(guitarist Dennis Pleckhan, bassist Ron Petzke, guitarist Nick Dellacroce and drummer Daniel O'Connor)
specialized in instrumental doom-metal fetishes,
starting with a
self-produced and self-released colossal monolith,
the three-part 79-minute piece of
The Great Barrier Reefer (2006).
While self-indulgent beyond belief, that piece packed enough power
for six albums. The band has obviously memorized the dogmatic rules for
pummeling, crushing doom-metal, but at the same time discovered that
intensity and variety do not contradict each other. The sound changes
frequently, and it even slips into moments of chaos and noise, with
sophisticated drumming that alternates silence and blastbeats, a
midway break of acoustic blues followed by the most torrential riffing,
leading into a stately and effervescent finale, regardless of what the dogmas
of doom-metal prescribe.
Hippie Killer (2007) shocked the genre with
more variety than orthodoxy allowed. For example
Reefer Sutherland (16:13) starts at a relatively brisk pace and then
slows down to a gentle pastoral pace and then erupts into a sort of dizzying gypsy dance.
Charlie Burt Reynolds Has Got Shit On You (17:46) sounds like the
soundtrack for a spaghetti-western until mid-point when it soars into
an almost religious apotheosis.
These pieces redeemed the reputation of doom-metal as a senseless
Her Highness (13:02) is actually one of the few pieces that indulges
in a conventional heavy catatonic plod.
The more fragmented Heroin (2007), which dispensed with song titles,
was a noise-psychedelic take on doom,
notably the fifth piece, a 15-minute acid Hendrix-ian trip ending
in neurotic drones. Several pieces are simply droning experiments, with the
last one, 12, offering gothic and cosmic overtones.
Hate Ashbury (2008), another half-baked product with experiments
of impure droning noise (the opening piece), musique concrete (the seventh
piece), and even poppy shoegazing (the eight piece).
On the other hand the titles of Satan Worshipping Doom (2010) left no
doubt about the band's allegiance:
Hail (13:44), which is perhaps too stiff and coherent,
Satan (11:37), which straddles the border between "black" and "doom",
Worship (16:00), possibly their masterpiece, initially just
a faceless slab of doom but slowly devoured by a stately monster melody,
and the crawling Doom (11:53).
This was perhaps their most versatile work so far.
The three lengthy ruminations of Miserable (Great Barrier, 2014),
returned to the sludgy sound of The Great Barrier Reefer (2006).
Endless (17:48) begins with a stately martial drumbeat and a
raga-like bass melody but
six-minutes into the piece the riff and the drumbeat change and two minutes
later even lysergic tones pop up, the pace slows down, the riff gets even
darker, and then the ascending spiral begins, leading to a crescendo of evil
Descent (18:51) boasts one of the most venomous bass accelerations and
guitar riffs of the age, then it settles into a hypnotic repetitive state,
then it restarts, then it drowns in a snoring slumber; and that's where the band
discovers that doom-metal is simply another from of abstract soundpainting.
Even more massive is the wall of riffs that shakes Into Ruin (28:25),
although along the way of its messianic ceremony it gets hijacked by
atonal guitar noise and even a blastbeat sequence. By the 20-minute mark
the guitars are chugging along exhausted and the piece pauses for a few
seconds before intoning the final funereal march.
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