When reviewing the debut EP XII from UK sludge/stoner metal band XII Boar last year, I ended the review with the lines ‘For their debut release XII Boar show great promise and I for one will be eager to hear more’ and ‘XII Boar will be around for a while and producing some memorable music in the future of that I have no doubts.’ The band’s brand new release Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof not only confirms those thoughts but makes them feel like great big underestimations. The new EP is immense, a true mighty giant of sound and stature. Show great promise? XII Boar have taken that promise and raised it to staggering heights and made music that reaches deeper than just the memory. Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof is an essential listen for all metal/rock fans, with crushing lively riffs and scorched eager melodies the release is a beast.
The trio from Aldershot have really taken their already impressive sound to expand and stretch it to the limits, creating an EP that is as near to a perfect blend of aggressive demanding riffs and razor sharp red hot melodies as one can get. All the muscle and heaviness of their debut is there but with even more incisive interplay with melodies and intensity. The production too is first rate, the muddiness that hindered the previous EP slightly removed without losing the mass of the band’s oppressive sound.
‘Smokin’ Bones’ starts the rampaging feast of sound, its thrusting riffs and irresistible swinging groove as eager and boisterous as a dog in heat. The song brings in smouldering melodies whilst subduing the pace from time to time, whilst the guitar solo from Tommy Hardrocks throws off sparks with its sonic heat, but underneath the rampant intensity is always there waiting to burst forth again. Hardrocks’ vocals are gruff and forceful, his great delivery coming through a thick sweat filled bar like atmosphere, smoke and alcohol dripping off every word. As the song evolves it turns to darker tones, menacing the senses with mischief that is wonderfully powerful and satisfying.
The venomous ‘Hellspeed Viper’ comes next, more intense and with a tighter squeeze on the ear then the opener the track is a brute of might and sonic intrusions. The bass of Bad-Dog Williams rumbles throughout like a bad tempered animal whilst the drums of Dave Wilbraham wake up primal instincts to ensure a deep connection. His always stirring rhythms are especially hypnotic in the other tracks on the EP, ‘Slamhound’ and ‘Triclops’.
‘Slamhound’ swaggers in with conceit and an unbridled lustful attitude, its riffs and heated guitar determined to manipulate and inflame the senses, which they do with ease. As with the opener the track swings its lead to mesmerise and enthral, XII Boar creating rock ‘n’ roll’ as it should be, dirty, heavy and ruthless. The band opens up last track ‘Triclops’ with further hypnotic beats from Wilbraham, his rhythms grabbing complete attention whilst the caustic guitar of Hardrocks nips at the ear. It is a call to arms, a start that riles up the heart whilst riffs and energy rage as the song expands. The song is predatory, pacing and intimidating it never explodes into the rampant aggression and charge of ‘Smokin’ Bones’ but lays its heavy bulk upon the senses to offer a darker intensity. The song is impressively created, its combination of pounding rhythms, marauding riffs, and sabre like blues spiced guitar is well crafted and evidence of the levels XII Boar have grown to.
Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof is stunning and puts the band at the fore of UK sludge and stoner metal, hell UK metal on the whole. XII Boar have reached the heights one anticipated previously very quickly and left them in their thick dust as they have evolved onto a far higher and impressive plateau. If you have an ear for a Motorhead, Down, Crowbar or Eyehategod, not forgetting Black Sabbath then XII Boar is an essential band for you.
Get Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof for free from http://xiiboar.bandcamp.com/album/split-tongue-cloven-hoof or @ http://www.mediafire.com/?dob23a91lc7897k