Howl EP

Written by: PP on 02/09/2009 13:37:25

I think it's an impressive trait to be signed to a colossal metal label like Relapse without having released a single EP or album in the past, yet that's what Providence, Rhode Island four-piece Howl achieved, and now Relapse are putting out their three track self-titled debut EP, which has been receiving generally positive reviews all across the web. So what is it that caught Relapse's attention so solidly that they signed three unexperenced guys and one gal?

Well, it could be that Howl play just the sort of abrasive, down-tuned, brutal, sludgy stoner metal that feels entirely at home in the Relapse Records artist roster. The promotional sheet describes Howl as "super thick mid paced metal. Not unlike the almighty Bolt Thrower, or Obituary, you can throw in a little bit of the heavier aspects of His Hero Is Gone", but I'd be more inclined to say these guys appeal to fans of Mastodon, Kylesa and even High On Fire, such is their slowly built, yet crushing instrumental barrage on this EP. Of the three tracks featured here, "And The Gnawing" is probably the weakest because of the deep stomach growling, doom-like pace and destructive power. As soon as the band injects a slick lead riff and some more melody - like on "Kings That Steal" for instance - they're far better off. Vincent & Andrea's dual scream assault works better here than the previous growls, as there's a nice contrast between the brutal and the (still ugly) soft.

It's also nice to see that Howl's songs aren't 10 minutes long mammoths that you have a hard time keeping up with. Settling in at a reasonable 4-5 minutes, each song is just the right length to build a solid sludge/stoner template but not too long to put the listener off. Take, "Oma", for instance, which spends extensive amount of time in building up a crushing atmosphere through brooding guitars but there's the occasional vocal bark as well to keep things interesting. Never does the band prolong their passages for no reason at all. As such, it seems that Relapse have made a good choice signing these guys as they have some great potential to match releases by High On Fire and Kylesa.


Download: Kings That Steal
For the fans of: Mastodon, Kylesa, High On Fire
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.07.2009

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