Mini-Reviews From Around the Bowl (1/21/21)


We’re all about efficiency here at Toilet ov Hell, so here’s nine reviews in one go.

EvilPossessed By Evil
Nuclear War Now! | February 1st, 2021

Why yes, this is indeed blackened thrash metal, how could you tell? When they want to, Evil from Japan can shred just as mercilessly as related acts like Destruktor and Nocturnal Graves. Often enough, however, the compositions are more melodic and less heavy on the blasts, as evidenced by the preview track, which feels closer to speed metal. The lead guitarist is definitely the star of the show, laying down at least one blazing solo per track. Make no mistake, this is very much comfort food as opposed to anything that will seriously challenge your palate, but that’s probably what you’re looking for if you’re into the aforementioned bands, and it’s not like we couldn’t all do with something reliable and safe lately. Hans

SalòSortez vos Morts
Cold Dark Matter Records | January 2nd, 2021

Salò describe their style as “Indus Blackened Crust,” and after some musing on what this music may have to do with a river in the Indian subcontinent, I inferred that they’re probably refering to the French word indu, meaning something like unfit or inappropriate. The modifier seems, as it were, appropriate to signify their distinct take on the genre. While the instruments and vocals are mostly par for the course, you’ll notice right from the intro that these guys like to mess around with samples. These are used copiously and to great effect throughout the EP, creating a consistently unsettling atmosphere along with the synths. Everything being in French further adds to the unease and disorientation. The end result is weird and nasty and well worth your time. Hans

Zig ZagsThey’ll Never Take Us Alive
RidingEasy Records | May 10, 2019

It seems like not that long ago (only 15 years or so!) that metal albums which genuinely sounded like the 80s were a novelty. These days, you won’t have trouble finding one; the question is more how authentic you want it. In the case of Zig Zags, it’s extremely authentic. “But,” press texts for such releases hasten to add, “so-an-so add their own twist to the formula.” I’m not so sure this can be said for these guys, unless the twist is just how tightly they weave the tapestry of references to, and outright quotes of, NWOBHM, early thrash, and classic punk (as well as a dash of post-punk – see “Nothing To Do” – and classic doom). Many riffs will strike you as familiar or straight up lifted, to the point where some songs feel like a metal version of Ready Player One. None of this is to the album’s detriment, however, because it’s done with apparent ease and plenty of gusto, resulting in a bizarre but fun mashup of all the greats. Hans

AbyssumPoizon of God
The Sinister Flame | Jan 22nd, 2021

Guatemala is not a country known for it’s metal scene, but Abyssum has been trying to fill that particular hole since 1993/4. Their success remains as debatable as the band remains obscure, and while the reasons may be various, their location and lack of an established scene have hardly helped. Nor would the release of their 1998 debut, Thy Call, only after their demise. Some fifteen years ago, though, Abyssum returned as a duo of drummer Akherra and multi-instrumentalist Rex Ebvleb, releasing Poizon of God two years later. It has not done much to raise the band from their obscurity, but The Sinister Flame has decided to re-release it for a wider potential distribution outside of Southern/Central America. Poizon of God has a certain timelessness to it in that neither sound nor style will betray the origin of it’s conception, and a grim rawness that isn’t limited to the recording. The pieces are simple, and would make for simple pictures if they weren’t at times so unconventionally assembled, as to intentionally distort them. The ample use of acoustic guitar, both on its own and mixed in the distortion, and the abundance of spaced out synths further push Poizon of God’s atmosphere to a corner from where Abyssum has slowly let trickle the nectar of their work ever since, caring little for what goes on beyond their immediate vicinity. KARHU

RuminationBlue Rose
Independent | Jan 13th, 2021

Lynchgrind is a thing I did not know I needed until I had held it. Rumination is a Canadian blackened deathgrind duo that seems to have set their eyes on the beloved cult-series Twin Peaks. Though their music lacks sorely in the mystic charm of the original, and in the carefully unfolding layers of The Return, being most reminiscent of the channel executive administered, forcible haste of the second season, ’tis perhaps for the best that the violent directness of the music should clash with it’s themes and inspirations, instead of being imprisoned in it’s execution and conceptual conventions. Whatever the case might have been, Blue Rose fails to engage beyond the endear of Lynchgrind as a concept, and the band themselves don’t even bank on it. The music is a mix of almost powerviolence-like mess of chords and a blackened tinge that’s resigned to a guitar lead picked from an Anaal Nathraakh record, or the latest Cattle Decapitation, as if there’s a difference,except for whatever reason kept to the repetition of a note or two. Blue Rose isn’t bad, besides “Killing Two Birds’ ” spoken/shouten word section, which makes my face retract in an untold gurn, and at less than ten minutes, works as an appetizer, but there’s little, if anything, of interest beyond the theme. KARHU

Gates of Doom – Aquileia Mater Aeterna
Cult of Parthenope | January 6th, 2021

Did you ever wonder what Anicon would sound like after a spiritual trip to a historic municipality in northeastern Italy? Of course you have, you’re a cultured individual. Aquileia Mater Aeterna blends the varietal characteristics of blackened death metal with an earthy, earnest melodicism that tills the heart from its first moments. Songs like “Sulcus Primigenius / Under The Sign Of The Eagle” and “The Galenus Plague” form a topography of acoustic lowlands and adventurous peaks (see the sudden metalcore breakdown at the end of the first track) that mirrors the experimentation of the band’s homeland stalwarts, Dewfall.

From the ritualistic introduction of “I, The Eagle, The Strength, The Power” to the dissonant portions of “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” listeners are as likely to pick up on strains of Greek black metal as they are the serrated songwriting of the French scene. It’s rare for a band’s first LP to concern itself with production and self-expression as well as paying respects to the myriad scenes that influenced them, but Gates of Doom does so without losing their personality. May they age like a fine wine. Cent’Anni! — Rolderathis

ComatoseA Way Back
Transcending Records | January 22nd, 2020

Comatose is some sort of post-rock grunge gaze thing and that somehow works. There’s a dreamy atmospheric feeling to the vocals that makes them lay nicely on top of the massive amounts of guitar distortion. The excellent production, especially on the frantic drumming, balances the whole thing right between abrasive and soothing. There’s a bunch of instantly catchy choruses too, which is always a plus for me. I always like to throw in at least one reference band, so I’ll say Astronoid, even though that’s not quite right. A Way Back is a focused, compact, unique thing, and I like that. — Joaquin

Respire Black Line
Church Road Records | December 4th, 2020

The orchestral blackened post-rock emo punk weirdos in Respire hit so many spots I didn’t know I had with Black Line. They sound like 6 different bands on stage at the same time playing different tracks, but an expert mixer is behind the scenes muting all the right people at the right time. I’m a huge sucker for violin, sax, trumpet, and… uhh… glockenspiel? in my metal, and Respire brings all that and more. There are a few slow patches, but there are enough shiny spots to make me smile. — Joaquin

Fractal GeneratorMacrocosmos
Everlasting Spew | January 15th, 2021

We gave Macrocosmos a little love in our premiere a few months back, but I have to bring this one up again in case anyone missed its release. This album feels like a slightly more tech-leaning Morbid Angel kind of death metal album with some tasteful eerie synth layered on top. It’s riff after monster riff delivered with cold mechanical precision and speed, with a solid foundation of thick palm muted chords and adventurous songwriting. It’s a huge step up from Apotheosynthesis, already a pretty good album, making it an obvious pick for anyone who likes their death metal chuggy but not braindead. Fucking fantastic record. — Spear

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