Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 10-15-15

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Mini Reviews brought to you from now on by Moshito, the non-alcoholic Mojito.

Since the Masterlord is busy with all his Master business (because let’s be real, any dumb Liege can do Lord stuff), I will be taking over Mini-Reviews for the time being, or until the day Xenu descends from the Heavens and shows us His true reptilian form to bring about the rapture. Or something.

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Cryptopsy The Book of Suffering Tome I (EP)
Self-Released | October 30th, 2015

Catchy yet spastically technical riffs? Check. Slap bass? Check. Out-of-control drumming? Check. Untethered amounts of groove and breakdowns?? Double check. Montreal’s prodigal sons have returned, and it seems as if they’ve finally found themselves after more than a decade of struggling to carve out a niche to call their own. The Book of Suffering Tome 1 (the first in a series of several EPs) strikes the perfect balance between the band’s “classic” sound and the more math-y deathcore stylings of the much-loathed The Unspoken King, making for four songs that are as varied as they are, well, good. This is unmistakeably Cryptopsy, yet at the same time it manages to sound inspired by injecting just enough of a modern twist to keep things interesting. Don’t skip this, pre-order here. — MoshOff

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Trivium Silence in the Snow
Roadrunner Records | October 2nd, 2015

Being a longtime fan that was a bit underwhelmed by 2013’s Vengeance Falls, I settled in for my inaugural spin of Silence in the Snow more than a bit wary of what might lay in store, but finished thoroughly satisfied. See, the progression toward a (much) more radio-friendly sound initiated a few albums ago has all but ceased, but this time around the band sounds more sure-footed and showcases stronger songwriting while simultaneously serving up a slew of groovily memorable riffs and sing-along choruses, even if the overall production values are a bit much. Of note is one Matt Heafy, whose voice now bears a more distinct tone and character despite not performing, ahem, “unclean” vocals. If you’re a fan of any of Trivium’s previous work you’ll probably dig this.  — MoshOff

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odium terraformOdiumTerraform
Self-Released
| October 23rd, 2015

From the land of pucks, Tim Horton’s, and the Fight Network comes the band Odium. Hailing from Hanover, Ontario, this fivesome blends the straightforward aggression of metalcore with flourishes of the Gothenburg sound. Odium shows a lot of confidence in their skills, especially for an independent band. They are unafraid to go from well-crafted solos to quiet, clean moments to punishing straightfoward pound-your-head-into-a-war metal. “Terraform” has got groove and aggression in all of the right places. RIYL: The Absence, Arsis, God Forbid. –365

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Temple of Baal Mysterium
Agonia Records | October 2nd, 2015

It feels a little strange to refer to Temple of Baal as blackened death mainstays, but this French quartet has been defiling earholes since 1998. Their 5th album, Mysterium, is yet another solid entry in their catalog but not exactly a revelation. There are certainly some fantastic songs, see “Lord of Knowledge and Death” and “Divine Scythe”, but everything starts to feel a little exhausting by the time you get to the back end of the album. It feels like a marathon-length album that wants to sprint the whole way and begins to falter on wobbly legs as the finish line comes into sight. Perhaps some trimming and a leaner attack could help elevate Mysterium, but as it stands this is a pretty good but bloated affair. — Leif

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The Man-EatiTM-ET - ITAOLng Tree – In The Absence of Light
Ranka Kustannus | March 20th, 2015

I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one who’s initial interest in this band was its inclusion of former Sentenced musicians. The music itself quickly proved to be something else; Anathema meets Katatonia would be a closer point of reference. It’s been almost four years since TM-ET’s sophomore, and in between albums they have changed vocalists. Antti Kumpulainen shows his worth instantly; opener Breath Emptiness adds growls to the band’s repertoire before sliding back into the somber cleans, now stronger than before. It’s clear that Kumpulainen’s vocals will allow the band to explore their sound further than before. The guitars and keys have achieved a balance in which neither clearly lead the songs or do anything that would alone be enough to blow any minds, despite beautiful moments like The Vessel or The Divided. It’s all about the whole; unfortunately the whole is a little too samey and a faster song or two wouldn’t hurt. — Karhu

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Ironsword None but the Brave
Shadow Kingdom Records | May 19th, 2015

I will not extend myself with this, because only watching that awesome cover art with that audacious warrior shattering skeletons you will get what menace is Ironsword dealing with. Slaying posers since 1995, these Portuguese berserkers unleash None But the Brave, another tribute to the powerful underground Heavy Metal style. The Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol and Manowar influences are present in their solemn and devastating 11 furious anthems. Expect a earthshaking rhythmic over chants of glory and power, because Ironsword do not want to stop fighting for the metal treasures.  Link Leonhart

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Dolven Navigating the Labyrinth
Independent | May 13th, 2015

In Navigating the Labyrinth, we will wander around hearing an ecclectic mix of acoustic guitar Nature Folk and Doom Metal. Born from the darkness on unknown foggy mountains of Portland, United States, Dolven is an interesting project that fuses the slow melodramatic tempos of the metallic bleakness with the delicate atmosphere of the nature worship. A very dynamic sounding drumming style sets the game in which bluesy guitars collides with steel melodies; along some baritone chants a la Empyrium that echoes through the stone walls. Making heavy use of the contrasts between both genres, I think Navigating the Labyrinth can be considered as a great record.  Link Leonhart

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Of Feather And Bone – Embrace The Wretched Flesh
Good Fight Music | September 18, 2015

If Napalm Death and Hatebreed had crusty grindy sex together, the result would be something like Of Feather And Bone’s Embrace The Wretched Flesh. So you’re a Mosh Bro and you like breakdowns? You’re invited. Haven’t showered in days, possibly weeks? You’re invited. You like to bang your head? You’re invited. Dissonance? Got that too. This is even doused with a little salt and pepper of blackenedness. That’s right people, there’s multiple genres at play here and they are all intersecting and high-fiving each other. Everything’s copacetic. So if you’re having a rough day, don’t turn on some twinkle toes bullcrap that will sully you further. Get your Embrace The Wretched Flesh on and channel those terrible feelings. It’s guaranteed to keep that frown a frown in the best way possible. — Ron Deuce

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Solaire  Magic Witch Bomb
Self-Released | September 26, 2015

Y’all remember Solaire? Y’know, the band we declared the best unsigned band in South Carolina? They just dropped their debut LP, and I think it’s worth your time. Magic Witch Bomb retains the elements that made their Solaire EP so enjoyable, including impressive down-tuned bluesy rock riffs, understated vocal melodies, and a driving sense of motion throughout. Most exciting, though, are the few curveball tracks Solaire pitches here; “Jet Cat” is pure power pop and an absolutely joyous listen, “Johnny Gets Paid” feels like a stoner take on Motörhead, and “Coloradoing” is metal silliness in the best way. My only beef here is that the production makes it sound like the band is playing in the apartment next door. — Joey Thrashnkill

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Aosoth.OrderOfOriasAosoth/Order of Orias – Split 12″ MLP
W.T.C. Productions | October 15, 2015

This is probably the single most sinister black metal split you’ll hear all year. Both bands contribute exactly one festering sacrifice to this sonic occult ritual, and each half is equally thrilling. Aosoth start things off with a dissonant riff I can only describe as diseased before belching forth ten minutes of malevolent polemics and arcane chords, all while unrepentant blasts coil and shift around the guitars like the Serpent of olde. Order of Orias follow up with a more subtle and insidious 13-minute track that suffocates you with strangling riffs and a noxious, fuming atmosphere. Your frail mortal coil will be buried beneath the falling, flaming timbers of the unrelenting assault. Unfortunately, I can’t find this album streaming anywhere yet, so keep your eyes on the WTC Bandcamp page. – W.

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