Wednesday 15 October 2014

Muscle and Marrow - The Human Cry (Album Review)

The Human Cry cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 01st August 2014
Label: vinyl by Belief Mower Records and on cassette by Breathe Plastic.

The Human Cry - track listing:

1.Surround the Fire 04:40
2.Tongues 04:14
3.Childhood 03:12
4.Scissors 04:08
5.The Brave 03:54
6.Madness 04:39
7.Help Me 04:01
8.I'm Old 05:47
9.Spirits 04:26


Muscle and Marrow formed in 2013 is Kira Clark (guitar, voice) and Keith McGraw (drums, samples). Their sound is surprisingly full, with either lush and drone like guitars or drastically fuzzed, as well as heavy drums. The songs, however, are powered by Clark's voice, soaringly operatic and high at times, while shaking and guttural at others.

They are interested in the morose, the ugly, the jarring and the soft. They rely heavily on changing dynamics and avoid the linear, instead gravitating towards the clashing of sounds, their voice and drumming almost hypnotic at times, followed by sudden bursts of distorted noise and thrashing drums. They draw inspiration from literature, film, contemporary poetry, darkness with redemption and darkness without it, but their songs are at their core, deeply personal. Comparisons can be found in Chelsea Wolfe, Swans, Shannon Wright


Guitar, vocals: Kira Clark
Drums, samples: Keith McGraw


I don't know what they are brewing in Portland, Oregon as they have provided ourselves with a ton of amazing bands to check out over the years. Though I have to say Muscle and Marrow may be the most emotionally devastating and slightly depressing band to come from that great town.

Muscle and Marrow's music is very hard to define. Parts Doom, Sludge, Drone, Ambient and Post Rock. Then we have Kira's sultry slightly crazy operatic voice. Damn she can freaking sing. You can hear the emotional pain and anger in her powerful vocals. When Kira channels her operatic diva persona then there won't be a dry eye in the house as she lays on some heavy intense passionate vocals.

Imagine Muscle and Marrow as the darker and twisted version of Portishead fronted by Chelsea Wolfe. They are probably sick of the back teeth of that description but it's do damn true. It's a good job that Muscle and Marrow have a very original gothic based sound to call upon. The album is one mean and moody experience that soon gets under your skin. Tracks such as Surround The Fire, Tongues and Childhood perfectly set the scene for an icy cold and pitch black vibe where the guitars are drenched in demonic FUZZ.

The lyrics have a dark delicious addictive quality to them as it feels they thrive on the pain and suffering currently going in the world. I shouldn't forget about Keith's fantastic and intelligent drumming which adds a real soulful groove to the overall sound of the album. Keith can be calm and tender one moment and then pure unwanted fury the next moment when the time calls for it. The album maybe one of sombre and reflection but there are shades of hope towards the end of the album. The Human Cry is an emotionally complex experience which offers no easy answers. It's a dark brooding ride into the very heart of your own sub-conscience. You may not like what you hear or see but you can't deny how utterly captivating and powerful it is.

Thanks to Kira for sending us a promo to review. The Human Cry is available to buy on DD/Vinyl/Tape from BandCamp Now.

Words by Steve Howe

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