Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 10/20/2016

No matter how long I’m away, the small things come back to haunt me. Stuff your face full of Steel Hook Prostheses, Wormrot, Spectral Voice, Phrenelith, Urzeit, Allegaeon, Hammerhands, AbigailPalehorse, Giants and Aenaon.


steelhookprostheses

Steel Hook Prostheses – Calm Morbidity
Malignant Records | October 28th, 2016

Calm Morbidity, the 10th album from Texas-based death industrial duo Steel Hook Prostheses, is a raw and disturbing look at the dark, twisted emotions of the self. Atmospherics and drones swirl around bursts of rage and frustration. The songs wrap around the listener and squeeze like a robotic python, choking the air out of your lungs and dulling your senses. While some electronic acts barrage you with sound, Calm Morbidity drags you down like weights tied to your legs. There is a odd beauty in the terror that Steel Hook Prostheses creates. Perhaps this is the sound of inevitability and impermanence we all hear before the lights permanently go out. RIYL: Gnaw Their Tongues, The Vomit Arsonist, Xiphoid Dementia. –365.


Wormrot Voices
Earache Records | October 14th, 2016

After four years or so of relative silence (and an almost-breakup), Singapore’s #1 exporters of grind are back in business, and boy is business busy. It looks like the time out of the underground spotlight really gave vocalist Arif and guitarist Rasyid time to refine their respective abilities, as well as to get tight with new powerhouse drummer Vijesh. Wormrot’s third LP, Voices, is everything I wanted and expected from the band… with a twist. The songs generally seem better structured and are much more interesting, and as a result the record is very solid and less sloppy-sounding. Some might see this as a bad thing coming from a grind band, but all of these elements (especially the Nasum and Converge-evoking melody-infused riffs) make for a very serious contender for my own AOTY list. Get it here— Moshito.


Spectral Voice/Phrenelith Split EP
Dark Descent/Iron Bonehead | October 13th, 2016

Split EPs can truly be a thing of beauty. Two bands of a similar nature writing new songs and throwing them together on a slab of wax so filthy casuals like us can enjoy and possibly even discover new bands. The new split from Spectral Voice and Phrenelith isn’t just a thing of beauty though, it’s a thing of disgust, which is really just it’s own kind of beautiful. At the moment both bands only have demos to their names, but those demos have brought them a lot of attention, and for good reason: They both have great potential to become top-of-the-heap death metal acts. This split may be the first step in realizing that potential. Both of these songs are easily the best ones written by their respective bands. Spectral Voice’s “Peeled Veins” is a much faster number than anything we’ve heard from them before, but still finds a way to slow to the crushing crawl you expect before an absolutely off the rails solo. Phrenelith’s side, “Once Fertile Soil,” is more straightforward if only because it never relents in its crushing pace. This is an absolute must have for fans of either band, and will offer super kvlt bragging rites when they become the next big things in death metal. — Leif.


Urzeit Anmoksha
Independent | October 10th, 2016

I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water in the pacific northwest these days but it has lead to an outpouring of quality black metal from the region (Weed. It’s probably weed). The latest bit of blackened glory comes from Urzeit, featuring members of acts such as Ash Borer, Hell, Mizmor, Triumvir Foul and Uskumgallu. If for some reason that pedigree doesn’t win you over the music most certainly will. Anmoksha is pure, fuzzed out black metal fury. It wastes no time with atmospherics or overlong build-ups, but does occasionally indulge in the briefest of slow downs, perhaps to give the listener time to catch their breath. After all, the human body can only handle so much acidity, and Urzeit brings more than enough, especially on tracks like “Bellisunya” that feature a pummeling, punk beat. If you’re a fan of other PNW black metal bands but wish they operated with more ferocity, then Anmoksha will be right up your alley. — Leif.


Allegaeon Proponent for Sentience
Metal Blade Records | September 23rd, 2016

Slightly-Sympho Melodeath-Techers Allegaeon return after their TovH-acclaimed 2014 banger Elements of the Infinite, this time with a brand-new frontman and renewed songwriting energy. The band continue to excel at their brand of modern melodeath, this time with Riley McShane’s more diverse screams to add another layer of texture atop the mesh of eight-string guitar riffs (as well as the occasional choirs and strings). I found Proponent for Sentience very enjoyable upon first listen… as long as I ignored the predictably stale Dave Otero production and some of the borderline-cringey Dawkinscore “HAIL SCIENCE” lyrics.  But I digress; I strongly recommend this album to anyone looking for their fix of melodeath with a side of tech. Stream Proponent for Sentience here. — Moshito.


Hammerhands Largo Forte
Independent | September 15th, 2016

Hammerhands have got the crushing sludge meets old western score that you never knew you needed until now with their sophomore album Largo Forte.  These dudes seamlessly combine the heaving mass of a band like Sumac with kitschy twang that is at once a parody of the spaghetti western sound and a tribute to it.  “THUNDERCHUNK” [not my emphasis] steams ahead slowly like the anthem for some kind of railroad crew death march.  The title track rides a Morricone-esque melodic theme right into the ground and hammers it home with fiery riffs from a wrathful god.  “Where We Go” indulges in twang, over which oil-slick, devilish vocals tell a narrative of old west savagery.  I have mentioned before that I like it when bands in the sludge/post-metal/doom genre can step outside the stale boundaries of generic conventions and present a unique and new take on the genre.  I think Hammerhands have done just this with Largo Forte.  Their distinctly darkened vision of the old west is a very welcome addition to my collection, satisfying both my desire for the heaviest of riffs and my love for spaghetti western scores. — Old Man Doom.


AbigailThe Final Damnation
Nuclear War Now! | Sep 30th, 2016

Abigail has never become a favorite for bigger audiences, despite constantly touring and putting out material since ’92. One of the more apparent reasons is the lack of albums – The Final Damnation is only the band’s sixth – another, their tendency to release approximately 300 splits and EPs a year. Between them and Barbatos‘ output, Yasuyuki Suzuki is easily one of extreme metal’s busiest men. The vast number of records has neither slowed him down, nor caused a deviation from the plan. The Final Damnation delivers savage black/thrash or “street metal” with the fury, fervor and perversity only Suzuki knows. With titles like “Sex & Metal,” “Whisky Coke And Bitch” & “Sweet Baby Metal Sluts” (uhh, is this what I think it is?) you ought to know what you’re in for. Though in his relentless quest to quench his thirst, Suzuki smoothed down some of the bends. The Final Damnation‘s bass-heavy sound is relatively clean, lacking tape hiss and interfering noise black metal is so often associated with. Abigail hasn’t released an album this distinctively thrash-less since Intercourse and Lust, all in favor of unhinged, blackened-to-the-point-of-charred riffing. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an album more savage than this. — Karhu


Palehorse – Looking Wet in Public
Holy Roar Records | July 1st, 2016

Loud, noisy and irresponsibly pissed off are the best ways to describe Palehorse. There’s a noise rock undercurrent happening here that is mingling between the sheets with the likes of KEN Mode, Botch and Coalesce. The song titles are outlandish to the point where they are luring you in and begging you not the take the pill that comes along with the unpleasant audio. How can you not be the least bit curious about a track that goes by the name of “Miserable Heroin Addict Vs. Jehovahs Witness Guy”? You would not be shocked in the least if Don King was booking that fight, and I for one want front row seats. The absurdity does not end there because just for shits and giggles you get, “Terrifying Japanese Coldplay Documentary.” I do not  know what the means, but I’m already four tracks in and dying to know why Palehorse has to be so god damn confrontational about everything.  Ron Deuce.


Giants – Break the Cycle
Holy Roar Records | April 1st, 2016

If you like Comeback Kid, Ignite and Bad Religion, Giants is a band that is more than happy to serve you that sandwich. Comeback Kid is the most dominant of the influences here, and that’s a good thing when you’re able to measure up to that band’s pedigree. Factor in the Ignite and Bad Religion aspects and you have something truly captivating that will grip you throughout. This is some god damn catchy, energetic and well played hardcore punk rock that will have you raising your fist and singing in unison with each and every track. The songwriting is clear and concise with the production lending its hand in creating the inspirational energy that the band set out to create. Break the Cycle is filled with the anthems you never knew you needed. — Ron Deuce.


Aenaon Extance
Code666 Records | January 20th, 2014

I mentioned this Greek band in my most recent news post becasue they have a new album coming soon, but I had never heard of them before so I went and checked out their previous album. Oh man was I not disappointed. Progressive saxophone-infused “black” metal is everything I hoped it would be. Extance has a little touch of dissonance throughout, but somehow stays on the melodic side of things. It gets blisteringly fast and loud, then ices the wounds with some chant-like clean singing, a melodic guitar solo, or some sexy sax. If you want all of that in one song (and why wouldn’t you?) check out “Der Mude Tod.” Though the resemblance fades in and out over the course of the album, I imagine fans of Ihsahn will love this. Look for their new album November 25 and check out a track from it here. Joaquin Stick.

 

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    that spectral voice track is heckin heavy

  • Allegation’s album artwork is wicked.

    • Howard Dean

      Heil Artwork!

  • W.

    This Urzeit album is hotter than two hampsters farting in a wool sock.

  • Had to buy the Abigail vinyl.

    • Stanley

      I still need to give this one a spin.

      • Let me know what you think. I think you’ll enjoy it though.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Really liking the “desert feel” of that Hammerhands.

    • I think you meant to say Sumerlands.

      • Joaquin Stick

        I like that too.

    • I’m digging these HammerJams as well.

    • Howard Dean

      If you like desert/western feel like that, I’d recommend the Horseback album Half Blood. I remember I bought it at a record store a few years ago (simply on the strength of its cover art, had no idea what kind of music it was), and it was like straight up Morricone-themed weirdness. Check out the first track “Mithras.”

      https://horseback.bandcamp.com/track/mithras

      I’d also recommend last year’s “Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons” split from Black Twilight Circle (particularly Volahn’s contribution, which sounds like it’s pulled straight from a twisted version of A Fistful of Dollars).

      • W.

        I’ll back this, though it has been quite some time since I listened to Horseback.

      • Joaquin Stick

        I have seen that name a few times recently but never tuned in. Checking it out now and I think I will like this. The cover art on the most recent one was just so weird that I guessed it wasn’t to my liking.

      • Old Man Doom

        SO FUCKING GOOD. I love Horseback

  • I concur Moshito, Wormrot is a lock for AOTY considerations.

    • Mosh Hoff

      I was legit surprised because the jump in quality is pretty huge. Not that they were bad at any point, but still.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        So you’ve never heard them before?

        • Mosh Hoff

          Karhu comment is Karhu comment.

          • W.

            “If it doesn’t sound like two hams slapping underwater while a whale croons, not interested.” – Karhu.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            It would be unnatural to give crustacean comments, seeing as I am not one.

      • Thought it was great after the first listen and all the new elements they added worked out real well.

      • Same here. I had to go back and listen to Abuse and Dirge to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

  • Howard Dean

    My fuck does that little rack of ribs look delicious. I need some fucking barbecue up in here.

    • Stanley

      Agreed. But who the hell puts tobiko on a hot dog?

      • I am going to relish in your joke for awhile.

        • W.

          Don’t keep your feelings jarred up, GL. Tell us how you feel.

        • Stanley

          Yo, GL. I did the Chicago Marathon the other week. If you’ve got one more in you, it’s a good one. Great course, well organized, well supported and in a great city (I’d not been to Chicago before). I’d definitely recommend this one.

          • Sweet deal! Do well?

            I am sure I have one in me one day… You are the third person who I have had recommend the race. Chicago is a pretty neat town, pricey for me, but neat all the same.

          • Stanley

            I surprised myself as I’ve been injured most of the year. It can be pricey, but you can just eat Italian beef sandwiches and deep dish pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, Revolution Brewing is the tits.

          • Sweeet. Maybe when I am retired I will start doing ones further away. I am busy being outta shape af right now. Chicago is a easy 5ish hour drive for us. Not terrible far.

          • Joaquin Stick

            Revolution is great. Did you go to the tap room or restaurant? Anti-hero might be my favorite IPA.

          • Stanley

            I caught the blue line out towards the airport and got off at the California stop. I guess that’s the restaurant as we had food there although it also looks like they brew there. I had quite a few Anti-Hero’s over the weekend, but also tried the Eugene Porter and the Mosaic Hero and some Imperial Stout that was on cask (can’t remember the name).

          • Joaquin Stick

            Nice, I’ve had Eugene as well. Unless something has changed in the last year, yeah that was the restaurant. I think they have a small operation there. The taproom is one of those awesome bring your own food type deals. Awesome atmosphere.

      • Howard Dean

        The type of people who balk at the sushi from the local Japanese/Korean restaurant and say that it’s “not authentic enough” but then drench their nigiri in soy sauce and wasabi mix and pick it up with chopsticks. *Flush*

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Aenaon kills it, but 2014 – lol.

    • Mosh Hoff

      2014 is sooooooo 2012.

    • Joaquin Stick

      IT’S NEW TO ME DAMNIT!

  • Waynecro

    That new Wormrot album is very, very good.

  • AeonsOvChaos

    Filthy Death/Thrash if you want some, fast and poisonous, short release who seems pretty solid:https://australopithecusrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vorator-italic-raids and full stream at Decibel, that Abigail release rips hard by the way!

  • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

    To celebrate the 41st Anniversary of Van Der Graaf Generator’s seminal album Godbluff here’s a mini review:

    The album Godbluff is very good. Peter Hammill sounds like an angry Ian Anderson and the instrumental work is phenomenal.