Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl III


This is the third installment of Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl, a segment wherein the spotlight is turned to group of albums we either love, like, sorta like, are ambivalent to, sorta dislike, dislike, or really hate. For whatever reason, we’re not committed enough to give these albums full reviews, but we want them to know that we still sort of care about them so they don’t leave us for somebody with big muscles or some sort of fancy degree.


asAscension – Dead of the World
WTC / Season of Mist | December 24, 2014

For some reason these orthodorks decided to release Dead to the World on December 24 last year, resulting in its album title becoming a hilariously accurate descriptor. All that aside, The Germans in Ascension have released a worthy predecessor to their debut, reaffirming their standing at the upper echelon of the mid-paced black metal food chain. The slinking leads will creep up your spine; the riffs will break it in half. Fans of Waitan should stop being fans of Waitan and be fans of Ascension instead. Listen to “Unlocking Tiamat“, “The Dark Tomb Shines” — Masterlord


ambAmbush – Firestorm
High Roller Records | May 24, 2014

If you don’t like Judas Priest, you’re not even a real person. That’s the cold, hard truth. For everyone else that, y’know, actually exists, Ambush should hit the spot. The spot in question is either 1) the “nostalgia for the good old days” spot, or 2) the “I sure wish I was alive during the good old days” spot, depending on how much of an old-ass you are. Sweden is just one giant trad metal factory lately, and Ambush is some of its best product. Check Firestorm out for some of the most fist-raisin’-est, air-guitarin’-ist, head-bangin’-est, leg-kickin’-est, leather-wearin’-est heavy metal of recent years. Listen to “Hellbound“, “Don’t Shoot (Let ’em Burn)” — Masterlord


The AdventuresAdventuresSupersonic Home
Run for Cover Records | February 17, 2015

3/4 of the kids in Code Orange decided to take a break from making harder-than-fuck breakdowns to create Adventures, a band that takes far less inspiration from Converge than it does 90s college rock acts like Juliana Hatfield or Texas is the Reason. Lead by vocalists Reba Meyers and Kimi Hanauer, Supersonic Home is jam packed with beautiful, arching harmonies and catchy guitar lines. Everything about this just makes me feel good, y’all. This album has been on regular rotation in my home, in my car, and in my office. My coworkers love it and I want you to love it too. Listen to “Dream Blue Haze” and try not to jam out. – Joe Thrashnkill


Norse – Pest EP
Transcending Obscurity | June 7th, 2014

Australia has no shortage of things that can kill you. From the merciless stinging trees to the ‘roided up, gun-toting superwogs, every day you wake up in Australia is another day you tempt fate. If, however, you wanted to add another item to that growing list of potential Final Destination endings, Southern Highlands-based black metal weirdos Norse are now holding an impossibly large axe over your neck. The Pest EP, and other albums before it, is a hyper-caffeinated cup of sinister black metal laced with multiple shots of dissonant espresso and strained through a used, bloody filter. From the first cut to the final track of this six-song EP, the band brings a merciless, choking atmosphere and never relents. Listen to “Disarmed, Toothless, Weak” and get dead. – W.



Last Dive – Firstborn
Independent | October 1, 2014

Firstborn is the first LP released by Last Dive, a gem that flew under a lot of radars towards the end of last year. In it, they deliver a Russian cocktail of sludge and industrial metal, seasoned with an interesting mix of harsh and clean vocals. The songwriting here is stellar – every song is memorable and unique, with killer choruses. Another highlight of the album is the production: the guitars sound either massive and fuzzy or clean and soaring; the drum hits explode like a molotov. There’s a healthy dose of electronic elements added to each song to keep things interesting. I highly recommend this. Listen here. — Dagon 


vesTrial – Vessel
High Roller Records | January 21, 2015

I am dedicating my year to making sure people listen to Trial. Remember Visigoth? That AMAZING band that released an album full of near perfect, poser-slaughtering anthems? This beats that out for me. “But Randall, how can something so trve be beaten?” I can hear you asking me now. Vessel somehow was able to perfectly blend a sound heavily influenced by late 80s/early 90s american power metal with black metal. That means you get riffs, you get tremolo picking, and you get GORGEOUS soaring vocals reminiscent of John Arch, Messiah Marcolin, and Bruce Dickinson. The album is of perfect length at just 51 minutes, allowing listeners to listen over and over without ever facing fatigue. Miss this album and face my steel (don’t worry I’ll be posting it in the comments/FB group about 60 more times this year.) Listen to “To New Ends” — Randall Thor [Seriously, do not skip this. — Masterlord]


abAbominatorEvil Proclaimed
Hells Headbangers Records | March 18th, 2015

Unholy. Unforgiving. Punishing. Relentless. If you follow the heavy metal blog hivemind, these are buzzwords you stumble across a dozen times daily. They are also apt descriptions of Abominator’s upcoming 2015 release, Evil Proclaimed. Eight tracks spread across thirty eight minutes, with nary much resembling a respite over its course. Shouted somewhat coherent vocals compete with buzzing guitars, chaotic solos, and rapid drumming for space on this record. Abominator got an increase in production values since their last release, The Eternal Conflagration; don’t expect them to proclaim the bestial blackened hordes as well as evil on this one. FFO: black/death metal, a more evil version of Hells Headbangers alum Gouge, evil Satanic rituals, and good old fashioned evilness. Listen to “Evil Proclaimed” — Edward


Independent | July 10th, 2014

DSBM can be a hit or miss, at least for me. When I hear something in this genre that clicks with me, I’m usually very much absorbed in it. Sadness is a one woman black metal project that delivers the melancholy like no other DSBM project I’ve ever heard. The guitars are somewhat melodic but very much depressing, and harsh when necessary. The vocals are very sound very uneasy, which adds a very unique dexterity to the beautiful yet sorrowful instrumentation. They seriously sound like a woman crying from a torture chamber. Shrieks and cries are echoed in immense despair and suffering. Close is bleak and beautiful listen that should be experienced by all of you lifeloving chumps. Get sad goddammit! Listen here. — Tyree


3636 CrazyfistsTime and Trauma
Spinefarm Records | February 16, 2015

It’s been almost 5 years since 36 Crazyfists released their last album. That’s a long time for any band, but especially for road warriors like 36CF. Time and Trauma is a welcome return for the Alaska natives who sound more focused and energized than ever before. 36 Crazyfists have always mixed their aggression with crowd-pleasing catchiness and Time and Trauma has that in spades. While their past few efforts have felt like a collection of songs, Time and Trauma feels like a complete album. Bassist Mick Whitney is back in the fold and new drummer Kyle Baltus proves to be a solid addition. Guitarist Steve Holt churns out solid riffs and throws in a few surprises. Vocalist Brock Lindow lets it all out on this record, both physically and emotionally. The death of Lindow’s mother inspires the heartfelt earnestness of the lyrics and music. His unique singing style is on display and compliments the music well. Time and Trauma is highly enjoyable from start to finish. Longtime fans will love it and it’s a great jumping-on point for people new to the band.





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