Review Summary: Slow Warm Death's debut LP has plenty of memorable moments and standout tracks and, if not for a few snags along the way, would be a non-stop, high-octane thrill of a record; as it stands, it might need a little more gas next time.
While I could spend the entire length of this review comparing Slow Warm Death's debut self-titled LP to the various bands these members have been involved in, that would ultimately be a disservice to both the band and to listeners. Slow Warm Death is its own unique entity, a release that is not only radically different from previous efforts by John Galm and company, but a promising debut album, full of character and attitude. Not without its faults, there are a few points where Slow Warm Death feels unremarkable and, had the band decided to go for a shorter release, possibly could have had themselves a fantastic record; unfortunately, the album falls slightly shy of greatness.
Slow Warm Death feels like a band best enjoyed at loud, house-shaking volumes. Starting immediately with "Sleep", which explodes into thick fuzz-dominated territory after a nervous, reverb-drenched intro by Galm, Slow Warm Death proves they're not afraid to swallow the listener with their layered, garage rock sound. The songs are very rhythmic, with clear, albeit simple, song structure that is often lead by thick bass, warm fuzz, and booming drums. Most of the album sounds like a soundtrack to a fast car ride, constantly moving and carefree, as seen in tracks suck as "Holy Ghost" and "Conversation."
Furthermore, the overall tone of the album is very dark, even sounding spooky at times. In fact, the darker tracks seem to be the best the album has to offer, such as the sludgy and noisy "Kill You" and the ominous "Blood", where Galm sings, "I want to drain all of the blood out of your body / I want to see you touch the hand of the almighty." These tracks add a unique flavor to the album, reinforced by the simple and blues-driven instrumentation. One particular treat on the album are the lead guitar riffs- simple, fuzz-driven, and perfectly accompanying the tone of each song they're in.
One questionable element are Galm's vocals and his delivery. His signature, high-pitched yelp is still present in Slow Warm Death and, at times, I wish it weren't. The wonderfully mid-tempo "Blood 2" shows that John can sing in a lower register, with a more reserved and calm delivery, and it serves as one of the standout tracks on the album. Meanwhile, tracks such as "Liar" and "Sunburn" are song with Galm's trademark boyish crooning, but feel as if they could benefit from an entirely different delivery; this conflict makes the tracks far less enjoyable than the others on the album. This is especially unfortunate in the case of "Sunburn", which weakens the punch served by "Blood 2" and ends the album on a sloppy note.
All-in-all, Slow Warm Death's self-titled LP is a solid debut effort from a band that shows a lot of promise. Slow Warm Death's debut LP has plenty of memorable moments and standout tracks and, if not for a few snags along the way, would be a non-stop, high-octane thrill of a record; as it stands, it might need a little more gas next time.