Mini Reviews From Around The Bowl (4/11/24)

Toilet Ov Hell mini reviews April 11 2024

Small portions, big taste.

Sons Of Alpha CentauriPull
Exile On Mainstream | March 28, 2024

As I get older, a larger and larger piece of me longs for the simpler times of the 90’s. Sure, that’s partially youthful nostalgia talking, but it’s hard not to wish for better, happier times when you listen to Sons Of Alpha Centauri’s Pull. The album takes me back to a time when alternative rock ruled the airwaves, where bands could crank out a 3 or 4 minute rocker and be the next big thing, where the average person could actually turn on a radio or MTV and actually hear it. Boosted by Far’s Jonah Matranga’s light-yet-impactful vocals and the band’s steady drive, Pull is an infectious rocker that harkens back to better days when there still seemed like endless possibilities and opportunities. Lead track Ephemeral, which has been stuck in my head for days, seems to touch on that feeling. We’re here, we’re now, and then, it’s gone. Pull, on the other hand, should stick around in your playlist for a long time. — 365 Days Of Horror

Self-Released | March 26th, 2024

It wouldn’t be wrong to say this debut EP is just Cult of Luna worship, but these fellow countrymen must drink the same water. They only occasionally reach the complex depth of sound that CoL has perfected in recent years, but the explosiveness and memorable driving melodies are already there. As someone who has seen dozens of new bands pop in and out of existence doing this sort of thing, I can confidently say this is one of the best. I’m excited to see if they can carve a little more of their own path on future releases, but this proof of concept has me investing heavily. Check out the title track for a quick hit of what they offer. — Joaquin

Self-Released | April 5th

Manchester-based Napierdalac releases their debut EP following a pair of singles last year, continuing their trajectory of politically driven symphonic extreme metal.

Opening track Mylings is my highlight. It bursts to life with this panicked, tremelo introduction that sets the tone for a very dynamic, anxiety-inducing track, accented with hoarse harsh vocals. It also highlights one of Napierdalac’s best qualitys on Principium – a very tasteful and dynamic incorporation of symphonic elements, while dodging the pitfalls of the rigid synth organ of a lot of atmospheric black metal and the more ostentatious, faux-epic sound of bad symphonic death metal. When so many bands integrate symphonic elements so badly – slapping a bit of distorted MIDI brass on top of a breakdown or something – the stacatto strings  of a track like Warriors Of The East are a real fucking welcome.

From a band informed as much by politics and mythology as they are metal, Principium is a very solid, concise EP in its own right – but also indicative, hopefully, of cool things to come. A real highlight for the genre this year. — Aaron

Shock Withdrawal – The Dismal Advance
Brutal Panda Records | March 15, 2024

This year has been absolutely juiced to the gills with phenomenal death, doom, and black metal, but one thing I have yet to find has been a killer grind release.  Well Shock Withdrawal have alleviated me of my wanting with their debut LP The Dismal Advance.  Hailing from Los Angeles, this death grind trio waste no time before hitting you over the head with their take on relentless riffage paired with a dual low/high vocal attack aimed at getting your blood pressure to raise rapidly.  No polish to diminish the effects of the music itself such as other, more popular, and long standing grind infused acts.  Pure aggression, speed, and punishment along with enough dumb d-beat components to simultaneously windmill and knuckle drag.  Over and done with in a crisp 21 minutes, this group knows that this type of music is best left speaking for itself by pummeling you then leaving without overstaying its welcome. — Brock Samson

VOLUMERequesting Permission To Land
Self-Released | October 27, 2023

Requesting Permission to Land by VOLUME – It’s been a while since I’ve heard a stoner rock record that’s really impressed me. And I’m afraid this album didn’t change that. There are two people in this band who agree what genre they’re playing: the rhythm guitarist and the bassist. Uninteresting song structures and bland lyrics, and some patience-testing samples definitely hinder this record. The band doesn’t even seem to make much of an effort to transition between riffs. Instead, they seem to just stop playing one and start playing another. Combine that with the fact that the guitarist needs to take his foot off of the wah pedal for a minute – and I say that as a lover of wah – and you’ve got an record that’s pretty hard to want to sit through. Move along, toileteers. This one’s a flush. — Reliquary Tower

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