Now, I do try to support Canadian bands that fly the freak flag for stoner/sludge/doom, but Longhouse definitely caught me off guard. I did not expect to find a progressive sludge outfit inspired by the likes of ISIS, Neurosis and Kylesa hailing from Ottawa, of all places! Vanishing is actually the second album from this O-Town trio, but much like it’s predecessor, it’s an independent release… although I could easily picture this stuff being picked up by the likes of Neurot, Relapse or Ipecac.
“Hunter’s Moon” opens the album, an eight-and-a-half-minute epic that starts off slow ‘n sludgy (following a mellow intro), gradually adding in some more atmospheric guitar elements. A clanging bass line shifts things into more post-metal territory, and just when you think the song is entirely instrumental, the first blackened vocals come in around the 6:20 mark.
The title track kicks off with a killer riff that brings the likes of Crowbar to mind, although these vocals sound nothing like Kirk Windstein. Maybe more like Zoroaster or something. This is still a pretty solid tune, though. “Blood and Stone” is even more downtuned and downtrodden, a creepy-crawling black ‘n roller that still throws some pretty decent doom riffs into the mix.
“No Name, No Marker” is another foray into more progressive territory, an eight-minute track that offers up some swirling sounds and airy solos alongside its pounding, pummeling sludge/doom. The overall effect is at least somewhat Kylesian. “The Vigil” ends the album on an even lengthier note, a 10-minute number whose clean guitar tones and crunchy percussion bring Pallbearer to mind. They even bring in a guest vocalist for this, whose clean singing style better suits the dynamics—mind you, there are still some gritty chugs and blackened vocals to be found here as well.
Man, I don’t think I’ve been this geeked out about a Canadian post-sludge record since Pyres put out Year of Sleep back in 2013! I would love to own a proper physical copy of this one…