So, last night I’m scrolling through folders for a new email service I use. I’m not impressed with it in general, but it kinda works. I checked the Spam folder, and see something from December 17th. For the record, it was THE perfect email from a band: a quick bio, Spotify link, website link, promo material and a Dropbox with all the files.
Dammit. Ok. I might as well give it a listen. They put a lot of effort into it, so even if it stinks, I owe them that much…
I think one of the most brutal realities for new bands is this: you’ve got about 10 seconds to make an impression. In todays world, bands are competing with literally hundreds of other releases. Every month,
They had me hooked in about 3 seconds, once my brain absorbed the impeccably well-produced and executed bass line to opening track Vultures. Now, I’ve seen one or two writers refer to that bass riff as “sloppy”, or something to that effect. As a bassist myself, I gotta refute that. It’s nasty, gnarly and snarly. But there isn’t one moment of Jan Kurtze’s playing that is ever sloppy- not once on the whole album. This dude is tight, precise, and when he makes a noise he does it with purpose. It’s a rare thing to hear bass playing of this caliber, so cleanly and accurately recorded without being buried under layers of Drop-B guitar tuning. Apparently the production staff knows a thing or two about frequency masking and how to make every instrument shine. I’ve noticed this more often lately, most recently with Wo Fat and Faetooth.
Don’t worry though, it’s not just the bass playing that got me excited. EVERYTHING about this song hit me in my happy place. Again, I’ve read a few references to a few other bands, and they’re accurate enough. To my ears, this has more in common with early Red Fang than anyone else, and even then it’s a slight comparison. The guitar playing is tight and aggressive, and the drums…there’s something about Phil Rottgers’ drumming that stays in the pocket and keeps things from going over the edge. He coulda gone with full-on Punk aggression throughout the album, but instead plays with a calm, confident pulse that seriously serves both the song and the guitars. Frontman/guitarist Carsten Schmidt has a deadpan vocal delivery that contrasts nicely to the bedlam unleashed by his hands and fingers.
This ain’t your typical, hazy and sometimes lazy Stoner/Doom
Mid-way through Dead Man’s Hand, I knew I had another blazing burner on my hands: 24 hours after I foolishly published my Favorites of 2022 post. Oh well, the universe has a certain sense of humor. They slow things down a bit, perfect for head bobbing without the whiplash.
The only thing that has me going “???” is the WTF of the fourth track, This is the Voice Of… For lack of a better term, it’s buzz-kill. Distorted voice over spoken voice, that goes on for over three minutes. Oh well…artists!!!
After that, Vrillon kicks in with a hypnotic, repetitive riff that sounds like…I really hate to write this…but…it sounds like TOOL. And it’s magnificent.
Now, I am not the world’s biggest Tool fan, and while I admit they’re spectacular with what they do, they do it over and over and over and over and over again. Tool is the Red Hot Chili Peppers of metal, but that’s another rant for another day. Oh, and they also didn’t invent hypnotic syncopated rhythms, not by a long shot. OK, I’m done. I hope.
Back to Pariahlord and Vrillon. Right when I was in the middle of chanting, “I know…the pieces fit…” they channel Lou Reed-ish vocals for one of the best subversions of expectations I’ve heard in a long time. The song is a banger, full of irony and real-world paranoia- a perfect anthem for the end of this 2022.
And that’s the bottom line with Pariahlord. If you need to know how the rest of the album sounds, then stream or buy it. I’m not sure why it’s not up on Bandcamp, but stream the heck out of it to ring in the new year. Had I heard this when it came out, it would’ve been on my best of list without a doubt, and with this post, I guess it is.
I’m pretty sure a lot of folk out there will absolutely love it. Highly, and without reservation, recommended.