Happy end of the month! I got a bit too bogged down last month to churn out a May iteration of our Stub Review series, but my hope is that this June release will be a return to form going forward. Often, we stumble upon tracks, EPs, and even some LPs that we yearn to review and discuss, but there’s only so much time to carve out in a given month for us to provide the in-depth coverage we endeavor to divulge.
In this June iteration, Ryan D., myself, and Connor, offer up a handful of recommendations that span the spectrum of experimental post-metal and Artificial Brain-esque disso-death metal to gnarled crust and blistering blackened deathgrind. If you have some LPs, EPs, splits, or tracks you’d like to see covered, please send them over to our email@example.com email address. Thank you so much, and we sincerely hope at least one of these records strikes your fancy!
Bleeth – Harbinger
Bleeth’s EP, Harbinger, leaves me awestruck throughout each rotation I give it. Their DNA is encoded within helixes of post metal, but they seldom appear to shy away from experimentation. Stoner rock, twinges of post-rock, and even more traditional rock rhythms peer with bloodshot eyes through the Harbinger’s opaque atmosphere. However, no deviation sounds out of turn. Rather, the density promulgated by their towering riffs and battering percussion concoct an asphalt bedrock in perpetual quake. “Skin of Your Teeth”, while succinct, harbors a stunning cascade of weeping bristles, whereas “Dystopia for Dessert” plods with a pensive prostration. Harbinger is a monumental EP clocking in at seventeen minutes and I’ve savored every moment of my repeat experiences with it. — Ryan K
Charnel Grounds – Molecular Entropy Examined in the Bowels of a Great One
Instead of treading the traditional narrative pathway of getting your brain liquefied at the sight of a Great One, Charnel Grounds’ debut EP examines your remains inside of the chocolate starfish of one. That may be enough to convince you to peruse this terse death metal jaunt, but if not, Molecular Entropy is riddled with fetid bewilderment. Subterranean gurgles belch from the vocalist’s throat. Dissonant riff convulsions are spliced with undulations of an acrid miasma. It is a cerebrum-perverting feat that is as abhorrent as it is heady. Ever since I stumbled upon this release within the dregs of Bandcamp’s “Recent Arrivals” tab, I have been eagerly awaiting new details regarding this project. Highly recommended if you’re keen on Artificial Brain. — Ryan K
Children’s Letters to God – Pulling the Knife Out of My Back
The Ghost is Clear Records dropped a 2021 sampler in May, a monster offering of monster tracks (including one of my own, full disclosure). By far, the standout song on that comp for me was “Easy to Blame,” a selection from the new EP Pulling the Knife Out of My Back by Children’s Letters to God. My only criticism of this record: there’s not enough of it.
Featuring members of Exhalants and Deaf Club, this Texas trio splatters high harsh vocals and a clean-toned chaotic guitar on top of roiling blastbeats and crunchy bass. The band plays at roadrunner speeds, pummeling their instruments with big hits and manic strumming patterns. The emotive guitar work calls to mind the best of Mineral and American Football, stapled to the side of a bucking bull of emoviolence angst. I immediately bought a tape after hearing this record, and I would urge you to do the same. — Ryan D
My Top Tracks: “Easy to Blame” & “Human Repellent”
Dictation – Total Plague
Despite releasing very little since their incarnation, Dictation is already a well-known name in CT, set up on the corner of crust and d-beat, and their long-awaited debut record Total Plague more than justifies all the hype. It’s preposterously easy to get lost in the onslaught of d-beat drums, fuzzed-out chords and wailing verb-drenched vocals. The instrumentation is relentless, a constant stampede of spastic guitars marching to that incessant punchy kick drum. The alternating vocals from bassist David on “Dead Children” add a sprinkle of that Microbes heat to this crusty collection of bangers. The perfect complement to your morning cup of coffee to pump you full of energy for the onslaught of the workday. — Ryan D
My Top Track: “What For?”
Dictation Socials | Bandcamp
Drug Church – Tawny
In the mood for something less aggressive and more on the pop side of life? Well, listen to the new Drug Church release, Tawny. It’s half upbeat zany grunge punk, and half melancholic, Keanu Reeves should show up crying, late 80s/early 90s tinged pop-rock. Part of me wants to cast myself into a dreamy pink-hued sunset abyss, while another part of me wants to embrace the noisy melodic gritty bliss. Lyrically speaking, the band takes on their usual depressive reality of life, but man is it catchy. They even call to the pop-iness of this album with a cover of Arcwelder’s, Remember to Forget. “So sing a little pop song – then everybody loves you.” That shit will be lodged in your cranium. — Connor
Dyoxidon – Exo-Spectrum
Dyoxidon’s Exo-Spectrum will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Helmed by a lone individual designated as Host://Revenant, this hour-plus opus is an unceasing charge into a maw of industrial incisors. Riffs are in perpetual flux. As they waver between boiling black metal and garroting death metal, seldom is there a moment to catch one’s breath. Colossal electronic drum pulses provide infrequent rhythms amidst the acerbic deluge. And beneath the ever-churning riptide of noise, there protrudes uncanny synth textures that conjure an aura of cosmic grandeur barbed with pangs of existential dread. Though it will require some endurance to see it through to its end, I have found myself reveling in this cavalcade of blistering frequencies. — Ryan K
KVN – Back & Forth
The last single leading up to his debut album Greenboy, “Back & Forth” is another beautiful, dolorous offering from solo artist KVN. Where previous releases have been a little more rock-oriented, KVN took a shot of depresso before writing this one—the synths drip soft and sad notes over the wall of tremolo guitars and the punchy plodding drum beat. Bursts of backing vocals fill out the choruses, over which KVN sings in a sweet but pained voice as he asks “Is it everything you’re wishing for?” “Back & Forth” is a truly powerful single, and bodes well for the upcoming album. — Ryan D.
Unhinge – MORAL ANXIETY
This was a magnificent find. Though it only clocks in at just north of four minutes, Unhinge’s MORAL ANXIETY is a barbarous salvo of phalange-flaying blackened deathgrind riffs and berserk blast beats. Its opening seconds did not prepare me for what would unfurl. A primordial d-beat rhythm, intertwined with noxious string reverberations, discharged. Seconds later, a blockade of excoriating noise came crashing. Blistering tempos tore asunder; odious snarls gnashed. Amidst the pandemonium, however, a few delectable grooves bulged. I’ve been spinning this one a good bit since staggering into it. An acute cleaving of anguished grind. — Ryan K
Warning! – Too Late!
“Too late”, as a Mr. Jonathon Davis would say! As a common phrase shouted on the FCU podcast, you can see why I was attracted to this little energized punk spurt. Too Late! by the Greek hardcore punk band Warning! is a ten-minute summer swelter. The vocalist is pissed off and mad about it as he spits all over upbeat guitar cranks and drum splats. Slick noisy riffs will guide you down a steep road while duct tapped to a dumpster, yet you’re having fun the whole damn time as the soles of your shoes grind apart on the asphalt. Check this one out for a quick boost of angry energy, or is it too fucking late? — Connor
White Ward – Debemur Morti
Don’t let Bambi’s car struck mom bum you out! White Ward’s immense two-track EP release, Debemur Morti is something stunning. It’s dynamic on many dimensional plains of emotion. Bring out the blackened cinematic sax-filled metal as you trudge across frigid landscapes. Each track is tastefully lengthy with tempo shifts galore. There’s nothing like jazzy notes ringing away over brisk tremolo picking and pumping drum kicks. My first listen had my jaw agape and my ears ready for more! — Connor
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