MINI REVIEWS FROM AROUND THE BOWL (3/22/24)

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Small reviews for big sounds.

Zombi Direct Inject Relapse RecordsZombi – Direct Inject
Relapse Records | March 22, 2024

Like their namesake, Zombi have risen once again. Unlike other similarly named bands. Like a sharp piece of wood directly to the eye, Direct Inject bores deep within your brain, shocking the entire body. What’s great about this album is that you can hear the band’s entire discography throughout. Longtime fans will get tastes of Cosmos, Surface To AirSpirit AnimalEscape VelocityShape Shift, and 2020. Even some of Steve Moore’s soundtrack work can be heard. The music is so good, though, that new fans will easily dive into Zombi’s synth, bass, drums, and sax universe. That’s right, this album has some of the saxiest sounds this year, so much so, that the hot saxophone guy from The Lost Boys would swivel his sweaty hips in approval. Direct Inject has cerebral sounds, grounded grooves, and a sensuous spark that will infect your mind, body, and soul, turning you into something completely different. – 365 Days Of Horror


Sylvaine  Eg Er Framand
Season Of Piss | March 22, 2024

In these seemingly never-ending times of strife, a gentle, caring voice can make all the difference. Sylvaine’s Katherine Shepard has that voice, that ability to soothe the fiery mind and the anguished soul. Sylvaine’s 6-song EP Eg Er Framand  is a mellifluous blending of traditional old-world folk and new world ambience. Each soft sound carries the listener to a quiet, delicate place deep within, a place that has been crushed by the harsh realities of life. Crushed, but not extinguished. Much like Aleah Stanbridge, Shephard’s voice glides across and envelopes the listener like ocean waves, until we are safe and one. She reaches out in the dark, we just have to reach out and grab her hand. Eg Er Framand is a calm reassurance that not all is lost. There is still beauty in this ugly world. When it’s finally my time, I hope one of the last voices I hear is Katherine Shepard’s to sing me home. – 365 Days Of Horror


 

Ghost Trees – Intercept Method
Self-Released | April 12, 2024

In their own words, North Carolina based jazz duo Ghost Trees, are “bringing the fire back to jazz” with their new album Intercept Method. I was immediately and pleasantly surprised with the opening track “Carnation”. It felt curious, enticing, well-constructed, and dare I say resonant to the warm and hearty sounds from Coltrane. The drumming quite heavily piqued my interest. In this track, or every track for that matter, the drumming is its own beast. Although nice sounding and highly impressive, towards the end I felt like I already got the gist of them before the album ended. Like there was no more to discover about them. And the tenor… geez. There’s soft and warm elements that can be heard on tracks like “Super Eight” and “Tannhauser Gate”, or hectic and shreddy elements that can be heard on tracks like “Lymars” and “Spherical”. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that immense talent is present here. But it’s hard to really to dedicate a certain vibe or theme to each song, as I found this project to feel ever-changing, and sort of hard to keep track of. When it comes to my negative feelings toward this project, they’re hard to pinpoint. I felt at times that the album sounded maybe a bit too familiar or too repetitive, which is odd because I didn’t feel like there was any fluff/filler within it. I don’t think it’s the most digestible jazz album you could listen to, but I also don’t think this is just any run-of-the-mill jazz record either. This sounded well-constructed, confident, dedicated, and impressive. – Pingu Davis


NecrophobicIn The Twilight Grey
Century Media Records | March 15, 2024

A lot of bands reiterate a tired sound, underlining the same bit of paper until it rips, but few bands in extreme metal have refined their style the way Necrophobic have. In The Twilight Grey follows the career highlight Dawn Of The Damned – a record every bit as good as The Nocturnal Silence thirty years ago – and sees them continuing their brand of blackened death metal with distinct melodic flair.

In The Twilight Grey has less warmth to the mix and centres itself more around scorching lead guitar work alongside big, track-ending explosive crescendos, and is often less rhythmically interesting as a result. Things can blur together a bit, but in spite of that the highlights are some of the most infectious tracks in their discography. A song like Stormcrow demonstrates their ability for writing tracks that are blistering and raw but also retain a strong melodic sensibility, with harmonised lead arpeggios that soar over the rhythm track. Conversely, a track like As Stars Collide is much more measured and composed, and represents the bigger sense of scale Necrophobic are going for on In The Twilight Grey – a sense of scale evoked in everything from the spaciousness of the mix, to the distant, unclear landscape of the album cover, to the general length of the tracklist – you have to go back to a record like Death To All to see length of that ambition.

Shadows Of The Brightest Night is my personal highlight in how it arranges all of Necrophobic’s disparate traits, their compositional ambition, melodic ear and the inherent dissonance of their death metal together into a track that is much more than the sum of its parts. With the exception of the excellent title track, the albums’ later tracks aren’t quite as strong in isolation – a bit spread thin though still quite good, with the closing track that calls back to 1997s Darkside – but in its totality its hard not to see In The Twilight Grey as another massive highlight in one of extreme metals’ most consistent bands. – Aaron


I Am The IntimidatorI Am The Intimidator
Miserable Pyre | March 8, 2024

I AM THE INTIMIDATOR by I AM THE INTIMIDATOR – Have you ever wished there was a trad metal album about NASCAR? Well me neither, but here we have it, and what an album it is! The half-hour demo tells the story of the last day of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s life and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. It’s kinda Dio-y, kinda Judas Priest-y, a little bit Overkill-y, and an absolutely banger from the green flag to the checkered. Raise hell, praise Dale, and give this record a listen! – Reliquary Tower

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