Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Low Flying Hawks - “Kōfuku” (Album Review)


By: TJ Kliebhan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/02/2016
Label: Magnetic Eye Records




What makes “Kōfuku” an effective and well done record is its ambitious scope. Low Flying Hawks try a lot of different styles on their debut record and they execute all of them well. The project feels cohesive even if at times the tracks can run into each other a bit. Extremely well written riffs and a dynamic range of tones make “Kōfuku” a metal record a lot of bands are trying to make right now but fall short because they fail to effectively fuse all of the styles together effectively at the same time

“Kōfuku” CD//2xLP//DD” track listing :

1). Kōfuku
2). Now, Apocolypse
3). Seafloor Fathoms
4). Fading Sun
5). White Temple
6). Kokkai
7). Ruins
8). Wolves Within Wolves
9). Till the Night Meets Light
100. Destruction Complete

Low Flying Hawks is:

EHA | Guitar, Bass, Lead Vocals
AAL | Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
Trevor Dunn: Bass
Dale Crover | Drums

The Review:

Debut records from enigmatic artists are becoming a rare occurrence in the music industry today. The internet and Bandcamp have allowed bands to release demos, EPs, and splits with such ease that we typically get at least one project like that before a debut record arrives. Bands even embark on national tours before releasing records these days. Low Flying Hawks have taken an old school approach ahead of their debut record “Kōfuku”. There has been minimal interaction with the outside world via social media for the shoegaze/sludge metal act from Mexico ahead of the release. Featuring Dale Crover behind the drum kit, Trevor Dunn on bass, and production for Toshi Kasai, Low Flying Hawks have used these connections to the Melvins on top of a heavy lead single “Wolves Within Wolves” to establish “Kōfuku” as a record that will demand attention in 2016. Low Flying Hawks’ first record delivers sludgy riffs, a heavy doom atmosphere, and muddled shoegaze vocals in what becomes a unique amalgamation of styles in a particular niche that has been largely explored as of late. Despite this "Kōfuku" is still a record that explores new territory with liberal use of texture and ethereal guitar tones. 

Low Flying Hawks have stated that “Kōfuku” is an exploration of the interconnectedness between dark and light, a theme explored most explicitly on the lyrics of “Wolves Within Wolves”. The band rarely treats its listeners to that lighter side electing instead to march through a wide spectrum of dark shades. This record is constantly shifting back and forth between plodding drones and vocals akin to parts of “Feedbacker” by Boris and expertly written sludge riffs that pick up the pace quickly. The band also weaves shoegaze characteristics into this set of tracks without falling for the tropes of the blackgaze genre that makes so many artists sound like clones of Alcest. Low Flying Hawks is able to use delay and layering effectively on both the vocals and guitars and various portions of these tracks. The shoegaze is not just a cheap tactic used as an intro, but feels like an integral part of the band’s sound that has been labored over. The last track “Destruction Complete” is a gorgeous display of how effectively Low Flying Hawks can blend the shoegaze and doom sound together.

Low Flying Hawks have no problem delivering downright crushing tunes as well. Tracks like “Seafloor Fathoms” and “Ruins” have devastating riffs and effective structure. Parts of the record are pretty, but they never relent on the dark atmosphere. The record is much closer to Black Sabbath than it is to Jesu. Beautiful guitar riffs act like a siren’s call at sea as they are heavily clouded by layers of dark ambient noise and layers of EHA’s moaning vocals. EHA’s vocals can sound somewhat limited on tracks, but he shows a nice bit of range on “Fading Sun”. His vocals are excellently juxtaposed with AAL’s frenetic screaming layered into the wall of texture that acts as the foundation of the track. 

What makes “Kōfuku” an effective and well done record is its ambitious scope. Low Flying Hawks try a lot of different styles on their debut record and they execute all of them well. The project feels cohesive even if at times the tracks can run into each other a bit. Extremely well written riffs and a dynamic range of tones make “Kōfuku” a metal record a lot of bands are trying to make right now but fall short because they fail to effectively fuse all of the styles together effectively at the same time. Bands will go through stages of tracks that start shoegazing, incorporate heavy riffs, droney outro, rinse and repeat. Low Flying Hawks can do everything well all at once. Every individual aspect of this record can seem familiar, but it’s rarely executed this tightly and cohesively. The singular sound and atmosphere that Low Flying Hawks operate within is a haunting yet strangely soothing place to find oneself.


“Kōfuku” is available here

Band info: facebook


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