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'Season Of Arrows'
(The Path Less Traveled Records)
Release Date: April 15th 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

season of arrows

Cool name for a band; no wonder they decided to title their album the same.

This Doom-loving quintet is an interesting proposition actually. Their album was shoved in to my sweaty palms with only the promise of unveiling the nine tracks which were concealed within, and when I found out they came from Nashville my eyes were opened!

To think that Nashville for many years was associated with country-themed music and gradually over the last few years is gaining a reputation for being the beating heart for an area producing song-writers of many different musical genres.

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The line-up includes a haunting female vocal from Stormie Wakefield, Brandon Shepard on guitar alongside the other guitarist David Gates; bassist Shawn Van Dusen who also provides backing vocals and Brad Lawson wielding the drum-sticks of time.

United in their focus and passion to bring a Doom-ridden filthy sludge-fest to our ears, they were apparently started in only January of this year and here we are with an album on our hands already! That is the epitome of a quick turnover.

'The Loved One' was quietly made available as a taster or a single back in late January to be followed by 'Soul Of The City' in early February. So if you're the sort of person who likes to dig deep and try to be at the head of the queue, you may know about these guys. For the rest of us, I'll bring us up to speed with things.

The overall vibe suggests they recorded it live and crusty in a cosy yet dark corner of a cellar somewhere. There's a spooky reverb with the vocals and the cymbals have plenty of snarl. All you need to know is presented with opening number 'Submersible' although when you read their press release, it implies these are hook-laden and pop-fuelled Doomy gems. Being a fan of cheese and hooks, most of the material here wasn't overly immediate as it took my ears a few rotations before picking out anything that would drive me to addiction.

Two tracks stretch the band and the listener nicely which ride into view via the foreboding shapes of 'Columns' and 'Trace Elements'. The former maintains a rapid attack only to slow down the sludgy onslaught by bringing in the heavier artillery during certain intervals. Listen out for a delicious breakdown around the middle section where the bass and drums get to breathe. The latter is glorious in a tension-building arch which paces itself with decisive intent.

'Rival' is quirky thanks to the guitar parts and the rest of the band adding to the moments of unity. Not ones to exhaust their gimmick, they continue to mix things up. Other tracks like 'Sleepwalkers' and 'Bad Weather' have good intentions and some appropriate Doom-like ingredients but don't really hit the mark like on other parts of the album. Those other parts including 'The Loved One' and 'Soul Of The City' and the marvellous 'Columns'.

When you have this on repeat, you're glad there are only nine tracks to wade through. I would deduce this album is for a specific mood and on occasion when spinning this 'rotating plastic demon' (a quote from 'The Wizard' by Paul Hardcastle if you're interested) I wasn't always in 'that' mood.

'Season of Arrows' is relentless and monotonous within its groove of Doom-soaked filth. If that sounds like your idea of Shangri-La then you know what you'll be spending your hard earned money on, but if you're a little diverse and restless in your tastes then I would recommend grabbing the one track 'Columns' and savouring their sound and style with that morsel alone.

The Loved One
Soul Of The City
Ox Blood
Trace Elements
Bad Weather

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