Jul 27, 2012
Chowder – "Passion Rift" ...
This full length album has amazing production and outstanding musicianship; there is elaborate drumming with very interesting time-keeping techniques. There is also amazingly dynamic guitar and keys while the rumbling to sometimes cutting bass attack is Geddy Lee kind of stuff go insane. The album starts with 'Mysterioid,' 'The Innsmouth Look,' and 'Salt Creep,' three tracks that pulverize the senses with jagged guitar work, gorgeous keyboards that wash over the top of everything and give the songs a unique feel. Meanwhile there is also dynamic shifts, doom riffs, and polyrhythmic drumming that is incredible and then you get treated to the multi-layering of melodies which are stunning at times. The band is very old-school metallic at times, like an early Voi Vod but without the crappy production of the early 80's.
If there is a point in the album when all the prog-rock noodling is a bit testing, it is the title track which comes up next in the album. While the first three tracks are shortish tracks, title track 'Passion Rift' goes on and on for over 18 minutes. Sounding like Rush, King Crimson, Voi Vod and any number of Maryland doom and stoner bands, this track also combines grooves and drones so to suggest this epic is adventurous would be an understatement. It is a great track, but is it too long you ask? Well yes it is, I do feel compelled to skip to the next track usually about half-way through but having the prog-rock tendencies that I do have, I usually manage to make the distance but it is a grueling, exhausting musical journey. The next track 'Insidious' starts with a sample that partly sums up this album - "Alright, it’s Saturday night, I have no date, a 2-liter bottle of Shasta, and my all Rush mix tape, let’s rock!" However this is when it begins to stop rocking for me personally...
The album doesn't go downhill, the quality of the songs don't diminished either. It is just 30 odd minutes into this album and it becomes very same-sounding. In-fact 'Insidious' with its 80's hardcore punk groove is the last track where anything really different happens. The album picks up my interest again in the last track called 'Custody' which sounds like a doom-metal version 'Rush's "Cygnus X-1" but done....like I say very doomy. One thing about this album is the heavy passages are not that heavy at all and the doom riffing parts are a little boring. The prog passages is where the album reaches its high-points and I really appreciate the ominous old school sounds of the mellotron. This is easily my favorite instrumental album of the year so far but some of you readers may have to be in a certain mood to appreciate this brand of instrumental progressive doom. It is an acquired taste but you will be better off for investigating this intriguing release from Chowder.
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