Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Album Review, Otis Reaper – Self-titled, 2011

Otis Reaper. A new one for the B.A.N palette to enjoy, these guys (and girl) are bringing the shit to fuel the fan out in Tennessee. There is a seriously rich mix of all heavy things going on here so if you're in a mood for something tasty and brutal check this bastard out!

Something akin to Kyuss' 'Wretch' is invoked as soon as “Traversing the Orbs of Time” blasts out with all its single coil pickup fury (not a guitar player? Google single coil pickup). Dreadlocked guitarist Ben Price lays the grit on thick and caramely with flustered, grunge-era guitar tones, while drummer Cres Murchison and bassist Madison Clifton keeps things bouncy and smooth down below. On top of all this, frontman Jay Murchison screeches a pained vocal, keeping all this energy firmly grounded in good hard sludge. And he wastes no time in asserting himself; whereas many singers will allow such a guitar driven track time to breathe with a long intro, Jay jumps right in the thick of it before long!

On we march to “Optimator”. This one has a bizarre southern cheeriness to it, that combined with the guitar tones described above, becomes reminiscent of the vibe of Black Sabbath's 'Sabotage' album. No doubt the recent good news of Sabbath's return won't do Otis Reaper any harm since this is the case! Up next, “Footprints in the Dead Earth”, things get altogether heavier. The southern bite remains but is coupled with rolling rhythms from Cres and low, low guitar riffs, not far away from the early Baroness records. Nothin' wrong with that says I! Jay's barked and spat vocal brings additional aggression during the track's breakdown. The weight and madness last a savage seven minutes, all filled with fuckin' top notch riffing and already the band have demonstrated a diverse plethora of influences and capability to explore them.

We all love a little Traditional Doom and next track, “Graveyard Sorcery”, is just the fix you want. Old-school Obsessed style riffing and slow, ponderous drums with a relentless occult vocal and lyrical content. Guitarist Ben displays his dexterity on this one with some Brent Hinds influenced fret-bending work. Finally we are hit hard by the punk rock chops of “Unspeakable Acts of Intoxication”. It smacks of angsty Melvins atmosphere and puts it to brilliant affect. Ben Price stands out like a shining star made of riffs turned visual in some unknowable act of a forgotten psychedelic god: what a monster of a track! Of the whole record this one is going down as my personal favourite.

These guys are a rare breed; a band that know what they want and at the same time pays tribute to who they love. There is a tremendous air of honesty about the material that is only ever achieved on record when a band really loves what they're playing and don't need to feign the smiles, very punk and very cool! The extremely raw production only adds to the effect, like those old Black Flag or Melvins records you love, the production becomes part of the sound. These guys are one to watch because I'm gonna put my money on these guys climbing the local scene ladder in the coming months and years. Pull out Otis Reaper's self-titled record, lash it on the stereo, bring the lads over, crack a few cans, sit down, talk shite and bloody enjoy, you won't be disappointed!

Otis Reaper – Self-titled, 2011.
Rating: 8/10
For fans of: early Baroness, Black Sabbath, The Obsessed, Melvins.
Standout Tracks: Footprints in the Dead Earth, Graveyard Sorcery, Unspeakable Acts of Intoxication.

Edward Gerard Brophy

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