Rating:
6.0
Howl - Bloodlines
30 April 2013


01. Attrition
02. Midnight Eyes
03. Demonic
04. One Last Nail
05. Down So Low
06. Your Hell Begins
07. With A Blade
08. Of War
09. The Mouth Of Madness
10. Embrace Your Nerve


Did you ever have a relative give you a really cool present one year? I know I did. It was great. Then few years later your birthday would be rolling around and you knew that they were going to be bringing you a present so your anticipation was through the roof. Then the big day came and you got your present and you open it and was a pair jeans. They were nice jeans, very well constructed and sturdy but nowhere as cool as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Technodrome. Well, that's what we have here with this new album from Howl.

I first got turned on to Howl a few years ago with their debut album, Full of Hell, which was a really nice sludgey stoner record. Instrumentally, it was a really fun trip. Lyrically, I thought it was pretty dumb, but the nasty growling vocals made most of the inane words incomprehensible. So when I get their new album, Bloodlines, I am as excited as a fat kid locked in a Twinkie factory. Instead of a Castle Grayskull Fortress of Mystery and Power of an album I get a Play-Doh record.

The first 30 seconds to this record I was really excited. It started out with he well crafted melodic stoner riff, reminiscent of The Sword. After that it gets really boring and stays that way for the rest of the record. This is my biggest problem; it's not a bad record it's just boring. This album doesn't bring anything new to the table that we didn't experience in the first record. In fact most of this feels like well-polished demos or b-sides from their previous works. Don't get me wrong, they are some competent musicians and it shows all throughout the record. They are a very tight band as demonstrated in there almost jazz like complexity at times. But they don't do anything interesting.

This album remind me a lot of the issues I have with metalcore bands. They obviously know how to play but don't do anything in inspiring with it. I get the feeling that they are trying a little too hard on this album to be heavy. There is an overuse of double bass drumming throughout this record, which really does not lend itself to building any sort of the atmosphere which is what the guitars are trying to do at times. So we're left with this was really odd juxtaposition of sounds. There's a sense that this is a stoner band trying to be a black metal band and not doing either one of them well. A great example of this is towards the end of the song "One Last Nail" where there is a big gang chorus that is laid over tripping percussion and minimalistic guitars. Normally this sort of bridge in a song can be really awesome in both stoner and black metal, but here they use those grating vocals instead of clean harmonizing ones. It just doesn't work.

I'm not saying that this is entire album is a failure. There are some really good riffs on the record, like the opening of "With a Blade." And we do here some really outstanding playing from these guys. It's just most of playing is kind of boring after awhile. But after what I got on the first album I just feel really let down here.


 



Written on 27.03.2013 by
Dane Train
Dane hails from Asheville, NC which is Beer City, USA. When he is not drinking various craft and micro brews, Dane fronts the Stoner Doom Metal band, The Quick. He also has a massive collection of Hellboy comic books.
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Nunzie 69 - 24.04.2013 at 09:53  
I was hoping you were wrong,especially after reading a bunch of positive reviews ,but you pretty much hit the nail on the head. You didn't mention that the lyrics could have been written by a 12 year old,I wish I couldn't understand what he was singing they're so clique. These guys need to start reading some books or something.I still believe there is a great album in them.if they can get their shit together "Full Of Hell" was so promising. Very disappointed.
Guib - 29.09.2013 at 06:09  
Well I kind of disagree with you here... of course I agree that the lyrics are completely dumb most of the time. But I mean.. yes its nothing like Full Of Hell, but I actually like that they went a little bit more on a thrashy side... that's the feel I got from this album anyways. I'd give it an 8 myself.

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