Mamamoo – Piano Man (EP review)

First off let me say that I have never heard Korean pop music, but someone gifted me this album and I decided to review it.

I would never listen to such music because I am a badass metal guy and I only listen to the rock and roll. I don’t like melody or pretty singing unless George Lynch is playing those melodies on his axe and Ozzy is singing real beautiful like on the first Sabbath album which is the only metal album I will listen to with Ozzy Osbourne because he sold out.

Piano Man EP cover

I know people that would say that and mean it. I hate them, but they don’t know because I could tell them they suck and they wouldn’t hear it. They don’t hear anything, ever. They sit with 1000 people around a lake and only see their own reflection. They attend a music festival and think they’re the only ones buying a $70 tour t-shirt. Fuck ’em. Moving on…

Track 1: Piano Man. Song starts out with one of the ladies – Hwasa – singing “I’m ready for some action” and that’s exactly what we get with this song. Pure action, from beginning to end. It’s a song musically dominated by a piano, and it’s about a guy who plays a piano. The music is very, very interesting compared to the stuff that passes as “pop music” in America or the UK. That’s not saying much but the real star(s) here: The vocals. “Hey piano man” “Hello”

And that’s about all that I can decipher because I’m terrible at Korean. I’m still trying but it’s hard to grasp the language in comparison to something like Japanese or Spanish. It’s close to Japanese I suppose. I don’t know. The only thing I know is that this was my introduction to Mamamoo and I fell in love.

Singers Hwasa, Wheein and Solar are three of the best live singers I have heard from any country. They’re able to harmonize perfectly, something many in my country haven’t been able to do since 1976.

“Piano Man” is not an RnB song. It isn’t a rap song or a dance song. It’s just a really good song. This is kind of a swinging song with piano and brass and I can not explain it further than that. The vocalists are complemented by a rapping part from Moonbyul, the resident rapper/singer of the band/group. I don’t know what to call this. It isn’t a girl group dancing around and doing rap songs. I guess you have to hear it to understand it but these women are talented AND restrained. They’re singers! What a novel concept. They aren’t cussing at me and thinking they came from the mean streets. They are showcasing their talents. You know. Stuff that entertainers are supposed to do. “Piano Man” from Mamamoo is one hundred times better than “Piano Man” from Billy Joel.

Which reminds me of a story, back in an English class during high school. We had to listen to a song and give our impression of it. The song? “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. The most depressing fucking song about being a singer ever. I pointed out that this song was horrendously depressing to the point of making a listener commit suicide. I got an A. Everyone else thought it was a fun song. They’re morons!

Track 2: Gentleman. “Gentleman” features a Korean-American singer named Esna, who was also one of the composers of this song (and the first track.) It’s a collaboration of sorts, I guess vocally only, but Esna has a very distinct voice that you pick up on immediately. Don’t let that fact distract you, though. Every member of Mamamoo has a distinct voice.

I realize during this song how far down this Korean rabbit hole I have gone, for I can pick out which woman is singing on their first note. Not only with Mamamoo, but with at least a dozen other Korean groups. I don’t know what happened to me. I’m not a hard, heavy, metalhead anymore. I have become someone that – OH FUCK – actually likes and appreciates melody and composition. It’s not hard to know when Moonbyul raps, but sometimes Hwasa raps. That’s what I’m talking about. I can tell you when each woman raps, sings, talks, or makes a noise in the background. Clearly, I’ve become a fan of this music over the past decade.

Who cares. Mamamoo does this kind of big band-ish type of shit with their tunes. I’m into big band type music. My great uncle was a jazz bandleader (and drummer) in the late 1920s and 30s. He recorded vinyl before most of your grandparents were even born, you fucking young nerds. Ohhh, I get it. You can’t listen to anything but what’s in your little stupid box. I was like that when I was 12.

There are people who will violently make fun of anyone into shit like this, and I get it. When I was 12, I would’ve rode my bike over to my own house and chased myself with a poster of Mamamoo, yelling about how gay I was, and that I was gonna kick my ass. I get it. The thing is, look, I ain’t fuckin’ 12 anymore. I’m a god damn old man and I grew up not only on metal but I loved the radio. 80s radio which brought me women like Madonna and Stevie Knicks and Donna Summer and Pat Benatar, and fuck you if you can’t handle someone being into music.

Like I usually say to people who like to get mouthy on musical subjects such as this: “I was listening to Van Halen when I was 5. What were you listening to? Teletubbies?”

Go fuck yourselves, you non-musical posers; wretched globs of human waste; dumb dufuses of Dorkville Dungeon. I’m old but I know posers when I see them. You might be one!

In this song Moonbyul really shines. The music is abnormal. It is musically extremely strange to me. It’s kind of off. It’s stranger than the metal, rock, or country shit that I would normally listen to. Every single noise project I have ever heard, and every single metal band I have ever heard, and there have been thousands…none of them, not one single band in the history of metal as a thing, could make something this strange sounding because their minds would probably blow up. It couldn’t have been simple to make something sound this simple yet not be simple.

Track 3: Love Lane. The beginning of this song has some guy saying “Just imagine. I know you want it.” He’s wrong. I don’t wan’t him. This kind of shit throws people off. It’s unneeded garbage put at the beginning of pop songs to make it sound more American. American pop has sounded dumb for 20 years and I don’t need some guy saying something before the women start singing the fuckin’ song! He sounds like a little wimpy guy.

The singing starts and it’s beautiful. We have another winner here, very good vocal performances from everyone. I love the harmonies on this song especially. It is very OLD sounding. The vibes given off are like a nice stroll around the town. That reminds me I haven’t walked in a town for years. I live in a tiny village that looks like ten bombs hit it and the people never recovered. Seriously, it’s a total shithole with one redeeming quality: Everyone fucking sticks to themselves. I like that because it’s what I do. I came here because I wanted to be left alone. And here I sit typing this shit, wanting to walk around a town. Maybe I should take a trip or something.

This song stops abrupbtly… and the ending musical part of it is at the beginning of the next fucking song which is just “Piano Man” again without any instruments but piano. I like it, maybe too much.

I took piano lessons when I was a kid and I’m certainly not good but I learned how to read music thanks to my piano teachers and I’ll always be indebted to them. I’d have been just another shit head, fucking dumb, guitar playing loser who doesn’t know shit about anything but god damn stupid tablature and the dreaded “self taught” lie that lots of people try to pass off on you in an effort to excuse the fact that they are music regurgitating pieces of human waste.

Mamamoo should be everyone’s introduction to Korean pop. They’re probably the best representation of what the genre as a whole can do if pushed to do something that isn’t just dancing around like Britney Spears or New Kids on the Block or something.

Remember how Samantha Fox used to dance? It’s kind of like that, but infinitely better, with much better vocal performances.

Here is their website:
Active musician, the person responsible for - or involved with - cult projects as Tjolgtjar, Xexyz and many others, and the main person behind our wrestling coverage.

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Fragment Soul – Axiom of Choice (a review)

The link for these Greek doom melancholics arrived to my mailbox a long time ago, and I’ve almost forgotten about it. Yes, I know. Im am irresponsible sometimes.

However, I’ve started my spring cleaning also in my accounts and so I’ve come across Axiom of Choice – and what a beautiful album it is.

4 long compositions in 3 seconds over 42 minutes, that’s the progressive doom dessert from Greece. No feta cheese, though, that’s for sure.

You might know already that my musical tastes are all over the place, and although some might argue it won’t allow me to concentrate fully on a particular genre, I think it gives me an opportunity to enjoy music without too much of a comparison.

And therefore I can enjoy Fragment Soul and their work of art for what it is. And it’s a beautiful, melancholic, gloomy collection – however, not a depressive one, I’d say. It’s something you would play during the rainy day, laying alone in your bed and just floating in space of your thoughts and memories. For the fans of Draconian it might be pointed out, that Heike Langhans collaborated on this album, and there’s also a guest person – Egan O’Rourke from Daylight Dies.

I like it a lot. For a seasoned fans of the doom genre it might not be earth-shattering, and I’m not gonna argue it is. But if you want to spend 42:03 minutes of your life with an aural balsam for your ears and soul, this might be something you might like to check.

Album stream:

Malauriu – Malauriu (a 2022 album review)

Recently I’ve lent my ear to some nice black metal releases, so when I’ve got this promo from Italy for a review, it’s been only a matter of time when it will attack both my ears.

…and the day has come.

Malauriu are certainly no new-comers, haling from the Italian underground since 2013. I am not familiar with their previous output, but with the opening track, “Morto Era L’oro”, it is clear what they meant by “a new chapter of experimentation between dark ambient and Mediterranean sound”, which was the description they’ve used in the promo e-mail. Well, they haven’t lied.

The album contains 4 long compositions, the shortest one clocks in 10:52 (“Corpo Tempio), the longest will stay in your aural orifices for almost 12 minutes (11:50 long “Specula”).

A mix between ritualistic darkwave and a poetry reading, lyrics in Italian, along with the music itself, evoke the best moments of watching Italian horror/occult/supernatural movies – minus the video segment, of course.

Not much of a black metal per se, nevertheless, this is right in my comfort zone, as I’ll never say no to the atmosphere inducing soundscape.

The album will be released on April 1st, 2022, in a CD and digital format via the Italian label Nero Corvino, so if that’s your kind of music, you definitely won’t go wrong getting it.


Costectomy/Nyctophagia – “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport” (a 2021 split review)

After some time spent checking not so usual music with my other webpage Indokult, dedicated to the Indonesian music , I’ve started craving some more unhinged underground music again. To be precise, good old goregrind and gorenoise. No, I won’t call it a “fix”, haha, but truth is – sometimes it’s just what the doctor has ordered. You know…going full circle and so forth…

Now, with the genre selected, the next important question was – with so much to choose from, what to play? For that, I’ve checked a Olga Lazarus’ new label Strangulation Furrow on Bandcamp. You might remember Olga from the interview I did with her for the Rubber Axe webzine here. Since then she’s relocated to the USA and started a new label, it’s only logical to show her some support! Yes, freaks, some support!!!

Olga is a busy bee and so far she has released some nice releases (mostly tapes, but also a CD and a 7” EP), plus she’s printing the t-shirts herself. Talk about some dedication here!

So, with that being said, I’ve chosen to review a split between Costectomy and Nyctophagia titled “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport”. 14 groovy tracks in total.

A tape version from Strangulation Furrow label

First to offer the putrid sonic fruits is Costectomy, which is Chud’s (Ulcerated Offal, Cystoblastosis, ex-Hit-Run Drivers etc.) project based in Eliot (Maine, USA). 6 tracks in total of great sounding goregrind (yes, the aforementioned groovy kind), enriched by the samples from the horror/gore movies, exactly the way I like it. You know, I love intros/outros! Damn, thinking about that, I am pretty much easily pleased, haha! Well, it’s true. However, when you are faced with stuff like this, that’s not so hard. Great stuff here. Oh, not to forget, the last song is a cover of Dysmenorrheic Hemmorage, “Affliction”.

The rest of the release belongs to Nyctophagia, currently an 1-man unstoppable grinding machine from Ohio and if you can count on your rotten fingers, you know that means 8 tracks left to enjoy!

Unlike Costectomy, Nyctophagia plays more of a little faster death/grind, more of a bulldozer than a groove, however I can’t complain here neither and so won’t you. Really, what’s here not to enjoy?

The split is over almost in no time – which is probably the only negative I can say about it. For those collectors of the physical release, this was released in 2021 on a pro CD-R by Costectomy Records (but according the info it’s already sold out) and Olga’s label has released it on in a tape version. Go check and grab it while you can!


VA – Gorenoise megasplit vol. 1

It’s been quite a while since I’d reviewed anything gorenoise related. Gorenoise Megasplit volume 1, the compilation I’m going to write a few words about, was sent to me by our friends in the Italian label Nosevomit Records quite a long time ago, and I am ashamed to have waited for so long before reviewing it. Well, time to wait is over, let’s have a look how ugly this boy turned out to be!

Opening the compilation is Italian gorenoise project Bronchospasm with the track “Pneumoconiosis”, the cool 4:05 track and it’s quite interesting, not the typical blasting sh*t I’d expect, it’s more like an experimental noise track, with drums beats here and there, but straight away, I am impressed and I need to check this project little more closer. And, by the way, they are associated with this little record label:

The second to dissect is another Italian pathology combo – Conforming To Survive – with the three tracks, “Severed Mutation of the Upper Limbs”, “Gnawing the Intestines” and “Cursed Flesh Grimoire”. Rehearsal recording, with a rather goregrind/noise chaos, and again, I am revelling in this! Building from the shortest track to the longest one (which clocks in 3:39), there’s plenty of filth to like here!

But then…it’s a gorenoise proper! American project Hydroencephalocystocele steals the show with its “13 Traxx Untitled” and for all those looking for a really cool gorenoise, now it’s the time. Bubbles and noise, what can go wrong, right? I’d welcome more variability here, but otherwise, can’t complain.

Mucopurulence’s section opens with a cool intro, which intro-duces (lol) us to to f*ckin awesome goregrind track “Copro Corpse Copulation”. This stuff raises the dead! Mucupurulence hails from Finland and because they kick ass, they offer 5 tracks here – Copro Corpse Mutilation, Putrid Bile of Shit, A Collection of Colons and Entrails, Ceaseless Violent Defecating, Choking on Swollen Tongue and Vomit – all the future classicks, I am sure! Not too long, not too short, they are perfect! I really enjoy these, and the song titles remind me of the times we used to come up with the most insane titles too!!!

This nice compilation closes with 5 gorenoise tracks (Adiction, Another Disease; Ear Atrocities, Head Hole, Inhuman Glass and Taenia Solium) from Saccopharynx. This Mexican project offers an interesting mix of blasting drums, bubbling, gurgling vokills…and probably even a kitchen sink thrown in for a good measure, and it works.

The whole compilation can be heard on the Nosevomit’s Bandcamp, and what’s even better, you can get a CD-R of it too!!! What are you waiting for then?

Where fire burns eternally: Eternal Kingdom of Fire, volume 5 (digital promo review)

Those of you who read the Rubber Axe regularly, will might recall the review I’ve written for a previous release of this compilation series, namely volume 2.

Well, time flies and a few days ago a new batch has arrived to my mailbox, this time it was the latest invocation, namely the volume 5.

10 bands, 10 songs. However…what songs these are!

Opening this compilation tape is Winter Eternal from Greece (lately of Scotland, according to available information) with the song “Crown of Stars” (also on this project’s 2021 full length “Land of Darkness”). F**king brilliant tune, I can hardly think of a better opening. Interesting, well thought of, well played. And a well received here, that’s no doubt about that. I like the use of instruments and the melodies.

Russian strikeforce Ophidian Malice, on the other hand, take no prisoners and relentlessly bash the listener with their furious black metal vibe. “Saviour” is the song from their debut 2021 full-length “Disgusting Ritual” and it definitely shows the band in the good (un)light.

So far, I am really enjoying the comp.

With Skorbvstr, the raw black metal ferocity from Kentucky (USA) we have first exclusivity here, as I think their song “Diskusjonen er avsluttet” is available here only. I might be wrong though. I am little surprised with the use of, what is it Norwegian language?…but the guy might be from Scandinavia, so there’s that. As for the music, I have to admit I am starting to develop a certain liking for the raw BM (which, as many might know, is not one of my favourite subgenres), and there are some elements I really enjoy here.

“Pain Enshrouded Dirge” from Desecration Rites is our very next song, and the second longest offering from this compilation. I’d say there’s a certain inspiration from old Burzum (which is not a bad thing, what do you think?), and even it delivers the goods (so to speak) even with the simplicity of melody, riffs and hypnotic drumbeat. Well, you know…the old school, the good way.

Alpgeist hails from Bavaria (Germany) and presents to you their hymn “Moor in der Todtenau”. Yes, I can definitely say I like this approach a lot more than the raw BM subgenre. Dark, melancholic and melodic, I really like the guitar riffs here…the whole song is one welcoming energy boost in my current depressive mood. Can a black metal song be viewed as a positive booster? I’d say so, so this applies. I am really loving this one.

Zmyrna can be classed as Alpgeist’s neighbour, as guys come from Czech Republic, and their “Pagus Maledictus” offers yet another fascinating look into the black metal subgenre – guys not only sing about mystical stuff and medieval life, their music also evokes the fires of the dark ages and the suffering through the ages. This song is certainly a weird one, very unexpected, but as I’ve said – fascinating (in a good sense). The song itself comes from their only material to date, the 2021 self-titled EP.

And now, ladies and gentlemen – the longest track of this compilation. Necrodes and “Swept Away”, from its 2021 full-length “Isolation”. Wow, what a vocal! Imagine maniacal, hysterical cries with some gurgling and you might start to have an idea. Although, I guess the best bet is to have a listen. However, I think more of DSBM than atmospheric BM here, but that’s just my opinion. Unfortunately, these days I am rarely fond of long compositions and I’ve got a little bored here, sorry.

Necrocarnation hails from Germany now, but from what I could find, they are from Argentina, and on this nice compilation they bring to your attention their black/death metal sacrifice with their song “Antarctic”, which is also the opener of their 2020 EP “Fragments of Dark Eternity”. And I have to say, I like this stuff! Especially vokills, which sound really killer! Kudos to the compiler, as I really welcome the diversity of the subgenres while still being true to the black metal genre as a whole.

Finnish duo Svartheim play strict black metal, which might sound a little generic nowadays, but I think they are aware of that, so they enrich their song “Vaiettu” (which comes from their 2021 full length debut “Black Metal Finland”) with the interesting dual vocals. And it works. Personally, I don’t really give a damn about similarity between songs or bands – if I like it, I like it, period. And Svartheim would be on my playlist. It’s simple, yet effective.

And the last band to enjoy from this compilation is Necro Forest from Croatia, with the song “Hate Divison”. Raw black metal, with little NSBM leaning, I’d guess. I am little disappointed with the sort of a ripping off Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon” in the beginning of the song , because when it starts properly, it’s not bad at all! But I think Norwegian legends have their impact on many bands…it’s not that big of an issue, but I thought it would be good to mention that. Also, likeable song.

So, that’s all, folks. Good, bad? Well, for me, undoubtedly a great compilation. I think I can safely say – I can play this without skipping a song. And that’s quite a feat.

Get it from Ancient Cult Records, while you can. Get in touch with the label via e-mail:

USBM wolves: Disperser and Demo 2021 (a demo review)

Those guys wrote to me back in July, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do anything about it – until now. I guess we’d all agree it’s about time to kick that depression in the ass and get going again.

Anyway, enough about me. Disperser hails from New Jersey and plays USBM. So you know.

The demo contains 3 tracks, with the first one, “Lesser Stars”, being a kind of instrumental intro intervined with voices of desperation and pain, and it nicely prepares you for what’s gonna follow.

The second track, “Beggar King” brings out the material in its true form. Somewhat lo-fi recording is actually welcome here, not to hide any imperfections – shame on you if you’ve though that for a second – but to add to the atmosphere.

The song is quite short (2:36), so it basically only sketches the ability of the band to write good songs, but you’ll get and enjoy a strong bass line (again, you would remember I love that instrument), with a great painful vocals somewhere in the midfield of DSBM range (I am not really a fan of the genre, but this vocalist is spot on!) and…

…on the third track, “Splintered Ladders”, also the strange melodies of the guitar, which translates the pain into the musical notes.

Don’t know about you, but although I try to avoid depressive stuff these days (mental health can be a bitch), once in a while it’s actually good to delve into this genre.

Guys should release their first full-length this autumn, and if it’s anywhere as fine as this demo, I’ll listen to it. You should too.



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