Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hivelords - Grand Cromlech

Grand Cromlech, a quick fifteen minute 7" from Philly murk-dwellers Hivelords is an excellent example of a local band putting out a killer couple tracks that really captures the live feeling of their music perfectly. I was impressed by the band live... it's literally a wall of sound with one of the most versatile and interesting vocalists / frontmen I've ever seen. Kevin North utilizes multiple effects to create layers of vocal noise and combinations of melody / harsh screeches to give off the feeling of something totally unique in the field - which it is. The music is mostly slow, brooding dirges of melancholic progressions. The bass handles a lot of melodic undertones and direction but the guitars on top are often involved in counter-tempo tremelo strumming in the higher registers to create the feeling of swarming insects. Live it was awesome and while this release is far less massive sounding, it's is a great accompaniment since it provides a crystal clear - but dirty and scratchy - recreation. It's much easier to hear the band's penchant for reverb and smooth guitar tones caked with fuzz when those tones aren't bouncing off poorly sound proofed cement walls in a dive somewhere.

The first track, "Upon Arrival At The Grim Structure," epitomizes all these attributes. Second track, "Divining Goliath Astragals," is faster, a bit more upbeat but equally left-field - right on the foul-post - uncomfortable in it's hideous vocal performance and repetitive hammer-to-the-skull style as it's predecessor. I'm sure that the lyrics will appeal to anyone that likes vague, semi-lovecraftian and cult stuff. This a short awesome EP worth anyone's time if your into underground extreme metal and retain an open mind. Fans of repetitive slow black metal will probably dig this the most. I know I'll be trying to catch another show from them and I'll be looking out for their first album, The Cellar Scrolls which I'm sure is an excellent example of experimental blackened doom done exceedingly well.This is also produced by Chris Grigg, as are so many local underground black metal bands and the perfect production shows it. Chris is quickly becoming a go-to dude in the area for recording and releases such as this prove it.

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