Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 04/27/17
Well-rehearsed rant about how Stalin stole Christmas from the Europeans unisng THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK. Now that I hopefully have your undivided attention. peep this Walpyrgus, No Funeral, Looking for an Answer, Sigil, Apokrifna Realnost, Marche Funèbre, Victorius, Meraine
Based on the album art, I expected something a lot more grim and serious. I’m so glad I was wrong. This album just never quits being fun the whole way through. Equal parts Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, Walpyrgus joyfully rides through bouncy riffs, catchy leads, and perfectly matched vocals. While not overly ambitious or genre defining, the album doesn’t have any weak spots. All the songs just constantly exude pure rock and roll. If you can listen to this and not want to party, you’re dead. FFO: High Spirits, Twisted Tower Dire, Thin Lizzy —Randall Thor.
As previously heard on this very website, Houston-by-way-of-Brazil’s No Funeral specializes in hauntingly serene dark ambient music. Nonexistent is like a dream where you know you’re dreaming, conscience of what is happening, but unable to change your course. Digital choirs and electronic textures call us home to the sweet embrace of nothingness, the gentle lull before the spark of life is extinguished. This album is the soundtrack to your final moments, not with a furious blast of anger and rage, but with the calming acceptance of inevitability. It is beautiful in a sad way and sad in a beautiful way.
It’s been a long and eventful 6 years since we last heard from my dirty countrymen in Looking for an Answer, but I’m extremely glad they’re finally making themselves visible again. A concept album dealing with carnism, or how humans relate to (re: eat) other species, Dios Carne is over a half hour of grindy OSDM riffs over blastbeats that’ll leave you feeling fundamentally gross. The production leans heavily towards unpolished everything, with almost-but-not-quite HM-2 guitars, raw drums, grimy bass and cavernous vocals, all of which stare condescendingly into your soul and thrash you around your room/office for having ordered that veal parm the other day, you monster. In short: this good. —Moshito.
Texas isn’t all high-fives and stage dives. Sigil want to take your good time moshes and stomp a mudhole in them. Kingdom of the Grave is in-your-face death metal and it doesn’t have time to smile or compliment you on your vintage snapback. Raw vocals, mean riffs, and gut-punching drums will leave you checking for any loose teeth or permanent bruising. It’s not an all-out pummel-fest, though, as the album also contains a fair amount of groove. This one is for fans of old or new school death metal. Maybe even some thrash fans too. RIYL: God Dethroned, Dismember, Entombed —365.
Post-Dissonance Groovecore. Alternative Math Metal. I’m bad at naming genres, but I’m good at finding rad bands: Beast Modulus appeal to both of these qualities with Being, a 20-minute diverse festival in most of what makes extreme music great. Variety is the key here: a myriad of different tempos, feels and drumming patterns that go from laid-back, ghost note abundant, almost drum and bass like beats to straightforward driving double kick rhythms set the intricate foundation for present, concise bass lines, jagged guitar riffs, weird leads, vocal harmonies… there’s a lot to unpack for a release that feels so terribly short when it’s over. Stream the whole thing here and grab it on bandcamp. —Moshito.
Here is something completely different courtesy of Macedonia’s Apokrifna Realnost. Originally self-released in 1988, Na Rekah Vavilonskih is a fine work of post-industrial gothic tunes. When I say gothic, I mean both in the traditional and the modern sense. Hauntingly beautiful with its combination of religious chants, mournful acoustic guitars and cold, industrial clangs, this album contains a dark, old-world feeling that you would find in a classic vampire movie. The album’s atmosphere shakes and reverberates with each note, making the you feel that they are alone in a medieval Eastern European cathedral…at least, you think you’re alone. You hope you’re alone. Those interested can find more information on the album here. RIYL: Coil, Nurse with Wound, Current 93 —365.
“Stop running everywhere, slow down and enjoy life!” Alright mom, jeez… I’ll just put on the new March Funèbre album at top volume and forget about everything. Into the Arms of Darkness has a permeating sense of sadness about its Death/Doom stylings, with melodic, almost epic vocals giving contrast to the raspy high screams during the course of the five songs within. Despite the short tracklist, the almost hour-long album is not for the faint of heart, as prolonged exposure to such despair and hopelessness could be detrimental to your joyfulness. Just kidding, if you’re listening to Death/Doom you’re not completely happy. Or sane. You’ll be fine, and you might just hear some rad riffs while you’re at it. —Moshito.
If you’re looking for well written, fun, and cheesy European style power metal, look no further. The first two tracks, while good enough, do not reveal the full glory of Heart of the Phoenix. The album hits its stride with “End of the Rainbow,” and the rest of the album continues to mesmerize with melodic lead guitar-work, big catchy choruses, and seemingly never ending double bass kicks. The production is crisp, but big and bassy in a way that a lot of power metal fails to achieve, and gives the music an even grander stage to stand upon. Singer David Baßin carries the lyrics and melodies to victorious heights, and the backing harmonies/choral effects complement him well in the mix. Standout track “Die by my Sword’ is an anthem to slay many a poser by. FFO: Heavenly, Freedom Call, Gamma Ray —Randall Thor.
One of my favorite records of 2016 was the debut from Germany’s Throwers. The band’s take on chaotic crusty hardcore was something that had me revisiting it constantly even though it was released early on in the calendar year. Sadly, Throwers called it quits and it created a void for the me in the style of music they were playing or so I thought. I recently stumbled upon fellow countrymen Meraine and quickly concluded they were playing a similar style upon the first few listens. But as successive listens began to take hold, certain nuances started to surface and you could start to hear something slightly different. For a hardcore band, they employ limited use of the breakdown and instead rely more on a blackened style of d-beat that rarely tires. I’d liken the blackened elements to those used by Cult Leader on their debut album. And they very much dominate most of the album is a way that is very memorable. Each song is focused and intense while carving out a riff that will ultimately hook you and begin to swirl around in your head. The rhythm section is also a key component here as they operate as true rhythm section that anchors everything down and provides a massive punch while allowing the riffs to wander around as they please. All told, this not your typical hardcore fare and I would invite those who have reservations about the genre to give this one a shot because it should have no problem connecting with a metalhead with a love for dark melodies. —Ron Deuce.
Hey you. Yeah YOU. Want to contribute to mini-reviews? Find an album you’ve dug (or not) that preferably hasn’t been reviewed on the blog yet and has been released recently (within the last few months, or year if you’re so inclined), write around 100-120 coherent words about it and send it to toiletminis[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Please include the album’s release date, title, label, a link to the band’s facebook (if they have one), another one to their bandcamp (or any other place to listen to/buy the album if they don’t have one) and any other information/links that you think are relevant and want to include.
Don’t do it for me. Do it for the ghost of the MasterLord.