Short Reviews | November 9th, 2022

SHORT REVIEWS Our second set of November 2022 releases finds us generally just keeping up with this weeks new releases plus a few from last week. I’ve done my best to showcase the most interesting works that I come across while still presenting some decent variety but choices boil down to what sticks, what inspires or what is worth writing about. These are more easygoing than longform reviews, so relax and think for yourself — If you find something you dig in the lot of ’em, go tell the band on social media and support them with a purchase. If you’d like your music reviewed send promos to:

TITLE:Telestai [EP]
LABEL(S):Nine Records
RELEASE DATE:November 1st, 2022

Formed in Warsaw circa 2017 yet sounding like they’d hit the Maryland-area traditional doom metal scene somewhere around ~1992, Polish trio Rosary task themselves with attaining the purest efficiencies of early traditional doom metal by focusing on what’d made the originals such an unforgettable benchmark. That is to say that their sound is entirely uncomplicated by extra bullshit as the power trio manage a big, loud heavy metal personality through their serious and kinda snarling mad songs rather than referential sound design. ‘Telestai‘ has the outsized heavy rock swagger of ‘Born Too Late‘-and-beyond Wino up front, the sorrowful reprisal of Trouble in their pocket, and all of this will hit as harsh, dreadful yet somehow triumphal heavy-rocking traditional doom metal in ear. The band make a brilliant first impression in this sense with an EP that is more-or-less album length by today’s standards, just a few seconds under a half hour and long enough that I’d found myself immersing into their gig well-impressed but still wanting to see what else they could do with this sound. Anyhow, they didn’t just get the sound and style points right here, they’ve written memorable enough songs here that I’ve whipped through this thing numerous times nodding my head to every riff the whole time.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

LABEL(S):Sixteentimes Music
RELEASE DATE:November 4th, 2022

Basel, Switzerland-based psychedelic doom influenced progressive post-rock trio Echolot didn’t seem entirely sure what they were in terms of style nor how to present their gig to the popular rock/metal world via a certain aesthetic to start. Don’t get me wrong, surreal depiction of oceanic life paired with post-music influenced fluidity made sense early on but when their third record ‘Destrudo‘ released in 2020 it began to register a bit clearer that their sound had a bit of Elder in its craw, some real insight into modern forms of psychedelic rock shaped by hi-fi gloom yet it hadn’t yet all fallen into place exactly right. It’ll have to be the right note to take before digging into their fourth album ‘Curatio‘, a hypnotic and reaching exploration which I’ve felt best presents their original idea in impressive deployment. Wrinkled forehead thoughts for a very laid back album, right? I suppose, but there is much more than chilled-out guitar progressions and sleepy vibes here. “Countess of Ice” is perhaps the best example of the band presenting a wide swath of inspiration, even breaking up the final section with well-set harsh vocals, yet containing their vision to a ten and a half-minute reel. Fans of everything from Pallbearer to The Flight of Sleipnir and Cities of Mars should find something to love here but, sure, you’ll have to be open to the broad-minded, exploratory sensibilities of the band which can lean somewhat more accessible than the metal bands I’ve mentioned. If they continue to take bold yet thoughtful strokes at this idea, and in this way, I’ll keep listening.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Scar Echoes
LABEL(S):Transcending Obscurity Records
RELEASE DATE:November 11th, 2022

Dysgnostic formed as Defilementory back in the late 2000’s originally playing a gory style of brutal and technical death metal not so far removed from the wild evolution of compatriots Exmortem at the time, eventually putting out a bit more “grown up” debut in 2014. As members built momentum with other projects (such as the brilliant heavy metal of Encyrcle and the performative Portal-esque dissodeath of Apparatus) it was clear these folks had evolved considerably since their inception, changing with the times but ultimately continuing the collaboration as they rebranded in 2021. There are of course plenty of gory, uh, mishaps we’d all like to forget from the late 2000’s brutal death saddlebags but the semi-clean slate was a good idea overall for a band few people had heard of to start.

Anyhow, ‘Scar Echoes‘ picks up on the ahead of their time disturbances created by Gorguts back in the late 90’s and navigates a path through the rich history of this influence since, touching upon some early 2010’s Deathspell Omega sized arcs and some additional fluidity from Ulcerate‘s well-celebrated atmospheric infinitum otherwise, keeping their own take measured and free of too cut-loose or manic statements. This leaves a very over the top style of death metal sounding absolutely normal, contained and focused on the nuances beneath the ringing-loud emanation of it all at once. Without any major focus on spectacle outside of the blasted at or interruptive sections of ‘Scar EchoesDysgnostic present an experience focused on polyphonic guitar threads for its action, rising to the strongest peaks of their work within the most brutal parts of the record. In this sense it is very much a technical death metal record in its up front experiential value yet there is some depth beyond the mass of thorns and wildly steering riff runs that vie for attention throughout. Bass guitar tone could use a bit more definition but otherwise a good showing for the ‘rebirth’ of this Danish death metal group.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Carnage Funeral
LABEL(S):Unique Leader Records
RELEASE DATE:November 11th, 2022

Symphonic deathcore is bigger than ever these days / *audience groan* / and at this point I’ve heard enough of it catch a bit of interest in the bigger-swinging acts, largely from Unique Leader‘s roster (see: Worm Shepherd and A Wake in Providence). The less bonking non-riffcraft I hear in deathcore the better, so, the orchestral early 2000’s Dimmu Borgir-esque chorale-n’-gurgle from this Spanish crew doesn’t push me off their gig from the outset. This is music if pure spectacle, of course, so there’ll be no complaints here in terms of substantive orchestration or any particularly fine pockets of rhythm herein because I totally understand this music is meant to hit a playlist with a shocker, something that sounds out with how “big” its grab is. In this sense ‘Carnage Funeral‘ will likely manage to catch the ear even if you’re numbed over with this sort of absolutely maximal music. You’re not going to catch me smoking Fentanyl and robbing 7-Eleven’s while wearing a Shadow of Intent shirt next summer but I can at least hang out with this record and appreciate ’em pushing it to the point of ridiculous as a starting point and making something entertaining with it.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

LABEL(S):Magick Disck Musick
RELEASE DATE:November 11th, 2022

Sentimental yet metamodernist progressive/jazz rock drifting helps to elevate this ninth full-length album from Czechia-borne and sometimes post-blackened act Heiden. ‘Andzjel‘ is a finest yet median between their roots bound pagan black metal ancestry back in the early 2000’s ’til todays sleek and forward-thinking evolution which reaches for a Sigh or Solefald-level of unique atmospheric and rhythmic station contained in avant-noir rock climes. It is a “vibe” to be sure yet one that is briefly held for just over a half hour, almost fleeting as they muse over the “angels” of Moravian “goddesses“, a history of natural healers often regarded as shamanic figures who were unfortunately yanked from the cultural memory of the White Carpathian mountains due to World War II and, soon after, communism. A short album but one that comes with plenty of depth of meaning to be found beyond its easy movement and pensive feeling.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

LABEL(S):Nuclear Blast Records
RELEASE DATE:November 18th, 2022

You may very well not’ve heard of Swedish psychedelic stoner-doom rock group Gaupa but you’ll understand why Nuclear Blast‘ve picked ’em up by the end of “Exoskeleton”, a sidewinding blues-rocking freakout which sets the tone for their surrealistic soil-bound third full-length. Beyond charged performances from vocalist Emma Näslund, who fronts the experience in a very real way, we’ve got folks from Mother of God and the decidedly less related Disrupted filling out the rest of the band. While I’d found the theatre of songs like “Moloken” stuck in mind longest the rambling celebration of their guitar tone on heavier rock pushers like “My Sister is a Very Angry Man” and “Diametrical Enchantress” were the golden eggs in a very full basket, so to speak. I’ve long been a sucker for a solid bluesy psychedelic rock band with an inventive vocalist and these folks fit the bill overall. ‘Myriad‘ is a little bit uneven as a full listen and the energy droops hard as it ends but overall it’ll serve as a fine place to start with their gig.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

LABEL(S):Avantgarde Music
RELEASE DATE:November 11th, 2022

You might think it odd that musicians Mike Lamb (Sojourner) and Heike Langhans (ex-Draconian, :LOR3L3I:) would start another project together just a year after the somewhat similar Light Field Reverie took off but the explanation is fairly simple, Remina is exclusively concerned with invoking their interest in science fiction, specifically inspired by modern films in this style and the inspiration of both themes and (as you’ll infer quickly) musical scores. This exploration of the infinite mysteries of the cosmos comes with a heavy gothic doom metal influence yet one largely directed by vocal harmonies and ethereal swells rather than riffs. Since they’ve mentioned The Expanse in the press materials it’d not been hard to get my attention and begin keying into the somber, slow-going moodiness of ‘Strata‘. It takes a while to pick up for my taste as the first couple of songs are quite similar in motion though opener “Aeon Rains” does capture the imagination to start, it’d been the more immediate wrinkles of “Icarus Signal” that’d gotten to it and fleshed out the melodic doom/symphonic metal base of their idea. While it is a big song and I find Langhans‘ voice appreciably fine on this piece in particular it’d made the first couple of songs feel arbitrarily placed and “Dying Sun” a bit lost otherwise. In fact I’ve nothing but gripes with the running order here overall, yet… of course, I am no expert and it doesn’t really matter. You might have to dig around for the best pieces here, “Back in Time” is buried far too deep in particular for how strong it is, and I do think they could embrace the sci-fi operatic/symphonic side of things with less restraint to help differentiate the greater mood of the full listen the overall effect is a compelling start.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Ashen Tomb [EP]
LABEL(S):Godz ov War Productions
RELEASE DATE:November 11th, 2022

Ashen Tomb is a Finnish death metal band out of the Helsinki area featuring folks you might recognize from God Disease and lesser known groups Virulent Life and Inequity. On this first EP they’ve focused on a distinctly ‘old school’ death metal approach which concerns itself with a few big doom metal riffs, scrambling otherworldly leads, and a fair deal of brutality as they push on with it. There is a satisfyingly late 80’s lean to “Graveless Abomination” as it starts that’d drawn me in for a closer listen yet they quickly break this up with a bigger early 90’s groove, something you’d expect from an old Gorefest or Morta Skuld record or nearby, a bit of punishing speed with an ornate riff at the center of the attack and no qualms with dropping the pace for a stroke of doom in conclusion. We do eventually get a bit more distinctly Finnish influences out of the band before the EP is over and I hope they generally keep heading in this particular direction. Well worth recommending to the death metal classicist seeking new, properly morbid variations.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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