Power Hor (Holy Mountain)
by Brian Varney
Arising from a desire to fit seemingly every genre of heavy underground music into a single recording, the four tracks that comprise Power Hor veer in a seemingly careless fashion from black metal screeching to dreamy Isis/Pelican-style post-rockery to downtuned stoner thudding, sometimes in just a few minutes. Such schizo tendencies could mean several things: A real identity crisis, a crushing lack of decisiveness, or maybe some kinda crazy ambition to blow everyone’s head.
Clearly, they’ve at least fooled the person writing their promo copy, who describes the band as a hybrid of Neurosis, Emperor, Skullflower, Boris, Pelican, Sleep, and Isis, which is as ridiculous a bit of hyperbole as I’ve seen in quite awhile. Having said that, though, there’s something to be admired in a band that can throw such a large amount of seemingly disparate ingredients into the kettle without sounding like four guys playing different songs, different styles even, at the same time. Such trickery is, as the cliché goes, more difficult than it looks, especially when it’s so artfully employed.
Of course, none of this matters if the finished product isn’t compelling, and while I can’t say this is something I’ll play every day or even every month, I can certainly imagine wasting a few afternoons listening to this album and trying to make sense of Stephen O’Malley’s insane artwork.