Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 05-05-2016

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It’s May already? That was… small. This week we bite into Enlighten, Giant of the Mountain, Sektemtum, Coffin Dust, Grave Miasma, Okkultokrati, The Hypothesis, Barren Heir, The Fall of TroyThis Ending and Primitive Weapons.

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signal38epcoverEnlighten Illvmantithesis
Signal Rex | June 3rd, 2016

I was fully prepared to flush Enlighten from the get-go. Their hooded, leather jacket-bedecked promo pictures and “Black Death Metal Chaos” tag had me ready for some bog standard Blasphemy worship, but upon pressing play I was treated to a pleasant surprise. “Pallor,” this EP’s A-side, opens with sparse guitar and drums before a wonky fretless bass joins in for the song proper. Guitarist K. navigates through both of the songs here in one of two primary modes, switching between dissonant higher passages and surprisingly moody, almost post-punk-esque chordal work. This kind of variation was definitely not what I expected, but fans of Ved Buens Ende or fellow Portuguese act Onirik should find plenty to love here.  — Molenaar

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Giant of the Mountain
– The Empty Quarter
Burning Dogma Records | May 27th, 2016

A little over a year ago, MPSLN, Leif Bearikson, Stockhausen, and I watched a young doom-ish trio called Giant of the Mountain tear it up at a house show in Denton. At the time, I found myself impressed with the nimble basswork but otherwise a bit lost in the spastic songwriting. I wondered if this was just a fluke of the live setting, but the band’s upcoming EP, The Empty Quarter, seems to indicate that not much has changed in camp Giant. While the band clearly has talent, weaving Mastodon-style melody into an almost Jeff Loomis-esque guitar approach layered with pounding drums and extreme vocals, each of the three real songs on the EP feels nifty but lacks focus. Unlike the big-ass space of empty desert in the Arabian Peninsula for which the EP is named, there is almost too much going on in each individual song. Still, the EP shows some songwriting maturity and has some very cool sequences, so I hope these Texas boys can tighten the screws next time around. — W.

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Sektemtum – Panacea
Osmose Productions | May 26th, 2016

What’s going on in the world of black n’ roll? I haven’t a clue. But Sektemtum is certainly up to something worth a listen with Panacea. They put their blackest foot forward right out of the gate, then dial back the blackness to push the rockness into the red. Overall, the songs alternate between ferocious, polished ditties that blast and rhythmic, fistpumpable tracks that groove. On the one hand, I am glad that Sektemtum’s approach to the ol’ black n’ roll is not limited to the tried and true and boring as hell four on the floor method; they shake up the rhythms enough to keep the ear attuned. On the other hand, their rock infusions sometimes tread too close to arena and glam rock of old or the younger but still mostly awful buttrock of today. The intermittent stabs at clean vocals range in success from stately chants that make you go “Yeah, that’s nice,” to sing-along choruses that induce only “Oh no… please don’t ever do that to me again…” Panacea has a serious case of Split Personality Disorder. In one breath it deigns to be grim and punishing; in the next it wants us all to hoist our womenfolk onto our shoulders so that the cameras sweeping the arena will have something worth zooming in on. Your enjoyment will depend on how serious you wish your black n’ roll to take itself. FFO: Wolves, Leather, Beer  — Richter

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Coffin Dust Everything Is Dead
Unholy Anarchy | May 6th, 2016

One way to get me to listen to your album is to include a cover of one of my favourite Slayer songs from Show No Mercy, which is exactly what Pennslyvania’s Coffin Dust have done with their latest album Everything Is Dead. By including a cover of “Metalstorm/Face The Slayer,” they convinced me to give their album a shot. What greeted my ears was a reasonably fun thrashy death album that attempts to achieve nothing out of the ordinary. While nodding my head along I noticed they have a track named “Gore Ensemble” (heh heh) and that the band use a Municipal Waste method of stage-naming, featuring members such as; Slime [ex-Exhumed], Danny Disgustor, Cellar Dweller and Eerie Steve. It’s clear they aren’t taking things too seriously. To some of you, I’m sure this sounds like a breath of fresh air; however, while there’s nothing inherently off-putting about the album, for me it ended up feeling ultimately unremarkable (Read: Lizard is no fun anymore). If graverobbing is your thing or you’re just after some death metal minus the prevailing pretense, you can partake in the frivolty on the 6th of May. — Lacertilian

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Grave Miasma Endless Pilgrimage (EP)
Sepulchral Voice / Profound Lore | May 6th, 2016

Have you ever been listening to a death metal album and thought “Hey, I don’t really feel like I’m in a cave. But I want to feel like I’m in a hollowed-out, cold, musty space where I can live out my insignificant life far from this meaningless society and closer to the all-encompassing void. What ever will I do?” Well fret not, my little nihilist, Grave Miasma are here to help out. To sum up Endless Pilgrimage in just four “R”s, “Relentless Riffs, Roaring and Reverb”. This EP (which doesn’t really feel like one) sounds absolutely dismal in the best way possible, with Jaime Gómez Arellano unsurprisingly nailing the mix once again. If at any point during your listen you feel happy or uplifted, check your headphones/speakers/ears. Get Endless Pilgrimage here— MoshOff

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Okkultokrati

Okkultokrati – Snakereigns/Night Jerks
Southern Lord | May 6th, 2016

After signing Okkultokrati, Relapse is releasing their older albums in a bundle. The two albums differ in style a bit; Snakereigns is basically somewhat sludgy punk, with a semi-crusty guitar tone. Sometimes the band plays more into their punk-y side (“Invisible Ley”), and sometimes try to bring the doom-n-groove (“Acid Eagle One”), but the album doesn’t just have the song-writing chops to remain interesting. Night Jerks operates on a mostly similar table, but with a small post-punk influence and keys. It’s also infinitely better and gives some hope for the band’s future. Unfortunately, the band ends up overdoing it on the 16-minute ambient drone “Cosmic Wynter”, and hell, I’m the guy who’s supposed to like this shit. The growth in their song-writing capabilities gives hope of a better tomorrow, but neither of these albums really hit any particular spots as it is.  — Karhu

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The HypothesisOrigin
Inverse Records | May 5th, 2016

I’m trying to think of a clever way to weave “hypothesis” into this write-up, but the only thing that comes to mind is elementary school science fair projects. I’ll have to dig out my blue ribbon for my intricate and complex work on the human taste buds. Those other kindergarteners were a bunch a babies. The Hypothesis, on the other hand, are a melodic death metal band hailing from Finland, the land famous for their mythical bears, cheek bones and The Rasmus. Their album Origin is your typical Gothenburg Sound-style of melodic metal. The music has a bit more bounce to it and can sound downright upbeat at times. The songs are catchy and melodic while still retaining a metallic heaviness. Occasional forays into progressive metal (and soaring keyboards) may throw off some purists, but I feel it helps separate The Hypothesis from their contemporaries.  RIYL: Omnium Gatherum, Wolfheart, Scar Symmetry. — 365

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Barren Heir Tired Turns
Independent | May 3rd, 2016

Here we have a debut record from the doomy post-metal Chicagoan trio, Barren Heir. The first thing I noticed about this band is that the vocal delivery is slightly atypical for most post metal, in that it is a little bit more agonized, but also so infrequent that I am not sure why it is there at all. More importantly, however, is that the band has the ability to create hypnotic rhythms and memorable doom-laden melodies. Barren Heir understand the genre in which they play, and Tired Turns is an excellent proof of concept. It is a debut that has me excited for their future, as long as they continue to build on this foundation. FFO: Russian Circles, Minsk— Joaquin Stick

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The Fall of Troy OK
Independent | April 20th, 2016

Almost 10 years ago I was introduced to a lot of the music I love today through this ancient thing called Guitar Hero. In the third incarnation of said thing, I discovered a band that didn’t sound like all the others: that band was The Fall of Troy. I was never an enourmous fan, but was sad when they broke up (or went on hiatus or whatever). I was not expecting a new album this year, and I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be this good. My memory is probably foggy, but OK is a lot better than what I expected. It’s shreddy, proggy, screamy, mathy goodness that feels cohesive and not overdone. Think of a less-straightforward Protest the Hero meets a more spastic Coheed and Cambria; this is kinda that. Listen to it here and get it for FREE here— MoshOff

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This EndingThis Ending – Garden of Death
Apostasy Records | April 22nd, 2016

From what I gather, This Ending plays a particular sort of death metal. A particularly melodic sort of death metal, that is. Ever heard of Amon Amarth? So have they. Honestly spoken, at first it was “only” the leadwork and melodies that got me (I say “only” because those are what the album stands on) – other riffs carried the stench of Hypocrisy and likes. Now this is apparently something of a return to more melodic waters, and let me tell you that was not a good idea. Because this really sounds like Amon Amarth, a band drummer Fredrik Andersson is semi-fresh out of. Returning to your previous band’s style right after getting the boot isn’t the smartest idea you’re going to have. That said, it would not be fair to call this album a cheap carbon-copy of Amon Amarth, This Ending’s style is a more violent one, with less emphasis on grandeur and the combination of the strained vocals, dry, bass-heavy sound and thin lead-guitar tone makes me want to say, more blackened. Plus “Blackened Shrine” is a nice song. — Karhu

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Primitive Weapons – The Future of Death
Party Smasher Inc. | April 15th, 2016

Take Pantera’s groove, make it sludgy and put it in the hands of these four gentlemen from Brooklyn, NY playing abrasive metallic hardcore and you start to get an idea of what Primitive Weapon’s The Future of Death is all about. In addition you’ll find flourishes of post-hardcore and noise rock laced among the tracks with nicely placed melodies to compliment the screamed vocal assault. The recording is very much in your face and is one of the best sounding releases this year if that is part of your listening criteria. Just listen to “Whistle Past The Graveyard” so you can hear those bass and kick drums without the rest of the band and you’ll hear how enormous they sound. Throughout the course of eight tracks, Primitive Weapons deliver the goods on every one by harnessing an energy and intensity that reaches through the speakers and takes you along for the ride. — Ron Deuce

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