You Send Us Things, We Listen To Them: Sycomore – Phantom Wax


One of the things that brings me great joy from doing this whole blogging thing is when you write something about a band you particularly enjoy and you develop a relationship with the band simply because you thought the band was one that needed to be heard and that all you wanted to do was raise the profile of said band. And that’s precisely what happened as the result of one of my first writings for this here Toilet when I wrote about French chaotic hardcore maniacs Anorak. Sadly, they disbanded in 2015 but guitarist Tim Dreloumf and I kept in touch. He was kind enough to alert me to his latest endeavor, Sycomore and I’m glad he did because it’s something I think a great many of you will enjoy; especially if you are in the mood for some sludge along the lines of early Mastodon, Kylesa and Turbid North. Take a walk with me and allow me to point your attention to Sycomore’s debut album, Phantom Wax.

If you made it past the introduction of this post and my words were enough to make you want to journey further then I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Let me ask you all one very simple rhetorical question: Do you like riffs? If by some absurdly strange occurrence that zapped your brain cells of all functionality and you answered no to that question then by all means take a hike and get back to me when the dust settles. For the rest of you, Sycamore brings the riffs in the form of up tempo sludge that will most certainly have the attention of your earholes. Just like Arby’s proclaims to have the meats, Sycamore has the riffs. And if the riffs are to be believed, the drums and bass are doing what exactly what the riffs tell them to.

Sycomore’s rapid fire brand of sludge will keep you locked in at every turn. Remember those riffs I was telling you about? They make themselves known right off the jump with opener “Miner Forty-Niner” which greets you with some thick hypnotic riffing that is both crushing and engaging. Sycamore is not content to rest on their laurels by extending things any longer than they need to be and the opener is evidence of that fact. The flow and continuity of the songwriting allow them to get their message across in the span of three to four minutes on average. They can build rapport with the best of them and they don’t need to take an extended period of time to do it. Ranging from shouting to howling from the mountain tops singing, the vocal performances also work nicely into the compositions and “Miner Forty-Niner” gives you an indication of what you can expect as you make your way through the album. There’s no shortage of the head nod inducing sludgy riffs throughout Phantom Wax‘s runtime. Most songs open with one that will lure you in right away.  Songs like “Hot Dog Water”, “Headless Horseman” and the thrashy “Jaguaro” all kick things off with warm and fuzzy greetings that invite you to sit back and enjoy the rest of the track.

What’s unique about Sycomore that separates them from their peers is that they deploy blast beats over sludgy riffing in an effective manner that fits nicely into the scheme of things. Take for example the opening section of “Manticore”. The clean almost bluesy guitar lick tricks you into believing that you’ll be heading into slow and steady territory on your initial listen, but what you get are a barrage of blast beats instead that will make you take a step back and appreciate how a clever a move it is. The blast beat over sludgy riffing also works great on the second track “Bluestone’s Phantom” as the grind bookends the grove-laden riff that precedes it during the midsection of the song. Little nuances related to the blast beat manifest themselves throughout the album and they never feel forced or out of place. Couple that with massive sludgy riff assault that Sycamore routinely hurls at you and you have yourself an album that provides instant gratification and a desire to give Phantom Wax repeated spins.

4 0ut of 5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell


Phantom Wax is available now through Sycomore’s band camp page (name your price for digital download). If you like what you are hearing, give Sycomore a like on Facebook and tell them the Toilet Ov Hell sent ya.

Image (VIA)

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  • KyleJMcBride

    Iz gud.

  • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

    This is some pretty cool stuff! Also cool that you’re buds with the guitarist now.

    So I may have mentioned earlier that I’ve been digging through the archives and reading some articles from the early Toilet days, and did you guys have a reversed rating system before? Saw a couple things that looked like the author loved it, and it got like 1 flush.

    I suppose those were flushes, and these are entire toilets? I don’t know. I may need to look again. The more I type the more uncertain I am that I’m remembering any of this correctly 😛

    • Joaquin Stick

      Well, a giant steaming dump of an album requires 5 flushes to rid it from this earth (well, at least get it out of my house). Now when an album is fire, it sets my toliet on fire in the best way. Does that clarify things?

      TL;DR; The flush system was confusing so we dropped it for this one.

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Haha that makes sense. I like the idea, but yeah, some things you don’t want to flush at all, and then how do you demonstrate how far from flushing you’d consider them? Totally get it.

    • RustyShackleford

      Yeah it was basically the reverse. Back then the blog was run by stupid commies obviously (jk it wasn’t actually, it’s always been those weird Texans lol)

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Haha yeah, looks like it was pretty much the same core crew as now. A few names I don’t see on here anymore, but cool that it’s been as consistent as it has.

        I just found out I actually have a work thing in Dallas at the end of January. Never really been to Texas (I don’t count airport layovers lol).

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          How long will you be here?

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            Looks like about 2 days. Quick little work conference sorta thing.

            EDIT: 2-ish. Maybe closer to 3. Wed-Fri, so depends on travel arrangements whether I leave late Friday or however that works out, I guess.

            Anyway, if there’s an opportunity it’d be sweet to meet up with some of you guys and grab a drink or something.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Ooh, tight schedule. We’ll see! Are you in the fb group?

          • Dumpster Lung

            I’m not. I do have a Facebook, but I’m almost never on it. Maybe once or twice a year at best. I also really need to finish going through my profile and cleaning up/deleting a bunch of pictures one of these days (divorce), but keep putting it off.

            If I ever really start using it again though, I’ll definitely join!

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Doooo eeeet! ;P

          • Dumpster Lung

            One of these days!

          • Dumpster Lung

            Alright, looks like I’m back to using FB (for now at least) a little sooner than expected. Made plans to hang out with a lady I met at a friend’s house, she looked me up on FB and added me, so I promptly logged in and finally got around to deleting most of the things I’d been meaning to (just pics of an ex, not like. . .a photo album of murder-victim trophies or anything).

            So. . .I found the page. Do I just like it, or is there an actual way to join? I swear I’m not a senior citizen, but I never did do Facebook Groups even when I did use it all the time (which was like. . . .6 years ago).

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Haha! Look up Bossthe Ross and friend me, then I’ll get you in the group

          • Dumpster Lung

            Man, I might need to make a 2nd page and actually have one as Dumpster Lung. After seeing that one of yours, it’d be a lot of fun to make one haha. I’d probably use that more than my real one too, and then could share links and albums and all that mess without risking the cardiac health of grandparents and the like.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Hahaha! I don’t even have a real one, just created it after I started writing for the toilet.

          • Dumpster Lung

            I got one back in high school and then I stopped using it probably 6-ish years ago. Not in a “I’m done with Facebook” kinda way, just in a “wow it’s been 8 months since I last logged in” kinda way. Until pretty much now, anyway.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Or do a search for Toilet ov hell social club and ask to join

          • Dumpster Lung

            Thanks man, just did! I’ll search for ya too.

    • as you go back and read old articles, we go back and insert you into old conversations! that’s how much we like having you around

      • Dumpster Lung

        Haha I’m not sure I got it, but I think I like the sentiment 😛

    • The guitarist even sent me a thanks for the support message after Anorak broke up. I haven’t heard of too many bands that do that. He’s class all the way.

  • Waynecro

    blast beats > no blast beats

    Nice work, Deuce!

  • W.

    Deuce >>>

  • RustyShackleford

    I’m a simple man, I hear “early Mastodon” and I smash that mf play button. YEP!!!

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY
  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Those three name drops in the intro already has me hooked! Will jam sooooon

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    RON!!!! This jams hard!!! Excellent write-up, my friend, I always enjoy the way you express sentiments.

  • Old Man Doom

    Man, I loved reading this review, Deuce. This shit is right up my alley. Bang your head against the concrete and feel good about it.

    • Thanks man, I enjoyed that Hammerhands review you did a few weeks. Those guys are doing some cool stuff.

      • more beer

        This damn good Deuce.

        • Glad you like it, Anorak was really good as well.

  • Nipples ‘n’ Such

    I dig it.

  • Óðinn
    • CyberneticOrganism

      Rejects from Hedwig and the Angry Inch

  • The Unicorn