Monday, August 15, 2011

Album Review - Queen Elephantine 'Garland Of Skulls'

For those who like their music fast paced, upbeat, , laden with hooks and messages of positivity(and if you do great, but eh, wrong blog) then you maybe best avoid 'Garland Of Skulls', the new full length effort from New York based , Hong Kong formed minimalist doom crew Queen Elephantine.Essentially one long song split into three separate tracks, it's a stark, downbeat and reflective mood that pervades, but nevertheless a record that rewards the patient listener.

The band's sound is an interesting blend of styles, hypnotic, swaying rhythms , lithe and complex drumming, and eerie chanted vocals, all awash with droney , cold guitars , with a guitar tone that recalls latter day Neurosis in parts.In fact, the influence of the Oakland legends can be heard throughout, and one can easily imagine QE sitting quite comfortably on the Neurot roster, given the contemplative, almost tribal atmosphere generated in the band's predominantly instrumental  rumblings.Some marvellous Eastern instrumentation on album mid section/second song 'Libation', complimented by some haunting chants and sparse, piercing guitar lines elevates the album out of the doom metal ghetto , and proves to be the best thing on here , while elsewhere the title track grooves and writhes in  pleasingly monged out fashion,fuzzed out bass blending seamlessly with a menacing , prowling riff that eventually collapses in on itself  like some sort of wounded , dying animal.

Much like recent albums by Sleestak and Red Sun, this isn't a record that can be described as easy listening .It's spare , down and subtle stuff.But much like the aforementioned bands, it's a rewarding listen to those who are willing to take the plunge.One for those late winter nights perhaps.

Rating :8/10
For fans of :Neurosis,Oxbow, Sleestak
Listen/Stream/Buy the album here :

Stephen O ' Connor, Born Again Nihilist

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