Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 11/10/16
Reading is for janitors. Am I doing the meme right, kids? This week, feast your eyes on Lascar, Mikko Joensuu, Freedom Call, Hemina, Ysengrin/Sartegos, Siberian Hell Sounds, Anal Trump, Devin Townsend Project and Lesbian.
Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Lascar is the one-man project of Gabriel Hugo. The songs on Absence lie somewhere between post-black metal and depressive black metal. Quiet, tender moments and interludes call forth thoughts of early Opeth and are a welcome respite from the anguished screams and wailing guitars. With no song being less than 7 minutes, the 4-song EP does require a bit of stamina from the listener, but fans of the genre will be rewarded for their patience. Absence is the album you play when you want to sit outside in the middle of a snowstorm, just thinking, feeling, and being. RIYL: An Autumn for Crippled Children, Thy Light, Ghost Bath — 365.
Joensuu‘s Amen 1 was a dark, man-and-an-acoustic-guitar album dealing with loss of faith, the following anxiety and related issues. Amen 2 is an emotionally harrowing second part of the trilogy, and among trilogies, Amen seems to be a rarity – the second part eclipsing the first by a huge margin. The eleven-minute “Drop Me Down”opens the record, adding strings, piano, faint touches of electric guitar and simple, quiet drumming. Though the soundscape created is flails between grey and darkness, the songs manage to convey not only the loss of the mental scheme of god – but also the relief that follows from the realization the structures and emotions like love, sorrow and hope, once attributed to this higher being, are free and inborn. Dealing with similar themes as the first part, but in a far less restricted manner has brought a lot of light into these compositions, making Amen 2 significantly more momentuous than it’s little brother. — Karhu.
Freedom Call is back with a new release full of happy, fun, cheesy power metal. Fat choruses, melodic and slick guitar solos, and some sick double bass drumming are something you can always count on from the band, and they deliver in spades. Nothing serious here, just pure joyous cheese that’s easy to get into and catchy as hell. The album cover is definitely not what I’d call good [You aren’t even kidding. -M.], but the contents of the CD more than make up for it and it’s a fun ride from start to finish. Right now, the world needs more glorious, over-the-top fun, and this Jew thinks that Master of Light hits the mark perfectly. — Freedom Jew.
In the mood for some early-2000s style prog metal? Sometimes I am too. This Australian group are making a slightly updated version of some of those older Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater albums, and are doing it exceptionally well. The vocalist has some serious range and there are plenty of groovy riffs reminiscent of Caligula’s Horse. Throughout the massive 80-minute concept album, they show that they have the ability to vary their sound and rarely repeat it. There’s a little bit of storytelling cheesiness, but nothing that even a casual listener of power metal can’t handle. Surprisingly, the one thing that didn’t really blow me away was the instrument technicality (though there are a few great solos), which was basically a necessity back in the day, but they somehow made some solid prog without it. — Joaquin Stick.
Yay, a split. The French Ysengrin refer to themselves as “hermetic dark metal”. Not sure what that is, but it sure is dark and it sure is metal. Cavernous death growls preside over fuzzed-out guitars and sparing synths, with clean voices chanting in the background. Ysengrin take a slightly avant-garde approach to songwriting, throwing stylistic curveballs into the midst of every track. The occult atmosphere is strong with this one; at times it’s down right spooktacular. FFO: Howls of Ebb, Cadaveric Fumes. And then we have the blackened death metal of Galicia’s Sartegos. Don’t… uh… don’t bother with this half of the split unless you’re into ramshackle, knuckle-dragging OSDM, in which case bother to your heart’s content. Just don’t ask me why the bass drum sounds like you slapping yourself across the cheek. — Richter.
Siberian Hell Sounds are an Australian trio who play a Blackened, Crusty, Grinding brand of Hardcore. Svengali is their fourth EP since forming in 2013, which clocks in at just over 17 minutes but doesn’t feel in any way short. All five tracks flow together effectively, forming a pummelling assault, with the occasional spoken-word sample thrown in to add to the mood. Svengali sounds tight, with the right amount of blistering hiss, the drums in particular cut through the din with a satisfying relentlessness. Siberian Hell Sounds don’t throw anything particularly innovative into the mix, but if you’re looking for a furious, pitiless EP to soundtrack these uncertain times, this delivers. — Ellipsis.
Anal Trump – That Makes Me Smart!
Independent | November 5th, 2016
I feel wonderful!
I’m, like, really fantastic.
Just the best.
I’m in astonishingly excellent health! — President Trump.
Devin Townsend, as prolific as he is, has always been very hit or miss for me. Most of his post-Strapping Young Lad output has never really grabbed me (with the exception of a few tracks here and there), but I know he’s an amazing musician and I will give him as many chances as he needs to change my mind. Right off, bonus points for opening with a re-recording of Infinity‘s “Truth”, I wasn’t expecting it at all and I think it has imrpoved immensely. I’m glad to report that the rest of the album is really, really good; “Stormbending” is like the hyperactive love child of Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, and a track like “Offer Your Light” is a masterfully crafted eurotrance-laced spastic banger that reminds me of Devy’s earlier material, but with better production and more thought behind it. Transcendence is pretty varied and has managed to entice me, so hats off to the whole of DTP. This one’s a keeper. — Moshito.
Cool-ass Seagrave artwork and unconventional band name aside, Lesbian‘s Hallucinogenesis is a very interesting album in its own right. Four songs ranging from 9 to almost 15 minutes in length comprise a record full of plodding riffs and loose-but-tight drumming (that, at times, would not be out of place on an early Mastodon album), as well as subdued clean-picked sections, straight-up traditional and slightly blackened stuff… There really is a lot to choose from, almost too much at times. But if you like variety and speeds that never get quite too fast, I don’t see any reason for you not to dig Hallucinogenesis. — Moshito.
Hey you. Yeah YOU. Think you can do better than this, PUNK??!? 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.