This American Sludge rides the line between droning post- rock landscapes and a more Mastodon like progginess. Armed with sung vocals rather than just throat bellows, they have a leg up when it comes to songwriting. The first track is an atmospheric lead in leaving "Path to R" as the first actual song. The vocals are commanding yet sung, think more in the zip code of Baroness here. There is a bong tinted sheen of stoner vibes coasting over the groove. The song takes you on a journey which is more than most bands these days deliver.
The drums are more in the pocket for "Ide's Koan" . there is a more serpentine drone to the hypnotic guitar lines. The vocals fall in line with a more melodic chant behind this, when the hit more of a bellow they have more in common with say Troy of Mastodon. The song itself ebbs and flows around a similar spiral of sound. There is more drive and hook to the more muscular "Hide" a song where the vocals are simple but still shine in the narrative paved for the song to follow. It is the first song on this album that got stuck in my head. "Dance of Death" takes an odd twist, into a more South American tribal groove, that veers off into a wandering jam. It might make more sense if this was Soulfly or Santanna. I prefer the ways the guitar smoothly snakes around " Othenian Blood" , the vocals are allowed to sit back as it writhes around the melody, before the dynamic shifts into more of a howl.
There is more of a psychedelic haze swirling around the grunge tinged "Traveller". The vocals chant more than form melodies, though in somewhat the same way Dead Can Dance work off a ritualistic sound, the same happens here but in a metal context, they end on a high note with the head banging motion driving the last song. Yest the chorus is very Mastodon, with the vocal trade off and proggy riffs, but it works as they are only taking inspiration but have their own sound. I will give this album a 9.5, while the vocals are not hooky as the bigger band who do this sort of thing they find the vibe and work off it.