Review Summary: Deathsludgestonerblackishdoom
I’m going to be real honest with you folks. I don’t know *** about sludge or stoner metal. I listen to a little Electric Wizard and Rwake here and there but I’m hardly the top hat wearing connoisseur of the respective styles. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to write about a sterling new outfit I just discovered not too long ago. The band is called Howl and in 2008 they put out a thundering three track behemoth of groove heavy, ass kicking, head bludgeoning heavy metal madness. I‘ll be truthful some more, I was actually lulled in by one of Decibel’s cover stories detailing guitar player Andrea’s role as an proficient band manger. Even more notable is that she’s extremely attractive, sports Entombed/Obituary gear, and ***ing slays on the guitar. I’m glad I checked them out because Howl are poised for big things.
Howl play a bastardized combination of death metal, stoner rock and sludge complete with all the prerequisites of the given styles. Thick churning grooves" Check. Scathing blackened screams and incomprehensible growls" Check. Rhythmic bass tapping and explosive drumming" Check. Solos" Check. The fantastic four piece offer nothing new in terms of originality but make up for it in creating some well executed guitar driven heavy metal lacking none of the bite or precision of their predecessors.
Without a doubt, Andrea and Vincent are the focal point of this EP. As a fairly solid guitar duo, they do a good job at keeping things musically interesting for the listener. Ranging from chunky mid paced riff fests to stoner-doom smoke out dirges, the two rip the *** unapologetically. Solos are present, not very speedy or extravagant but significant enough to elevate the EP’s strength projection from 7 to an 8.
In terms of vocal styles, Vincent utilizes a combination of deathly growls and ghastly screams. Both of which are muddied (in a positive way) by the hazy production. Lyrics are pretty hard to decipher but I don’t care enough to investigate any further. Tim and Rob or Rob and Tim pending on preference provide a sturdy rhythm section. Rob on the bass supplies a momentous four string assault as Tim rocks out with a consistently pounding set. One negative point id like to bring up about EP is how low the double bass feels in the mixing while the cymbals seem significantly higher. Not too much of a problem when compared to the otherwise un***able prowess of this relatively young group.
As short of a review this is I couldn’t really think of much else to say about a three track, fifteen minute offering other than it slaying hard. Fans of early Mastodon or Rwake or any similar band for that matter should give these guys and gal a spin as soon as possible. Howl, who in late October will be playing with Goatwhore and EyeHateGod seem poised to receive some big time exposure from this single show. If not I’ll eat my hat.