Shortstacks – 3/3/2016

Only got two for you guys today, I’ll see if I can do more tomorrow. One of them was almost a full review, but I figured it was just a bit too short to warrant a spot. The batch today doesn’t really have any stinkers, just complete mediocrity, and one band that has potential, but hasn’t quite realized it yet. So without further adieu, here’s today’s Shortstacks.


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Mouth – Mouth

I feel like there’s a lot of potential for greatness here, but some things just hold them back. Mouth shows they have a fantastic knowledge of riffing in the first two tracks, but that doesn’t show up anywhere else on the album, offering instead of put out very droney, sludgy tracks. During those tracks they also demonstrate they can build an atmosphere, but especially on From Room / Communion of Her it just goes on way too long.

The shorter tracks are definitely the strengths here. They mostly consist of forward moving, muddying tracks that you can bob your head to, coupled with absolutely fantastic drum work. The drums really are the best aspect of this album. When used right, beyond having finesse, they move the pieces forward, to the point where every beat feels like one giant step, creating a driving force. However the guitars are more inconsistent. While yes, there are some pretty good riffs to behold here, the guitars mostly drone on one chord / “riff” (if you can really call it that). That can work in many circumstances, but in an album where half of its length is basically dedicated to those drones (over half actually), and the fact that in many cases they’re coupled with these softer vocals make the whole thing sound more lazy than atmospheric.

I enjoyed this, however I think the band has some growing up to do. This is only their debut, so I’m sure if they continue they’re grow into a fantastic sound. For now Mouth has potential, but is still largely an obviously amateur production.

6.25/10


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Typhus – Typhus

You know an album is gonna be good when one of their track titles spells fixation with two Xs. Basically just generic deathcore with djent shit thrown in so that the band can call it “progressive”. It’s got this pseudo Egyptian thing going on that I don’t really get, but it doesn’t matter because it’s never visible on the album for more than a few seconds at at time. Inoffensive, but not worth anyone’s time.

4/10

 

 

Shortstacks 3/1/2016

The second ever batch of shortstacks has a bit of a drop at the top in terms of quality, but the same overall value across all the ratings. Yesterday we had one album crack the recommended tag, if just barely, in Eissturm’s The Oak, while the remaining two meddled in the average to bad category. Today we have two albums who have merit, but don’t quite reach that level, and two that are just… really bad. One of which being the second worst album I’ve rated this year. I guess that’s quality in itself, isn’t it? I mean, why else read the shitty rated albums if you don’t simply want to feel better about your own failed musical endeavors? Well don’t worry, we have that for you today. Without further adieu, here are today’s 4 horsemen of the mediocrepocalypse.


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Witch’s Heart – The Crvshing Waves of Silence Wash Over My Wretched Soul

Well this certainly is spooky. I’m not sure how good it is, but it’s a hard listen. Witch’s Hearts create a really unique sound of combining droning sludge guitar tones with heavy and dark industrial synths and noises. It utilizes these disfigured blackened “vocals” (???) along with blast beats to create a terrifying musical sight to behold. At first it’s really a cool experience, opening up with these angelic choirs combining with darkness the rest of the influences hold. Unfortunately, the album gets old pretty damn fast. I love dark industrial stuff, but I can only take so much of one droning overall sound per track. There just isn’t the variety here to keep me interested. There’s potential for good stuff, these guys just need to figure it out.

6/10


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Nova Serpens – Oculto en las sombras

Not bad. Generic, but not bad. Once the novelty of “Mexican power metal band that sings in spanish” wears off, there isn’t really much substance here worth mentioning. Standard stuff that’s done pretty well for what it is, but doesn’t break any mold in terms of the larger scale. I will say that the vocals are actually quite good, having a bit deeper range than most other power metal bands while still maintaining quality. That said, everything else here is something that’s been done before, and been done better.

6/10


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Avitas – Pioneers

Complete mess of an album with equally messy song titles and production job. Everything sounds chaotic in all the wrong ways, like the band just doesn’t know how to write a song. When it isn’t just a mess, it’s just one riff over and over again over some incredibly insipid lyrics (which are mostly bigoted, but there’s reasons beyond that why they’re bad). It’s a real shame it isn’t anywhere near as good as the cover art, because I was pretty excited to listen to this based just on that. Awful album that is to be avoided.

2.5/10


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Panoptitron – Swansong

Imagine Dream Theater, if they never got a record deal. If they never even left their garage. Having been disappointed in not getting attention, they go for a lofi-black metal aesthetic while still being a prog band. So what you get is some of the worst quality production jobs you’ll hear in a non black or death metal record, coupled with copious amounts of awful quality midis and drum machines, resulting in climaxes that have the extremely mediocre vocalist singing his guts out while nothing but midi horns and empty synth drums back him up. Swansong gives approximately the same feeling as watching a severely autistic child try to play the recorder. You feel a mixture of audible pain, immense sadness, trying empathy, and just a tiny but of happiness because you know that despite their poor results, they’re trying their best. This record is why you give your friends constructive criticism rather than just blindly praising their work. Because otherwise they never realize how shitty what they’re doing is, and go on to make albums like this, which is actually part 4 in a series of concept albums. So please, criticize your friends. It can save a life.

1.25/10

Electric Lizard’s Shortstacks – 2/29/2016

Preface: So I’ve been thinking of ways to combat my eventually exhaustion from reviewing, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest reason this happens is because I tend to feel like I have to write a master piece for every review. That includes when I simply don’t have much to say about an album. I’ll get “stuck” on an album that I feel like I should have a lot to say about, but I don’t. Simply put, I really don’t want to take an entire post for a review that’s not even 200 words long. So my solution is every day I’m going to take the albums that I don’t have much to say about, and put them in one post. That way I can get through a lot more albums much quicker, and without the pressure of having to write 700+ words. So without further adieu, here is the first ever edition of Electric Lizard’s Shortstacks.


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Eissturm – The Oak

Really solid work. I love the intermixing of the acoustic guitar sections with the straight atmo black parts. It gives it so much more of a melancholy feel. It doesn’t feel repetitive and monotonous, more just relaxing and reflective. It even has some really soothing flutes on the first track Falling Snow, which I felt was a really unique addition to the music that I don’t here in black metal much. You would think with the whole winter theme that flutes would run rampant (sounding just like a cold winter wind), but alas. The production is also in that sweet spot of clean enough to not sound like shit, and fuzzy enough to make you feel warm inside. Granted, it still ultimately sounds like an amateur work, but it’s a solid amateur work that’s worth listening to. I was expecting this to be total shit, so I’m pleasantly surprised. Good stuff.

7/10


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Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc

Really not a fan. The guitar work and riffs are just mediocre, if inoffensive. But the vocals are a squeaky, annoying piece of shit. It basically sounds exactly what a grindcore band transitioning to sludge metal for some reason would sound like: they don’t know what they’re doing, and traces of their previous genre are still laden throughout the work, to ill effect. It’s not awful, but I certainly won’t be playing this again anytime soon. A major disappointment.

5.25/10


 

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Bosque – Beyond

Wow what a disappointment. I was really hoping the second funeral doom album I’d listen to this year would be a real hit. Unfortunately, this isn’t so much funeral doom metal as much as it is regular doom metal extended over 13 minute tracks. The album is really monotonous and boring without any of the charm or atmosphere of traditional funeral doom. Bosque decided to ditch the synths, ditch the death growls, and everything that gives funeral doom it’s quirky charm, instead deciding to just play slower standard doom track 3 times in a row, for 40 minutes straight. Beyond is beyond boring, don’t bother with this snoozefest.

3.75/10