Mini-Reviews from around the Toilet Bowl VIII
Are you a big review boy or a little review boy? I hope you picked little review boy, because we have a whole heapin’ helpin’ of little reviews just for you, you special, special child man. So get in here and stuff your face with a whole bunch of little reviews, you sweet little piggy.
As the Toilet’s patron saint of skronk, it is my sworn duty to examine all things dissonant. 2015 has seen no shortage of excellently labyrinthine releases, but Nihil Quam… may be one of the most harrowing exercises in extraterrestrial death metal you’ll hear all year. By taking the suffocating density of Ulcerate‘s Vermis and filtering it through the non-Euclidean plane created by Gorguts’ Obscura, Ad Nauseam have crafted a challenging, exhausting ziggurat of extradimensional pain and suffering. There is no melody. There is no reprieve. There is only countless eons of being crushed into a singularity by tidal waves of black matter. You have been warned. – W.
And now, something for the non-skronkodiles among you. As much as I enjoy that peculiar feeling of having my viscera blasted through a particle accelerator that only dissonant metal can create, sometimes I just need something poignant. Something somber. Something with enough emotive weight to drag my heart to the bottom of the sea. Thankfully, Romantik, the fifth full-length by Germans Valborg, brings that requisite melancholia, and at the recommendation of Mr. Thomas G. Fischer, no less. By never trading heaviness for sadness, the band strikes a neat balance between the two that draws upon both lugubrious synths and plodding riffs to create the perfect Gothic atmosphere. I daresay it’s even a bit romantic. – W.
Abysmal Lord – Storms of Unholy Black Mass
Hells Headbangers | August 8, 2014
Had this EP been on my radar when it dropped in August of last year, I might’ve broken some rules and included it on my Top 10 albums of 2014. Abysmal Lord’s first EP is a friggin’ whirlwind of grinding, bestial blackdeath. It’s like Twister if the tornado was made out of mud, blood, and barbed wire, Bill Paxton’s face was constantly aflame with hellfire, and the movie didn’t just blow ass in general. This is a must-listen for fans of the filthy classics by Blasphemy and Beherit, or the work of newer bands like Sacrocurse carrying the unholy torch. Die. Listen to — “Revelation“. — Masterlord
I’m a little late to the party on this one, but screw it. Cyhyraeth obliterate the notion that metalcore is automatically bad with their latest offering to the riff gods, Servant to the Fire. The thing that sets Cyhyraeth (and pretty much every good -core band) apart from the rest is that the music is clearly the focus here, as opposed to the typical “LOOK AT ALL MY ANGST OR I’LL CUT MYSELF” nonsense that so many others in the genre fall prey to. Fiery tremolo-picked riffs and guitarmonies prevail here, and the dual-vocalist assault positively drips venom. Each song is carefully constructed and well-paced, with little to no fat on each of the 11 tracks. If you enjoy old In Flames or Trivium, you are sure to like this. – Spear
Progressive desert doom stoner groove noise sludge. That’s as accurate a genre as I can come up with to try and describe London’s Strauss, a band that dabbles in so many sonic palettes it’s a true wonder that the musical picture they paint is as focused and coherent as it is. In the post-Mastodonian world we live in, it’s a bit of a challenge to come across melodic sludge-ish music that isn’t über-reminiscent of the Savannah superstars and their peers, but this five-piece excels at carving out their own niche by combining hardcore-esque shouts with harmonized leads and jagged, doomy riffs. The performance on this 5-track EP is surprisingly tight for what similar bands usually offer, and at times the noise-soaked soundscapes are not unlike a more concise, less jam-oriented Kyuss. Strauss is a band definitely worth keeping an eye (and ear) on for any fan of the more melodic stoner/doom/sludge side of the mehtul spectrum. Luia drops on May 15th; buy it here, you absolutely will not regret it. – MoshOff
Terveet Kädet is an unbelievable band. They were one of the first (the first?) Finnish HC bands and they still kick the asses of about 90% of the world’s HC bands. While their previous efforts have seen them return to HC from more metallic times, it’s on Lapin Helvetti that they really retake their throne. They’re not exactly the same beast that recorded Ääretön Joulu; there’s less powerviolence-like fury here, but songs like “Elämälle Vieraita Piirteitä” are some of the band’s fastest and grindiest material. Every now and then a riff recalls the more crossover-ish ways and the opener “Polku Päättyy” begins with a slower tempo, as close as the band ever came to a breakdown. If NYHC is your thing then, GTFO. But if you’re more into Discharge and their ilk, this is going to be your ham too. – Nordling Rites ov Karhu
Fallen Empire Records is a small but fast-growing record label that I found out about last year and have been following closely ever since. Our fellow toilet dweller Christian Molenaar recently wrote about Misþyrming who put out one of his favorite 2015 releases and are also signed to Fallen Empire Records. Since last year I’ve collected a shit-load of albums and discovered a fuck-load of great new black metal from this label; the label is simply untouchable when it comes to signing incredible new black metal bands. Speaking of incredible new black metal bands, Hæthen was recently signed to the label, and they just put out one monster of a debut album that I can proudly claim to be my favorite black metal release of this year, so far. This three-piece hailing from Philadelphia are masters at combining bone chilling melody, atmosphere, and monstrous riffs that are delightfully sinister sounding. The album’s pace is mostly blasting, but there are some really unique moments, like odd time signatures, tempo change-ups, haunting ambiance, and even some folk instrumentations that keep things a bit more interesting. The song structures are masterfully put together, and the album flows incredibly well. The mix is near perfect; each instrument can be heard crystal clear, and the production is not too polished, allowing for some raw grit. Hæthen is quality black metal, and Shaped By Aeolian Winds should not be missed this year, so stab here, hit play, and submerge into the abyss. – Tyree
Neo Noir l Neo-Noir
Independent (In Europe through Depressive Illusion Records) l February 28, 2015.
Inspired in the decadence of actual Venezuelan society and long forgotten tales destroyed by urbanism, comes the melodic Depressive Black Metal band Neo Noir, a collective soul from the capital region of the country that tells us stories of sadness and melancholy inspired by old decayed buildings, the macabre, sorrow, the uncertainty of our current times, the return to a better past infused by the blood and the screams of our ghosts. Neo Noir inject the tremolo riffs and shrieks vocals with the delicate melodic sound of pianos and wind instruments, which gives them new life (or death?) to the extreme sounds. This record is more about the atmosphere than the abrasive side of this genre. If you like really intense music that represent a dying society with a melodic twist, you can give Neo Noir a try through La Villa Teola and stream/buy the record through their Bandcamp profile. — Link Leonhart