Record Swap: W. vs. Dagon

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One of the most wonderful things about this blog is the huge amount of diversity among the writers. Although there is some overlap, there are certainly bands that jive with some but not all, and thank Yog-Sothoth for that. How terrible would this site be if we all only liked OSDM or skronk? Over the last few weeks of talking shop, several of us came to realize that there are gaps in our respective musical heritage. To level the playing field (and spice things up a bit), we decided it would be fun to send each other some albums for a blind review, and thus the Record Swap was born. This week’s matchup: W. and Dagon.

The rules to this exchange are pretty simple:

  1. The recipient must have never heard that album (and must tell the sender if they have).
  2. The recipient must do zero research regarding the album, thus resulting in a pure blind review based only on the sound and album art.
  3. The sender must write a short introduction after the review has been completed.

Easy enough, right? Unlike some of our writers, Dagon and I weren’t trying to one-up each other or prove our credibility or make each other review something we’d hate. Instead, we each selected an album we thought the other would find interesting. Check out our swap below!

_______________

W.’s Assignment – Eidola – Degeneraterra (2015)

Despite the colossal amount of music that gets tossed around in our Toilet community, somehow Degeneraterra slipped past everyone’s radar. I am not a man who usually “progs”, but I felt intrigued by the album’s art and title. If you split both words you get Portuguese (and probably Spanish) for “degenerate Earth”. Anyway, I pressed play on Eidola’s latest effort and I was surprised by how much I liked it from the go. Upon listening I drew some comparisons to Leprous, which reminded me of my good friend and former president of the United States. Our mental connection shined when, later in the same week, he proposed that we should swap “mystery albums” for reviews based on the music alone. I instantly knew I had to throw Degeneraterra his way. – Dagon

The first thing I thought when I started Degeneraterra was, “Is this somehow associated with Kurt Ballou?” Press play on the Bandcamp stream below, and I don’t think you’ll fault me for thinking that. The renowned producer has his hand in a lot of cookie jars, many of which are of the progressive/hardcore variety. Eidiola certainly seem to be riding the wave of progressive or post hardcore bands like Between the Buried and Me and Protest the Hero, but within the first few tracks of this album, a key difference becomes immediately apparent. There’s very little emphasis on the metal here.

Sure, tracks like “Omni: First Temple” and “Divide” have some parts that go hard, but overall, there is very little here resembling the more extreme side of the genre we love. Musically speaking, I’m totally okay with that when it comes to what Eidola are doing. This album is rich with dynamics and feeling; double-bass armored attacks give way to gentle grandpas guitars. The audible bass rumbles along only for a soaring vocal lead to come into play. The album glides over peaks and plummets into valleys and overall demonstrates a maturity of construction. The track listing seems to indicate that this record is a concept album, and its grand scope and intricate details work well to enhance the cyclopean effect. No two songs sound the same, but the alternating waves of gravity and levity twist to build a symmetric structure, displaying the masonic work ethic of the artists.

Vocally, though, is where the album falters a bit. Within the first few minutes it became overwhelmingly apparent that the vocals were going to be a struggle for me, and repeated listens (and the very limited extreme vox that appear) did little to alleviate this issue. Still, I imagine that the vocals here will appeal to many people, especially if you are a fan of the aforementioned progcore bands; if this review has piqued your interest thus far, definitely give them a chance.

Ultimately, this is an interesting, albeit imperfect, progressive hardcore album. After jamming it multiple times, I almost wish the band would actually cut more of the metallic tropes from their sound. When they decide to open up the innovation on tracks like “Humble Ledger (Gnostic States)”, “Contra: Second Temple”, and “Omega: Third Temple”, they show that they’re extremely capable of creating something great. The more progressive tracks act as rock-solid cairns, syncing up all the diverse elements at play and guiding your wandering heart through the maze. If you can keep yourself from being distracted by the few faulty trails, you’ll find Eidola have taken you on an adventure. Keep at it, guys! – W.


Dagon’s Assignment – Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects – Sol Niger Within (1997)

My pal Dagon has a pretty open mind when it comes to the metal he enjoys, so I wanted to hear his thoughts on one of the more unique records in my collection. Solo Niger Within is the first and only (thus far) solo album from Meshuggah‘s lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, and yup, you guessed it, it sounds sort of like Meshuggah. However, the similarities are only there in part; the whole of Sol Niger Within sounds like a bad acid trip, thanks largely to the efforts of jazz/prog/weirdo super-duo Morgan Ågren and Mats Öberg, two of the many hyper-talented musicians lending their abilities to the record. The end result is one long experimental track broken up into a number of jazzy, psychedelic segments with undeniably heavy groovy and emotional solos. multiple versions and edits of the album exist, but I sent Dagon the original (and in my opinion superior) version. – W.

I am not a Meshuggah fan. Their music never moved me. Needless to say, I was skeptical when I learned that a Fredrik Thordendal record would be my assignment. But since it came from someone whose taste I respect and admire, I had to give it a fair chance. I’m glad I did. This was a very pleasant surprise, even though pleasant is not what Mr. Thordendal had in mind when he wrote this. Not in the slightest.

Sol Niger Within storms out of the gate with a heavy, syncopated rhythm. Soon, a serpentine lead starts playing, but not perpetually. It almost seems to fade in and out of existence. The juxtaposition of these elements is prominently featured throughout the record, and represents its greatest triumph. There is a delicate balance between these seemingly antagonistic forces. On ground level, there’s persistence: a mechanical, distorted guitar tone that matches the harsh drum beats like a machine marching forward in unpredictable pattern. Above, an ethereal entity moving either in warm fluidity or whirling dissonance. Around the 18 minute mark, for example, there is a guitar solo that starts as the former and finishes as the latter. The resulting atmosphere is rather unnerving. It is menacing and dizzying, like a descent into paranoia and madness.

The creative way in which other musical elements are used greatly enhance the experience, especially considering that this is apparently a one song album. The vocals are varied and often employed as an instrument. Words are spoken by a gravely voice in a detached, otherwordly delivery. Words are shrieked in quasi-black metal raspiness, but performed in a “rapping” pattern that serves as yet another rhythmic layer. Repeated listens reveal electronic blips and glitches here and there, beyond a brief “noise” interlude that is also in the song. The “ethereal lead” is not performed entirely on guitar. In a couple moments, more so towards the end, it gives in to horns and – my favorite – an organ. The organ bits are perfecly placed and performed, almost too eerie.

Intriguing and entrancing, Sol Niger Within is a one-song record well worth repeated listenings. It is creative, dynamic and strangely addictive. – Dagon

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We’ve got plenty of interesting pairings lined up for the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for more editions of Record Swap. If you’d like to participate, shoot me an email at toiletovhellwhiff@gmail.com.

(Photos VIA and VIA)

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  • Lacertilian

    Kinda glad I outed myself as having heard this and was thus disqualified, seems Dagon found a keeper!

  • Spear

    “Humble Ledger” is pushing all the right buttons. I think I’ve found my new early-morning jam.

  • EsusMoose

    I really like the idea of this type of article, I’m busy till later so I’ll read it after I get stuff done

  • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

    Honestly, I’d be fine with all OSDM. But, that will never happen though obviously.

    Cool post idea. Nothing I like here though. But, I do like me some nasty Brütal Wülfsex.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mus8URlS2Vc

    • The W.

      Heh, I just knew one of like three or four people would comment on that :p

    • KJM

      ToH must become an all Doom/Stoner/Sludge blog with occasional forays into Hip Hop. Master Shake and Zardoz have spoken.

      • ZOLTAN APPROVED.

      • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

        I like me some filthy Doom/Stoner/Sludge. You know this.

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

        • KJM

          That’s the stuff.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            SOOOO HEAVY! That tone too. Goddamn!!!

      • Dagon

        So basically you want me to start running the blog on my own?

        • KJM

          We also need to keep the movie articles too.

      • CT-12

        There are a few doom albums from last year that I wanna do an article about, but I’m working on a fairly larger thing at the moment. I will really try to get to it at some point (doesn’t help though that I sort of just joined another band today, fuck my freetime!)

        • KJM

          Blood Farmers!!!

          • CT-12

            I’m planning on doing a Porcelain Throne for Blood Farmers at some point. The world must know.

          • KJM

            I co-sign this 100%. They deserve to be spoken of in the same way that Sleep, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, and others of that time are. A similar article on Acid King would be cool as well #ToiletOvStonerDoomSludge.

    • Maik Beninton™

      I imagine the amount of work it would have to be done just to find something you haven’t heard yet.

      • Lacertilian

        Welcome to my world

    • Howard Dean

      Brutal Wulfsex: great tunes, even greater band name.

      • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

        I was lucky enough to pick their demo up from Vault of Dried Bones. It’s cassette, but it still rip!

        • Howard Dean

          I’m still resisting the urge to buy cassettes, basically out of stubborn principal. But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a couple dozen tapes I’d like to buy right now. Fuck.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            I have a cassette player in my car, so it works out for me. Some of these releases are basically only released on cassettes which is a bitch I will admit. But, it is cheap and fun. I enjoy collecting them.

          • Howard Dean

            If I had a cassette player in my truck I would no doubt buy cassettes. I’d be bumping some Torture Chain or Abjvration for sure!

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            It’s pretty bad ass! I’ve been jamming more cassettes then CD’s this month.

          • The W.

            Abjvration >>>

          • RJA

            I’m still resisting cassettes also – Although I buy vinyl nonstop so the cost of cassettes versus vinyl is rather appealing. I’ve convinced myself that a vinyl collection is very cool but a tape collection is ridiculous. On what basis I’m not sure other than I have a huge amount of $ invested in the vinyl.

          • Howard Dean

            I’m the third party: I only buy CDs, because for me they are the perfect mix of function/practicality, price, availability, and they satisfy my desire to own physical media. I also already have a fairly massive CD collection, so it’s be weird to start something new.

            That being said, I constantly see releases I want that are “cassette only” or “vinyl only,” and it makes me reconsider.

          • Lacertilian

            I would like to buy more CDs but it is impractical sometimes and sorta prohibitive due to postage to Australia.
            Bandcamp has the instant satisfaction at the cost of holding the artwork in my hands.

          • The W.

            You could always buy CDRs and burn. Not as cool, but it still works.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            The stuff I get digitally I burn and keep in iTunes. I don’t trust Bandcamp to save my tunes.

          • Lacertilian

            Good call, especially with your collection.
            That shit is an investment and a half

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            Yeah, it’s extra work. But, if you keep on top of it, it become well worth the time.

          • The W.

            I have all my stuff saved on a big-ol harddrive and play it with my vintage Zune software,

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            Hahaha! Yup everything is on a big-ol harddrive for me as well.

          • Lacertilian

            I want the artwork & lyrics though

          • Howard Dean

            Understandable. We are spoiled here in the U.S. Tons of distros and reasonable postage.

            If I lived somewhere with prohibitively expensive music/shipping costs, It’s probably be digital only, too.

          • Lacertilian

            Don’t get me wrong, if the delivery is reasonable and/or the art is something to behold, I’ll sacrifice a few digitals for one complete album. But mostly just do what Dubs said above and burn some MP3 discs or whatever.

          • Dagon

            But having the album arts lined up on the bandcamp profile page is also pretty neat. I love bandcamp’s design.

          • Lacertilian

            I got a cool little section at the bottom of mine now too, below my wishlist.
            https://bandcamp.com/lacertilian22
            http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/thumbs_up_waynes_world.gif

          • The W.

            Be honest. You only bought that one album for the butt.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            That’s a pretty luscious looking butt.

          • Lacertilian

            The butt got it the click, but it was the second time I had seen it. So I do have some will power.
            Hold on, what am I trying to justify here. Album has trees, a view, stoner jams, is called Green and that butt.
            I am perfectly happy with my decisions.
            I am rational.

          • What butt? I wanna see a butt.

          • See your mom’s butt. Hehehe…

          • Lacertilian

            Front and center mate.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            Looking through your collection reminded me to stay aware of that Scythian album that’s coming out soon. Those 2 songs sound killer. Man do I love Hells Headbagers.

            https://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/album/hubris-in-excelsis

          • Lacertilian

            Yeah man, the intro alone was huge.
            My fellow New South Welshman (don’t wanna use real names on here) showed me the other day.

          • Dagon

            When I look at it, it shows me a tiny red heart and tells me I own it.

            http://www.zwani.com/graphics/friends/images/12.gif

          • Lacertilian

            You deserve it mate.

  • That Eidola sounds good. Modern proggy stylish. Reminds me of Leprous (like Dagon said) mixed with Karnivool. The singer is pretty good.

    Great writing in this one, both of you.

  • God

    Ok, this is a really fucking cool idea for an article series. I love hearing about people’s various tastes in what they like and don’t like. Looking forward to more of this! Wish I could participate but postage to heaven is more than you mortals can afford.

    • The W.

      We sent the albums to each other via the Spotify.

      • God

        You kids and your newfangled technolomibobbles.

        • Dagon

          Gotta stay updated, man.

          Did I tell you Poseidon is now on Tinder?

          • God

            A tinder? Slow down buddy I’m barely on the facebooks and myspaces

          • Dagon

            Gotta go fast, God.

  • Lacertilian

    That header image is just dank enough to do Dagon justice

  • Howard Dean

    Given a bit of research beforehand, I probably would’ve passed on both of these bands. After hearing them now blindly, I would definitely pass on both.

    Filters derived from cursory research or aesthetics are usually effective, though sometimes you find a gem where you least expect it. I like to experiment with bands every once in awhile and try something I wouldn’t otherwise give a shot. But there’s just so much good music being released every day that I’m fairly certain I will like, it’s not always appealing to take a chance.

    Non sequitur: Been listening to Amon (pre-Deicide) a lot this morning. Their demos from the late 80’s are gold. The Hoffman brothers were truly the backbone to all the Deicide material that didn’t suck.

    rs1img.memecdn.com/philip-seymour-hoffman-rip_o_2789959.jpg

    • God

      Deicide has always been that band where I have never liked a full album of theirs, but I like individual songs they have done.

      • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

        I pretty much like this whole album:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_SQ430-g7Q

        EDIT: Everything beforehand was pretty good too. I sort of got tired of them with later albums. “The Hoffman brothers were truly the backbone to all the Deicide material” as HD said.

        • Great album, I feel like Serpents Of The Light is underrated. Probably because it followed this one.

          • CT-12

            Serpents is such a good album. Insanely generic and formulaic, but great nonetheless

        • DCLXVI

          I up-stab this repeatedly

    • The W.

      With how much music I go through on a daily basis while writing for the blog, it was fun to actually have something sent to me about which I knew nothing. Captured a bit of the spirit of blind purchasing, even if it isn’t something to which I’d listen often.

      • Lacertilian

        It’s like getting a present from a cool(er) aunty/uncle who has at least some idea of what they’re doing.

    • Dagon

      It’s funny because I would have probably never listened to either one of those albums if I knew anything about them.

      The Thordendal album is pretty good though. Eidola is also interesting, it fits a certain mood I get every now and then.

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        Finally got a chance to listen to Eidola, great stuff Mr. Fish. Great band for when I’m in a Dear Hunter mood.

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box™

    Listening to Sol Niger Within. Yep, definitely Meshuggah. Great reviews, great idea, pretty great music.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Great reviews and even better idea.

    • Herr Schmitty

      Definitely a good idea, especially given how many authors there are around here.

      • e_e)

        • Herr Schmitty

          Hey, I totally would have done it if:
          I didn’t have some drama with family brewing

          didn’t have to take care of my insane grandfather
          Wasn’t also playing matchmaker for two of my friends tonight 😉

          • Dagon

            Did he smash though?

          • Herr Schmitty

            We’ll see, the date is tonight! It’s one of my buddies (friends for like 12 or 13 years) from FL that recently moved up north, we’re hooking him up with my GF’s belly-dancing teacher that just broke up with her BF.

            As you might imagine, the belly-dancing teacher is incredibly attractive and also cool as fuck. Tough lady, super competitive, damn good sense of humor.

          • Dagon

            I stopped reading at belly dancing.

            Your friend will be in my prayers tonight. Hope he pulls through.

          • The W.

            Dawg, I think you’re supposed to pull out, not through.

          • Dagon

            Pull out game strong

  • Guacamole Jim

    Very cool responses to each album! I’m curious to check out Renan’s pick, but I couldn’t resist bumping Sol Niger Within again. Such an absolutely stellar record.

  • Dagon

    One thing I would like to add in praise of Sol Niger Within is that the production on drums is spot on.

    Usually I am drawn to organic sounds (I am a stoner doom guy if I’d have to be placed in a corner) but I really liked the mechanical, stark sound of the drumming on this record. Interestingly, when the rhythm guitar is quiet, the drum sounds way more organic and jazzy, probably because in those sections they serve a different purpose.

    • The W.

      Fredrik Thordendal is fortunate to have worked with two of the best drummers in the world. Both Ågren and Haake are masters.

      • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

        I’d like to hear Haake do more of a straight forward blasty death metal or grind project. The dude can rip. The song “War” is good proof of this.

        • The W.

          Yah, I definitely would too! Meshuggah’s oldest stuff was actually thrash in case in you never heard it.

          • Lisbeth (Tyree) Salander

            I have yes.

          • The W.

            I’m trying to think if they have anything that sounds like War, but I’m drawing a blank. The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance is the closest I’ve got.

  • In this is vs battle, the victor is Eidola. I know I heard the Meshuggah album a while ago but don’t recall much about it. One long would be enduance test for me.

  • OldMetalHead

    This is great. I would totally be willing to participate.

    • The W.

      Shoot me an email!

  • CT-12

    This was a fucking brilliant idea and very, very fun to read. I hope to see regular installments of this series! Also, great reviews by both of you guys!

  • J.R.

    Are there hard copies being sent around? If it costs 200 dollars to ship Senior Leonhart some booty paper I’m sure shipping some siqq tunes is just gonna be a nightmare.

    or sure just email each other mp3s like lame-os

    • The W.

      Dagon and I swapped them over Spotify 🙂