Mini-Reviews From Around the Bowl: 3/12/20


Loogit all these baby-ass reviews

Imonolith State of Being
Imonolith Music | March 27th, 2020

Imonolith are considering themselves a “Canadian all-star metal powerhouse” which may be a reach for two Devin Townsend Project dudes and the guy from Threat Signal. At least they didn’t shoot for the “Super Group” moniker. Anyway, if I’ve learned anything about Canada from sitcoms, it’s that they are about 10 years behind the times culturally, so State of Being is actually a good album title for this. If you’re looking for something to blast out your open-top Jeep on the first day of spring outside of Des Moines, Iowa, look no further. This shit will make you look tougher than the mud you hand-spread over your quarter panels. It’s like mid-era Slipknot but without any of the stuff that made it a little fun. — Joaquin

Psychonaut Unfold the God Man
Pelagic Records | March 6th, 2020
Psychonaut are like a simplified version of Intronaut, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At any one moment, there’s really only one thing going on, which can be a nice break from some of the wildly layered beasts I have been digging into lately. Tone-wise, I’m reminded of Junius with its focus on melodic introspection. There’s a little, prog, sludge, and post influence all commingling nicely. The instrumental opening track shows maybe a little too much influence from a certain construction device-themed band we don’t care for here, but it’s easy to get past. Not a whole lot to dislike here, get psyched. — Joaquin

Neck of the Woods The Annex of Ire
Pelagic Records | March 20th, 2020
This thing is all over the place in the best possible way. It runs from prog-death delivered with a hardcore intensity, to tech death wizardry, to heavy metal solos all in the course of a song. I found the highlights of this album to be in the breaks from their default death style, but luckily those are frequent enough to overcome stale moments. The bass-forward melodic breaks are fantastic on “Crosshairs will Shift”. There’s a lot of great musicianship on display, but there’s still a little something missing to provide that stickiness that would keep me coming back for more. A band to keep an eye on, for sure. — Joaquin

Independent | February 8th, 2018

Now I know it’s been a while since this dropped, even if we’d only count Out of Line Music’s re-release an approximate year later, but you didn’t get to hear it and you 110% should, completely ignoring the fact that no one can give more than one hundred percent. As by definition that is the most anyone can give. Somewhere deep down, Xenoblight’s core is made of piquant, harsh and death metal flavoured thrash metal, and more often than not, the band floundering, wriggling riffs have one hand on pocket and the other one flicking a cigarette. One of those flavoured cigarettes. This one tastes like Nevermore. A feisty band that writes decidedly modern thrash metal, fitting in poorly with many of the bands it would be easiest to associate with. Whether Marika Hyldmar’s bloody vocals are the best fit for music of this kind comes down to matter of taste, but personally I enjoy the way they highlight the aggressive side of the band, leaving potential room to expand on their Nevermore-like side in the future without sacrificing so much of their own sound in the process. –KARHU 

Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean | Tell Me What You See Vanishing and I Will Tell You Who You Are
Independent | October 25, 2019

Ass-kicking sludge with loads of riffs and a gut-punching atmosphere, with a sense for dynamics and occasionally harking back to the works of one Thou, and a knack for a kick-ass, out of left field covers is a combo not many bands can fulfill. In fact, far as I can tell, Chained to the Bottom with a Really Long Name is the only band that’s ever managed to cross out all of those boxes on one record.  The closing “Genesis of the Daffodil” shows the anonymous quartet’s capability to (d)evolve a lurching riff over waves of literal filth without falling to what posers and uninitiated would hold as sludge metal’s besetting sin (is that even a phrase in English? You don’t even have a phrase for helmasynti, do you? Do better, English language) while “Out, Brief Candle” sees the group flex their muscles in every direction with noisy chugs, clean vocals, soft arpeggios, hateful growls and neck-breaking riffs. But the real winner is “I Will Possess Your Heart”, a creepy Death Cab for Cutie cover with a winding bass-line and enough groove to break a pelvis. CttBotO seems to be doing fairly well but chances still stand TMWYSVAIWTYWYA is the best sludge record you didn’t hear last year. –KARHU

Independent | February 29th, 2020

For someone who makes a lot of noise about not liking black metal, I’ve been listening to a lot of it lately thanks to Gloosh, everyone’s favorite Ruskies with possibly the worst band name ever devised. (Apparently it means “backwoods” in Russian, but not all things translate well). Gloosh split the difference between trad and atmospheric black metal, churning out songs that develop naturally but never meander into atmosphere for its own sake. For those interested in riff-laden melancholic black metal, you can do far worse. – Lord of Bork

Sentient DivideHaunted by Cruelty
Independent | February 22nd, 2020

Spokane’s Sentient Divide are back with their sophomore album, an all too brief dive into brutal OSDM. The vocals are delightfully guttural, gibbering away beneath clobbering riffs and drums that are just muddy enough to lend the recording the “recorded in a murder cave” vibe we all crave. I hear a lot of the old school death metal Finns in Sentient Divide’s DNA, and the off-kilter leads do just enough to make the brutality consistently interesting. Clocking in at under a half hour, this is one of those records that’ll leave you wanting more – much more. – Lord of Bork

CoagulateThe Art of Cryptosis
Rotted Life | March 11th, 2020

I always get a little leery when I see overtly anti-fascist song titles on releases; not because I disagree with the sentiment, but because it seems that the sentiment is used as a substitute for effort more often than not. So when I hit play on a thing and get blasted with sick riffs and anti-fascist politics, it’s a good fucking day. Coagulate brings out some raw, grimy Finnish-flavored OSDM tunes that pay homage to their forebears without playing too closely to them; it’s pretty sweet stuff. And the second track is about Jesus secretly being a sexy interdimensional demon or something, so it has that going for it, too. – Spear

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