After not recalling being aware of them in the first period of their existence in the decade up to a split in 2003, I went to being somewhat inundated with them by getting a copy of their 2010 boxset retrospective “Below and Beyond”.
The positive reaction to that and associated reunion gigs has spurred them to press on with the band and so we receive this new album of material. To be fair there was too much in the box set for me to get my head round above and beyond an appreciation of some huge stoner riffs and grooves counterpointed by some quite clear and strong quality sung vocals and those elements remain at the forefront of “Oblation”.
The heaviness of the instruments certainly brings a smile to me, it’s a fat, bullying tone that almost breaks up into over distorted sonic battery at times (credit again to producer Kurt Ballou for refining the filth so well) . They are infectious, repetitive grooves that sit well with the likes of faster US desert rockers or the cleaner end of the sludge scene, if that’s not an oxymoron.
There’s occasional outbreaks into punkier speed but none of the power is lost. You can see how the guitarists intervening time in setting up Torche is an evolution of this sound, hardhitting, but with a grasp of melody too. The vocals are quite striking, occurring to me that it’s almost like a Sabbath/Ozzy style but if he could actually sing (and remember the words!).
All in all so many good riffs delivered within glorious noise I have found myself easily slipping back into repeated listens of this, and look forward to floored (I know, I know…) by them at Roadburn next year.