Mini-Reviews From Around the Toilet Bowl V

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Do you have any idea how many records there are? Why, there must be dozens of records! Maybe more! That’s why we’re breaking them all down into bite-sized mini-reviews so you can get a taste of everything without overloading and bursting like Mr. Creosote.

Barren EarthOn Lonely Towers
Century Media | March 24, 2015

Do you like longer songs with intricate musical passages that vary in rhythm and intensity? Do you like interchanging death vocals and lighter clean vocals? Do you like ample helpings of melody to balance out the more extreme moments? Then have I got the album for you! Barren Earth have returned with their third full-length release, and this time they’re adding hints of jazz with a very sensual saxophone. If you like your melodic death metal more on the progressive side, make sure you check out the title track. If you answered no to any of the opening questions, you’ll probably find little to enjoy here. This is a good album, but it’s appeal will likely be lost on many of you toilet dwellers. – W.

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BalmogNecroangels’ Revelations
Black Seed Productions | February 5, 2015

I know what you filthy sewer urchins like. You dig rawness, scathing tremolo chords, and festering, oozing black metal. Necroangels’ Revelations is a blistering throwback to straightforward and infernal black metal concocted by a malevolent group of illuminados in Spain. I have no idea what a Necroangel is, but if I had to guess based on the unholy orthodoxy and eerie clanging bells ringing out from some corrupted steeple evident in these three tracks, I’d guess it is probably a servitor of Old Nick. This EP is a pagan speed ritual laced with enough fuzz and venomous solos to get even the most jaded of you banging your heads. Unconvinced? Check out “Second Revelation” on Bandcamp. – W.

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Enforcer – From Beyond
Nuclear Blast | February 27, 2015

Perhaps the most renowned product of the hard-working Swedish trad metal throwback machine (and also one of the best), Enforcer is back with another plate of high-speed, hot-footed ham. From Beyond is teeming with just as many ball-busting power-wails and earworm choruses as you’ve come to expect from Enforcer (for those new to the band, it’s like, a shit ton), fantastically overblown solos, and riffs that will possess your neck. Olof Wikstrand‘s voice is shrill and nasally as all hell, but it’s always been weirdly irresistible to me; listen to the beginning of “Below the Slumber” and admit that you had to try pretty hard not to sing along and move your arms and hands around in stupid, melodramatic gesture. Just admit it, dude. Fans of Skull Fist will find plenty here to tickle their fancy, among a number of other tickle-able things. Listen to “Undying Evil“. — Masterlord

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PyramidsPyramids – From Beyond
Profound Lore | March 17, 2015

Pyramids’ self-titled 2008 debut was the sound of a band that had yet to discover their identity. Strong songs were surrounded by filler and the album felt uneven as a whole. Subsequent collaborations with artists like Nadja and Horseback saw the group indulging their drone side, but A Northern Meadow, their Profound Lore debut, showcases R. Loren’s masterful grip on songwriting. The Coldplay-by-way-of-Ved Buens Ende sound of tracks like “In Perfect Stillness, I’ve Only Found Sorrow” and “I Am So Sorry, Goodbye” are miles ahead of the band’s first album, instead sounding like a less shoegazed-out version of Loren’s other project Sailors with Wax Wings. Picture Blut Aus Nord’s Cosmosophy with catchier hooks and you’re about there. — Christian Molenaar

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Battle HagBattle Hag Battle Hag
Self-Released | March 5, 2015

Battle Hag just released their self-titled demo, and it’s a great surprise. The songwriting is akin to Acid King‘s latest album, yet the atmosphere and sound turns this into an entirely different animal. Stoner/Doom riffs and rhythms are joined by guttural vocals that revel in filth. My favorite aspect of this release is definitely the beautiful lead guitar tone, which greatly enhances the entrancing effect of this music. Shamanic Metal – the way Battle Hag describes their sound – is indeed a perfect fit for this slab of ceremonial sludge. If you’re looking for something straight out the swamp, stab below and travel through the murky waters of your own brain. — Dagon

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Riff LordRIFFLORD – 26 Mean and Heavy
STB Records | February 1, 2015

If you have the nerve to call your band RIFFLORD in all caps, you need to be able to back it up. Better believe that is the case here, because this band delivers plenty of riffage. Gear worship is obvious in 26 Mean and Heavy – even if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, the stellar production will be pleased to inform you. The guitar tone ranges from dark and fuzzy to high and piercing, at times shimmering with reverb. The bass is fat and warm like a G-Funk sample, perfectly paired with the excellent drumwork. The vocals are very dynamic, ensuring that no moment in this LP feels dull or repetitive. On top of all that quality, a sweet Hammond organ provides that extra flair that elevates this album to the next level. This is no cookie-cutter fuzz band – RIFFLORD makes music that is bluesy, soulful and unique. — Dagon

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EnethosEntheos Primal
Self-Released | March 15, 2015

Six years after the demise of the now-legendary Animosity, guitarist Frank Costa, drummer Navene Koperweis and bassist Evan Brewer are finally making music together again. Now going under the moniker Entheos and with vocalist Chaney Crabb rounding out the lineup, their debut EP, Primal, picks up musically where Animosity’s swansong Animal left off and then some. The signature technical and tremolo-picked riffs, tight drumming and crushing grooves of yore are back, spiced up with more progressive/atmospheric bits and electronica segues and interludes. As a total Animosity fanboy I’m very biased, but these four songs are incredibly good and will leave you wanting much, much more. Primal comes out today, buy and stream here. Now please excuse me while I go listen to this another fifty times. — MoshOff

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MalthusianMalthusian Below the Hengiform
Invictus Productions | April 1, 2015

After releasing an impressive demo in 2013, Ireland’s Malthusian are back in style with a vile, festering EP called Below the Hengiform. Released through Invictus Productions, this three-song effort suffocates as much as it crushes, scraping together a mess of blackened, doomy death and shrouding it all within an oppressive atmosphere. Each track jumps back and forth from a furious black metal charge to a plodding, hideous lurch, and there seems to be a constant presence of pain in the background. Like a choking, toxic fog, the writing and production combine for a dense, swirling miasma of heaviness. Listen to “Forms Become Vapor” and preorder the album here.Stockhausen

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Bad GuysBad Guys Bad Gynaecology
Riot Season Records | March 16, 2015

London’s Bad Guys bring you hard rock and sludge with a sense of humor and a side of fish and chips. Cuz they’re from London and that’s what they eat over there, y’know? Try to keep up. Just about every song on this record follows a simple formula: 1) Ho-lee GUACAMOLE, that guitar tone is sick! 2) Ho-lee TOLEDO that dude’s voice is annoying! 3) Ho-lee IACOCCA, it doesn’t matter, I am jamming again! Bad Gynaecology is a big, dumb, loud record and it grooves my stupid, stupid soul. Bang your idiot head to album opener “Crime”, the harrowing tale of a young man’s entry into the world of crime by shoplifting a Tonka truck. — Joe Thrashnkill

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