Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 06/28/2018
It’s hot. It’s been cold all year and now it’s very hot and I don’t like it. Nuke the sun. But listen to all these rad bands before that: Crucial Rip, Shylmagoghnar, Death Will Tremble, Pale, Potato Hate Explosion, Rotten Sound, Aeviterne and Flood Peak.
If you weren’t aware, slam is the current trendy sound to incorporate into deathcore. Enter Crucial Rip, a deathcore band with a heavy amount of slam riffs, clear production, throaty deathcore vocals and breakdowns. Lots of breakdowns, and the ensuing hardcore shouts. I enjoyed this record a lot, even if I was expecting something different given the description. Throwing a (perfectly audible) slammy riff over a two-step part doesn’t make it slam, it makes it two-step deathcore with lots of ride bell. Which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and in this case is actually head-bobbing, groovy fun. Fun, but not Real Slam ™ – Mosh Hoff
While Napalm Records has become better known for releasing hordes and swathes of Slavic-tasting disco-weirdness masquerading as metal and brickwalled, supposedly symphonic pop metal pomp than anything worthwhile, the likes of Ahab and Summoning have comfortably lied on their roster. Shylmagoghnar is an atmospheric black metal band with a tendency to prog it up, and their sophomore desperately wants to be included in that minority of excellence. Their 2014 debut, Emergence, opened with great promise, but utterly failed to deliver on it. While Transience’s singles, the opening titular track that even makes references to Summoning, and “As All Must Come to Pass” promised even greater things, and this time the duo lives up to their word. It’s clean and approachable atmospheric metal mostly borrowing it’s patois from black metal, but with the bass prominence and melodic sensibility and direction of a modern prog metal band, every now and then leaving the guitars to the background, giving the keys room to lead. A decision which, together with turmoil and flutter of songwriting, seemingly allows the music room to breathe even though the mix is rather undynamic. Even though the underlying mood is that of melancholy, Transience is more playful than depressive. A hearty recommendation or a label that rarely receives any from me. – Karhu
I like when bands cater to my personal tastes by mixing up a bunch of my favorite tropes. Death Will Tremble do just that in this 14-minute single release, with bits of post-metal, post-hardcore, and doom all jammed together. Departures is basically two compatible songs joined together at the hip, striking some tough emotional strings around the theme of loss. There’s a lot to unpack in this short release, demonstrating a very mature writing process. It stays fairly slow as a key to its theme, but with some speed variation on future work, these guys will be great. – Joaquin
I’ve had Mutilation Rites on my mind recently, and the level of intensity that Pale hit you with on opener “Turquoise” reminded me a wee bit of them. A whole lot of blasting and an insane level of intensity from the singer, who sounds like he’s about to burst. Then, sandwiched between staccato parts that hit like well-aimed fists, comes a surprisingly smooth, jazzy part. The crazy energy of it all makes this my favourite track on here. The aggression largely carries over to the second song, and again they bring something unexpected with a fun, bouncy part around the minute mark. Shortly thereafter, however, the guitar transitions to playing major chords; suddenly, I realized who else the singer reminded me of, and similarities with another band became glaringly obvious from here on out. The third song struck me as the weakest one at first, but I eventually submitted to the feeling of all-around tiredness it creates by lowering the tempo a bit, because I find it so god damn relatable. It turns out that this track, placed in the middle of the record and itself being split in the middle, functions as a kind of volta, and the second half strikes increasingly familiar notes. Yes, comparisons to Sunbather are becoming downright unavoidable by now. In fact, I feel like that’s pretty much all I can say about the next one and a half songs. “Gossamer” and the first half of “Zodiac” are the most straight-up Deafheaven worship I’ve ever heard. It’s a damn good copy, mind you, but I’m in two minds about this. Only towards the end do some versatility and individuality creep back in (and the drummer proves once more that he’s a bit of a beast). All in all, it’s better to steal well than to invent badly, but since Pale can actually invent well, I’d wish they’d ramp that part up a bit more. – Hans
Um. This is, uh… every genre ever, basically. I really don’t know how else to accurately describe it beyond “just listen”. – Mosh Hoff
There are many things in this world that gets this morbidly obese heart going: stairs, a light jog, basic bodily movements, breathing; but there are few things that get that heart going through excitement instead of lack of conditioning. So when Rotten Sound announced a mini-LP earlier this year, you better believe that the ol’ heart started racing. With my pupils dilated, sweat pouring from my forehead and hands shaking like a teenage boy about to encounter his first sexual encounter, I clicked the “buy now” button. My body was overcome with ecstasy. Abuse to Suffer was fantastic and to this day gets a lot of spins. It has a very good shelf life and despite some pacing flaws (it drags a little), I would say that it’s a great album to start with if you’re looking at exploring Grind; Suffer to Abuse is very much a sequel to that. You have fast, blistering, relentless songs that get your blood pumping and your muscles tensing with some slow, pulverizing, headbangers laced in there to prevent you (me) from going into cardiac arrest. – BertBanana
Two members of the short-lived grind/death/something project Flourishing have teamed up with a new drummer and present us with two tracks of cold, dark death metal. Thoroughly erasing any trace of the warmth and slightly post-hardcoreish chords the former band struck on their sole full-length, Aeviterne instead loosely follows the trajectory of the 2012 EP Intersubjectivity. While it’s different enough to warrant the new moniker, both the vocals and the overall sound ensure that not all familiarity is gone. “Spring of Mirrors” is a full-on assault of blasting and endlessly swirling, droning guitar that seems to take cues from acts like Portal. “Inborn”, on the other hand, reels you in with a more subtle approach and lets the penchant for mixing styles shine through. Refusing to follow a tight structure, it instead lets its train of thought run a little wild, yet doesn’t leave an idea in the dust before it’s thoroughly fleshed out. Many an appetite will be thoroughly whetted, I think. – Hans
There’s a lot of middling post-metal out there and very few bands in the category of “I’d listen to that again on purpose”. Flood Peak has easily landed in that latter category with their debut album released early this year. With four very mature songs, they waste very little time in finding that sweet balance of groove and melody all without dropping the thematic weight that I need in my post-metal. “Mire”, in particular, builds up to a perfect chrome-tinged riff and just absolutely insane drumming that injects you with energy. There’s a whole lot of Isis (should we call them Celestial now?) influence here, which is the correct way to post-metal. – Joaquin
Hey you. Yeah YOU. Want to contribute to mini-reviews? Find an album you’ve dug (or not) that preferably hasn’t been reviewed on the blog yet and has been released recently (within the last few months, or year if you’re so inclined), write around 100-120 coherent words about it and send it to toiletminis[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Please include the album’s release date, title, label, a link to the band’s facebook (if they have one), another one to their bandcamp (or any other place to listen to/buy the album if they don’t have one) and any other information/links that you think are relevant and want to include.
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