Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 02/02/17
Carpe Diem-esque comment about how music is just about the only consistently good thing in this banal existence and we should all take it in like our own personal aural banquet away from the harsh repetitiveness of life. Or something. Feast your ears on some Hymn, Trevor de Brauw, Dying Whale, Tar Hag, D.O.C., Sepulchral Curse, Echelon and Knocked Loose.
This two-piece doom behemoth from Oslo strides across the darkened planes of Norway with a stern intention on crushing those that lay before them. Perish is an album for those doom fans not content with just lazily nodding along while the earth shifts beneath their feet. Despite about 50 minutes of music over just 6 songs, Perish does not drag or feel like a chore to get through. I’m appreciative of the album’s quieter moments which help elevate the heavier ones throughout. This album pounds, pulses, and spasms with a fierceness that can melt snow and crack ice. The vocals are downright mean and full of intent while the drums bore into your chest. Put on your best mean face for this album and seize the goddamn day. –365.
Pelican guitarist Trevor de Brauw took a step away from making riff-filled instrumental atmospheric sludge to make …uh… instrumental experimental guitar sounds? I sat wondering what the audience for this would be, then it occurred to me. This is the musical landscape of a post-apocalyptic urban setting where every day is made up of one task: survival. The constant guitar feedback is both calming, like the emptiness of the once-busy street, and anxiety filled, like the feeling that at any moment, another survivor could be lurking in the shadows waiting for his opportunity to take the last scraps you have. Does it amount to anything more than thoughtful background music? Probably not for most of you, but it’s there if you need it. —Joaquin.
The good dudes from Nefarious Industries (I know from experience) have bestowed upon us the hardcore sludgy punk stylings of Georgia’s Dying Whale. Last Moments of Misery is a throwback to the the early days of the American hardcore scene with a metallic twist. It’s raw, emotional, and all types of nasty. The songs sound like they were born on the beer-and-piss-soaked floors of a graffiti-covered punk house. No fancy recording tricks, no production sweetening; just wild-eyed and heavy. Don’t get in Dying Whale’s way. You’re just going to get hurt. RIYL: Converge, All Else Failed, Trap Them –365.
I’d never heard of Tar Hag previously, but this appears to their first release. It’s the tried and true formula of downtuned and bluesy stoner sludge riffs, coupled with some agonizing screams. These guys are worshippers of bands like Eyehategod and Dopethrone, but they write some great tunes. Clocking in at only 25 minutes, Elder Cloak is short and sweet, which is exactly how I like my stoner sludge. It’s not long enough to get boring, making it the perfect album for your rotation when you’re pounding cheap beers with a buddy or two and teaming up on some mindless and violent video game. I’m dusting off the Xbox 360 and getting out Left 4 Dead as I type this. Yep. –Rusty.
Do you have five minutes and four dollars to spare? That’s all it will take for the latest from Washington DC natives D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ) to hook you with their blistering brand of powerviolence. Think about that punch that landed on Control+Alt+Right+Delete guy Dick Spencer’s face on Inauguration Day and then imagine D.O.C. throwing that punch.The blow that would’ve landed in this case is one that would’ve knocked out all thirty-two of his pearly whites and forever confined him to a life of Fixodent usage to keep his Alt-Whites in chewing condition. D.O.C. barely touches the one minute mark on any of these tracks and you don’t notice or don’t care because the endless parade of blast beats and punk thrashing will have you engaged from the very beginning. If you are a fan of powerviolence, this is mandatory. –Ron Deuce.
At the Onset of Extinction is the second EP by these Finnish death metallers. Although rooted in the good ‘ole death metal of yore, they spice up with a decent amount of blackened influence, not entirely dissimilar to the idea of Demigod being into Dissection. Effective in both idea and execution, Sepulchral Curse brings growls deep from the graves, grooving death a plenty and eerie tremolo riffs with some sharper backing vocals thrown in, breaking down any monotony before it has a chance to form. Sepulchral Curse does their best to separate themselves from the mass without retorting to boring “weird/different for the sake of argument”- approach. Although only eight recorded songs deep into their career, they’ve proven a band to cultivate. I await what future may them bring with careful enthusiasm. —Karhu.
If the names Rogga Johansson, Dave Ingrain, Paganizer and Ribspreader say anything to you, you will already know what this album contains. If not, allow me to elaborate. Rogga Johansson is a man of million OSDM projects, many of which include more or less d-beat influence. Echelon falls into the latter half. Instead fleshing out some classic Swede-melodies in their riffs (and there’s even a bit of Arch Enemy on “Of Warlocks and Wolves”), elevating themselves to the uppermost part in the pile of Johansson’s orchestras. I’m glad Ingram’s gotten more work nowadays, as it seemed his talent went to waste for too long a time, and on The Brimstone Aggrandizement he gives one of his best performances since leaving Benediction. Johansson’s has apparently been taking aphrodisiacs, his riffs are more potent than on all 38 albums he released last year put together. Though the real winner here is The Grotesquery bassist Johan Berglund, who’s soft rumble remains audible throughout. At the end of the day, however, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Just memorable, catchy, good Swedeath on the melodical side. —Karhu.
In most cases, beatdown hardcore is an utter snoozefest of a genre that is predictable and gets stale in a hurry. Knocked Loose bucks that trend by appealing to that subset, but adding some dimensions that set themselves apart from the pack. Instead of having the vocals try to out-tough the riffs, Knocked Loose screams which adds both intensity and balance to the songs. Instead of piling on one breakdown after another in an attempt to be the hardest, Knocked Loose changes speeds and tempos in their songs to mix things up just enough to bring in the cursory listener who likely may of viewed this style of music as redundant and without variation. With influences that take from Code Orange, Disembodied, The Acacia Strain and a dash of South of Heaven-y Slayer, these guys bring back memories of metallic hardcore in its heyday in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. If they tone down the over the top super slow breakdowns on their next one, you can expect that their audience will only grow as a result. –Ron Deuce.
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Don’t do it for me. Do it for the ghost of the MasterLord.