The Great Work
posted on 2/2008 By:
Whiskey soaked. Boozy and bearded. Hammond B3 organ driving from the back seat. Sloppy Cathedral-esque death/doom with a penchant for the wolverine blues. So I'm probably not supposed to make flattering reference to the fact that their use of an acoustic guitar makes for the interesting listen here 'cuz that's not bone scraping tough enough. Then you tell me what I should have written, when you lash me, you tangly haired, doom faced headbangers.
Plenty of reputable publications have held this release up to the high skies like the holy grail of filthrock worship, so if I must subject myself to repeated reprimanding over being the one who draws the line in the mud, then so be it: There is nothing detrimental about The Great Work. None of these cuts will scar. They will scrape at best. I obviously do not mean "detrimental" like "detrimental to your health". We all know this stuff's not good for us, hence the attraction. It's a tad bit unsanitary, but it is not an essential release. What does save it from being avoidable are moments like "Bedbound (In The House Of Doom)". Yeah you, hiding deep inside this 48 minutes... Remember your sluggish 47th second in? With that hooky little pawn shop Mastodon-y riff? Ya got me there, for a minute at least, before the mediocrity set back in, and then I felt teased and used enough to grab the ruler and go out like judge and jury. I think maybe where, let's say, Entombed's violent blues albums got it right and where the Ghost went left, was in their trial and conviction. I could be wrong here, but i think you're supposed to take the Rot 'n' Roll away in handcuffs and punish it like you mean it. Their first long player, A Sign of Things to Come, did just that. Thicker. Filthier. Not quite as polished as The Great Work, if you can call it "polished". At least in comparison, this new one's got a cleaner, polished sound that hits only like a furious pillow fight when you put it up against their first dirt digger. And some slop cuts through as a result. A bad slop. The kind of slop where the drummer trips up some fills and the singer drops notes in agonizing uphill battles toward falsetto. I know that this particular genre isn't supposed to lend itself to a grid, but the growing pains are obvious when they go above and beyond the call of duty. In their defense, you can hear them holding on to hope like they know they'll be better for it come next round. But the real reason why i still want to add them as a friend? Track 7, befittingly called "Specimen #7". Someone put acoustic guitars in these hands more often. Please. There is something hauntingly beautiful about this track depleted of a vocal and the charged guitars. They're trading fire for water here, and it was a smart choice to showcase these abilities anywhere on this album to keep somebody like me in the wanting.
I would highly recommend their first outing, and then lower your expectations for this new one, while myself and the rest of the minority can hope to see them tighten the reigns and possibly unplug more often in an effort toward The Greater Work.
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