Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 11-05-15

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What’s short but leaves you thoroughly satisfied (other than yours truly)?

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SHINING International Blackjazz Society
Spinefarm Records | October 23rd, 2015

I have to admit, I’ve been stoked for the return of Norway’s jazziest for a while now. One One One was with very little doubt my favorite album of 2013, so following it (and 2010’s Blackjazz) was going to be nothing short of impossible. Unfortunately, International Blackjazz Society is a bit of a disappointment: it’s not bad, but it isn’t anything special. Out of seven actual songs (excluding an intro and an interlude) only three manage to not wander around aimlessly, and even then a song like single “Last Stand” is barely half as good as anything on Shining‘s last effort. Notably absent are the masterful drum chops of one Torstein Lofthus, whose subtly intricate beats elevated the band to another level. Again, this is worth checking out if you dig the band, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a first introduction. Get it here.  — MoshOff

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Queensrÿche Condition Hüman
Century Media | October 2nd, 2015

It’s been a turbulent resurgence, but progressive heavy metal masterminds Queensrÿche are in as great a form as ever. Their 2013 self-titled outing marked a departure from the sound the band had been stuck with for the better part of a decade; after a much publicized break with original frontman Geoff Tate, and with renewed energy found in vocalist extraordinaire Todd LaTorre, the Seattle sensations are once again performing their own brand of forward-thinking metal complete with soaring choruses and screaming guitar leads, albeit with a more modern approach to songwriting. If anything, my only flaw with Condition Hüman (aside from having an ümlaüt toö mäny) is that it’s some ten minutes too long. Get it here. — MoshOff

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Heathen Beast – Trident
Transcending Obscurity | August 20, 2015

One of my favorite things in heavy metal is when bands draw upon their local culture and inject their music with elements of their unique heritage. On Trident India’s Heathen Beast have collected their three EPs into one full-length diatribe against the religious climate in their home nation. It’s impossible to separate the music from its native environment, but that’s what makes it interesting. The riffs often climb through Eastern-influenced scales against the counterpoint of non-traditional  percussive elements, granting each song an authentic vibe of genuine antagonism missing from much of the metal spectrum today. The only downside to this release is that the sound quality and production is not consistent across the album due its compilation nature. Still, you should definitely check out “Drowning the Elephant God”. –  W.

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Armament First Strike
Transcending Obscurity | September 15th, 2015

Man, I really have to start paying closer attention to India’s metal scene. Dhwesha, Dying Embrace, my personal faves Kryptos, and now these dudes from Kolkata, West Bengal who take the pseudonyms of the Four Horsemen and trample posers under their boot clad feet. Sometimes it’s good to know exactly what you are in for; and here what you are in for are five tracks of pure unfiltered old school thrash riffs and maniac drumming. Admittedly the songwriting needs to be a bit more varied. Other than album highlight Wings of Death it’s all blazing speed at all times, though they do blazing speed quite well. And vocalist War sounds a little too much like Petrozza-lite. But when that from out-of-nowhere cover of Agent Steel‘s “Unstoppable Force” hits your ears, there will be no fucks given about the nitpicks cause you’ll be too dizzy with awe from War’s impressive emulation of John Cyrii’s cadences. Overall, a fine debut and a band to watch. Plus how can you argue with that album cover? Recommended. Simon Phoenix

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MöBIUSThe Magic Of Macabre
Analog Freaks Records | May 1st, 2015

Slovakian two-piece doom band MöBIUS released this weighty 4-track instrumental album back in May, so I’ve had a bit of time to let it do what it intends to: crush you into the turf. If you found Bongripper‘s latest album Miserable to be a little too upbeat, then The Magic Of Macabre will suit you fine. The near 40-minute dirge is so desolate, it’s as if bleak’s parents were murdered by being cast into an abyss. This album is heavy as fuck and undoubtedly would have served as the perfect elegy for the burial of the last Diprotodon. The tempo of the long tracks only picks up during the additional 3-piece string section guest spots, where an 18th century sound completes the funereal tone. Lacertilian

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THUebelTod Huetet UebelMalicia
Caverna Abismal Records | October 16th, 2015

Tod Huetet Uebel is a relatively new player in the field of black metal, before Malicia, they released only one demo – with which I am unfamiliar. For the majority of its duration, Malicia is relentless. It is also very much suffocating; the atmosphere remains dense – the wall of guitars tears its way from one tremolo picked depression to another while the hellish howls that serve as “vocals” add to the misery and the drums change into another pattern, just before you were about to get bored. It’s all kept together on strings, but it’s kept together. At some times THU seems like a devastatingly violent post-black band, and at the next it’s a chaotic slab (sorry, CF) of punch-juice filled semi-tech blackness. While I don’t see myself giving this my undivided attention for unlimited times to come, I do recommend it to every friend of extreme metal goodness [W. – Note that you can check out Tyree’s thoughts on this album here.]Karhu

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hautajaisyöHautajaisyöHautajaisyö
Inverse Records | October 31st, 2015

Well this certainly wasn’t what I expected. Just looking at the name and album cover I reckoned I was in for some mournful doom, but what I got is death/thrash. Hautajaisyö was found in ’06 as REDEYE, a name I would have recognized – and skipped. Having switched into singing in Finnish and having taken a slightly revised approach, this self-titled “debut” is miles ahead of everything the band did as its former self. Generally speaking, the death-ier songs are the better ones; the inclusion of slower pace and groove has done good things for the band, and the new-found sense of melancholy is welcome. If only the band focused on this melancholy and kept ditching the thrash (not altogether, mind you), maybe they’d one day make a truly memorable album. Right now, their cold, but uneven debut leaves something to be desired. Potential, but not entirely harnessed. Karhu

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v600_coverBeach SlangCheap Thrills on a Dead End Street
Tiny Engines | September 25th, 2014

Not even remotely metal, no care. This is what I’ve been jamming when I need a break from listening to the terrible deathcore promos y’all keep inexplicably sending me. Beach Slang is run by a 40 year old dude named James Snyder who sings about the kinda stuff you get really, really into at half his age: drugs, partying, ladies, etc. And it’s fuckin’ awesome. This is all 90s-indebted indie punk along the vein of Jawbreaker and any number of Bob Mould fronted acts. “Dirty Cigarettes” is my JAM, but the rest of this 4-song EP is tasty as well. If you dig this, you’ll be thrilled to know that Beach Slang dropped a full LP just a couple of weeks ago, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us. Name drop this band and score some free Cool Points with your NPR-listening normie friends. Joe

  • JWEG

    First thought: stock image guy looks like the clone-child of Misha Collins and Ben Affleck.

    Content-related thought: all I know about the metal scene of the Indian Subcontinent I learned from ‘Global Metal’, which is to say not much at all. I should learn more.

    • MoshOff

      More like Sam Dumb AMIRITE??

  • BEARD-SPLITTER

    Nothing for me 🙁

  • Vote for Jeb

    I’m not totally surprised to hear that about Shining. Wasn’t too keen on the advance tracks, though I loved Blackjazz.

  • Beach Slang is pgood, Joe. Sometimes simply is best.

  • Joe, Beach Slang reminds me a bit of Alkaline Trio. Are you a fan?

    • I had “From Here to Infirmary” up to “Crimson” when I was growing up. I dug them mightily.

      • Ahhhh yes, Crimson. Solid! Back when we all had Time to Waste…

      • RJA

        I hadn’t given Beach Slang a chance – didn’t know if I needed another beach or bear named band in my life. Will give it a shot.

    • Zeke

      Good mourning has some VERY good songs on it

  • KJM, Shake Zula

    Ugh. Not only is Queensryche playing the Palladium, but they’re playing there on the one night of the week there isn’t a Midnight train back to Boston. Really, MBTA? You pick Saturday as the one night not to have a later train?

    • more beer

      The commuter trains in New York are the same way. Last train out of Grand Central was always way earlier than what you were doing ended.

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        This is a recent change. Before you could always get a train home from Worcester no matter what.

        • more beer

          Bastards!

    • Lacertilian

      Did you try Mobius, Shake?

      • KJM, Shake Zula

        ????

        • Lacertilian

          The doom I reviewed, I was wondering about your (do)o(m)pinion.

          • KJM, Shake Zula

            ok, now I know what to look for.

  • Waynecro

    I accidentally played Heathen Beast and Beach Slang simultaneously, and my computer froze.

    • Abe Vigoda’s Oily Stool Sample

      It crushed your computer’s dick and cut it’s butt off?

      • Waynecro

        Something like that probably. Or the sudden meeting of hot metal and cool jams created moisture that shorted out my shit. I don’t know; I’m not a scientist.

  • OldMetalHead

    Really like the Hautajaisyö. Thanks! That’s some sick shit!