Despite arguably coming from entirely different disciplines -- the band comprises ex-members of Tortoise and Wolves In The Throne Room, to name just two -- Anatomy of Habit marry the heavy but introspective build-ups of post-metal with the dissonant refusals of noise rock. It's a different venture all round, but 'Ciphers + Axioms' dives right in for the epic and evil soundscaping of acts such as Swans.
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Vocalist Mark Solotroff actually sings the word “monolithic” on ‘Ciphers + Axioms’, so I don’t have to. I’m pretty sure what he meant to say was “metal”, though -- enlisting Will Lindsay of everyone’s favourite indie kvlt band, Wolves In The Throne Room, and singing like he wishes he could be a little more like the vocalist from Harvey Milk, his band are making a quite pure concoction of heavy metal, with shades of a slower, but equally traditional brute force: doom. The drums, they hiss like snakes, or else fall like snow caught in a relentless avalanche. The guitars crash to the floor until there’s no more space on it. And Solotroff? Well, he sounds very serious indeed. Metal is no place for clowning.
‘Ciphers + Axioms’ is pretty exponential with its intensity; it starts off a bit soft and Sabbath, anxious in its evil practices, but by the time we’ve entered the third suite of “Radiate and Recede”, the band are just flexing their instruments into amps in the hope feedback will be courteous enough to offer up the answer to the meaning of life. Really, though, it just continues to scorch the earth, turning the song from a dynamic jam into a nasty piece of work in the vein of Loss or Moss Icon.
Obsessed with feedback’s cruel spitting energy, they fall into b-side “Then Window” just the same, as if they’re the world’s slowest grindcore band changing up between songs. The track feels similarly jarring, in that it goes from this dissonant hell into a clean-as-a-whistle style metal song that sounds like it’s just come out the shower -- Solotroff’s vocals return and the guitars, while distorted, feel reserved and pleasant, in the vein of a more urgent Warning. The drums march onward propulsively, and everything goes to plan. I’d tell you that the song leaves me a little cold, but the first rule of heavy metal is that you do not talk about heavy metal. The second rule is be positive, so good work guys: very monolithic indeed.
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