As pockmarked tanks rolled across middleastern deserts, with dusty skies penetrated only by columns of inky black smoke; bodies carried off planes and paraded slowly through towns; with a grinning mannequin in Number 10 and an unhinged ape at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue - it was 2005, and nothing made sense until I heard Reign in Blood, specifically, the opening cut, Angel of Death. With it's angular artwork and essential parental advisory sticker, I'd rushed home clutching one of the many CD rereleases to play it loud. Hearing for the first time the opening bars of Angel of Death may be one of the few genuinely transformative experiences of my life. Sleep's Dopesmoker is transcendent and shamanic, but I was prepared, Pig Destroyer's Prowler in the Yard is ferocious, but that kind of ferocity has to be hardened to, slipped into like an acid bath, on first listen it simply calcifies. I didn't really know about heavy metal, and all at once as the spinning, reeling riff that opens Angel of Death, followed by the guitar squeal that transforms into Tom Araya's tortured scream, the doors of perception weren't so much opened as smashed off their hinges. More than speed, it was meteoric, more than vocals, the screams I'd only ever heard before in apocalyptic war nightmares, but it had rhythm, it had that tone that hammered it into the skull like frozen nails into a coffin's dark wood and at that moment the world, to my fifteen-year-old eyes and ears, started to make more sense. In honour of this occasion, why not dip into Andrew Liles' stunning 30 minutes of Angel of Death to celebrate 30 years since the release of the seminal Reign in Blood, like Holy McGrail's excellent Shake Appeal cover, only more likely to implode the universe.
Written under duress by Steven.

Sub basement

Sub basement.

Increasingly the objectives and processes of the established world mean that journalism, politics, and most vitally, media, no longer address the interests or concerns of ordinary people, favouring spectacle and distraction; and is functionally impotent at summoning the cure for what ails us. Still through every faceless asphalt car park the greenery of weeds eternally springs, and so it is with music, art, film, books and everything else. In Search of Space has served its purpose, and now here's a new feature also named after the first work we cover on it: Sub Basement.

It seems bizarre to say that Saint Vitus, Sleep and Kyuss allowed Sub Basement to happen when Pentagram and their generation of bands sowed the wind of the the nineties hard rock revival whirlwind but in a curious mandala, reflexive snake eating it's tail, infinite returns fashion, without those more modern pretenders, Bobby Leibling would never have been able to successfully reinvent Pentagram, and then release the original seventies recordings. I recall speaking to some bummed-out old rocker at the back of a gig, and he described to me feeling left behind by younger people, who knew more about the seventies rock and roll scene than he ever did, he'd meet people half his age who could spout forth about Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath b-sides, all because the internet had enabled us all to get fully up to date with our heritage. Pentagram may be the ur-text of this concept, largely unheard of unless you frequented late-night rock radio or dingy basement shows in Washington D.C. in the narrow period between 1971 and 1979. The only constant presence in Pentagram is a desire to push the boundaries of Sabbath's eponymous opening track as far as they will stretch without regard for traditional song structure or time signatures, and Bobby Leibling, the man-cum-soul of the group who is aged sixty but resembles a wizened bog mummy snapping it's eyes open in the middle of a twisted Sunn O))) show. Time has not been kind to the Pentagram frontman, but history definitely should.


To say David Bowie was a musician is like saying the Pacific is a bit of water. Today's tragic news, like the news last week of the passing of formerly immortal rock god Lemmy. There is always a shock around these passings, because between them it's easy to update your internal database to fit everything in, either our rock and roll stars are dead already, as it should be, or they continue to live, as it should be. Any disruption of that system reminds us that we're all going, and the only thing that should be is that we all take the trip up to the great gig in the sky. Except Keith Richards, who will wander the ash-filled wasteland looting pharmacies forever.

Written under duress by Steven.
This is the time of year when the old year "dies" (at sunset on the shortest day, the day of the winter solstice) and the new year is "born" (at sunrise on the day after the solstice) and the Celts, Saxons and Norse celebrate their variants of "yuletide" with a lengthy binge of "wassailing" (eating, drinking, dancing, fucking, etc.).

None of it has the slightest bit to do with anything that happened in the Levant between Jewish freedom fighters and Romans or with any Abrahamic monotheistic death cult. I shall leave religion to the craven and the feeble-minded and to those who wish to prey upon them.

The only thing I believe in is the precious bounty that is any and all life and the potential for good that exists within all people, even if it is all too rarely fulfilled.

So listen to some proper pagan morherfuckery and merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a quality Quanza, super Solstice and awesome anything else you choose to observe.

Proceed the Weedian - Pyres of the Oregonian - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #228

For a blogger who just completed a thousand words on Black Sabbath that very morning, the serendipitous penetration of the bunker by a postal delivery -from no less than the Seth Man himself, of no less than Ryan Kittrell-as-Pyres of the Oregonian’s full length debut, a CD fulla the same things I was still grooving on from last week’s emanation- could seem to hold greater weight. After heavy mediation on the heaviest ur-text of my entire music writing career, how restorative to be given a behind-the-curtain look at what the next generation are doing with the Sabbath text, filtered through another generation of hyper-politicised speech, sketchy wars, lying governance. If the oil fires of the Gulf war and the Clinton years coupled with silicon valley and the first four Sabbath albums (American versions, natch, with more groove and fewer covers of groove) created Dopesmoker, and the continued output of Sunn O))) was nothing but the emotion of the post September 11th Bush years distilled into sound like a jet turbine eating a planet made of tar; what would eight years of Obama and the slow legalisation of hyperapparent Sweet Leaf produce in the latest green-fingered first-bearded generation of Melvinites; along with the consumption of all those great works in addition to Sabbath’s own?

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