Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 07/26/2018


Remember I said last month was hot? I long for the comparable chilliness. Do I ever long. These bands aren’t helping me cool down, either: Scars on Broadway, Orator, VeinVoid of Silence and Repulsive Vision.

Scars on BroadwayDictator
Scarred for Life | July 20th, 2018

Ten years. Ten long years with no material from Daron Malakian after Scars on Broadway‘s first album dropped ready for sad, eager System of a Down fans to devour. I loved that record, but then… mostly nothing. SOAD started playing shows again and said they were working on new material, but apparently that’s no longer going to happen any time soon, so Dictator is the closest we’re getting in the meantime. It’s a solid album that picks up right where its predecessor left off, and features Malakian’s signature guitar tone, ear for catchy, middle-eastern tinged riffs and lyrics that take inspiration from current political events, weird drug trips and the Armenian Genocide. This record doesn’t really push any boundaries, but if you’re a SOAD fan and liked the self-titled Scars record, you should absolutely listen to Dictator. – Mosh Hoff

Independent | July 6th, 2018

I stumbled across this album on bandcamp and went into it without knowing what to expect. It knocked me square on my ass repeated times. The best genre tag I can put on Orator is Technical Blackened Death Metal: impossibly ridiculous, over-the-top drumming to support a duo of interweaving guitars that do their best to create a dense ambience to take you on a journey to the darkest corners of Ancient Greece. Blackened minor arpeggios over gravity blasts lead into Nile-esque harmonized palm-muted melodies and head-banging chug grooves, providing lots of variety to keep your attention focused on the intricacies of each section. It’s a lot to process, but Kallipolis as a whole is a very rewarding experience. – Mosh Hoff

Closed Casket Activities | June 22nd, 2018

Does life suck? Hard to get out of bed? Dragging your ass to work and back making you miserable? Vein know your pain, and they made one of the best late-90s metalcore/nu metal albums 2018 has to offer for you to bodyslam your boss to. The proficient and tight-yet-loose drumming really seals Errorzone for me, adding to the weird mathcore riff changes coupled with electronica/drum-n-bass-y bits that make up most of the songs. The record as a whole doesn’t even reach the half hour playing mark, but it leaves me thoroughly tired every time I put it on. Mosh around your room until you break a light bulb with a limb/10. – Mosh Hoff

Void of SilenceThe Sky Is Over
Avantgarde Music | June 11th, 2018

Appropriately for a concept album about expeditions and airships, The Sky Is Over is simultaneously awestruck, majestic, and portentous. Weightless synths are grounded by gargantuan drum-strikes, while clean guitar lines merge with clean vocals to create a sense of lift precarious enough to plummet beneath its own tonnage at any moment. (The album actually starts with the infamous radio-cast of the Hindenburg catastrophe.) This is funeral doom, with all the deliberate pacing and drama that implies, and your response to it may hinge on whether you embrace or recoil from Luca Soi’s power metal vocals, which stand in stark contrast to the rote grunt-and-growl. But if you can set aside your cvlt cred for a few minutes—well, 15-plus minutes mostly—you’re in for an experience as epic as catching a ride on one of Bruce Dickinson’s blimps. – Angelslayer

Repulsive Vision – Look Past the Gore and See the Art
Mighty Music | March 31st, 2018

Repulsive Vision offer up their first full-length in the form of Look Past the Gore and See the Art, a little over half an hour of chunky riffs and loud drumming. The album’s title/theme is a slightly different take on the awesome “listen to the meaning before you judge the screaming” facebook-bot shirts, but at any rate the music within is very solid death metal in the more old-school vein. The songs alternate between fast, thrash beat riffs to more grounded mid-tempo grooves and solos in the Heartwork-era Carcass style. You already know if you’re going to like this, so don’t waste any more time! – Mosh Hoff

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.

Don’t do it for me. Do it for the ghost of the MasterLord.

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