Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (6/9/23)


The menu today is STACKED, but it’s all really small.

Hand ModelWill Life Reign Supreme Even In Death
The Flenser | May 26, 2023

Some people like a review to mention a genre early on, but unless “flensercore” is enough of a descriptor for you, I can’t offer much help here. Only occasionally singing and never resorting to his trademark demented screams, Ignat Frege’s (Wreck and Reference) spoken word delivery has quite a poetry slam vibe to it, which could be a turnoff, but there’s enough vocal range left to keep things from feeling too droning. Aside from that, it helps that the beats strike a mesmerizing balance between relaxing and unsettling, occasionally breaking away from minimalist trip hop and synth pop (add “post-” as needed) to tear into patches of noise. You could dive into the heady “what even is life” complexity of the lyrics or just sit back and enjoy a bit of versatile sonic experimentation; there’s enough here for either approach. Highlights: “The Dust,” “Eating Off the Knife.” –Hans

Vexing Grand Reproach
Ordovician Records | May 26, 2023

Playing progressive post-sludge is a cheat code to my heart, so Vexing had a boost without trying, but it is indeed a very good version of that. Grand Reproach focuses on pummeling, but the infrequent melodic sections shine through with a catchy optimism. The standard grime-filled vocals work perfectly, and a furious drum performance wraps a bow on the whole thing. The songwriting is spot-on for the genre, and I would absolutely love this album if the production were a bit less tinny. Even with that, this is a must-listen for fans of Inter Arma, Russian Circles, and Flood Peak. –Joaquin

Unfurl Ascension
Independent | June 2, 2023

Unfurl is one of those bands that is so intense that you want to call it grind, but it’s somehow too palatable to really give it that designation. With some progressive and post-hardcore touches in tone and structure, especially on the standout track “Hyperviolet Estuary,” this quick 40 minutes packs in a ton of variety. The vocal delivery has the same evil ooze as The Atlas MothsComa Noir, which pairs so well with a sludgy texture. “Entity Reunion in the Sky” has one of the most fucked closing riffs I’ve ever heard. If this album doesn’t put them on the radar of a very large number of underground metal fans, I’ll have to turn in my star-finder gun and badge. Super highly recommended for fans of Wake. –Joaquin

Industrial Puke Born Into The Twisting Rope
Suicide Records | May 12, 2023

Industrial Puke’s Born Into The Twisting Rope makes me want to stage dive onto a CEO’s head. Featuring members of Burst, Obstruktion, and Rentokiller, Industrial Puke give a no-frills crust metal kick to the face of every snot-nosed reactionary spouting cruel, backwards nonsense to a mouth-breathing audience that laps it up like water from a toilet. The band takes the classic Swedish death metal sound and shoved it into a blender with Dropdead and Integrity records. It’s fast, mean, and unforgiving. Linus Jägerskog’s distinct howl cuts through the maelstrom of drums, guitar, and bass like a hot chainsaw through butter. Born Into The Twisting Rope is focused chaos that gets the mind racing, the blood pumping, and the spirit fighting. –365 Days of Horror

Svart Records | May 19, 2023

Ever since Way Of The Dead, I’ve been a fan of Yakuza. I remember starting out as a DJ in my college radio station’s B studio. It was a tiny, windowless box of a room with old equipment, a wall covered in stickers of unknown bands, and a sweater left in the corner that was never claimed. It was in this weird, depressive closet that I discovered Yakuza’s Chicago Typewriter from a Century Media Records sampler. Something about their unique sound, Bruce Lamont’s strained vocals, and the dreamy saxophone that fit perfectly with my bizarre surroundings.

Now the band is back with their latest album Sutra. One of the things I appreciate about Yakuza is that they are not afraid. You can get a psychedelic freakout with squealing saxophones and dissonant chords on one song and on another, you’ll get a 40+ minute jazz odyssey on another. All the while, they weave in their distinctive brand of experimental doomy, sludgey, droney, Big Jazz Boy sounds. This album has all of that and more. Sutra progressive, aggressive, and different. It’s wide-ranging yet still accessible. If you’re ready to journey into mystery and seek answers to questions you have been unable to ask, Sutra is for you.

All that being said, Bruce, you were supposed to do an interview with the Toilet Ov Hell podcast like 6 years ago. We’re still waiting. –365 Days of Horror

Gridfailure/Interstitia – Sunyata Ontologoy
Independent | June 9, 2023

Are you a fan of harsh synths? How about cyberpunk video game soundtracks? Or maybe you like concept albums about a near-future dystopian America that’s ruled by a totalitarian government during a second Cold War. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should absolutely check out this album. Though almost entirely instrumental, the record paints a gloomy picture of what it’s like to live in fear. The sparse vocals that are present on the album are absolutely tortured. Seriously, the dude sounds like he’s in agony. Every element of this album comes together masterfully. It’s ugly when it wants to be ugly, it’s terrifying when it wants to be terrifying, it’s softer when it wants to be softer, and it’s grim from start to finish. If this sounds like your kind of music, then it probably is. Give it a listen. It’s definitely worth your time. –Reliquary Tower

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