Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Howl ~ Bloodlines

(Click the heading to visit official website)
Style: heavy metal, black metal, doom metal, stoner metal
Label: Relapse Records
Year: 2013
Home: Rhode Island

Members: Vincent Hausman ~ lead vocals/guitar
Josh Durocher-Jones ~ guitar
Robert Icaza ~ bass/b. vocals
Timmy St. Amour ~ drums



Okay, the shared title with an Allen Ginsberg poem got my attention, I'll confess, while I was expecting sheer torturous metal of the most carnal unlistenability, aka a distortion fest of chaos. My surprise when the first few notes came out & I find myself shocked. I wasn't shocked because my instincts were proven right & the band granted me the gift of immediate boredom, the gift so many of these extreme metal bands, but truly shocked at how fast they blew my expectations out of the water. I'm anything but bored but listening attentively & enjoying every song. I'm often writing how a band doesn't need to go fast to be angry or menacing, but can accomplish the same if they drop the tuning, drop the speed, tune the distortion off a bit, use the double bass drums sparingly, give the bass some room & write a good riff that has some variety & tempo changes & actually let me hear the lyrics instead of just growling them out. Then you'll have my attention. Howl has done all the above. Thank you Howl for getting my attention immediately with the opener "Attrition" & just following that with a strong ten track release. It reminds me of some of the major bands of the past with the idea of how you've done your homework finding out what many of us enjoy in our metal ... I'm not thinking you need to go back & re-listen. I love the tempo changes, like Danzig or White Zombie, & the different parts (for example, the refrain & instrumental bridge of "Midnight Eyes" that leads the song out) that keeps the songs moving, repetitious & interesting & unpredictable. Some might even say there's a bit of a prog element here, depending on how you define music. All I know is I hear a sense of direction & climactic moments & not just one long crunch. But, really, the fact you're not playing at full speed & the fact I get to understand all the lyrics, the second vocal line being a great addition (for example, "Down So Low"), just hits home with me. The technical will call Howl a stoner doom metal band. I'm not very good with labels, particularly metal labels, but if I needed an introduction to the style I just found it. Though, having said all this. If you like your music pumped & wild, System Of A Down or something akin, this is not for you. But, for those of us that don't need every metal album to rediscover the genre & play super fast, but just play some moody black down to earth metal this will work quite well.

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