Release DetailsLABEL Level Plane
RELEASED ON 4/24/2007
posted on 12/2007 By:
Bloody Panda's back story is pretty compelling. Yoshiko Ohara, a young Japanese woman with a background in art but none in music, travels to New York City to start a band. After plastering the walls of clubs with ads and trolling the independent rags she rounds up some doom metallers who are willing to back her. Within a couple of years they've recorded a split with Kayo Dot and are one of the most buzzed about bands in the underground. It's a cool story, but the music is even better.
Their debut, Pheromone, is an encapsulating, mood-altering slab of doom metal that presents some unique flourishes, but smartly doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. If you know doom, you know what you're getting in terms of compositions. Basically, it's recursive power cords adorned by organ lines that intermittently sprout and die. However, there are a few things that make this album more than a well executed take on a traditional concept. First, none of the four songs overstay their welcome. Even at 12:45, album closer “Ice” is concise and well proportioned. Secondly, Ohara, despite her limited musical background, is a revelation. While limited in range, and not really a “singer” in any sense, she has keyed in on a droning and detached tone that is absolutely pitch perfect for these songs. In many ways she is the focal point of Pheromone. Any alterations in rhythm and tone serve to modify her mesmerizing effect. Ohara sets the tone almost immediately on the album's opener, “Untitled,” with ghost-like moaning that sounds like it was recording deep within the bowels of a coal mine. On “Coma” she warbles like a war-widow in a Kurosawa film while the Hammond organ and dissonant arpeggios in the background. Perhaps it's fitting then, that so many of the stark tones created by Bloody Panda remind me of old black and white films. With her performance, Ohara has pulled off the difficult task of vividly portraying emotional detachment without a hint of melodrama.
Despite the art-house appeal that Bloody Panda have generated from their unlikely vocalist and believe-it-or not formation, this really is an album for doom fans. They have created an album in Pheromone that is both faithful to the doom genre and extraordinary for the the individual performance of Ohara. It also shows that abuses and perversions of the doom and heavy rock genres brought about by its recent popularity notwithstanding, there is still incredible life left in this style and it can come from absolutely anywhere.
Register to post comments.