Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (3/30/23)



7 H.TargetYantra Creating
Willowtip | February 24, 2023

Listen, if someone’s gonna tell me that their band “breaks the standard BDM formula, creating something unique,” they’ve got a heck of a bar to clear in a world where Afterbirth and Wormhole exist. I’ll give them that they manage to sound more progressive than others; they’re not content to just go back and forth between blasts and breakdowns but rather follow a mathcore approach to songwriting, where compositions seem to actively resist any kind of flow. There’s good ideas in there, but it’s a numbers game – throw 50 things at the wall and some of them are bound to stick, if only for ten seconds. The “Indian influence” that they would like to further set them apart is wholly relegated to “Shiva Yajur Mantra” and parts of the penultimate track, integrated neither well enough nor consistently enough to come off as anything more than token gestures to drive home a theme. The signature sound they’re going for might need one or two more albums to come together. — Hans

Marianas RestAuer
Napalm Records | March 23rd, 2023

Melancholy and ennui are in overwhelming supply with Marianas Rest’s fourth album, Auer. Their brand of melodic doom rings out like the ominous flash of lightning in a blackened sky. Pained vocals rumble, warning of an emotional storm that will break down the walls that hold you together. Wailing guitars and driving bass and drums swirl like hurricane winds, sweeping you off your feet and pushing you out to an uncaring sea. Passionate keys comfort you when the waves of life crash over your head, the water mixing with the tears of forever. Fellow master of sadness Aaron Stainhope of My Dying Bride lends his iconic voice on the closing track as a fitting eulogy as you sink into eternity. Auer is evocative, emotive, and utterly crushing in every sense of the word. — 365 Days of Horror

DoppelsoldnerThe Trophy Bohemia
PSEUDOCORP | March 3, 2023

My Fugitive Wizard bois put out a black metal/dungeon synth banger in 2021, so color me surprised when they whip out their gnarliest gutturals for what can only be described as brutal slamming blackened war metal (with synths). “Bree Brees” aside, Doppelsoldner’s deployment of (relatively) cleaner, regal guitar lines in “The Trophy Bohemia” and “Trench Knight” harkens to the medieval black metal of their other project, as well as the soaring bass solos of Thecodontion’s Supercontinent. Luv 2 hear the crunching, grimey sounds of battle juxtaposed with the righteous echoes of the horns of war! We ride for the trophy Bohemia, bröthers! — Megachiles

Lo! The Gleaners
Pelagic Records | April 7th, 2023

When they released Vistigial in 2017, I was absolutely blown away by “As Fools Ripen,” which was maybe the best pummeling sludge track I’d heard at that point. The Gleaners carries on with that momentum with head-shaking grooves and a visceral hatred for capitalism and those who perpetuate it. They create catchy hooks even when everything is tuned low, which is helped out by the incredibly sharp metallic guitar tone. They avoid the common pitfall of sludgy post-metal by starting incredibly fast and only slowing down to make those crescendos pop even more. These guys have solidified themselves as a favorite in the genre with this release. — Joaquin

Conflicting Motive The Event and The Horizon
Independent | March 10th, 2023

It’s always nice to get submissions from unknown readers (I always assume it’s just the 20 people in the comments that read anything), and even better when what they submit is actually good! If you like some progressive rock/indie pop ala The Dear Hunter, Kindo, or Porcupine Tree, check out this debut record from Conflicting Motive. While I think it would benefit greatly from some professional mixing and mastering, their songwriting and musicianship are proven assets here. The keyboard-driven melodies are infectious, and the overall variety is impressive, as no two songs sound all that similar. Proof of concept has passed inspection, and I’m excited to hear where they go from here. — Joaquin

Bent Window Records | March 24, 2023

Molekh’s debut doesn’t quite fit the mold of industrial black metal, but its crowded compositions conjure images of smog and dimly-lit enclosures nonetheless. Instead, the claustrophobia stems from a smattering of styles that pile up as the album progresses: ritualistic chants echo in the distance, and a near-constant barrage of dual vocals recalls the blackened death metal of Vital Remains. The clanging ambience of noise rock, when in such close proximity to extreme metal speed and vocals, makes for particularly jarring moments that get stuck in your head like stale smoke in fiber.

A vague, alien hostility enshrouds these songs—similar to the eerie works of Ellorsith—and does wonders to ensnare listeners. A warning: You may want to mentally prepare before checking this trap. Chances are high it will contain thoughts; demons; memories from the less savory storehouses of your mind. — Rolderathis

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