Review Summary: Flawed flights of fancy...The Beast You Are
, despite its rock-out-with-your-cock-out moments, is a very effortless record. It conjures the image of soaring and gliding through cool winds and white clouds, letting the gusts of air take you where they may. This mostly comes down to how the album seamlessly flows throughout its 44 minute runtime - to the point where it feels much, much shorter. That flow is a slow burn that cascades like water down your head or a river descending a waterfall. Along the way, tasty bass riffs and tight rhythmic beats pave landscapes of late-era Melvins and Mastodon, with tastes of Mutoid Man melodies (check the chorus of “Time and Heat”) and Clutch-like grooves (check the riffs of “El Polo”). Of course, this still is a Big Business approach to stoner rock, albeit a much more laid back record than, say, Here Come the Waterworks
, it’s just a bit more laid back, soaked in strange, modified bass tones and a thick haze.
That very hazy production is something I have gripes with, as it almost completely buries the vocals in layers of bass and leaves almost no treble in its wake. It’s all just too foggy, too reverb-heavy, to the point of becoming muddied and messy. I can almost see what they were going for here; a really, really booming record that swells and swells in sound without quite becoming sludge metal (the band will be quick to remind you that they are not and have never been sludge metal). It just doesn't work in execution, but I can’t exactly say it ruins the record either. After all, it still allows for a pretty dense atmosphere and fails to take the bite out of some of the stronger tracks, like “Time and Heat,” “Bright Grey,” “Abdominal Snowmen,” and “Let Them Grind.”
It's far from perfect, even in the songwriting department - quite a bit of the time on this record is wasted on pointless interludes and song lulls, and the whole thing feels somewhat inconsequential, but I’d be lying if I said I didn't enjoy my time with The Beast You Are
. It’s a surprisingly relaxing and subtle listen, all things considered, one with a really potent flow that makes it hard to dislike. The record feels a bit on the incomplete side, with a lot of unfleshed ideas (the dream-like Under Everest sounds a bit like a first draft of what it could have been, tracks like “Last Family” could use some more time in the studio) and decent chunk of fat that needs to be trimmed, but there’s enough bass-y goodness to hold your attention for a little while. It doesn't level mountains, but it leaves an impression - an itch that you want more. I just hope that “more” has better mastering.