Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 12/01/16
If you like music and also hate wasting time sifting through it all, we’ve got you covered. Sit down, unbuckle your pants and have some Helcaraxë, Aenaon, Chronologist, Invertia, Bearstorm, Do Skonu and Putrified.
Ever wanted a Tolkien-themed metal band that wasn’t completely covered in cheese? Helcaraxë are here to help, with their blend of not too-epic and ever-so-slightly folkish melodeath. Not having heard any of the band’s earlier material, I don’t know how The Last Battle really stacks up against it, but I do know that it’s damn good on its own. I especially like the production and mix on this album, everything is wrapped in a nice fullness without being polished but still remaining very clear, and I triple mega like Pat Henry‘s bass tone and overall presence in the soundscape; every complementary lick and line he plays is audible in amazing detail without compromising the guitars. Definitely check this out if you’re a fan of any flavor of melodeath. — Moshito.
Did someone order Greek? Aenaon return after one of my favorites of 2014 that I ignored until 2015, Extance, this time with a full-time saxophonist in their lineup. If you were expecting them to turn that damn brass down, you’ll be bummed to hear that they amped up the sax this time around, and it is glorious. Hypnosohpy is all over the place, and I love every second of it. Even the more, ahem, “straightforward” cuts like “Fire Walk with Me” are longer than your average single and manage to mix it up quite a bit without getting completely buried in a total genre salad. My only complaint here is that the guitars are generally a tad low for where I’d like them to be, but musically this is definitely one of the best albums released upon my nerdy ears this year. — Moshito.
My first thought when I started listening to this album’s opening track was “fucking hell, don’t get me started on Morse code again…” but my second thought was, “this shit is HEAVY”. Instrumental proggers Chronologist chose correctly in going with Jamie King (works often with BTBAM) for the mixing and mastering of Cartographer. Personally, I prefer this kind of music live rather than on a recording since the digitizing always takes away the heaviness, but they the way they captured the bass in this recording is unreal. Most impressively, I recognized a song I heard them play live way back in June, which is impressive considering it’s instrumental and my memory is hot garbage. These guys are great at creating catchy tunes; a must have for instrumental fans. — Joaquin.
Hailing from not-a-state area of the northeastern United States known as New England, Invertia is a two-piece band that produces straight-forward death metal with a dusting of industrial metal. While the idea of industrial metal may bring forth thoughts of bands like Fear Factory, Invertia is decidedly heavier, and sound something like if you combined Ministry with Dying Fetus. Drum programmings, samples, synths, and samples may drive away the metal purists, but they do add an interesting layer to the band and making The Biddings Of Tyrants a creative and unique listen. Interestingly, the album features guest drumming from Aaron Rossi (Prong, Ministry) and Kevin Talley (Suffocation, Dying Fetus). RIYL: Bile, Ministry, KMFDM — 365.
Is the emerging rendition of stoner metal not heavy and weird enough for you? Bearstorm has you covered with this grime-covered, psychedelic, and groovy album. It’s crunchy, a little blackened by the vocals, and proggy as hell. Surprisingly, one of the highlights of this album is clean instrumental song “Agaric Catechism”, which acts as a nice interlude into the finale. The clean and melodic nature of the guitar work contrasts the unexpectedly harsh vocals in an inexplicably perfect way. By not wasting a moment and riffing all the way through its short runtime, Biophobia is the definition of a concise album. If you need something new, look no further. While you’re at it, check out their previous album Americanus as well. This band rules. — Joaquin.
From the mind of one Ukrainian man comes this slab of retro black metal. Do Skonu is old fashioned. He will call before coming over. He’ll ask your dad for permission to take you out. He’ll open the car door for you and hold your coat. And after a candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant for which he has paid he will split open your skull with a battle axe and dance in mists of your blood. Hell contains pretty much everything that made black metal great in the first place. No twists. Nothing clever. Mid-paced, melodic and miserable. — Richter.
Sweden’s Putrified do the “Swedeath” genre proud with their latest EP (or more accurately, 7″) The Flesh. The Scythe. The Tomb. While some death metal bands try to pound the listener into submissions with an redundant aural assault, Putrified deftly mix their aggression with relentless riffs and catchy grooves. Break-neck drums and vicious guitars blend comfortably with the throat-clawing vocals. Each original song wreaks of mold-encrusted coffins and death breath, while their covers of the Misfits “Devils Whorehouse” and Celtic Frost‘s “Morbid Tales” get a rotting and twisted update . If I have one complaint, it’s that the album is too short! We need more Putrified in our lives. RIYL: Death, Obituary, Massacre — 365.
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.