By Laina Dawes
Following their post-hiatus full-length OX which was released this summer, the 7-track set is more of the same – a short collection of completely astounding music. But you are reminded how many of the newer bands have heavily ‘borrowed’ (Hint: Gaza) the Kansas City band’s style. But besides that, there is some pleasure in listening to quartet’s blend of muscular doom-laden hardcore who are just as relevant as they were decades ago.
I was a bit skeptical as to why Relapse decided to release an EP month’s after their full length. Oftentimes EPs are a collection of so-so songs that didn’t make the original cut that are fragmented, quickly thrown together in order to make money or to appease die-hard fans. But surprisingly the set is well crafted, but it takes a couple of listens to figure it out, as it seems like the band is more concerned about the blending of textures than cohesion to please listeners.
Starting off with the ominous percussion-laden instrumental, the tribal “Ox to Ore” and then quickly picking up the beat to “The Blind Eye.” “Absent of Death” is introduced with a wild west-meets David Lynch, ala Twin Peaks introduction and then quickly morphs into Coalesce at it’s best: gang howls of despair, thunderous, heavy drumming and the vocals of Sean Ingram, who sounds like a grown man who is having a temper tantrum that would put a three-year old to shame, brings some age-influenced grittiness to the mix.
The standout track is “Through Sparrows to Rest” which with its mid-tempo groove, infectious bass line and clean backup vocals is simply awesome. “Ore to Earth” completes the rhythm that “Ox to Ore” left out, adding a repetitious razor-sharp guitar line. Never has darkness and foreboding sounded so good.