Stub Reviews: March 2021

Happy end of the month! That doesn’t seem like something worth celebrating, but these days, making it to the end of anything is a feat in itself.

Day after day brings us a heap of new, truly interesting releases, far too many for us to haul up onto the podcast autopsy table to dissect. But if the Spice must flow, so must the recommendations, so today we bring you a brand new segment on From Corners Unknown, a group of short Stub Reviews for some releases that caught our attention this month.

We’re not yet sure how often this new segment will happen, nor how deep it will go, but we are hoping to start with end-of-the-month lists. So check back each month for more monster recs, and if you have some LPs, EPs, splits, or tracks you’d like to see covered, please send them over to our email address Thank you so much, and enjoy!

AtomA – “Then Came the Wave”

It’s been a good long while since the name AtomA drifted across my line of sight. I keenly recall being stupefied by their debut LP, Skylight, back in 2012 when it originally dropped. An opus of cinematic grandeur, it careened across the isolating fabric of space, and feverishly radiated boundless awe. Now, nearly nine years later, they have returned with a fresh and invigorating voyage, “Then Came the Wave”.

As a symphony of keys glitter in astral territory uncharted, an eddy of alien synth timbres bathes us in cosmic wonder. Soon there unfurls a percussive stomp. Each strike pulls us upward, synchronizing with the heartrending guitar melodies, into the composition’s ether. It maintains a rather lethargic momentum throughout its duration; however, with each fleeting second, the layers enlarge in density while the heady tonic of an unfathomable coveting to exceed Earth’s atmosphere and a pang of melancholy becomes unbearably light. I could go on and on trying to capture the intense surge of emotions I feel when listening to this track, but I’m unsure if I could ever do it justice.

Although many details surrounding their sophomore LP have yet to be divulged, this seven-minute sojourn has me anxious to adventure through the remaining length of this album’s comet tail. If you have yet to experience AtomA, I cannot recommend them enough. They are a stargazer’s delight. — Ryan K

Blemish – Demo

For being merely a trio, and lacking a bassist, New Jersey’s Blemish discharges a body farm’s heft of death metal putridity. Bile-laden vocals spew upon percussive plods and marrow-gouging strings. Their succinct salvos often open with a stalk-like gait, festering beneath fetid trenches of sewage, before surging forth a buckshot of chambered blasts, rhythmic stomping, or cranial butchering. They even meld in some corrosive ripples of harsh noise to augment their scathing atmosphere. Keep an eye on these three. — Ryan K

Floral Grey – “Widowed and Hot Glued”

The second single from NJ newcomers Floral Grey, “Widowed and Hot Glued” is a slow-burn song that drips grief. This track opens with some quiet, disjointed chords, but the entire band quickly overtakes the song with a thumping tom beat and spacious, screechy guitar work. By the mid-mark, Floral Grey bring out a pounding chorus riff that slowly builds up and up in both volume and intensity. The vocals are a groan over the noisy instrumentation, sung in a high-heat breathy whisper that waits until the very end to explode into vicious screaming. This song is delightfully abnormal in its assembly and performance, and I will certainly be keeping an eye on Floral Grey to see where else they take their mathy skramz. — Ryan D

Forhist – Forhist

When I found out about this release, I was initially ecstatic as Blud Aus Nord’s Vindsval has always put out exemplary music. But after one listen I was not blown away; the music felt straightforward and a far cry from the psychedelic, almost-experimental sound I was used to. After multiple listens, the music began to bore me and I often struggled to put it on loop as I do with many of my review albums. The end result is plain black metal with little character. Not objectively bad, but decidedly dull. — Tim H

Slant – 1집

With a title roughly translating to “1 Home” (thanks Google), the debut full-length by Slant is one pugnacious listen. Buzzsaw guitars push against the rock-solid drumming at blistering tempos. The vocals are a violent cry above the pummeling punk riffs, and there are plenty of biting lines like “swing your own fists / stop hiding behind mine” to sink your teeth into. So if you’re looking for a fresh dose of hardcore punk, Slant has the goods, and delivers them at 100 mph. — Ryan D.

My Top Track: “Travesty”

To Be Gentle – I Love You, But I Will Not Forgive You

The latest offering from Oregon’s To Be Gentle is a collection of spacious sonic impressions. Composed with a very attentive use of space and time, I Love You, But I Will Not Forgive You parses colorful and beauteous guitar soundscapes between brooding, sinister noise pieces. Waves of delay seep across the stereo field, and riffs are given room to bloom slowly and douse the mind with impressions. The juxtaposition of laid-back instrumentals with abrasive noise keeps the album undulating between a place of calm and a pit of anxiety. The recordings are polished, yet the raw emotion and improvisational impulses still cut through the tunes. A great listen for reflective meditation or having a private cry. — Ryan D

My Top Track: “And I Conceded to the Incessant Noise of Flies and Insects Swarming My Body”

Xytechra – ep_1

At the dawn of the new year, Greg Kubacki, guitar wizard for Car Bomb, or as I sometimes like to call him, Automaton Pew Pew, debuted a new project entitled Xytechra. Wholly devoid of guitar strings (to my feeble ears), ep_1 is a kaleidoscopic prism of refracting electronic rhythms. Textures warp, veer, disintegrate, and bloom into oblique architectures. And while deviations are aplenty and often bewildering, there effuses a smattering of ambient tracks that drift like fleecy vapor on the horizon’s edge of a hypnagogic skyline. These are easily my most favorite cuts; however, I feel as if I’ve only gleaned but a few meters of an imperceptibly dense edifice. There is much to unearth in this one. — Ryan K

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