Mini-Reviews From Around the Bowl (12/2/21)


One day these reviews will grow up to be big and strong. Today, however, is not that day.

Ghost SpawnEverflowing Absence of Light
Independent | October 1st, 2021

You up for some OSSDM (Old School Space Death Metal)? To be fair, judging by the cover art and the song titles, this isn’t very space-themed at all, but the overall sound sure seems to go for something along the lines of Timeghoul. The guitars alternate between off-kilter riffing and melodies and straightforward chugging, the clattering drums fit excellently into the rambunctious cacophony, and the guttural vocals are gnarly enough that you feel them in your belly. Aside from those, however, the album also has perhaps the sparsest uses of clean vocals I’ve ever come across. Reverberating, single “ugh“s (and similar interjections) are used to punctuate breaks in the songs, making it seem like the new riff emerging along with them got fired from some interstellar cannon. It happens often enough to become a signature move, and it gets me every time. Overall, the music evokes not just the sense of dread that OSDM goes for, but, largely thanks to the aformetioned guitarwork, also an air of alien weirdness that should appeal to fans of any of the death metal explorers of space and time we’ve seen in recent years. Highlight: “Bathing in the Putrefaction of Time.” — Hans

SaidanBest of 2021
Independent | 2021

So you’re sitting on the computer late one Bandcamp Friday night and you come across this awesome black metal project that hits that sweet spot of rawness that you really like and it’s even got great riffs and slightly veers into melody here and there, kinda reminding you of that awesome Grandeur EP, except there’s more material here, so you buy all of it after only briefly checking that everything is of similar quality, but then upon giving the full-length a first spin, you realize it’s six songs minus two interludes minus two tracks that aren’t terrible but also not great, making for a net of two really good tracks, but the three tracks from the two splits that released a couple of months before and after the album are consistently dope, and so you figure that in this age of digital releases and playlists and whatnot, why not grossly disrespect the artist’s vision and cobble together a better album, and really, replacing the lengthy closer with the almost-as-long-but-way-better track from the 4-way split is a total no-brainer, and then the stuff from the other split should probably go somewhere in the middle, and you can add or subtract any of the three interludes as needed and it’s all great fun until you realize you really don’t have time to try all these different builds so you kinda give up after just one, but you fondly remember that time you almost Frankenstein’d together the perfect black metal record. — Hans

BoarhammerI: Cutting Wood for Magickal Purposes
Independent | December 3, 2021

Waldschrat black metal. Kauzig as fuck. By which I mean that it takes the woodcut aesthetic of folkloristic eastern European black metal like Malokarpataan, cloaks it in (even more of a) first-wave sonic gown and somehow got a very enthusiastic Lemmy (or maybe Cronos) to play DM for an all-druid party that roams the woods encountering all sorts of magical plants and creatures (mostly plants though). While this sound didn’t immediately click, it wasn’t long before its odd, homebrew charm took hold, thanks in no small part to the songs being a lot less straightforward than one might expect given the apparent blueprint, letting plenty of interesting ideas shine through the auditory muck. Amongst tons of bands for whom “ritualistic,” “magick,” and “obscure” amount to little more than buzzwords to fill the bio, this actually feels like it’s telling you about some forgotten, twisted, potion-based branch of sinister sorcery in a unique way, and it has plenty of fun doing so. — Hans

When The Deadbolt BreaksAs Hope Valley Burns
Argonauta Records | November 26th, 2021

Here’s a picture of a member of When The Deadbolt Breaks wearing a Grand Belial’s Key shirt the same day Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist in Charlottesville.

Pharmacist – Carnal Pollution
Independent | October 1, 2021

Re-up your goregrind prescription with Pharmacist’s new EP Carnal Pollution, a cunning fit of hemorrhage-induced epigastric sicchasia. Which is to say it’s gross and sick. We have here four very packed (gastric) tracks, brimming with a varied colony of riffs that come out bacterial and chromatic, halted and heaving, and hooky like a clutch of intestinal roundworms. Pharmacist have a honed balance in their songwriting between angular, abstract grindcore torque and blood-thinning, alkaline melodeath phrasing. Some guest solos by visiting surgeon Andrew Lee (of Ripped To Shreds) are enough to stitch this patient up and give him the bill. — A Spooky Mansion

Genocide Pact – Genocide Pact
Relapse Records | December 3, 2021

Genocide Pact might have escaped your notice, but trust me, they can hang with all the other great hardcore-influenced death metal that’s been putrefying your stream lately. This record gets down to brass tacks, and eats them by the spoonful. “Purged Flesh” is a groovy sizzler, crossways guitar slides painting a smeared impression of tearing away strips of skin like so many Band-Aids. “Perverse Dominion” hangs itself up by dripping South Of Heaven hooks made of pure abyss. For tracks like these, Connor Donegan (ex-Red Death, a lost love of mine) keeps things calibrated and precise, but still has plenty of enthusiasm for the reliable blasts and skanks that stoke the furnace. Put Genocide Pact right next to your fresh Creeping Death, Frozen Soul, and much-memed 200 Stab Wounds releases and watch the fistfights. — A Spooky Mansion

Green Lung – Black Harvest
Svart Records | October 22, 2021

It is a hell of a thing to hear something so tried and true but so new at the same time. Green Lung checks off all the boxes on the occult doom rocker list- some Ozzy-ass vocals, fuzzy guitar tone, good old-fashioned devil-worshipping lyrics- but the presentation and the execution make it all feel decidedly modern to the point that calling them a throwback act would almost be insulting. I love how the organ adds some grit and some shimmer alongside the guitar and bass, and the mix, big and bold as the band’s tone, really helps bring it all to life. The band’s influences are obvious, particularly carrying shades of Deep PurpleBoston (most obvious in the opening track but present throughout the guitar leads), and of course Black Sabbath, but it feels like they’re building off of almost 60 years worth of hard rock and metal to create their sound rather than simply channeling nostalgia for the good old days. Recommended for anyone who enjoys things that are fun and good. — Spear

Did you dig this? Take a second to support Toilet ov Hell on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!