Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 03-31-16

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“And the small shall inherit the objective opinions.” -A dude.

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Heretique De Non Existentia Dei
Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho | March 26th, 2016

There’s a good reason so many bands attempt the style of death metal that Poland’s Heretique fit into – it’s just good all-round headbanging fun. Fairly straight-forward compositions with some flashes of technical prowess, decipherable vocals with a decent splash of misanthropy and good ol’ Satan, all recorded with clarity. The album feels long and could possibly have made a great EP but the addition of quite a few solo spots which bring to mind The Black Dahlia Murder and mid-era Slayer, coupled with some nice clean guitar sections which showcase some pretty exquisite tone, help to break up the piece somewhat. While this album certainly doesn’t shatter any moulds, it still serves its purpose and should please those seeking some pretenseless modern death metal. De Non Existentia Dei is an album that simultaneously shows polish and Polish.
FFO: Discreation, Behemoth, Hate. — Lacertilian

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Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
Metal Blade Records | March 25th, 2016

What can be said about Amon Amarth that hasn’t been said already? Melodic viking-themed death metal with a wide-spread appeal. However, Amon Amarth have pushed themselves on this album both musically and lyrically. Instead of relying on the retelling of mythological tales, the band creates a concept album surrounding a viking and his quest for his love. The album segues with passages of narration to help drive the concept home. Musically the band draws more influence from folk, traditional and power metal than their previous albums and even  Doro makes an appearance. If you thought Amon Amarth couldn’t be any more catchy, you were wrong. Harmonies weave in and out of pummeling riffs that will have you coming back for more. RAISE YOUR HORNS! — Boss the Ross

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Tormentium Bounds To The Depths
Exile Musick | March 25th, 2016

Blending a diverse range of black metal sub-genre tropes is not an easy task, but Portland’s Tormentium seem to have achieved some moderate success in doing so on their debut album Bound To The Depths. After over 10 years as a band, releasing a handful of splits, demos, promos and the like, the quartet have finally penned a full-length. The album has an overarching concept of depths, each track reflecting a different introspective theme. There are some blasty sections, some distorted melodies, clean passages and quite a varied assortment of riffing approaches and vocal deliveries. As I mentioned above, contrasting harmony with the harsher aspects of the genre without having an undesirable jarring effect is tough and I think Tormentium have made a valiant attempt here. The juxtaposition works well for the most part, although that’s not to say it doesn’t have a couple of slightly more awkward moments. Probably as a function of their locality the band mix elements of the cascadian sound associated with the Pacfic North-West with some more common contemporary black metal stylings, and while the album possesses some similarities to DSBM it remains upbeat for the most part. Bound To The Depths is quite well produced but also quite long (over an hour) and depending on your affinity for this blend of BM the length could either be what you expect from the style or a chore to complete. — Lacertilian

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Gloria Morti – Kuebiko
Willowtip Records | March 18th, 2016

Blackened death metal is a thing that I like, but for some reason haven’t dug into too much. And unbeknownst to me, it isn’t only done in Poland; Finland’s Gloria Morti, who I had heard about but never got around to giving a proper listen to, return with their fifth offering Kuebiko, which Karhu tells me loosely translates to “get a dictionary, dirty southerner”. Again, I haven’t heard any of their other material, but this is some very solid Black/Death; listening to this has reminded me at times of Melechesh (boasting catchy minor third riffs galore), albeit with much more of a DM touch. The production on this is very atmospheric, and it sounds just right for a record that has anything to do with general blackenedness (although a little more bass would have been nice). Check out the video for “Executioner” and buy the album if it floats your boat. — MoshOff

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Pelican Live at Empty Bottle December 15, 2015
Independent/Southern Lord | March 4th, 2016

Pelican fans, gather and rejoice at the band’s bancamp page. There you shall find a live recording with the ever mystical “Name Your Price” option. Solid, riff heavy jams await you. This is not a professionally recorded and released live album, simply a “very fun night” that the band wanted to share with their fans. Not a Pelican fan or haven’t heard their music? This is an excellent place to start as this show utilizes newer and older material for an all inclusive performance. It would be excellent to see more bands release recordings like this in the future. — Boss the Ross

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Voivod Post Society (EP)
Century Media Records | February 26th, 2016

Voivod are back 3 years after Target Earth with their new EP, Post Society. The thick, bass heavy muddy tones are back, while the guitars are curiously clean compared to the bass tone. They complement the bass tone to produce a stellar sound that wonderfully suits their signature space thrash. Snake continues to provide us with plenty of his strange, droney singing and healthy doses of shouts and screaming. The songwriting seems more focused and higher quality than that of Target Earth, hopefully hinting that the next full length will be a monster album. Voivod has a knack of effortlessly writing fun time signatures into their music, and they don’t disappoint on Post Society. Definitely check this out if you are a fan of Voivod or progressive thrash, and pay attention to whatever Voivod does next. It’s almost certainly going to be of extraordinary quality. — Randall Thor

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After the Burial Dig Deep
Sumerian | February 19th, 2016

After the Burial have been around for a while now, and for whatever reason (probably their good taste in guitar colors) I’d never given them a chance. Thanks to the insistence of our own timetravelling Lizard, I gave their hallmark album Rareform a chance and really dug it, so I decided to Dig Deep-er (for an affordable price I do parties, wedding receptions, mitzvahs…). While this album isn’t as good, it’s still a really fun chunk of djenty progressive deathcore that knows what it is and does it extremely well. In my mind, ATB are basically the band that would result from Protest the Hero buying 8-string guitars and going full Meshuggah-worship; if you liked PTH’s Volition and can stand the absence of clean vocals, this album is definitely for you. Listen to the album here.  — MoshOff

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Snow Burial – Victory in Ruin
Independent| February 1st, 2016

There must be something in the water in the lower Midwest, because between this and Northless, there have been two great sludge albums to come out of the area this year. Snow Burial veer more towards post-metal than the aforementioned Northless, wearing their Cult of Luna and Isis influences on their sleeve. Victory In Ruin is heavy and emotional but never cheesy, with some downright nasty riffs between the roaring vocals and graceful leads. Even the lighter moments will keep your head bobbing with a healthy dose of groove.  It’s entirely headbangable and never misses a step. — Spear

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Rhapsody of Fire Into the Legend
AFM Records | January 15th, 2016

I cannot believe I got this one. I’ve heard a lot of grumbling that while this album is a huge step up from their previous dud, Dark Wings of Steel, it still isn’t the same quality as early Rhapsody material. I don’t care what anyone says, this is a great Rhapsody of Fire album and I am very happy with it. The whole things brims with the same energy and excitement that made their first run of 5 albums so legendary. This album has every bit of the bombast and excessive synths/keys/shredding that is the hallmark of any good Rhapsody album. While certainly not as speedy or shreddy as their previous material featuring guitar maestro Luca Turilli, the excellent songwriting combined with the musicianship of the band plus the incredible vocals of Fabio Lione carry this album to victory. I seriously doubt there are any symphonic power metal fans who have held out on this album, but if for whatever reason you’re out there and haven’t listened to this, what are you waiting for? Dive Into the Legend today! — Randall Thor

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Malrun – Oblivion Awaits
ViciSolum Records | December 4th, 2015

This Danish crew brings hints of modern prog metal, symphonic styles, and technicality together for this well-rounded EP that could appease both fans of power metal and melodic death metal, as long as they are willing to compromise. Malrun has a talent for creating hooks that edge on the safe side of cheesy, but are fully awesome. Though still on the chugging side of the prog scene, there’s enough variation to keep it interesting. With an excellent new vocalist from their previous full length, they seem to be stepping up from their more metal-core past. “Wilderness of Pain” (linked above) might go down as one of my favorite tracks of the year because of that sweet sweet hook in the chorus. It has been stuck in my head for days. — YourLogicIsFlushed

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