posted on 12/2009 By:
Wrack is the sole vision and performance of vocalist /multi-instrumentalist Tyler Cox, who plays a very un-shoegaze-ish form of modern post/sludge on Graveyard, his debut. To fans of the genre, the album will initially seem extremely familiar and possibly even tired, but repeated listens reveal that Mr. Cox pulls inspiration from a few different places. The music is sculpted primarily from the clay of early Isis (chugging, repetitious riffs), but is further molded with touches of math rock and progressive sludge (à la primitive Mastodon), and at times even moves into non-death metal Meshuggah territory.
Graveyard is comprised of three tracks totaling just over 30 minutes, each making up one “part” of the total work. While an uneven pacing damages the album’s overall effectiveness, most of it is at least interesting, and some sections verge on greatness. The album cycles through softer, dissonant passages, hard-hitting Mosquito Control-esque sludge, and math-tinged work which stops short of utter polyrhythm. The finer moments include the angular riffs, off-kilter tempos and lead guitar work in the second section, and the tense crescendo of the album’s finale. Most shifts and transitions are well-placed, but occasional ideas repeat one too many times or simply do nothing (such as the four minutes of directionless ambience which close out the otherwise killer second track). Despite some shortcomings in the compositional department, the fact that Cox manages to sound like a unified live band on Graveyard makes the experience that much more intriguing and enjoyable.
Graveyard has an organic, crystal clear and refreshingly stripped down production, which should delight fans fed up with 1,000 layers of mixing and instrumentation in their post/sludge. Overall, it is far from perfect, and certainly not set to redefine anything within an overcrowded genre already verging on cliché, but Wrack brings enough originality to woo some members of the progressive and atmospheric sludge crew into their camp. As a member of that fan base, I will occasionally give this a spin, and will undoubtedly keep an eye on how Tyler Cox refines his art.
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