Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 03-17-16


Small hands, small heart. Small head, Paul Blart.


Ill Omen – Æ​.​Thy​.​Rift
Nuclear War Now! | March 1st, 2016/June 3rd, 2017(?)

I awake from my tormented slumber, cold sweat beading on my furrowed brow. What was it that wrenched me from my troubled dreams? I look to the foot of the bed and see a figure, its huge mass and otherworldly form impossibly squeezed into my tiny room. The being looks through me, and in my terrified consciousness I hear its voice like the audible tone of ruin. It beckons me to gaze into it, to embrace enlightenment through pain. Its face, though black as the void itself, shimmers with an alien iridescence, and I know what I must do it. My soul drifts toward it, and in the space between our forms, I float through an eternity of suffering and doom, a steady noxious growl leading me through the twisting aether. I lose consciousness and submit to the horror; when I awaken again, I find myself in a new dimension of indescribable cyclopean beings and monolithic stone emitting putrescent light, and, somehow, I know that I am home. — W.


Infernarium – Pimeän Hohto
Independent | March 13th, 2016

There’s something I just love about hearing a debut EP that absolutely rips, and Pimeän HohtoFinnish trio Infernarium‘s declaration of intent, certainly fits the bill. Across these three tracks, the band proves with vim and vigor that theirs is black metal not to be ignored; each song showcases a surprisingly mature range of technique and skill. From the fiery riffs nicely accented by an atmospheric miasma in “Saastaisesta Valosta” to the shockingly clever drumming in “Sodanjulistus,” every aspect of this band’s approach to the occult is thoughtful without ever sacrificing punch or power. Tying everything together is a dedication to the songs first and presentation second. Though the members are obviously talented, they also seem to be aware of the power of varied song structure and style, and they play to that strength to great effect. I can’t help but imagine that Tyrant’s excellent snarl is delivered with a well-deserved sneer of self-satisfaction. — W.


Polyphia Renaissance
Equal Vision | March 11th, 2016

Instrumental music is very tricky to pull off, especially in the realm of all things metal-ish, where the current scene is plagued by bands with outstanding technical ability but little-to-no knack for catchiness and songwriting. Enter Dallas, TX’s Polyphia, who I’ve been following for a few years since their debut Muse dropped. I must say, I wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as I did with Renaissance; but their blend of slightly djent-y prog metal not only with the obvious jazz stylings, but with a bit of EDM and disco feel as well, is one that conjures images of warm, flashy colors as well as copious amounts of hair gel and T&A, for some reason. Grab Renaissance here— MoshOff


Black Moor Brave to the Grave
Independent | March 4th, 2016

Cutting through with a break neck riff and a high-pitched scream, Canadian speed-metallers Black Moor open their 3rd full length album, Brave to the Grave, with a bang. The band waste no time with their aural assualt and drive through fours ragers, leading into “The Magician”, a slower Maiden-esque song that works as an excellent bridge between the album’s halves. It is evident that Black Moor have honed their songwriting skills with scalpel-like precision. No time is wasted, however, and the band brings back the speed in an explosion of songs. Finally, with nine-minute heavyweight “Beneath the Dunes”, this album concludes, and you can visualize the band leaving behind a pulverized crowd as they exit stage left. — Boss the Ross


D666 | WildfireDestroyer 666 Wildfire
Season of Mist | February 26th, 2016

Y’all knew what to expect. Y’all bought this already, but allow me to say this: Wildfire kicks butt. A ton of it. The thrashy, Possesion-meets-Destruction via churchburning blackness riffs are as plenty as you’d expect, and songs like “Hymn to Dionysus” and “Artiglio del Diavolo” present grander, atmospheric moments as well. The production is some of D666’s clearest, recalling the speed/thrash of the 80’s, the same scent having attached itself to some of the riffwork as well (see title track). What makes this special among K.K. Warslut‘s work then? Well, he must’ve snorted some mighty coke this time around – the songwriting hasn’t been this consistently awesome since Phoenix Rising. — Karhu


Navajo Witch Ghost Sickness
Independent | February 20th, 2016

Hailing from Tennessee, Doom power trio Navajo Witch unleash hell on their debut album Ghost Sickness. Thick, crushing fuzz tones and deep, hollow drums cascade upon you through a sludgy, haze filled atmosphere. Vocals are chanted with an urgent gruffness that melds perfectly with the RIFFS. And riffs there are: slow churning riffs and faster paced riffs a plenty. During your 45-minute journey you struggle with the weight of this record. Any moment it could come crashing down upon you, but fear not; a three legged stool is always sturdy. If this description doesn’t persuade you, know this: Scott “Wino” Weinrich performs guest vocals on “March Toward Death.” What more do you want? — Boss the Ross


Myrath Legacy
Nightmare Records | February 19th, 2016

If you would have told me a mere month ago that a Melodic Oriental Prog-ish, Power-y record by a band from Tunisia that boasts a ridiculously over-the-top Prince-of-Persia-reminiscent videoclip would be a serious contender for my AOTY, I would have ignored that nonesense and gone back to my paella or something. But alas, here I stand, with the power of the desert-made catchy choruses performed by top notch musicians stuck in my head for days on end. I found out about Myrath when I saw them open for Symphony X, and they’re nothing if not precise craftmen of their trade: writing insanely memorable melodies performed with amazing precision for hardcore kids’ ears to bleed to. Get Legacy here.  — MoshOff


Monolith The Mind’s Horizon: Desolation Within
Independent | February 7th, 2016

I sense a new wave of heavy progressive metal rising after an era that was controversial (to say the least). Though I am still considering the specifics of how this wave will be defined, one main component is talent through extreme variance, which Monolith certainly possesses. This album, part-one of a two-part project, pays homage to countless sub-genres through its 75-minute runtime, including everything from heavy thrashing to technical solos and powerful clean-vocalized exaltations. Their ambitious range would benefit from professional-quality production, but as completely independent artists, it is an area that can only improve with time. Fans of Sons of Aurelius should keep an eye on these guys. — YourLogicIsFlushed


Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony
Black Lion Productions | February 4th, 2016

If I were to describe Seraphical Euphony in one word, it would be “glorious.” Encapsulating some of my favorite elements of both melodic death metal and black metal, Hyperion have given us an album that is somehow both gloomy and triumphant. You want evil sorcerer vocals and icy chords? They’re all here. Triple-guitar acrobatics and raging solos? Hyperion’s got ’em. Soaring keyboards and vicious blastbeats? You get the picture. I can’t imagine there will be many people who don’t find something to like here. Glorious. — Spear


Rape Crisis ActorCrisis Actor Rape Crisis Actor
Independent | January 22nd, 2016

I found out about this under-six-minutes-long EP via Toilet-favorites Artificial Brain. Comprised of vocalist Nick (The Communion) and instrumentalist Kishor (Black Harvest), the band’s earlier projects were new to me, but Crisis Actor became pretty much my favorite new thing in 2016. Three hymns to brutal, dissonant deathgrind – the full, crunchy bass and sharp guitars weaving immediately memorable riffs. The songs lack the jagged feeling so many SKRONK bands go for – not preferring chaos to construct, but cultivating both. If Growth Without End-meets-Dysrhytmia, and catchy SGROND sounds like something you’d enjoy, don’t miss this. — Karhu


BattalionsNothing to Lose
Handshake Inc. | January 21st, 2016

Press play on Nothing To Lose and you’ll be greeted with with some stonery, Sabbath-y, low-down-dirty sludge that takes your head and plunges it face first into a mud bog so that crawfish can systematically peel away at your face. Battalions’  attack is as fierce as it is bluesy. Throughout its entire duration, Nothing to Lose hypnotizes you with one memorable moment after another by way of songs that are anchored by big riffs and cohesive songwriting, Battalions spare no expense in keeping the listener engaged in a song from beginning to end. There could’ve been plenty of soulful crooning on this album, but the out of breath, exhausted screams of Phil Wilkinson that rear their ugly head in place of that are no detriment. The harsh shrieking complements his bandmates with the same aggressive passion in which the songs are delivered. On the eight songs, there’s a Mike Tyson knockout punch in every round. Battalions walks out with an 8-0 record at the end of this one.  — Ron Deuce


Independent | August 8th, 2014

If you like buzzsaws, riffs and fun, Jom has a treat for you. Since its 2007 inception, Chicago based death metal project Mordatorium has released a trio of Swedish throwback full lengths, with Raw being the latest. And yeah I get it, this was released over a year and a half ago. I CAN WRITE ABOUT WHAT I WANT, MOM. Raw is chock-full of catchy, moshable moments and those obscenely morbid lyrics you know your Nana loves. Easily headbangable guitar parts permeate throughout the course of this record, with the self-titled track being this dilapidated internet dweller’s personal favorite. Artwork and layout being crafted by Toilet T-shirt designer Lauren Gornik just adds icing to the top of this already sufficiently br00tal cake. Rock ‘n  fuckin’ roll, man. — Jom Pootersan

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