Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (5/26/22)


Bite-sized treats for your Thursday afternoon.

Moozoonsii – Inward
Independent | April 28th, 2022

Moozoonsii sounds like a lot of things: Tool (sans the tool) lost in the depths of a primordial forest; an aural choose-your-own-adventure tale; the squelch of quicksand as you fail to escape the album’s clutches. Without vocals, the intricacy of the songwriting shines through the canopy, casting light on the lush production and varied percussion styles. Inward avoids the typical pitfalls of instrumental albums with compositions that speak in a language of shifting genres; from the pompous sludge of “Beelzebufo” to “Wudùm’s” psychedelic ambience, the journey never stagnates. At a mere 33 minutes, your dainty toes will be safe from jungle rot. Even those wary of this sort of outing can rest assured they’ll find something to enjoy without descending into madness from the lack of human voices. -Roldy

Grave Gnosis/Hvile I KaosTowards the Nameless Darkness
Red Nebula | June 21, 2022

For better or worse, Grave Gnosis‘ sound has not changed all that much since last year’s full-length. Their monstrous, dense black metal laced with psychedelia is still an imposing, murky miasma, perhaps made slightly more digestible by only spanning a total of some 12 minutes here and incorporating less non-metal instrumentation. “Vultures,” in particular, feels slightly less chaotic and gives you something to hold on to in the form of that recurring, galloping riff. The production, however, has remained so muddy that things can still get overwhelming when the band goes full tilt. An exception to this is the cello, still played by Kakophonix, which sits majestically atop the mix almost constantly. And there’s a lot more of it in the second half of the split, because Hvile I Kaos is Kakophonix’s “Black Ritual Chamber Musick” solo project, where said cello is combined with a fiddle, accoustic guitar, some percussion, and primitive chanting vocals. What could easily become some pagan folk schlock instead turns out to be an awesomely evocative ride. “My Hatred is Just” alternates between a jig in the woods and a foreboding atmosphere before the song starts to ramp up around the 4-minute mark to culminate in a burst of frenzy. “Locusts,” on the other hand, mixes unsettling horror movie vibes with dramatic tremolo… bowing? Powerfully beautiful and beautifully creepy, this has probably been the most pleasant surprise of the year so far. -Hans

Rigorous InstitutionCainsmarsh
Independent | May 6, 2022

I recently saw a video by the great Trash Theory about how Motörhead brought metal and punk together. Rigorous Institution sound like a band consequently pursuing the subsequent developments of both first-wave black metal and crust punk simultaneously, mixing the former’s mid-tempo occult theatrics with the latter’s concern about the exploitation of the working class and the occasional d-beat, all under a cloak of primitive songwriting that befits both. A simpler way of putting it might be that I kinda see the appeal of late-era Darkthrone now. A less pompous way might be “early Celtic Frost with a mohawk.” But perhaps the best description can be found in the tags on the Bandcamp page: “peasant punk.” –Hans

Killswitch EngageLive At The Palladium
Metal Blade Records | June 3, 2022

Somewhat coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the release of their seminal album Alive Or Just Breathing?, Killswitch Engage are giving us their pandemic-era live set. The production is clear and everyone sounds fantastic. Thankfully they forgoed any sort of crowd noises or stage banter. I’ve heard some other pandemic-era live sets do this and it’s just…weird. The intensity and passion of a live Killswitch set comes through with each riff, breakdown, blast, and forceful scream. Live At The Palladium contains full playthrough of Atonement and their debut self-titled albums. It’s a great jumping off point for newer fans to discover the older songs. It’s works the other way as older or lapsed fans now have a chance to hear newer tunes. As a longtime fan, it feels so good to hear songs like “Irreversal” (the first KSE song I ever heard and one of my favorites) and “Rusted Embrace” live. If you’ve never had a chance to see them live or just miss that special live KSE sound, Live At The Palladium is for you-365 Days of Horror

Psychostick…And Stuff
Self-Released | April 14, 2022

No band has succeeded during the past few years quite like Psychostick. The clown princes of metal ran weekly interactive livestreams from their jam space and not only did they raise money for themselves, they also donated portions to various charities. They also capitalized on Patreon, cranking out hilarious parodies and covers for their loyal fans. This is where …And Stuff comes in. This album is an 80 minute collection of those parodies, covers, b-sides, and utter madness born from their livestreams. Just listen to a song like Hedstronk to find out what you’ve been missing. This album is a much-needed goofy bit of fun. Psychostick does whatever they want and they do it with a giant smile on their faces. And yes, they ran out of cd space again. -365 Days of Horror

These Arms Are SnakesDuct Tape & Shivering Crows
Suicide Squeeze Records | April 15, 2022

Now is a good a time as ever to get into These Arms Are Snakes, because they aren’t a “band,” they broke up over a decade ago. They’ve always been one of my fav “weirdos” in the “post hardcore scene” with experimental rock sensibilities similar to The Jesus Lizard or Fugazi more than the current world of prog and pop orientated “post hardcore” bands. I don’t know why I keep using air quotes. This new collection is a cohesive flowing exhibition of their career in reverse chronological order and acts as the perfect entry point before moving onto albums such as Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home (2004) and Tail Swallower & Dove (2008). The music is perfectly suited to getting zooted in a trashed hotel room at 2am while improvising your own “dance” moves, or the weirdest “sex” of your life. In terms of chaotic punk avant garde music, These Arms Are Snakes were and still are among the best not in the business. The 2000 – 2010 period of hardcore was something special – so says the (potentially “elder”) millennial. -Carcassbomb

Ipecac Recordings | April 29, 2022

Dälek have always been around, and they’ve always been an interesting force in a hip hop scene dominated by high market ambitions and copy cats of already successful acts. They stretch their creativity across long tracks and aren’t afraid to include an appropriate amount of ambience to go along with their wordy style of rap. Rather than going for the high octane energy of similarly interesting acts like Death Grips or clipping., Dälek are far more relaxed musically with the majority of the momentum coming from politically radical themes and brain enveloping noise walls that play over a hypnotizingly simplistic beat. A better comparison would be to cLOUDDEAD but I fear too few people have heard them. Precipice deals heavily with the need to dismantle the institutions and boycott authority, particularly due to clear discrimination and incompetence rampant in the various established systems, which has been shown copiously since the onset of the modern BLM movement and then the political reactions to the pandemic (i.e. how most countries outright failed their people and revealed themselves to be little more than a vestigial government). A moving listen full of tiny moving production pieces and a powerful lyricists with a venomous voice. If you’re new to Dälek and dig this, my favorite is Gutter Tactics (2009), and their 2002 debut From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots is evergreen. -Carcassbomb

Entgeist – Res Gestae
Independent | May 13, 2022

I spoke briefly about Res Gestae in the week of its release when there was only one track up; now, having had a couple weeks to sit with the full album, I can say definitively it was worth the mostly-blind preorder. While none of the songs bring the same level of raw caveman power as “Briefe aus der Isolation,” there isn’t a dud among the bunch. The songs that hew closer to typical black metal fare make good use of multilayered chords for texture, punctuating the melancholy atmospheric parts with punchy riffs and emotive leads and clean guitar. It’s when they deviate from the norm that the band really shines; songs like the “Brandung Bricht” and the aforementioned “Briefe” have some serious riffing going on, and “Verfall” and “Gilman” have some open-string bits that sound like they’re pulled from Wayfarer’s playbook. Special accolades have to go to the bassist for doing some really cool, driving stuff behind the guitars that keep the songs moving and to whoever mixed the album, because it sounds fantastic. This is a winner through and through, and Entgeist have something great on their hands. -Spear

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