more. Make sure to catch them next weekend, and its not like it will be difficult: Master has 2 full sets and Deathstrike will be playing a special full set on the last night. Check it out after the jump!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lone Spaceman Tackles the Issues that Matter with Curby of Obscene Extreme

Japanese translations provided by members of Anatomia

About a year and a half ago, I was “writing” for the Japan Times but hadn’t yet published a single article. I had been hired to write about the underground metal scene, but my editor hadn’t been too enthused about any of my pitches until I heard rumblings of the Obscene Extreme Festival coming to town. I convinced him that an underground vegan-friendly festival all about some of the wildest and most extreme music the world had to offer definitely counted as “news”, and he told me to get a hold of the man in charge. A friend quickly hooked me up with Curby Extreme, and before long I had my first piece published in a national newspaper. I remember the 2014 OEF Tokyo as being just as wild as I had been promised; all that was missing was the mythical Grind Banana (check out the OEF page for details of this rare and mysterious fruit).




Friday, October 30, 2015

F.i.D and Malignant Tumour Get Real Before OEFAsia 2015!

Japanese translations provided by members of Anatomia.

1. This is your first time in playing in Japan. Are you excited? Have anyone told you about playing in Japan before? (We did love playing in Czech!!) 

Answer: Oh yes, it´s gonna be our first time in Japan and we are very, very excited to go to your country and see all those things we are just watching in TV, try your food and having nice time with japanese metalpunx. I heard quite some stories from bands who already played in Japan and it seems like you have a very wild audience, which is great for band like Malignant Tumour. So I am expecting wild, wild show.... 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Interview with Adam of Disrotted

Hey all, been a while. Coming up next month, Chicago's morbid Doom troupe Disrotted will be playing a Honshu tour with Su19b to commemorate the release of their new split CD on Tokyo's own Obliteration Records. I caught up with Adam of Disrotted to pick his brain about the history & themes of the band, as well as their expectations of the upcoming tour. Japanese and English follow below:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

News and Reviews, letter "F" edition: Funeral Moth and Fra Hedensk Tid

When the drunken little prick that runs this shithole website told me I had to do some album reviews, I naturally assumed that I’d be reviewing a recent release by a modern mainstream metal band.  “No problem”, I answered nonchalantly while tossing him a cold beer, and while he was preoccupied with this distraction I threw open the nearest window and prepared to hurl myself out of it.  I was hoping for a quick death or at least a debilitating spinal injury that would get me off the hook.  I’m not terribly fond of modern mainstream metal acts, you see.  Unfortunately my editor wasn’t fooled by my diversion and managed to tackle me at the knees before I even got one leg out the window.  He swiftly and competently maneuvered me into The Walls of Jericho, which wrestling fans may recognize as a modified Boston Crab.  He was sitting on my back and wrenching my legs backward, bending my spine almost in half, and as I howled in pain and indignation he explained that I would be reviewing a couple Japanese extreme metal albums that, while recent, weren’t exactly “new” releases. 

Pictured: a frank exchange of ideas and opinions with the editor of Bloody Ears & Beer.

I ignored the painful pressure caused by my spine being bent like a sideways "U" and considered this.  It wasn’t until I had arrived in Japan that I started getting a taste for extreme metal.  I figured I owed it to the country to write up at least a couple album reviews and it was this, combined with the fact that my editor was still squatting on my back and refusing to release my legs, that lead me to nod my head and accept the assignment.  He helped me up and handed me a copy of Fra Hedensk Tid’s 2013 full-length 回帰への祈り, as well as Funeral Moth’s Dense Fog.  I took the discs, slapped him across the mouth and ran out the door before he could grab me again.  

When it comes to black metal my tastes aren’t particularly refined.  Bloody Ears n’ Beer contributor (and Retch drummer) Thomas Skuld has an educated palette and in the past has made numerous attempts to educate me, but I tend to stick fast to classic Immortal and Emperor.  I’ve talked about Tokyo band Funeral Sutra before and how much ass they kick at their live shows, but in general I prefer death metal over black.  Still, when I popped in Fra Hedensk Tid I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  My initial -- and only -- complaint is one I have pretty often when it comes to black metal, and it concerns the drums: they’re never loud enough for me.  It seems there’s an unspoken law requiring the drum track to be drowned out by the guitar, and its always a shame when bands don’t value the rhythmic elements as much as they should.  I’ve made this complaint often enough to the members of Retch that they’re read to...well...retch, I suppose, which would be neat, except that one or two of them have already thrown up on me in the past and it was not an experience I'd like to repeat.

But I digress.  The very first track on 回帰への祈りreminded me of Funeral Sutra and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that those guys and Fra Hedensk Tid have similar influences.  Both bands put me in mind of a lone figure standing in a maelstrom, howling into the wind and chaos, unheeding of the cyclone tearing at his clothes and hair, his words lost in the tempest.  At times there’s something almost melancholy in Fra Hedensk Tid’s sound, as if their rage is occasionally tempered by sadness, or more likely a sense of futility.  The lone figure, raging not at the storm but with it, doesn’t seem to be aiming his ire at anything in particular, but I can detect a darkness in it that doesn’t stem from something ugly.  It’s a surprisingly human element, and I think I’m beginning to understand why Thomas Skuld keeps telling me that on the whole black metal is a bizarrely personal genre.  

The title track of 回帰への祈り is easily my favorite on the album.  I could swear I hear the death of hope in it, which is no easy sentiment to express musically and Fra Hedensk Tid should be congratulated for their eloquence in this regard; but there’s an acceptance too, or perhaps an acknowledgement, of the spoiling and degradation of something that once was good, and in this context several other tracks start to feel like a stoic refusal to be cowed by this state of affairs, a refusal to turn away from the ruins of hope and the loss of anything good in the world.  The lone figure will not flinch or tremble at the bleak landscape left behind by the storm.  He or she may be the last living person on a ruined earth devoid of such human conceits as goodness or purity, but by devil they’ll wander this desolate waste and witness the ruin of man with a bit of goddam dignity.  

The aptly named Dense Fog was released back in 2014 and consists of four tracks with a total run-time of nearly 90 minutes.  This is not unusual for doom metal albums, and I’d tell aficionados of the genre to pick up Dense Fog immediately but in all probability any aficionado will already own a copy.  Funeral Moth’s most recent show was July 19th of this year and was notable for it being the last show of bass player and founding member Nobuyuki Sento.  The hole caused by his absence has been filled by Ryo Amamiya, and unfortunately we’ll all have to wait until December 12th to hear the new lineup.  They’ll be playing at Kokubunji Morgana, which I believe is west of Shinjuku on the Chuo line, down past Ogikubo.  

Stay doomed for more information!  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bloody Ears & Beer Gets Evil

Ryo, vocalist and guitarist for Tokyo metal band Evil, is tall and thin with a narrow face and long hair, and if you were to put him in a black suit with a black shirt and matching tie he’d look exactly like the sort of person Jackie Chan eventually kicks through a window in every single movie, tv show, or car commercial he’s ever filmed. There’s just something about Ryo’s face and frame that suggests he was born to wear a sharp black suit and live surrounded by other karate villains of the sort that threaten Jackie Chan with knives and bats and chains after Jackie, through an unbelievable series of coincidences and mistaken identities, has inadvertently stolen their parcel of drugs or talisman or disc containing national secrets or whatever.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blood Rite Vol. 8 & The Weekend of Tinnitus

Renzo from Legion of Andromeda performing at Blood Rite Vol. 8
R of Legion of Andromeda
It happens frequently enough in Tokyo, but sometimes there's just a perfect storm of events that blows through town, one that sucks you up, shakes you around, and spits you out with nothing but a shit-eating grin plastered across your battered face. That storm came through town again this weekend, showering all those in its wake with blood, sweat, and beer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guevnna at Pit Bar

“Wake up,” someone yelled at me, before delivering a sharp kick to my ribs.  What god-damned monster would do this to me, I thought to myself, and why were they in my apartment?  What awful piece of shit would sneak into man’s home and wake him up when he’s in the throes of a king bastard of a hangover?  “Get up, god dammit!” the voice said again.  “Time to start the day.  Go get some beer, it’s beautiful outside.”  It was with some confusion that I realized I was on my floor, not my bed, and that it wasn’t even my floor, or my apartment for that matter.  I began to remember the previous night and realized with horror it was none other than my editor at Bloody Ears & Beer, Mr. Jim Broadly himself, kicking me in the ribs and telling me to get off his carpet.  

I rolled over and immediately regretted my decision to regain consciousness.  In fact I regretted everything I had ever done in my life, every single thing, because somehow that had all lead to me being here, now, on my editor's floor, still in my jeans and jacket and still shit-faced from the night before.  

I moaned pathetically.  “This is your fault,” I croaked.  “You rotten little shit, you did this to me.  Look, there’s vomit all over my Chuck Taylors.”  

All of these things were true.  It had been a big Saturday night.  It is very difficult for me to drink “too much” with other people around; whenever I’m out with my friends or co-workers and the spirit of the evening is one of indulgence, I’m never the one being carried home.  This could have something to do with my genetic makeup, since it’s a thing that people with light colored hair and eyes are typically better at synthesizing alcohol, or it could have something to do with the fact that I drink at least a bottle of wine every night and have done so for years.  There are people in this world that drink more than me, I know this to be true, but except for one or two obvious examples I don’t know who they are or what bars they hang out in.  But I do know that when I’m out with other people, I’m fighting in such a lower weight class that it’s more like babysitting.  

So when the dirty little prick told me Saturday night at Bar TKO that he was going to turn the tables and get me too drunk to walk, I laughed in his face and told him not to waste his money.  “You’ll get tired of spending money on shots long before I get tired of drinking them,” I warned him.  The bartender Candy looked on in amusement and I’m pretty sure he secretly agreed with me, since he had literally watched me carry the little bastard out the door and up the stairs like an angry, drunk potato sack on more than one occasion.  

Bar TKO is a pleasant basement bar in Higashi Shinjuku with a surprisingly larger interior than one would assume given the location.  Also surprising is the sophisticated wine selection, chosen specifically by Candy himself, whose full sleeve tattoos belie a mind that knows more about wine than anyone I’ve ever met in this country, westerners included.  All that knowledge about Italian reds and flavor profiles went unused on Saturday, though, because a horrid little man was feeding me the dirtiest cheapjack rotgut liquor he could find.  

We’ll never know if his plan was successful.  Certainly I blacked out; the next thing I remember is sitting on the toilet at Bar Big Time and puking violently onto the floor.  This is unfortunate because Bar Big Time, located on the border of Kabukicho and Okubo, is one of my favorite bars in all Tokyo -- they have friendly staff, cheap drinks, and the owner Tsune has a record collection of classic rock n’ roll going back all the way to the distant past when black people were making rock n’ roll.  I always encourage people to check this bar out whenever they’re in town.  Great music, great people, and heavy hands behind the bar.  Five hundred yen will get you a hell of a stiff drink at Big Time and I’m in there pretty frequently, which makes what I did to their bathroom all the more unfortunate.  

One of the bartenders, a cheerful and friendly young man named Taiyo, approached me about the bill.  I looked around for my editor, who had been paying for all the drinks thus far because I didn't have my wallet or any money, and realized the wicked little gunsel had ditched me.  Taiyo seemed to sense this because he gracefully ushered me out the door and up the stairs, but looking back I realized he probably just wanted the puke-stained drunk with the undone pants out of his bar.  I don't blame him; he had a monster of a cleaning job ahead of him. 

But whatever.  The shitheel that helps run this blog was nowhere in sight after I exited the horrorshow of a toilet and, because he had apparently given up long ago and I was still standing, I declared myself the winner before stumbling down the street to his apartment.  And now here he was the next morning, putting the boot to me and telling me I had to get up and go to a show.

“Fuck you!  There’s no way I’m going to any show tonight,” I snarled at him while crawling to the balcony.  I had to admit, he was right about the weather.  It was goddam beautiful outside.  Pleasantly warm and not a cloud in the sky.  Stretching out under the sun was putting me in a better mood.  The hand of God's justice finds those that deserve it, I mused, and Jim Broadly would eventually get the punishment he deserved.  

“Your hands are shaking pretty bad, mister,” he told me.  “Better have a beer to settle ‘em down.”  I accepted this wisdom and joined him in some daytime drinking.  Before heading out to Pit Bar we spent the afternoon in Okubo, drinking on the street and getting some kebabs from a place down the way from the Family Mart near Shin-Okubo station.  I like the place a lot and the guy that usually runs it knows me from back when I was dating someone that lived in the area.  He’d see me most Sunday afternoons smelling like booze and sex and he’d always give me extra meat and spice.  I appreciate that sort of personal touch and I hope I treat him better than I treated the poor bartenders at Big Time.  

After some kebabs we met up with Retch drummer (and occasional contributor to Bloody Ears & Beer) Thom Skuld and together we went to a nearby AEON and grabbed some Chimay, which I’m given to understand is a beer brewed by trappist monks somewhere in Belgium.  The beer was definitely high quality, but it was wasted on my layman’s palate.  But Thom, who doesn’t smoke and thus still has both a functioning sense of smell and some taste buds, seemed to be impressed with the monk’s brew.  After a few of those we headed out to Nishi-Ogikubo and GUEVNNA.  

When I was told that the show was in Nishi Ogikubo, my interest was piqued because there’s been some buzz about that place as an up-and-coming hotspot for the underground scene and I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.  Also, it was close enough for me to reach by foot from my apartment.  But what sold me on going to the show, aside from his generous offer to pay for both it and the drinks, was hearing GUEVNNA’s name (vocalist Ryo insists on GUEVNNA being written in all-caps, which I was unable to do in Japan Times because of formatting issues but am free to do now.  They deserve it.  They’re not “Guevnna”, they’re GUEVNNA).  

I’ve previously described Ryo as the answer to the question “what if Nick Cave gave up on heroin in favor of red meat and beer?”, which I think might be the nicest thing I’ve ever said about anyone.  GUEVNNA might possibly be my favorite act to see in Tokyo aside from Intestine Baalism, who play so infrequently that GUEVNNA has had a chance to usurp them as my favorite Tokyo band.  And Sunday’s show was made all the more exciting because Shusuke of Zothique was joining them on guitar (unfortunately he’s just filling in for GUEVNNA’s momentarily-absent guitarist and not joining the band full-time).  Zothique is busy writing and recording their newest album, so until they release it we’ll have to settle for seeing Shusuke rock out with GUEVNNA.  

And holy shit does GUEVNNA rock the fuck out.  It’s the heaviest rock n’ roll in Tokyo.  Somehow they’ve taken all the best parts of the sort of Death/Doom Ryo had been performing as the frontman for Coffins -- all the hard-hitting breakdowns, the sweetest riffs, the tortured vocals -- and turned it into a 70s inspired brand of something that I wouldn’t describe as “metal” so much as just plain rock n’ roll.  Heavy, certainly, brutal even, but it’s definitely rock n’ roll.  Doom rock.  Acid Doom Rock.  Heavy Acid Doom Rock.  

There were some good acts that night, but GUEVNNA blew them all away.  The Little Bastards are a powerful 3-piece and appropriately political, and both they and Crucial Section have high-energy sets that make you move, but no one got the crowd out on the floor like GUEVNNA did.  If you like Black Sabbath, if you like Granicus, you’ll get a huge kick out of this band.  And if you don't like those bands you're a giant piece of shit and deserve to be mauled by dogs.  

Ryo noticed immediately upon seeing me that I was on a two-day drunk, probably because I hadn’t brushed my teeth since vomiting all over my Chucks, or showered, or in any way made an attempt to look like anything other than a homeless drunk.  He had enough grace to not make fun of me for it, or to tell me that I smelled terrible, which I’m positive I did.  The dude’s a class act.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guest Post #1 - Stench of Lust's Joe Henley

March 7th, 2015: Raw Noise Attack @ Okubo Earthdom
with Abigail, Anatomia, Coffins, Terror Squad, Bazoöka, Stench of Lust

I always have a sense of dread about playing in Japan. Not because I don't enjoy it; quite the contrary, in fact. No, it's because bands in Japan, resolutely and without fail, don't fuck around. Bushido is still very much alive and well in the metal bands of the Land of the Rising Sun. It seems they'd rather commit seppuku than put on a half-assed show. So, the pressure is always on in the best possible way. If you want to avoid getting blown off the stage in Japan, you'd best bring your A-game.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Booked! Blood Rite Vol. 8

Bitching about not having enough time to "properly" do a show is a hobby of mine that I'm quite passionate about, so when the opportunity came up to get something together very last minute at a club I'd never been to, you better believe I pounced on that like a drunken, mangey cat going after super-mice its hallucinated in its liquor-fever.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anomalous Collision 7 (February 8th, 2015)

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to see some new (to me, anyway) bands in Koenji, a neighborhood set to be the next “hip” underground spot now that every dickhead in Tokyo knows about Shimokitazawa.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Riding into the New Year

Readers of BEnB will no doubt know that it is lead by members of Tokyo metalers Retch. To ring in the New Year, two of us heathens biked our way up to Utsunomiya. As a newer contributor to this blog, it seems fitting that my inaugural post recount this recent New Year's trip.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blood Rite Vol. 7 (January 17th, 2015)

Bit of a late posting here, but hey better late than never. Retch's first event of 2015, Blood Rite vol. 7, went off like dy-no-mite a few weeks ago over at Shinjuku's Earthdom, a club that by now you should probably know of as we sing its praises relatively often.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Salad Days vol. 305 @ Koiwa Bushbash

Way out in Koiwa there’s a venue called Bush Bash, which is a ridiculous name, but it’s a pretty nice venue and one where I’ve seen some of my favorite live acts. It’s spacious, the drinks are cheap, they serve food, their sound system is pretty solid and it manages to be big enough to support a large crowd yet simultaneously still feel intimate.