Sunday 14 October 2012

Slomatics - 'A Hocht' (Album Review)

By: Aaron Pickford

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/09/2012
Label: Head Of Crom/
Burning World

Forget the fact there are only twin guitars here, because who needs bass, when you have two instruments amplified to the hilt with the ability of planetary destruction.  The aftershocks of the fuzz reverberate due to the monolithic Moby Dick sized riffs on offer.

‘A Hocht’ CD//DD//LP track listing

1) Inner Space (3:05)
2) Flame On (3:48)
3) Beyond Acid Canyon (5:53)
4) Return to Kraken (4:46)
5) Tramontane (7:03)
6) Blackwood (3:13)
7) Theme From Remora (4:37)
8) Outer Space 3:12

Slomatic is:

David Majury | Guitar
Chris Couzens | Guitar
Marty Harvey | Drums, vocals

The Review

Starting with a distant rumble, Slomatics create atmosphere and tension from the outset with ‘Inner Space’, a soundtrack to mankind's imminent assimilation.  The music wouldn't feel out of place in a John Carpenter movie, say The Thing, where the primary antagonist, a parasitic life form assimilates its victims which then in turn, imitates their appearance. The opening track leaves the listener feeling uncomfortable and produces a sensation of overwhelming foreboding, perhaps because, like The Thingthis record is an atmospheric, tense and moody affair. 

Certainly ‘Inner Space’ represents the Prologue to A Hocht's sonic Matamp barbarism, which bursts through the speakers with wondrous and cacophonic destruction with ‘Flame On’.  The fuzzed up megaphonic nature of the riffs feels like a earthbound asteroid intent on destroying or smashing the earth into dust.  A Hocht is just apocalyptic, hell it is Slomatics version of War of the Worlds.  Forget Jeff Wayne, Slomatics have created their own version of WOTW with colossal riffs pounding at the earth like the legs of the tripods, intent on annihilating mankind or assimilating us into one alien race which feed on the need to play heavy metal music really fucking loud. 

Now, Slomatics began their annihilation with the punitive sonic booms on the track ‘Flame On’, now we move onto ‘Beyond Acid Canyon’.  The seismic abuse continues and bass levels set to 12 on this track.  For whom the bell tolls, we do not know, however it most likely signifies that the bowels of hell are ready, because music of this nature cannot be of this earth and must be otherworldly.  Forget the fact there are only twin guitars here, because who needs bass, when you have two instruments amplified to the hilt with the ability of planetary destruction.  The aftershocks of the fuzz reverberate due to the monolithic Moby Dick sized riffs on offer.  Coming across like a lumbering southbound pachyderm in terms of pacing, we are headed ‘Beyond Acid Canyon’ and the scale of this music is epic, grand and maleficent.  This is music done the old fashioned way, big amps, big ass fat vulturous riffs, atomic ass pounding drums and let us not forget the vocals.  Marty truly spews his guts up, trying to warn us what is  coming, but almost struggles to be heard over the deafening malevolent force this beast of a band have created.  Now that we have lurched and bounded across the vast soundscape that is ‘Beyond Acid Canyon’, that was at a cost, because the  the tremors of riff abuse have summoned the Kraken, and it is time for its return. 

‘Return to Kraken’ introduces itself with wails of processed effect laiden riffs, until it bursts into life, intend on wreaking havoc to everything or everyone in its path.  Indeed ‘Return to Kraken’ is arguably the heaviest and mightiest track on the record, Slomatics are the orchestrators who have used their thunderous riff ability to rouse the Kraken from its uninvaded sleep for the intention of warning off cheap imitators.  With ‘Return to Kraken’, Slomatics are at their furious best, using their colossal arsenal of Matamp abuse to pulverise and crush.  Indeed just like the Kraken, Slomatics would destroy the ships of seafarers who dare disturb it or venture into uncharted waters where it dwells. 

Following the earth shattering din that proceeded, we are now no stranger to fuzz and ‘Tramotane’ continues the onslaught. So we have been blown up, assimilated into alien life forms or smashed and drown by the Kraken, what is left that the band can do.  Well, I feel that we are back in the terrority of b - movie horror, what with the tense effects and brooding drone of the repetitive riffs, kinda mimicking the heartbeat of someone truly terrified by a dark stranger lurking in the dark.  Indeed the the riffs are supported by some John Carpenter esque keyboards to produce yet more tension.  ‘Tramotane’ almost thrives on the paranoia it induces due to the chugging, pounding riffs, building the tension, until the stranger bursts out of the darkness.  This track holds the monopoly on thick ass slow booming riffs and is more than admirably supported by Marty's best vocal performance and the face breaking hammering of the drums.  This stuff is breathtaking. 

You are kinda left feeling subservient to the band given that they have just torn us a new asshole from the fist pounding abuse we have endured for the best part of 20 odd minutes, so in truth when Slomatics slow things down into ‘Blackwood’, it is almost a welcome respite.  At the same time, with clean guitars and beautifully harmonious vocals, it could be construed as being the calm before the storm or that the band is bidding you a farewell, because what is due to come next will only wish you had never been born. ‘Theme from Remora’ is the band having one final attempt to batter us into submission, kinda like the tripods having one final flourish before their inevitable death due to over exposure to the very air we breathe.  What we get is 4 1/2 minutes of Slomatics arming their fuzzed up scarifiers and hit us with one final onslaught of repetitious riffs until they final relent and we come full circle again with ‘Outer Space’

There is only one final thing to say and that is, ‘A Hocht’ is an album that will be talked about for years to come and in my opinion is their career defining record.

If you are yet to buy this beast of a record, you can buy the CD here , vinyl here and digital copy here

Band info: Official Facebook Bandcamp