The debut album from US heavy hard rockers Weight of the Tide is a seven track foray into a landscape of mountainous rhythms, thunderous riffs, and thick emotive intensity; an encounter which bristles with inventive songwriting and openly impressive craft. There is so much to recommend about Epilogue and its powerful contents but despite that it just does not light a fire in thoughts or emotions with its presence. It is certain to be different for individual ears and tastes yet you cannot help feeling that there is a beast of an incitement lurking inside an album lacking the incendiary spark to bring it to life and grab the attention plenty of its qualities deserve.
The Nevada quartet is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Mark Moots and drummer Jason Thomas, two musicians whose history together embraces the success and impressive sounds of December and individually The Swamp Donkey and Cranium respectively. Formed in 2012, Weight Of The Tide is completed by former Knightfall/Beard The Lion guitarist Jestin Phipps and ex-Red Cel bassist Marcus Mayhall. The band has already sparked strong ripples of attention through their live shows, where they have shared stages with the likes of Eyehategod, Diamond Head, A Pale Horse Named Death, Raven, Volture, Skinlab, 36 Crazyfists, and Gypsyhawk since emerging. Now the band is poised to awaken broader climes with their SpiralArms vocalist Tim Narducci and Drag Me Under guitarist Jeromy Ainsworth recorded and mixed album. As the band’s name suggests, Epilogue and its sound is an imposing and heavy immersive proposition which leaves a healthy appetite for the band ahead in its wake, just not the lustful excitement it could have.
With tracks bred in an exploration of “Love, loss, betrayal and, hopefully, perseverance”, in the words of Moots, Epilogue descends on ears and thoughts firstly with the crushing energy and creative intrigue of Ireland. Its sonic opening is soon drawn into a web of mightily swung beats and sonic resourcefulness, subsequently relaxing into a formidable and inventive examination of the senses. The guitars chug and flame with their varied resourcefulness whilst bass and drums create a barrage of bait and provocation, this around the strong tones of Moots. It is heavily enticing bait which manages to loosen its grip and adventure in places as potent melodies act as a temper to the riveting roar of the song. It is not a big deflation and only satisfaction and praise comes to the persistence of rich ideas and imaginative enterprise still tempting within the song, but it is enough for it to simply smoulder rather than blaze in personal tastes.
The open craft and skills of band and songs, as well as their adventure, is undeniable and just as prominent in the more gripping Proper Goodbye. A tapestry of guitar endeavour and great vocals embraces the listener first, its attraction an emotive enticing within sinew driven rhythms and a rawer provocation of riffs. There is also a sludgy atmosphere to the song which blossoms when the song slips into the dark shadows of increasingly intensive and predatory sounds. Without doubt the song and album is at its best and most inspiring when the band explores these ravenous twists and passages, welcome intrusions only enhanced by the spicy colour of solos and the sonic enterprise with the similarly sculpted yet individual Elder the immediate proof. Its heavy challenging entrance is an inescapable lure but hindered by stepping back in aggression for the Scott Weiland like vocals of Moots, who is at his weakest here and sounding like a fish out of the threatening waters around him.
Things take an unexpected turn next as Turning Point steps forward and the band reveals a pop punk/melodic rock adventure. It in many ways feels totally out of place on the album but is such a thumping and enjoyable fire of melodic energy and beaming enterprise it shines standing like a lighthouse in the dark landscape of Epilogue. Cynically you might say it is the band simply trying to place an open sure fire single of a doorway into the release but as it is one of the tracks which did have body and emotions fully involved there are no issues for us.
Both Stillwater and La Puerta grasp the previous heavy and at times exhausting oppressive sounds of earlier tracks, the first veining its lumbering intensity with a fine sonic toxicity whilst the second has a compelling argument to its aggression and sure swagger to its contagious stride. Each again though evades truly thrilling these maybe demanding ears, though both have varying ingredients, especially the latter, which means again we can only recommend people find out for themselves what these seriously accomplished songs offer.
Ending with the enthralling creative theatre and emotional Crowbar like turbulence of Fear And The Flame, the album leaves a potent impression and definite want to explore Weight Of The Tide closely in the future. Yes it did not get us rushing around exalting its praises but for a great many it is easy to suggest it will.
Epilogue is available now via Undergroove Records @ http://undergroove.bigcartel.com/product/epilogue
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