Lower Forms

Written by: PP on 07/03/2011 03:53:43

A surprise contestant on my best of 2011 list comes from Portland based sludge metallers Rabbits. Their Relapse Records debut album "Lower Forms" might just be one of the finest pieces of sludgy, down-tuned, gritty music I've stumbled upon in the genre, and it is that for one simple reason: a brilliantly executed misanthropic and overwhelmingly ugly soundscape that stands in stark contrast to the subtle injections of immediately catchy melody presented within.

Songs like "Noise To Share" and "Burn, Sun, Burn" display a jarring amalgamation of instruments crashing into each other and plummeting soundscapes that leave the listener lying crushed underneath their sheer weight. It's music that shouldn't be enjoyable, sounds that gnaw and grind your skull slowly but with a determined fire of down-tuned stoner-sludge riffs, resulting in an uncompromising, wholly unadulterated expression that's as raw as they come. But yet within the messy and unpolished sound you find glimmering pieces like "A Tale Of Tales", one of the best sludge metal tracks I've ever heard, which pertains all of the above while somehow adding in a distant layer of melody. The rough howls and the pure ugliness of the instruments shouldn't logically be able to create passages which, I kid you not, are nearly sing alongable in nature, but yet it is a recurring trend throughout "Lower Forms". Not exactly what you'd expect from a band whose sound has been influenced by Eyehategod, Buzzoven, Unsane and Crowbar to name but a few, eh?

Something about this coarse and unfriendly vibe of the record is strangely appealing to the listener. It's an album that's made to be played in blackened and beat down venues where dirt is the rule rather than the exception, and that's the sort of atmosphere Rabbits portray to near-perfection. That they've been able to arrange it into a form and structure that's also catchy in a genre that is normally the last place you'd look for such speaks volumes about how talented of a band Rabbits really is. Do yourself a favor and check out "Lower Forms", for it is one of the very few sludge metal albums with potential to act as a gateway to the genre, since it is so appealing in many ways to even people outside of the niché. An instant classic.

Download: A Tale Of Tales, We Beat, Noise To Share, No Depth
For the fans of: Eyehategod, Buzzoven, Unsane, Crowbar
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.02.2011

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