Mini Reviews From Around the Bowl (8/5/22)

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You know what they say about people with small reviews…


Sign of EvilPsychodelic Death
Edged Circle Productions | May 20, 2022

Chile’s Sign of Evil haven’t been making a racket for too long but damn have they ever mastered the bizarro black/death/thrash mix. First off, the vocals switch from an Athenar-like shout to pitch shifted sounds ‘ala early Carcass and Streetcleaner-era Godflesh . Like AEW’s Danhausen, this sounds very nice and very evil. Guitars are blazing and wailing and at times bendy warbly bits as to form well a “Bad Trip” as they do in the start. This falls somewhere between Devil Master, Deathhammer, Bulldozer, and GISM, all of which makes for a helluva quartet. Plus, there’s some spooky intros like on “Serpent Poison” the snare sound of which echoes Sarcófago circa: I.N.R.I. Said blasting drums repeat on “When the Day Arrives” that also mix with zig-zaggy guitars and more robot from hell-vocals. There’s even some goth/death rock like-riffing on “The Underground” which comes off like Mighty Sphincter meets Deathhammer revved up on 45 Red Bulls. In all, a total ripper of an album that doesn’t relent whatso ever. — Justin Thunder Lager


Fleshrot – Unburied Corpse
Me Saco Un Ojo Records | August 1, 2022

If you haven’t learned by now, Texas death metal is making its name the same way their chili did: Low on nourishment, heavy on the meat, all served chunky style, the Texas Specialty. Bringing their own special batch to this year’s cookoff is Lubbock’s own Fleshrot, and its definitely a sizzler. You’ll down bite after bite of groaning charnel ragers with piquant pinches zipping out in all directions, just how you like it, and even though it’s all jammed into 28 minutes, it always feels like there’s plenty of room for seconds. When the breakdown from “In Filth And Pain” hits, have your ten-gallon ready as a barf bag. — A Spooky Mansion


Sacrimonia – Anthems Of Eclipse
Independent | June 10, 2022

Despite my dedication to the art of hating, I find, on occasion, that I am unable to hate on a symphonic black metal band. I firmly assert that trying to mix in symphonic texture, even if synthetic, with an already pretty crammed mix of metal is a losing play, but it’s not unknown for a troupe of raven-sniffing cravateers to edge past my defenses with their charming silliness and meticulous arrangement of their oversized orchestra. Sacrimonia also get points for their sick-ass riffage, assuaging my secondary concern that symphonies are used to spice up bland-ass chugs and changes more hackneyed than Handel’s hand-me-downs. Anthems Of Eclipse is conducting with a full ensemble and not playing around, making for a sweeping display of black metal grandstanding not easily weathered. — A Spooky Mansion


JumalhämäräOf Enlightenment and Righteousness pt. III
Triumphant Transgressions | June 21, 2022

Atop a discography consisting of avantgarde black metal and various ambient experiments, these Finns apparently dropped this 17-minute prog rock epic out of nowhere –  parts I and II certainly are conspicuously absent. Anyway, in case you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the excellent Flesh of the Stars locked themselves away with a bunch of Pink Floyd records for a month, I daresay here’s your answer. Mournful, clean lyrics and believably retro-sounding guitars with a lovely, warm 70s fuzz set a consistently wistful tone that tries to persevere against an impending darkness. First indicated by the dramatic brass part near the beginning, the middle of the song fully gives way to these darker climes with feedback noise and screeching guitars. The same brass part leads us back out again into a repetition of the motives from the beginning, although the music remains moored to the shadow. A grand trip and a must for every fan of old school prog. — Hans


MaulSeraphic Punishment
Redefining Darkness | July 15, 2022

Just as you feel your brow start to protrude from the immense cromagnal ignorance on display, the beat switches up and a Hammond organ creeps in, momentarily stopping the smoothening of your brain wrinkles in its tracks as you begin to suspect that this seemingly cavemanish death metal might not be so primitive after all. That’s how Maul set the stage with opener “Of Human Frailty,” and throughout the album, the refreshing little curveballs don’t let up. The tempo and vocal approach constantly get moulded like putty to fit whatever feels most appropriate, and little bits of synths and ambiance cash in on the promise of creepiness made by the album art in a way that doesn’t pull focus from the main attraction. Maul may be swinging a big-ass club, but the number of ways in which they can kill a mammoth may still surprise you. And they’ll find time for some cave paintings, too! — Hans


Loath‘mageddon
Independent | June 29, 2022

Initially playing a mix of crust and swedeath, this now-one-man project recently started to incorporate wider influences, and finally decided to just throw everything at the wall for this latest release. While mostly still maintaining “a foot planted in hardcore punk,” most notably so in “Rex Imperator” and “O Villainy,” sludgy opener “The Bog” wants you to know that you shouldn’t be too sure what to expect, although it does set a precedent for the awesomely catchy guitar and vocal hooks you’ll get throughout. The middle of the EP is perhaps hardest to pin down, because while both tracks seem to rest on a foundation of alternative metal, “I Used to Be a Crow” proves to be an unruly, writhing concoction that throws some kind of southern rock into the mix, whereas hints of post punk permeate “We Bring Fire.” So far, so wild, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the grand finale in the form of an all-out hair metal banger criticising religion with the catchiest chorus of the year. My only gripe is that the vocals are sometimes too dominant in the mix. Apart from that, I could not have wished for a cooler summer soundtrack. — Hans

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