ake no mistake, metalheads love summer. Underneath the black t-shirts worn over black sweaters, below the maggot white skin and self-inflicted scars, there is a human heart, a heart that longs for warmth, fun, relaxation and sweet, crunchy crack. Summer is the time for all of these things, a yearly reprisal from winter and school, and if you’re especially lucky or lazy, work too. The sun rises early and sets late, prodding you to stay outside and make the most of this brief gift from our exalted dark lord, Satan.
But if you’re like me, most of what goes on outside during summer is boring. I can’t sit still in a lawn chair and suntan and I can’t lay on the beach in silence, but I hate staying in doors when the weather is lovely. A good summer mixtape is my saving grace, the boot in the ass that gets me outdoors and allows me to partake in all those summer activities I honestly can’t stand: driving great distances for two hours of fun, sleeping in plastic tents, defecating in the woods, walking. Strap headphones on me and I quickly become Steve McSummer.
Previous years have seen me compile collections of wistful indie rock to accompany my summer chores and excursions, but this year it’s 100% pure metal. All but three of the following thirteen tracks are examples of some of the most fun and summer-related extreme metal songs of the last two years. They fit on a standard 60-minute cassette and comprise a fitting soundtrack to any summer activity, be it bar-b-q, driving to a shitty movie, pagan blood orgy or murder-suicide.
1. Fantomas - “The Omen (Ave Satani)” ( The Director’s Cut, 2001)
The first time I played this song in our store, a man stopped where he stood and said to me, “I feel like I’m in hell.”
The finest example of everything twisted, evil, and brilliant about Mike Patton’s Fantomas is present in “Ave Satani”, a blackened, thudding fury that is both ethereal and punishing. Patton’s Latin wailing is otherworldly and cinematic, but the music is nothing short of pulverizing. “Ave Satani” brings to mind images of that first sunburn of the year, wickedly painful but a sure sign that party time is here. (And from a mixing standpoint, it has an eerie fade in at the beginning and a fade out at the end, which gives the first few notes of the next song even more of a murderous quality.)
2. Pig Destroyer - “Hyperviolet”( Prowler in the Yard , 2001)
I know what you’re thinking: isn’t Pig Destroyer a little savage and discordant for such an early track? You couldn’t be more wrong. “Hyperviolet” is a true summer anthem, one of a series of songs on Prowler in the Yard concerned with stalking and murdering an ex-lover. If a warm summer evening isn’t good for stalking, what is it good for?
A swirling, hacking chug, “Hyperviolet” is actually a mesmerizing example of a grind band attempting something different and succeeding. It’s absolutely vicious, a staggering, mid-tempo mess of catastrophic drumming, shark-bait guitars and desperately barked vocals. Plus, the ambient ending makes it an easy track to mix.
3. Deicide - “Holy Deception”( Legion , 1992)
Some of the best parts of summer are the memories: looking back on past summers when our youthful indiscretions were heart-warming learning experiences, when friendships were brief but fulfilling, when we fell asleep under the stars listening to satanic Floridian death metal.
Deicide sucks now -- fully and sloppily -- but their early days were something special. Legion is a classic and “Holy Deception” is a great song. It’s as simple and repetitive as a week at the lake, alternating between percussive mid-tempo assault and full-bore thrash-out, but it’s as tense, angry and fun as any early-90s death metal. The only thing more summery-sounding than the chirping of birds, the sound of lawn mowers and the crack of a baseball bat is the howling grunt of a fat Satanist. Have a great summer, Glen Benton, you crazy old fucker!
4. Burnt By the Sun - “Human I Steamroller”( Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution , 2001)
Consider this track the “Where’s Your Head At” of this tape. Burnt By the Sun’s music is as loose, groove-based and anthemic as metal gets before it turns into Korn. They’re the cool guys on the beach who host all the bitchin’ parties; they look a little silly in their baggy shorts, ball caps and muscle shirts, but they’re popular for a reason.
Young and idealistic, BBTS makes me think of high school summers: no jobs, no money, no girlfriends, but someone always had a tank full of gas, we were always drunk and someone usually ended up getting laid. It was a time of endless hope, smiles and high fives. I wouldn’t have listened to BBTS back then; I thought people who listened to metal were stupid. I also thought that by the time I was twenty-four I would be playing in the next Fugazi and would have contracted an STD. I guess two out of three isn’t bad.
5. High On Fire - “10,000 Years”( The Art of Self-Defence , 2000)
It’s just you, your friends, alcohol and scorching, dry heat. The sun roasts your flesh as you get completely drunk. When you stand up, your head swims, you stagger and begin to stumble backwards. Soon enough, you lose your balance and fall head over heels. You roll over, steady yourself on your hands and knees and puke. Good times, good times.
“10,000 Years” bowls you over in much the same way. An unhealthily long dose of heavy, psychedelic sludge, High On Fire’s inclusion on this tape is a slow, painful reminder to wear sunscreen and to not hydrate yourself with tequila.
6. Cadaver Inc. - “Deliverance”( Discipline , 2001)
There is no logical reason why this song is on here. Too manic, violent and blackened to recall anything summery except maybe roadkill and a Manson family block party, “Deliverance” is relentless new school black metal that mercilessly swallows and rapidly excretes you.
Grotesque descriptions aside, Cadaver Inc. is about as fun as black metal gets. They make use of a plethora of rhythms, tempos and tensions and imbue much of their songs with a decidedly rock edge. You could even consider Cadaver Inc. melodic if you’re able to ignore the vocals, which sound like the guy who will probably end up sodomizing your daughter.
7. Cave In - “Chameleon”( Beyond Hypothermia , 1998)
Metalheads are realists, and no summer metal mix would be complete without a reminder that misery doesn’t take holidays. Drunks kill people in the summer, forests are burned, babies drown. “Chameleon” is an angry, frustrated symbol for the sadness, pain and loss that many people fall victim to during this season.
It’s also a wonderful reminder of how excellent metallic hardcore can be. The combination of double kick flourishes and palm muted riffing is relentless, the screamed vocals are almost unbearably intense, the breakdowns -- which in “Chameleon” take on the form of slow, deliberate rock -- are monstrous. I miss this Cave In.
8. Human Remains - “Weeding Out the Thorns”(Where Were You When , 2002)
Having time off in the summer makes it quite easy to indulge in and recover from psychedelics. There’s extra time to track drugs down; there’s ample time to get over the morning after blankness. But for those of you too trendy for LSD or mushrooms, you can make due with “Weeding Out the Thorns”, lurching, maniacal grind-influenced hardcore from everyone’s favorite sunshine destination, New Jersey.
Don’t expect Human Remains to replicate the experience of dropping acid in the woods. “Weeding Out the Thorns” is more like getting wasted at the state fair, running amid the shadows of gigantic, squeaking metal rides, surrounded by ugly people and exposed to a vortex of smells that make you want to wretch.
9. Melvins/Tool - “Divorced”( The Crybaby , 2000)
Summer is a time for brief, passionate sexual affairs. Sweat makes clothes cling, strangers are all around, the beach -- empty, moonlit and private -- beckons lovers to nightswim and fuck in the sand. “Divorced” is the ideal soundtrack to these sticky liaisons. It’s long, slow, bass-heavy and contains the sound of a woman screaming in terror. Sounds like every summer fling I’ve ever had.
This standout from the Melvins’ trilogy is easily the best thing Tool has ever had their name attached to. “Divorced” is a journey of a song. It begins as a bass hum, develops into a stalking pound with unintelligible, static-like lyrics, mires itself in a mess of hazy guitars and then peaks with a dual drum solo. By the end of its fourteen minutes, “Divorced” will leave you either exhausted, exhilarated or both.
10. Centurian - “Hell At Last”( Liber Zar Zax , 2002)
“Fuck, man. It’s already August and we haven’t done shit.”
And so begins the final flurry of activity for the summer, with a vow to live it up before school or work traps you for the rest of this year and most of the next. Centurian kicks off the desperate, gotta-live-it-up portion of the tape with a flurry of blasts, dark, blazing riffs and some classic, not completely stupid Cookie Monster vocalizing. There’s also a nice fading end that makes it a perfect precursor for the fade-in of the next track.
Consider Centurian a summer substitute. When you’re young and your girlfriend jets off to France for the summer, you make due with whoever’s handy. Such is the case with Centurian. I’d rather listen to Nile, but since their album doesn’t come out until August, I’ll be more than glad to sneak into the back seat with “Hell At Last”. Just don’t tell Nile. I really, really love them, and I want to be with them, but I’m just feeling so lonely.
11. Slayer - “Black Magic (Live)”( Decade of Aggression , 1991)
Summer would not be summer without a handful of inevitabilities. The New York Yankees will win the American League East. I will lie and tell relatives that I am considering going back to university. Will Smith will be in a movie. That movie will suck. As certain as these scenarios are, so too is Slayer’s appearance on any metal mix I will ever make.
A fine example of Slayer’s bleak, evil thrash, this live version of “Black Magic” does away with the terrible drum sound and flimsy vocals that make the original version less than classic. A vehement spectre choking on sawing guitars, molested guitar solos and ridiculous drum fills, “Black Magic” is, like the majority of Slayer’s catalogue, totally brilliant.
12. Discordance Axis - “Jigsaw”( The Inalienable Dreamless , 2000)
Summer can be a frustrating time: your friends are all gone for the weekend -- partying, golfing, at the beach -- while you’re stuck at work trying to tell the old zombie across the counter from you, “No, Johnny Rivers has not come out with anything new. I’m pretty sure he stopped putting out records around the time he died.” Then the manager calls in sick (from a payphone), the new guy drops his pita in the till, some little kid makes fun of you because you say “later” instead of “bye” and some woman is upset because you won’t take her records in on trade because they all smell vaguely like urine.
This song makes all that go away. For two minutes.
13. The Crown - “Crowned In Terror”( Crowned In Terror , 2002)
Could you imagine if Can’t Hardly Wait or American Pie II were true-to-life? I’m not saying they weren’t somewhat accurate -- whose high school wasn’t full of intelligent, independent girls with fake tits who had sex with you and your dipshit buddies -- but what if the entire summer was the build up to the finest blow-out of the year, where the girl finds you, where your friends show up and where you get the chance to say goodbye properly before going back to work at your dad’s bulletin board factory? What if the best really was saved for last and it wasn’t just a slide from a promising beginning?
Here it is: the finest song on the album and the most uplifting, intense thrash since Master of Puppets and Reign In Blood . Crowned In Terror is still the best album I’ve heard this year and the title track is a melodic, yet murderous blend of death metal and thrash that is as great an album opener as it is a mix tape closer. It makes you want nothing more than to go back and experience it all again.
Summer! That magical time of the year when a young person’s scholastic responsibilities melt away into idleness and vice. And what more perfect way to celebrate vernal hedonism than with the appropriate musical accompaniment: hip hop. And I’m not talking the cerebral (and often preachy) roads traveled by most indie hip hop. I’m in pursuit of The Bounce. Here’s a fine selection of the hottest bangers the mainstream hip hop world has to offer – and tracklisting is not a concern. Shuffle this bad boy as much as you want: it’s what compilations are for.
1. Ludacris - “What’s Your Fantasy?”
Look no further than the Dirty Dirty South for hot-weather trunk rattlers. Luda’s a master of the bounce, with his animated delivery and deft verbal play. Although he’s got plenty a readymade summer jam on his latest album, I decided to hearken back to his breakout single after hearing it on TV a few weeks ago. The beat’s constructed with what sounds like an air pump, reformed into a chunky melody that will stick in your head for days.
2. Cam’ron - “Oh Boy"
Malign the lyrics all you want: you miss the point. The beat’s the thing, courtesy of Kayne West (who injected all that soul into Jay-Z’s The Blueprint), and the MCs recognize that as they write their lines around vocal samples of “Oh boy.” It might not be as memorable as the hits off Hova’s last record, but as the unofficial jam of Ohio State’s annual Heritage Festival, it easily makes the cut.
3. Nelly - “Hot in Herre”
The Neptunes have mastered the decadent bounce that makes for the best summer jams. So it should come as no surprise that Pharrell and Chad make many an appearance on this mix. They deserve it more than anyone else. “Hot in Herre” is burning up the charts, currently making a play for the definitive Jam of the Summer. No surprise at all really: the Neptunes’ subtle-yet-infectious melodies perfectly match Nelly’s rolling sing-song flow. If you don’t like it, you probably need to shake a few cobwebs from your azz.
4. Tweet - “Call Me”
The other superproducer on the mix, Timbaland, represents to the fullest with his latest R&B; protégé, Tweet. Tim’s at least partially responsible for revitalizing mainstream hip hop, as well as creating last year’s Jam of the Summer, Missy Eliot’s “Get Ur Freak On.” “Call Me” continues to display Tim’s talents at uncouth rhythms and excellent studio work in this nugget of sultry future funk. Tweet has an icily coy voice, and she avoids the melismatic caterwauling of her fellow R&B; divas (I’m looking in your direction, Ms. Blige). She’d rather dance than weep, and I heartily support her decision.
5. Big Tymers - “Still Fly”
Did someone say Bounce? Cash Money has it in spades, courtesy of their Southern roots and cheap drum machines. The production on this stellar joint (making a dark-horse run at Jam of the Summer) is actually a bit more varied than Mannie Fresh’s usual bargain basement beats, featuring a catchy hook, some humorous hamfisted sampling, and plenty o’ BASS. The theme: staying cool despite being broke. A perfect hymn for all those still hunting for a summer job. Bonus points for spreading the term “hood rich” (also the name of the album featuring “Still Fly”).
6. Nappy Roots - “Aw Naw”
The South rules the summer, and Nappy Roots’ breakout single lends further credence to that claim. Full of country-fried soul (from the inspired production of Lou Chambers), this is a perfect anthem for summer cruising, and it should easily have the crossover appeal of Outkast. Put the top down for this one.
7. Truth Hurts feat. Rakim - “Addictive”
Here’s a bit of West Coast representation from Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label. The beat is the real star here, with DJ Quik adopting tablas and Middle-Eastern samples from a Timbaland garage sale. It works though, thanks to a growling bass line, solid singing from Truth, and an appearance by the always-phenomenal Rakim. The Arabian flavor conjures up a sultan’s harem (as does the single’s accompanying video), the ultimate goal for randy rappers. If Eastern music turns into the next frontier of sampling for hip hop, you won’t see me complaining. Beats the Police in any case.
8. Busta Rhymes feat. P. Diddy – “Pass the Courvoisier Part 2”
Speaking of sampling the Police... Don’t worry though; production duties are helmed by the ubiquitous Neptunes, who rework the original track into an irresistible bullfighting stomp. Busta’s rhymes come at a rapid pace as usual, and Diddy has adopted a weird sing-song delivery to his detached voice. But Pharrell steals the show on the hook, singing in his delicious Stevie-Wonder affectations.
9. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – “Summertime”
Standard. Also the only Fresh Prince / Will Smith song worthy of anything other than the used CD bin.
10. Eminem – “Without Me”
Fucking undeniable. You can’t scrape the bass line out of your head with steel wool. Em’s at his best with party jams: I can take or leave his personal gripes, just give me the beats! Ironic (purposely so?) jabs at techno aside, this is probably the surest club banger since “Get Ur Freak On.” Jam of the Summer? Only as long as Eminem’s whinier side doesn’t spoil the fun.
11. Jermaine Dupri, et al – “Welcome to Atlanta (Remix)”
So So Def’s reigning king of hucksterism weighs in with a joint that sounds as calculated as it probably is. Not to mention JD’s release of his label’s remix album just a few months after Bad Boy released theirs. But after Dupri’s pulse-pounding jam of last summer, Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At,” any mix would seem remiss without everyone’s favorite Atlantean half-pint relentlessly giving shout-outs over a glammy beat. It’s got Snoop Dogg too. Ha ha, yeah.
12. Ghostface Killah, Keith Murray, G-Dep, and P. Diddy – “Special Delivery (Remix)”
A nice minimal synth beat keeps time for some formidable MCing, courtesy of Keith Murray (you remember “Flava in Your Ear,” right?), G-Dep (a solid Bad Boy rapper), and the always-entertaining Ghostface. Puffy leads the way – “This is the remix,” in case you were wondering. Check out the video, if only for Ghostface’s 40-pound golden eagle bracelet. I want that. I need that.
13. Lil Bow Wow – “Take Ya Home”
Lil Bow Wow is no novelty act: he’s got decent flow, charisma and character for miles, and, on this jam, he’s got the Neptunes too. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the age and intent of the girls singing the hook. Instead, let the clanking grooves steadily infect your mind. My favorite reason to rep my hometown outside of Def Jux acts.
By: Clay Jarvis/Gavin Mueller
Published on: 2002-07-08