Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (3/24/22)


Snack-sized reviews for a quick music fix (or for devouring all at once and playing six albums simultaneously).

Independent | June 21, 2021

My mini review of Nishaiar‘s previous album doesn’t really convey how much I liked the album. I like this new one even more, but sadly have not gotten any better at describing their one-of-a-kind mix of post-black metal and highly engaging ambient soundscapes. What I can say is that the black metal element has taken even more of a back seat, to the point that expecting a black metal album when going into this is bound to leave you disappointed. After that, things quickly become enigmatic. What even am I hearing at any given moment? What are samples and what are the actual vocals? Does it matter? Sung and spoken snippets of voices echo and reverberate through the tracks against a backdrop of richly varied instrumentation that, together with the ambient elements, successfully conjures images of desert sunrises, shifting sands, and forgotten ancient mysteries. The band confidently weaves a cohesive tapestry of sounds that really doesn’t benefit from meticulous scrutiny. If you already know them, you know what to do anyway: sit back, close your eyes, and get ready for a trip. If you’re a newcomer, I’d recommend tracks 4 through 6 as an entry point. — Hans

New Standard Elite | February 11, 2022

There’s nothing like a good hate-listen, and if there is one thing I hate for sure, then it’s an overbearing, loud trashcan snare. I can never take bands with that snare sound seriously, and if there’s one thing that Baalsebub have in spades, it’s trashcan snare. “Yeah, we’ve heard of Last Days of Humanity, huge fans actually, why you askin’?” You know I can’t hear anything else over that overbearing snare, right? Crunchy riffs? Yeah, I guess, I dunno, can’t hear ’em. Sick gutturals and brutal af squeals? If you say so; I can’t hear ’em. In all honesty though, the worst thing is that you actually can kinda hear what else is going on in there, and it isn’t even bad. That just makes it worse than if it was just meme-snare all the time though, because you’re giving me glimpses of what I’m missing out on, all because of that fucking trashcan. Just to give an example, the breakdown on “Torquemada” is actually pretty cool… too bad the snare kicks in again after 10 seconds. Waste of time. — EvilHenchman

Besotten – In Filth It Will Be Found
Independent | February 16, 2022

If huffing putrid swamp fumes is your thing, then boy oh boy, is the PNW’s very own Besotten for you. The band’s debut demo, In Filth It Will Be Found, recently dropped, and it’s the kind of comfort deathdoom sound that should satisfy casual listeners and diehards alike. As the word “demo” implies, it’s certainly raw and lo-fi, stripped down to the barest essentials, yet the three-piece manage to elevate their sound into something a bit more distinctive that keeps them from spending the summer at the ill-fated Camp Clone. And it’s an atmospheric and murky sound for sure, with the kind of undead groove that would befittingly soundtrack the RotLD’s Tarman as he crawls back inside his barrel for a deep, undisturbed slumber. This is literally music to dissociate to, so do yourself a favor: Turn on. Tune in. Rot out. – Gengar Kickflip

WarpstormerHere Comes Hell
Independent | March 4, 2022

On their first EP, Warpstormer could be forgiven for not quite stitching together their own identity, especially setting out under the looming magnificence of guitar-singer Scott Black’s big brother band, Green Lung. Think of this as the sturdy Green Lung engine, placed in a meaner chassis more suited for running down hitchhikers at midnight than hotboxing under blacklights. The ramped-up aggression is a clear statement of departure from the main project, but Hall seems like in many places he’s shaking off a bit of the weedy scent of his main gig, especially on the balladeering “Reap What You’ve Sown”. That doesn’t stop Warpstormer from finding moments to show a developed sense of grand drama, aptly saluting to Shakespeare with the tempest-tost triplets of “Storm-Caller”, which even closes with a bit of renfaire flute as a cooldown. This release keeps a firm loping gait, leaving the grove of infernal brotherhood behind to chop heads and mark its territory in blood. — A Spooky Mansion

Pillaging VillagersPillaging Villagers
Independent | March 11, 2022

Pillaging Villagers definitely reminds me more of my high school days with Turisas and Korpiklaani, with a good helping of obnoxious and righteous boss-beheading punk mixed in, even hitting on pitchfork-pointy crossover thrash in the middle passages. The real obvious comparison is The Dropkick Murphys, but refreshingly not in bed with the cops or indeed any sort of calcified, over-organized institution. The volatile blend of styles (happy-go-lucky folk singalongs meets corrosive thrash blasts?) has more range than I anticipated, giving a similar feeling as walking through a crowd of worker’s rabble, some of them whooping and dancing a tipsy jig, some of them hoisting painted banners and preaching their pet philosopher’s pablum with earnest optimism, and more than a few toting blunderbusses and tar bombs. Powdered wigs and top hats beware, I get the feeling these guys don’t respect you at all. — A Spooky Mansion

Upon StoneWhere Wild Sorrows Grow
Independent | October 15, 2021

If you’re a melodeath boomer who yearns for the good old days when Arch Enemy actually had riffs and In Flames wasn’t doing whatever the fuck it is they’re doing these days, then this EP is going to be an absolute treat for you. Where Wild Sorrows Grow feels like a hearkening back to the genre’s roots, capturing some of the magic of that old-school Gothenburg sound in a way that most of its adherents don’t. This is partly owed to its rawer sound, but it’s more on the emphasis on hooks over technical guitar instrumental work as channeled through volatile, traditionally death metal song structure. Even as a guy who’s all about the modern melodeath sound, this one instantly clicked with me- it might be old-school, but when it’s done as well as this, it’s as exciting now as it was 20 years ago. — Spear

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