Releases

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

Cynic – Ascension Codes Review

“If you aren’t familiar with Cynic… I guess just fuck you? Look at another website, loser. If you are, I can tell you right off the bat that the Seans are dearly missed. I’m not familiar with the role of Malone & Reinert in shaping the band’s ambitions, but Ascension Codes does seem like a case of Masvidal just running with it and trying to make the most Cynic-ass record he could without them.” Rise and get weird.

Norse – Ascetic Review

Norse – Ascetic Review

“A month ago in the low coast range hills, I found Hellinsia homodactylus folded beneath the lamplight – the modestly named plain plume moth. Mute white in the shape of a Beksiński cross, the insect appears impossible when still, betraying the feathery wings that gasp in the still pockets between oak leaves and wisp in the pupil of the ash-yellowed moon. Theirs is a gaunt beauty, beauty which Norse have both embodied and spurned in their last seven years of stark and intimate black metal.” Nature vs science.

Tumba de Carne – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar Review

Tumba de Carne – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar Review

“After maybe 300 reviews, I’d estimate I’ve locked up several kilobytes of server space recommending artists work with Colin Marston. As a result, I of course take full credit for all the bands that line up to record with him and receive a small monthly stipend from the Menegroth budget. But not every band has to take that advice, and since my kickback is limited by studio throughput, I’m in the market for another producer to praise/shake down. That’s where Argentina’s Tumba de Carne come in.” Tumba thumper.

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

Rivers of Nihil – The Work Review

“Following Kronos’ law of increasing hippietude, Rivers of Nihil have slowly softened their deathcore- and djent- influenced progressive death metal in order to embrace their more sensitive side. Their last record, Where Owls Know My Name, saw this softening succeed, the band now not too far removed from prog metal standbys Between the Buried and Me, sans the hyperactivity. Owls twined the band’s inherited heft and emotional valence into a few very strong songs and a respectable album, proof that the hippiefication process is not all bad. The Work takes it one puff further, balancing every moment of death metal intensity with one or two of chill prog.” Hip and sprawl.

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

Lower Automation – Lower Automation Review

“Noise-rock and mathcore haters need not listen to . The rest of you do. Lower Automation play a boisterous screamo-grind like you’d get from SeeYouSpaceCowboy boiling with hyperactive bass lines and pedal-board lust. What they excel at are antics: guitar parts that chirp at the very peak of the fretboard, stick-clicking percussion breaks, and bouts of sardonic wailing. If Daughters had gone through a severe Mr. Bungle binge when writing Canada Songs, Lower Automation would be a much less original record. But as it is, the Chicago three piece’s debut LP is one of the year’s most unpredictable and unique releases.” Full auto.

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

“If tasked to write a glib introduction for Seputus, one could hardly do better than “Pyrrhon with 25% less Pyrrhon.” With a lineup entirely drawn from the noise-death icon (missing only the inimitable Dylan DiLella), that’s mathematically true, and with their second record, it’s likewise stylistically accurate. With Phantom Indigo drummer/guitarist Stephen Schwegler, bassist Erik Malave, and vocalist Doug Moore give in to their experimental instincts, livening their dense deathgrind with nauseous psychedelia and stretching their compositions to the breaking point.” Colors of the Septrum.

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

“There are a number of cool things about Hagbulbia, but on my first listen, I figured the coolest was that Portal won’t ever have to make it again. By my fifth, I was convinced that they should. After two decades muddling death metal and noise, the release of thirty-eight minutes heavily skewed towards the latter is not just obvious; it’s almost required. As such, Hagbulbia is a burning distillation of Portal’s less musical humors, but the band have chosen a canny strategy for its release. As an unannounced companion to the more traditional Avow, it can be at worst a novelty rather than nuisance for fans, who may be far more receptive to the cocktail than a shot.” There may be cake.

Altarage – Succumb Review

Altarage – Succumb Review

“I’ll just come out and say it; I have no clue what is going on in this record. As The Guy Who Explains Why Shit Like This Is Good, that really puts me in a bind. As a result, I’ve spent weeks putting off this review. But hey, maybe we can try something new; instead of me telling you what’s the point of Succumb, how about you tell me. For once, I’m going to read your comments and entertain the idea that your opinions are as valid as those of my own self, The Guy Who Explains Why Shit Like This Is Good. Go wild down there.” Late hit.

The Armed – Ultrapop Review

The Armed – Ultrapop Review

Only Love was The Armed’s Vexovoid. For the sliver of readers who have heard both, that probably makes as much sense as it does to those who have heard neither. Vexovoid (the Portal album) was a push. Portal were driving their sound even further into clotted murk, draining that last drop of pus from the wound not with a syringe but with a vise. Vexovoid was crushed and suffocated by the band’s own attempt to solidify its sound, with the musicians resting their weight on an extremely thick and compressed production. In retrospect, that wasn’t a great idea; the record loses a lot of impact on repeated plays because the production is so dense. It becomes a massive pile of sound that obscures the band’s most interesting ideas. Now, maybe a sliver listeners get it. With Only Love, The Armed slammed their eclectic hardcore into synth-driven pop and told Kurt Ballou to make it sound like an absolute nightmare. He did. There you go. Blown-out ambitions, blown-out production: Vexovoid. Fresh popcore for all.