Review Round Up #86's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews. This edition includes Hellbastard's "The Need to Kill," Xasthur's "2005 Demo," Ignitor's "The Spider Queen," Shrinebuilder's "Shrinebuilder," and White Mice's "Ganjahovahdose."

The Need to Kill

“The Need to Kill”
(Selfmadegod 2009)

These British crossover vets scummed up the scene for a few years a while back before dissolving in 1992. They're now back, in no small coincidence, in the middle of the chum-filled waters of the thrash revival. They certainly capture the filthy energy of their youthful days, ripping off thrash-punk originals and some rerecorded older tunes that would be suitable at a skate park or as a warm up for a Slayer show. There are a few wipeouts though; sometimes it sounds like they're trying a little too hard, and the less said about the banjo/spoken word flavored "Anthropological Angst," the better.

Sounds Like: Crusty, punk-scabbed thrash

Key Tracks: "The Pylons"

buy it!
2005 Demo

“2005 Demo”
(Hydra Head 2009)

The undisputed king of one man black metal, Xasthur (whose sole member is Scott Conner, aka Malefic) has been vomiting out ultra lo-fi buzzing for quite some time now. This two track, 12-inch demo sounds no different from most of the actual albums in Xasthur's prodigious back catalogue. That is to say this it is a non-produced, high gain maelstrom of noise in which you kinda have to strain your ears to make out what's happening, more so with the first track's scorched earth than the second's grim march. Xasthur completists, troo BM heads, and Hydra Head devotees will no doubt snap the vinyl up, but these two songs are certainly worth a download (legal, you bastards) from the casually interested.

Sounds Like: Prototypical one-man black metal

Key Tracks: "Track 2"

buy it!
The Spider Queen

“The Spider Queen”
(Heavy Artillery Records 2009)

When there's a "cast of characters" list in the back of the CD booklet, it's a pretty safe bet there's a concept album coming your way. Ignitor don't disappoint, setting their tale of warriors doing warrior things against a backdrop of classic-sounding metal that takes a few pages from the tomes of early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the album is the fact that this Texas group scored the vocal talents of former Dangerous Toys/Watchtower frontman Jason McMaster, whose work here evokes equal parts Rob Halford and King Diamond. There's a good amount on "The Spider Queen" that rips, but it can get a bit uneven and melodramatic.

Sounds Like: Traditional heavy metal with a dramatic streak a mile wide

Key Tracks: "Evil Calling"

buy it!

(Neurot Recordings 2009)

Scott Kelly, Neurosis. Al Cisneros, Sleep. Dale Crover, Melvins. Wino, a thousand awesome stoner bands. If the mere fact that these four guys got together to make music isn't enough to sell you on this album, then I don't know what to tell you. Just rest assured that the self-titled debut from Shrinebuilder sounds like it was made by a band with years of familiarity together, not the three days (!) it took to records this. A monumental collection of pulsing beats, epic riffs, groovy jams, and vocal contributions from each member, this is doom of the highest order.

Sounds Like: Sublimely executed stoner/doom from some of the best in the biz

Key Tracks: "Pyramid of the Moon," "Blind for All to See"

buy it!

White Mice
(20 Buck Spin 2009)

Putting aside for a moment the fact that these guys dress like Goddamn bunny rabbits on stage, the groan-inducing "funny" song titles, or even the epileptic fit-inducing album art; in spite of all that, the music here isn't all that shabby. Utilizing only drums, completely indiscernible vocals and heavily distorted bass, the band bounces between violent spasmodic guitar churning and slightly less violent, downpaced grinding. All of it is sloppy as hell, which is clearly the point, and is far more listenable and intelligently made than everything else about this release would tend to suggest.

Sounds Like: Bass-driven, chaotic noise rock

Key Tracks: "The Hard On of Edam"

buy it!