Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Wire

Music is an artform, but only some songs really sound like art.

Listening through the discography of Wire feels like traversing the halls of a vast and ever-changing art museum.

Wire’s musical identity has always been fluid, unrestricted by genre and unburdened by convention.

Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

Though perhaps stylistically inconsistent, the works of Wire maintain tactile continuity.

Every song feels like a lungful of cool coastal air, idyllic and rustic and contemplative. A collection of experimental brushstrokes.

As October approaches, the works of Wire capture the dual melancholy-yearning invoked by the transition from summer into fall.

“Pink Flag”

Largely considered to be a landmark album, Wire debuted with the release of “Pink Flag” in 1977.

A collection of 21 songs with an overall runtime of just under 36 minutes, “Pink Flag” presents a marked deconstruction of the punk genre.

Cover for “Pink Flag” by Wire

Though most of the tracks on the album are short, with some falling under 30 seconds, the album passes by at a remarkably slow pace.

It’s clear that Wire was methodical in their composition of the album, only remaining with each track for as long as absolutely necessary.

The resulting album presents something adjacently punk — punk stripped of its blaring paint — cultivated at a distance.

Post-punk before post-punk had really begun.

The album’s cover, I think, most adequately represents the album’s sound: minimalist, uncomplicated and sunbleached.

Recommended Tracks: “Three Girl Rhumba,” “Fragile,” “1 2 X U”

“Chairs Missing”

Wire’s second album, released 1978, marked the band’s progression further into experimentalism.

While “Pink Flag” presented punk at a distance, “Chairs Missing” moved even farther away.

Cover for “Chairs Missing” by Wire

The album’s tracks are deeply atmospheric and contemplative.

While traces of punk influence persist in the realms of distortion, vocal styles and lilt, there’s a noticable presence of synths throughout.

When I hear the words “art punk,” the sounds of this album come to mind.

Recommended Tracks: “Another the Letter,” “Marooned,” “Sand in My Joints”


Wire’s third album, released 1979, was another step in the band’s progression of style.

Building upon the atmosphere of “Chairs Missing,” “154” demonstrates a slower, more exacting musical process.

The album’s opening track, “I Should Have Known Better,” is almost unrecognizable as Wire.

Cover for “154” by Wire

With cold, clean vocals buffered by a smooth guitar-synth combo, the track has an almost gothic slant.

This effect continues throughout the album, with use of electronic beats coloring a pneumatic atmosphere.

“154” represents Wire’s penchant for transformation — or rather, metamorphosis — as the deconstruction witnessed in “Pink Flag” culminates in the birth of a distinct genre.

Recommended Tracks: “I Should Have Known Better,” “Single K.O.,” “Once is Enough”

Final Thoughts

Wire’s experimentation with music didn’t end with “154.”

In 2020, the band released “10:20,” their 18th studio album.

Though Wire never reached the mainstream acclaim of other groups, their influence is uncontested.

Many groups that proved more commercially successful than Wire, such as Sonic Youth, Minutemen, My Bloody Valentine and Big Black, cite Wire’s influence in their own work.

As frontman Colin Newman said in a Rolling Stones interview, Wire is “… the most famous band you’ve never heard of.”

Classic Album Review Local Music

“Demo” by Slug Salter

Raleigh’s hardcore (hxc) scene is wonderfully diverse as I mentioned in my first article of this year. Slug Salter’s appearance on the NC hxc scene as a power violence and death metal band hasn’t made too many big waves or headlines just yet, but you should be prepared.

This three piece band from Raleigh has one demo tape currently released into the wild world of music. It was released a little over a year ago and has a run time of twelve minutes and forty-two seconds with seven tracks. I know, I know. This isn’t very lengthy, but the quality of music in a few of these tracks makes this band worth listening to.

I’ve seen that they’ve had shows at the Pour House in downtown Raleigh and a few other venues on their Instagram posts, but I haven’t had the chance to see them live myself. As they’re still a young band, they don’t headline many, if any, shows yet. 

Below, I have laid out three standout tracks from this demo, but feel free to check out the whole thing on their Bandcamp page or Spotify page. And, as a precaution, this band uses very foul language, so plug your ears if you hate “dirty words”.

Check Out This “Demo”:


Jarring and torturous drum beats concuss your head slam after slam into drywall. Envision that and you can picture just how much violence is in this track. It’s absolute god-fearing insanity which chills and thrills the skin. I love the mix of high and low pitched vocals and the sickly, nasty guitar. 

The name “RAT TORTURE” is horrifically dark. Why would anyone want to listen to anything like that? It’s the peace and quiet after this track ends that helps me appreciate this kind of music. Strange moments of absolute misery then abrupt peace are all too common, and I think music like this helps us figure out how to navigate these moments with emotional wisdom and odd clarity. 


Another hxc track that has a ridiculous soundbyte that leads into rapidly evolving chaos. I’m not gonna lie, I cannot decipher the words in this song at all, but I love how evil and angry it is. The band is able harness their sounds of chaos very well and use it to create a terrifying landscape of vast horrors capable of inciting mass hysteria. Perfect.


If this demo were to have a title track, I’d say this is the one. It has the most noticeable and constant rhythm out of any of the tracks and a bit of a longer intro compared to the others too. As it’s the longest song on the album (a whole two minutes and thirty-five seconds), it can take the liberty of expressing a few more unique instrumental sounds without vocals or anything laid overtop. 

Any Final Words?

Hey, if you’ve got thirteen minutes to spare, or need to quickly explode and vent some anger, I’ve found Slug Salter’s “Demo” to be a great emotional catalyst. Don’t go hurting anyone, but be sure to get your feelings out there and heard. 

It’s been great to be able to focus on small hxc bands in the Raleigh area so far this semester. I’ve found quite a few other bands that I am excited to explore in-depth in the next few weeks on this blog segment, so be sure to keep an eye out for these posts every week.

Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Omerta

I didn’t even know Omerta existed until December of last year when I and two other WKNC DJs took the drive to Greensboro to see Loathe at Hangar 1819.

Though they weren’t headliners, their captivating stage presence and savage energy riveted me. Following the show, I immediately went home and listened to their entire discography.

Five times over.

America’s Most-Hated Boy Band

Based in Houston, Texas, Omerta fuses 90s metalcore with vaporwave and cybergrind whatever those words mean to create a uniquely hardcore sound.

Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash

With a website still under construction and an enigmatic style reminiscent of 2010s tumblr-era “girlcore” aesthetic, Omerta is an up-and-coming brand bringing an air of innovation to the scene.


Released as the band’s debut album in 2020, Hyperviolence is vicious and vile in all of the best ways.

With a runtime of just under twenty minutes, the album passes by in a feverish haze.

The album’s multiplicity of styles serves as a testament to the band’s experimental nature. Each song has a distinct sound and draws from a combination of stylistic methods.

The album’s opening track, “Payback,” has a trap metal slant while the final track, “Hyperviolence,” leans towards a metalcore style.

“Garbage,” the 4th track on the album, has clear contemporary emo influences.

This blending of styles makes each track particularly engaging.

Every time I listen, I notice something new.


Omerta’s most recent single, “Antiamorous,” is a testament to the band’s stylistic metamorphosis.

Featuring former Spider Gang member JOHNNASCUS, the song hints at an interesting new direction for the band’s discography.

Aptly described as genre-defying, the 3-minute song is almost epsodic in nature.

A mix of metalcore, trap metal, emo and other niche influences, “Antiamorous” literalizes the term “listening experience.”

Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Wax Man” by Harry Permezel

Harry Permezel is a singer songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. He wrote, recorded, and produced this album himself. The album “Wax Man” was released on May 4, 2018. You might like this album if you like Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens and/or Wednesday.

His songs often feel calming yet driven, and more often than not have moderately sad subject matter.

“Wax Man”

This track is my favorite on the album. The guitar, drums, and vocals are closely unified in rhythm which makes the song feel driven, but not quite upbeat.

One of my favorite features of Permezel’s writing is exhibited well in this song; His lyrics often seem less like an interpretation of an experience and more like the an account of what happened. This kind of writing leaves room subjective interpretation which is often a mark of good songwriting.

The song begins with these lyrics:

“Trying to stop the little hand of the clock
With all the bills you have got
A fair while outside of the city
You drove that car so fast”

“Wax Man” Lyrics by Harry Permezel

The lines establish clearly that there is someone in the speaker’s life who wishes to pause time, and does the closest thing possible (driving out of the city and ignoring their problems). The speaker then elaborates more about this avoidant character and establishes that their is trust between themselves and the character.

Eventually the song ends with this lyric:

“Trying to stop the little hand of the clock/
Will not do anything”

“Wax Man” lyrics by Harry Permezel

The first half of this couplet duplicates the first line that appears in the song while the second half modifies the first lines original meaning. This is a creative way to end the song and could possibly be described as a humorous as the advice contradicts the listener’s expectations.


In this song’s lyrics, the speaker clearly feels distant and indignant, but the musical aspects of the track feel almost peaceful. This juxtaposition is opposite of the experience of the speaker in the song. The speaker recalls:

“Scary sounds drowning out the thoughts I thought would make me feel better”

“Bonehead” lyrics by Harry Permezel

In the speakers life, sound drowns out attempts at positivity, but in the song, negative thoughts are drowned out by sound.

One of the coolest production moments on the album occurs in the first chorus of the song. The section begins with a straightforward harmony in which there is a main vocal and two more other vocals alongside it, but soon after, the voices are panned left to right and sing single words one after another. This use of stereo audio makes it sound like the vocals are bouncing from one ear to another which creates an interesting listening experience.


This is one of my favorite albums, which makes it difficult to to give it a rating. The songs on the album are very well written and were produced in an intriguing and memorable way. I will admit though that there isn’t really anything groundbreaking about the album, but that is not to say that every musical project needs to be.

I’ll give the album an 8/10

-Daniel Turk

Classic Album Review

Album Spotlight: “Only Theatre of Pain”

“Only Theatre of Pain” is the first studio album by American goth band Christian Death. This album is exactly what I would imagine as the backdrop for a Poppy Z. Brite or Anne Rice novel, something vampiric and sensual and darkly romantic.

Released through Frontier records on March 24, 1982, the 16-track album is 52 minutes of pure gothic insanity.

Christian Death 12/3/1982 at the Cove, Hermosa Beach, CA. Rozz Williams (vocals) & Johnnie Sage (guitar) pictured, picture released into the public domain.

For individuals interested in getting into goth music or for those simply curious as to what “goth” sounds like, “Only Theatre of Pain” is by far one of the most archetypically goth albums I can recommend.

The album smacks of classic goth aesthetics, with invocations of magic, blood and allusions to religious texts and the works of Poe. Each track is its own story, united under a cowl of enigmatic mystique.

It’s a riveting experience.

The Album

The album’s opening track, “Cavity – First Communion” starts with foreboding church bells and a swell of drums and guitar.

The melody is warm and vaporous like incense smoke, the trilling guitar at times echoing the cries of a church choir. Vocalist Rozz Williams falls in with his distinctive voice, both raspy and insouciant, and weaves together a tapestry of dark poetry.

Let’s skirt the issue of discipline
Let’s start an illusion
With hand and pen
Re-read the words and start again
Accept the gift of sin
The gift of …

“Cavity – First Communion,” Christian Death

Following this song is “Figurative Theatre,” one of Christian Death’s most popular tracks.

The song opens with with immediate energy. The rolling guitar slant is classic. Every time I hear it, I know exactly what’s coming next, and that’s the brilliance of Rozz Williams’s penchant for extended metaphor. This brilliance pervades throughout the rest of the album.

“Rozz at Daucus Karota concert,” uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by B. Dippel, licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

Breath ballet prancers spin on porcelain backbones
A child’s muddled cry turns into hilarity
Ungracious freeloaders leave their dead on a doorstep
Flowers of doom all bloom in prosperity

Their razor sharp tongues invite to relax
As they slip the skin on your eyelids back
Invasive spectators get into the act
With roses and candles, silver knives and spoons
With silver knives and spoons

“Figurative Theatre,” Christian Death

What I most admire about Christian Death is the way lyrics are translated through the mechanism of Rozz Williams.

His lyrics are intentionally abstract, blending imagery both horrific and holy to illustrate an ambiguous picture. When paired with his irreverent voice, otherwise grotesque concepts become dramatic and theatrical.

The album’s tenth track, “Prayer,” is a sort of intermission — largely instrumental and avant garde (reminiscent of the sounds of Williams’s Shadow Project) — that ushers in the following (bonus) track, “Deathwish,” and its melancholic nihilism.

I see the end, I see the end
Well it was open so I crawled inside
And someone up ahead was crying
Well someone up ahead was dying
Lost in the darkness, lost in today…

“Deathwish,” Christian Death

Another notable track, “Desperate Hell,” opens with an eerie harmony of ghostly wails, drums and guitar. Williams’s quavering voice enters before the melody becomes manic and straight-up dastardly as the song’s speaker is dragged into eternal damnation.

Final Thoughts

For fans of the esoteric and occasionally inscrutable, “Only Theatre of Pain” is a valuable resource.

From start to finish, the album is a journey. Perhaps even a horror, with the lurid and the beautiful posed side-by-side. Rozz Williams does not tell the listener what to think, but rather creates a vivid picture to do so for him.

Through the progression of abstract concepts, Williams tells a convoluted tale of perversion and devotion and subversion.

Every time I listen to the album, I notice something different. The album is so multitudinous, both in its lyrical construction and experimental sound design, that there seems to always be something new to notice.

Recommended Tracks

  • “Cavity – First Communion”
  • “Deathwish”
  • “Desperate Hell”
  • “Spiritual Cramp”
Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Leidensmelodien”

Theatre’s Kiss, a self-described “depressive post-punk” artist who I discovered entirely by accident, has fundamentally changed my life with their newest album.

Leidensmelodien“, released Dec. 30, 2022, was the best belated Christmas gift a goth could ask for. This transcendental musical experience is like walking through an arctic, sobering dream.

Theatre’s Kiss

I discovered Theatre’s Kiss in the fall of 2022 while attempting to compose a setlist for my then-radio show, “The Superego” (currently on summer hiatus).

At the time, the extent of the artist’s discography was a single album — Self Titled — and six short tracks.

Those half-dozen songs fully ensnared me.

I was one of about sixty-eight monthly listeners on Spotify. And like those like-minded peers, I absolutely adored the tracks “Vulnerable” and “König.”

There was something about the style of the songs that really got to me.

As a (guilty) fan of the The Smiths for their heart-twinging melancholia, the plaintive voice of the (unnamed) vocalist struck a similar chord.

And with the gothic undertow of spectral synths and a depressive guitar added to the mix, I had found my new favorite band.

Album cover for Leidensmelodien by Theatre’s Kiss


As the creator of Theatre’s Kiss explains in a vague tagline at the end of their Spotify profile:

“It’s all about the atmosphere, nothing else matters.”

And “Leidensmelodien” is purely atmospheric.

The album’s opening track, “Downfall,” is entirely instrumental.

A sullen guitar-synth combo engages in a morose conversation, the spaces between sounds growing smaller and smaller as the song progresses and the two “voices” seem to overlap.

By the end, we’re left with a single sensation before the instruments fade out and a distinctly medieval arrangement ushers us into the next track, “Schizo.”

This five-minute song is insanely complex.

The vocals are brooding and occasionally layered to create a hazy, ominous effect.

Throughout the song, a crisp scream reminiscent of Doom Metal echoes the words of the vocalist — an elusive individual known only as “Fassse Lua” — much like screeching wind.

The contrast between these two voices, one pleasantly soft and the other jagged and rough, creates a vivid and uncanny harmony.

Though it stands as the second track of the album, “Schizo” certainly sets the tone for the rest of the piece as existing somewhere between nightmares and dreams.

The experimental combination of different ghostly and foreboding sounds means that every track on this album is a new and unique experience.

It’s almost operatic.

Album cover for Self Titled by Theatre’s Kiss

The Bigger Picture

“Leidensmelodien” is an album about grief.

Or rather, “melodies of suffering.”

And as the mind behind Theatre’s Kiss teases, this album (as well as Self Titled) is but a single chapter in a larger project.

I, for one, cannot wait to see what comes next.

Recommended Tracks

Self Titled

  • Konig
  • Vulnerable


  • Schizo
  • Cleansing Ritual
  • Imbalance of Love
  • Katharsis

Classic Album Review

Album Review: “I Disagree” – Poppy

General Overview

Before Poppy was the musician that she is today, most knew her as a YouTube sensation who gained popularity for her cryptic videos. “I Disagree,” released in January 2020, was a large departure from Poppy’s previous work, which was mostly pop. “I Disagree” does a lot of genre-blending, but the biggest shock of the album to Poppy’s fans was the heavy metal influence that reverberated through the album.

Poppy’s most recent album prior to the release of “I Disagree” was “Am I A Girl?,” which offered hints of the soon-to-come metal genre that Poppy would embrace in its last two tracks, “Play Destroy,” featuring Grimes, and “X.”

Song Highlights

I will admit that I am a huge fan of this album and have probably listened to it enough to memorize every beat and syllable spoken throughout it.

Its first track, titled “Concrete,” instantly introduces the sort of genre-mixing Poppy will go on to ace through the rest of the album. It’s not just genre-ambiguous, but actually switches back and forth between heavy metal (complete with guitar shredding and even some screaming) and bubblegum pop.

“Anything Like Me” contains lyricism that reinforces Poppy’s purpose in making this album–

Sorry for what I’ve become
Because I’m becoming someone

“Anything Like Me” – Poppy

She goes on in this song to talk about a girl who seems to represent the things that Poppy is supposed to be, but doesn’t wish to be.

I feel her heart beating in me
Get her out of me

“Anything Like Me” – Poppy

Poppy works throughout the album to express the idea that conformity is a disease. In “BLOODMONEY,” she asks–

What do you believe when everyone is watching?


And in “Fill The Crown,” she says,

You can be anyone you want to be

You can be free, you can be free

“Fill The Crown” – Poppy

Poppy is clearly expressing her desire for individuality, likely in response to the pressures she felt around making music in an industry and working with producers who executed excessive control over her work.


Poppy’s evolution does not seem to be finished yet. From electronic pop in her first album “Poppy.Computer” to the metal in “I Disagree,” and even to the alt-rock/indie vibes of her most recent album, “Flux,” Poppy seems to be innovating in every area she can, not just with her music, but with her character and stage presence as well.

— bel$

Classic Album Review

“Sharp Objects” – Mark Drizzle: Album Review

Mark Drizzle’s debut album “sharp objects” is like if a kid who grew up listening to Saosin and Owl City made a passion project in the 2020s. Actually, it’s exactly that.

General Overview

Mark Drizzle, a queer songwriter and producer living in San Diego, California, released their debut album “sharp objects” in August 2022.

Listening to “sharp objects” feels like scratching all the right itches– Mark Drizzle is able to combine emo and pop-punk with hyperpop, meaning heavy guitars are almost always matched with inventive techno riffs.

The ambiguity of genre is fantastic; it’s exciting to see hyperpop being mixed with metalcore guitar, but it’s even more exciting to see Mark Drizzle combine their experimental music with deep and creative lyricism.

Song and Lyric Highlights


Mark Drizzle opens their album with a track, “deepfake,” that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since it first came out. Its catchy, danceable melody met with Mark’s semi-falsetto makes it irresistible.

Brain zaps from the Lexapro

Secrets only you would know

Yeah, I had a bad, bad episode

Sippin’ on a dollar sweet tea, now I’m good to go

“deepfake” – mark drizzle

These opening lyrics may be some of my favorites on the entire album. They offer relatability and make the track clearly contemporary without being overly obvious about it– it’s the sort of song that could go viral on TikTok, but not the type of song that would only go viral because it’s on TikTok (I’m calling the Mark Drizzle rise to stardom before anyone else).


“Man” is the fourth track on the album, and discusses the difficulties related to toxic masculinity, as well as the ways in which masculinity is enforced on those who don’t identify with manhood but are expected to.

As a man it’s kinda silly to romanticize your life

Your memory’s just fine you won’t need pictures

We’ll allow you one short paragraph whenever someone dies

Then you’ll go back to living someone else’s life

“man” – mark drizzle

Mark Drizzle uses their own voice to echo the things they have heard and been repeatedly told relating to the gender roles placed on them.

It is refreshing to see lyricism as honest and vulnerable as this, and seeing a rise in queer voices being used to speak openly and fearlessly about the queer experience is beyond exciting and empowering.

Man-to-man you’re getting awfully comfortable showing your skin

You don’t need vitamin D, they’ve got pills for that

And as a man I’d be embarrassed at the check-out cart from Shein

Fast fashion won’t eliminate that feeling

“man” – mark drizzle

Beyond “deepfake” and “man,” the album’s title track stands out as incredibly strong, with clever and heartfelt lyrics preceded by a true emo intro– screaming and all. I’m also partial to an instrumental track, “when i say no you turn back around,” for its twinkly math rock riffs.

Concluding Thoughts

There are few other albums I’ve found with the vast diversity of genre of “sharp objects,” and yet, the album is surprisingly cohesive. Maybe it’s Mark Drizzle’s unique character being woven into each song, but whether it be a track that starts with acoustic guitar, screaming, or a 100 gecs-esque melody, it all stands out as something you should hold closely before putting it down.

Rating: 9/10

— bel$

Classic Album Review

“WASTEISOLATION” – Black Dresses: A Review

Have you been looking for some angsty electronic noise pop to pass your days? Black Dresses have got you covered. Their 2018 album “WASTEISOLATION” takes listeners on a sexually-charged trip through the duo’s past abuses. Along the way, they create an unnerving soundscape that bashes in listeners’ heads in the best way. The result is a fantastic listening experience to release the frustration of a rough day at work or a nasty breakup.

Blog Classic Album Review

Pulse Demon: The Cure for Music

Lately I’ve become so bored of music.

I was dully teasing my dopamine doused brain, scrolling through the endless pit of social media looking for the next mild prod of unimportant something to let my eroding attention feed on. I found a conversation about noise music, and someone cited Merzbow’s “Pulse Demon” as a “palate cleanser,” so I decided to listen to it.

There are no ideas in this album.

There is nothing memorable in this album.

There is nothing of independent significance in this album.

There is nothing at all special in this album.

It’s just pure grating noise.

But after five quarters of an hour of nothing, something neat happened. Everything else sounded different. The silence was the same, the songs were the same. But the way I was conditioned to hear it was different.

I decided to put on some of my favorite tunes. Don’t get me wrong, my enjoyment of the music that I listened to afterwards didn’t change, but the way that I heard the music was totally different. I could hear everything. I paid mind to everything. This is how the artist thinks. I could feel each component of the music and how they all connect. I could think about it far more critically.

Pressing play on a track from “Pulse Demon” and skipping to the middle to listen for a few seconds is silly. Playing this for someone who has never heard of it before and only giving them a snippet is ridiculous. It’s like saying “c’mere, lemme show you a clip from this movie,” and it’s the entire movie sped up and condensed into five seconds, complete with cartoonish sound effects.

It’s a comically overwhelming amount of information to push onto someone for such a short period of time. However, the humor is just the method by which we reject the rush of information. Once your mind gets over the hurdle and is able to acclimate to it, it becomes entrancing.

If you relax your eyes, look at the cover art for “Pulse Demon” long enough, and immediately look at something else, it’ll start to warp. The image tricks your eyes. The harsh bends and folds hurt to look at, but once you’re done looking, everything else looks different. This effect is fleeting, but it’s noticeable.

Is this placebo? Is this real? It’s not astounding or groundbreaking, but nonetheless it’s fascinating- and it might be the cure for music.