Weird Live Review: Captured! By Robots

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We humans, for the most part, kind of suck at playing live music. We only have four limbs and can only play so fast. We’re easily distracted and fuck up our parts all the time. Our fingers bleed and our tendons get strained. It’s a miracle every concert isn’t a complete disaster, really.

So why not replace those feeble humans with ass-kicking robots? That’s the idea behind Captured! By Robots, a three-piece grindcore band that is only one-third human. And on a recent night here in Los Angeles, at a venue called Resident, those robots and their human slave, Jbot, proved that it’s a pretty awesome idea.

Captured! By Robots is one of those bands where the show starts before a single note of music is played. The band’s drummer, DRMBOT0110, and guitarist/bassist, GTRBOT666, get wheeled into position early, followed by a series of banners expressing C!BR’s collective attitude towards its pathetic human fan base. You pretty much know exactly where you stand at a Captured! By Robots show, and it’s low on the food chain.

Captured-by-Robots-live1Then the show starts and it’s mayhem. GTRBOT and DRMBOT don’t move around too much — though they do headbang with animatronic gusto — but they churn out a wall of blast beats and riffs denser than anything 20 human musicians could generate. Jbot, clad in rags and chains like some sort of post-apocalyptic death camp escapee, screams, growls and shambles between the stage and the audience, belting out songs with titles like “What Is Wrong” and “No Help Coming.” “Ladies and gentlemen, I was built for one thing,” Jbot declared before the latter tune. “And that’s to suffer alone in a cave.”

C!BR’s vision of the future sounds pretty bleak, but there was one ray of hope — in a drum-off between DRMBOT and a human volunteer from the audience, the human won. I’m not sure if that’s how it goes down every night, but at the L.A. show, at least, as GTRBOT mechanically intoned, “The human has won!”, it made for an almost uplifting moment.

As GTRBOT’s final power chords reverberated through the small venue, Jbot gasped, “Thank you very much, we’re all gonna die, I’ve got merch in the back.” Then he went to work his own merch table and accept thanks, admiration and hard currency from a line of frail human fans. Maybe for his next tour, he’ll have a MRCHBOT, but this time around, it was impressive to see Jbot working so hard to be a one-man operation — albeit one in which he’s cleverly replaced all the instrumental heavy lifting with machines. Or have they replaced him?

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Bow down to GTRBOT666, human scum

I’ve been remiss in not posting this review sooner, but Captured! By Robots do still have some tour dates remaining — see below for a full list. If you live in any of the towns they have yet to invade, I highly recommend seeking them out. They put on a hell of a show. And if you pay your respects now, maybe they’ll go easy on you when they inevitably take over and start grinding our soft, mushy bodies into paste.

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Weird of the Day: Paysages Éphémères, “IV”

Paysages Ephemeres

A dude by the name of Dave Tremblay contacted us awhile back looking to swap links with his website, Can This Even Be Called Music. Because we’re flakes, we kinda blew him off…but yesterday, he emailed us again, and this time, there’s not enough flakiness in California (the Flake Capital of America™) for us to ignore his latest project.

As Dave explains it, Paysages Éphémères is an experimental grindcore project created entirely without stringed instruments. That means no guitar, no bass, no violins…just percussion, vocals, electronics and maybe a severed artery or two. He’s released four chapters so far out of a planned 53 and it’s all varying degrees of batshit weird. I hear some influences from other experimental metal artists like Igorrr and Jute Gyte, but Monsieur Tremblay is on his trip here.

Oh, P.S.: When you hear any vocals, that’s Tremblay reciting the Enchiridion of Epictetus, an ancient Greek Stoic text. So it’s educational as well as skull-crushing.

You can hear the rest of the project on Bandcamp. Dave released the first four parts in only a week, so check back often, because he seems to be on some kind of crazy roll with this stuff.

Weird of the Day: Puig Destroyer, “Mike Trout”

Puig Destroyer

Listen, I love baseball, but it is not the most metal of sports. Football, clearly…the American version, you Eurotrash bastards…football is the most metal sport, following closely by MMA and NASCAR. But that’s all the more reason to love Puig Destroyer. Here’s a bunch of guys who took one stupid pun and a love of the world’s most boring game and created the greatest grindcore band since…well, since Pig Destroyer, the band whose name they’re riffing on.

The other thing they’re riffing on is L.A. Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig, a great young player but hardly the most metal guy in the majors. He’s not even the most metal thing on the Dodgers…that honor still goes to Brian Wilson’s beard, even if the player attached to said beard kinda sucks these days.

So it’s about time Puig Destroyer finally…I mean, they’ve been around for a whole year now…finally recorded a song in tribute to the most metal guy in the majors, the Angels’ Mike Trout. Now this dude’s an absolute beast. Here’s a 489-foot home run he hit earlier this season. Even in the world’s most boring game, he’s fun to watch. And now he has a grindcore anthem worthy of his beastliness.

In case I wasn’t being clear: Yes, all Puig Destroyer songs are about baseball. Other titles include “First to Third,” “Destroyer of Baseballs” and my personal favorite, “Stop Fucking Bunting.” Seriously, guys, just knock it off. Your game’s wimpy enough as it is.

You can hear all of Puig Destroyer’s ball-themed mayhem on their Bandcamp page.

Weird of the Day: Deathgrind violin with Joey Molinaro

Joey Molinaro

Our buddy Folkicide told us to check out this guy Joey Molinaro who does something called “acoustic grind violin.” Intrigued, we clicked over to one of his YouTube and yep, this dude basically plays grindcore/death metal by himself with a just a violin, foot-stomp percussion and the occasional strangled vocal. The results sound like a cross between a mosh pit and a hootenanny, or maybe something you could call Appalachian folk metal. Check it out.

If, like us, you can’t get enough of this shit, there’s plenty more where that came from on Joey’s Bandcamp page.

Let us feast on flesh at the GWAR-B-Q

GWAR-B-Q

Getting sprayed with fake blood at a GWAR concert is fun and all, but I bet it pales in comparison to getting sprayed with real blood and/or lighter fluid. And both those things are probably strong possibilities at the 4th Annual GWAR-B-Q, an orgy of loud music and roasted flesh hosted by the greatest alien-god-monster metal band in the universe. Too bad it’s happening in Virginia, or I’d totally go. But I’m pretty sure I still have at least two outstanding warrants in that state. Or was it West Virginia? Either way, I’m out.

But if you’re in that part of the world on Saturday, Aug. 17, you should totally fucking go. In addition to GWAR, the lineup features such stellar purveyors of weird metal as Cannabis Corpse (weed-themed death metal), X-Cops (current and former members of GWAR dressed up as, well, cops) and Kung Fu Dykes (uh…this shit). Also on the bill: the less weird but undeniably awesome Corrosion of Conformity, Municipal Waste, Loincloth and one of my personal favorites, muthafuckin’ Pig Destroyer. Shit is gonna go off, y’all.

Oh, and did we mention they’re also gonna be rolling out the very first GWAR-themed beer, Impaled Ale? Somebody save us a case.

Tickets go on sale June 6th at gwarbq.com. Mark your calendars in the blood of your enemies.

The County Medical Examiners

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It’s been too long since we added any actual metal bands to The Weird List. (And no, Van Canto doesn’t count.) Let’s fix that right now with a long-ago suggestion from superstar reader Ian Frost: a goregrind trio called The County Medical Examiners. Yeah, that’s them in the photo. We’ll explain why they look like bankers in a sec.

We explained goregrind when we wrote about Cattle Decapitation awhile back, but just to recap: It’s basically grindcore with lyrics entirely about death, decay, dismemberment, surgical procedures and pretty much anything having to do with terrible things happening to people’s tender insides. If those Body Worlds people have a favorite subgenre of metal, it’s probably goregrind.

Goregrind has been around since the ’80s, when it was invented by the band Carcass. So by now there’s actually a ton of bands playing this style of music and most of them honestly aren’t all that interesting: They just write songs with titles like “Pus Grinder” and “Bathed in Feculence” and sing in that demon Cookie Monster style over riffs that kinda sound like someone emptying a .50 caliber machine gun into a mountain of hamburger meat. But here’s what sets The County Medical Examiners apart: They really are professional medical examiners. Which in the world of goregrind makes them total pimps.

The CMEs have never gone on tour, and admit that they record under fake names, which has led to a lot of speculation that the whole thing is a giant hoax staged by one of the other goregrind bands. But in a 2006 interview with MTV, head Examiner Dr. Morton Fairbanks insisted that the whole thing is for real.

According to Fairbanks, TCME originally started as a Carcass tribute band, but at some point they began writing original songs…although he admits their original material is so derivative that they’re basically “playing covers of songs [Carcass] didn’t actually write but could have.” He also confirmed that the old dude in all the band photos is bassist Dr. Guy Radcliffe, who at the time of the MTV interview was 63, which would make him 69 now. “He’s classically trained and he also plays upright bass,” Fairbanks told MTV. “I’m embarrassed to bring him riffs sometimes, because he knows way more theory than I do.” We think he might actually be this guy, but that’s just a wild guess.

TCME hasn’t released any new music since 2007, when their second album Olidous Operettas came out on Relapse Records, which is also home to Cattle Decapitation and other “Carcass clone” bands like Regurgitate and General Surgery. So we have no idea if we’ll ever get any new music from these guys, but who cares, really? It’ll probably sound exactly like their old shit, which sounds exactly like Carcass.

Oh, one other nifty touch: Olidous Operettas came in a biohazard bag and smelled like rotting corpse meat. Bet the other goregrind bands wish they’d thought of that.

Links:

Cattle Decapitation heading out on the Shockwave Festival Tour

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Ever wished one of this summer’s big metal tours came with a vegetarian option? Well, you’re in luck. Pro-veggie deathgrinders Cattle Decapitation are joining the lineup of the 2012 Shockwave Festival, alongside more meat-and-potatoes headbangers like Fear Factory, Voivod and Misery Index. All told, 11 bone-crushing bands should provide quite the endurance test for even the most dedicated of thrash-heads.

Cattle Decap are touring behind their latest album, the recently released Monolith of Inhumanity. After the tour dates, stick around for the extended “minifilm” version of their new sci-fi-themed video, “Kingdom of Tyrants.” It’s like Prometheus, only shorter and way more badass. Lead singer Travis Ryan hasn’t touched meat since he was a kid and he could still kick your burger-eating ass into next week.

Shockwave Festival tour dates:

7/06 – Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
7/07 – Vancouver, BC, CANADA @ Vogue Theatre
7/09 – Calgary, AB, CANADA @ The Republik
7/11 – Winnipeg, MB, CANADA @ Pyramid Cabaret
7/12 – St Paul, MN @ Station 4
7/13 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
7/14 – Toronto, ON, CANADA @ Kool Haus
7/15 – Windsor, ON, CANADA @ The Armouries
7/17 – Quebec City, QC, CANADA @ Imperial Theater
7/18 – Montreal, QC, CANADA @ Le National
7/20 – Clifton, NY @ Northern Lights
7/21 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
7/22 – Reading, PA @ Reverb
7/24 – Amityville, NY @ Revolution
7/25 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium
7/26 – West Springfield, VA @ Empire
7/27 – Columbus, OH @ Alrosa Villa
7/28 – Joliet, IL @ Mojoe’s
7/29 – Rockford, IL @ Tebala Shrine
7/31 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
8/02 – Window Rock, AZ @ Nakai Hall
8/03 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marqee Theater
8/04 – Hollywood, CA @ House Of Blues