Friday, November 01, 2013

Metal Briefs: Off-the-Wall 2012

Unexpected Delay

I wrote these brief reviews about a year ago. Except for the fact that the last review disappeared into the aether. Like most people, I hate to re-do my work, but I finally got around to it. I think you'll agree it was worth it to see these releases that are a little out of the ordinary.

Germ: Loss
3.5 out of 5 stars

You might recall my review of Germ's Wish. The follow-up, Loss, came quickly on its heels. It's 80's movie soundtrack with tortured screams, but that's a bit too reductivist. Loss also touches on 90's radio rock and some very catchy dance music (see the album's two-part centerpiece). This is unlike anything else. The record is not quite as strong as its predecessor (only 2 out of 6 songs are single-worthy) but I love this weird band even more.

Exvotos: Oh, Believe - All Believe
3.5 out of 5 stars

The PR spiel on Oh, Believe - All Believe was clear: Exvotos did NOT release a metal album. It's an "eclectic pop album." I didn't read anything else about it. What kind of pop album would The Path Less Traveled would see fit to release? I'm hardly qualified to talk about pop music, but I hear parts that sound like Pearl Jam acoustic ("Die Tribe"), Simon & Garfunkel mixed with Pearl Jam ("Something Will Surface"), 90's acoustic radio rock ("Heartache"), electronica with gothic-sounding electric organ (the title track), and even some English folk ("September"). "Eclectic" seems to be the operative word here, so let's go with it. I found a lot of it quite enjoyable, especially on "Old," which I'll call 70's acoustic rock with added distortion.

Top Hats and Effigies: Rigamarole
4 out of 5 stars

Rigamarole is part of a planned full-length that I really, really want to hear. In a style reminiscent of Sigh and A Forest of Stars, they combine metal with circa 1900 cabaret music. It works surprisingly well, so I hope the full-length comes soon. Of course, you'll never know if they can pull it off over a full-length, but this 3-song name-your-price demo is a very convincing document.

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