Auralayer is the most clueless band on the planet.
ALL of the gatekeepers are telling us that this style of music is dead. Take Finn Mckenty: he’ll tell you the TRUTH about Stoner Rock and Doom Metal. There’s Owen Gibbons at Circle of Tone, declaring with absolute certainty that Rock and Metal are DEAD. And then of course we have the ultimate Boomer Gatekeeper, Rick Beato, telling us that not only is rock dead, but Generation Z doesn’t even care about music! Finally, the posse at Angry Metal Guy will tell you, every single time, that Stoner/Doom is a fucking plague!*
So, how can the South Carolina boys in Auralayer get it wrong, so fricking wrong? It takes a certain kind of arrogance to go against the grain like this. I mean, who do they think they are? Finn, Gary, Rick and AGM have firmly and without exception proven that this album is going to suck. They’ve declared rock to be dead, which makes Auralayer’s Thousand Petals an affront against not only common decency but the very moral fiber of our culture. It’s an outrage!
The entire album is festooned with moral turpitude like this. The guitar, drums, and bass unleash unrelenting fury with the vocals blatantly evoking an unholy hybrid of Ozzy and Eric Wagner. It’s Stoner and Psych and everything that shouldn’t be, with equal parts NWOBHM, Classic Rock and early college radio darlings mixed with Hard Core vibes. The dang thing ain’t natural!
Speaking of natural, the production has this deliberate low-fi analogue vibe. I’m not fooled by the deceptive tactics of the guerilla operation that is Jam Room Studios. Every instrument is clear and distinct, with the absence of frequency masking being particularly galling. It sounds all loose and jammy, but this is a precision-made piece of skill and discipline, coupled with a truly disgusting ability to write solid hooks with old-school riffs.
But what hurts the most, what truly crosses the line for me, is what Auralayer have done to people I care about. Take Monsterriff.com, for example. Pat was quite content to live a quiet, organized, and serene family life, safe from the inspired sounds of a clueless band. Not only is he back to writing, but he expressed…hyperbole, dammit…when he wrote that, “The originality within Thousand Petals makes it the most refreshing album we’ve covered on Monster Riff.“
Auralayer, what have you done? Pat doesn’t write like that, make declarative statements that this or that “is the most” anything! I’m worried enough to call local law enforcement and request a “health and safety” check. I’m afraid man, and scared to death he’s gonna rejoin the Doom Charts…
Then again, maybe it’s not their fault. I notice that Pat also compares them to Faerie Ring (read my review here), which makes me realize that the conspiracy goes much deeper than three dudes from Greenville, SC. Todd from King Volume is most likely the ring leader of the current insurrection against good, bland taste. I remember he gushed about Auralayer a lot when I interviewed him a while back. You can see the evidence yourself, here. I,…, I just didn’t understand how wildly inappropriate A Thousand Petals would be.
And for that, I’m deeply and sincerely sorry.
Whatever you do, please don’t stream, download or buy this album. I’m begging you.
Finn, Gary, Rick, and Angry Metal Guy make their living telling people the truth: that music like this is dead and bloated. Thousands and thousands of people rely on them for protection against quality releases from bands who truly give a shit and can play their asses off. Even one purchase at the CRAZY price of $6 can threaten their livelihood. Streaming is just as bad, should be avoided at all costs. Gawd forbid their subs dip and we’re forced to use our own minds and seek new stuff on our own.
Oh, the horror!
On the other hand, if you like to live on the edge and have no regard for mindless compliance or conformity, this might just be the ticket. But I gotta warn you, Auralayer’s Thousand Petals is probably going to duke it out for Album of the Year at Clean and Sober Stoner, maybe even the Doom Charts, against the likes of Hail the Void, Faerie Ring, Snakemother and Acid King. Once you cross that line, it can be hard to go back…
*this review pissed me off so much that it motivated me to push back and start writing