Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 10/24/19
Big albums, tiny reviews.
Howling Giant – The Space Between Worlds
Blues Funeral Recordings | September 27th, 2019
A bright spot in the often terrible world of organ-laced stoner doom, Nashville’s Howling Giant are back again with an excellent LP. As a fan of Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1, and a lesser fan of Part 2, I am thrilled they found some catchy grooves again. You’ll hear plenty of those fuzzy doom riffs you’ve heard a million times before, but they are well accented by clean melodies and soaring vocals. There’s also a ridiculous reality-bending story told over the course of the short album, what else do you need? Check out “Ice Castle” for a no-nonsense jam. FFO: Elder, Bask, ASG – Joaquin
Ghosts of Glaciers – The Greatest Burden
Translation Loss | September 27th, 2019
Ghosts of Glaciers are absolutely blowing me away with their brand of instrumental post-proggy doom. They throw down Elder-quality riffs like nothing, are fast as hell, and are unbelievably dynamic. The Denver trio sound like they have been making music together for years, so I was shocked to see this is their debut LP. The four long songs fly by but leave behind a clear artistic footprint. These guys know what they want to make, and it’s extremely engaging. Would love to see it live. FFO: Elder (again), Russian Circles, Tempel – Joaquin
Juggernaut – Neuroteque
Subsound | October 11th, 2019
Alright people, here’s a full rundown of the instruments on this sucker: electric, acoustic, and classical guitars, bass, drums, synth, sitar, glockenspiel, vibraslap, samples, ATV aFrame, egg and soft shaker, tambourine, tabla, senasel, trash can, and of course, additional samples. There’s a lot going on here, which really helps the cinematic feel they expertly manufacture. While I never seek out these types of post-rock soundscape-y instrumental bands, when done well, it’s the best working/writing music out there. It adds a sense of urgency by upping our already brimming anxiety. The basslines really drive some of the songs which is a nice change of pace. It’s a fun listen. – Joaquin
Cradle Of Filth keyboardist and live backing vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft embarks on her first solo album with Martyr. Stepping into the limelight is never easy, especially when that limelight includes the unmistakable and, at times, insurmountable, vocals of Dani Filth. While Martyr easily could have been twelve Nymphetamines or Heartbreak and Seances, Schoolcraft decides to go for a more straightforward approach. Ex-Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray co-wrote and played on the album and his influence can definitely be felt on certain songs. Songs like “Dangerous Game” and “Stranger” sound ready for radio and should come with free black nail polish. The album’s strength lies within Schoolcraft’s voice and piano playing, and while I could probably listen to an entire album of just that (seriously Linsday, let me live my sadboi dreams), I understand limiting it to a few songs. Martyr is an album for your inner mall goth and could serve as a good starting-off point for people just starting to dip their toe in the metal pool. – 365 Days of Horror
Remember the scene from Jurassic Park when the Dilophosaurus spits venom in Dennis Nedry’s face? That’s Woundvac’s The Road Ahead EP. A disorienting, blinding loogie that is as gross as it is violent. Last May we debuted the band’s Terrorizing The Swarm album and they remain as yucky as ever. The songs are fast, vicious, and filthy, yet somehow easily listenable. Take note death metal bands that put out songs that sound like they were recorded in an old Campbell’s soup can. Though it’s only about 10 minutes long, The Road Ahead is a satisfying dose of poisonous dinosaur slobber. – 365 Days of Horror
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if the Deftones released a dissonant black metal album all in German? No? Oh, ok. Well, someone made that album anyway. The Venn diagram for fans of both dissoblack and Deftones probably includes tens of people but you know what? They found one in me because this stuff is pretty good. The vocalist (and everything else since this is a one-man show) does his best Chino Moreno whisper-singing impression alternating with black metal shrieks over dissonant trips on Deathspell freeways, with various detours through metalcore off-ramps and death metal rest stops. On paper, this should be a complete disaster and yet, in execution, somehow it isn’t. Kudos to this dude for making his singular dream come true and showing some chops on all instruments. – Black Metal Porkins
I made a Faustian bargain with 365 for the new Unleash the Archers EP (go listen to it, it’s very good), and the monkey’s-paw twist was having the new Infected Rain inflicted upon me as well. It’s not fair to call the act completely incompetent; there’s some interesting dreamy prog stuff on “Pendulum,” and “Taphephobia” has a couple decent riffs, but it would be a stretch to say that I truly enjoyed any part of this. It’s brain-dead nu-metal with pop segments interspersed throughout, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard. The production is so sterile you could use it as an operating table, and the vocals—clearly intended to be a highlight of the album—are bland when sung and weak when screamed. Oh, and the lyrics are monumentally stupid, too (“Because I slay while I play/Listen and follow me/I’ve got a demon in me/I am the prodigy”). It’s like a shittier version of Amaranthe, which I guess is something of an achievement, so…good job, Infected Rain? – Spear
Fit For An Autopsy has always been one of those borderline bands for me, never quite hitting the sweet spot to push me to actively listen to them, but that changes with The Sea of Tragic Beasts. It’s no coincidence that this is their least “deathcore” album either, at least not in the typical sense; it gets unabashedly Gojiraish now instead, complete with big-ass pick scrapes and layered screams/singing. They never completely shed a couple deathcore tropes that annoy me; I’m not a fan of the yelled lines near the end of “Your Pain Is Mine,” and there are a few breakdowns that I found weak (such as the one near the end of “Shepherd,” an otherwise totally banging tune). Much as those points failed to impress, they were few and far between; moreover, they’re used much more effectively here than on most -core albums, exploding into a big solo or ending a song on a monster riff. It’s smart, melodic, and surprisingly restrained at times, and it’s the best thing FFAA has put out to date. – Spear
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