Thursday, November 7, 2013

Survival -S/T

 I had almost forgotten this  new project from Liturgy's Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, was still waiting in the wings. The self titled album finds Greg Smith, and Jeff Bobula from the hardcore band Crushed team up with former band mate Hunter from when they were in a screamo band called Birthday Boyz. The album has been in the making for five years and was finally put to wax with  Colin Marston from Krallice and  Dysrhythmia  who recorded this at The Thousand Cave studio and the album sounds great  it is warm, full and organic, in some ways it reminds me of Aesthethica if it were mixed with Tool the clean sung and heavily harmonized are like Hunter's screams in Liturgy not the focal point of the songs which take some twists and turns .

From the opening you can feel a little of the Smashing Pumpkins groove that Hunter has eluded to in interviews prior to this albums release. The harmonies are a little Alice in Chains at times as well, but the album wouldn't be labeled as grunge due to it's angular nature and the guitar tone isn't fuzzed out and Sabbathy for the most part. Most of the time the guitar sounds like smoothed over Liturgy devoid of all the blasty mcnasty. 

The Tool comparison comes in with the mathy way the riffs bob and weave around one another. Unlike Tool they are not headed towards a big arena rock chorus. There is also something more organic and rock n roll to their sounds where Tool is darker and almost industrial. "Original Pain" takes the groove of the first song and boogie to it before winding away in a similar maze of dizzying turns. I takes the first three minutes before the ears here distinguishable traits in the the path way set out for the vocals . 

"Freedom 1" winds its way to life from the labyrinth the other songs were crafted from, but with a more shimmering jangle to it's chords. Like Liturgy, when it comes to writing songs they are not a afraid to just let the riff sit on its own to be fucked with and devoid of vocals. In some ways on this one there is a Mastodon thing happening. "Second Freedom" has a vocal chant to it that floats over the syncopated punches that are scattered under the song like a mine field.          

 The reprise of "tragedy" is under a minute so it seems more like an interlude rather than a free standing song, it mainly vocal harmonies swelling. "Since the Sun" breaks down into a slower acoustic ebb, that is haunting but minimal. They come blaring back into the tightly wound Tool like syncopations on "Our Way" and "Freedom 3", which are both similar in tone. Freedom 3 sets itself apart in tempo of the verse and goes into a more droning punch which is pretty cool.    

  I think fans of Liturgy will be able to appreciate this, though most black metal fans were either open minded enough to like them or got caught up in the hipster element and never gave the band a fair shake. Hunter has said in interview he sees Liturgy moving away from black metal, as he doesn't want to repeat himself, so this album makes a lot of sense. 

I will give this one an 8.5 as it's a fun listen and still growing on me, though most of the songs have a very similar feel to them and sounds like variations on a theme, just set to different tempos, rather than building dynamically.  

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