Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sumac : "What One Becomes"

This is a super group of sorts, consisting of Aaron Turner whose former band Isis would get flagged by the FBI if they every re-united. Along with Turner are Nick from Baptists and Brian Cook from Russian Circles. With their powers combined they make the kind of too cool for you metal you might imagine. It's sludge with post-rock nuances and math rock twists to the chugs to keep it from being more metal. The vocals have a lower more death metal grunt. They come on pounding at you then mid way into the second song the going gets weird and the atmospherics was the song way in swells of feed back. The bass tone is pretty serious and this has the potential to really bring the smack down, when not getting caught up with trying to through the math at you like they have something to prove. The drumming is technical, but still has plenty of balls.

The elven minute "Clutch of Oblivion" awakes with a slow pulse ringing out. The guitar work is very sonic , but refined. It has a western wander over it that reminds me of Kyuss' more introspective moments. The ghosts of both Isis and Russian Circles can be felt here. When the coarse roar of the vocals converges back into the song there is more of your typical sludge thing going on. Things build into a more mathematical groove midway into the song. "Blackout" takes great thought into where to place it's meticulously timed poundings. This creates a math rock meets sludge dynamic. It's hard to argue against the execution of this, but it's more of an exercise in instrumentation than a songs that really pulls me in for repeat listens. At seventeen minutes it makes this a very over indulgent exercise almost to the point of being masturbatory. At around the nine minute mark they begin to make me watch the clock. It eventually builds into something with a burlier rock groove that goes off on a Fugazi like jam.

The last song is plenty angular and plenty heavy, even building up into blast beat of sorts, but it kind falls flat on me. This is metal for people who are normally listening to Shellac. I am sure fans of These Arms are Snakes and Russian Circle are really going to dig. It has more of a pumped up noise rock vibe, than hitting you hard on the sludge tip. I'll give it a 7.5, but I know plenty of kids who are too hung up on being hip, slick and cool will be listening to this like it's a badge of courage.

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