Mini-Reviews from around the Toilet Bowl IX
Some say that size doesn’t matter. They say dynamite comes in small packages. They say it has more to do with how you use it. Those people are right, and in the spirit of compensating for our shortcomings, here are a whole bunch of mini-reviews. Please be gentle.
Early last year, the magnanimous BreadGod mentioned on No Clean Signing that one of the best secret squirrel spots for tracking down underground black metal is r/blackmetal. Thankfully, unlike the subhuman Fark users in the crowd, I’m hip to that game, so I was able to stumble upon the delightfully sinister Shaidar Logoth. The post that led me down this everblack rabbit hole of eternal torment recommended them for fans of Deathspell Omega and Urgehal, but honestly, there’s a whole lot more to The Ritualist than those influences. From the ominous, doom-metal strains of opener “Drink Thine Wretched Wine” to the choking Emperor density of “The Scourge” this is an album drenched in perpetual darkness and suffering. Most impressive, though, is the sheer diversity on display. Drown in miasma at Bandcamp. –W.
This record is a bit of an enigma. While at first I can see why many classify them as progressive, because of the long song length, frequent solos, atmospherics, and expansive use of the guitar neck, I could also not help but notice their very anti-progressive tendencies. Meaning, they consistently fall back to repetitive riffs with a crunchy guitar tone, simple drum beats, and even operatic vocals (but not in the James Labrie sense, and more of an old-school metal vibe) within their songs. The constant flipping between old and new makes this one interesting listen, and though I would like to include a “for fans of:” section, I can’t really pin down a single possible related interest. Just give it a few minutes if you have ever liked anything progressive? – YLIFlushed
I had the distinct pleasure of having this lovely Seattle band visit my hometown and play my favorite venue last week, and they blew the doors off the Triple Rock’s hinges. HWOIG make delicately progressive and MASSIVELY melodic synth-sludge with a slight post-hardcore tinge. Sounds like Helms Alee and Torche having a slow-motion boxing match while Tangerine Dream officiates. A lesson the rest of us should learn; who the fuck needs two guitars fighting each other’s frequencies all the time, when you can have a keyboard making everything sound lush while leaving ample room for the guitar and bass to shrednoodleriff to their heart’s content? This 7″ cuts right to the chase and leaves you wanting more, so donate 10 minutes to some dope tunes, ya chumps. –HessianHunter
Walking in the ice with melodies and melancholy, Thulcandra displays another excellent blend of melodic black and death metal with acoustic passages and precise riffing. Constantly compared with mighty Dissection, this Germans published a new album called Ascension Lost in which they chants about the legendary blue angel of death with their own twists, making it a more memorable listen that sounds like they found their sound and not like a clone of the named band. Raspy vocals brought by Steffen Kummerer (of Obscura fame) are telling stories about a well known ancient war now of mythological beings fighting for freedom in the North. Some acoustic guitars and atmospheric passages accompany this tales of chaos; this portions of music makes the listen more dynamic and varied. Because of the blasts, the sorrowful melodies and the neckbreaking moments, this album is a recommended listen to those who want to embark in a new journey through nature and the mysteries of the solitude; and to those melodic seekers in the metal style. Check: “The Second Fall” to know what I talk about. – Link Leonhart.
When grindcore and hardcore make passionate love together, they end up birthing something like Sweden’s God Mother. Their debut album Maktbehov is a non stop whirlwind of fury that marries the two sub genres perfectly. Chocked full of Converge and Nails inspired riffing, God Mother blasts it’s way through 14 tracks in under 30 minutes. They rarely take a break from blasting and thrashing away, but when they do, you’re dealt some energetic, well placed breakdowns that leave as fast as they came. Between the muddy guitars, hardcore screams, distorted bass and solid drumming, Maktbehov has great performances all around by the entire band, and it all shines through in the recording. My only gripe is that the ride cymbal on the blast beats sounds a little too loud, but everything else about the album is so good that I can hardly hold it against them. Looking at the lengths of the songs on bandcamp shows that most are within the 1 -2 minute range with the exception of the closing track “Eyes Bleached” which clocks in at over 6 minutes. You’d like to think that given the length they’d finally pump the brakes on this thing and close out the record on a slower note. Not happening – instead God Mother sends you off with a very black metal sounding barrage accompanied by hardcore screams that descend into a distorted wall of noise to finish you off. Head over to Bandcamp and stream/buy this bad boy. – Ron Deuce
Grace Pitts – For You
Independent | January 23, 2015
Talk about emotions here. Despair, grievance heartbreak, and mourning come to mind when listening to Grace’s beautiful yet mournful lyrics that she sings with such ardent enthusiasm and are dedicated to her father who unfortunately passed away on January 18, 2012. This is a very touchy album that is very much beautiful and personal. It’s hard not to listen to this album and not feel Grace’s emotions as she is performing these songs, but we will really never know exactly what Grace is really feeling. I don’t want to even try and tap into Grace’s mind because I have no idea how she feels or how this music makes her feel, but I have a feeling that this tribute to her father is somewhat comforting to her, or else she would not have written it. All I know is that this is incredibly beautiful, deep, and brave music. Listen to For You and be completely doused in emotional heaviness. By the way, the song “Run” is absolutely fucking brilliant. Also her recent music video Another Love is located here. – Tyree
Are you sad all the time and just can’t seem to shake it? Do you question the meaning of it all and hide malice in your blackened heart for the ambitious life lovers all around you? There is no sunbathing in your world. Just the existential mire that has become your water and your oxygen. It’s within that living, breathing organism of manic depression that Au-Dessus lives and has its being. Au-Dessus understands you. But be warned – they cannot help you escape your torment. The slow, hypnotic riffs and smotheringly atmospheric tones can only provide a temporary salve. The aggressive, tormented screams can only commiserate with your suffering and provide that which misery loves most – company. In this small comfort of wasting away in solidarity, you may gather strength, if only for a moment, to raise your invisible oranges to the sky and hail the black beast within. This is Au-Dessus. – Celtic Frosty
Total Negation – Zeitzeuge
Temple of Torturous | June 16, 2015
Total Negation likes to blend black metal with a doomed plod. It’s one of my favorite approaches, and when done correctly can conjure despair in a way that few other genre combos can. Unfortunately, it feels like Zeitzeuge falls short of what it sets out to accomplish. I can full well tell which sections are meant to evoke crushing, bleak emptiness, but for some reason they just don’t. I can’t tell you why; they just don’t. Instead of popping like a good ol’ tied balloon, crescendos culminate time after time with an underwhelming release. Total Negation is your sausage-fingered friend that just cannot fucking tie the knot on the party balloons, they end up losing their hold, and the balloon goes sputtering around the room making fart noises. You can tell they’re really doing their best, but fuck. — Masterlord
Deez Nuts – Word is Bond
Century Media | April 21, 2015
Deez Nuts have always been a bit of a joke. It’s a little hard to take a group of Aussies seriously when they name themselves after a Dr. Dre skit. For three albums, they’ve put out fun but forgettable party hardcore songs with a massive hip hop influence. Word is Bond finds the band taking a more serious approach from their previous work and HOT DAMN does it pay off. Each song is like biting into a candy bar; crunchy and satisfying. The rhythm section on this record constantly shifts and manipulates you into alternatively head nodding and two-stepping. Sure, Word is Bond is essentially rap-rock but I’m enjoying it way too much to care. Listen to What’s Good? — Joe Thrashnkill