MC Erik & Barbara – U Can’t Stop

Nothing beats listening to a local radio during nightshifts and as they rely heavily on older tracks, the level of nostalgia coming through the speaker is unbelievable. Oh my, how many great hits of yesterday. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I inevitably hum some songs for no reason. Which is OK, but it’s really strange when I start to hum either kids’ songs (thanks to my daughter’s repeated viewings of such on Youtube) or stuff like Take That. And while I would argue the newer material of Take That is very good, stuff like “Never Forget” and “Re-Light My Fire” arouse some suspicion in my inner self. What the hell is happening to me?

One thing leads to another and suddenly a vibe went down my spine. Kids, do I recall some stuff worthy of mentioning here on The Rubber Axe! And I am willing to take risks of appearing ridiculous!

But folks, the level of nostalgia is dangerously high here, thanks to the fact that I’ve been given a tape of an album I’m gonna talk about by my then-girlfriend as a love gift. Past loves make for a perfect nostalgia indeed. I’m not gonna dwell of that part too long, though, for let the bygones be bygones, and tonight we’re gonna learn something about – let the drums roll – one important Slovak eurodancefloor act of the second half of 1990s.

As some of you might remember, 1990s brought us quite a lot of important developments in music. Seattle has brought us grunge and social anxiety coupled with a depression, actively ending the happy days of glam/hair metal, extreme metal was getting better and better and in the Europe we enjoy – among other things – happy little dance music commonly referred to as Euro dancefloor. True, most of the acts were produced just to make a quick buck by the crafty producers (sounds familiar?) and were far from anything original or long lasting, but who cares? Obviously, one couldn’t remember all the projects, as there were so many, but of course, names like Snap!, 2 Unlimited (the original duo, of course), Fun Factory, Twenty 4 Seven and many more did carve their place in music history, no matter how music snobs wanna look down on them.

Slovakia was not different. Given that all you’ve needed to create some stuff was a computer with a soundcard and some music software, it didn’t take long for the early birds to arrive. 1994 has marked the arrival of the seminal dance group called Maduar (which was a composite of the members’ names, brothers Matynkó, Dulovič and Aresta). Guys got themselves a help by recruiting a young singer named Barbara Haščáková and released their first album called I Feel Good. This one has brought out hits like titular “I Feel Good” and mega-successful “Do It!”, which later was also parodied by another act called Kopytovci (but unfortunately, to get the joke, one needs to understand the lyrics).

The debut album followed the established formula (one rapper, in this case it was Erik Aresta) and at least one female singer (aforementioned Barbara Haščáková) and of course, we need to admit, it has sounded formulaic as well (and let’s not kid ourselves, you don’t listen to this stuff to find a deep philosophical concepts in the lyrics), you ever have dabbled in the music production on the computer, you certainly recognize many of the samples used. But compared to other acts in the same genre worldwide (or, better to say, Euro-wide), it haven’t sounded bad at all.

MC Erik & Barbara (back then)

And as it is also quite a norm, after a great success of the album, the band itself has broken up – MC Erik and Barbara have formed their duo, brothers Matynkó and Laco Dulovič have continued with Maduar (later on Laco has left and Maduar became a duo of Matynkó brothers).

So much for a short intro – and today we will have a look at my fave album of MC Erik and Barbara – U Can’t Stop.

Originally released in 1995, it was re-released in 1996 with a different cover and added bonuses and it sold about 150 thousand copies, for which the duo has received basically all the awards available. Considering the size of the local Slovak (and partly Czech) market, the success was phenomenal.

Although the dancefloor oriented songs don’t stray away from the formula, they are catchy and I can personally testify about me dancing to them 🙂 Oh, boy, stories I could tell… Anyway, I love all those songs, but if pressed for a pick, I’d go with “I’m Free”, “Forever Friends” and “Be Happy”. Great tunes indeed.

But the strength of the album lies in slow ballads – originally sung in Slovak language Keď príde láska (also featured on the album in an English version entitled “When Love Is Calling”, although the beauty of original lyrics is quite lost in translation, but that’s the price one has to pay to get exported into English speaking countries, unfortunately), “Anjel II” (Angel II), which was a re-made version of a successful Maduar single “Anjel”, this time with added Erik’s slow rap and personally my absolute favourite, “Hideaway” (this one was my song of choice during a very very bad period in my life, so yeah…it’s personal).

The album also offers one cover version (OK, technically two, if I count Anjel II) – Summer Night from the movie Grease (like I should tell you that, right)? Paired with a nice video tribute to the original movie sequence, it stands out from the rest of the songs, but I am not complaining.

So, dear readers, here I am. One listening to all the extreme genres admiting my guilty Euro dancefloor pleasure – and I urge you all to try and sample some of the songs mentioned here on Youtube. I know you want to!

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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Drowning: Lost City Riders (a 2008 TV movie review)

Lost City Riders, well, its title, has caught my attention almost immediately. I admit, I am a sucker for “lost city” stuff.

I’ve watched the movie once before, but I don’t remember anything of it, which is usually a bad sign, however, with the plethora of movies (and other spare-time-killing activities) available, that’s not really something to go along with – and you probably agree, you remember movies from your childhood, but hardly something you’ve watched a month ago on Netflix.

That might have to do something with the overall quality of the modern cinema, but I guess I am digressing here a bit..so let’s get back to our flick.

The movie was directed by Jean de Segonzac, mostly known for directing episodes of various TV series, and starring James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder, Bettina Zimmermann, Jamie Thomas King, Elodie Frenck, Michael Mendl, Jeremy Crutchley and Benn Cross,

Well, Lost City Riders is not a movie you’re gonna remember. A co-production between German TV channel ProSieben and Sci-fi Channel (before its rebranding to SyFy Channel), you’ve seen the plot rehashed a million times before (and couple hundreds after 🙂 ).

The global warming caused the flooding of the Earth, only 10 % of the surface is habitable, and we’re encountering our – you’ve guessed it – Lost City Riders, a family unit (a guy with two adopted sons), raiding the submerged buildings for profit.

Our family unit planning the entering and escaping.

Unbeknownst to his two adopted sons Jack (Ian Somerhalder) and Thomas (Jamie Thomas King), their stepfather John Kubiak (James Brolin) is on the mission of finding the legendary scepter of Sobek, Egyptian god of Nile, who – according to legend – controlled by it the rising and falling down the waters of the great river.

And as it’s usually the case, he’s not alone! Enters Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) as a nefarious businessman trying to claim the scepter for himself to – well, you’ve guessed it again – make money!

Our villain Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) confronting Giovanna Becker (Bettina Zimmermann)

To complete the picture, we have Bettina Zimmermann as Giovanna Becker, Jack’s old love, and because it would be bad to leave the other boy alone, here comes the rescue in the form of Elodie Frenck (Cara Cahill).

You know how it plays, right? Yes, it’s pretty straightforward, with a bad underwater CGI effects, the story doesn’t allow for any twists or surprises, but the scenes in the Chinese cave (yes, we are all over the world, from Vatican to Dresden to Chinese cave system) with the secret room built in it got me in stitches. The acting there was on the level I’ve expected it turning to a scene from a adult video movie any second! Anyway, don’t shoot at the pianist for the piano not being in tune, as they say.

Putting the rod into the hole…or something like that.

I am not sure if it’s me getting old and more tolerant of everything, but I myself was surprised to actually watch the whole movie without any interruptions. I think I can safely state it was due to the level of watchable silliness on the TV screen, quite certainly unintentional by the creators of the movie.

But it’s about entertainment, right? In that case, they’ve succeeded.

Not that I’m gonna re-watch it any time soon (if ever).

Official trailer:

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQupuFFlbOo

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.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malauriuofficial

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!

Bandcamp: https://strangulationfurrowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/costectomy-nyctophagia-split

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: https://www.facebook.com/unauthorizedsurgeonsclub/

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?

https://nosevomitrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gorenoise-megasplit-vol-i

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: aniquilacionsatanicapro@yahoo.com

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