Mini-Reviews From Around The Bowl: 06/09/2016

Not quite pancakes, but just as satisfying and without the regret. Usually. Bite into Goatcraft, Waxen, Violent Scum, Vex, Cough, Gutter InstinctKvelertak, Occult Burial, Close the Hatch and Nahvalr.

goatcraft_yp_coverGoatcraft – Yersinia Pestis
I, Voidhanger | July 15th, 2016

A gothic, shadowy blend of dungeon synth and Dimmu Borgir-esque piano interludes characterize this unique “necroclassical” release from Texas’ Goatcraft, where haunting and sinister baroque melodies are played out entirely via piano & synth. This is no passive, pensive piano noodling however, as these tracks clearly communicate as much anger, hatred and blackness as any band worth their corpse paint. Says the creator, “Every so often the world puts us back into our places by killing us off. Our frail flesh is no match against the elements in which we reside.” You can practically hear the unspoken lyrics from each composition screaming from the masterful stabbing of the ivories, pounding out classy renditions of evil-with-a-capital-E musical progressions. This is a piano cover version of a classically-influenced black metal album that never existed, and I mean that in the best possible way. Highly recommended for fans of dungeon synth, classical and villainous, Castlevania-esque video game music. — Vapeborg

Waxen Weihung Auf Satan
Moribund Records | June 24th, 2016

Waxen is a one-man black metal project from Wyoming’s Toby Knapp. Rawer than a Sushi-bar’s grand opening meal and featuring more hiss than a pit full of lisping vipers trying to simultaneously pronounce “six thistles”, Weihung Auf Satan will appeal to those who suffer headaches at the slightest smell of polish. The riffing should please anyone who has ever enjoyed checking out the Slayer demos from Jeff Hanneman‘s garage, or those early Emperor demo tracks. As with many of these lone-contributor black metal albums, I’m almost certain there’s a drum machine at play here too, but it’s not particularly distracting and actually suits the general vibe of this release. The vocals can be a little overbearing at times but are made up for by the unexpectedly exquisite Malmsteen-esque virtuoso leads. FFO: Burzum, Hostium, Spite— Lacertilian

Violent Scum Festering in Endless Decay
Blood Harvest Records | June 24th, 2016

Later this month Blood Harvest Records will continue their killer streak of death metal output with a re-up of the 2015 demo from Violent Scum, as the Chilean quartet’s debut Festering in Endless Decay has just been picked for a limited run of 150 cassettes. Previously self-released, these 3 tracks clock in at just over 10 minutes and waste no time getting their point across. The riffing is confined to the bare-essential genre staples of semitone power-chord slides, brief flurries of single-note picking and some bursts of chromatic legato. While it doesn’t descend into comical territory, it does have an earnest feel which you might find endearing. If you’re up for some meat and potatoes death with a little dab of gravy on the side, this should give you something to snack upon. FFO: Gruesome, Angel Corpse, things 4 years either side of 1990. – Lacertilian


Vex – Sky Exile
Eihwaz Recordings | June 15th, 2016

Central Texas may not be the first place to come to mind when thinking of quality melodic death metal. In fact, it’s probably not the 20th or 30th thing that comes to mind when thinking of Central Texas, but I partially blame Vinnie Paul and his panini-press beard for absolutely destroying any open-mindedness when it comes to Texas. Apologies to the fine people of Austin and several TovH writers. On a positive note, Vex’s album Sky Exile sounds like it was written and recorded on a cold, bleak day somewhere in the outer reaches of Gothenburg. It’s actually refreshing to hear an American melodic death metal band not succumbing to the usual tropes and cliches of American metal sounds. Folk and progressive moments help Sky Exile break free from the monotony RIYL: Agalloch, Insomium, Omnium Gatherum. — 365

Cough Still They Pray
Relapse Records | June 3rd, 2016

The masters of gritty slowness are back after six long years with no new music, and the very first thing that’s evident to me is that it sounds more like Electric Wizard than before; unsurprisingly it turns out that Jus Osborn was at the production helm for this record. Vocals are more of a secondary element here, which is fine because the guitars, bass and drums sound MASSIVE on their own and fill the sonic spectrum with an eeever-so-slightly melodic, overbearing darkness. The inclusion of some clean vocals and even organ on some tracks (like “The Wounding Hours”) cements the notion that this album leans more towards doom than towards sludge, while still being a of hybrid of both. All in all, this is a strong Cough album that will please their fans and anyone hankering for some hopefulness. — Moshito

Gutter Instinct – Age of the Fanatics
Prosthetic Records | May 27th. 2016

I was quite enthusiastic over the dripping, nasty Swedish-style OSDM filth peddled by Gutter Instinct on their first EP, but believe me when I say Age of the Fanatics blows The Insurrection out of the water. On this full-length debut, the band have taken their patented sawmill riffs and jackhammer snares and sandwiched them between all sorts of surprising elements to make one hell of a tasty and unexpected entree. “Leper Beholder” features a creepy lead reminiscent of earlier Decapitated while “Age of the Fanatics” features weirdly asynchronous drumming to really lend the maniacal riffs a claustrophobic vibe. Other tracks feature insidious hints of dissonance (a la Immolation-esque tremolo riffs) here or monstrous groove there, lending to a diverse and engrossing listen that maintains a deranged momentum and psychotic pulse throughout. If you like cleaving riffs and a slightly more nuanced approach to relatively straightforward death metal song structures, look no further. — W.

Kvelertak Nattesferd
Roadrunner Records | May 13th, 2016

Time to rock out with your corpsepaint out: your favorite party black metal band Kvelertak are back! Both of their previous albums are in my regular rotation any time I feel happy or excited (why I would when life is so consistently bleak is a different story), so I was even happier and exciteder when they announced a follow up to 2013’s Meir. The hype was real, and luckily Nattesferd lives up to every single one of my expectations: on a whole, this album might just be Kvelertak’s finest. The band have somehow found an even better balance to their blend of rock ‘n roll and black metal, with a rawer production that fits the material just right. I don’t know how else to describe this: just throw on some shades, jump in your sports car of choice and blast this while riding on a highway by the beach. In Norway, obviously. — Moshito

Occult Burial Hideous Obscure
Invictus Productions | April 25th, 2016

Occult Burial jump back in time to 1982 on their debut album Hideous Obscure. With one look at this album cover, you know what you’re in for. This is a no frills, stripped down, raw and in-your-face heavy metal album. Don’t let the production fool you however, it is merely a tool used for the atmosphere of the record. Masked behind this raw façade, Occult Burial have well articulated riffs that take the listener through classic speed and black metal tropes with ease and precision. Break-neck time shifts and blistering solos weave in and out of the torturous screams from front man and bassist Joel Thomas. Lyrically this album doesn’t cover any new ground, but that isn’t the point. I am perfectly content with songs about witches, jackals and darkness. Perhaps the best way to describe this album is with the opening line to my favorite song on the album, “A Witch Shall Be Born” which states “Uuuuuughh, evil metal!” You can’t get much better than that. FFO: Venom, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate. — Boss the Ross

closethehatch Close the HatchDeath & Resistance
Red Moth Records | February 9th, 2016

File this one under “You Send Us Things, I Listen To Them.” Ohio’s Close The Hatch sent us a little message via Twitter asking us to give their album a listen. We just couldn’t say no, what with their big doe eyes and the fact that it wasn’t just a generic automated message asking us to follow them on Instagram or (shudder) ReverbNation.  The US is filled with a lot of generic doom/stoner/post-metal bands. I know because we had to listen to a whole bunch for TovH’s “Best Unsigned Band In America” contest. Close The Hatch’s sound is familiar, but interesting, separating them from the pack of beard-wearing, sad-feeling bummer merchants that fill the dive bars across this country. The band’s 4-track EP Death & Resistance is a slow, steady head-nodder that makes you sink into the ground until you are one with the earth. With sludgey grooves and a harsh earnestness, Death & Resistance is waiting for a prominent place on your shelf. RIYL: The Atlas Moth, Cult of Luna. — 365


Nahvalr Nahvalr
Enemies List | August 16th, 2008

Dan. Barrett. Dan Barrett. If these two words are not enough to pique your interest, call your parents and apologize for what a disappointing child you have always been. Pretty much everything that comes out of this man is amazing. And no two of his projects sound alike. And yet they all sound like Dan Barrett. Which is something in and of itself. Nahvalr is (was?) his stab at black metal. Or blackened noise. Or noisened drone. Or industrial witch-core, which is now a thing. Dense, intricate, textured—and upsetting from start to finish. Fans of any of the words I have used so far in this mini-review should find something to love or just kind of like here. Here are some more Nahvalr-related words you might like: depression, ghosts, perdition. This is the soundtrack to your permanent vacation in hell. FFO: Dan Barrett, Gnaw Their Tongues, Sewer Goddess— Richter

  • Soooooooo much good shit here. Well done gents!!! Guess I’ll dive into that Violent Scum release. Annnnnnnd… It rips!!!!!

    Blood Harvest Records >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Looking forward to hearing all of the new Cough, Waxen, Occult Burial, and Gutter Instinct. Good fucking round up!!!

    • Abradolf Lincler

      Ritual Abuse was so good, and Cough was so good live, i fear my expectations for the album are too high. thats why i havent blasted it yet

  • Damn, only one Violent Scum song.

    • Lacertilian

      It’s one of those releases that makes a short drive to the shops that little bit faster.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      always upvote Men in Tights

  • nbm02ss

    That Gutter Instinct is making me feel tingly in my nether regions. Good stuff.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    looks like quite a bit for me here, thanks ladies

  • Yes!!! Waxen is absolutely sinister sounding. Good melody as well.

    • Them distorted vocals are so nasty. Production is a bit in the red, but it’s great nonetheless.

      • Lacertilian

        The solos stand out but in a good way.
        He did well to waxon where most just waxoff. (rfi)

        • Haha, nice. I’m skipping around here from band to band. But I’ll definitely be listening to all of that Waxen album during my run later.

        • Stanley

          That solo at the start of the second song is pretty excellent. It’s also quite odd with the clean lead tone over the treble-y distortion. Works though.

  • welcome to the Toilet, Vapeborg!

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Close the Hatch are awesome, I like how the clean vox occasionally bring to mind Alice in Chains.

    • Joaquin Stick

      It is some mighty fine post metal!

  • Waynecro

    Waxen is pretty bad ass. And I’m digging Vex (despite the singer’s hilarious mugging in the “Dark Skies Painted” video).

  • Sweet Satan, that Gutter Instinct production may be the most crushing death metal production of the year. Fuck!

    • Might have to get this shirt… I’m a sucker for a white band tee-shirt, and this design is fucking nasty.

      • I just pulled the trigger on this. Worth it, even though I’m severely tight on cash.

        • I just bought one, too. That artwork is real sick.

          • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

            I’d consider getting one if they had it in black. No way in hell I’m getting a white one, considering my severely sweaty pits and the long block of 90-100+ degree days already here. Outside of my Mexico soccer jersey and the white dress shirt I have for job interviews and my friend’s wedding day, I have no white shirts in my wardrobe.

      • nbm02ss

        No XL option <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

      • It looks amazing, man!!!

      • FUUUCK. I was a tad bit too late. They emailed me saying they’re out of mediums 🙁

      • I bought one too. White shirts >>>>>>

    • Dubs

      I’m glad you dig it. It’s an incredible step up from the EP.

      • Lacertilian

        As much as I loved that EP, I gotta agree with you here.
        I enjoyed the earnest and honest nature of the lyrics/vocals on their first effort but this album is just no-nonsense killer material.

    • This is crushing my dick right now. Hell yes.

      • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

        Same here! Raw as fuck, thicker than pig shits, but still well produced and crisp.

  • Spear

    Ohhhh, yes. Goatcraft is excellent. The Castlevania comparison was on point.

    Waxen and Violent Scum are both pretty fucking killer, too. I’m getting a distinct Dissection vibe from a lot of the riffs on the first Waxen tune, which is always a good thing. Looking forward to Gutter Instinct and Vex, too. Good picks, dudes!

  • sweetooth0

    I saw the magic words “Electric Wizard” in the Cough review. This shit is killer. For some reason I thought they employed more of the typical harsh sludge yelling vox on the older material, but this is 100% Wizard worship here.

    • sweetooth0

      oh and Gutter Instinct>>>>>>>

    • Looking forward to checking out that Cough album tomorrow.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        i know the LPs are already available at a couple distros too

  • Stanley

    Boss, did you get your vinyl yet? Is this record ever coming out?

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I have not, and I have no clue! The bandcamp page i ordered it from says May 27th, but a few other places said April 25th. It is officially way after that and it still says “preorder” I need to investigate… it is quite irritating.

  • listening to Waxen makes me think my speakers are blown. yay? i like to think the whole thing could have been solved by turning the gain down a little. but i’m also no musician, so it’s all speculation.
    the music rules doe!

  • Gutter Instinct has got some RIFFZZZZ

  • Occult Burial: sounds super dooper necro. I like. It reminds me of Nifelheim.


    Vex: killer recommendation, 365! The acoustic sounds beautiful and the drumming is great. I’m def interested.

    Violent Scum: is savage!!! Latin American style.

    Waxen: ultra lo-fi, but I’m cool with it because the riff patterns sounds cool and those synths are so old-school that I returned in time.

    Goatcraft: I need to check this, but I can’t find a song. Can someone help a fellow elfic Vampire Hunter, plox? 🙁

    Great roundup, guyz!

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    I’m sure Gutter Instinct and Occult Burial are quite good, but what I really want to hear is that new Vex. Their last two albums are so good.

    • From what I’ve heard on the song 365 shared in the mini:

      Vex>>>>>>>>>>>Omnium Gatherum.

      Last Omnium Gatherum album was a snoozefest for me 🙁

      • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

        I loved the new OG. They’ve definitely upped the melodeath side of their music.

  • Owlswald

    Found this gem today: I’m sure it has been mentioned here prior but it has some great Decapitated vibe that I’m digging.

  • six thistles six thistles sick thistles sith listles kiss lentils fuuuuuuuuuuuuuk can’t do it.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Richter I’m gonna check out this Nahvalr project, Giles Corey was and is my jam.

      • Nahvalr gets very noisy in a grimy/haunting/murky way, so I figured it’d be of interest to you.

        (Not sure if you can stream the whole thing anywhere but follow that Enemies List link and you can grab the digital for $5– Shill)

  • Abradolf Lincler

    oh shieeetttttttt this Waxen is touching my peter

  • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf
  • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

    Welp, looking like Gutter Instinct is my weekly buy for next week! #SoManyWantsSoLittleMoney

  • Hans Müller

    Richter, you the man. Bring it in for a stump bump.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    So much good music. There goes my bank account😭