New Keepers Of The Water Towers
posted on 6/2009 By:
Once every few years I have to stop and evaluate the state of rock music: who it’s trying to appeal to, where it’s going as far as breaking new ground, and what bands have the most potential to grab a wider audience. A large number of those bands that have caught my ear have come from Sweden, maybe one or two from Norway, and a fair handful from here in the USA. The Swedish bands, however, just seem to do it differently enough that I don’t get burnt-out so quickly on them, and Chronicles from the three-piece known as New Keepers Of The Water Towers is a whopping hour of hybrid rock that pretty much gives you everything you’d want out of the genre, and maybe a little more.
The essentials are here of course, so nothing is too far of a stretch into any major extreme. The guitars have that classic, elastic but rich tone reminiscent of just about any respectable stoner rock act you can think of, the drumming isn’t overdone and has a live feel to it, and the bass really fills out the bottom end in such a way the makes those low tones a fair focal point as the album rolls along. I wouldn’t call this stoner rock on the hippy side at all, obviously these riffs and beats aren’t designed to sweeten your mellow, because even when subdued moments found on “New Sleepers” slip on by, it’s not necessarily soothing. And then we get “Enter The Great Forest”, a jarring, noisy doom interlude that sounds rather angry in comparison to the catchier grooves that were delivered up until that point, so there are a few curves along the way that make you keep your eyes and ears open.
It’s a bit of Clutch, shaken up with more recent (like, Crack The Skye recent) Mastodon, and directed by a few pages out of Corrosion Of Conformity’s less commercialized playbook. There is also a bit of nasty crunch towards the tail end of “Giant Subway Beast” that is just too cool to be denied, which is where NKOTWT show their sludgy metal side. It’s a really well-rounded band, from the virtually foolproof songwriting, to the delivery of the goods, with one exception. Once in a while on tracks such as “Awrecktion”, and “The Strafing Lobster”, the clean vocals really fall out of tune and never really regain any strength, bordering on unpleasant to sit through, and when followed closely by a near-death metal roar, it’s a treading into bad territory from a pure execution standpoint.
Scraping a track or two off this album also wouldn’t have been too heinous of a crime, considering there are a few moments that sound a little too much alike as the disc progresses. New Keepers…has taken a well worn sound and kept it pretty fresh and heavy, yet I’d like to hear something either more to-the-point, or more epic the next time around (since this is more of an early collection of their work, rather than anything carefully plotted). I’m digging this a lot more than that last Sahg album, so I’ve got no problem telling you to go ahead and check these guys out, if for nothing else than the killer two-part closer “Fall Of The Massive Boar.” If you like it rough, but not obnoxious, Chronicles hits the spot.
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