Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 11-20-15


They’re little guys. Their hands are little. Their features are small. They’re little guys.


Opeth Deliverance & Damnation Remixed
Music for Nations / Sony Music | October 23rd, 2015

I know, I know, this isn’t precisely new music, but hear me out. Opeth’s two “contrasted” albums have gotten the reissue treatment via new and improved mixes more than ten years after their original release. While the Steven Wilson-helmed Damnation, the softer of the two, sounds very similar to the original (which in my opinion was already perfect), Deliverance has changed so drastically I’m starting to question wether I had ever even heard it before. Everything is better balanced and sounds more natural, and the overall feel is a lot more atmospheric than before. And the drums man, THE DRUMS. Every little detail of Martin Lopez’s playing shines through, and I have nothing but praise for Bruce Soord for doing such a fantastic job with this remix. Opeth fan or not, check this out.  — MoshOff


Der Weg einer Freiheit Stellar
Season of Mist | March 23rd, 2015

Melodic Black Metal is a tricky thing to pull off without sounding like yet another Dissection rip-off (not that that’s a bad thing either), but Germany’s own Der Weg einer Freiheit have managed to get it just right. If you’re looking for unadulterated rawness you won’t find it here, but Stellar isn’t overly polished either; again, the perfect balance. This is kind of like Deafheaven but with music that’s actually dark and sorrowful. Not sold yet? Fast-paced, blastbeat filled barrages alternate with slower, melodic guitar-driven passages and atmospheric acoustic interludes that make for a rewarding listen if you can take the slightly long run time. — MoshOff


Kult Mogił – Anxiety Never Descending
Pagan Records | December 24, 2015

It’s Polish, and it’s drawing comparisons to PortalBölzer, Dead Congregation, and Cruciamentum. Do you need more convincing? Yes? Really? Okay. This album is a downward spiral into madness and violence. Although it begins with a slow, ponderous march, the pace inevitably shuffles and stumbles as the songs swirl and shift like boiling hate in a cauldron of malevolent alien soup. It starts nasty and ends even nastier. There’s only one track up right now, but “Serene Ponds” should give you a solid idea of the sort of harrowing nightmare you’ll encounter within. — W.


Nar Mattaru – Ancient Atomic Warfare
I, Voidhanger | December 7, 2015

I, Voidhanger have become famous for releasing intrepid and off-kilter heavy metal, but Chilean death metal monsters Nar Mattaru are launching an assault of a decidedly more-straightforward variety. Francisco Bravo and Andrés Gonzáles have reclaimed the mantle of monstrous brutality previously worn by Chilean legends Dominus but re-imagined that sonic armageddon with the help of vocalist Bilol. Ancient Atomic Warfare is straight-up crushing death metal dedicated to killer songwriting, never allowing the Phrygian modes or South American swagger to lead the songs to far off course from the end goal of pummeling existence into a smoldering ruin. — W.


Silent Line
Shattered Shores
Self-Released | October 30, 2015

Silent Line are a melodic death metal band hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Right off the bat, you can probably guess that they’re all about Canada’s two greatest natural resources: beer and snow. I could also make an obscure Edmonton Oilers joke, but instead I’ll be a mature adult and just say “Ron Tugnutt”. Silent Line’s brand of melodic death metal has a taste of folk/viking metal, though they thankfully never go off running in the woods to fight trolls and goblins. They manage to thread the needle between catchy hooks and heavy aggression. Shattered Shores is actually a concept album, but thankfully the concept does not overshadow the actual musicianship. They can easily fit in on a future edition of Pagan Fest. RIYL: Wintersun, In Flames, Amon Amarth. — 365



Matter in the Medium – S/T
Self-Released | November 4, 2015

Jeez, what is it with me reviewing Canadian bands? A guy plays hockey for twenty years and suddenly he’s a proxy Canuck. Hailing from London, Ontario, Canada, Matter In The Medium are a technical metal band with a focus on astrophysical. Or is it astrological? The usual spacey-timey type stuff that similar sounding bands like. The band is technically sound and clearly put a lot of time putting together their songs. As with this particular djenty technical style of metal, there is an element of disorientation to their music. You’ve got the weedilies, the deedilies, and the chuggity-chugs all mixed up and thrown into a blender to make a musical smoothie. Fans of the genre will like it, others with need to take an Aleve. RIYL: Periphery, Tesseract, Dr. Who. — 365


DeathHawks1Death Hawks – Sun Future Moon
Svart Records | Nov 13th

The shamanistic, frost-bitten fun that was Death Hawks‘ folky psych-rock debut is now being followed by the bands third effort. What always set the band apart from most of their would-be-peers were the songwriting skills. Simple, memorable and with a twist of their own. None of this has changed. Whenever I play Sun Future Moon, I hum and “dance” awkwardly along to these songs. I like them. Then the record ends and all I can recall is that slide-guitar from “Seaweed“. However. every time I arrive to “Heed The Calling” I proclaim it among the band’s top 3 songs. I don’t know why this is; perhaps the songs are too laid-back. The album definitely feels at least thrice as long as it is. Even though the songs are different from each other, there’s too much of a sort of same-ness to their template that keeps me from enjoying the album as much as I’d like to. A good album, but at the same time, a disappointment. — Karhu


Sun Mammuth – Cosmo
Bisnaga Records | 13th of November 2015

Yes, I’m reviewing another album with a horsehead nebula adorned cover, this time with bonus pyramids and vastly different music. Sun Mammuth are an instrumental neo-psych rock trio haling from Portugal. Their debut album of 8 tracks titled Cosmo is an awesome romp through sun-drenched soundscapes and unhindered headspaces. The radiant guitar tones have just enough fuzz to let you feel the warmth without burning out the ever-welcoming melodies. Parts of this album remind me of the repeating-drive of bands like Earthless and The Samsara Blues Experiment, the Phrygian-dominanted sounds of The Tea Party, and those times when Tool allow Adam Jones to unshackle from number-pattern structures and let him just fucking jam (think Lateralus). All in all Cosmo is a solid first album which I’m sure I’ll be playing more during Summer [Moshito – Fake Summer*]. — Lacertilian


Sequestered KeepLost Halls, The Gift of Men, Summit Strongholds, Cavernmagics
Independent | September, October, November 2015

Ever since my initial double review of Sequestered Keep’s first two albums, the mysterious and prolific purveyor of incredible dungeon synth from Salt Lake City has been damn busy. Four albums in the space of three months! Each being a deep and resonant sphere of their own, with overlapping edges diffusing tact and poise. The first of which, Lost Halls, was released in September and combines the rich qualities of the first two releases, transporting you directly into the scene depicted on the cover. Released in October were The Gift of Men and Summit Strongholds, the former being a resplendent trek into the universe of Tolkien, while the latter is a monumental ascent to the realm of medieval contrition. And from the moment the dense bass-laden organ yawns start on the majestic latest offering Cavernmagics, you are enveloped in the dark that you covet. — Lacertilian


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