Category: thrash metal

Live Footage: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on Live on KEXP

The genre-defying Aussie psych rock act and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released five albums in a wildly prolific burst in 2017 — with each album managing to be in a completely different genre and style. Naturally, such a feat helped to cement the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific and experimental. So for a band known for being like clockwork when it comes to releasing new material, last year’s lack of new material sticks out as anomaly. However, in fairness to the members of the band, they spent part of last year on a busy world tour that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three-sold out nights at Brooklyn Steel, one of the larger venues they had played at the time in the States — until their Rumsey Playfield show with Stonefield and Orb back in August. 

This year finds the acclaimed and wildly prolific Aussie psych rock at speeding up the pace. Earlier this year, they released the boogie blues-tinged Fishing for Fishes and in August, they released their second album of the year and their 15th album overall, Infest the Rats’ Nest. Now, as you may recall, Infest the Rats Nest featured what may arguably be the most pared down lineup of their entire creative output: the band’s creative mastermind Stu McKenzie (vocals, guitar, bass), Joey Walker (guitar, bass), and Michael Cavanaugh (drums) with the band’s remaining members busy with prior commitments.  The reduced lineup allowed the band to focus on crafting together arrangements with a pummeling and feral ferocity inspired by McKenzie’s long-held love of thrash metal — in particular, Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Rammstein.

King Gizzard’s 15th album, sonically and thematically is a radical and unexpected departure from its most immediate predecessor: the album’s material may arguably be the darkest and bleakest efforts they’ve released to date, as the band seethes with disgust and contempt over the human race’s myopia, stupidity and greed. At its core, is the acknowledgement that we’re all blindly marching lockstep to our annihilation —  and maybe we deserve it. 

During the band’s last North American tour, they stopped by KEXP to record a live session, which featured material off Infest the Rats Nest that included the Black Sabbath-like “Mars for the Rich,” the pummeling Slayer-like “Venusian 1,” “Venusian 2,” and “Hell” and the Ride the Lighting-era Metallica-like “Perihelion.” The live footage is not just a taste of their amazing live show, it’s a reminder that King Gizzard may be one of the best indie bands in the world — their dexterous musicianship allows the band the versatility to play anything with a self-assuredness and pitch-perfect accuracy. 

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With the release of 2017’s breakthrough album Nightmare Logic, the Dallas, TX-based metal act Power Trip — Riley Gale (vocals), Blake Ibanez (guitar), Chris Ulsh (drums), Nick Stewart (guitar) and Chris Whetzel (bass) — exploded into the national scene the album received breathless praise from The New Yorker and Pitchfork‘s Best New Music and NPR and landed number 1s on the best of/year-end lists of Rolling StoneBillboard, Stereogum, AV Club, BandcampLA WeeklySpin, Vinyl Me PleaseDallas Observer and countless others. Adding to a huge year for the band, they were featured on the cover of Revolver and Decibelreceived Best Metal Album of the Year from Loudwire and received song placement with the WWE.

Since the release of Nightmare Logic, the Dallas-based metal quintet have been touring relentlessly, headlining shows across North America, the European Union and Japan. The band recently announced the date and lineup for their second annual metal festival, Evil Beat and the festival, which will be held at South Side Ballroom on January 11, 2020 will feature Carcass, Vio-lence, Razor, Deafheaven, Sheer Mag, Drab Majesty, Prurient, Warthog, Torche, Wiccans, Red Death, True Widow, Special Interest, Mil Spec, Dress Code  — and of course, the night’s local heroes, the aforementioned Power Trip. This year will also a feature a kick-off the night before (details to come). Along with that “Hornet’s Nest,” which originally debuted as part of Adult Swim’s Single Series and has since become a fan favorite will finally see a digital and vinyl release. As for the single, it’s a headbanger’s delight — furiously howled vocals, scorching guitar riffs, thunderous drumming and mosh pit friendly hooks. And while sonically being indebted to Slayer and Metallica, Power Trip’s latest single catches them at their most ornery and explosive.

The members of Power Trip will be embarking on a fall co-headlining tour with High on Fire that includes a two night stay at Elsewhere — November 21, 2019 and November 2019. After their Evil Beat festival, the band will go on a lengthy spring UK and European run with Lamb of God and Kreator. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour  Dates: 

2019

10/12: Manchester, TN – Exit 111

11/03: Yogyakarta, ID – Jogjarockarta Festival

11/07: Austin, TX – Levitation at Mohawk #

11/09: San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger #

11/10: Houston, TX – Foamhenge #

11/11: Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall

11/12: Tampa, FL – The Orpheum #

11/14: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade #

11/15: Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend #

11/16: Richmond, VA – The Broadberry #

11/17: Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage #

11/19: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer #

11/20: Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes #

11/21: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #

11/22: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #

11/23: Hartford, CT – Webster Theatre #

11/24: Montreal, QC – Club Soda #

11/25: Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall #

11/26: Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre #

11/27: Chicago, IL – Metro #

11/29: Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater #

11/30: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall #

12/02: Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #

120/3: Seattle, WA – Neumos #

12/04: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom #

12/06: Berkeley, CA – The UC Theatre #

12/07: Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater #

12/08: Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory #
# w/ High on Fire, Devil Master, Creeping Death

2020

01/11: Dallas, TX – Evil Beat Vol 2 at South Side Ballroom

02/02: Tokyo, JP – Liquid Room

03/27: Stockholm, SE – Fryshuset Arenan ^

03/28: Copenhagen, DK – Forum Black Box ^

03/30: Oulu, FI – Teatria ^

03/31: Helsinki, FI – Ice Hall Black Box ^

04/02: Kraków, PL – Tauron Arena ^

04/03: Berlin, DE – Columbiahalle ^

04/04: Oberhausen, DE – Turbinenhalle ^

04/05: Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof ^

04/07: Zurich, CH – Samsung Hall ^

04/08: Munich, DE – Zenith ^

04/09: Ludwigsburg, DE – MHP Arena ^

04/11: Hamburg, DE – Sporthalle ^

04/14: Barcelona, ES – Razzmatazz ^

04/15: Madrid, ES – La Riviera ^

04/17: Paris, FR – L’Olympia ^

04/18: Saarbrücken, DE – Saarlandhalle ^

04/19: Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique ^

04/21: Bristol, UK – O2 Academy Bristol ^

04/22: Manchester, UK- Manchester Academy ^

04/23: Glasgow, UK – O2 Academy Glasgow ^

04/24: Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy Birmingham ^

^ w/ Lamb of God and Kreator

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Bonkers Visual for “Organ Farmer”

2017 saw the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard release five albums — with each album managing to be in a completely different genre and style, all of which further cemented the band’s reputation for being both restlessly experimental and prolific.

Now, for a band that has managed to be as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new material last year was an extremely odd; however, during that same period, they were busy with a number of other things including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. The band also re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever — and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Earlier this year, King Gizzard and The Wizard Lizard released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album’s material found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic met the automated; where the rustic met the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present. But at the end of the day, the material was essentially boogie blues that strutted, shimmied and stomped through several different moods and terrains,. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

2019 find site Aussie JOVM mainstays returning to the prolificacy that their fans and the blogosphere knows them for. In fact, the band’s 15th album, Infest The Rats’ Nest is slated for an August 16, 2019 release through ATO Records here in the States. While the members of the band have long enjoyed a fluid creative approach, the recording sessions for Infest The Rats’ Nest featured a pared down lineup featuring Stu McKenzie (vocals,. guitar, bass) Joey Walker (guitar, bass) and Michael Cavanaugh (drums). This stemmed from other commitments — including Cook Craig (guitar) and Ambrose Kenny-Smith (keys, harmonica) being busy with their side project The Murlocs; Lucas Skinner (drums) taking time off to spend time with his newborn; and Eric Moore (drums) being busy running their label Flightless Records. 

Naturally, the pared down set allows for much tighter arrangements and blistering velocity — and as a result, the new album’s material finds them scratching a long-held thrash metal itch. “In fourth grade there was an older kid who was into Rammstein” explains Stu of his early discovery of metal’s extremities. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realized that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.”

“Organ Farmer,” Infest The Rats’ Nest latest single is blistering, balls-to-the-walls thrash metal, complete with shrieking guitar solos, howled lyrics, thunderous drumming, and rapid fire tempo changes. And naturally, the track brings Kill Them All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica to mind — in other words, the song which seethes with disgust and fury, is a straightforward headbanger. 

Directed by John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Organ Farmer” features the members of the band, shirtless with the words “Organ Farmer” and others scrawled on their skin. The first portion of the video sees them smashing a car up with hammers — but by the end, the zombie-like members of the band are moshing in a sweaty and packed basement. It’s an insane and intense visual for an equally insane and intense song. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Zig-Zags Release a Lo Fi Troma Films-like Visual for “Killer of Killers”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio and JOVM mainstays  Zig Zags over the past couple of years, and as you may recall, the act — currently, founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass) — over the course of their eight-plus year history have gone through a series of lineup changes, while releasing seven singles and three full-length albums. Each of those albums found the band managing to subtly yet continually evolve their sound, songwriting approach and overall aesthetic. 

The Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays fourth, full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive was released earlier this year through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the ban paying homage to their earliest influences — the bandmembers’ mutual love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly thrash metal.“Fallout,” the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like album single further cemented the band’s reputation for specializing in headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with a blistering urgency. The album’s latest single “Killer of Killers” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, power chord-centered riffs, rousingly anthemic hooks, blistering and dexterous solos — paired with an urgent and frenzied production and performance.

The recently released video for “Killer of Killers” is a cartoonish and goofily lo-fi take on Troma Films-like horror films, complete with a sociopathic, masked mass murderer, who kills as many people at a local park as he could — although one Walkman-wearing kid manages to escape. The video splits between our shitty horror film and footage of the band playing a frenzied set in front of headbanging admirers. Fake blood and gore abounds; but it still kicks ass!

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Release Insane Visual for Thrash Metal Ripper “Self-Immolate”

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard released five albums — with each album being in a completely different genre and style from its predecessor, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental and prolific.   

For a band that has been as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new music last year was extremely odd; however, they were busy with other things, including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Now, as you may recall, the band released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present with the band crafting material that’s essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

Interestingly, the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays have written, recorded and released a couple of standalone tracks that simply don’t fit on their most recent album because they’re on a completely different tack — one of those tracks is the thrash metal ripper “Self Immolate” which finds the band piling power chord riff upon riff upon riff, thunderous drumming and McKenzie taking on a growling vocal delivery reminiscent of Slayer’s Tom Araya and Sepultura’s Max Cavalera. Interestingly, the track is a reminder that they’re not dabbling dilettantes when it comes to thrash and thrash metal — and that they can pummel eardrums with the best of them. 

Directed by frequent visual collaborator John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Self-Immolate” sees the members of the band burnt alive in a Satanic ritual in the middle of nowhere. 

New Video: Black Mountain Takes on 8-Bit Video Games in New Visuals for “Licensed to Drive”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records. the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s newest album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man.

Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “Licensed to Drive” is an extended riff on classic 8-bit video games and Mad Max, complete with leather and ax-wielding barbarians, a tricked out 1976 GMC Spirit, a guy playing trash can drums, and an enormous, mutant bat. And of course, while McBean and his buddy are playing the “Licensed to Drive” game, a cord is yanked out or something and they wind up having to watch a hilarious take on the classic Maxell Cassette tape commercial. For those of you who came of age in the 80s or grew up in the 80s, this video will bring back a lot of memories. 

New Audio: Black Mountain Releases a Motorik-Styled Ripper

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar, the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, anJ album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s forthcoming album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man. 

New Audio: BRUTUS’ Forceful and Anthemic “Django”

With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS, comprised of Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) quickly received a national and international presence — and since their full-length debut’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and played the major heavy EU festivals. Adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has proudly championed the Belgian trio. And interestingly enough, they’ve achieved this with a sound that was initially shaped by necessity — with Mannaerts adopting vocal duties because no one else would. 

The Leuven-based post-rock trio’s highly anticipated Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest is slated for release later this week through Sargent House Records and the album’s material finds Mannaerts fully embracing her dual roles as vocalist and drummer and while the album’s material reveals the full range of her talents, the band has made a concerted effort to write tight songs with an expanded sound. Thematically speaking, the material focuses on the path the trio have taken together to get to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream; but there’s underlying moments of deep, introspection, in which they all consider the individual choices they’ve made to get there — and the impact those choices had on their loved ones, and those who they’ve left behind.  And as a result, the material possesses a strangely uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue their forward progression and a desire to maintain and cherish those connections to all that they love at home. But is that possible when you’ve taken such enormous risks to achieve something extraordinary. And when the things you’ve seen, done and experienced have become so different than those of your peers, can you keep that connection?

Earlier this year, I wrote about, the expansive “War,” a track that alternated between dreamy and ruminative showcase and aggressive and forceful thrash metal, with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks and even larger power chords. Possessing a painterly quality in which the song’s musical layers are much like brushstrokes adding detail and texture to the canvas, the song evokes the raw ache of isolation and the bleakness of taking stock of oneself — completely alone. “Cemetery,” Nest‘s second and single effortlessly bridged doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock with an arrangement featuring thunderous drumming, blistering and enormous power chords, and Mannaerts howled vocals. “Django,” Nest’s third and latest single will further cement the Belgian trio’s reputation for crafting a huge, arena rock-like sound, as the track is centered around Mannaerts thunderous drumming, Vanhoegaerden’s towing power chords and Mulder’s rumbling low end — but the song may arguably be the most concise and forceful song on the album.