Mini-Reviews From Around the Toilet Bowl IV

2022
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We get it. You’re a busy and important person with busy and important things to do. You can’t waste your entire evening trawling through bandcamp finding those precious few albums that are actually worth your time and attention. Enter the Toilet Crew. We listen to all the things and make decisions for you. Check out our latest crop of ripe albums fresh for the review.

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embEmbrional – The Devil Inside
Old Temple | February 28, 2015

If 2014 was the year of weird death metal, I’m preemptively declaring 2015 the year of weird black metal. Deftly blending BM and DM with a spoonful of dissonance and a quart of killer riffs, Embrional bridge the gap between Imperial Triumphant‘s gonzo-violence and Immolation‘s riff-centered brutality. The album takes a few songs to really get going, but once it does, nothing can stand in its way. The drums are definitely the linchpin on this album though; our good pal Tyree has gone on record saying that Kamil has likely put forth one of the best skin-battering performances of 2015. Check out “910” if you remain unconvinced. – W.

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unrUnrest – Grindcore
Unspeakable Axe | March 24. 2015

It takes a lot of stones to christen your debut album Grindcore after seasoned veterans Phobia practically did the same thing last year. However, Unrest have the pedigree and the acumen to deliver on that promise, and Grindcore drops the hammer. Hard. This is no-holds-barred, no-quarter-given grind in the vein of Nasum, and “Anything to Shock” delivers aggression in spades. I’m not going to over-analyze this. Just grind it out. – W.

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scScreaming Females – Rose Mountain
Don Giovanni Records | February 24, 2015

New Jersey’s shreddiest punk band just got a lot more catchy. In interviews about Screaming Females’ newest album, the band stated that they intentionally put more emphasis on Marissa Paternoster’s vocal melodies than her frenetic guitar solos, and it shows in the final product. This is Paternoster at her most focused; every riff is a banger, every melody an earworm, and absolutely no space is wasted in the ten ripping tracks on Rose Mountain. Check out the Iron Maiden gallop of “Ripe” and get a taste of what I’m talking about. – HessianHunter

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taThe Agonist – Eye of Providence
Century Media | February 24, 2015

After reading Mr. Jack Bauer’s mini-review for The Agonist’s Eye of Providence, I decided to give it a few more spins to see if it was really that bad, and, in all honesty, this right here is a very serious contender for my album of the year as of right now. Not only have The Agonist overcome a lineup change that many (myself included) thought signified their doom, but they’ve also come up with what is definitely the album of their careers. Partially eschewing flare and craziness in favor of much better songwriting, the 13 tracks presented here are generally more midpaced than anything else; try to think of old-ish Opeth at their most straightforward, swap the death/folk roots with melodeath/metalcore, add a female singer, and you might get an idea of what this record has to offer. New vocalist Vicky Psarakis passes the stress test with flying colors, and lets her amazing talent shine through on more melodic cuts like “Faceless Messenger”, “Perpetual Notion”, or “As Above, So Below”. Some might say that Eye of Providence is “too melodic” or “not technical enough”, but I really don’t see how that matters when the songs are this amazing. – MoshOff

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Dr-Living-Dead-Crush-The-Sublime-Gods-coverDr Living Dead!Crush the Sublime Gods
Century Media | February 24, 2015

For a genre that has been around for more than 30 years, thrash sure does seem difficult to pull off. So often a band will whip out siqq riffs with unbelievable musicianship only to have the whole effort be ruined by some replaceable dingus doing a shitty impression of an opera singer (See: Anthrax). Swedish re-thrashers Dr Living Dead! have their bandanas tied on tight to go full-on Suicidal Tendencies on their latest release Crush the Sublime Gods. Your opinion of this record will likely be determined by your tolerance for current bands playing retro thrash. I dig it, personally. The songs here are tight, and very headbangable with the exception of a few filler instrumental tracks at the back end of the record (although the closing track “Wake Up… Join the Dead” manages to almost replicate that sweet riff in “Floods” by Pantera). I WOULD recommend checking out the surprisingly poppy “No Way Out”, but apparently the band is still stuck in 1987 because this album is not streaming anywhere. – Joe Thrashnkill

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Painted Wives – Obsessed with the End
Independent | November 11, 2014

Do you like Mastodon? Nice. What about Clutch? Yea? Alice in Chains? Sweet. Enter Painted Wives. I’m not sure how I missed these guys last year, but I’m just glad I found them. They bring elements of all the aformentioned bands into one dark, somewhat doomy and moody package. Had I found Obsessed With The End last year it would most likely have been in my top ten. Great stuff here, Jack Bauer likes. – Jack Bauer

afosA Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See
Lupus Lounge | February 27, 2015

After I gave this album its first go, I decided it was wandering. And too long. And I hated its guts. Oh, and it was pretentious (particularly the fact that most of the vocals are delivered via a spoken-word narration that sounds uncomfortably similar to a 90’s coffee house poetry slam; Joe’s scene, not mine). Notwithstanding all that shit, I put it right back on once it ended. Ultimately, I think it was the excellently-composed interplay of black metal’s constituents, tastefully-implemented violin & flute (courtesy of Katie Stone), and gripping keyboard symphonics that lured me back. I hated it significantly less after that second listen, and after the third, I was hooked. I’ve been spinning it daily ever since. All in all, it lands pretty short of visionary (an adjective I’ve seen more than one person ascribe to it), but it’s intriguing at first, enjoyable at second, and somehow weirdly irresistible after that. Give it a shot. Well, give it two or three shots. Listen to “Drawing Down the Rain” — Masterlord

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hacHacavitz – Darkness Beyond
Dark Descent | February 24, 2015

If you were tuned in during my last roundup you’ll remember that “Deadream” saw Hacavitz dropping the “death” from their “death/black”, and it worked pretty well (the riff at around 1:50‘s perfect channeling of the classic black metal feel sold me). The rest of Darkness Beyond follows suit. Hacavitz are a black metal band now, and a straightforward one at that. They’ve changed a lot, yes, but they’ve become less unique in the process. If you’re dying for something fresh, this ain’t your jam. If you don’t mind a near-perfect execution of something that’s been done before, stream the whole thing here. I recommend it. — Masterlord

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Will Z. – Dark Tales of Will Z.
HeadSpin Records | September 15, 2014

Before I listened to the album, I checked out the description provided: “Gaining inspiration from the strange and psychedelic world of Syd Barrett and the doomy leanings of early Black Sabbath he was addicted to as a teenager, he created Dark Tales of Will Z., exploring new territory in the musician’s repertoire.” Needless to say, I was excited. However, when I heard the album, there was nothing much to get excited about. The above influences were there, albeit in a dull and watered-down form. Instead of being a new twist on a classic style, this album is a weak version of a well-travelled medium. It’s not bad, it’s just not great. – Guacamole Jim

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