In our new monthly feature, which will show up here on the 15th of every month and run over the next few days, I (Angry Metal Guy) will select 5 bands at random (usually those who have followed my directions and have bandcamp accounts) to get blurbed by every member of the AMG staff. The idea is to do at least a bit of our part to point out that the metal underground is still an important part of the world of metal. While we simply don’t have the manpower to produce regular reviews of unsigned bands, this is my attempt at a minor mea culpa if nothing else. So enjoy Angry Metal Guy’s Unsigned Band Rodeo and our very first entry ever: Bill Pulmonary Embolism!
Bill Pulmonary Embolism is the musical avatar of the Sith Lord that arose from Iron Thrones‘ demise in 2012. Indeed, while the nerds among our readers have an in fight about whether it’s possible for a Sith Lord to come from Westeros, I will quickly move along to the band’s bio. Made up of Peter Clarke, who played drums for Iron Thrones and does all of the music on this 17 minute EP, and vocalist Nathan Holland — whose only noted accomplishment appears to be that he left Iowa; a mighty feat indeed — BPE‘s debut EP tells the story of Nastidious, a Dark Lord who apparently consumes the galaxy. Recorded at Signaturetone Studios, engineered by Steve Heningsgaard and mixed and mastered by the genius Adam Tucker. You can check out their Bandcamp here to get the EP for free or their Facebook here to see a video of Peter showing off a reworking of the amazing Battletoads theme here for a forthcoming EP called Segadeth. Awesome. Hate fun? You’ll hate this. Let’s see how many of the writers at AMG hate fun!
Angry Metal Guy: Wait. Fan fiction Star Wars grind!? Hard to say no to that, eh? In any case, arising from the ashes that is the mighty Minneapolis progressive metal act Iron Thrones, Bill Pulmonary Embolism‘s A Galaxy Consumed is a mightily entertaining, tongue-in-cheek ode to Star Wars. Produced at Signaturtone by the amazing Adam Tucker, these guys sound huge and their writing — while admittedly weird at times (see “Undulations of Hatred”) — sparks my imagination and really walks the fine line between interesting, technical and fun to listen to, something lots of bands can’t seem to figure out. The vocals work well, but I’d actually like more cleans. These guys really hit their stride on the final track “A Galaxy Consumed,” genuinely fun and cool. 3.5/5.0
Steel Druhm: This just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t the Star Wars theme (but help, that did not), but the ill-conceived mish-mash of screamy vocals, metalcore breakdowns, chugga riffing, Voivod/Atheist style time shifts and Strapping Young Lad stop-start writing. The whole thing feels goofy and off the cuff, which is okay if it works, but this never seems to gel. There are some good ideas scattered about and the band is quite capable, but the overall product gets annoying faster than a Times Square Elmo with boundary issues and it made me long for a quiet weekend on Dagobah. 2.0/5.0
Madam X: All consuming Bill Pulmonary Embolism offer a combination of Star Wars tainted proggy grind that’s well described as technically aggressive pure raging fuckin’ metal. Nathan Holland holds nothing back in his vocals, repeatedly assaulting you with his massive yells, shrieks and growls that exude barbarity. There are tempo shifts aplenty and oftentimes Peter Clarke’s aggressive and chaotic attack on the instrumentation left me very disorientated and though I can hear he’s a technically skilled multi-instrumentalist, the chaos of A Galaxy Consumed does nothing to draw me. The only track I feel any desire to hear again is “A Requiem of Evil” … “so long and thanks for all the fish.” [No, that’s Douglas Adams, not Star Wars. – AMG] 2.0/5.0
Fisting Andrew Golota: Bill Pulmonary Embolism just edged out Dr. Acula as the stupidest band name I’ve ever heard. A Galaxy Consumed kicks off with some idiot-friendly death metal, complete with breakdowns and generic yelling-skinny-guy vocals. Thankfully, the latter tracks involve some serious prog composition, and a better grasp of melody than the opening tunes would lead you to believe. 2.0/5.0
Happy Metal Guy: As very obviously evident from the album artwork, this is a Star Wars concept album. The music is vicious techgrind that suits the sci-fi theme, but it suffers from having inapt harsh vocals that sound too raw and primitive to sound convincing enough to be the voice of a soundtrack to the feel-good space epic that is Star Wars. Interestingly, the track titles look like stuff that Devin Townsend would have come up with. Maybe this EP would have turned out better at HevyDevy’s hands. 2.5/5.0
Natalie Zed: There is a single descriptive line on this band’s Excyclopedia Metallum page that reveals a great deal about what you need to know about Bill Pulmonary Embolism (which is also a hilarious band name in it’s own right): “This Band is heavily influenced by Star Wars.” This is confirmed by the very first track on A Galaxy Consumed, “Hello Galaxy, Meet Nastidious!” which begins with a line of dialogue from Return of the Jedi and ends with a lightsaber sound effect. Though the band aren’t actually from a small agricultural planet – they hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota [Practically the same thing – AMG] – their commitment to their galactic concept as well as their refusal to be defined solely by it is impressive. Once the space opera elements are stripped away, we’re left with a strong piece of technical death metal, whose rhythms carves deep grooves into the songs. There’s a solid contrast between the frenetic drumming and frantic, complex guitar work and the slower, deeper rhythms that can change the pace of the song. “Undulations of Hatred” even features some grand, impressive clean singing. Plus, it’s impossible not to grin when Admiral Akbar warning, “It’s a trap!” is folded in between frantic riffs. 3.0/5.0
Alex Franquelli: Bill Pulmonary Embolism are a nasty but lovable creature. “There is no demise of Nastidious / It is time to die / You will die, you will die / You will suffer,” they say. This fine example of grindcore poetry pretty much sums up what this duo is all about: blast beats with a Voivodian imagery and a touch of European crust to top an awesome cake anyone fond of post-apocalyptic entertainment shouldn’t miss. Because, whether one likes it or not, we all need some controlled violence. 3.0/5.0