Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 04-08-16

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Small words, get ’em while they’re hot!

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Murder Made God Enslaved
Comatose Music | April 15th, 2016

If you like your death metal stright and to the point, Greece has you covered: Murder Made God drop their second full-length comprised of no-frills blast-beats, constant double bass flourishes, chugs, tremolo picking and low growls. The closest thing I can come up with for comparison are my beloved Dyscarnate, who in turn are heavily influence by my more beloved Dying Fetus. Not having listened to their debut for reference, I have to say this isn’t anything all that special. The band is more than competent at performing the style, but I can’t quite put my finger on what Enslaved is missing. Check ’em out and support them if you enjoy it! — MoshOff

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Tombstoned IITombstoned – II
Svart Records | April 1st, 2016

Due to personal overexposure, I’m not terribly excited about the notion of a new stoner album. And when I do listen to stoner it usually falls into one the three categories: really slow and extra crispy, I mean riffy (a’la Monolord), faster and nastier (Dopethrone) or groovy and atmospheric (Acid King), the majority of stoner that attempts to enter my ears seems to fall into a fourth category, rocking and lazy – therefore the lack of excitement. Where does Tombstoned fit on this map? Not to any particular point, which is well. Most of the time they traverse dangerously close to taking it too easy but their abundance of riffs (see “And I Told You“) keeps them afloat. II is never heavy, but very fuzzy and hazy – the band knows when to settle for a moodier groove. Tombstoned avoids major pitfalls but a bit of energy or a really heavy riff would do them wonders. — Karhu

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The Algorithm – Brute Force
FiXT | April 1st, 2016

On his 3rd full-length release, French producer Rémi Gallego returns with possibly his most thoughtfully composed album. For those who’re unaware of the sound on his previous albums Polymorphic Code and Octopus4, imagine a band such as Born of Osiris ditched their vocalist(s), took a shitload of some experimental DOx compounds and were tasked with writing the soundtrack to a Need for Speed video game while tripping balls. The results are much more interesting than that terrible analogy would lead you to believe. Brute Force’s tracks are more concise and combine the more relaxed sound of Octopus4 with the more aggressive metallic-sounds from the debut, albeit in a much less garish way. Although the sound is still predominantly electronic breakcore the guitar ‘riffs’ are more overt, incorporating a couple of djent-y leads and at one point resembling something that could pass as a Meshuggah sound-check. FFO: ‘Wubs’ that also chug, Dan Terminus, Chugs that also ‘wub’. — Lacertilian

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Entheos – The Infinite Nothing
Artery Recordings | April 1st, 2016

Trying to be objective when reviewing the follow-up to my #2 release of 2015 is going to be hard, but I will try: Entheos are back merely a year after their debut EP, and they want to leave no neck unbroken and no mind unboggled. Since last year I’ve had trouble pinpointing this band’s style, because they aren’t really deathcore, not really tech-death and not really deathgrind; they float somewhere between these styles and make some of the best awe-inducing and driving music you will hear all year hands down. Evan Brewer‘s prominent, slapped bass, Navene K‘s precise grooves, Chaney Crabb‘sslicing screams and newcomer Malcom Pugh‘s insane leads will have you captivated and wanting a lot more. I can get used to a release a year by these people, MAKE IT HAPPEN GUYS. — MoshOff

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DolentiaSerpentfyreSerpentfyre/Dolentia – split 7″
Altare Productions | April 1st, 2016

I’m not terribly fond of splits this short – two bands, two songs. In order to be worth the money, the quality has to be nearly phenomenal, and unfortunately neither of these songs really are. The Finnish Serpentfyre released their debut last year, flying under my radar. Their contribution, “Kointähti”, is a good old fashioned second-wave black metal rager. The riffs are pleasing and the band makes up for their lack of memorability with sheer zest. Unfortunately the production is both odd and off-putting. Guitars are buried beneath literally everything else, and while I’m all for mixing the bass up, the loud as hell drums (those cymbals…) and exceptionally dry vocals on top of it all wasn’t the best of choices. The Portuguese Dolentia fortunately doesn’t suffer from production issues, the raw but clear mix agrees with the cold riffs and “Servo Além-Dor” offers somewhat more memorable riffing, falling flat as it settles for a moodier approach for almost two minutes. Neither band offer anything remarkable as far as S-WBM is concerned, but especially the latter does well enough to pique my interest – not enough to catch the split though. — Karhu

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URSA NovembreNovembreURSA
Peaceville | April 1st, 2016

After nine years, Novembre have returned with their first new album since The Blue was released. Prior to their hiatus, the Italians released their most rounded and polished album to date. Building upon the foundation of their prior albums (specifically Dreams D’Azur and Materia), The Blue unified great production, composition, and instrumentation into an impressive progressive metal voyage. What’s more, it also demonstrated the band’s evolution. Does URSA continue this trend? Yes and no. Similar to what Textures experienced with Phenotype (for different reasons), URSA shows the band re-establishing their identity as well as the creative momentum built upon successive releases. Unlike The Blue, URSA does not show the band’s sound taking a large step forward. Instead, URSA is an undeniably solid album which serves as a reintroduction to their signature style. Fans will find a lot to like here. — Owlswald

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O’Brother –  Endless Light
Triple Crown Records | March 25th, 2016

O’Brother straddle the lines between grunge, post-rock,post-metal, psychedelic and emo to make them all come together to sound like something fresh and new. The closest you could come to describing them would be some Ghidorah-type flamethrower that is one part Radiohead, one part Mars Volta and one part Defones. The guitar tone makes its presence felt with a thick and heavy  attack while quieting down and embracing the moment on each and every turn of the record. The soaring vocals are delivered in a way that is subdued and sobering. The band picks their spots when they decide to reign down upon the listener. They do it by taking you along on the ride with them and building to uplifting moments while still remaining calm. The path in which they take to get there is to either to jam out or hammer the point home before an explosion of pent up anger is released for a short while. O’ Brother creates atmosphere, lures you in and never lets go. It’s a series of peaks with very few valleys. — Ron Deuce

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Protector Cursed and Coronated
High Roller Records | February 26th, 2016

Thrash is an over saturated genre that is tough to flourish in. Protector, who have been around since the late 80s despite a lull in activity in the 2000s, show us on Cursed and Coronated that they have all the chops necessary to write good, fun black thrash. Very similar to Destroyer 666, especially vocally, except that Protector spend most of their time focusing on crunchy, relentless riffing versus the more tremolo heavy style of D666. The riffs are supported by excellent production, guitar tones, and drumming. If you’re into thrash, particularly of the darker, more black variety, don’t miss this one. — Randall Thor

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Jet Jaguar Zero Hour EP
Independent | February 27th, 2016

Speed Metal named after a robot from the Toho Godzilla franchise. If that doesn’t convince you enough to give the band a listen, I don’t know what will. Jet Jaguar hail from Cancun, Mexico and deliver a nonstop battering ram of riffs on their debut EP.  From front to back Zero Hour  is filled with soaring vocals, driving drums, dual guitar harmonies and flamboyant solos. Lots of solos. Solos galore. Short solos. Long solos. Solos that will make your head spin. So many solos that I almost consider it too many solos for an EP less than 25 minutes. Then I remembered that I was a True Metal Warrior and that “too many solos” was a FALSE statement, so I air-guitared until my fingers bled. Solos.  — Boss the Ross

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Invehertex –
Hacia el Vórtice
Signal Rex/Atavism Records | May 24, 2015 (Re-release June 3, 2016)

The debut album from Chilean nightmares Invehertex is being given the re-release treatment after a limited run last year, so if you missed the chance to dive headlong into the mouth of madness the first time around, you’re in luck. Clocking in at a marathon 78 minutes, Hacia el Vórtice is an endurance test, an unending gauntlet of black metal pain and misery. Every element on display is finely crafted to serve as a fitting tribute to oblivion, with unforgiving blasts colliding and juddering against shifting riffs buried beneath an impenetrable layer of grave dust. At times rampaging, other moments brooding and sinister in its calm, Hacia el Vórtice is quixotic in scope, malevolent in aesthetic, and grand in design. Stick with it, though, because the riffs in “Hacia el Vórtice” alone are worth the price of admission. — W.

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