Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 08/18/2016
Get your fix of kix and lix. Bite into Falaise, Cloak of Organs, Uškumgallu, Abominant, Punished, Arthwork, An Abstract Illusion, Pulczesar and Blood Chalice.
Despite Falaise being a commune (kind of like a township) in the Normandy area of France, the band Falaise hails from Italy. I could see how that might be confusing. On As Time Goes By, Falaise produce a melancholic form of post black metal that both touches and sears the soul. Moments of atmospheric beauty wash over the listener only to crash like a wave by the pounding of blast beats and tremolo. If there is one draw back to As Time Goes By it is the vocals. They’re not bad, but for most of the album, the vocals are buried beneath the instruments. It is difficult to tell if that is intentional as the vocals tend to have the same tone (and effects) throughout the album. Regardless, As Time Goes By is a solid album for those that enjoy a little blue in their black skies. RIYL: Alcest, Midnight Odyssey, An Autumn for Crippled Children — 365.
Boasting members from bands like Wovenhand, Planes Mistaken for Stars, and The Nervous, Denver’s Cloak of Organs avoid the dreaded and overused “supergroup” label and forge a path all their own. Their self-titled EP is a dreamy excursion of post-rock tunes that lock you in place, only allowing your neck and head to move along in agreement. Jennie Mather‘s haunting vocals bring to mind people like Jex Thoth and Witch Charmer‘s Kate McKeown. Although the EP contains just four songs, Cloak of Organs manage to weave their magic, putting the listener into a peaceful trance and leaving us wanting more. RIYL: Sabbath Assembly, Occultation, Mount Salem — 365.
Raw, grim, and deeply unnerving, Rotten Limbs in Dreams of Blood is Uškumgallu’s third release and first full-length on stark label VT-X, and it capitalizes on all the strengths of the two prior demos while allowing the black metal duo to stretch their legs and cast a horrifyingly despondent vision. The end result of that spell of gloom is a record that sounds akin to other VT-X releases while still managing to show off a few unique tricks. Amid the cacophony of blast beats and cavalcade of tremolo riffs are odd little deviations, like tribal drum patterns, muted leads, and sludgy breakdowns that really amp up the murk. None of these elements detract from the viciousness or aggression, though; instead, the unique pauses or slightly ajar riffs lend what would be an otherwise amorphous mass of virulent meat some hooks and catchiness. It may take a few efforts to grasp what the band is doing, but the effort is well worth it. — W.
Abominant – Napalm Reign
Deathgasm | July 29th, 2016
Abominant have never fharch’d around. 23 years, 10 full-lengths, next to no other releases and only the drummer isn’t an original member. Napalm Reign seeks to change nothing, instead churning out midwestern death metal with a strong, melodic flair – powerful chugs, deep churning riffs, double-tracked vocals and tremolo-picked melodies not entirely dissimilar to Arghoslent, though more thoroughly a death metal act. Though nothing terribly original, or mindblowingly awesome, Napalm Reign will most likely end up one of the years most underrated, and unsung, death metal records. — Karhu.
Punished – The Absent
Independent | July 28th, 2016
Ever wondered what Ulcerate would sound like without that suffocating wall of sound aspect in their music? Wonder no longer, because Punished are here to answer that question. The band features Ulcerate vocalist Ben Read as well as the guitarist from Serocs, Antonio Freyre. If that’s not enough for you, the EP also has a few notable guest vocalist appearances including Phil Tougas (Chthe’ilist, First Fragment, Zealotry) and Antti Boman (Demilich). I’ve found myself digging this EP quite a bit lately and am definitely eager to hear more from this band. — Bauer.
Poland’s Arthwork (and yes, I’m trying my absolute hardest not to make the obvious joke about their name) is a one-man project by Artur Jankowski. Jankowski plays an amalgamation of progressive metal, groove metal, and death metal. On Indignation, those genres snake in and out of the songs, sometimes to success, sometimes not. The solos are all well crafted and make me want to hear more from the band itself and less of the vocalist. At their very best, the vocals sound like a second-rate Warrel Dane. At worst, they sound overly dramatic and goofy like the cheeseball from Simus. The album does contain heavy backing vocals which only serve as a reminder that Arthwork would be better off as a death metal band. All of this could have been forgiven (or at least overlooked) if it weren’t for the death-by-cringing lyrics (taken directly from their Bandcamp) such as “Jesus and Messiah. Examples of Perfection. What a fuck do you want from me? I am only human. I know I’m not perfect. I can go wrong. But whole Christianity is a fuck’ mess for me.” That’s bad. Arthwork (or more accurately, Artur Jankowski) has the talent, but their are a few pieces missing from the puzzle to make Indignation enjoyable. RIYL: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — 365.
This is some really good progressive, black, death whatchacallit. I don’t really know how to categorize this band actually since there’s a lot going on here. I’d say they’re a lot like Ne Obliviscaris, but without the violins and with production that is not as clean. Songs are expertly crafted and executed masterfully. It wouldn’t surprise me if these guys have extensive music theory knowledge. If you have any interest at all in progressive music check this out. Trust me when I say that this release is excellent and you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not listening to it. — Bauer.
Seems there are a million stoner doom bands out there these days; by the time I finish writing this, that figure will have increased by at least 6%. They practically come from every corner of our planet, but, I had not heard of one from Poland… until now. Eschewing their nation’s deeply ingrained affinity for the comparitively darker arts of black and death metal, Pulczesar offer a rather heady strain of stoner metal, adorned with some light psych and gritty doom flavours. Imagine a combination of Sasquatch‘s catchy grooves, Earthship‘s clomping hooves, and Abrahma‘s… well, they sound like Abrahma, which is fucking awesome if you ask this lizard. From what I can gather, this is the quartet’s debut album, and it’s free on bandcamp. Not name your price, FREE! They won’t even let you pay for it. Now that’s a free market everyone can agree on. — Lacertilian.
Blood Chalice – Demo 2016
Signal Rex | July 8th, 2016
In the mood for feral, ever-so-slightly blackened metal of death? Finland’s Blood Chalice have got you covered. We’re only talking about a five song demo, but the frantic blasting that sounds like the drummer’s about to drop it, the reverb-washed tremoloing guitars circling hypnotically over the ever-shifting drum patterns appearing more varied than they are, and Pessi Haltsonen‘s (Torture Killer) vocal work, actually stink of pus and rot. Blood Chalice invited them in, but I sure as hell am notgoing to show them the door, not as long as they can keep delivering like this. — Karhu.