Into the Storm is a band which gate-crashes your senses with a sound as savagely compelling as it is venomously intrusive. It is equally a proposal layered with an enterprise which ensures releases like the Seattle quartet’s new album, Where the Merfalo Roam, steals the imagination and defiles the psyche with ease.
Consisting of the band’s most adventurous and expansive tracks yet, Where the Merfalo Roam is an exploration or should that be fall into an abyss of “discontent, oppressive governments, dystopian eras, and the connection between the cycles societies go through.” A tar thick assault of sludge/doom rapacity unafraid to venture into bolder and starkly diverse strains of sound, the album is as openly inventive in its complexities as it is uncompromising in its raw animosity.
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Derek Moree, Where the Merfalo Roam opens with Truck Van Trailer, instantly trespassing ears with a dirty melody which subsequently ignites a barrage of bestial riffs and ravenous rhythms; yet there is a swing to them which tempers the violence and invites closer involvement. Dirt encrusted vocals bring their ire to the challenge just as quickly, scowling within the sonic and melodic toxicity cast by the guitars of Brant Kay and Matt Jahn and pure predacious ferocity sprung by bassist Oliver Reeves and drummer James Reeves. Becoming even more absorbing as the band break out a Cajun flavouring towards its end, the track is a mighty and riveting start swiftly matched across following tempests.
Ghostmaker is next, prowling the senses with ursine irritability and weight. A bruising punkiness adds to the track’s imposing weight and intensity reminding a touch of Pigs as it stalks and consumes as one primal entity yet reveals a tide of individually effective elements and textures. Its relentless tirade is contrasted by the doom lumbering of Seduced and Disappointed, a black melancholy again stalking the senses but in a slow, light vanquishing mass still prone to rabid eruptions. The two tracks show the variety fuelling the corrosive heart of the album, a diversity continuing within the torment ridden I Gotta Get the Bees Outta My Teeth and the bewitching unrest of Wellwisher. The first of the two sonically niggles and rhythmically pounds, combining both with emotional and multiple vocal antipathy as piercing guitars weave a web of captivating tension while the second is a melodic seduction around an emotional turbulence shared through the rasping angst of the vocals. The simmering beauty eventually boils up into a plaintive lava-esque squall with melodies still suggestively captivating as tempestuousness blossoms around them.
Featuring the guest talent of trumpeter Alexis Tahiri, the following Maturin ignites appetite and imagination further. Starting out as a beguiling flame of Mariachi spiced sultriness, the track smoulders, feistily simmers, and eventually steps aside for a barbarous immersion of ears and spirit. Even then melodic suggestiveness is a heady incitement as rhythmic bad blood invades, the song leaving no minute short of unexpected and riveting drama; a weave just as potent within the cancerous air and emotion of Maths. Somehow the track manages to be mesmeric too, haunting the psyche as it defiles the senses and stirs the imagination.
Fell Off A Horse is next unleashing a few seconds over a minute of rabid punk rifled bitterness before Jobbernaught tantalises with inviting melodies and catchy rhythms on its way to infesting ears with its own emotional and sonic malignity. Both tracks leave pleasure thick and the soul blackened and prime for the closing brutal rock ‘n’ roll of the album’s title track. Where the Merfalo Roam strolls in with a vendetta to its swagger and open infectiousness to its enterprise even when turning into slow, psyche winding incursions upon body and emotion. With violinists Kim Pack and Sarah Pendleton bringing melancholic grace and beauty to the song’s emerging and all-consuming emotional and sonic volcanic storm, the track is sheer magnetism; a mighty end to a similarly impressive release.
Where The Merfalo Roam punishes as it rewards, withering body and emotions as it invigorates them. It is not going to be for everyone but for invasive sludge/doom/hardcore hearts, it is a must.
Where The Merfalo Roam is released November 11th via Alive and Breathing Records and @ https://intothestorm.bandcamp.com/album/where-the-merfalo-roam
Pete RingMaster 09/11/2016
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