Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 9-2-15

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We write reviews that are short, sweet, and to the point, so you can get back to playing with yourself.

skaurSkaur – Farvel
Darker Than Black Records | January 2015

It’s hard for a good Norwegian black metal band to fly under my radar for twelve friggin’ years, but I guess Skaur was determined (in my defense, they released nothing but 12 unknown demos/splits between 2003 and 2011). Regardless, I’m real glad I finally turned over the stone these boys were hiding under, because Farvel is first-rate. Quirky, ice-cold riffing reminiscent of their countrymen Taake plugged into a predilection for strong Classical melodies reminiscent of their other countrymen Windir works remarkably well. The riffs are memorable, but what’s more than that: the songs are memorable. Rather than simply stringing together 6-minute sequences of good riffing and calling them songs, they compose music that flows with a self-assured cohesion. Passage after passage transitions to the next with sophisticated finesse, and as a result, Farvel sails the fine line between jarring and meandering. If you’re a fan of black metal, don’t miss it. Listen to “Skillingsvisa“. — Masterlord

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Iniquitous Savagery – Subversions of the Psyche
Grindethic Records | September 22, 2015

Reinventing the wheel, this ain’t! If you can think of a standard element of brutal death metal, you can find it somewhere on Subversions of the Psyche. However, you’ll also find plenty of little nuances that position this band above a bloated crop of bdm bludgeoners. Take the first track “Prey to the Agonies of Morbid Apprehension” as an example. There’s an extremely well-placed drum solo in the middle that pummels you like that demon clown from Spawn juggling a bunch of corpses off of your lifeless body. Immediately following is a nasty series of measures where the band slows down the riff just a bit with each repeated take. These little flourishes set this band apart and reward your attention. Check out “Transient States of Metaphysical Revelation” here. — W.

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f2Todesstoß – Hirngemeer
I, Voidhanger | September 25, 2015

Clocking in at a grueling 75 minutes, Hirngemeer is a nigh-impenetrable mess, and that’s exactly what mastermind Martin Lang intended. Each of the three songs is a steel spider-web of gibbering screeches and maniac grunts, drunk tremolo riffs, bio-organic percussion, and other, weirder elements (including synths and harmonica). There is no discernible structure to be found, just a loose, sprawling impressionist painting of our fever dreams in sonic form. If you want music that tests both your patience and your sanity, there are a lot of parts to enjoy in these three long tracks, but you’re going to be investing quite a bit of your time to pull out those small nuggets of brilliance. However, if you embrace fluid definitions of black metal and want to see it pushed to artistic limits, listen to the album here.— W.

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Fear Factory - GenexusFear Factory Genexus
Nuclear Blast Records | August 7th, 2015

Ah, consistency: have too much of it and you’re “boring” or “predictable”, lack it and you’re too “out there” or “weird”. I’d be lying if I said that Fear Factory‘s sound has evolved a lot in their 20+ years as a band, but if nothing else, Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell have honed their craft as the masters of machine-precise tremolo riffs, catchy vocal melodies and industrial, synth-y ambience. As such, Genexus doesn’t do much to change the established formula, but as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, for the love of all that is holy don’t do what last.fm just did”. This album has enough groove to stop a freight train, and I’d be hard pressed to believe it doesn’t make you want to bob your head even just a little. Get Genexus here– MoshOff

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ThrallEntropy [EP]
Independent | August 17th, 2015

2015 has been a great year for Aussie metal, there’s been a solid set of releases coming from our vast land of seemingly fuck all. Earlier this week, Thrall jumped aboard that stream of filth and put out a three track EP titled Entropy. Entropy is an apt name, not in the sense that the songs are disjointed or chaotic, but more in terms of style. A style best described as a unique blend of blackened death metal adorned with a healthy layer of crust. The vocals roar with a mid-ranged blackness, slightly impured with death-like urges. The riffs are encrusted morsels of both genres with a sutble groovy slant, and the drumming follows militantly along in a suitably headbangable manner. AU$3 for 3 songs, that’s US$2.21 you tight-arses, what are you still doing here? Stab the link above already. – Lacertilian

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Seraph in Travail – Bring Forth Death
Independent | August 7th, 2015

When a band makes me feel like I’m stalking the gloaming halls of Dracula’s castle with naught but my wits and a holy whip, it’s a no-brainer for me. Philadelphia’s Seraph in Travail do just that on Bring Forth Death, a sonic embodiment of Gothic horror. It sounds like the unholy lovechild of Apostasy and Abigail Williams, with some excellent operatic vocals appearing occasionally for good measure. Though the orchestral/choral parts are obviously synths, they’re well-written enough that it doesn’t bother me a bit. If you feel like you’ve been lacking good melodeath, then Seraph in Travail have just what you need. — Spear

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0e302ca80ed7d9f37f9c48a8b16e2f82Dead Letter Circus – Aesthesis
The End Recordings | August 14, 2015

Dead Letter Circus’ third full-length release is a true return to form. Rediscovering the melancholy which made their first album, This is the Warning, so memorable, yet learning from the mistakes of their (rather boring) sophomore release, The Catalyst Fire, Aesthesis showcases Dead Letter Circus’ almost unparalled ability to capture emotion. The mood is calmer than their earlier work; this is a more mature group, one content to let the pace of the music speak for itself. Subtly haunting yet aggressive, a quiet rage, this album is an excellent listen from start to finish. The Tool influence, as in all their work, is obvious, but only obvious in that this is where Tool’s music ought to have taken root in rock music. Perfectly constructed, an enthralling experience, Aesthesis is not to be missed. Listen to “In Plain Sight — Guacamole Jim

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Hell Mary | S/T
Friends And Neighbors/Gruff Beard Records |TBD

New Jersey’s Hell Mary are sure to grab the attention of those who enjoy more of the punk/hardcore antics of bands like Converge and Cursed. These guys run roughshod through ten tracks while barely breaking the two minute mark at any point of the album. Despite their brevity, the songs are fast grinding shards of volatility that have traces of noise rock coursing through them. The vocals set Hell Mary apart from their contemporaries as they fall under the category of “not quite yelling yet not quite screaming.” Everything you could ask for in a good hardcore album is there – energetic and well executed songs, timely breakdowns and the type of intensity that translates well from record to a live setting. Sample the handful of tracks on their Bandcamp page and you’ll begin spin kicking and wind milling so hard in your cubicle that you knock down the wall and it lands on the lady next to you who blabs about Dancing With The Stars  incessantly. — Ron Deuce

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  • Disgustache

    I’m in school right now, but these short reviews have still allowed me to play with myself during classes. Thank you, Toilet.

  • Stanley

    Nice pick, Masterlord. Upon first listen, contrary to your review, it sounds a little disjointed to me. There’s a definite Taake-ness to the track. This will require repeated plays. I’m on my second now.

    • You’re disjointed! Leave me alone!

      • Stanley

        Unhinged, maybe.

        • Some of the transitioning is abrupt, but I feel like it works really well because they tie neighboring passages together thematically. It’s sometimes not a “smooth” flow in the strictest sense of the word, but to me it’s still a good flow, and a tactful one.

          • Stanley

            I meant that I maybe a little unhinged, but thanks for your explanation. I get what you’re saying. Third listen. I stopped to play Todesstoß for a second, but quickly returned to Skaur.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I don’t think I gave it a dishonest review.

          • Stanley

            No you didn’t. It’s pretty loopy as you suggest.

      • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

        Vocals are sick, to bad they don’t come in until 5 minutes into the 7 minute track. Wish it was a bit meaner sounding too. Not bad though.

        • Stanley

          Yeah, as I was listening, I looked them up on MA to see if they had a vocalist. Then finally, there was words.

        • Took me a few listens to really appreciate. Give it one or two more chances, I think you’ll dig.

          • Stanley

            Both of their album covers are magnificent.

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            I’d be curious to know if they had the artwork done for them specifically. Either way, they are nice paintings for Skaur and Farvel. Very similar looking to, so I’d assume they used the same artist.

          • Stanley

            The first one, especially, makes we want to go and put on my gloves.

          • Lacertilian

            I have been chilling on that release for a bit now too.
            When I first listened I must have been in the complete wrong mood for it as I quickly dismissed it as being a bit too melodic and major sounding but came back to it last week on a sunny morning at work and it worked a treat. I’m really glad someone gave it coverage.

        • Stanley

          I’m listening to the first album. There are clean vocals.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENzc8EzxJMw

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            I already like this sound better then the newer one.

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    I made it maybe a fourth of the way through that Todesstoß album. That was more than I needed to hear.

    • sweetooth0

      I will attempt it when I get back from my meeting. We’ll see if I can get through it. I do listen to noise on occasion, so this might end up being something I dig.

      • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

        The production doesn’t help, but good luck to you sir.

        I feel like this is something Christian would enjoy.

        • sweetooth0

          I sat through an entire afternoon of Wold albums, so far this sounds closer to actual black metal than just scathing, harsh noise

          • sweetooth0

            reminds me of Abruptum a bit

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            Just not how I like my black metal is all.

          • Vote for Jeb

            I have a strange affection for Wold. Postsocial is oddly engaging.

          • sweetooth0

            agreed, I find when I do like noise it tends to be the sort that kind of hypnotizes you and where you almost pick up patterns beneath the surface assault. Not something I listen to all the time, but sometimes I’m in the mood for it.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Same. You ever listen to Jute Gyte?

          • sweetooth0

            I have some at home, but I don’t think I’ve actually sat down and really listended to it yet. Too much stuff to keep up with, and this site isn’t helping.

          • Vote for Jeb

            You aren’t joking on that account. I finally just listened to the new Mgla album. I have basically the opposite problem of a lot of you guys. I do almost all my listening at work.

          • sweetooth0

            I do too, but there just isn’t enough hours in the day, and if I only listen to everything once, it all sort of blurs together without me really appreciating the gems.

          • sweetooth0

            Dddddaaaaammmmmn, just listening to Jute Gyte – Discontinuities now. It sounds like whatever it was recorded on was broken. This stuff is deranged, but I think I might just love it!

          • Vote for Jeb

            It’s just one dude, and he uses a custom guitar to play microtonal music.

        • sweetooth0

          got through the whole thing. It was interesting, but probably not something I’d listen to again.

      • Vote for Jeb

        I really think that it isn’t supposed to be enjoyable, per se.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Dead Letter Circus is still a band?

    • EsusMoose

      If those dad rock groups some how can move about and play guitar so can some young Australians

      • JJM

        as long as there’s a state fair to play…

    • JJM

      you asked for it……….
      JJD plz!

  • I can jam this Dead Letter Circus. The percussive elements are entertaining. Thanks for this round, guys! I missed this column during my 2 weeks of mini-vacations.

  • Hubert

    Skaur sounds great. A bit disjointed as Stanley said, but I like that. Sounds like they were trying to be proggy about it.

  • Scrimm

    Iniquitous Savagery sounds right up my current alley. Good work W!

    • Vote for Jeb

      I had you in mind.

      • Scrimm

        Can’t get enough of the stuff lately. Been jamming that Visceral Decay you found also.

    • JJM

      many times, i just have to see which pick you enjoy. you’re like a filter to me!

      • Scrimm

        So you know what not to listen to?

        • JJM

          no, i like most of the stuff that you do

          • Scrimm

            A likely story 😉

  • Mxxk Bxnxntxn™

    “if it ain’t broke, for the love of all that is holy don’t do what last.fm just did”.
    That’s some shots fired m8.

  • EsusMoose

    Oh cool Dead Letter Circus, gotta get on that

  • OldMetalHead

    I had this Halloween record when I was a kid called “Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted Mansion”. The Hirngemeer reminds me of that a lot.

    • Vote for Jeb

      Interesting comparison.

      • OldMetalHead

        The first part of Verwehung definitely has that vibe. The rest of the song, not so much.

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      I had it as well! Phil Anselmo credits this album in part for getting him into music and vocals later in his life. Very cool, loved it as a kid and it scared the crap outta me…

      • OldMetalHead

        I loved it also!

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          Great memories! We used it one year on Halloween. We set up a fake wake in our front hallway with candles and a corpse in the coffin..this of course was the soundtrack!

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Maybe I should play Stallagh on the front porch for Halloween.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            damn, I just looked up that album…thats fucked up. wow…

          • Culinary Cunilengus

            Yep! So is their other project, Gullaggh

          • JJM

            only cannibal corpses are real

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            i was thinking that

      • That cover art is amazing. It reminds me of those Scooby-Doo backgrounds.

      • Coooooool. I’ll be on the hunt for this now.

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          NOTE: A few weirdly random non scary tracks. Fuses, martains, shipwreck drips and splashes lol!

          Track listing[edit]
          Side One
          :002.”The Very Long Fuse” 1:283.”The Dogs” 1:134.”Timber” 1:455.”Your Pet Cat” 0:496.”Shipwreck” 1:397.”The Unsafe Bridge” 1:218.”Chinese Water Torture” 2:029.”The Birds” 0:4610.”The Martian Monster” 1:41

          Side TwoNo.

          1.”Screams and Groans” 0:572.”Thunder, Lightning and Rain” 2:013.”Cat Fight” 0:374.”Dogs” 0:485.”A Collection Of Creaks” 1:546.”Fuses and Explosions” 1:117.”A Collection Of Crashes” 0:458.”Birds” 0:339.”Drips and Splashes” 1:1810.”Things In Space”

      • KJM

        I had this one.(rfi)

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          Very cool, I’m surprised I cant remember this one…awesome pic.

          • KJM

            This was released in the late 60s and, among other things, featured young Ron Howard as “Mike”.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            haha, thats cool…

      • Culinary Cunilengus

        Don’t be scared, Trickle, I’ll protect you!

        http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbcbhdv2SP1r0v65j.gif

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          Thanks bro! I feel better allready

  • KJM

    Oooh, Bongzilla is coming to Brighton Music Hall October 20th!

  • OldMetalHead

    I really like the Castlevania…er I mean Seraph in Travail. Good stuff Spear!

  • Howard Dean

    Skaur is good stuff. Great “Taake-esque” sound. And their “National Romanticism” lyrics and thematics take a bit of the edge off and keep them from delving (overtly) into the realm of straight National Socialism, like a lot of their peers on Hendrik Mobus’s (of Absurd and “murdering his Jewish classmate” fame) Darker Than Black Records. Despite the drama and the shady figures around it, DTB is a great label.

    Honestly surprised to see the band and label getting legit, endorsed coverage on the ToH. Pretty shocking. Congrats for stepping outside the ToH box, Masterlord.

    • somnium163

      This is exactly what I feel when I see DTB releases, seems metalheads forget very easily… And these kind of labels definitely try to put themselves in the grey area, by signing some good projects with just a “light” nationalist content, like Saor’s previous incarnations, Arsaidh and Askival. But it’s good to remember that they are the really nasty guys.

  • Waynecro

    Skaur is right up my alley (if there were a digital-purchase option, I’d have bought it). And Seraph in Travail left a fist-shaped bruise on my nuts. So many good releases lately. Good thing I was able to convince my girlfriend that music purchases should come out of our art budget. The walls of our house remain unadorned, but my Zune is full!

  • JJM

    @disqus_77PBSiK8Ug:disqus, our love is once again reinforced; for i also dug DLS’s work up to the Catalyst Fire. will be requiring that DLS shut up and take my money in exchange for this new rekkid…

  • Culinary Cunilengus

    In other news, some bad news on the Lemmy front.

    http://ultimateclassicrock.com/motorhead-lemmy-stops-show-austin/

    • JJM

      there’s a recent WTF Podcast featuring Lemmy, very excited to give that a listen!

      • Culinary Cunilengus

        Sweet! Hoping he gets better, but sadly I think he’s walking the twilight mile right now.