Release DetailsLABEL Alternative Tentacles Records
RELEASED ON 8/21/2007
Navigating The Bronze
posted on 11/2007 By:
Though this band has been pumping out about an album per year since 2001, I didn’t hear of Akimbo until they made the jump to Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label in 2006, and never actually managed to sit down and listen to the band until their debut Harshing Your Mellow was re-released earlier this year. I don’t know what took me so long; not only do I generally enjoy most of the Alternative Tentacles stable, but this latest album was produced by Chris Owens of excellent Louisville, KT band Lords. Like Lords, Akimbo fuses fiery Black Flag-esque punk rock with the mathy dissonance associated with mid-nineties noise rock of the Amphetamine Reptile variety. But where Lords channel this blend through raging semi-grindcore structures, Akimbo coat it in a layer of heaving, Black Sabbath-fed rawk’n’roll. It’s not the most wildly inventive take on the hardcore genre out there, but as Navigating the Bronze demonstrates, it’s loud as fuck and a pretty fun listen to boot.
Most people don’t realize that it actually takes a good deal of instrumental skill to play like you’re out of control without actually losing control, and these guys are a great example. Opener “You Can Smell The Honey” flails its way out of the gates in a seething battery acid frenzy, seemingly inches away from implosion, before snapping into a neck-wrecker of a groove—and is that a Slayer riff I hear before the skittering guitar solo? Follow-up “Wizard Van Wizard” is even more bombastic, as fresh guitarist Aaron Walters and drummer Nat Damm’s riotous solos tumble all over each other before landing neatly in a Sabbath stomp. From there the album breaks into a more even stride; “Dungeon Bastard,” “Huge Muscles,” and “Lungless” are all glitchy, groove-driven riff romps that are more viscerally effective than they are catchy, but still get the job done. Amidst them is the huge Bonhamesque drum solo “Roman Coins,” which proves that Damm has more than enough in the way of technical chops. The flow of gritty guitar beatings and bassist Jon Weisnewski’s strained hollers doesn’t let up until the more subdued and melodic (but still crushing) trudge of “Hiding in Paper.” Navigating the Bronze closes up with the bristling lope of “The Curse of King David” and the slightly overlong sludge finisher “Stjernborg.”
Some fun humorous touches (the song titles and the totally awesome cover art) and a painstakingly analog production are icing on this gnarly rock cake. I have to say, I’m not as blown away by this album as I’d hoped—there’s a little less raging punk vehemence and a little more big-ol’-riff type material than I would’ve liked, but anyone who likes their hardcore a little weird and very in touch with its rock roots will probably dig Akimbo.
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