Mini-Reviews from around the Toilet Bowl X

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Look, this introduction is to this article as nipples are to the Bat-suit. Sensual and appealing, yes, but it adds little function to the content. So let’s just make like George Clooney and get right to the jewels, okay?

Oblivionized – Life Is a Struggle, Give Up
Secret Law Records | April 21, 2015

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes infamously wrote in his landmark book Leviathan that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Scholars have long held that Hobbes had Life Is a Struggle, Give Up in mind when he penned this dread adage. However, the reality of the savagery of Oblivionized is far more terrible. Like the prehistoric apex predator deinosuchus, Oblivionized lunge with lightning agility from the sonic morass of reverb to clamp lethal, dissonant jaws on your vulnerable neck before dragging you under the water and launching into a homicidal death roll. Your life will end in a maelstrom of grinding chaos, swirling riffs, and pooling blood in the silty murk. – W.

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a2470471622_10WinterSupreme Blue Dream
Independent | March 10, 2015

In this cloudy morning I felt attracted to different soundscapes with more warm and cozy tones. New Winter’s offering, Supreme Blue Dream, was the perfect album to company my breakfast because it’s like those chubby cumulus clouds floating with freedom in a summer sky. The echoing voice of  Brazilian/American composer Samira Winter is like whispers carried by the wind, and it serves well with the indie rhythmic style and the synth pop melodies. This delicate sensibilities is the strong point in this album, because the more upbeat songs are intersected with other slow compositions, but this never push the album to the boring-meter, and instead it helps it to develop an entire core sound. The music here is warm, taste like cold ice tea and ice cream, and it’s very magenta and cyan; if you ever need to evoke memories or re-energize yourself, play this and make Samira Winter and their pals show you the way through the dream-park. Check: “Strange Emotions.” – Link Leonhart

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Economic+Dancers+CoverBand of SpiceEconomic Dancers
Scarlet Records | April 14, 2015

Mighty Swedish booze fueled rocker Spice is back in the music road with Band of Spice, a project that tries to recapture the dirty stoner-ish rock style he made famous with old Spiritual Beggars era, The Mushroom River Band and Kayzer. In this new reincarnation, Mr. Spice is playing with a more straight-forward and even more retro flavor than his previous sonic adventures, adorning the record with his gritty (and now harsher/lower) voice. 70 and 80 pop/rock tunes and styles are inspiration and infused in this short simple-yet-melodic songs. The guitar tone is warm and clean, the solos are very good and precise (Listen “You Will Call”, to check why I say this), and the structures just help to push the characteristic Spice bark so he can make a more catchy blues approach to his delivery. The album, in general, is short and perfect to sing in a short trip, but still is very characteristic and unique sounding: yellowish colors and wood smells are all along the listening. I recommend it if you need vintage sounding melodic rock. Listen: “You Can’t Stop.” – Link Leonhart

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Immortal BirdImmortal Bird – Akrasia
Independent | December 3, 2013

Immortal Bird’s debut EP Akrasia is some stellar non-traditional black metal out of Chicago. It has that familiar blackened sense of bleak, ugly beauty, but also brings the thrash and a even wee bit of the grind. This isn’t the first time these influences have ever met, but there’s a je ne sais quoi to them; I just  can’t think of any other bands that sound quite like this. It could be Rae Amitay’s drumming and vocals, which are the star of the show for me. I fully get where this band is coming from when they describe themselves as “the product of choosing rage over sadness.” Check out their bandcamp for pay-what-you-want downloads and some absolutely beautiful looking CDs and shirts, and if you’re lucky enough to live in one of these cities in the South, Southwest, and Midwest, be sure to catch them on tour this month. – HessianHunter

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kxpK-X-PIII part I
Svart Records | 27th March 2015

Never had I paid attention to K-X-P before they released the History of Techno EP last year. In short, it was bad. But III part I is something completely different. What they seem to have learned from the aforementioned EP is the use of infectious rhythm and its stretching to hypnotic measures. Combined with equally repetitive but much more scarce vocal patterns and Krautrock-meets-Philip Glass compositions, what we have here is one of the finest space rock albums in recent memory, and all this without guitars. Though the tribal drums and mellotron and synth swoops are based on repetition, it does not mean the album is without tension. This causes the album’s biggest flaw as well. There are moments, like “Siren’s Dawn”  that seem to build up for something big and then just end not long after they began without allowing the music (or listener) to climax. You can listen to a full stream here. – Nordling Rites ov Karhu

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SP041EtherHymns of Failure
Sepulchral Productions | April 7, 2015

At first glance, the ninety minutes of depressive black metal offered by Ether’s sophomore full-length seem painfully, impenetrably long, and, truth be known, it is. But over its insane, unnecessary running time, lone member Scythrawl (formerly of Unquintessence and Trails of Anguish) manages to find a subtly entrancing shade of hypnosis found in only the best the genre has to offer. The basic sounds are nothing unexpected–tremolo picked minor chord riffs, blast beats and pained vocals are the sound’s obvious hallmarks–but the way each is able to rhyme with every other is what takes Hymns of Failure to another level. Could Scythrawl use an editor? Probably. But every second of the album feels absolutely inseparable from any other. – Christian

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Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors
Relapse Records | April 7, 2015

I know, I know, apparently not a lot of you here like this album, but for me it’s as simple as this: if it gets stuck in my head after the first listen, it usually means it isn’t bad by any stretch of the word. Sure, this album probably won’t be earning a spot on mine or anybody else’s year end list, but I think I’ll be jamming it quite a bit and liking every second of it. Albums as well produced and executed as Royal Thunder’s latest are worthy of at least a couple honest listens. Crooked Doors is out now on Relapse. Get it here, tune out the world and let the band’s (sure, slightly alternative) psychedelic-blues-hard rock sink in.  – MoshOff

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Psycroptic – Psycroptic
Prosthetic Records | March 9, 2015

The Tasmanian thunder that plunders from down under is back! Confession: I’ve never really been a huge Psycroptic fan. I knew of their existence, but I’ve never really paid them the amount of attention they deserve, and it’s time that changed; in Larry David’s words, this here self-titled album is prettyyyyyy, prettyyyyyyy, prettyyyyyyyy, pretty very good. You know, with tech-death bands my brain usually ends up telling me “Yep, this sure is tech-y and death-y”, but that didn’t even once cross my mind with this record. Psycroptic play actual riffs and not just a bunch of sweep arpeggios or what have you. Buy this now and treat your earholes like you should.  – MoshOff

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hcHolycide
Toxic Mutation
Xtreem Music | Feb, 10, 2015

With a couple of exceptions, 2015’s standard thrash releases have not been doing it for me. Well you can add Spain’s Holycide to that short list of exceptions.. Consisting of five original tracks and a cover, this quintet’s follow-up to their No Escape demo is a record full of boundless energy that I feel most other thrash records this year lack. The album starts slowly but picks up with “Apocalypose Riders” and never relents. Although some have made Dark Angel comparisons, I’m actually more reminded of obscure Jersey thrashers Harter Attack, in terms of intensity and grim obsession with the filth of society and its collapse, if not entirely in songwriting. My only gripe is that the vocals (courtesy of Dave Rotten of death metallers Avulsed) don’t match the quality of the rest of the outfit, coming off a little too much like a slightly gruffer Roger Miret. Still, it’s not a dealbreaker for me. Overall, if you’re looking for some good new thrash in 2015 that will put a little strain on your cervical vertebrae, then Holycide is your solution. – Simon Phoenix

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rotting sky

Rotting Sky | Sedation
Grimoire Cassette Cvlture | June 24, 2014

Rotting Sky is Tim Messing’s (guitarist/vocalist for Nux Vomica) black metal/noise project, and it’s just…evil. Heavily distorted, loud guitar riffs and feedback are bolstered by the continuous background presence of pianos and synths picking out subtle, moody melodies. Messing screams over the chaos like a banshee with a slit throat, all while the drum machine (you’ll forgive him) does its best impression of a Tommy gun. Unlike Nux Vomica, the lyrics here steer clear of any obvious political or social issues and focus on the human condition on a more granular level. That is to say – pain, suffering, regret, even a disturbing story of someone being buried alive on the song “Tyrants of Sedation.”  And while the subject matter ain’t pretty, a surprising amount of beauty can be found in these murky musical arrangements if you give your ears time to adjust. You can pick up a digital copy of Sedation here on the cheap. As of 4:24 CST on April 22, there is still one cassette remaining as well. Click quickly and god speed. – Celtic Frosty

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hkHammer King – Kingdom of the Hammer King
Cruz del Sur | May 4, 2015 (US)

There’s nothing really wrong with this album, but there’s nothing really good about it either. Everyone does fine, but they don’t do anything exciting either. They have the talent to do some cool stuff, but bland Hammerfall ripoff songwriting kills this album. I might check out another release from this band, but I’m not confident they will be able to produce anything stellar. – Randall Thor

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