Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 09/01/2016
Small things come in big packages, or some deep thing of the sort. This week: Zealot Cult, Eschatos, Dopethrone, Mr. In Your House 4, Cesspool of Corruption, Marsh Dweller, Sect, Viha Surma, Aesop Rock and Endless.
The catastrophic series of eruptions from the seething volcano that is Blood Harvest Records shows no sign of relent this year; the next igneous death ball heading our way is the debut EP from Ireland’s Zealot Cult. Atop the ground where genre legends Pestilence, Death, and Obituary solidified into the death metal landscape, Zealot Cult’s riffs of liquid hot lava form a confluence of pyroclastic flow that will immediately burn these 3 tracks into your mind. If you, like me, were a little let down with Gruesome‘s EP earlier this year, Zealot Cult have got what you need to fill that void. The eponymous first track is a great no-nonsense introduction, but it’s on tracks 2 and 3 where the band really sear their intent on the surrounding Earth. Karemenian Crypt may only run for 20 or so minutes, but over the last couple of weeks, all this has meant to me is that I get 200% more of this awesomeness per hour. Seriously, the replay button is suffering a case of stigmata after the fucking crucifixion I’ve put it through this month. Even better news is that the band have just announced they’ll be hitting the studio later in the year for a debut album with current death metal overlords Blood Harvest. — Lacertilian.
Latvia: the birthplace of black metal. Wait–Latvia is in Norway, right? No? Shit. Well, go find Latvia on a map or globe and stick a pin in it, because if this latest album by blackened Latvians Eschatos is any indication, Latvia is where all the riffs have been hiding all these years. And I know you are all mindless slaves to the RIFF, so get in here and subjugate yourselves. Sophomore album The Grand Noir finds Eschatos letting loose with the voluminous riffjaculations. It’s catchy, proggy and mean all at once. I’m hearing dissonant black metal, traditional heavy metal, punk and just a pinch of gothic drama all firing at once. The music is both technical and passionate; the production is gorgeously crisp and clear (which I usually fucking hate, but here it is warranted). Out now on digital or you can wait for the cassette if you crave obsolete technology. FFO: Black metal bands who have mastered their instruments. — Richter.
After the release of the uberheavy Hochelaga, Montreal’s powertrio Dopethrone have decided to waste absolutely no time this year with new music. May showed us a split with Fister and now the band is back again with an eleven-and-a-half minute EP of suffocating riffs, pulsating drums and lifecrushing vocals. Dopethrone don’t break any new ground with this release, but why would you want them too? They have hit their stride with Hochelaga and will continue with it for the foreseeable future. Dialogue samples? Check. Fuzz? Check. Horror? Check. Sounds like a winning combination to me. My single complaint is the song lengths; surely they could’ve added at least another minute to each song. Just as the groove really starts to set in each song is briskly over. — Boss the Ross.
Simple. Elegant. Straightforward. Artistic. Innovative. These are merely a handful of words used to describe what some may call the concept album of the year. Done in classic Ventures style, Mr. In Your Liver: The Beer Reviewing Album (MIYL for short) is a brisk tale of woe and shitty beers. Personally, this album really speaks to me. One can’t help but agree that Miller High Life really is not the champagne of beers that people think it is, rather it is the champagne of beers for people that don’t know what champagne actually tastes like. Despite the fact that track 9 states the artist admits to not being a beer drinker, the knowledge within MIYL is so groundbreaking that a listener would suspect him of years of beer consumption. This earns 6 out of 6 empty Old Rasputin bottles. — Boss the Ross.
This debut release by Cesspool of Corruption was brought to my attention by the ever immaculate Dubbbz. With a brief and descriptive sentence he lured me into the pit of an awaiting monster that yearned to be unleashed. What is it he said that led me to this you may ask? “Check out this Texas Death Metal.” Being a sucker for anything Texas, my interest was already piqued. Hell I was practically sold on the band. Now, I am no expert on Death Metal, but I know when I hear something I can enjoy, and Eradication scratched all of the right places. This quartet of Texas Deathmetallers know how to jam. Simultaneously they write catchy, yet technical riffs that will appeal to many listeners. The bass is audible, slinking in and out of each riff while the drums are well-mixed to stand clear and drive the album forward. Vocally we get a mixture of low grunts and high shrieks, reminiscent of Trevor Strnad at times. Simply put Eradication is a beast. Just look at that kaiju on the cover! That is really all you need. — Boss the Ross.
Miss the sounds of the leaves crackling underfoot as birds chirp and the gentle rain gradually completes its descent down to the forest floor? Part of that same rich sonic tapestry of melodic and medieval metal that Obsequiae encapsulated on their critically acclaimed Aria of Vernal Tombs is present on The Weight of Sunlight, the debut album from Pittsburgh’s Marsh Dweller. While this album falls a little short of the serene majesty that Obsequiae reached last year, let’s face it, everything does. But before you lament the lack of harp, lute, or whatever you damn nerds finger at parties, know this – The Weight of Sunlight is still a thoroughly enjoyable album. The music is beautifully composed, astutely executed, and resplendent in practically every way. While Marsh Dweller is essentially a one-man band, there are a bunch of really cool guest spots in the shape of Aaron Carey (Nechochwen, End), Andrew D’Cagna (Obsequiae, Nechochwen), and Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae, Celestiial). Did I mention this album sounds like Obsequiae? Well it sounds like Obsequiae, almost obsequiously so; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. — Lacertilian.
A supergroup that’s actually super? We’ve seen that phrase bandied about before, and for the most part it has failed to deliver. That is not the case with this collection of hardcore veterans that includes Chris Colohan (Cursed, vocals), Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, Guitar), Ian Edwards (Earth Crisis, Bass), James Chang (Catharsis, Guitar) and Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy, Racetraitor, Enabler and other notable hardcore street cred). Right now you are thinking that this is some pom poms waving unity hardcore brotherhood 25 ta Life non acoustic set type shit. Sorry to disappoint those of you who have pre-conceived notions, but the music here heavily leans towards 90’s Swedish death metal more than anything else. The guitar players took the HM-2’s, threw them out the window, picked them up off the sidewalk and then plugged them into the amps and recorded this album. Oh yeah and they smack you in the grill with feedback quite frequently because the feedback and HM-2’s make beautiful music together. Colohan has a sharp and pointed tongue in the lyrical department. Most folks don’t typically read the lyrics to most of the music they listen to. Do yourself a solid on this one and engage with the lyric sheet because Sect speaks quite eloquently on subjects such as police brutality, education, war and plutocracy among other things. Unlike most things you encounter in life, Sect raises your IQ. Think of your future, people. — Ron Deuce.
When it comes to raw, underground black metal, there are few new bands as mysterious as Mexico’s Viha Surma. Lacking any sort of online presence aside from a Facebook page (oddly), and with only a 42-copy run of their only album The Tower of Witchcraft, Viha Surma certainly couldn’t hold you accountable for going your whole life without ever hearing a single second of their music. If you like rrrrrrrrrripping black metal that hearkens back to the trve days of yore, though, what a mistake that would be! TToW showcases a hungry, eager band blazing through six tracks of tremolo riffs, black’n’roll riffs, and melodic riffs with some delightful alterations in drum pace and attack. What’s most noteworthy, though, are vocalist Saturnaalinen A.’s caterwauls. If you’re the kind of masochist who holds Fleurety‘s (understandable) change in vocal approach in reproach, you’ll be delighted to hear Mr. Saturnaalinen shriek and scream and generally make an unholy racket with utter throat-shredding abandon. There isn’t much new to find on TToW, but if you’re a fan of tape hiss, primordial banshee shrieks, and rrrrrrrrrrrriffs, you’ll surely love this. Make sure to jam it on the excellent Har’oloth youtube page. — W.
Pardon the interruption of your daily metal broadcast because if you like hip hop, you should really hop the fence and listen to Aesop Rock’s latest album. His rapid fire flow is loaded with quick-witted and complexly worded rhymes that often say more in one line than some emcees are capable of conveying in one verse. Given that prior statement, the album is loaded with replay value as you’ll discover something new with each and every subsequent spin of the album. Lyrics alone cannot carry a hip hop album which is why the beats for each of the fifteen tracks on The Impossible Kid are loaded with punchy drum sounds, funky bass lines and a horde of other instrumentation including the choppy guitar riff on “Dorks.” There’s no filler here either, no shit talking before the song starts, just beats and rhymes, the way hip hop was meant to be. It’s also worth noting that the seemingly lost art of turntable scratches makes an appearance on many tracks. Welcome back to the needles that carve vinyl; we missed you. — Ron Deuce.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like power metal has been sorely lacking 2016. Then again, maybe it’s all just been sifted safely through my hirsute music-baleen, like Brazil’s Endless. They had the terrible misfortune of sharing a release date with their labelmates Eternity’s End, damning them to obfuscation through no fault of their own. These gents continue the time-honored tradition of South American power metal bands bringing the riffs and the cheesiness in equal measure, sounding a bit like Rhapsody diluted with a dash of Angra’s recent material. There’s some borderline hard rock chord riding and it does get a bit too up its own ass with the ballads sometimes, but it has sated my thirst for soaring vocals and epic quests during these dark months. — Spear.