Mini-Reviews from around the Toilet Bowl, Pt. Deux

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You folks sure seemed to love this the last time we did it, so here we are again. Today we’ve got a slew of albums old and new that we fully expect to influence the amount of abuse you inflict on your poor wallets. Browse these mini-reviews. Get inspired. Change the world. Whatever.

Altars – Paramnesia
Blood Harvest/ Nuclear Winter Records | September 6, 2013

Back in 2013, Altars dropped not only a hell of a debut album, but also one of the best albums of the whole year. However, Paramnesia went sadly unnoticed by the general metal populace. Despite being definite “swipe-right” material as for what I look for in death metal, I didn’t even know this band existed until a couple weeks ago when Ed and I were swapping reviews for the new Imperial Triumphant album. But now my eyes have opened, and I have seen the glory. Dealing in a deadly blend of old-school sensibilities mixed with new-school dissonance, Paramnesia somehow ends up sounding like Gateways to Annihilation for the modern era. Vitek-esque drum solos arm-wrestle with Lemay-esque riffs in a decidedly OSDM atmosphere for a near-perfect end product. Let’s give these Aussie boys some love on Facebook. You can buy the album here. – W.

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Turbid North – Orogeny
Ironclad Recordings | July 24, 2010

I know, I know. This album has been out for a long time. However, it’s been in pretty heavy rotation for me for the last year or so, and I have yet to write about it. So, I’m jamming this thing in here whether you like it or not. Orogeny, if summed up succinctly, is Blood Mountain played by a death metal band. The riffs and solos veer from downright brutal and chaotic to psychedelic and spacey. The drums and vocals always match the tone and feel of each song, and every track is a unique chapter in a gripping journey through a treacherous icy landscape. Despite the obvious Mastodon worship, though, this is a really fun, interesting take on the death metal formula, and if you want another soundtrack for facing the dangers of the great outdoors, look no further. Listen to the album on Bandcamp and give them a like on Facebook. – W.

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Night Demon – Curse of the Damned
Century Media | January 27, 2015

I don’t usually seek out traditional metal bands. I’ve got nothing against them; it’s just that the rather linear approach to song-writing isn’t typically the sort of thing that grabs my attention. However, every now and then a little NWOBHM-inspired riffage is exactly what I need to cleanse my palate from all the dissonance and choking atmosphere of my usual skronkier fare. So, it was with some interest that I downloaded the promo for Curse of the Damned. Masterpants told me this band puts on one hell of a live show, and after hearing these beer-drenched, steel-clashing anthems, I can totally buy that. This is by-the-numbers, no frills trad metal, but it’s quite fun in all its earnestness. The riffs rock, the vocals soar, and the songs race along at a decidedly tasty old-school speed. If you need a fun, easy alternative to your evil discography, check this album out. Order the album over at Century Media and give the guys a like on Facebook. – W.

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Marduk – Frontschwien
Century Media | February 10, 2015

I’ll get this out of the way: fuck the opening track. The guitar is nothing but a murmur, the drums are barely audible, and the vocals are boring and offer nothing even remotely entertaining. That being said, the rest of this album jams hard. Marduk seems to have been listening to a lot of Behemoth since their last release, because the similarities are undeniable. Frontschwein offers up tasty riffage, blasting drums, menacing ambient-esque portions, and vocals that alternate from screams to roars to spooky spoken word. This is pretty party; I definitely approve. Most stellar song: “Wartheland”. Pick the album up over at Century Media and give them a like on Facebook.- Call the Slambulance

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

I always liked The Agonist. They had some really creative songs and some great lyrics to go with those songs. They never followed the typical trends and always seemed to make the music they wanted to. Then of course there was Alissa White Glutz who was an absolute beast on vocals and had a great clean singing sytle to boot. Fast forward a bit and Alissa has moved on to Arch Enemy. I can’t say I blame her, though I feel her talent is wasted on that band. Unfortunately this means The Agonist had to find a new singer. I would have been fine with a dude on vocals but they seemed intent on replacing Alissa. I’m sad to say they have failed in my opinion. The new singer has decent vocals for a post hardcore band (Note that the Agonist is not a member of this genere) or something but she can’t really pull off the clean singing as well, and those vox in particular really irk me. They aren’t Huntress level bad, but they are up there. Instrumentally this is a really good Agonist record and I expected nothing less. However, the song arrangements seem to be lacking the creativity they previously had. I just can’t get over those vocals though. If you happen to dig, however, you can order the album from Century Media and give them a like on Facebook.- Jack Bauer

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Thorr-Axe – Gates of Winter
Independent | January 13, 2015

This band has been featured here as the best unsigned band in Indiana. This time, they return with the excellent second platter Gates Of Winter. This album is less riffy than its predecessor, but the songs are still powerful and memorable. You’ll still feel like you’re out to kill giant mythological creatures, but in a slower and more elaborate fashion. Jam the album over at Bandcamp and give them a like on Facebook. – Dagon

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Black Smoke Dragon – Earth Have Jaiah
Independent | January 19, 2015

It’s no secret that I am a sucker for well crafted stoner metal that just reeks of seaweed and beer, and this concoction is exactly what this band from Spain delivers. Bringing both the jammy jams and the riffy riffs, this album will have all the bongfire señoritas dancing like it’s a generator party back in 1992. Entirely instrumental, entirely awesome. Jam the album over at Bandcamp and give them a like on Facebook. – Dagon

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Publicist UK – Publicist UK
Static Tension Recordings | February 17, 2015

First things first, this is EXTREMELY different from what I was expecting given Publicist UK’s lineup, which includes Brett Bamberger (Revocation, ex-East of the Wall) on bass and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, ex-Discordance Axis, Every Band Ever) on drums. I don’t think the two songs that comprise this release even qualify as metal, they’re more on the gothic/depressive-ish and dark side of rock, but good stuff nonetheless. At times the vocals kind of remind me of Danzig (in a good way), and the instrumentation is subdued but creates a good atmosphere. Keep an eye on Bandcamp for the album and give them a like on Facebook. – MoshOff

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