Mini Reviews from Around the Bowl: 06/08/17
Feast and be merry, for half the year is almost up. While you wait around, lather your ears up with Heaven in Her Arms, Anthesis, Contaminated, SikTh, Progenie Terrestra Pura, OMRÅDE, The Ditch and the Delta and Tetrafusion.
Japan’s Heaven in Her Arms have previously released albums closer to the post-rock/metallic hardcore world (or screamo, if you want to be a genre-queen about it). With their newest release, the band delves more into the post-black metal world akin to Ghost Bath, but, y’know, actually Asian. White Halo crafts a beautiful yet intense landscape that draws the listener in and never lets go. Each song twists and bends creating an emotional journey for the audience. Anguished screams and tremolo guitar convey the same raw intensity and the gentle ambient sections. Multiple listens are recommended just to appreciate everything that is occurring. This is a great album, pure and simple. This is an early contender for album of the year, at least for me, and maybe for you too. RIYL: Red Sparowes, Ghost Bath, Astronoid — 365.
Without having seen them live, I assume Anthesis shows require at least single hearing protection. Even I tried to figure out how to get something between my earbuds and my eardrums while listening to The Age of Self. This is some super loud, doomy, and angular metallic noise from the New Brunswick-based trio. They have a lot in common with forward-thinking hardcore acts, in that it’s angry as hell, but it’s not just dumb breakdowns within breakdowns. The rapidity of the 12 tracks may have you thinking grind, but they aren’t afraid to slow things down a bit on songs like “Empty Vessels” and “Path to Enlightenment” as well. I’m not sure if it was all recorded live, but it certainly sounds like it. That energy comes through so well that it has me enjoying a genre that I’m rarely fond of. — Joaquin.
At a time when the boundary lines between genres are perhaps more blurred than ever, at their respective cores an interesting dichotomy exists that is ostensibly pulling them in opposite directions from their barycenter. While many black metal bands seem to have an insecurity complex concerning their perceived “purity”, consistently needing to remind any and all of their alleged immaculacy, death metal has been on an inverse trajectory, diving face-first into filth. The more disgusting, the better; and Australia’s Contaminated are fucking grotesque in the best possible way. Through bypassing the local sewer system and submersing you directly in an effluvial wasteland of noxious riffing, hideous growls, decimating double-bass, and an inescapably engulfing atmosphere, Contaminated’s debut Final Man will undoubtedly become one of this year’s most essential death metal albums. — Lacertilian.
When you spend years hoping day in and day out that one of the most underrated bands of the last decade and a half reunites and makes a new album, it’s still very hard to believe when it actually comes to pass. The Future in Whose Eyes? is SikTh’s triumphant return to the scene, with twelve new tracks of syncopated weedlies, unhinged vocals, slap bass and chaotic drumming. Much like 2015’s Opacities EP hinted at, the band’s songwriting has matured and become more straightforward; the riffs are still very interesting and well put together, but I could see how some people might write this off as having too many “single” or “radio” moments and not enough weird tempo changes. Frankly, I don’t care because this seriously jams and was well worth the long wait. Stream it here. — Moshito.
The record label name doesn’t lie, this is certainly an “out-there” black metal release. So much so that I am finding it difficult to describe. The sci-fi theme is certainly present, but not really in the progressive or atmospheric way that I am used to. Weird electronics and a laser-like guitar tone really solidify it, and oddly enough, so do some of the “world music” additions like tribal drumming and Arabic-singing. The vocals are oppressive, but in a way that fits really well with the foreboding celestial destructive tone of the album. The fuzz layered on top of them is a complement to their intensity. There’s some really pummeling stuff in here, good blasts and excellent riffs. Some songs can get pretty busy with a little too much going on, and while it’s overwhelming and a bit chaotic at times, it’s a really well-done thematic album that I wouldn’t mind revisiting, but beware, there is a dubstep-like breakdown on one track. — Joaquin.
It’s not often that I am instantly taken by a band I know absolutely nothing about. I think that’s a great way to approach a band like OMRÅDE for the average metal fan because the average metal fan would go “Where’s muh riffz?! I can’t mosh 2 this!” OMRÅDE’s sound lies somewhere between post-industrial metal, avantgarde rock, and ambient electronica. Nåde feels like an album conceived in the mid-90’s with its industrial-era beats and surrealist attitude. Strings, piano, and even saxophone compliment earnest singing among a cold, dark landscape. It’s like a weird mixture of Nine Inch Nails and late-night Cinemax. Step out of your comfort zone and give this album an honest try. You might like what you hear. Don’t forget your clove cigarettes. RIYL: Trent Reznor, God Is An Astronaut, Ulver — 365.
The debut album from Utah’s The Ditch and the Delta is mandatory listening for those of you who desire a dose of cutting edge sludge. The out west trio straps on a heavyweight title belt and challenges anybody to top their big riff-centric style of avalanche crushing sludge/doom. These are the tracks that have the potential to make civilizations bow to their knees and succumb to the hypnotic devastation that comes with subjecting your ear holes to their spell. The dual vocal attack punches above their weight class and shouts down a mountain with relative ease. Wandering drum patterns join forces with angular riffs and unhealthy melodies to drag you down, pick you up and then drag you back down again. At the end of the day, Hives in Decline is an exercise in cacophony and if your musical tastes veer towards that which is depressing while simultaneously uplifting then this may be the record for you. — Ron Deuce.
It had been a very, very long time since I heard the name Tetrafusion, and now that I have it’s in the form of a name your price album that’s blowing my socks clean off. Modern, ever-so-slightly djenty progressive metal/rock boasting synths, audibly bouncy bass lines and nice clean vocals (which aren’t anything special, but don’t really detract from the experience). Jazzy guitar runs and drum fills prop up from time to time to change the pace and highlighting the band’s technical chops throughout. These nine tracks never manage to wear out their welcome, carving different sonic paths and keeping things varied and interesting throughout. If you’re a fan of contained, melodic and technical weedilies, don’t skip Dreaming of Sleep. — Moshito.
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