Self-titled debut album from UK stoner doom activists Henge. All the elements are firmly in place, from the lumbering, endlessly propulsive rhythm section to the pummelling down-tuned riffs of the guitars. And lets not forget the howling vocals, or the sense that each member of the band have spent the last week in a narcotic haze in a basement. On God Unknown.
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Doom, or dooooooooooooooooooooom as it should probably be called, swings wildly between the super earnest and the absolutely asinine; like life, it’s important to take both, in moderation, rather than listen to 100% Thou and absolutely 0% Old Man Gloom. You’ve gotta learn to be crushed in spirit but also crush your demons, and stoner outfit Henge are good for both. They recall Black Sabbath of course, but in more than just snailing riffs and cruel drum patterns; there’s a silliness to go with every seriousness, a feral yelp beyond comedic boundaries that’s then cut off with a tonally sourfaced riff.
Henge make snapshot doom: their tracks aren’t overlong, but take a good riff and play it only to its point of satisfaction. “Time Outside” has a gorgeous, emptying guitar part and couples it with a rawk-growled monologue that sounds kinda ridiculous and unhinged, but also weirdly sweet (“let’s build a house! I’ll hold you close!”) -- it says its piece, climaxes into the feedbacking void, and ends before we get too wrapped up in it.
This is not to say that Henge don’t indulge, and if I may make a dignified contradiction to my opening remarks, one must indulge in doom: absolutely ridiculous, full-on groaner riffs take over “Wet Grave” before a wave of distortion carries them over the sea. It’s just that these ideas are compacted, like fine leftovers in sturdy tupperware. Also, the lyrics are super dumb (“it feels so sexy when you crawl inside me”), but if I may offer another maxim: you can’t win them all.
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