Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 07/21/2016
I don’t know who makes all this small food stuff but it sure doesn’t seem worth the effort. Anyway, today we review Warpvomit, Profanatica, Defeated Sanity, Plasmodium, Scour, The Night Watch, Der Rote Milan, Memoriam, Bat, and Caveman Cult.
Warpvomit (now Crurifragium) – Barbaric Triumph of Evil
Iron Bonehead Productions | August 19th, 2016
Barbaric Triumph of Evil is a rotting husk of charred old-school death metal with magma-thick distortion and drumming so relentless Alec Baldwin himself would be proud. Each time you think the song is going to slow down? MORE BLASTING. A release composed of two separate halves, tracks 1-4 are brand new while tracks 5-9 originated from the band’s Carnal Sacrifice demo (perhaps that first studio was too soaked in beer and partially burned from amp fires to be used again). The difference in production is negligible; the band clearly has their filthy OSDM sound nailed down. The admirably simple riffs are entrenched in a mire of murky HM-2-esque mud, chaotic solos are riddled with whammy bar dives, bass is distorted so far into the low end you’ll think your earbuds are damaged, and the drums have a tone like that of a kit recovered from a lake dredging. Stream “The Vultures Circling Megiddo“. — Cyborg.
Profanatica was founded by Paul Ledney and John Gelso, formerly of Incantation, in order to spread a gospel of blasphemous mid-to-fast tempo black metal. They broke up two weeks later and reformed years after. The Curling Flame of Blasphemy is the group’s fourth full-length with numerous shorter releases. If you want to know what the band is about “Ordained in Bile” is our best bet (after the Disgusting Blasphemies… LP). Hellhammer-like rhythmic pounding and swirling black metal riffs turn into a melodic motif (atypical of the band) over blasting. It’s simple, bass-heavy and clear sounding caveman-black metal. Not quite as memorable, or bass-heavy as Disgusting Blasphemies but adorned with a cool cover art, it’s not far behind. If Blasphemy weren’t so fixated on speed, they’d sound much like Profanatica does. Heartily recommended. — Karhu.
Germany’s brutalest are back! If you were worried that Defeated Sanity were becoming a bit too technical, fear not: the band decided to separate the brutalz from the weedilies this time around. The album’s first half (featuring former vocalist Konstantin Lühring), Disposal of the Dead, is probably the bassiest thing I have heard in my life bar very little. By the end of the sixth track I had a mild headache, but a smile so wide it made the pain worth it. I think ignorant music played by skilled musicians is precisely the type of thing that metal is good for, and in that regard these six tracks truly excel. Final verdict: Cut-short-reverb-soaked pingy snare/10. — Moshito.
As for the more technical aspects of DF’s music, they’ve decided to do half an album’s wort of full-out early 90s inspired progressive/technical death metal. The songs labelled as Dharmata instantly bring to mind mid-period Death and Atheist and feature Cynic/Death to All‘s Max Phelps on vocals. Thrashy, technical riffs, loud audible bass with plenty of slapping, jazzy guitar and drum breaks, even those latin-jazzy wooden percussion thingys that I can’t name right now, it’s all here. This might come as a shock to some longtime Defeated Sanity fans, but personally I think it’s a really cool and well executed death metal throwback; think Gruesome only a couple of years short on the time travelling. Props to the band for trying something new and totally nailing the sound in the process. — Moshito.
Entheognosis (killer title to match killer art) is a harrowing dervish of seemingly improvised black and death metal dissonance. Clocking in at just a little over an hour across only four tracks, Plasmodium have given us the kind of album that you don’t jam specific tracks from but rather find yourself lost in, searching for the light, for reprieve, for some semblance of reality among the shifting structures and queer light. Strange, atonal chords drift in and out of ethereal (yet oddly tactile) clouds of distortion that seem to spontaneously erupt into lightning cracks of blast beats and queasy hi-hat rides while the vocals speak in maledictions. This is an album that defies convention in many ways, one that must be experienced rather than enjoyed, and yet I find myself looking forward to parsing its intricacies for many months to come. — W.
Philip H. Anselmo is back again with yet another project, but this time he’s brought some well-known friends. Rounding out this new band is Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation), Chase Fraser (Animosity), John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer) and Jesse Schobel (Strong Intention). Scour concocts a deadly cocktail of Scandinavian Black Metal and English Grindcore that will entrance fans of both. Weaving in between blast beats and atmospheric passages, the band wastes no time showing the listener that they mean business and that they are their own entity. This delightfully quick EP runs right under 14 minutes, just enough to whet your appetite and leave you desperately hungry for more. My only hope is that Scour can work with all of the involved parties’ schedules and release a full length in the near future. — Boss the Ross.
Since our interview with Musk Ox in January of 2015, I have been highly anticipating a new album from the dark stringed trio. Just as good, however, is a new release from The Night Watch, featuring their guitarist and violinist. This 36 minute instrumental piece is composed of many distinct parts, some of which are surprisingly heavy for a violin-fronted group. Boundaries comes two years after their previous release, and the result is a beautifully focused and purposeful album. The cinematic nature of it makes me feel like I shouldn’t spoil the perfect ending, but I will say they use the space between sounds in epic fashion. You want something original? Look no further. — Joaquin Stick.
I like birds, especially raptors, and so I was more than intrigued to check out the debut album of Germany’s Der Rote Milan (The Red Kite). The intro track is a little odd as it pitches high-soaring birdcalls against some sort of cavernous ritual, but it works to set an ominous tone. What follows are eight songs of (mostly) bull-in-a-china-shop raging black metal fury that zip between downright viscous and downright depressive at the drop of a hat. Lead track “Seelenasche” is a microcosm of what’s on offer, so if you dig it, you’ll find much to enjoy on the rest of the record. Although most of the album falls within savage blasting territory, the band is not afraid to slow it down (“Ewige Dunkelheit”) and let the cheerlessness shine through (oxymoron intended). Oozing with moribund arpeggios, it’ll leave you questioning your frail existence. The vocalist has quite the range, flitting between pH1 and pH14 rasps, and gutturals with enough grit to strip paint. The band has opted to somewhat go against the grain with their album’s production, being more polished than TayTay’s nails and more dense than osmium. When you’re tired of trying to pick out a discernable riff from your favorite crude lo-fi black metal LP, slap on Aus der Asche and fly high-fi. FFO: Dark Funeral. — Stanley.
Death metal is a difficult genre in which you can construct a more personal feeling in the songcrafting, but here we are in 2016 waiting for Memoriam, the new extreme supergroup, to unleash the fires of emotive turmoil and visions of warfare into the present. To ease the wait, the British maestros have compiled two demos of their upcoming record, and let me tell you this is an intense, savage and heartfelt brand of brutal music. The raw treatment of the demos gives the two songs a terrific underground aesthetic that suits them pretty well, and the musicianship can be qualified as superb, with those excellent changes between the groove and the harshness. To be completely honest, this is a record I will now look forward to with more thrill based on this release. Check the songs here and here. — Link Leonhart.
Ryan Waste’s speed metal side project is back with their first full length, and what a full length it is. Coming in at a brisk 29 minutes, Wings of Chains is a perfectly bite-sized, thrash tinged pick me up. In the sea of self serious black and death metal releases it’s really nice to see a band throw on their “Make Metal Fun Again” hats. It helps that the band aren’t exactly slouches when it comes to songwriting, as openers “Bloodhounds” and “Code Rude” both feature catchy-as-gonorrhea choruses while “Rule of the Beast” and “You Die” deliver a mix of delightfully cock rockish and devilishly thrashy riffs. If you need a quick fix of something light and upbeat, Bat will definitely sate your thirst. — Leif Bearikson.
Caveman Cult – Savage War Is Destiny
Rotting Chapel Propaganda | May 17th, 2016
War metal. War metal never changes. That slightly modified Fallout catch phrase perfectly sums up Caveman Cult’s debut album Savage War is Destiny. There are no surprises in store for you here. No melodic sections, no extended jazz flute solos… this is a wall of savage sound that you’d expect from a band with a spiked logo and war metal tag. This, of course, means that if you’re familiar with the subgenre then you’ve heard this album numerous times before already. There’s only so much you can do to innovate within war metal after all. This doesn’t mean the album is without highlights, as tracks like “La Eterna Guerra Sangrienta” and “Death Before Surrender” bring some sledgehammer riffs and off the rails Kerry King-esque solos. Savage War is Destiny is an easy recommendation if you’re a die hard fan of this very particular subgenre, but if you aren’t already a fan there are better alternatives to make yourself one. — Leif Bearikson.