Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 10/27/2016
Small brains get small amounts information. I read that in some book but I forgot which one. Read up on Stench Price, Kyy, L’Homme Absurde, Korn, Queen Elephantine, Skyliner, Dethbeds and Solution .45.
We didn’t know it, but the earth desperately needed this record. Stench Price was initially billed to me as a grindcore “supergroup”. That moniker doesn’t do this record justice. Though Stench Price is crammed to the gills with essential grind and death metal artists like Danny Lilker, Dave Ingram, and Romain Goulon, it is so much more than the sum of parts. With this record, the band push grindcore beyond the boundaries that have stagnated the genre for decades. What’s more extreme than extreme? How about major-key xylophone melodies and bubbly bossa nova passages that wouldn’t sound out of place in a shopping mall elevator circa 1987? Each track on this (sadly) too-short record is a delight. Listen to the first two tracks here and hear “Pressure (feat. Karina Utomo), my favorite track, right here. FIVE OUT OF FIVE FIRE EMOJIS –Joe Thrashnkill.
We are living in a time every genre has become over saturated by hordes of mediocre bands without a shred of identity. For one reason or another, the problem (if it can be called one) seems particularly pronounced amongst the ranks of those partial to black metal. On their debut full-length, Kyy don’t seek their place from the experimentalists’ corner – their black metal is of the conservative kind. They stand somewhere between Norsecore-worship and a more modern interpretation. Fierce tremolo riffs, with hints at scorching melodies aren’t anything new per se, but Kyy thrives. Straightforward but bold songwriting, coiling back and forth, keeps the album engaging through and through without any particular need for invention. BF-BM-BD is a regular black metal album, but a very good one. — Karhu.
I love Alcest but usually find copycat bands to be obnoxiously boring. No one pulls it off like Neige and Co. However, this Russian post-black band caught my attention. They stay on the harsher side of things in regards to the drumming and vocals and cut out all the unnecessary atmospherics that bands typically include in this genre. The clean melodic guitar tone overlays this harsher landscape perfectly, fading away at times and taking the lead at others. “Apathy” is an excellent example of their ability to build up a theme and then end it with their unique take. Fans of that last Harakiri for the Sky album should give this a shot as well. — Joaquin Stick
I know, calm down everyone. I come in peace, and I bring groove. After not paying almost any attention to Korn since
I first got into metal never because I wasn’t born a poser, I heard lead single “Rotting in Vain” a few months back and decided to check the album out upon release. While the rest of the album isn’t as good as that one song, it’s an extremely fun listen packed with your usual Korn-isms (Fieldy‘s stringy bass and Jonathan Davis‘ characteristic voice) along with some damn heavy riffs and Ray Luzier‘s extremely tight drumming. All in all, The Serenity of Suffering is a pretty good album to jam to if the mere mention of the band’s name didn’t send you into an uncontrollable barfing fit. — Moshito.
Kala, the fifth full-length from Rhode Island psyche/doom crew Queen Elephantine, is not an attention-grabbing record. The spare, ratty guitar lines will not light anyone’s face on fire. The multiple percussion pieces are set way back in the mix and content to build atmosphere rather than pummel the listener. Vocals only occasionally appear in the course of these lengthy, meditative tracks. Instead, Queen Elephantine are content to slowly sprawl out across this record, stretching each segment inch-by-inch into an invocation for an ancient and esoteric ritual. In exchange for a little patience, Kala is a rewarding listen. FFO: Sonic Youth by way of doom metal. — Joe Thrashnkill.
Skyliner is a trio from Jacksonville, Florida, that combines some of the best elements of USPM with a solid progressive musical style into one excellent package. On their new album, Condition Black, the lyrics are deep and thoughtful, the riffs abundant, and the vocal stylings varied, from a clean baritone to gritty death growls. The overall theme of the album is a dark contemplation of destruction and searching for one’s own G-d and a purpose for life in a jacked up universe, and it all comes across perfectly in the songs. There’s something here for everyone, even if you aren’t a huge power metal fan. — Freedom Jew.
Full disclosure: I am about to hit you with a pair of conflicting statements. I have no idea what the fuck is going on with Dethbeds, and I love the fact that I have no idea what the fuck is going on with Dethbeds. I will try my hand at trying to describe Dungeon Scum, but I’m perfectly OK with the possibility that my assessment may be a failure. Dethbeds combines the likes of Botch and Eyehategod with thrash and black metal in a way that sounds like it was haphazardly slapped together as a well-conceived bad idea that has no business being any good. All the odds are against it being any good, but it kicks and punches its way into your subconscious to force you to believe that it’s good. I really can’t quite wrap my head around it, but you should listen to this, enjoy it and accept the fact that you can’t quite wrap your head around it. By the way, all the preceding statements are compliments. Sorry so cryptic. — Ron Deuce.
Fans of Euro Melodeath rejoice, there’s more of Christian Älvestam‘s glorious growled/sung combo vocals in the world. The former and bestest Scar Symmetry frontman is the shining star of Solution .45‘s most recent offering, where the rest of the band creates an aptly heavy and catchy (and at times technical) set of sounds that flourish around the vocals. I like that the album is really diverse: they mixed up the more straightforward songs with cuts that take a bit more effort to process and digest, and by the end of it I felt as satisfied as with any 10-course meal. Any fan of Melodic Death Metal with flares of prog and a more good cop/bad cop vocal approach (though in this case it’s the same cop) should love this album, especially Scar Symmetry fans. Listen here. — Moshito.