Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 04/26/18


Welcome to Mini Reviews! Again! I remembered this week!! Hot lineup of things you haven’t yet heard including Archelon, TrautonistThe Armed, The Dahmers, Widow’s Peak, Cauldron of Hate and Empress,

Archelon Tribe of Suns
Sludgelord Records | May 4th, 2018
Gang vocals motherfucker, do you have them? With four members listed on vocals I expected a lot more, but instead, Archelon starts out sounding like a great instrumental lite-sludge band, using a recorded voice track as they are wont to do. Then, outta goddamn nowhere, these great Intronaut-like cleans come cutting through accompanied by the growls of another. They do this pretty well so I left wishing they used it more often, but the vocal diversity is really unique. They use the time-tested post-metal method of extending lulls right until the point of boredom to unleash a furious riff that works more often than it doesn’t. This will surely be one of the better post-metal/sludge albums you’ll hear this year, so if you can tolerate that stuff, get on this! – Joaquin

Trautonist Ember
Wolves & Vibrancy Records | May 4th, 2018
Ember is a sort of upbeat but depressive shoegaze album, in the vein of Alcest’s Shelter, but with some harsh vocals in there to round it out a bit more. The production is a little rough around the edges, which serves the sound well by making the melody muddle with the rhythm in a non-offensive wall of sound. The German duo’s complimentary vocals really makes album for me. By separating the weightless cleans from the pained screams, Trautonist create a two-faced album while sticking tightly to one genre. In a quick 41 minutes, Ember delivers earnest, self-reflective music that is exactly as dynamic as it needs to be. – Joaquin

The Armed  Only Love
Throatruiner Records| April 27th, 2018

This is weird. I don’t know what else I was expecting from The Armed, because Future Drugs was a trip and a half, but Intronao is… weirder. It’s decidedly less hardcore than its predecessor, with more of an emphasis on uplifting, almost electronica-like melodies, synthesisers, saxophones and copious doses of noise-soaked everything. The music is still heavy in an almost draining way, and it’s still aggressive if no longer as fast; it’s an album with sensibilities very different from that of its older sibling, but still a highly interesting release worth checking out if you like unusual approaches to your noisy metal. – Moshito

The DahmersCreepiest Creep
Lovely Records | April 27th, 2018

Pull up your Underoos, grab your favorite cereal, and put your dancing shoes on. Now you’re ready to listen to Sweden’s The Dahmers. A mixture of horror punk, garage rock, and a sugar high, The Dahmers are a high-energy band without the domineering sneer of self-righteous, cooler-than-thou punks or uptight metalheads. Their 4-song EP Creepiest Creep is a fun, hook-filled romp that makes me long for the days Saturday morning cartoons and no responsibilities. Once your done with Creepiest Creep check out my favorite song by The Dahmers, “To the Night“. I challenge you not to boogie. – 365

Widow’s Peak  Graceless (EP)
Independent | April 27th, 2018

Widow’s Peak, as precise a mental image as their name draws up, play loose, somewhat melodic and lightly slammified Death Metal. The band is at their strongest when playing midtempo groovy parts, where they manage to keep everything locked in nicely. When the parts speed up, things start to feel kinda flabby and wonky… This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, it’s their thing and they aren’t trying to hide anything, so they get honesty points. I’m sure I’d enjoy it more if it was tighter overall, but the “about to fall apart” feel makes it enjoyable in its own way. – Moshito

Wild HuntAfterdream of the Revller
Independent | April 20th, 2018

I was gonna do a full review, but somehow I just feel a little too overwhelmed here. Wild Hunt basically present something like a mix of Dodecahedron and Thantifaxath. Winding, labyrinthine riffs that snake their way around many a corner, backed by a manic rhythm section. I can’t quite tell if the vocals are multi-tracked or if that’s just reverb, but they sound properly inhuman, coldly snarling at you from a place in the back of the mix. It’s not as consistently chaotic and claustrophobic as the aforementioned bands, as it finds several occasions to calm down with passages that are either quieter or at least more straightforward, as well as stately, somewhat pompous (albeit not goofy) cleans. This is most kind of them, considering the length of the album; it’d be straight up mind-shattering if they kept the madness up all the way. Still, the album title seems very appropriate. While more coherent than your average dream, things are still prone to shift on a dime, disorienting and confusing you, making the attempt to make sense of it all somewhat taxing at times. And as it often is with dreams, you might be hard pressed to remember what exactly was going on once it’s all over, and maybe a little hesitant to go in for another round. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty amazing experience. – Hans

Cauldron of Hate – Sickness
Kuolema Records | February 24th, 2018

Apparently Cauldron of Hate have been around for a decade, with a couple of ep’s in their pocket. Never have our paths crossed before, in the form of recorded music though. What I was met with is smooth-flowing and slick brutal death metal that bears a striking resemblance to Krisiun – with far less chugs, and Nile – with technical overflow controlled. It’s blasty, mostly locked at higher tempos and triggered, which considered sounds surprisingly balanced, lacking the element of fatigue. The riffs are neither original, nor especially memorable, but more than serviceable, and coupled with the leadwork (where the Nile influence comes to play) the songs remain alive to avoid nullity. The too few slams show CoH is capable of slowing things down at their behest, a side that I would like to see them expand on in the future, and the dual-vocals consistently break the monotony, whether divided into their respective sections, callbacking or harmonizing (if you can call it that) – the lower grunts recalling young Barney’s prowess at their best. Unoriginal, but recommended slab of Sickness. – Karhu

Empress Reminiscence
Independent | February 12th, 2018

Add another name to the above average sludgy psych-doom band list! While the first track is a little generic, I’m glad I stuck around to hear the second. “Immer” starts with a damn fine Elder-like riff that has just the right amount of crunch, then about midway through, they take this sort of upbeat post/prog riff that builds for like four minutes into something completely unexpected from their sludgy start. I love it. As far as debuts go, this one sounds like a sound-finding exploration and there are a lot of good leads. A few tracks sound like fodder for the genre, but they take enough chances to keep me interested. They have a solid sense for memorable melodic riffs and head-nodding grooves. – Joaquin



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