Quick Reviews – September 2017

In case you missed it, we do special, short reviews now of stuff that’s not up to the standards I set for full reviews. Meaning, the cover art sucks. This doesn’t mean the music isn’t any good, of course, but as you know, at least 1/4 of an album’s presence is in its art, a fact often underestimated. Full site reviews, whether filed under canon or apocrypha, at least have to be visually stimulating before I even consider it. Beyond that, full site reviews are now reserved for stuff that blows minds to bits, or makes you wish you could do that literally. This was simply a way of streamlining and keeping our content quality high, while still giving bands who submit material a chance for some promotion. Originally I conceived of this special feature as a way to give site presence to reviews only posted to Facebook, but now I plan on pretty much reviewing anything I get, in the order I receive it in the mail. So here’s the first new version of this feature, Quick Reviews, for the month of September, 2017. Actually this is for months before September, I just wrote all of these during September. Shut the hell up.

The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia

This clever German doom/black metal outfit, who have too many fans on Facebook for a full site review (they don’t need me, trust me), released this one with primarily only one musician behind all of it. Usually that with any form of metal is a form of suicide these days, but not here. Guess what? Exuvia is so far from pretentious it will turn you pagan. I mean after hearing this I started to construct idols with no sense behind it whatsoever right in my damn back yard. Fire pit and everything, it’s sick. Ván Records, thank you. Score: 4.7 / 5


Witch Vomit – A Scream from the Tomb Below

I don’t think I’ve encountered a band yet that uses the word “vomit” in its name that hasn’t been at least enjoyable. Any band that chooses to use the word knows, clearly, that they sound like regurgitated bile and digested food, in some capacity. Now we have a witch vomiting. I mean, it’s probably some pretty grotesque vomit, so a very well-played decision on the name. Further, it’s hard to be disappointed by cruddy death metal of this caliber. I prefer my death metal dirty, or, eh, vomity? Why not with a witch? Thanks to Memento Mori for the promo. Score: 4 / 5


Ulsect – S/T

Put this in the “good bands from The Netherlands list” that I have yet to make. Then again if Season of Mist released it, rarely less than average. Though the art kept me away from doing a bigger review because it’s not much to look at for my promotional tastes, it is dreary, and that’s good, plus Ulsect provide tons of variety, little down time, and that brooding quality I search for. I want to feel the flow of tears upon mine face. Sometimes it’s easy to fowl up, though, when you’re experimenting and trying to make someone sad. This does both without the actual loss, a sure win. Score: 4.3 / 5


The Ditch and the Delta – Hives in Decline

I was all about this sludge mess except for a single track of what in tarnation? What the sam hill yonkers? What in the darndest willikers? That’s my cowboy talk, because there’s some cowboy shit going on here. Thankfully, it’s a single song, a real snore right in the middle of this otherwise crushingly angry boot tosser. Kicking spurs to the Achilles tendon, this Salt Lake City trio can bend and warp any riff without just relying on a ton of feedback. At times their experimentation is weak and nubile, but when they hit a flow it’s a damn dust storm that tears up your eyes and fills the ears. Battleground Records, I believe this is the first time we’ve met. Enjoy. Score: 4.1 / 5


ÆRA – Of Foresworn Vows

I’m always hesitant about pagan metal bands, unless they’re from a part of the world with actual traditions in the blood. This is a strange duo from Chile and Missiouri… It’s musically pagan for sure, but that translates to black metal lightly combined with folk and keyboard cheese. The guitars are fragile, a nice sound, but this one misses simply because it doesn’t present any clear conception of what it is as “pagan”. It just applies the tag and hopes you burn the meaningless sacrifice to the idol of somethingrather. The label Desolated Woods, has one of the coolest names ever, though. Score: 3.7 / 5


Post Pulse – Halls of the Damned

Damned if you metal, damned if you don’t, that’s the case with these Finnish chaps, and Inverse Records, who decided to release this. Metal in Finland, it either works or it doesn’t, seriously that’s how it is. This is somewhere in the middle, oddly. Oops. It doesn’t rely on oafish gimmicks, but yet it isn’t sure exactly with what camp it sleeps. There’s hardcore, technical death metal, incredibly clean bass popping like Flea (ugh, sorry, I wanted to make it really hurt, so there), vocals that sound mid-voice crack, it’s just a wet cigarette of an album that takes a blowtorch to light. Practically nothing meaningful happens, and all you remember is the bass. Score: 3.1 / 5


Eoront – Another Realm

Here come the Russians. This is one of those “just wow” releases, except the cover, which is a bore. Some tower thing, whatever. It has smokestacks? Only in Russia, or something. That’s a joke right? Or a meme? I don’t know, something that people might laugh at. Probably not. But forget that, because Eoront have played in the forest (seriously, they’ve actually played in a legit forest), and they deserve by all means to play in the forest. Atmospheric black metal with a touch of centuries-old folk traditions that don’t sound ridiculous? Sign you up (I did it for you, see). Absolutely tears. They can print that part, or Code666 Records, whoever comes first. Score: 4.6 / 5


Dark Habits – Cave Paintings

This one just wakes up and kicks you in the face without eating breakfast. Doesn’t go to school either, it skips that to kick more people in the face. Though they bill themselves as a bit of powerviolence, Dark Habits are far too good for that. It’s blackened, it’s crusted, and just vile. Fast, feedbacked, experimental (not ironically or terribly), and with vocals so angry you’d swear it’s a suicide hating the world while dying. This would have been a full site review if not for the empty art and the final toss-away sample/acoustic blah track. Sometimes that kind of thing is annoying unless it has real substance, and in this case was burning pee right after orgasm. From GoldMold RecordsScore: 4.6 / 5


Mutank – W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T.

Well that was an annoying title to write, and it’s only an ill-begotten EP! The acronym the band says is “sort of…a joke,” they say means “we have a lotta thrash songs that have abbreviate [sic] titles.” Then you get more acronyms for the songs, of course, that’s the joke. Ha ha. What’s more of the joke is this is standard thrash that ventures dangerously close to early-Metallica (oh Jesus no) and instead of just stopping at five tracks provides “radio edits” of the same (at least in the promo version), like this would ever be on the frikken radio. AM maybe, from that lone cassette junky who has a “following”. TLCJWHAF, rather. Boonsdale Records, keep these guys in line. Score: 3.1 / 5

Written by Stanley Stepanic