Sun 23rd April 2006
First off, great band name. Hmm? What's the music like? I'm getting to that. First off, introductions: Blackburn three-piece, Melvins, Sabbath, Electric Wizard etc. That's all you need to know really.
The first song is based around a couple of simple riffs, played at stupidly slow speed with some Neurosis style gruff vocals laying over the top. To be honest, it doesn't inspire massive confidence, as it's a bit too straight ahead for my liking and there's not enough to make it stand out from any number of songs in the genre, and sounds, dare I say it, very amateurish. Thankfully, the demo improves as it goes on, 'Tarnation!' kicking off with a great old-school stoner riff and providing some energy, something missing from the opener. 'A Traitor in the Herd' starts with some piercing feedback and bass, then descends into seven minutes of menacing noises and sinister vocals sandwiched between slabs of doom metal and more feedback. The vocals in the verse seem to have some kind of strange vocal effect which I found a little grating, but the rest of the song is great, though not for those of a nervous disposition.
Penultimate track 'But Our Princess is in Another Castle' is a shade over two minutes and is the best track on here. Totally different in style to anything else on the record, it opens once again with some dirty feedback (nice) and a crushing riff with plenty of twists and turns. Great stuff. 'Human Skull' is the band's big number at just over 13 and a half minutes. Sadly, I found it a little dull for the most part, with only a couple of decent sludge riffs repeated for the first half of the song with a repetitive drum beat and the usual growled vocals. I realise that's what the genre is like, but it didn't do anything for me. It did improve in the final five minutes or so with a nice epic riff and some more feedback and guitar noises, but the lack of dynamics in the first part puts me off listening to the song again.
I realise it's a demo, but the production also lets the record down in places. The heavy bits kick in and it just sounds like the band are fighting to be heard through the muddy mix. It's not terrible, but some time in a studio should help iron out this minor niggle. The band should by now be in the process of recording, if not finished an EP proper, which on the strength of this demo, should be well worth a listen. This release is also nearly a year old, and the extra time should have helped the band identify their strengths and write some stronger material to replace the weaker tracks on here.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, then you can hear tracks from the demo for free by clicking here, as well as two other tracks which didn't make it onto the CD.