National Sunday Law
Festival of the Horned God


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Newton USER (45 Reviews)
December 16th, 2012 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Primal in character but sophisticated in execution, "Festival" is a multi-faceted EP that solidifies National Sunday Law as a standout metal act.

It's astounding how often mediocre bands consistently become huge while far more interesting artists remain in the shadows. Sure, there are the heavyweights of progressive metal like Tool and Mastodon, but the vast majority of bright ideas aren’t coming soon to a music store near you. Unfortunately, National Sunday Law’s work has so far fallen into that vast majority. The band’s 2012 EP Festival of the Horned God arrives too late for most “Best of…” lists, but it’s certainly one of the more pleasant surprises of the late year for fans of sludge and post-metal.

When National Sunday Law were last heard from on their EP The Fifth Ape, their sound was in flux between sprawling post-rock complete with Godspeed-style samples (“City Dwellers”), and what sounded like a Baroness record played at half speed. There were some decidedly compelling moments -- the eerie, spiraling guitar riff to “Joshua the Anchor” comes to mind – but the ideas had yet to really coalesce. Two years later, the band’s sound has shifted significantly. Here, songs evolve over several minutes, with dissonant guitar riffs skittering over thunderous doom-metal chords; acoustic guitar interludes tread lightly over Derek Donley’s seismic drumming as he maximizes the impact of each tom hit and cymbal crash. There are a number of ideas that permeate the album’s lyrics, including paganism and spiritualism, supported by the cave painting-esque bucks on the cover and the occult-nature song titles (“Theriocephaly” means having the head of an animal, while “Antoillier” is Old French for “antler”).

The music has a distinctly primal feel to it, as if guitarist Darin Tambascio’s percussive vocals are the war cries of early mankind, perhaps reminiscent of fellow Los Angeles act Intronaut on their 2008 breakthrough Prehistoricisms. When questioned about the album’s themes, Tambascio stated that, “Nature, humanity and art are the closest thing we know to spirituality…humans are just like other animals, but with bigger brains.” This spiritual aspect brings to mind the works of Neurosis, and the rumbling guitars and hypnotic shouts of crushing opener “Theriocephalic” support this notion with a distinctly “Through Silver In Blood” vibe. The band's songwriting really shines here with things stretched out, notably during the controlled paranoia of epic closer “Preservation In Stone”. Over its eleven-minute run time, the song moves from caustic, swirling riffs to mellow interludes, evokes Red Sea-era Isis with its pummeling middle section, and ends with a delicately-constructed outro that brings the album to a calming, cathartic close.

National Sunday Law have been steadily carving a niche in experimental metal that hints at their influences but has a very distinct sound thanks to the duo’s dynamic songwriting. If you enjoy bands that blend soft and heavy elements and manage to make it all sound natural, don’t hesitate to look into Festival of the Horned God. This one will take several listens to sink in, but Festival is an album unlike any other that should prove quite rewarding to post-metal enthusiasts.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
pedro70512
December 16th 2012


3135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band info and album artwork should be approved shortly.

http://nationalsundaylaw.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Enabler - La Fin Absolue Du Monde

BloodandRainbows
December 16th 2012


221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

free music. yessss

pedro70512
December 17th 2012


3135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

any feedback at all?

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
December 17th 2012


2005 Comments


but Festival an album unlike any other


Linguo... dead?

Linguo is dead. (add an "is" after "Festival")

Other than that, this review seems pretty solid, though I read it pretty quickly.

I don't really like doom metal, but I like prog and post-rock... Would I enjoy this?

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2012


7097 Comments


Good write up Alex, sorry it took me a couple of days to get to this. (Works a bitch right?) There's a real Intronaut vibe going on here crossed with an early era Mastodon[?]. As for feedback;

-- the eerie, spiraling guitar riff to “Joshua the Anchor” comes to mind –

Not sure about the double "--" and maybe this thought could be presented better in brackets. Also;

Although this is extremely nit-picky, your NSL's could be written as National Sunday Law . I know it doesn't effect the flow of your review but it comes off a little lazy. Say someone writes "8", how hard is it to write "eight"?

Have a pos man. Good write up.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2012


7097 Comments


Good write up Alex, sorry it took me a couple of days to get to this. (Works a bitch right?) There's a real Intronaut vibe going on here crossed with an early era Mastodon[?]. As for feedback;

-- the eerie, spiraling guitar riff to “Joshua the Anchor” comes to mind –

Not sure about the double "--" and maybe this thought could be presented better in brackets. Also;

Although this is extremely nit-picky, your NSL's could be written as National Sunday Law . I know it doesn't effect the flow of your review but it comes off a little lazy. Say someone writes "8", how hard is it to write "eight"?

Have a pos man. Good write up.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
December 17th 2012


2005 Comments


"Not sure about the double "--" and maybe this thought could be presented better in brackets."

That's actually a stand-in for an em dash, which is perfectly acceptable.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2012


7097 Comments


I stand corrected lol, As for checking this out Atomic, give it a go what have you got to lose right? It's more sludge based than doom.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
December 17th 2012


2005 Comments


Listening now. Not bad. Didn't really care for the opening bass notes of "Theriocephalic," but I like the rest just fine.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2012


7097 Comments


Nothing super special, but enough to keep you going.

pedro70512
December 17th 2012


3135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks for the suggestions. I put in NSL because National Sunday Law is a long name to keep repeating
(if you read it out loud that is) but I'll put in the full name.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2012


7097 Comments


ctrl + c lol. Like i said extremely nit-picky.

Sevhead
December 27th 2012


569 Comments


Great review! And your recommendations are perfect.



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