Classic Album Review

A “Convicted” Classic by Cryptic Slaughter

Wave after wave of inundating drum beats and hyper focused riffs shoot through my ears. I can’t stop whipping my head up and down. I wanna thrash and hit bodies in a pit just to feel the pressure of the music like Cryptic Slaughter is screaming about. Music that makes my ears want to melt; music that careens off the edge of highways into the abyss of night; music that creates fissures running through skin and bone – this is the type of sound people look for when we aren’t given enough answers. 

Cryptic Slaughter is one of the earlier thrash and crossover bands to make sounds like this. Starting out in the mid 1980’s, the band jumped onto the scene with a demo, “Life in Grave”, which cemented their early success. The band’s punk sounds combine perfectly with their hardcore attitudes. 

Their first full length release, “Convicted”, was pressed and released by Metal Blade Records in 1986. Cryptic Slaughter thrived on the road and in the studio for a few years before dying as all young bands do with differences of opinions. They resurfaced a few times since dissipating but soon after disappeared back into the grave (Interview from Voices from the Dark Side). 

Cryptic Slaughter, at the time of “Convicted”’s release, had Bill Crooks (Vocals), Les Evans (Guitars), Rob Nicholson (Bass, Vocals (backing)) and Scott Peterson (Drums) as members of the band. The youngest member of the band at the release of the album was about sixteen years old and the oldest weren’t more than a few years older than that. Cryptic Slaughter was just a bunch of kids making waves in the metal scene. 


I wish this album would take me back to the time when it came out. I want to experience how the sounds of heavy drums quaked and rattled the foundations of the venues. I want to feel the rage and pain of everyone in attendance. “Convicted” has a bunch of tracks that make me want to let my fists and legs and body work into the crowd.

Specifically, “M.A.D.”, “Lowlife”, “War to the Knife” and“Reich of Torture” all exhibit the best of berserker inducing noise. They won’t quell the frustrations that so many in attendance like to exhibit at shows. These tracks encourage friendly violence (and that is only a thing in metal/ hardcore). It’s violence you know will be forgiven. Violence and anger at the unjust systems and actions of those holding the reins. 

The most interesting (and ahead of their times) tracks on this album foreshadow the rise of thrash metal.

“Life in the Grave”

This track in particular feels brand new for being released in 1986. If you placed this in the hands of an artist making similar noise today, I would absolutely call this modern metal. 

“Little World”

Quick to anger riffs and sadistic drum beats ring in my ears even after the music is paused. 

“Sudden Death”

Graphic suicidal lyric warning. The opening is dynamite. Gnarly explosive drums issue out earthquakes and aftershocks still coursing through my bones. This track feels so much like early grindcore with punk vocals and lyrics. 

Walking Free from the Prison

“Convicted” stands the test of time. Epic chaos ensues once you hit play. Cryptic Slaughter’s echoes and sharp head pains are a welcoming embrace throughout this piece of music history. I will be checking out Cryptic Slaughter’s later work over the next few weeks to see how their sounds changed throughout their short life. I’m glad I don’t need to ask where the bands making music like this now are at because we just gotta search for them. It’s not too difficult to do a little digging. Also websites like Chosic can help find similar sounding tunes with just a quick search.

Concert Preview New Album Review

DBB 20: Saphron’s Album “Ecce Homo”

Welcome all ye listeners to the weird and strange and the normal and the everything else under the umbrella of all music. There’s this little thing WKNC does every year to raise money. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe not. WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit is in its twentieth year of existence and there are many amazing bands and artists coming out to King’s on February 16th and 17th to help us raise money to keep doing what we’re doing (all things music).

This year’s Friday headliner, Saphron, is the main objective of this article. While I don’t have much info about the members of the band, I’ve been sinking further and further into the depths of their sounds. 

Saphron is an emo punk band from the wondrous city of Raleigh, NC (we love a good ol’ local band). The members include Zoe Hardee (Composition, Production, Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer), Ian Waddill (Production, Arrangement, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Ari Moore (Sound Engineering, Arrangement, Drums, Backing Vocals). All of these credits are for their most recently released album, “Ecce Homo”, which was given unto us on October 14, 2022.

Saphron’s sounds swirl in my head. The moving lyrics and lead vocals of Zoe Hardee jolt me and console me all at once. Little whispers telling me to feel something explode into screaming fits. This band’s unique noises continue to pop in my ears at the most random times of day. Saphron tends to the fields of addicting noise that I can’t quit. 

Ecce Homo

I, as per usual in my album reviews, will stick to highlighting my favorite tracks on this release. Please excuse my abundant adoration of Saphron’s sounds. They’re quite bewitching to me, and I still can’t figure out why.

Pity Stunts

Bass beats and drum thumps echo through the empty rooms in my head. This track fills silence better than any conversation. It’s a cry for love and why we have to give everything we can to smother that feeling. I keep trying to figure out what music scenes I belong to. This song reminds me no one cares, just dance.


This song is my favorite on the album. I keep going into the addictiveness of this music. I can’t stop alluding to it. How does a band do this to my head? What else am I supposed to say to get you all to listen to this? There’s probably some weird formulation of words that make everyone’s head scream at them to listen to a writer, but I don’t have those words at my disposal. Just listen to the song. 

Perfect Love

Both this song and the previous perfectly blend all the band’s talents to create a smoky atmosphere of beauty and pain. There are more explosions off in the distance as the world burns. How am I supposed to care when there’s only my floating consciousness trying to exist when this song plays?


With a synth opening that’s about as addictive as any sweet candy, this song is the reason I can’t stop returning to Saphron’s music. Hardee’s intoxicating vocals are like a stab to the gut. You don’t really want to be hurt, but the pain is freeing in some odd f***** up way. 

Conclusions of a Sort:

I can’t sum up a band. There’s never any real expectation to, but I feel like it helps people who skim articles or even myself come to a final conclusion about sounds produced in the world. Saphron’s music doesn’t need a summary because it’s here in the world to stay and exist in the moments we want to listen. “Ecce Homo” is a great first full length release for this band (obviously an understatement from my point of view) and as this band continues to age, experience life through music and create more heavenly sounds, I will be here listening to anything they can give us. 

Saphron will be headlining WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit on Friday, February 16th. Be there to support this band but also the other wondrous local musicians offering their talents to our ears.


Chef’s Quick Bite of Reggae

Howdy. Because I spent my week watching too many movies and TV shows, I quickly became distracted by their soundtracks. One of my favorites of this week was the classic Jamaican film, “Rockers”.

In “Rockers“, I was introduced to a wide variety of new Jamaican reggae sounds, so I set out to make a little playlist with a ix of my old and new favorites within this genre.

I know Spring and Summer are quite a long ways off, but to get your mind ready for pleasant vibes, I have a collection of delightful dub for your ears to feast upon.

Most notable new sounds (for me) on this playlist are The Heptones and Inner Circle. Both bands are staples in the reggae diet as they are inspirations to bands around the reggae scene and the world.

In reggae, dub, ska and rocksteady, I love the chaotic and smooth combinations of a wide variety of instruments. The reggae bands in “Rockers” are all smiles and rely on blissful beats. The music talks about injustice and wishes for the good times to come around via the end of corruption.

If you feel so inclined to vibe with some reggae classics, below is an embedded Spotify link to a smattering of chill vibrations:


“Bocchi the Rock”: Cuddly Anime with Good Music

Alright look, I love all TV. No matter the style or the country it’s from. The anime, “Bocchi the Rock”, transcended all my expectations. No, I have not read the manga, so I was completely blindsided by this show’s hilarious writing and really fun dive into the world of indie music in Japan. “Bocchi the Rock” is available to watch on CrunchyRoll and right now only has twelve episodes. 

Quick synopsis:

“Bocchi the Rock” takes place in Japan. The protagonist, Hitori Gotoh, a young highschool student with crippling anxiety wants to start a band. Throughout the first season we get to watch her journey (as an already elite guitarist) of joining and starting a new band (Kessoku Band, which means zip tie/ wristband) with the first friends she’s ever made. 


I thought this was going to be a silly little band anime, but after the first few minutes of the first episode, I saw how truly delightful this story was going to become. Gotoh’s new bandmates help her acclimate to interactions with people in the nicest ways possible. They push her to help her realize her dream, while also realizing and striving for their own dreams. 

The band’s music is awesome too. That’s just another aspect of what really drew me into this new series. On YouTube, you can check out the playlist with all the tracks from the show. My favorites are “Distortion”, “Guitar, Loneliness and Blue Planet” and “Rockn’ Roll, Morning Light Falls on You”. 

The guitar, Gotoh’s contribution to the band, absolutely shreds. The pop-y vocals are perfect at encapsulating the somber lyrics that Gotoh writes for the band. All the band members are unique characters with unique desires based on their backgrounds (and they’re all gay). 

Besides Gotoh, my favorite character in the show is Ryo Yamada, the bassist who inspires Gotoh to write the lyrics that are most true to her character. She’s a weird music nerd with her head in the clouds, while remaining grounded in the music writing world. 

If you aren’t an anime inclined person, but love music, this show is for you. If you love fun, quirky anime, this show is for you. If you enjoy a passionate story of personal growth, this anime is for you. Basically, if you aren’t stubborn and like good music, TV and stories, this show is for you.

New Album Review

Lip Critic – “The Heart”

Standing in the bowels of hell, I was able to ascend and see beauty carved from the carnage of beings and decrepit walls. This was my vision passed unto me by Lip Critic when I saw them open for Screaming Females last fall. 

This band’s unique atmosphere pools from the terrible traumatic experience of their sound. It’s a horrifying and fun landscape of sound destroying anything you deem holy. Lip Critic is from NYC. The band consists of two ferocious drummers Danny Eberle and Ilan Natter with samplers Connor Kleitz and Bret Kaser (also main vocals). 

An article by NME compares Lip Critic to Death Grips, one of the most well known experimental bands. I see it, but LIp Critic is their own behemoth. Way more synthy and electronic based. The lyrics are harsh, funky and certified fresh (from me). 

A few past releases of theirs have been “Lip Critic II”, “Kill Lip Critic” and “Lip Critic: Truth Revealed”. They’ve released a few songs in the past couple months. Most notably for me, is “The Heart”. It’s a beautiful melody of strange abhorrent sounds. Kaser’s vocals are anxiety inducing but they also have a weird calming sensation by the end of the track. 

Basically, if you’re into some weird strange noises that are a mix of spoken word, electronic BLAM and glitchy twitches, Lip Critic is a sound you’d enjoy.

Band/Artist Profile

Babe Haven: NC Queer Punk

Shout out to North Carolina bands. We North Carolinians love when you approach our ears with songs that make us proud to be from the same state as you. Babe Haven is an excellent example of one of these bands. 

They are an all female, queer punk band who originally started out in Boone (as of this 2023 Mountain Times article). The members include Naomi Poesel (guitar/ vocals), Lillie Della Penna (lead vocals), Kat Savidge (drums) and Julia Lynn (bass). Babe Haven has a few releases under their belt like their self titled EP, “Babe Haven” and “Uppercut”, which is a full length album released last year in May. 

Obviously, I’m from North Carolina, so I have a little bit of bias when it comes to musicians sprouting from this state, but Babe Haven has the talent and sound to become a true North Carolina staple in the music world. 

Also, Almost all these tracks are FCC inappropriate. Plug your ears if you hate cursing, dweebs. 

Babe Haven” – Released on Spotify December 3, 2021

Bad Witch

I think of the four tracks on this release, “Bad Witch” and “Movie Night” stand out to me. This track checks all the boxes of what you want from an early release in a band’s discography as catchy, danceable and probably really fun to play live. I’d love to see this live and see how the band treats this. You can feel how much everyone is invested in the band’s sound just from this one track too, which is significant in the success of any band or any group ever – buy in.

Movie Night

I really enjoy the warbly guitar in this song. The lyrics are chill and in total, the track feels a little more psychedelic because of the vocals and guitar mixing together. 

Uppercut” – Released on May 15, 2023


The opening track and the title track all wrapped into one hunky, heavy beautiful thick sound that resonates with more than my ears. It’s a holistic body experience. 

Slim Jim

This song has the best kind of corny vibe interwoven into its threads. It’s a weird dive into the writing style of this band and their minds. Babe Haven is definitely angry, but they’re doing it in a funny way. I love it. 

Strangers in Real Life Friends in My Head

I don’t know. This track clicks really well in my head. The opening fast paced drums and bass go vrrm and I love this feeling of heavy, heavy deep throated noise shooting down my soul. The warmth floods into my head, my stomach, just everywhere around me. 

Daddy’s Lil Grrrl

The opening guitar reminds me of Sonic Youth, another great band (I love Kim Gordon). Then the vocals hit perfectly on this track, which swept me into a beautiful fury by the end of the song. 

Where’s Our Haven?

Babe Haven’s limited discography is their only downfall in my eyes. I know they do a good job of traveling the area and have done quite a bit of touring throughout the United States too. In Raleigh, they’ll be playing at the Pour House on February 23, so if you get a kick out of their sound feel free to check them out while they’re around. 

I can’t wait to see where this band continues to strive towards. They have a new album coming out in the late spring called “Nuisance”.

Classic Album Review

“This Stupid World” by Yo La Tengo

This “review” of Yo La Tengo’s “This Stupid World” is a companion piece to a “review” of MooM’s “Plague Infested Dump of the Future”. I explained some of my reasoning for talking about two completely different albums in that article and you are welcome to check it out if you feel inclined. 

Yo La Tengo is one of my favorite bands of all time. The smooth symphony of sounds creeping up from the speakers to take my head into a comforting cradle leaves a lasting impact in my mind. The joy for music I have while listening to Yo La Tengo isn’t easily explained. (But who can really explain their emotions?)

In the past year of dragging “This Stupid World” around in my head, letting it bounce off the cavities of my brain, helping it incite hunger and different kinds of fear, I have truly enjoyed familiarizing myself with this album. 

This album was the first in a few years that Yo La Tengo (YLT) released with what they call a “live sound”, and it takes us back to the well-loved sounds the band produced in the past (quote from their Bandcamp). “This Stupid World” was released on February 10, 2023 and released under Matador Records. The band includes Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew.

Where’s the World’s Stupidity?

Sinatra Drive Breakdown

I don’t dislike a single track on this album. I could spend hours writing and re-writing my thoughts to try and accurately reflect my love and attention for these songs, but I don’t have time for that. As the opening song, “Sinatra Drive Breakdown” is a magnet for your ears. Thwumthwumthwum. The guitar and the bass beats into my ears and I’m enamored immediately by the beauty of fear that time is running out. 


A little more upbeat, “Fallout” is a great followup to “Sinatra Drive Breakdown”. It still sinks back into regret and time’s manipulative interactions with our lives. Filled with the emotions of people that have been working in the music business for decades, YLT knows what “falling out of time” would allow them to see and feel. I can’t put it into words, but I don’t have to because YLT does that for me.


Hubley’s dreamy vocals are backed up by a beautiful and simple guitar along with ethereal background tunes to put our minds at ease as we turn towards regret once again. How are we not supposed to regret the silly things that we each perceive as mistakes? “Aselestine” is YLT’s acceptance and voice of beauty in the regret of not using our time efficiently because there’s beauty in mistakes. 

This Stupid World

Ah, the title track. How could any band not fall in love with their album’s title track? In this song YLT imbues every loving feeling they have into the deep throaty hums of their guitar, the echoing shakes of a tambourine and of course a quiet outcry from the vocals. YLT has the world’s attention when it complains about “this stupid world is killing me/ this stupid world is all we have”. 

What A Stupid World

Yeah, this world is stupid. This world is also beautiful. And, as I mentioned in MooM’s album review, this world is filled with anger. In both “This Stupid World” and “Plague Infested Urban Dump of the Future” there exists the convoluted threads tying all of these unique expressions of emotion together. 

Both YLT and MooM have their niche of people listening to their music. People filled with anger and surges of vengeance, and/or people lost and trying to find a way to accept that time isn’t going to give them what they want. (Both of these types of people are feeling the same thing but they react to their emotions differently). By appreciating the viewpoints of both these unique artists, we can find the beauty in the rage and the disgust in our fears.

Yo La Tengo will be in the Raleigh area later this year to perform live at the Haw River Ballroom. If you’re a fan like me, you might end up there. 

New Album Review

“Plague Infested Dump of the Future” by MooM

My goal in writing album reviews isn’t to rank albums and give them some arbitrary number. It isn’t to tell people they have to listen to a certain artist or track or they’ll be missing out for the rest of their lives. I think I want people to appreciate the time, effort and emotions poured into the music musicians create. 

In the case of MooM and Yo La Tengo, each of these bands have viewpoints they want expressed into the world. With each of their recent releases (MooM’s being this month and Yo La Tengo’s being last year), they both express their frustrations they feel are rampant throughout our world. 

In this article I’ll be talking about MooM’s perspective. In another article, I’ll be talking about Yo La tengo’s perspective. 

MooM is a powerviolence/ hc band from Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel. “Plague Infested Urban Dump of the Future” was released on January 10, 2024 through Raleigh’s own To Live A Lie Records. This album was recorded at Polar Studios by Gad Torrefrancae. MooM’s members include Sima (Vocals), Ez Ra (Guitar), Gad (Bass) and Heshbon (Drums). 

In an old article by Lixiviat Records that interviews MooM, they list a large number of projects the band members worked on in the past and bands they want to keep supporting that are local to them. It’s definitely interesting to read and understand a little bit of where this band comes from in terms of sound influences. 

Our Plague Infested Urban Dumps:

Intro” until “Ein Essek

The first four tracks of this album blend together seamlessly. The transitions from “Intro” into “Adom” are like an invisible barrier and that same treatment goes into the next couple tracks too. MooM’s sounds are incredibly harsh, which is why I was drawn to them; this band exudes anger, resentment, chaos and sludge. 

Ma Ye Ha’sof?” until “Meorav Ha’Porao

The next five tracks are also seamless. One flows into the next into the next into the next. By building up anger and grief and rage into your ears, MooM helps us explode in the faces of those creating our toxic dump urban sprawls. How do we stand up to those that allow harmful policies to continually destroy without loud opposition? Screaming at the tops of our lungs might be the first step, but how do we keep going if we’re running on fumes of rage?

Le’ashim Et Ha’yareac” until “Mazmina Shinui

Alright this section is quite as seamless, but that is because some of the tracks are meant to be more discordant than others. I really enjoy the guitar in this section of the album as it feels more violent and eruptive than earlier parts.

Wake Up from My Sleep” until “Lo Babayt

The vocals by Sima and backup guttural, throaty growls by another member are the highlights of this section of the album. A return to the never-ending, concussive drums creates a sense of fear and prickles crawling up and down my spine. This especially occurs in “Lo Babayt”. The final song of the album is a step down in pacing as it unwinds all the emotions ripping through our ears for the past nineteen minutes. 

Sprawling City ‘Scapes of Green. Where Are You?

MooM’s PLague Infested Urban Dump of the Future” isn’t supposed to be a wakeup call to the horrors of our daily life. It’s a reflection on the terrible reality that people are constantly facing. It’s the emotions that leak out into the void and never echo back. Feeling and fueling the building discomfort from how the world is currently working is one way to help others find their own voice to critique the kinds of systems in which we live. 

Bringing MooM’s recent release into the same circle as Yo La Tengo’s “This Stupid World” is strange. The sounds of the two albums couldn’t be more different, but Yo La Tengo’s subject matter of the fear of time can relate to MooM’s anti-oppression and fear induced anger themes. Both are afraid of how people react to the systems that are reaching around humanity and stringing us up like a puppet, moving our mouths and arms and legs. 

Well, if you’re interested in a slower version of fear rather than MooM’s fast-paced anger, you can check out my thoughts on Yo La Tengo’s “This Stupid World”.

New Album Review

“5 TRACK EP” by Inflicter

5 TRACK EP | Inflicter

I was going to write about some Chicago hardcore (hc) punk band, but I stumbled across this short little EP instead. Inflicter is from the UK and makes quick, ripping-loud, noisy, thrashy hc music. This kind of music makes my ears pop like they were clogged up from a bad cold. 

The sparse smattering of vocals drew me into this album. It feels like spoken word mixed with Egg punk mixed with classic punk vocals. In “Denied” the vocals are echoey and what I would describe as flavorful. They sound like a bubble ready to pop with lots of hatred about to spill out of it. Super cool and unique to put simply. 

Inflicter has another EP, “7 SONG DEMO”, that I have yet to listen to all of. The vocals are a little more clear. This band is angry (as are tons of hc bands) and they’re doing their best to voice their social frustrations in a cool way through their own sounds within the hardcore genre. 

This band feels extremely new, so there isn’t too much easy to find information about them except for one article that dove into their “7 SONG DEMO” and some of the local bands in the UK they appreciate and find inspiration from. 

Their music is currently on Bandcamp, and I hope to be listening to more of their sounds change over the next couple years as they grow and become more in-tune with themselves.

Classic Album Review

Ween’s “12 Golden Country Greats”

Ween’s “12 Golden Country Greats” is both a deservedly hated and loved album. It represents some of Ween’s strangest, most homophobic, misogynistic and racist lyrics, while also being incredibly well produced and extremely unique. 

Over the last few years of listening to this album, my opinions on the track and album have changed and changed and changed. I still don’t know how I feel about the album as a whole because musically it is really well put together with tons of fantastic guest stars to back up Gene and Dean Ween (Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo).

“12 Golden Country Greats” was released on May 6, 1996 under Elektra Records. Dean and Gene Ween are vocals on every track, but they were limited in their instrument playing during the recording of the album because of the amount of talent brought in to record (interview with album producer). Some of the folks that played on this album were Bobby Ogdin (piano), Charlie McCoy (organ, banjo, bass, harmonica, percussion, trumpet, tuba, vibraphone) and The Jordanaires (backup vocals on “I’m Holding You” and “Powder Blue”).

12 Golden Tracks:

Japanese Cowboy

By reading the title alone you are wondering why this band hasn’t been “canceled” or shunned into oblivion. I still wonder that too, but damn these songs are catchy. It’s like a kind of guilty catchy when you are eating a whole line of Oreos at 2 am in the kitchen. 

This track features the lyrics “Like a Japanese cowboy or a brother on skates” in its chorus. I don’t know what Ween was trying to do with stereotypes about Japanese cowboys, but they use it in a metaphor to signify “something ain’t right”. Obviously, this is racist. (I hope I don’t need to say why…)

Piss Up A Rope

And of course the next track is misogynistic. Warning, there are curse words in this one (oooh scary). This song reminds of the MF DOOM track that features prominent homophobia (“BATTY BOYZ”), which is its own issue. Again, with this track I have no idea what Ween was trying to do. (Highschool me definitely thought this was funny, but at this point it is just nostalgic).

With lyrics like “She got time for the dog and none for her man” and “You ride my ass like a horse in the saddle/ Now you’re up sh*t’s creek with a turd for a paddle” it’s hard for me to believe this track was written to be taken seriously. 

I’m Holding You

Wow. It’s like a normal country song written by normal people. This song is the opener to the album. Some of the lyrics are the off-putting Ween weird, but nothing that places you in some hateful territory like the previous two tracks. I love the instruments on this. They remind me of what classic western movies should be sounding like. 

Powder Blue

Another almost normal country tune by Ween. That should have been the title of this track. Fun fact about this song is that about a whole minute of the song was cut by the studio because of a Muhammad Ali quote that was featured at the end (so recalls the record producer). Now the song abruptly ends. Either way, this track is a fine groovy tune. 

No More Country Greats

This album is… something. Even after trying to write about it, I still can’t figure out if I like the whole thing, three tracks or nothing because it’s tainted by “Piss up a Rope”, “Mister Richard Smoker” and “Japanese Cowboy”.

You know, you are welcome to form your own opinion on this. Cool. That works. But also, the reason I wrote about this album is because I had a sudden urge like my aforementioned Oreo binging behavior to cram something down my ears and into my head that reminded me of something I’d left behind in high school. (I’m still lookin’ for that something because this album helped me find nothing).

Kind of cool news about Ween: they’ll be on tour in the Raleigh area in April, so if you like their music you can find tickets to their shows online.