Review Round Up #81's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews. This edition includes Chord's "Flora," Infernal Stronghold's "Godless Noise," Liturgy's "Renihilation," El Creepo's "El-Creepo!," and Faust's "From Glory to Infinity."


(Neurot Recordings 2009)

The concept behind "Flora," and Chord itself, is altogether unique and intriguing. Consisting of four members of established acts (Pelican's Trevor de Brauw being the most well-known), the band set about to create free-form music out of exactly one chord per song. Each member is to take one note of that chord, and do with it what they will in terms of effects, octave, rhythm and so forth. The result is four tracks over 55 minutes of flowing guitar drone, and good luck paying attention to it for any amount of time. Though a genuine stab at something new, there simply isn't enough happening to elevate this to anything above an (admittedly very interesting) experiment.

Sounds Like: Minimalist, rambling doom

Key Tracks: "Am"

buy it!
Godless Noise

Infernal Stronghold
“Godless Noise”
(Forcefield/KVN Records 2009)

This Philthadelphia outfit makes dirty, disgusting music for dirty, disgusting people, and that's not an insult at all. You may need a moist towlette after handling "Godless Noise," the aptly-named outburst that finds the band draping no-fi basement punk in a dripping skin of raw black metal, Ed Gein-style (the actual guy, not the band). Vocalist Eddie Chainsaw's (Vegas odds say it's not his real name) nails-in-the-throat rasping meld with the driving buzz of squalid guitars to form a crumbling wall of eardrum-rupturing noise.

Sounds Like: Filthy punk rock with liberal doses of black metal, crust, and grind

Key Tracks: "Godless Noise"


(20 Buck Spin 2009)

This is throwback, high-end overdriven black metal played by some guys from Brooklyn. And the press release dubs them "indie black metal." So let's just say it and get it out of the way: hipster BM. Moving on, this sounds a whole lot like fellow New Yawkers Krallice riffing on Ulver's "Nattens Madrigal," although this is copped to in the same press release, so it's not like the band is trying to pull one over on anybody. This abstract, discordant debut of cyclonic guitar screaming is solid, but there are bound to be plenty of people unable to see past that dreaded "H" word.

Sounds Like: Black metal played by plaid-wearing bearded guys

Key Tracks: "Ecstatic Rite"

buy it!

El Creepo
(Rotten Records 2009)

"El-Creepo!" starts out understandably enough: Dog Fashion Disco singer Todd Smith exercising his acoustic singer/songwriter muscles, which for him means Elliot Smith style guitar strumming with hushed vocals whispering out eccentric lyrics. But halfway through, the album morphs into an oddball collection of tunes that have nothing to do with each other whatsoever, venturing into weird zones that include Dillinger Escape Plan-style spazz ("The Art of Bullfighting"), odd proto-funk (the title track), and breezy Auto-Tuned electro-pop ("Hot Little Temper"). The acoustic material is fairly enjoyable, if a bit nondescript, but the other stuff just comes across as a jumbled mess.

Sounds Like: Half mellow acoustic cooing, half grab bag of weirdness

Key Tracks: "Easy Killer"

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From Glory to Infinity

“From Glory to Infinity”
(Paragon Records 2009)

It's a good thing Faust frontman/guitarist Aleister's demon gargle renders his lyrics unintelligible, because they're direct to the point of hilarity. Great detail need not be explored, but suffice it to say that "lackeys of a snatch" and "holy cum in holy ass" may or may not be mentioned. They are. It's a good thing that those, and other, nuggets of wisdom are covered up by some incredibly proficient, yet organic sounding, death metal. Leading the way is Aleister's epic riffage and blazingly tasteful soloing, but not to be overlooked is DM veteran Steve DiGiorgio's thick bass work. A solid heaping of melody goes a long way in warranting an extra spin or two from this album.

Sounds Like: Church-hating technical death metal with a melodic edge

Key Tracks: "Wet Veils"

buy it!