Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cold Blue Mountain " Old Blood"

This California based band was an instrumental act before adding vocalist Brandon Squyres. Their second full length find the band starting things off with a somewhat symphonic lead in to the "Seed of Dissent" leaves you wondering just what is behind the curtain before the band throws itself into hateful yet highly textured brand of doom. The vocals have a gnarly rant to them. First impressions are this band is a much more lavish take on what Alaskan did on their latest release. The vocals of this band are preferable, as they have almost a more hardcore anguish to them versus just sounding like burly lumberjacks  hoarsely hollering at  you.

 Doom is no doubt one of the predominant ingredient.When the drums lead the pound of "New Alliances" the hard core influences stand out among underlying the morbid lurches into darkness the band frequently delves into.The post rock passages they wander of into at the three and a half minute marks, is a refreshing interlude. Though they don't ever make you fee like you are being smothered by the oppressiveness of their pounding, as the guitars don't stray to far from melodic sensibilities even when they are baring their teeth.I'm sure some one will want to label this atmospheric sludge, while that title is not unfounded, doom has a certain beauty to it's mourning sound that this band often stumbles upon, despite riffs like the powerful sludgey chug at the end of "New Alliances". One foot is firmly planted in the post rock realm bands like Russian Circles trudge in. The heavy guitar being offset, by more delicate flourishes of distant melody.They had their thinking caps on when they pieced these songs together. They adhere to the cool riffs don't always make a good song, not that there is any shortage of cool riffs lumbering about here. The band knows when to pulls those cards and they punch more powerfully in so doing. The big biting crunch of these monolithic riffs rips right into as needed.

The scathing scream setting over the clean twinkling post rock lullaby"Retreat" if an effective use of juxtaposing some of the bands dynamic range, in a way that isn't the obvious loud to soft , soft to loud formula. They return to some of the moodier doom tempered with the delicate dreaming of their post -rock side. Moments like these are where you can also imagine comparisons to Deafheaven being made, particularly in the vocal delivery.

Closing out the album with the 11 minute "Demise" the band starts at a languid pace simmering up into their hesitant hammering. By this point in the album the band is really going to have to make some drastic turns to hold any surprises, as you begin to get used to their formidable range. Hesitance turns into procrastination, which evolves into plodding during the the song as it almost the entire song to reach the build which is just a gradual shift in the dynamic intensity of one riff they continue to force fed .

Overall fans of  many facets of heavy music will find something that resonates with them. I'll give this one a 9 for now and see how it grows on me. The vocals tend to be a little one dimensional for my tastes, but I do like the more blackish hardcore approach they take, so that element is a mixed bag. These guys are onto something good so lets see where it goes from here.

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