Wednesday 2 April 2014

Redwood Hill - Descender (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 13/2/2013
Label : Self Release

DESCENDER, album track listing :

1). Aten 05:14
2). Dybbuk 07:13
3). Tristesse 06:50
4). Poseidon 05:41
5). Croatoan 07:20
6). September 04:45

Review :

Copenhagen's Redwood Hill are a pretty unique animal. With a sound firmly rooted in the post-metal type genre, they sound heavily influenced in the vocal and mood department by black metal shenanigans. It's a great atmospheric mix, both influences complement each other very well. They've also put out their debut full length 'Descender' with an entirely DIY effort, so you know that they have a solid and admirable work ethic too.

'Aten' starts out interesting and simplistically enough, and delivers loudly on that potential when it kicks in proper. It seems bleak but not too bleak, discordant but not too discordant. The temptation with this kind of band is to just bang out some notes generically for at least ten minutes and call it a song, but it's already clear that RH will always sidestep that pitfall. There's always enough meat on the riff's bones in the right places and enough variety to hold your attention. They can be loud as chuff and subtle as you like, as is evidenced by the closing moments of this track featuring piano keys. So far, so musical.

Those keys do however explode straight into 'Dybbuk' and more of those blackened vocals, so don't worry - it's not all smooth sailing. And while vocalist Marco sounds like he's been gargling acid for twenty minutes directly prior to the recording session this estimation is quickly dispelled when he breaks out a PROPER REAL SINGING VOICE. I don't want to put any of you lot off at all, it's actually pretty neat. The dude has a great range of microphone skills and is a diamond in the rough. Not that the rest of his band are slouches in any way shape or form - they all came to kick out the jams, but with the vocals that clear up in the mix they obviously know what their strengths are and they intend to play to them.

Another highlight is 'Croatoan'. Not sure if it refers to the word carved at Roanoke (look it up nerds!) or otherwise, but either way it's a huge track. Laced with the type of colossal riffing that is synonymous with the sub-genre and punctuated with more of the same sparse interludes that also go hand in hand, this is post-metal done well and done right. Steady beats and crashes that underlie pure atmosphere, moody aesthetics, the works - but all a punch above the standard. It's all just really good quality stuff.

Redwood Hill may sound unique, but they are not in a unique field. There are many different bands out there that all subscribe to the same sounds that do not survive, that get pulled down under the waves because they won't work hard or they won't adapt. Thankfully this band could not be less guilty of any of these offences. I sincerely hope that they go far, and if they continue along the path they have started down then I am sure they will do just that. Highly recommended.

Words by : Matt Fitton

You can buy it here