Release DetailsLABEL Small Stone Records
RELEASED ON 10/22/2013
...when Luder is able to subsume those broad influences, they are able to craft songs that can stand side-by-side with them.
There is an art to a music press release. Certain information must be conveyed; a brief bio, record label and release date, any possible tours, lead singles, etc. But after those necessities comes the sell. Part of that is assigning genre, a worthwhile yet often futile gesture when it comes to the metal audience and its fierce policing of those boundaries. Then there are the sonic comparisons thought up by the band and their representatives, or taken from reviews (e.g. "influenced by Mantovani and Motörhead, the resulting sound is like Fudge Tunnel, Blind Guardian and Necro Deathmort licking bleach off a slaughterhouse wall").
With that in mind, read the following description of Luder's new album: "…another deeply varied collection of textural, smooth, frequently heavy rock and roll that has as much in common with Portishead as it does with Black Sabbath." There are thousands of possible bands to reference. There are a million ways to describe sound. This is nebulous and high-handed, saying nothing while reaching for the stars. Yet perversely, because of its overreaching comparisons and utterly bland sonic descriptions, it begs to be heard.
Upon listening, Luder's Adelphophagia proves not so easy to laugh at or dismiss. No, it doesn't sound like Black Sabbath. And except for a similar soft vocal tone from bassist/singer Sue Lott, it doesn't sound like Portishead. Luder's sound is akin to the heavier side of late '80s/early '90s alternative rock; Adelphophagia would slot nicely in with Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, My Bloody Valentine, Kings X, Kyuss, Screaming Trees and their contemporaries.
Sometimes those luminaries from another era are a little too present in the music. For example, it's pretty easy to sing Jane's Addiction's "I Would For You" to the tune of Luder's "Ask The Sky". That isn't to say it's a rip or even intentional, but the feel of that song from start to finish is very Los Angeles circa 1988. This isn't really a bad thing, as the sound of those artists has for the most part not been touched upon in years.
However, when Luder is able to subsume those broad influences, they are able to craft songs that can stand side-by-side with them. The melodic and molten "Dirge" still calls back to those bands, but indirectly; the closest comparison is probably Soundgarden, but it's both heavy and melodic in a way that no single track from that band ever managed. The shoe-gazing of "Astrolabe" doesn't sound like a track from Isn't Anything yet sits comfortably in that neighborhood. "One Eye" brings to mind the hazy center of Blues For the Red Sun but somehow isn't aping Kyuss in the slightest.
Luder is able to draw on these disparate elements through the immense talent and musicality of the four musicians involved. Despite the challenges involved in playing their brand of progressive hard rock, they never sound fussy or lose the feel of the music. Nor do they make the listener feel trapped in difficult time signatures or make changes for the sake of changes. Sue Lott's vocals never sounds rushed, flustered or anything other than in complete control.
All in all, Adelphophagia is a satisfying mix of metal, psychedelia, and alternative rock from a time when that last wasn't a pejorative. It's also a reminder that a poor press release will almost always be ignored, while a good one will help elicit that closer look for all the right reasons. Luder is a band that deserves to be heard, and warrants the attention of an audience as broad and varied as their sound.