by Craig Regala
Hey, before I waddle on anymore, it’s good and listenable; I’d say strap on the iPod or throw the disc on at home and let it roll through in one clean shot. A friend made a good point about how it is one long composition, not a linked series of songs. The singing is growling/barking/hollering and kept to a minimum a few seconds here and there. It’s a nice day, I’m gonna burn up a gallon a gas and road test this one, which is a new thing for me: I usually just listen to snappy tunes in the car. This is good on the highway or a longer roll through the neighborhood, as you probably guessed. I can save Black Flag, Arch Enemy, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Chic et. al. for the stop/start in’n’out ,pickin’ up beer, gas, etc. trips.
The names I’ve heard bandied about to define parameters here are Pelican, Isis, Mouth of the Architect, Melvins, Neurosis, and YOB. But this has a feel of, I dunno, a previous or more schooled “composed” era in heavy music. “Heavy” as in the emotional, if not bludgeoning sense. Maybe less drone and drift: Perhaps it’s me reaching to link it to a couple older era’s “progressive” rock works. Yes and King Crimson in the mid-’70s, and Rush a few years later (albeit they didn’t just do the LP side compositions) and certain post hardcore developments like Gone, Blind Idiot God, and other more jazz-jam inflected SST releases, and a decade later, the Iceburn/Engine Kid split on Revelation.
The heavy on the one downstroked lugubrious trudge was initially defined by the Black Sabbath song “Black Sabbath” and interestingly investigated by Joy Division, and that’s the prime sonic lineage herein. There isn’t any mincing or weird time signature turnabouts. When I initially heard this, I thought there was more of that stuff, because I was comparing it to the drift and drone. 31:13 doesn’t reference anything you’d tag “ambient,” more symphonic in compositional focus, without the wide soundstage and jillion instruments. Kinda like a long passage by Debussy, Wagner, Shostakovich, or any of many 18th-20th century composers knocked into one sturdy sea shanty.