Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Howls of Ebb: "the Marrow Veil"

As I have been reviewing the year in metal thus far I have come to the conclusion today's metal playing it too safe bands like Howls of Ebb are welcomed relief as they are not afraid to not sounds like just another band that wants to be Incantation.  With only three songs it's hard to call this an album and not an ep, but my rule of thumb is anything longer than "Reign In Blood" is an album. I am not a fan of twenty minute songs, but these guys are able to occupy the space. They kick in with a more psychedelic fury that ebbs down at the three minute mark. They linger in the awkward silence of whispers making the silence as confrontational as a band like Mr. Bungle might. It takes a good three minutes for them to kick back into the metal. They don't blast off into but rather take an evil sounding creeping groove that gradually stomps back into place. The mix is as weird as the music they are crafting. They employ some of the typical metal tools like chugging, but it is turned upside down and inside when given their interpretation.

 After some of the shitty deathcore I  heard last week this is a welcome relief. The song gathers drive and momentum, but layer it in spaghetti western ambiance, like if Ennio Morricone was scoring a movie about an acid trip in hell. At the twelve and a half minute mark it collapses into whispering again this time the whispers come from the bass.They churn back into more of their surreal take on death metal. The vocals are a dry mid range rasp that is at the forefront of this album. After this dissonant epic the two and a half minute "Dusks Tyrannical Lore"serves as more of an interlude between the two longer works. "Iron Laurels, Woven In Rust" is a few steps closer to a more conventional metal direction. When the song gathers steam it sounds like a swarm of insects about to attack. The dizzying sense of motion makes this song come across as being heavier than a hundred down-tuned crab squatting death core bands. The guitar solos twist the fret boards like John Zorn mistreats his sax.When the song takes a breather around the ten minute mark it builds the song back up in a chaotic whirlwind. There is a chance that when this album is over you might find your self wondering what the hell you just heard, depending upon how stoned you are. It will take a few more listens and a half dozen more bong hits to come to a conclusion. However, stone cold sober I did come to conclude that I need more of this though hopefully in smaller more song like doses and less like sprawling soundtracks. This is a follow up to their debut full length so , by the time the next real album is released we can hope they will have tempered their wild creative streak with the restraint to serve to the song. I'll give this a 9.

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