Tapes of Wrath: The Cassette Review Column

"Persekutor are Romanian goat herders who dabble in black metal..."

**Persekutor **Arctic Cross (Self-released)

Persekutor are Romanian goat herders who dabble in black metal. I feel like that bears repeating, so please read the preceding sentence again. Actually, I don’t even know if you can call it black metal, it sounds more like a local late 80’s Transylvanian hard rock cover band got booked to play a black metal gig and they just guessed what to do based on watching a Darkthrone video. I mean, it’s pretty amazing. Best of the four jams is Black Death Punk Skins because it invents the scariest subculture ever and then laughs at it. If this is what happens when you hang out with goats, more bands should hang out with goats.


**Babylon Sweethearts **Full Stack Heart Attack EP (Ghoul House Records)

I interviewed these LA freedom rockers on my podcast a couple months back and one of the guys in the band told me his dad has the same Zodiac Mindwarp tattoo I do. Which says two things: one, holy fuck am I getting old, and two: these cats were clearly born and bred to rock. They sound like a panicked Bobby Leibling (you know, the Pentagram guy) fronting the MC5. Like on top of a tank that’s bombing a village or something. Effortlessly bad-ass.


**Sam Haynes **Ghost Stories

UK-based spooksmith Sam Haynes (get it?) rocks a haunted Casio in this collection of instrumental homages to low-budget 80’s horror flicks. If you want to creep around in your very own slasher flick all day long, this is the just the imaginary soundtrack you’re looking for. It’s like Depeche Mode hit the skids in ‘87 and took a gig writing the score for Ghoulies III. Comes on a ghostly green cassette, which is pretty sweet. If you’re really nerdy or eleven years old, you can also get a special edition that comes in a trick or treat bag.


Burning Palms Burning Palms (Lollipop Records)

This band is from Tucson, Arizona. I remember being out there once, wandering out in the desert, trying to avoid getting killed by rattlesnakes, when I stumbled on a men’s restroom. Like right out in the middle of the desert. I thought it was a mirage for a minute. But it was for real, so I walked in. I would have accepted whatever was in there. If it was a portal to a different dimension or if it was a meeting place for gay mountain lions, all of that would have been ok. It was just a bathroom, though. But it had presence. And if it had a house band, Burning Palms would definitely be it. Dreamy, steamy, occasionally thunderous, this is hazy psych-rock that sounds like it bleeds in day-glo colors. It’s early 70’s Laurel Canyon acid folk played by space aliens in Evel Knievel suits. It’s a goddamn fully-stocked men’s room in the middle of the sun-baked desert, is what it is.


**Fister **Gemini (Grimoire Cassette Culturre)

This tape is sorta terrifying. The cover, the music, everything. It’s sludge, sorta. Sludge adjacent, at least, but it’s more that that. It’s like an ugly clot of bad news jamming it’s way down your throat. Between the slithery serial killer vox and the oppressively heavy gutter-doom guitars, you really want to shut it down and get the hell out there, but there’s something so compelling about the hideousness of it all that you just let it continue to slowly unspool on the floor, like a slimy gutpile from a slaughtered pig. It’s like watching a poisonous, ten-foot tall snail crawling towards you. You know you’ve got to get away before it kills you, but you’re so hypnotized by this majestic horror, you just sit there, staring, wondering how such a beautiful abomination could even exist in the first place. An instant classic, in other words.


Ken McIntyre

Classic Rock contributor since 2003. Twenty Five years in music industry (40 if you count teenage xerox fanzines). Bylines for Metal Hammer, Decibel. AOR, Hitlist, Carbon 14, The Noise, Boston Phoenix, and spurious publications of increasing obscurity. Award-winning television producer, radio host, and podcaster. Voted “Best Rock Critic” in Boston twice. Last time was 2002, but still. Has been in over four music videos. True story.