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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #33: Filth and Beauty

Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.

The 33rd edition of Short Sharp Shock takes us on a journey through both filth and beauty, ultimately ending up in heartfelt exploratory waters. Get ready for five first-rate releases.

Tides of Sulfur - Paralysis of ReasonBand(s): Tides of Sulfur
Title: Paralysis of Reason
Style(s): Blackened Sludge/Death Metal
Duration: 25 minutes
Release date: March 29, 2019

Mixing together foul strains of sludge, doom, death, and black metal into a crusty, nasty, virulent cocktail of disgusting heaviness, Tides of Sulfur made a great impression on me with their 2016 debut album Extinction Curse. Paralysis of Reason continues the band’s heavy, aggressive sludge metal in fine form. These five tracks showcase Tides of Sulfur’s vicious blending of various extreme metal styles into songs that the band can rightly call their own to great effect – this is not a band you can easily categorise or pigeonhole completely, and this is to their credit.

Displaying songwriting skills that balance outright heaviness and filth with catchiness and memorability, Paralysis of Reason is a strong return for this talented UK sludge band.

Triumvir Foul - Urine of AbominationBand(s): Triumvir Foul
Title: Urine of Abomination
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 17 minutes
Release date: March 29, 2019

Triumvir Foul play some of the harshest underground death metal there is, music that’s so steeped in occult death and destruction that their songs sound like apocalyptic heralds singing hymns to evil, forgotten gods. On this latest EP, the band concentrates on delivering death metal of the nastiest, gnarliest variety. They’re emphasising their blackest, grimmest aspects here, almost as if the aforementioned heralds have tired of proclaiming the end times and instead have started to make them happen. Ferocious, filthy, and utterly caustic, I remain a firm fan of what these dark, corrupt fiends produce.

Whore of Babylon - Chapter I Devotion, Adoration, InvocationBand(s): Whore of Babylon
Title: Chapter I: Devotion, Adoration, Invocation
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 12 minutes
Release date: February 3, 2019

So, I suggest you mentally prepare yourself before launching into this one. This demo is a grim and unusual piece of work. Raw and introverted, the artist behind Whore of Babylon infuses his corrupted vision for what black metal should be with noise, dark ambience, and a dissonant sickness that you seem to be able to feel in your very soul.

For such a short release there’s actually a good deal of variety and interest to be had in the content, with everything from ominous drone to the harshest of noise covered. Atmospheric, raw black metal fills the bulk of the middle, but even this is probably not what you’re expecting; it’s influenced by the ritualistic and the occult, and shares a lot of commonality with elements of experimental doom (albeit of a form that’s curtailed before it can truly develop into doom-length songs).

If you’re looking for a Short Sharp Shock, (ahem), of atypical darkness, then this should definitely be one for you to check out. As I say though, just make sure you adequately prepare yourself beforehand.

The Great Discord - AfterbirthBand(s): The Great Discord
Title: Afterbirth
Style(s): Metal
Duration: 17 minutes
Release date: March 22, 2019

Okay, cards on the table; I luuurrveee The Great Discord. Their rich, well-developed style of metallic art is extremely enjoyable. Merging elements of technicality with simpler structures and boatloads of emotion, the band’s mix of styles from both the old-school and the new almost sounds like it shouldn’t work on paper. Self-described as “Progressive Death Pop,” who can argue with that?

This EP features two new songs, a Björk cover, and a new version of a song off their previous album, 2017’s The Rabbit Hole. Of the new songs, these two tracks are less progressive and technical than some of the band’s previous efforts, showcasing their songwriting skills and potentially pushing them ever-further into mainstream waters. They are both very strong pieces. The Björk cover is also way better than the original.

The band’s talented singer is the focal point, of course, although this shouldn’t lessen the contribution from the rest of the members; The Great Discord offer a very well-rounded package.

Top marks for Afterbirth.

Tia Carrera Visitors Early PurpleBand(s): Tia Carrera
Title: Visitors/Early Purple
Style(s): Instrumental Rock
Duration: 35 minutes
Release date: March 22, 2019

We’ll end with something lengthy, involved, and surprisingly life-affirming. This is long-form instrumental rock that takes elements of heavy rock,  psychedelia, and blues into its makeup. The music here is warm and rich and spread out over two large songs that both share a heart of blues and an exploratory nature. This is a 70s-influenced rock jam, with an improvised feel and a playful exterior, given life in 2019 by talented musicians who clearly know what they’re doing. These two tracks offer the listener a tripped-out wild ride, one which teeters on the precipice between barely-controlled restraint and free fall, free-form expression. It’s very enjoyable and very easy to slip into and get lost in.

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