By Gruesome Greg
Holy Nine Band Members, Batman! I’m not sure if there’s a classical term for a nine-piece band (novtet?), but that’s how many faces appear in the band photo on this album, a collaborative effort between St. Louis sludge squad The Lion’s Daughter and folksy Americana outfit Indian Blanket. No, this is not a split—it’s both bands playing at once. Picture (Motor)headgirl(school), but slower and more dynamic. In fact, this leans somewhat heavier towards the Americana side, with plenty of melodic post-sludge thrown in for good measure. In other words, picture the last couple Earth albums played simultaneously with the new Neurosis… Actually, I might hafta try that.
One thing I’m not big on is the duets between the clean singing and the harsh growls as heard on opener “Wolves.” They might be saying the same thing, but it sure doesn’t sound like it. Second track “Gods Much More Terrible” leans more heavily towards the latter, offering up a meaty stoner-doom riff beneath the bellowing—until a complete change of pace towards a mellow, meandering gypsy folk. These almost seem like separate songs, were it not for the distorted guitar fuzz consistently constant throughout. “Swann” even throws some frenetic, fast-paced, black-metal riffage into the mix. Can’t recall hearing that from Scott Kelly and company of late!
After a couple mellow numbers, “Sea of Trees” brings back the metal, another blackened sludge slice served with extra frostbite and a side of stringed instruments. But sure enough, “That Place” brings things back down with some Earthy tones that travel Across Tundras on U.S. Christmas before delivering a devastating doom riff to ruin the mellow mood. (See what I did there?)
Alas, if the last Earth was an eight and the most recent Neurosis a nine, let’s split the difference and give this one an 8.5.
(Good Die Young Music)