Quick and Dirty Reviews

Here we go again, folks, dirty reviews, and a hella dirty, poorly Photoshopped header taken from a forgotten Mexican horror film that probably involves wrestling.  Whenever we have a ton of things to dish out, and we need it done fast, hard, and dirty, we do this.  A paragraph with some blab and a score, and we’re done.  This time around, Cole Olson decided to give you a nice taste of reviews so you buy a morning after pill immediately after reading it.  Let’s hit it.


Head Cleaner – Resistance, Determination, and the Sheer Will to Overcome

At first glance, this is literally the worst cover art I have ever seen. From the cover art alone and without ever hearing of Head Cleaner before, I expected some tough guy, industrial metal similar in quality to 3rd Machine which editorman Stanley reviewed. Turns out, these guys have an established fanbase and have released several albums and play death/grindcore. Surprisingly, the music ain’t half bad. The guitars have a delicious tone and get pretty exciting on songs such as “Crime and Punishment” and “Forward to Exit” with some rather groovy beats and some shred=gnar dissonance. The last track strays, gets a bit more atmospheric and slower, and doesn’t really contain much but serves as a decent outro song to the EP. The only real issue is that while the guitars are great on some songs in other they’re very mediocre. This is especially true in “The Maverick,” “Tank Versus Ideas,” and most of “The Chain.” Other than that, these gents released an album in 2013 called Of Worms and Men which should be worth looking into if you think it sounds good.  Score: 3.5 / 5  Head Cleaner Official Facebook


Element of Chaos – Utopia

This band only has a Myspace last used in 2013. On that note, has anybody used Myspace since 2013? Well to begin, these guys are a bunch of Italian metallers who have managed to fuse just about every metal subgenre into one album such as melodic death, groove, symphonic, black, and heavy metal. It’s too much to handle because it sounds like every member of the band took their top 5 favorite bands and added influences to Utopia. The vocalist kind of raps even on “The Butterfly Effect” which soon transitions into awful clean singing. I don’t know what the decision making process behind this album was because it’s on par with the cesspool of smells and sticky oozes at the bottom of your trash can. It’s probably a good thing they use(d) Myspace to stay out of the light and not face the shame that is this bullshit.  Score: 1 / 5  Element of Chaos Official Myspace


The Belonging – An Immortal Creation

The Belonging are a melodic death/black metal band from the U.K. The first few plays produced no emotional response and still really doesn’t. It’s just really bland with a few moments that either make a “WoW!” or “Gahhh!” sound. The vocals are a bit too gravel’y and when they stack with some high screams and guttural growls, it just doesn’t sound very good. Just like my response, it lacks emotion – no real feel to it. It really feels like there are parts in some songs where, with some tweaking, could have been really cool. This is really apparent in “A Fearful Bloody Lesson in Slaughter” where if they built further on a riff, some cool melodies and harmonies could have been spawned and bam! a record worth your time but since this isn’t the case, this is just another album worth skipping. Plus, they also have a Myspace and haven’t produced an album since 2011 so if you’re like me and your day is ruined when you hop on Facebook and learn a band has broken up, it may be better to avoid the emotional investment.  Score: 2.5 / 5  The Belonging Official Myspace


Hammerfist – Isolation

This is some hard hitting, groovy hardcore. It has an old school feel to it and really plays on the tough-guy hardcore similar to Lionheart with a lot of chugging and some thick bass. What it doesn’t have similar to Lionheart, though, is anything surprising. The album is very predictable and misses being catchy. It’s undeniably groovy and can be some good background music but unless it’s live and in your face, there are no feelings of adrenaline or anger in your heart. Just plain and simple hardcore hardcoring away the apple of cores that are hard. For fuck’s sake, breakdowns nowadays are pretty standard issue but this takes the cake for having unexciting breakdowns. Do a phat bass drop, squeel away on the guitar, change vocal tone, do something brah!  Score: 3 / 5  Hammerfist OfficialFacebook


Murder Cafe/Earth Burnt Black – Split

First of all – Murder Cafe. Breathe, absorb the name, pretend you’re inhaling Starbuck’s ground coffee, and then come back to this. Murder Cafe does not adhere to metal standards. They are a 3-piece with a bassist, a vocalist, and a drummer. Rinse and repeat steps above. Snap back to reality (Oh there goes gravity) and then realize that they play very slow, death/doomish metal and just like their name, don’t take their music too seriously. They have 3 out of the 5 songs on the split and the first song is an intro which doesn’t really count so you’re only left with two. These songs don’t hold much value to listen to on your own time other than showing your friends some bizarre metal. This kind of music belongs to band openers for the sheer entertainment value it holds. The lyrics are bizarre, the music is bizarre, and fuckin’ Murder Cafe.

Earth Burnt Black are I guess “more serious” than Murder Cafe and play some hard hitting, dirty doom metal. The sound is very primal and raw with vocals coming from 3 out of the 4 members. The first song is literally the same sequence throughout the 4 minutes it runs so someone has to explain the value to me in dedicating an entire track to monotony. The 2nd song gets better and manages to mold some nice melodic fragments and is easily the best song on the split. The three members adding in vocals definitely helps in keeping things spicy but these guys would be much more interesting with some real studio recording instead of what sounds like basement-quality sound.  Score: 2.5 / 5  Murder Cafe Official Facebook  Earth Burnt Black Official Facebook


Empire of the Scourged – Transcend Onto Oblivion

This was one of the most painful reviews to do solely because of the synths. It is truly baffling as to why these kind of synths exist in metal. These are some of the most poorly placed, awful sounding synths I have had the experience of hearing. They are so bad I had to double check to see if Blood on the Dance Floor was an inspiration (thankfully, they don’t sound similar). Take cheesy power metal synths and put them in death metal at all the wrong places and overpower the death metal aspects and you have this. Maybe it’s because they’re a 6-piece with 3 members contributing to synths and programming but this entire 5-song EP sounds like ideas thrown into a pot and put together the very last moment. I’m sure these guys are great musicians and although I haven’t taken the time to check out their other bands (not that I have any inclination to), I hope their other projects contain some level of skill and musicianship. This project should be shelved. Furreal.  Score: 0.5 / 5  Empire of the Scourged Official Facebook


Hogbitch – S/T

Besides having a wildly awesome name, these chaps also play some gnarly heavy psychedelic metal with a female vocalist. First of all, this cover art is superb and whoever did it deserves a solid pat on the rump and a tasty French dip sandwich. The band is fronted by a female vocalist who really just doesn’t do it for me. In all honesty, I’m very picky about my female vocalists but this is just “meh.” Neither “whoo” or “ugh” but just “meh.” The rest of the music is bar quality metal that I don’t think is interesting enough to explode onto the scene but is still entertaining so don’t take bar quality as necessarily a bad thing but more of – I need a Jagermeister with Red Bull for this. If Hogbitch got a bit more experimental and strayed away from the bar-quality sound, I think they could be really good and by experimental I mean like descending into an enthralling trance state with some heavy pedal guitars while the vocalist gives it her all and the drummer just does his duty and guides the song like Moses and the burning bush.  Score: 3 / 5  Hogbitch Official Facebook


Hoth – Infinite Darkness

I wanted to hold back from this review because as a huge Star Wars fan, I didn’t think I could handle anymore hurt regarding the franchise but I bit the bullet and did it anyway. God fucking damnit this hurts. Let me tell you, these are the worst metal vocals I’ve heard in awhile combined with high school-quality riffs, what sounds like programmed drums, and a lyrical focus on Star Wars beasts like the Wampa, Rancor, Dianoga, the Great Pit of Carkoon where a sarlacc resides, and a gargantuan Space Slug makes for a pretty shitty album. Fuck, they could have even been basic bitches and done some songs on Order 66, 501st Legion, or even some Darth Bane but fucking  monsters had to be the focus. This isn’t Halloween motherfuckers – we don’t need to hear about scary monsters. I should probably mention that they play melodic death metal and that their next album which is released on May 20th, is a concept album which hopefully may redeem this piece of work but within me lies strong doubts.  Score: 1 / 5  Hoth Official Facebook


Reviews by Cole Olson