Mini-Reviews from Around the Toilet Bowl XIX
The circle is complete. The seal is broken. What lies beneath the swirling vortex?
More mini-reviews, duh. What exactly did you think was going to happen?
Teutonic titans Dew-Scented have been in the thrash game for over 30 years (!), and despite never seeming to get the acclaim heaped upon the other German thrash bands, they’ve managed to crank out headbanger after headbanger with a remarkable consistency. If you’re a fan of the band, you likely already know what to expect from Intermination. If you’re new to the group, you’ll find a ton of high energy, capably wielded instruments, and pit-ready riffs and solos. It isn’t the most inventive thrash album you’ll hear this year, but it certainly holds its own as a by-the-numbers exercise in the genre. Listen to “On a Collision Course“. – W.
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Indonesia? White Sand Beaches? Orangutans? Tidal waves, maybe? Atmospheric black metal was probably not on the tip of your tongue though, right? Hailing from Jakarta, Vallendusk have just released their majestic second full length and it will squash your silly stereotypes. The lengthy compositions are bursting with warm, resonating melodies layered atop dense, intricate riffs that never outstay their welcome. The blackness is all present and correct, delivered by expertly crafted tremolo picked riffs, blasting drums and ice-cold rasping vocals, all tempered with ethereal flashes of pure brilliance. The production is crisp and clear and allows the unquestionable talent of this band to shine. So when you need a vacation from the frosty North, let Homeward Path take you on a voyage to the tropical East. Hop aboard. – Stanley
I had a lot of questions when I reached the end of Firewalker. Why am I in a parking lot with a beer in hand and this album blasting on my van’s stereo? How did my hair grow so long in 44 minutes? Why is my Judas Priest sleeveless T so tight? I must have been teleported to simpler times, the days heavy metal was actually called heavy metal. The guitarmonies are awesome, the riffs a-bangin’ and the solos a-blazin’, the rhythm section precise and driving. In the vocal department, a few shades of post-punk give the album a unique vibe. — Dagon
This record is a must for doomheads, one of those rare instances in which a 50 minute+ instrumental album is able to capture your attention and never let go. A great display of maturity by a very young band – they know exactly when to plod, when to groove and when to exercise restraint. Check out “Coughing Fit” for further proof of dynamics. It becomes quite obvious that the Horse Lung camp takes gear worship very seriously. The riffs come in gigantic monoliths of a truly immense, earth-shattering tone. The bass is my favorite part of this LP; it’s almost too smooth and groovy for its own sake. The skins are bashed perfectly with all the elements necessary to make doom compelling. Shouts out to Darren Favot who engineered and mixed this album, a brilliant job. — Dagon
Simon Phoenix got there first and included this in his Q2 best of (right after I finished the original version of this, damn you!), and I have only few things to add. If you are familiar with the band’s brand of funeral doom you won’t be surprised, but at the same time, the album doesn’t sound like anything Shape of Despair has ever done. The songwriting is most reminiscent of Shades of… but without the keyboard dominance, leaving more room for the other instruments and resulting in a more balanced effort. Henri Koivula’s growl is deeper than Pasi Koskinen’s, and on a few occasions he utilizes cleans to drive the feels through. Seriously though, read SP’s thoughts on it because I have very little to add. — Karhu
There aren’t too many death metal bands singing in Finnish, so Sotajumala has been standing on the top of that heap for a long time. I must admit I was never tremendously excited about their new album before the news about Raunioissa dropped. It was supposed to be the perfect blend of catchy and heavy. Needless to say, it was the first Sotajumala album I was disappointed in. This is largely due to having played their song “Paratiisin Kutsu” countless times last summer. Timo Häkkinen (Wintersun) is not only a technically proficient drummer but also knows the value of groove, and Mynni Luukkainen has one of the best (and most decipherable) growls around. There are good riffs, but the songs seem driven by either heavy or catchy, and never both – which caused my mind to wander every time. Simple death metal without many attractive factors. Good but not great. Try “Päivä Jolloin Aurinko Sammui” or the links. — Karhu
Ol Drake – Old Rake
Earache Records | June 22nd, 2015
Truth time: if you don’t enjoy instrumental, guitar-oriented stuff, this is probably not for you. Having said that, if well executed six-string shenanigans are your thing, Old Rake will make you grin non-stop for a good 40 minutes. Former Evile lead axeman and one of the most under-appreciated guitarists in metal, Ol Drake, is back with his debut solo album almost two years in the making. Anyone expecting a vocal-less thrash outing might be a bit dissapointed, because Old Rake is more of a rock-y shred recording than anything else. With song titles like “Guitarists Playing Guitars” and “Han Valen”, you know this man is well aware of what he’s doing, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining. Grab it here. – MoshOff
G.L.O.S.S. – Demo
Independent | January 16, 2015
G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) are here to take a spiked bat to your trans-phobic nuts with this 5 track demo of venomous hardcore from 5 pissed off “trans bitches with problems.” It’s angry, subversive, and violent stuff, but also honest, heartbreaking and anthemic, as “Masculine Artifice” loudly proclaims TRANS GIRLS BE FREE! This less-than-10-minute demo is a reminder to us all of what punk and hardcore are supposed to be – loud, obnoxious, and sick of everyone’s bullshit. Get in on the ground floor with these ladies, because this shit is about to blow up. — Celtic Frosty
Italy’s Discomfort breaks down like this – 75% Converge worship, 15% blackened, and 10% grind/crust/d-beat. This all adds up to a middle finger pointed 100% way up. It’s a brief album that oozes ferocity right from the very beginning to the very end. This is what’s playing in the tape decks in all the vehicles in Fury Road as people are being violently mauled and shot at. Try to envision being trapped in a crumbling building with glass shattering, ceilings falling, and people running for their lives. Discomfort creates that kind of atmosphere as they run through seven tracks of feedback laden hardcore. While you’re waiting for Kurt Ballou and company to drop a new record, play Worst on repeat and you’ll find that it’s not far from that. — Ron Deuce