Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 9-2-15


We write reviews that are short, sweet, and to the point, so you can get back to playing with yourself.

skaurSkaur – Farvel
Darker Than Black Records | January 2015

It’s hard for a good Norwegian black metal band to fly under my radar for twelve friggin’ years, but I guess Skaur was determined (in my defense, they released nothing but 12 unknown demos/splits between 2003 and 2011). Regardless, I’m real glad I finally turned over the stone these boys were hiding under, because Farvel is first-rate. Quirky, ice-cold riffing reminiscent of their countrymen Taake plugged into a predilection for strong Classical melodies reminiscent of their other countrymen Windir works remarkably well. The riffs are memorable, but what’s more than that: the songs are memorable. Rather than simply stringing together 6-minute sequences of good riffing and calling them songs, they compose music that flows with a self-assured cohesion. Passage after passage transitions to the next with sophisticated finesse, and as a result, Farvel sails the fine line between jarring and meandering. If you’re a fan of black metal, don’t miss it. Listen to “Skillingsvisa“. — Masterlord


Iniquitous Savagery – Subversions of the Psyche
Grindethic Records | September 22, 2015

Reinventing the wheel, this ain’t! If you can think of a standard element of brutal death metal, you can find it somewhere on Subversions of the Psyche. However, you’ll also find plenty of little nuances that position this band above a bloated crop of bdm bludgeoners. Take the first track “Prey to the Agonies of Morbid Apprehension” as an example. There’s an extremely well-placed drum solo in the middle that pummels you like that demon clown from Spawn juggling a bunch of corpses off of your lifeless body. Immediately following is a nasty series of measures where the band slows down the riff just a bit with each repeated take. These little flourishes set this band apart and reward your attention. Check out “Transient States of Metaphysical Revelation” here. — W.


f2Todesstoß – Hirngemeer
I, Voidhanger | September 25, 2015

Clocking in at a grueling 75 minutes, Hirngemeer is a nigh-impenetrable mess, and that’s exactly what mastermind Martin Lang intended. Each of the three songs is a steel spider-web of gibbering screeches and maniac grunts, drunk tremolo riffs, bio-organic percussion, and other, weirder elements (including synths and harmonica). There is no discernible structure to be found, just a loose, sprawling impressionist painting of our fever dreams in sonic form. If you want music that tests both your patience and your sanity, there are a lot of parts to enjoy in these three long tracks, but you’re going to be investing quite a bit of your time to pull out those small nuggets of brilliance. However, if you embrace fluid definitions of black metal and want to see it pushed to artistic limits, listen to the album here.— W.


Fear Factory - GenexusFear Factory Genexus
Nuclear Blast Records | August 7th, 2015

Ah, consistency: have too much of it and you’re “boring” or “predictable”, lack it and you’re too “out there” or “weird”. I’d be lying if I said that Fear Factory‘s sound has evolved a lot in their 20+ years as a band, but if nothing else, Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell have honed their craft as the masters of machine-precise tremolo riffs, catchy vocal melodies and industrial, synth-y ambience. As such, Genexus doesn’t do much to change the established formula, but as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, for the love of all that is holy don’t do what just did”. This album has enough groove to stop a freight train, and I’d be hard pressed to believe it doesn’t make you want to bob your head even just a little. Get Genexus here– MoshOff


ThrallEntropy [EP]
Independent | August 17th, 2015

2015 has been a great year for Aussie metal, there’s been a solid set of releases coming from our vast land of seemingly fuck all. Earlier this week, Thrall jumped aboard that stream of filth and put out a three track EP titled Entropy. Entropy is an apt name, not in the sense that the songs are disjointed or chaotic, but more in terms of style. A style best described as a unique blend of blackened death metal adorned with a healthy layer of crust. The vocals roar with a mid-ranged blackness, slightly impured with death-like urges. The riffs are encrusted morsels of both genres with a sutble groovy slant, and the drumming follows militantly along in a suitably headbangable manner. AU$3 for 3 songs, that’s US$2.21 you tight-arses, what are you still doing here? Stab the link above already. – Lacertilian


Seraph in Travail – Bring Forth Death
Independent | August 7th, 2015

When a band makes me feel like I’m stalking the gloaming halls of Dracula’s castle with naught but my wits and a holy whip, it’s a no-brainer for me. Philadelphia’s Seraph in Travail do just that on Bring Forth Death, a sonic embodiment of Gothic horror. It sounds like the unholy lovechild of Apostasy and Abigail Williams, with some excellent operatic vocals appearing occasionally for good measure. Though the orchestral/choral parts are obviously synths, they’re well-written enough that it doesn’t bother me a bit. If you feel like you’ve been lacking good melodeath, then Seraph in Travail have just what you need. — Spear


0e302ca80ed7d9f37f9c48a8b16e2f82Dead Letter Circus – Aesthesis
The End Recordings | August 14, 2015

Dead Letter Circus’ third full-length release is a true return to form. Rediscovering the melancholy which made their first album, This is the Warning, so memorable, yet learning from the mistakes of their (rather boring) sophomore release, The Catalyst Fire, Aesthesis showcases Dead Letter Circus’ almost unparalled ability to capture emotion. The mood is calmer than their earlier work; this is a more mature group, one content to let the pace of the music speak for itself. Subtly haunting yet aggressive, a quiet rage, this album is an excellent listen from start to finish. The Tool influence, as in all their work, is obvious, but only obvious in that this is where Tool’s music ought to have taken root in rock music. Perfectly constructed, an enthralling experience, Aesthesis is not to be missed. Listen to “In Plain Sight — Guacamole Jim


Hell Mary | S/T
Friends And Neighbors/Gruff Beard Records |TBD

New Jersey’s Hell Mary are sure to grab the attention of those who enjoy more of the punk/hardcore antics of bands like Converge and Cursed. These guys run roughshod through ten tracks while barely breaking the two minute mark at any point of the album. Despite their brevity, the songs are fast grinding shards of volatility that have traces of noise rock coursing through them. The vocals set Hell Mary apart from their contemporaries as they fall under the category of “not quite yelling yet not quite screaming.” Everything you could ask for in a good hardcore album is there – energetic and well executed songs, timely breakdowns and the type of intensity that translates well from record to a live setting. Sample the handful of tracks on their Bandcamp page and you’ll begin spin kicking and wind milling so hard in your cubicle that you knock down the wall and it lands on the lady next to you who blabs about Dancing With The Stars  incessantly. — Ron Deuce



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