Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (5/4/23)
Tiny foods, big riffs. Check ’em out.
Danava – Nothing But Nothing
Tee Pee Records | April 28, 2023
Danava have been around for nearly 20 years, but sound like they’ve been around for 40. They take the gritty sound and guitar chops of early British metal acts (“Let the Good Times Kill” and “Season of Vengeance” feel like tributes to Maiden, while “Enchanted Villain” seems to quote Sabbath) and mix in just a wee dash of the good-timey vibes of something like Thin Lizzy and some manic fuzz rock energy (see, in particular, the title track or “At Midnight You Die”). The result is an immensely fun record that mostly keeps it cool with straightforward rock, but isn’t ashamed to occasionally let it all out and go a little off the rails. Sadly, Danava’s old school sound found a home on a label that seems equally opposed to modernity; sure, the record is all over streaming services, but selling digital copies is just not something they’re into. Shame! –Hans
Tanith – Voyage
Metal Blade | April 21, 2023
Tanith have been around for about a decade, but sound like they’ve been around for 5. The pleasantly warm, low gain guitar sound and the earnest lyrics from realms of fantasy and sci-fi place them firmly in classic prog rock territory, but they refrain from disappearing up their own ass with 10-minute flute solos or narrated passages. The music is never subservient to the grand stories being told, but rather always on the lookout for the next cool riff, the next blazing guitar solo, and, most importantly, the next beautiful hook delivered in dual vocal harmony. Personal highlights include “Falling Wizard” (the line “Dying wizard, it’s clear you are not well” always gets me), “Olympus at Dawn” (chorus of the year so far), and “Adrasteia” (surprisingly reminds me of Vhöl). –Hans
They Watch Us From The Moon – Cosmic Chronicles: Act 1, The Ascension
New Heavy Sounds | May 5th, 2023
Somewhere near the 5-year mark of receiving a glut of promos in your inbox, you get to the point where your mouse is hovering over the delete button one second after hitting play on promos that just give off the wrong vibe, and you’ll be correct 99% of the time. They Watch Us From the Moon is the 1%. I was expecting a poorly produced, generic, and insanely corny sci-fi stoner doom record, but this thing is shockingly polished and sincere. The guitar tone has that nice fuzz you’d expect, and the jam solos are perfectly meandering. A soothing dual-vocal performance on top of it all makes for a very easygoing trip to space… or the dispensary, either one. –Joaquin
Black Oak– Egolution
Independent | April 14th, 2023
Despite being at least the third band with the word “oak” in it to release an album this year, this progressive post-hardcore/metal band shines through. Samuéla Burenstrand delivers an incredibly dynamic vocal performance with soaring cleans and spot-on growls. There’s a nice dreamy atmosphere that reminds me of Dreadnought but with rough edges, more like Ithaca. Egolution is at its best when it seamlessly, and rapidly, switches between the ethereal and aggression, so a few tracks that run too long with one or the other get a little stale, but there’s a lot to love about the majority of the tracks. –Joaquin
Long after I have died of petro-plastic micro-chemical overdose, my motionless shrimp-shaped body forever hunched over a dusty RGB keyboard, the debut full-length from Massachusett’s sewer champions Anthropophagous will still be Abusing My Corpse.
The bespeckled acoustic guitar will excise my intestines and hang them around the bedroom like off-season Christmas lights for a high school house party. The galloping thrash will disarticulate my knee caps and leave them as urinal cakes in underfunded public bathrooms. Grunching riffs funnel my teeth into a novelty Pez dispenser shaped like the Queen.
The thromulous bass will scoop my oily gallstones into an artisanal homewarming decoration for sale on Amazon Prime. Clodgitated drumming strips my gluteal fats into the ceremonial tailgate party Bud-light cooler for half-time jerky slabs.
Vocals struggle through ruptures of dermatitis as they hunch over my slack-jawed motionless head, perpetually damp and mottled from near-continous teabagging. The turmeric leadwork plucks at my eyes like so many frozen gushers from a tech bro’s forgotten snack-stash, destined for a mealy monster mash.
Mischievous melodies stoop down and tie my decomposition-encrusted shoelaces together in a final act of immortal embarrassment, my re-animated form tripping over the tragedy of an eternal faceplant and an afterlife of continuous ridicule.
A spider resides inside my hollowed skull and keeps it tidy while they raise a herd of baby arachnids, the only dignity allowed for my gangling remains. –Snooty McWords