Saturday, April 27, 2019

Helms Alee : "Noctiluca"

These guys have a muscular sound that is not metal but a form of grungy noise rock with more in common with the Melvins, than any metal or even post rock band. The vocals benefit from better production than I recall hearing on their previous albums. While botht the male and female vocals can trade off with similar aggression , she is the better singer of the two . On "Play Dead" we get a taste of the hooks her voice is capable of conveying. The bass and drums lock in to create so maple grooves. There is angular atmosphere to "Be Rad Tomorrow" .  This is the first time you here some of the post rock that once colored the more muscular sludge leanings.

There hints of a Neurosis style vibe on "Lay Waste Child " . I do like that it leans in a darker direction. While it's more melodic things begin to get weird once the album gets to "Legal Guardian".  Songs like "Spider Jar' might start off with more of a grunge things going going on, but that is not where they end . Instead veering off into a weirder direction. "Pleasure Torture" has an interesting blend of sounds. The harmonies of the female voices is pretty alluring before the dynamics shift. They do have heavy moments that are heavy sonically rather than heavy metal as there is very little that comes from that kind of overtly aggressive energy. The male vocals do convey a more burly energy that comes closer to that.

They dip into a more psychedelic sound with relaxed vocals for "Pandemic".  The album might end with the best song "Word Problems". It takes a dark moody tone and marries to powerful Zeppelin throb that groove / The use of female vocals on the verse and male vocals on a more commanding chorus works well, The vocals carry an intensity almost like Ministry , though musically these guys are far more organic. I will round this one up to a 9.5, as usual Sargent House once again delivers something interesting.

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