Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Album Review - Low Sonic Drift ' Shadows Of The Titan'

Low Sonic Drift are a three piece from Glasgow,Scotland , that since forming in 2007 have shared stages with such stoner luminaries as Brant Bjork, Orange Goblin, Stinking Lizaveta, Weedeater and The Abominable Iron Sloth among others.It's an intimidating list, and one that hints at a unit well versed in their craft, which raises expectations considerably for 'Shadows Of The Titan'(on release since 2009, but we all know Nihilist operates under time-lord rules, and picks albums as it chooses from the time stream, not under the scrutiny of your earth laws) .Thankfully, it doesn't disappoint.

Opener  'Sun Doesn't Rise' sets out their stall, an ambitious nine minute epic that begins with some subtle Eastern orchestration and a simple but effective bassline , building over a good two minutes with an array of eerie vocal chants and tribal drumming patterns, and eventually explodes into a galloping stoner rock monster.Straight away, the band's talent as musicians is evident, switching between Lizaveta -esque staccato  jazz rock riffing  to moments of sheer metallic bombast.'Hyperion' is all High On Fire smoke and bluster, but with an obtuse approach to it's riffing  that lifts it beyond a mere Open-E  workout, while 'As The Crow Flies' takes a more melodic route,with some clever use of bongos, and a great bit of bass playing from Paul Wilson.Drummer Javaud Habibi acquits himself remarkably, handling the rhythmic shifts of the songs with ease and style.

('Something in Farsi') is  a further exploration of the band's world music influences, an instrumental diversion that breaks up the EP nicely, without falling into the trap of being just a token 'eastern moment' with it's complex instrumentation fitting into the context of the band's sound very well.Closer 'Shadows' meanwhile is a  wonderful blend of  post rock sounds and the band's off the wall sonic approach, and one which bookends the EP nicely.

For the most part then, good stuff, but it's not perfect.Chief offender is the vocals , which sound somewhat strained in places and underproduced in others, and one can't help but feel that some more time could have gone into layering and effects, in particular an extra bit of reverb.Frontman Omar Aborida is clearly capable of composing a catchy vocal line, but the recording here doesn't do him any justice, and at times his voice sits on an irritating flat bed of silence, which sits uneasily  among the bands rich compositions.There is also times when the bass could be lowered just a tad in songs, which is no slight against Wilson, or his clear talent, but there are moments on 'As The Crow Flies' when the bottom end becomes somewhat overpowering, to the detriment of Aborida's excellent riffwriting and it sits just a bit too high in the mix for my taste.On the plus side, the drums sound clear and sharp, and by and large the production is competent, and satisfying, even if the mastering can be found lacking at times.

On the whole though , this is a  mightily impressive debut, and a remarkable testament to the musicianship and songwriting prowess of these Glaswegian shredders,And it has to be said,that on five tracks here, Low Sonic Drift display more imagination, talent and flair than some bands display their entire careers.If they're this good now,a full length is a mouthwatering prospect.One to watch.

For fans of : Tool, High On Fire, Yakuza, Stinking Lizaveta, The Sword,Black Tusk
Listen here: http://lowsonicdrift.bandcamp.com/

Stephen O ' Connor, bornagainnihilist@gmail.com

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