If there’s one thing that sets the Toilet ov Hell above all other websites in the metal blog-o-sphere, it’s
our insane amount of authors our commitment to music diversity. From the harshest noise to the bubbliest pop, the Toilet embraces the best of all genres and furthers its mandate of musical inclusivism. Continuing in that time honoured tradition, I present to you today a grab-bag of aural juxtaposition. There’s something for everyone in the flaming bowl!
1. Badblood – End Me
No, this has nothing to do with Taylor Swift (much to Papa Joe’s chagrin). California’s Badblood were first made known to me during the Toilet ov Hell’s Best Unsigned Band in America contest, and I extend my gratitude to whomever entered them into the running. While the rest of the Toilet voted for Destroy Judas (a worthy artist, make no mistake), I cast my lot with Badblood, and to this day I stand by my decision. End Me smacks the listener in the eardrums with unbridled heavy sludge, and doesn’t let up for the entirety of its all too short 12 minutes. For a measly $2 USD on bandcamp, there is no good excuse not to own Badblood’s End Me.
2. HUMOURS – The Onanist
How do you like your rock? If you’re anything like me, you like it with a healthy dose of metal, seasoned with punk, served with a deft nod to 1970s prog giants, and devoid of all power metal. Still with me? Then do not forgo HUMOURS’ The Onanist. While the title may suggest otherwise, HUMOURS is anything but masturbatory. Instead they devote themselves to quality songsmithing, blurring genres with ease, emerging through a plethora of influences with a unique and powerful voice. Challenging and oft times dissonant, HUMOURS maintain a sense of atypical melody throughout their debut EP, an offering that reveals itself more and more fully on each listen. My only complaint with this album is that it’s not nearly long enough, but at $4 USD it’s more than worth its meagre price tag.
3. KoMaRa – KOMARA
“Gnarly” is the only word that seems entirely appropriate when describing KoMaRa’s debut album, KOMARA. An eclectic blend of eerie industrial, haunting groove and unsettling noise rock, combined with sonically altered wind instruments, KOMARA is one of the the most unique albums released this year (or ever, for that matter). “Dirty Smelly”, the most accessible track, sets the tone for the entire album, which quickly devolves into madness in the form of hair-raising spoken word and psychedelic noise. If “weird” is your forte, this album was made for you.
4. Renaud Garcia-Fons – La Línea del Sur
Let’s take a break from the weirdness with the incredible Renaud Garcia-Fons and his unparalleled upright bass work. While most latin jazz tends to feel tired and overdone, Garcia-Fons has managed to produce work of originality while remaining true to the traditions of latin jazz music, all while maintaining a technical complexity unheard of on the upright bass – a complexity that never forgets the song. While tech-death shredders work their entire lives to play minor thirds in descending patterns as quickly as humanly possible, Garcia-Fons proves mastery of an instrument never has to be at the expense of beauty. From the opening rhythm of the accordion to the dying tones of a softly plucked string, La Línea del Sur is in a class of its own.
5. Richard Spaven – Whole Other*
Rooted firmly in hip-hop, yet aware of his jazz influences, drummer Richard Spaven constructs intricate and sharp drum patterns that punctuate the relaxed melodies and harmonies on Whole Other*. Spaven seemingly intuitively understands the nature of electronic music, and flawlessly reconstructs its limitations and imperfections in a seamless integration of programmed and live music, escalating the genre from a static, programmed art to a fluid, living form. Whole Other* eschews the rap from hip-hop, focusing entirely on the groove, and succeeds in its endeavour.
6. Tigran Hamasyan – Mockroot
A jazz piano player who wanted to be a thrash metal guitar player? Sign me up. Tigran Hamasyan plays what feels like progressive metal on the piano, incorporating odd meters and rhythmic complexity to boggle the mind of even the most proficient prog drummer. Mockroot showcases Hamasyan’s ability to cherry pick the best elements of middle eastern folk, progressive metal, electronica, and jazz, and fuse them to make a unique offering in the world of modern jazz piano. While there are many modern jazz acts fusing together traditional jazz sounds with modern rock sensibility, Hamasyan’s unique voice manages to keep pace and even outdo the best of them.
7. 7.5 Tonnes of Beard – Torquetur
I know you’ve had enough jazz to last a lifetime, which is why I’m leaving you with the unbelievably heavy 7.5 Tonnes of Beard. First introduced to me by the Grindprophet himself, 7.5 Tonnes of Beard brings the heaviness in a tangible way. Downtuned to the point of impossibility, Torquetur is the epitome of what I think of as “heavy.” Allowing the looseness of the strings to wreak havoc on the pitch of the guitars only serves to compound the sense of bestial power ingrained in the very fabric of some of the most devastating riffs in metal. I know this very short EP (three songs, with the second track a beautiful piano ballad) won’t be enough to satiate your thirst for the Beard, so be sure to check out their full-length, Denied the Basics.