Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Today Is The Day - Animal Mother (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 14/10/2014
Label: Southern Lord Recordings

‘Animal Mother’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1). Animal Mother
2). Discipline
3). Sick Of your Mouth
4). Imperfection
5). Law Of The Universe
6). Outlaw (Acoustic)
7). GodCrutch
8). Divine Reward
9). Masada
10). Heathen
11). Mystic
12). The Last Strand
13). Outlaw
14). Bloodwood

Today is the Day is:

Steve Austin | guitar, vocals
Sean Conkling | bass (2013–)
Jeffrey Lohrber | drums (2013–)


Today Is The Day (hereafter TITD) return with two thirds of the trio being new additions and an hour long (!) 14 tracks meandering through... well, uncategorisable territory. It is metallic, it is noisy, and it is alternative. It is perhaps easier to state what it is not: it is not straightforward metal that belongs in any sub genre and it is not really like Neurosis either. So those of you who are open minded, please read on

There is melody aplenty too; on the opening track and on ‘Outlaw (Acoustic)’. The album, as stated, is lengthy and covers a hell of a lot of musical ground over the 60 minute playing time. There is a hardcore sensibility to proceedings and vocals (if not song structures!) and unusual rhythms and time signatures. This is most certainly not the usual type of metal I listen to (as it is not old school, death, thrash or what have you) but I am enjoying listening to it hugely.

The production is relatively lo-fi (no triggers or pro tools sounds here) and thus the record has an organic feel. Songs such as ‘Sick of Your Mouth’ are rampaging in their metallic fury, but the band does not play things straight for long- instead they mix up the time signatures but also drop in catchy hooks too. Odd, but it works. I know that TITD have been around for quite some time, but this album is the first one I have heard by them. I cannot therefore compare it to their back catalogue and can only judge it on its own merits.

‘Imperfection’ is noise personified really- all hard snare shots and discordant guitars. ‘Law of The Universe’ is similarly hard to follow with a very punk-ish feel. The aforementioned ‘Outlaw (Acoustic)’ is a rather sumptuous high point of the album for me- it has an almost pop sensibility to it (think The Stranglers, not... a pop band). The album crosses the half way point with more noise and frantic beats (as exemplified by ‘Divine Reward’ or ‘Heathen’) and thus keeping momentum, and weird unpredictability going.

‘Mystic’ makes use of a repeating half riff and almost crooned vocals while ‘The Last Stand’ employs a similar trick but with higher energy and some interesting extra production elements. ‘Outlaw’ (no acoustic this time!) then crashes out of the speakers and sounds like something completely different!

‘Bloodswood’ closes the record with acoustics, keys and a rather unexpected dose of melody again. I did not think I would enjoy this album, being as they are not in the traditional (leather jacket and jeans/corpse paint optional) metal mould. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised and would urge anyone looking for some noisy alternative metallic experimentation to give this one a go. A fine record.

Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here.

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