Mini-Reviews From Around the Bowl (9/23/21)



Prophecy Productions | July 30th, 2021
It has been seven grueling years since Lantlôs’ last release, Melting Sun. I have been craving more of their singular blend of indie/alt rock/metal and Wildhund delivers. It makes sense that master of dreamspace metal, Neige (Alcest), was a former member, but after his amicable exit, the band shifted drastically out of blackgaze and somehow kept that feeling of non-realness in this new sound. Markus’ vocals are once again the perfect cathartic counterpoint to the awkwardly pulsating progressive rhythms. While openers “Lake Fantasy” and “Magnolia” very much follow in the path of Melting Sun’s unique speedy low-tuned-but-melodic chugging masterpieces, a good portion of the rest of the album veers more into a new realm that I struggle to define. Whatever it is, I love it. — Joaquin

In the Company of Snakes Lux
Petrichor | May 15th, 2021

Denver doom continues to go strong with this stomping sludgy beast. It does an excellent job tying in western motifs while keeping the crunchy boomeranging riffs, speedy pace, and oppressive growls front and center. I’m never really a fan of spoken sections in tracks, but “The Chasm at the Mouth of the All” keeps it cool as hell with a threatening tone and great melodic repetition. — Joaquin

NocturnalSerpent Death
Dying Victims Productions | August 27th, 2021

It’s been seven long years since the masterful Storming Evil dropped. The wait has proven exceptionally gruesome for the entire lineup of Nocturnal sans leader/guitarist Avenger has since changed. Opener “Black Tower Ritual” does it’s worst to accommodate you, an eight-minute flurry of riffs and screams, presenting the new Nocturnal, much like the old Nocturnal. Only now they’re meatier than before, which has cost them some of their sharpness, at least occasionally. But whether it good or bad is up in the air, as they’re still sharp a plenty. The new vocalist Invoker on the other hand, I am not entirely sold on. Mean as he may be, he sounds too breathy too often, as if his force was escaping him. With repeat spins I’ve grown used to him, but he remains this Nocturnal’s stumbling block. — KARHU

Kovaa RasvaaTasaluvulla Tulevaisuuteen
Svart Records | June 18th, 2021

Kovaa Rasvaa has shook the Finnish hardcore scene for a good few years now. On Tasaluvulla Tulevaisuuteen the foursome has begun to move towards thrash metal. At least according to the band themselves. While in reality such movement and evolution has occurred, they remain firmly rooted in the strain of fairly chaotic hardcore that birthed them. For a release this short, seven songs and nine minutes, Tasaluvulla Tulevaisuuteen is a bit too jerky for it’s own good, practically every song starting slow, bogging down the pacing. There was ever only little fear the songs would become muddled together and I can’t help but feel their wish to avoid this informed their songwriting. Other than that, it’s a firm, if casual, recommendation. — KARHU

Andrew W.K. – God Is Partying
Napalm Records | September 10th, 2021

I don’t think I’d given Andrew W.K. a real dedicated listen since first hearing “Party Hard” on the Madden ’03 soundtrack, but the huge shift from anthemic party jams to the darker, doomy sound of “Babalon” had my interest piqued. While I think only a third of the album or so sticks to that particular style, it’s still an appropriately fun listen, even uplifting at times in spite of the show put on by the pre-release singles. Speaking of said singles, the videos are a rare breed of MV worth watching, their imagery delving into the conspiracy theories surrounding Andrew’s persona. But I can say that as someone with only passing interest in that part of the Andrew W.K. experience, and despite this not being my normal kind of jam, it’s something I’ll probably return to with some frequency; it’s just too damn fun not to. — Spear

Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery
Frontiers Records | September 10th, 2021

In keeping with the party god albums released on September 10th theme that has apparently just now been established, I have spun the new Seven Spires album an unreasonable number of times in the past two weeks. Part of it owes to my partner being super into it, but even discounting that, it’s been hard to put down. I briefly touched on this album on Toilet Tuesday the week it was released, and now with the full thing in hand, I can say this thing bangs. It’s melodic and catchy, grand in scope, and excellently produced; if you’re into melodeath or symphonic metal of any flavor, you need to put this in your ears. Even if not, give something like “Ghost of Yesterday” a listen and tell me that Adrienne Cowan isn’t one of the best vocalists in metal right now. Plus there’s a continuous story woven across all three of the band’s full-lengths if you’re into that nerd shit (which I absolutely am). — Spear

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