Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 03-09-16

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What? Oh, you’re talking to me?!? I thought you said I was SMALL?!???!!!?

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TendagrutaCoverTendagruta – Ensalmo do Sargaço
Signal Rex, Dissociated Records | May 6th, 2016

Portugese ambient noise duo Tendagruta are streaming a track from their new album Ensalmo Do Sargaço via their bandcamp (feel free to pick up this preview track for the low price of €666). Gathering several tracks from previous releases, this six-track album kicks right off with sinister drones, hissing static winds, glitched pickup scratches and deep black rumblings of subterranean unknowns. Ambient noise tracks of this breed can quickly blend together for a listener, but each song presented here carries its own distinct sonic identity and disturbing themes. Varied enough for repeat listens and finding something new to creep you out each time. Highly recommended for a solid dose of evil. — Cybronetic

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Putrisect / Scorched Final State of Existence
Unspeakable Axe Records | April 22nd, 2016

Is there anything more exciting than when two promising, young death metal bands join forces for a split? Newcomers Putrisect and Scorched, coming off an EP and a demo respectively, have joined forces to pummel us to death with unlimited amounts of double bass. This isn’t a release for the speed and tech freaks: This is 100% old school death metal worship. After a brief intro, Putrisect comes out of the gates firing on all cylinders before taking things down a notch to the stomp and crawl of the rest of the album. The leads on their half are particularly catchy and will have you humming along, if not full on air guitaring. Scorched, barring their intro, only have two songs but make fantastic usage of their time. They’ve stepped up their game immensely from their demo, injecting a bit more melody via leads like Putrisect, but by also simply stepping up their riff game and making even more memorable songs. If this is what we can look forward to on both bands’ forthcoming full lengths, I’ll be waiting with bated breath. — Leif Bearikson

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La ChingaLa ChingaFreewheelin’ 
Small Stone Records | March 25th, 2016

Having signed with Small Stone Records, Canadian rockers La Chinga return this year with their sophomore effort Freewheelin’. This album is a nonstop, booty-shaking groove from beginning to end. By taking cues from 70s bands like James Gang and ZZ Top, La Chinga create a straightforward and infectious record that is loaded with fun. This is the soundtrack for cruising around with your ragtop down, music blaring and breeze blowing through your hair. Afterwards, head to the bar, throw back a couple cold ones, jam out to the ten minute psych-fest that is “The Dawn of Man” and be content with life. — Boss the Ross

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Ripper – Experiment of Existence
Unspeakable Axe Records | March 4th, 2016

I feel like a dingus for having completely forgotten about Ripper between last Tuesday and Simon Phoenix‘s killer writeup of them last summer, but there’s something to be said for the magic of rediscovery. In any case, Experiment of Existence won’t be leaving my mind anytime soon. This is thrash distilled into its purest form, then refined and sharpened into a weapon worthy of the band’s name. There is a palpable desperation to each tune, like the band is about to snap and level a city block. Oh, and hopefully “Chromatic Fantasy” will get people to shut up about that other lameass bass solo. — Spear

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Forced The Vanishing Dark
Independent | February 23rd, 2016

Hey there. Are you Brooklyn, NY natives sick and tired of people associating your borough and its music with hipsters? I sure as fuck am. Well hook up The Vanishing Dark to your finest player, turn your speakers to max, and show those clowns what Brooklyn music is REALLY like. On this, Forced’s debut-full length and third release overall, a mighty fine slab of blackened sludge is offered and served on a dirty ass plate flecked in old spaghetti leftovers and rat droppings. Beat faces in with some crushing blackened d-beat violence on songs like “Bathe Us All in Light” or “Lung Float Test”, then drag their ruined corpses through slower lessons in pain like “Occulus” and the soul-evaporating closer “Spirals”. After surviving this record, never again will folks desire to step foot in Brooklyn let alone for a stupid haircut or some ironic vintage shirt, except perhaps to see this rancorous trio live. Simon says embrace the filth. — Simon Phoenix

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ZviZvi II: Death Stops Us All
Halfpear Records | February 5th, 2016

Zvi, the solo project of Kayo Dot/Sabbath Assembly guitarist Ron Varod, recently dropped his second album via digital and cassette. While the music on this sophomore effort contains trace elements of his other bands, Zvi is an experimental droning beast all its own. Despite only having 3 tracks, the album clocks in at almost 40 minutes. Alan Dubin (Gnaw, ex-Khanate) provides his unique, glass-shattering vocals on the staggering 17 minute song “Black Leaves”. Death Stops Us All ranges from mournfully somber to excruciatingly intense, causing the listener to practically sink into the ground with a crushing weight of emotion. The music weighs heavily on your mind and compresses your chest until there is nothing else but Zvi. — 365

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Steven Wilson 4 ½
Kscope | January 22nd, 2016

Wha??? New Steven Wilson record? Didn’t he put out my 4th favorite album of 2015 just like, last year? This new release is pretty much what I expected going in: proggy tempos, catchy melodies, introspective lyrics and metallic riffy sections mixed with more subdued ones and ambient electronica segues, all backed by great songwriting and musicianship. I was a lot more reminded of later Porcupine Tree than last time around (especially during the tempo-displaced riff in “Vermillioncore”), and yet everything seemed a little… disjointed. Turns out it’s made up of songs that were written at different times (one goes back to 1998!!!) and recorded during different sessions. Oh. Still an entertaining album and very worthy of your time if you enjoy the band and style. — MoshOff

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Aleph – Thanatos
Buil2Kill Records | January 15th, 2016

I’m so mixed on this album. At one point, there are some absolutely brilliant moments throughout its 1 hr 14 min length. The main issue is that this album is 1 hr 14 minutes. While the band is clearly capable of giving us some excellent progressive death/black/thrash/idontknow, they reach a bit further than they’re able to grasp. Check out the opening two tracks, then “Fire Demon” and “A Renegade’s Path.” If this still sounds like something that’s interesting to you, then by all means give it a shot! It’s worth a listen, but I’m not sure it’s gonna stick around for me. If you cut the fat, interludes, and noise sections and reduced this album to about 45 minutes, we’d have a huge winner here. Randall Thor

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Nachtzeit – Där Föddes En Längtan
Nordvis Produktion | January 15th, 2016

Released from the mighty bowels of seminal trees ‘n shit label Nordvis, Nachzeit is the self-named project of the mastermind behind atmospheric metal staple Lustre, as well many other short-lived musical endeavours. Caked in Norwegian nostalgia, Där Föddes En Längtan is a step-up in rawness and aggression compared to previous Nachtzeit outputs. You won’t stumble upon any pretty keyboard sections here. Although not a great example of how dynamic the the metal genre can be, this eighteen minute EP does what it sets out to do; engulf the listener with hypnotic, icy second gen black metal riffage and nightmarishly distorted vocals. If you find comfort in the cold, don’t let this awesome early January release pass you by. Jom Pootersan

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Ass LifeA Couple Cold Ones
Wiener Records/Ephemerol Night Terrors | August 1st, 2015

If you are wondering why a band would call themselves “Ass Life”, the answer becomes very clear from the lyrics on the opening track of the same name on A Couple Cold Ones. “I’ve had enough of this drunk-ass life, I’ve had enough of this broke-ass life, I’ve had enough of this stupid-ass life, I’ve had enough of this sad-ass life, I’ve had enough of this worthless ass life, I’ve had enough of this ass life.” That should tell you a good portion of what you need to know.  The other thing that you should know is that Ass Life plays some energetic punk/hardcore that should please anyone who enjoys drinking and bashing corporate culture. Too bad the movie Office Space was made so long ago because the song “Diet Wine” would fit perfectly on the soundtrack (watch the video here for the full effect). These guys thrive on short, compact bursts of rage that are bound to make you pick up your ergonomic office chair and fling it directly at your boss. — Ron Deuce

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Grorr – The Unknown Citizen
ViciSolum Records | November 14th, 2014

In a time when the term “djent” is as polarizing as political affiliation, I can see Grorr being ignored just for having the simple tag. For the open minded, these guys are heavy first, progressive second, and maybe djent a distant third. Unlike the myriad of new progressive bands who use the djent sound, Grorr take us back to the “origin” and sound far more like Meshuggah than any other modern association. They also share a few resemblances with fellow French countrymen, Gojira, but with a major difference in that keyboards often take front and center, usually invoking eastern tones. The Unknown Citizens takes on three movements, The Fighter, The Worker, and The Dreamer, each section having its unique take on industrial oppression. — YourLogicIsFlushed

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DP_RMM_coverDead Procession – Rituais e Mantras do Medo
Labyrinth Productions/Altare Productions | March 1, 2016

Let’s set the record straight right off the bat: Rituais e Mantras do Medo isn’t really a metal album. There are no blast beats, screams, or even riffs to be found. However, the mournful, funeral dirge crafted by Dead Procession is impossibly heavy and metal in ethos. Each of the five tracks features a droning buzz that precipitates a grey, lugubrious atmosphere through which the emotive, chant-like vocals beckon you to return to the grave like a deceased lover calling you home. As the emotive lamentations grasp hold of your spirit, you’ll find your feet slowly moving in time with the minimalist, measured march of the drums. This is sadness incarnate, and the only respite offered is that of the end of life. Listen to “Percorrendos os Caminhos de Noite” here and see why this is one of my surprise favorites of 2016. — W.

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Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon
Nuclear War Now! | March 31, 2016

If Dead Procession is the wistful voice of the dead beckoning you to the grave, Apollyon is the sound of chthonic torment that awaits you in the afterlife. Each of the six tracks on Apollyon burble up from deep within the Hadal zone, caked in the sediment of millenia-old bedrock and choked with dust and decay. The rhythms crafted by the subterranean drumming and stalactite-sharp riffs vary like lava flows, alternating from an incinerating deluge that engulfs you in a cacophony of unrelenting blasts and tremolo chords to ponderous lakes of fire that seethe and drift with a fiery dissonance. All the while,  Irkallian Oracle’s vocalist bellows forth maledictions in an ancient black speech not heard on the surface of this earth since the morning star’s fall from grace. Listen to “Apollyonic Enstasis” and be damned. — W.

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