Saturday, March 3, 2012

Halmos' debut EP Vicious Cycle

When I saw these Atlanta doomers back in January, I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. The duo was heavy and doomy enough, but their vocals struck me as unusual. Instead of being sung or screamed, they were shouted, almost spoken. This comes through in their first release, their self-released EP Vicious Cycle.

The first track "Datura" opens with a gentle, flowing intro, almost reminiscent of some of Isis' quieter moments. And then the riffs come in, and don't stop for the rest of the EP. The following track "Patterns" comes in with a nice sludgy riff, and then slams it down an octave. Track number 3 comes in similarly, with a slow heavy riff that drops an octave when the drums make their presence known. There is a little more variety in this track, with a the vocals switching switching between the regular shout and a slightly more intenser style, and a more upbeat (but no less heavy) passage. After it fades out with some noisy feedback, the next track, "Prophet of Two" comes in with an absolutely crushing riff. This is probably their heaviest track so far, good stuff. The second half of the track mixes things up starting with a bridge reminiscent of Electric Wizard that leads to an ocean of a riff and then to a groovy jam that closes out the track nicely. The final track "Antithesis Superstructure" comes out swinging. The track is solid and groovy, and closes the release on a familiar heavy note.

The vocals on this release capture the emotional appeal very well here; it's pretty serious in tone, but without being desperate. It's a somewhere between Swans- and Thrash-like in nature, but with less of a tortured feel than Gira and not as menacing as thrash vocals can sound. The guitar is thick and heavy, and the drums are punchy. The overall sound can be described as a somewhat stripped down, pure style of sludge and doom metal.

My main complaint here is a lack of variety. These guys can definitely rock, but it teeters on the edge of stale at some points. The addition of some solos, more vocal variety, and maybe a bass or second guitar could really help to expand and flesh out some of these guys' more interesting ideas, like the psychedelic theme present in the lyrical content, but not fully represented in the music itself. Make no mistakes though, these guys make good, groovy, fun doom. These guys have a lot of potential, I just hope they go in a more experimental direction with future releases.

If you're a fan of underground stoner doom metal, then you will enjoy these guys.

Stream from their bandcamp!

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