This is the time of year for disappointments – Summer is over, the new Doctor Who series is shit, the world is trying desperately to end in Mesopotamia and the Urals, and my cat continues to treat me like her bitch.
But I digress, for this week I have a bumper batch of metal reviews for you, starting with the latest from Entombed AD.
As the name suggests, this is actually good ol’ death ‘n rollers Entombed, minus one member and having undergone a name change for legal reasons. Every great band should have a phase like this; it’s the VIth schoolgirl squabbles and drama that makes rock as compelling backstage as on it.
In any case, Back to the Front is a sturdy offering with strong tracks like Pandemic Rage and Eternal Woe, bringing both the brutality and the groove on to effective, catchy effect. Granted, it’s not their magnum opus (Entombed proper’s 2007 offering, Serpent Saints, was relentlessly consistent and relentlessly impressive), it’s certainly a worth addition for the band’s now slightly fractured legacy – regardless of what it’s calling itself these days.
Next up is psychedelic stoner doom from West Virginians Brimstone Coven, and their second, eponymous, album. It’s a perfectly workmanlike example of the zonged-out, retro 70s, faintly occult, subtly heavy vibe many albums in this genre affect these days, but there’s nothing particularly dynamic or noteworthy about it. It’s like Milton Keynes – very polished and surprisingly pleasant, but a bit unexciting and certainly out-dated.
Lurking at the back, and looking curiously creased and unwashed, is Sweden’s Electric Funeral, who, despite the name, peddle verminous and fierce punk rock of the latter day style on its new album, Total Funeral. Shame it keeps missing the spot with near surgical imprecision… Never have 53(!) tracks of screaming and wrath sounded so tepid.
Eldop by Martrydod – crusties par excellence and yet another bunch of Swedes – and Mechanical Tides, the latest by Liverpudlian grinders Corrupt Moral Altar, have much in common. Apart from shared genre history, their new albums are OK but also equally (and surprisingly) pedestrian. They’re like two cousins who should be brothers because they’re equally tedious.
Finally, a dynamic duo from Virginia (the other bit), Bowl Ethereal, pound us with their new 7” (whay-hey!), which is, once again, eponymous. Five songs in five minutes (as in, one minute per track) is the sales pitch, and they all start off really well, bounding in like an angry, stoned lurcher which latches its fangs to your extremities and then drags you screaming through a really scratchy bush of math metal.
But as said, and let me reiterate at this point, they’re only one fucking minute long each, which means the end result is like a really brief, unsatisfactory sex act, performed in a grotty bus shelter on a Tuesday night in Derby. When it’s raining.
As I said, it is the time of year for disappointments, and – one notable exception notwithstanding – that’s exactly what we’ve got here.
Alexander Hay is a writer and polemicist based online and in print.