Tool

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

Ophiuchi – Shibboleth Review

“For one, I wouldn’t have guessed that the topics of the band’s doomy black nightmares revolved around Greek mythology. But they do. While the abduction of Persephone inspired Bifurcaria Bifurcata, this year’s Shibboleth is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. If you’ve heard the music, you know it’s deeper than just a concept album. Like the music, the lyrics are waves on the ocean. Metamorphesizing in color and shape, gathering secrets as they move to shore—patiently waiting their turn to smash you into the rocks. It’s been four years, and I still don’t know Bifurcaria Bifurcata‘s secrets. And Shibboleth proves once again that Ophiuchi is as mysterious to me as it was in 2017.” Mysteries abound.

Wheel – Resident Human Review

Wheel – Resident Human Review

“Remember that unexpected wave of quality Tool-like albums that got released in short succession a few years ago? One of the more overlooked albums at the time was Moving Backwards, the excellent debut from British / Finnish proggers Wheel. With a dark take on the modern prog sound, slightly off-kilter riffs, heavy and engaging bass and drums and a smooth, expressive vocalist, the band did not disappoint after its excellent supporting appearance for Soen. With another platter exploring human nature landing in our laps, can the guys live up to the high standard they’ve set for themselves?” Wheels as tools.

Soen – Imperial CD Review

Soen – Imperial CD Review

AMG Himself and I come at Soen from slightly different directions. Our overlord fell in love with this band in spite of the overt Tool worship present on their initial releases, and felt that Ekelöf was their secret weapon, a vocalist of sublime talent. For AMG Himself, the band started off near the top of their game and have only gotten better over their first four albums. This writer, however, got on board with Soen because of their Tool worship (and the fantastic rhino artwork on Tellurian), and I felt what was holding the band back on their first three release was, in fact, the vocals.” Soen the seeds ov love.

Shattered Hope – Vespers Review

Shattered Hope – Vespers Review

“Like raw black metal, funeral doom operates at the extremely thin edge of an extremely niche wedge. Long, patient, languid tracks put many to sleep with their glacial pace. But glaciers carry enormous momentum as a result of their sheer mass. For those who appreciate it, funeral doom provides an unparalleled — and often profound — journey through grief and sorrow. Greece’s Shattered Hope offer their third attempt at this tricky genre with Vespers.” Sad scooters.

Calyces – Impulse to Soar Review

Calyces – Impulse to Soar Review

Calyces’ mastermind is singer/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer Manthos Stergiou, late of Tardive Dyskinesia. This time around, Stergiou and his bandmates are going for a sound that is heavily influenced by Mastodon, Baroness, and Tool. This has been done to death, so the key to making it work is writing great songs and establishing your own original take on those bands’ sounds.” Impulse to ape.

The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic Review

The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic Review

“Above the couch, in my teeny one-bedroom apartment, hangs a painting of the ocean. I bought it when I moved in and at one of the lowest points of my life. There’re hints of a sun beaming behind those dark clouds, but it won’t come out. The waves are an angry black, with blueish white tips; crashing against the shore like frustrated fists to a tabletop. What shore it is, I have no idea. It’s an imagined piece. There’s no way in Hell a human being would be safe from that viewpoint. She/he would be smashed against those black, volcanic rocks. The result could be a splash of red to round out the blacks, greys, dark blues, and shocking whites. Sometimes I get lost in its chaoticness as it hangs quietly in my living room. To me, it’s a cheap painting that holds emotions and memories—though they’re bad ones. To others, it’s a color palette that matches my space. Regardless, I’ve always thought that if I could put music to it, it’d be The Ocean.” Save the whales!