Monday, 31 July 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Owlcrusher - "Owlcrusher"

By: Mark Ambrose

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/07/2017
Label: Seeing Red Records




With three tracks spread across 45 minutes, each song embraces sprawl and space: the reverb heavy drum tone pounds like the pulse of a leviathan.  The low end guitar tone crackles with fuzz, while the bass rumbles so menacingly that, with the right sound system, you may get your guts churning like you’ve just been forced to smoke a whole pack of unfiltered cigarettes – you’ve got the cold sweats, your insides feel poisoned, and you’re probably gonna puke, but god damn it you’re hooked

"Owlcrusher" CD//DD track listing

1. Feeble Preacher
2. Owlcrusher
3. Spoiler


The Review

One of my oldest friends also happens to be one of the most skilled musicians I’ve ever met.  He’s not exactly unimpressed by speed shredders, but he taught me a lesson a few years back: if you want to truly punish yourself and hone your precision to a razor fine edge, try running through a song at half speed.  Try to cut that in half again.  You will never see skilled musicians doubt their own abilities when each flubbed chord, each sour note, each early cymbal crash rings out like a screamed expletive during an Easter Sunday mass.  Sludge.  Doom.  Funeral doom.  These aren’t “easier” versions of metal when they’re played with the ferocious intensity and terrifying precision of a group as remarkable as Owlcrusher.  This Northern Irish trio has been ripping for nearly a decade and have just self-released their debut LP: their combination of glacial riffing, blistering vocals, and sludge chaos have caused ripples in the underground metal press.

From the opening of “Feeble Preacher”, the whole mammoth affair has a delightfully unsavory flavor: even the ambient tones recall the scuzzy industrial planetscapes of Eraserhead.  But when the trio comes to life, the sheer scope is undeniably menacing.  With three tracks spread across 45 minutes, each song embraces sprawl and space: the reverb heavy drum tone pounds like the pulse of a leviathan.  The low end guitar tone crackles with fuzz, while the bass rumbles so menacingly that, with the right sound system, you may get your guts churning like you’ve just been forced to smoke a whole pack of unfiltered cigarettes – you’ve got the cold sweats, your insides feel poisoned, and you’re probably gonna puke, but god damn it you’re hooked.  Speaking of poisoned viscera, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Spiers sounds like he’s been living on an unholy mix of crematory ashes and sulphuric acid, in the best way possible.  His whispers, shrieks, and guttural moans weave through the massive spaces between riffs and fills, creating unbearable tension before retreating to the shadows for some triumphant guitar solos.

Title track (band theme song?) “Owlcrusher” has an undeniably catchy guitar hook that repeats, harmonizes, and curls on itself in the final few minutes, settling into a groove so sweet it’s nearly human – before collapsing into sublime, shrieking feedback and demonic wails.  But don’t let Spiers’ almost classic metal riffs, harmonies, and trills fool you: “Owlcrusher” is a punishing, depressive experience.  Closing track “Spoiler” feels like a real-time treatise on decay.  For a brief span, Hobson and McKeown drop out entirely, and their absence highlights their crucial, precise rhythmic balance to Spiers’ looser, sludgy guitars.  When the trio reasserts itself in the album’s closing minutes, the lurching propulsion is as exhilarating as funeral doom gets.  With a debut this dirty, this skilled, and this menacing, I hope to hell I don’t have to wait nearly a decade for more Owlcrusher.

Owlcrusher” is available digitall here and on limited cd here




Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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