Happy end of the month! We’re two-for-two on staying up with our monthly release schedule for this new Stub Reviews series. Far too often we struggle to stay on top of the litany of new releases that drop weekly, so we figured we could pen some briefer reviews (i.e., stubs) to maintain a mild trickle of recommendations. This month, we showcase tunes that span the gamut of punk and psychedelic to skramz and progressive metal.
If you have some LPs, EPs, splits, or tracks you’d like to see covered, please send them over to our email address firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Also, if you’re a writer and are keen on contributing some coverage, please feel free to write us as well. Thank you so much, and we sincerely hope you dig some of the recommendations contained herein!
Bled to Submission – “Bury Them in the Graves They Dug for You”
A couple of days back, Bled to Submission’s name caught my eye while I was drudging some fresh arrivals on Bandcamp. Not only did the name ring familiar, but I had a faint recollection of featuring one of their tracks on the first compilation I pieced together for the website back in 2017. And wouldn’t you know it, my memory has yet to fully deteriorate.
“Of Blood and Bile” was that featured track, and it came from their debut LP Only a Light Remains. I had no semblance of what it sounded like. However, when I pressed play on their latest single, “Bury Them in the Graves They Dug for You”, the title track off their upcoming May 2021 EP, I was bewildered by what transpired. Harsh noise churned a riptide, festering with acerbic feedback convulsions. In seconds, a bludgeoning stomp perforated the pungent air. The vocalist spewed forth a deluge of seething animosity. Sibilant frequencies slithered over rotten detritus. Then there detonated a berserk blast beat, tattered by pestilent strums. It lasted all but two minutes.
After listening to this fresh-cut several times, I had to go back and re-listen to “Of Blood and Bile” to remind myself of how their older material sounded. While it did de-rust my murky memory, this new track reeks of utmost putridity in comparison. The DNA of the outfit persists, yet every iota of their tone and atmosphere seeps a potent blight. — Ryan K
Chimp Spanner – “Aurora”
It’s been a long while since I’ve crossed digital pathways with the project name Chimp Spanner. I keenly recall his (Paul Ortiz’s) LP, At the Dream’s Edge, introducing to me to the more progressive strain of metal when it dropped back in 2009. At the time, my appreciation for the broad spectrum of metal was fledgling and under-developed; however, I found myself enamored by his remarkable knack for fabricating an atmosphere that, in part, felt clinical, yet simultaneously effused a mystifying cataract of ethereal vapor. Now, nearly nine years after his latest opus, All Roads Lead Here (EP, 2012), Ortiz has re-emerged as Chimp Spanner with two new tracks; and they sound like he never left.
As indicated by the artwork for his second single, “Aurora”, the aura percolating from its structure is cosmic in scale. A symphony of synths, accentuated by delicate keys, assembles the ever-unfurling expanse of space we are witnesses to from our fuselage. Not even twenty seconds later are we thrust into the titillating abyss via a carbon fiber riff. Hulking is each thrum. Elegant the patterning synths twine around the guitar and trail an incredible lightness behind every note. With blistering velocity, we tear across a continuum of celestial bodies and blooming quasars, catching glimpses of verdant biomes through Ortiz’s litany of melodic taps. And although the piece is just shy of five minutes, its scope and grandeur ensnare my imagination long after it flitters.
It’s my understanding that more tunes are on the way; however, it’s currently unclear if a new album is on the horizon. At the time of this writing, Ortiz indicated a couple of new tracks are progressing nicely. Regardless of what comes next, I’m ecstatic to hear new compositions under the Chimp Spanner moniker. If you have yet to check out the project, I sincerely recommend it. — Ryan K
The Microbes – Peace & Love
CT punk trio The Microbes are clappin’ back at the system with their new EP Peace & Love. With a sound rooted in hardcore punk’s early days, these six songs whip-fast punk progressions, smashed snare hits, and a healthy helping of anti-capitalist (read: pro-humanity) sentiment. The guitar and bass pummel each other with quick-moving chord changes alongside the drums’ writhing slash beats. Intelligent yet biting lyrics address relevant social issues without wallowing in them, instead leading always to a call to arms, to do more, to be more. CT DIY at its finest and truest. — Ryan D.
My Top Track: “Faces”
Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny
So apparently Mr. Bungle used to be a thrash band. As much as hearing a new side of the band is initially exciting, the album slowly degenerates into run of the mill thrash, albeit with more interesting vocals and childish content. There are some great moments, particularly the weirder tracks, like the opener “Grizzly Adams” and the odd rendition of “La Cucaracha” followed by the line ‘speak Spanish or die’, but they are few and far between. Don’t get me wrong, the riffs are solid and the music is far from unlistenable, but there are better thrash albums and better Mr. Bungle albums out there. As a fan of Mr. Bungle, the album is interesting from a historical standpoint but not in many other ways. — Tim H
plaguestate – Under the Shelter of Violence
Perusing Bandcamp’s “Recent Arrivals” tab can be quite the tribulation if you’re hoping to stumble upon some ear-grabbing tunes. More often than not, I find myself struggling to locate a track that holds my attention in excess of half of its runtime; however, within a mere dozen seconds of plaguestate’s “The Future Sells Silence”—the opening track from their debut EP, Under the Shelter of Violence—I felt garroted by its acrimonious atmosphere.
Throbbing industrial twinges are oxidized by dermis-flaying guitar wires. Methodical the drums strike. Often they splay into rampant double-kick onslaughts, yet their ferocity is mired in stifling despondency. This unwavering malaise is rendered most potent by the vocalist’s bleach-corroded abrasions, and the odd, but welcome creaks of sanity-deteriorating noise. Its duration is just shy of thirteen minutes, but it harbors an array of dynamic deviations, such as the percussive salvo on “Temporal Decay”, the groovy punk rhythm that emerges from “The Future Sells Silence”, or the dismal black metal aura percolating throughout “Tools of Rhetoric”.
Under the Shelter of Violence was a haphazard discovery on my part, but it’s one I’ve enjoyed with every spin. If the tonal variety on display here is anything to go by, I’m quite keen to hear where they will wander next. — Ryan K
Sons of Otis – Isolation
The relatively unsung heroes of the psychedelic metal scene are back with some of the grooviest, feedback-laden stoner music that can be found in this universe. Although not strikingly different from their previous releases, Sons of Otis have always had a unique, jam-infused style that never ceases to get the blood flowing and the heads moving. If you are looking for disgustingly mouth-watering tones, barely audible vocals of caveman proportions, songs that seem entirely processed through wah and riffs obscured by smoke, then this is the album for you. — Tim H
Sugar Wounds – Calico Dreams
Calico Dreams, the debut LP from the Myrtle Beach artist Sugar Wounds, is a turbulent yet spellbinding feat. Its opening ninety seconds beguiles with a dreamy melody, buoyed by amorphous ambient chitters. Then a tempest of gnashing shrieks excoriates. With it hemorrhages feverish blast beating and strident guitar bristles. It’s fraught with palpable vigor, but the undercurrents of shoegazey guitar resonances continue to shimmer. This tonal contrast is abundant across the album’s duration and is intermittently spliced with sobering respites of calm. Its razor’s edge balance of blissful and barbarous is astounding. And I often find myself frequenting it to drift through its sublime mood palette. — Ryan K
TENUE – Territorios
At this point, I will listen to anything that Zegema Beach Records puts out, because they curate such an amazing collection of heavy, sincere music. One of their latest releases is the half-hour odyssey Territorios by TENUE. Certainly the longest emoviolence song in existence, Territorios packs all the grindy riffs, high throaty screams, and pounding beats of a full-length into a single track. The track undulates between gentle dips into evocative melody and peaks of blastbeats and thrashing guitars, never once losing its momentum or emotional impact. The band is wholly confident as they move through the song, guiding its dynamic shifts with dramatic drum fills and emotive vocal roars. This song is truly riff after monster riff, so rip a bowl and settle in for some brutalizing but beautiful blackened skramz. — Ryan D.
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