Mini-Reviews From Around the Bowl (4/8/22)


Strap in, because we’ve got a veritable pile of reviews for you today.

StangarigelStangarigelNa Severe Sedca
Hexencave Productions | January 7, 2022

January already feels like a hazy memory from a lifetime ago, so who knew, that nestled deep within its first week, one of the year’s best black metal releases would surprisingly be found? Given the internet’s penchant for auto-delivering nonstop blackened bedroom projects, you can’t (fully) be blamed if one or two of these titles slip through your fingers unnoticed. One band in particular that managed to elude my weekly digging is Slovakia’s Stangarigel, whose atmospheric and synth-soaked debut, Na Severe Srdca, serves as a deeply realized and nostalgic throwback to the romantically mossy sounds of some of the second wave’s best records. Their Bandcamp bio namechecks some heavy hitters like Bergtatt and The Shadowthrone, and, like most milestones in any given music scene, a small ecosystem of like-minded artists has sprouted and grown around these landmark albums. Stangarigel is one such band, a band who owes their existence to the ones that ultimately paved the way forward, but instead of coming off like some kind of parasitic fungi, their sound rings true. The duo clearly know what they’re doing, delivering a competently made, mid-tempo riff affair rife with folky influences and synth-laden atmosphere that pulses with patience as opposed to opting for a full-on auditory assault. It comes as no surprise that one of these members hails from Malokarpatan, so you more than expect to be in good hands. — Gengar Kickflip

Jesus Wept Psychedelic Degeneracy
Redefining Darkness Records | March 11, 2022

Jesus Wept is essentially Carcass New Gore+—from the carneous collage of the album art to the “waking up under a blanket to hear your mom still watching Court TV” audio clips. Thankfully, our visit to the mortuary is short; we’ve just enough time to satisfy our morbid curiosities before decay sets in. With “Surgical Punishment Symmetry,” these Detroit doctors throw the encyclopedia on the abattoir floor, opting for a hardcore vocal cadence while still holding true to Jeff Walker’s acidic rasp.

This Necroticism worship is never a bad thing, but the moments where the band showcases their own tools of the trade prove they’re morgue than just a carbon copy. “Dispossession” starts with a mesmerizing triplet riff that will fracture all but the most reinforced scaphoids, and the title track slices through to the brain with its sharp songwriting (looking at you, unexpected melodic breakdown). Keep on a’rottin’ me, Jesus Wept. This one’ll surely sputum on the map. — Voracious Verminator & Mammalian Masticator (Roldy)

KostnatěníOheň hoří tam, kde padl
Mystískaos | March 4, 2022

Since the release of Konec je vsude in 2018, Kostnatění has made a name for itself with its blisteringly off-kilter black metal. Considering the ways that its riffs and melodies alike violently contort from one another whilst maintaining a consistent, tangible groove, the otherwise bewildering concept of Kostnatění’s new EP, Oheň hoří tam, kde padl, becomes all the less outlandish. Taking three traditional Turkish folk songs and transposing them each into dissonant black metal, the result is miraculously less of a western bastardization of another culture’s customs and more of a curious reinterpretation of the original work through the dynamic harmonies and intricate rhythms that black metal can emulate from the source. For such an unorthodox pairing, one really has to commend Kostnatění for its ability to make these two otherwise disparate styles of music synergize so effectively with each other. Whether this is a one-off experiment remains to be seen, but I’d be more than thrilled to see this idea revisited in the future. — Emester

CabinetClaustrophobic Dysentery
Bloody Mountain Records | March 30, 2022

Relentlessly repugnant to an almost overwhelming degree, California’s Cabinet revels in the excessive on its sophomore LP, Claustrophobic Dysentery. An unrelenting, cavernous beatdown of abyssal, noise-strewn death metal, Claustrophobic Dysentery constantly engrosses itself in the extreme to the point where the music itself seems… wrong? Not wrong in the “oh my god, this is atrocious” sense but closer to the essence of being uncanny and unnerving. Every guitar or drum passage is manipulated so that they seem ever so slightly off, as if the recording is rotting. Between the beatdown of grotesque, miasmic death metal riffs is a layer of haunting ambiance that elevates Claustrophobic Dysentery above many goregrind releases in recent memory. Some downright evil stuff. — Emester

Bad Omen – Returns…
Independent | February 21, 2022

Me recommending this album would be like recommending a leftover burrito in the back of my fridge. It’s definitely not a… hmmm, big ticket item? But it’s casting a spell on me somehow. While Bad Omen would seem to have zero self-awareness that this exact same brand of grumbly 2×4 rock and roll is done to death, I think they’re actually smart enough to realize that means they can do a zero-effort job and make it work for them. It comes off almost easygoing and casual. I have spent way more thoughts on this record than went into it, and that’s in just one paragraph. What can I say? Love makes me stupid. — A Spooky Mansion

Confused Records | February 25, 2022

In the same vein as Butcher and RoadRash, these Texas time-travellers are serving up nitro-speed nonsense in the name of neon nostalgia. No thoughts, heady empty, just fun, like a leather-clad Chuck E. Cheese show. Apparently this is a concept album about some mish-mash of D-tier comic book warriors of rock, and the overall result is a saccharine, garishly colored tropical cocktail that would be gross if you weren’t having such a great time pounding one after another. I’m so tired of the grind of looking for “new” or “innovative” or “reinventive” bands to show here. I truly don’t care right now. X.I.L. is my Saturday morning cartoon cereal blow-off day. — A Spooky Mansion

Thebes – Ziggurat Beyond The Unseen Shroud
Independent | April 1, 2022

Emanating as much regret as it does majesty, Colby Hink’s Thebes dredges up sunken ruins from the seas of black and doom metal, lashing them together into a hulk burnished with a care of construction. Ziggurat is an architectural wonder, cyclopean and looming at a distance, and increasingly ornate as one approaches. The enormous doom facade bears down on a listener, but along those same imposing rocks are carved thriving, lurid trails of tremolo, and these two pillars are balanced with a master’s care to welcome whatever weary traveller chances upon such a magnificent pylon and dares to seek refuge within. Colby already comes recommended for his shit-kicking black’n’roll chops in Wormwitch, one of last year’s highlights, and here shows his attention span clearly has enough reach for meditative edifice as well. — A Spooky Mansion

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