You may remember Echoes Of Yul as receiving a mind-meltingly positive review here this time last year. Now back with a three-way-split EP, along with Guantanamo party program and Sun for miles, the band prove that not only was the first album not some kind of unrepeatable moment of genius, but that they are capable of surpassing their achievements. Better still, unlike some split EPs, all three bands entirely complement each other creating a unified sound that draws the listener ever deeper over the sixty-plus minute run time.
In order to give each band the greatest possible exposure I shall review each section of the EP separately before offering an overall conclusion.
Echoes Of Yul: Tracks 1-4 http://www.myspace.com/echoesofyul
It is no secret that I was an instant convert to EOY after hearing their last record. Here they are allowed ample space to shine with four lengthy work outs that showcase their unique talents. Opener ‘it ends here’ begins slowly, with the eventual tune rising out of a haze of noise. Guitars drone, synthesisers wash over the sound and the band’s love of samples kicks in around the two minute mark. A slow-building exercise in tension and sound – it is the perfect opening track for this EP as it builds to the chugging doom riff that finally appears around three minutes in. ‘Blackout’ is next – a heavy slice of doom-ridden industrial that introduces guttural, almost death metal, vocals which roar away in the darkness of the song. It’s a primitive, clattering noise, not a million miles away from Axis of perdition, which showcases an even darker side to EOY than was previously apparent. ‘Honey’ is the perfect foil – a slow, static-ridden track that soothes with a groove-laden guitar riff and creepy samples. The final track from EOY is named ‘the stand’ which is a gloriously ambient number that contains melody hidden deep inside the distorted facade. AN excellent addition to EOY’s catalogue.
Guantanamo Party Program: Tracks 5 & 6 http://www.myspace.com/guantanamopartyprogram
Following EOY is no easy job, so it is of great credit to GPP that they take it in their stride, proving to be a more overtly groove based project than EOY offering up a more ambient take on the cerebral metal of Isis and Neurosis. ‘Six feet under (alt version)’ takes the Isis sound from the much vaunted Oceanic era and slows it down, incorporating a greater emphasis on drone than that band, with a repetitive yet intricate backdrop that hammers away at the listener before mutating into something altogether more sinister around the mid section. ’At the world’s end (alt version)’ is equally impressive ; a more melodic take that is closer to Isis forebears Neurosis and almost unbearably atmospheric. On the strength of these two songs GPP have much to offer and it will be a pleasure to hear their full-length efforts. In the meantime find them on myspace and judge for yourself how good they are.
Sun For Miles: Tracks 7-9 http://www.myspace.com/sfmdoom
Sun for miles are, arguably, less accessible than either of the previous two bands. ‘The struggle’ drags itself out of a lengthy drone, but for all that doesn’t exactly speed up – rather it gets heavier offering up a riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on Albert Witchfinder’s excellent The Puritan project. Possessed of a wicked groove, yet so heavy it’s in danger of imploding under its own colossal weight ‘The struggle’ vies for the best track of the EP title with ease, which is no mean feat. ‘Barb of sorrow’ is equally impressive – a melodic, yet powerful track with a suitably rumbling low-end that simply vibrates the floor of anyone with a half-way competent sound system. Final track ‘pleroma (kissing the hive)’ closes out this fine EP with some amazingly atmospheric synth coupled with the ominous sound of bees buzzing across your speakers. A brave work that is part NIN (circa Ghosts) and part horror soundtrack, it is a work of sublime genius from those involved.
When EOY first gained my attention I found them to be an intelligent and exciting take on the whole Doom movement. Combining elements form a number of niche genres they created an album which was as much a work of art as a record. Here they have found the perfect collaborators that straddle either side of the line that EOY inhabit with GPP on the more accessible end (and certainly highly recommended to those with a love of Isis, Tool or Neurosis) and SFM existing in a plain entirely of their own making. There is no weak point – you have to listen to the EP from start to finish to gain the full effect and it has been put together so thoughtfully that the tracks flow perfectly form one to another. A work of astonishing sonic power, this is something you have to hear to appreciate. Simply jaw-dropping.