Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl: 9-16-15
We keep reviews short, sweet, and to the point, so you can spend more time with your thumb up your butt.
Witch Blade – Witch Blade
Swords & Chains Records | June 1, 2015
The versed know pretty much exactly what they’re going to get when the word “witch” is placed in front of the word “blade” — some speed metal, yo. This group of lads throw themselves onto one of the many towering heaps of young traditional heavy metal devotees you’re likely to see in tidy piles all over Sweden with Oskuldernas eld, their full-length debut. The one thing you need to know is the only thing that matters — these youngins provide the riffs and provide them well. Each song has its share of acceptably rollicking bangers, and a few very exceptional licks await anyone willing to give the album a full listen. The vocals (delivered completely in Swedish) are inoffensive, but it’s the guitarwork that inspires the raising of the fist. Recommended. Listen to “Witch Blade (Häxsvärd)“. — Masterlord
To anyone who’s not a huge nerd, long songs and albums can be daunting. Since I’m only slightly a huge nerd, I was hesitant but not unwilling to dive into all 76 minutes of Maieutiste’s self-titled debut on Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions. The commitment was well worth it. This is black metal on a grandest of stages, complete with death metal cameos, well-timed moments of eerie stillness, superbly fluid transitional moments, and undeniable creativity. From the cinematic fury of “The Fall” to the headbanging groove of “Death to Socrates,” and the shadowy sauntering of “Absolution” to the jaunting limp of “Death to Free Thinkers,” this album is a complete package that will always offer new things to discover and new ways to inspire. While the styles themselves are quite different, I can’t help but think of the dense, grandiose gestures of Dodecahedron. Get your physical on September 19th here, or get the digital copy here. — Stockhausen
Another mini-review set, another brutal death metal release for me to discuss. BDM is often the last place a listener would expect to find experimentation, but here we find an unorthodox approach to slamming that transcends expectations. This is a new gospel of brutal death metal, born from the discontent of the skronky slums and baptized in the conviction of cleansing songsmanship. The message, then, is one of conviction; the band delivers its divine proclamation with guttural tongues that unleash judgment and wrath in the form of recursive, syncopated riffs and illuminating licks. The jazzy interludes and condemning samples leave room for still moments of tense reflection before the brutal harangue continues. Bow before the new revelation in “Apostasy”. — W.
Electronics and industrial effects in metal are mere distractions more often than not. However, rare bands do come along every millennium or so that are capable of so effectively intertwining industrial groove with punishing extreme metal that listeners are compelled to take notice. On Natron, the band seems to be drawing ever closer to the hallowed ranks of Godflesh, The Amenta, and Anaal Nathrakh. By infusing impossibly heavy sludge with a tasteful splash of drum effects and distortion, the band effuses an effective muck that lulls you into submission and calmly, patiently drowns you in the mire. The key here to making an impressively heavy album is the delicate balance between the metal and the not-metal, with this album using the effects solely to enhance the already dense guitar chords. A slight repetitiveness in the riffs that makes the album feel longer than it is is my only complaint. — W.
Last week Cryptic Hymn released their debut EP titled Gateways and it seems to have slipped through even This Toilet Tuesday‘s fine net. Hailing from Kentucky, Cryptic Hymn play a refined combination of melodic death metal with some blackened influence. While I’ve only had the chance to listen to this release a couple of times through, what’s immediately noticeable is the solid musicianship on display here. Whilst clearly possessing the ability to play with a certain level of virtuosity, they show a very welcome level of restraint and allow the songwriting to take the reins. A couple of excellent quieter passages introduce a dynamic which is often sorely lacking in this style of metal. The vocals are similar to those of Trevor Strnad in parts, although they tend to sit between the extremes of his shrieking and gutterals for the most part. Gateways is a tight debut from a band showing prudence and promise. – Lacertilian
Slow – Unsleep
Black Plague Records | April 13, 2014
Unsleep is a one-off funeral doom project from Markov Soroka, the mastermind behind Aureole. Slow‘s music is meant to invoke the sensation of drowning, and it succeeds in every way. Every note on this record is slightly warped, like opaque light bending under the water’s surface. The guitar leads sound like a busted accordion, and the vocals are slightly gurgled, as if Soroka has a mouthful of water. The mournful heaviness is the crushing pressure of unsurvivable depths. Unsleep is at once the hopelessness and euphoria of letting the water rush deep into your lungs. Drown in the abyss here. — Celtic Frosty
AHAB – The Boats of Glen Carrig
Napalm Records | 28th Aug 2015
AHAB made a fantastic funeral doom album with The Call of The Wretched Sea. On their third album, they started to sail away from those funeral-filled waters and The Boats of Glen Carrig is taking the foursome even further away. I think AHAB knew what kind of an album they wanted to make with The Giant, but couldn’t let go of their past and fell flat. They’re a whole lot closer to making that album with this one. — Nordling Rites ov Karhu
To ease the anxiety of the waiting for their next full-length, French melancholic masters Les Discrets share with us a full concert at the Roadburn Festival in 2013. Songs from both records were performed, aided by Alcest members Winterhalter, Neige, and Zero. The recording sounds full and the music surrounds the space without hardship; the band was very committed to enveloping the audience with their post-metal palettes; every note reflects their dedication. This album brings the first era of the band to a close. Since Fursy revived the project, we will have to wait to see what they’re preparing behind the autumnal curtain. – Link Leonhart