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OHHMS : Cold

UK's OHHMS really do 'take you on a journey' with their sophomore release.

Strangely enough, the term 'Post-Metal' has never really done much for me. I say strangely because so many of the bands that grab my attention would be categorised as thus. As a genre tag it always seems a tad flimsy in defining what it actually means. You know where you are with Grind-Core, Death Metal and Hardcore. Post-Metal is somewhat hazy, and I've never been too sure where the borders between Post-Rock and Post-Metal lie. Perhaps there aren't any. Perhaps it's simply a matter of heaviness. Perhaps it's of no consequence.

What I do know, or rather, what I love about Post-Metal are the authentic bands who speak their emotions through the music, be they dark and dangerous, or subtle and sublime. Bands who, when you listen to them, give away some of the unassailable essence as to why they made the music in the first place, whether a lengthy exorcism or a simple, blunt statement. Lastly, and perhaps rather coyly, given the popular use of the phrase, I like bands who 'take you on a journey'. But, given the ludicrous number of bands residing under the rather stretched umbrella that is Post-Metal, you do have to look for them.

The UK's OHHMS are without question, one such band. 2014's debut 'Bloom' was a first rate lesson in introspective sound. A silky weaving together of all that is good about Post-Metal's unabashed willingness to retain a certain style whilst at the same time being wholeheartedly unafraid of experimentation. For fans of any of this 'post-like' stuff, that one release is simply not to be missed.

To me, OHHMS come across as a band who are unlikely to drop the ball in any dramatic fashion. They have authenticity, confidence and assertiveness stamped all over them. I did not expect to be disappointed by 'Cold'. And I wasn't.

With a similar format to 'Bloom', 'Cold' boasts two lengthy tracks which together clock in at around the thirty five minute mark. Opener 'The Anchor' begins quietly enough with chords and a subtle melody that is repeated in heavier fashion after a couple of minutes with the vocal lines keeping close by. Vocalist Paul Waller begins with three words that could not be more apt. "We set sail...". And indeed we do. The music coming across as the soundtrack to a small, weathered vessel with definite purpose traversing vast, undulating, deep waters. This opening track could well be two separate ones. There's a prominent point somewhere around the ten minute mark where the song shifts quite dramatically away from the unruffled opening patterns into a far more frantic vibe before quieting down into one of the mesmeric, classic-rock oriented jams that this band do so very well before building again to its heavy conclusion.

'Dawn of the Swarm' begins with a wonderfully light, psychedelic, Stoner vibe before things kick in, and has more of a progressive, experimental feel overall. However, the dualistic qualities of the music are still very much in evidence. OHHMS really do flow completely effortlessly from pounding rhythms and sludgy riffs into laid back 70's style jams. Floating in and around all of this are the aforementioned vocals of Paul Waller, whose powerful versatility is as much about charm as it is attack. I believe the phrase 'impressive set of pipes' would be rather relevant here, and it's worth noting that what we get is singing and melody, albeit coated in various grades of coarseness, as opposed to the shouty, Hardcore vocals found in much of the genre. 'Cold', on the whole, is heavier and darker than its predessessor but is no less enjoyable.

No comparisons. OHHMS deserve to be heard without the names of other bands hovering over them. Like I said, the world of Post-Rock is a rather crowded place, and for every couple of influences one hears in OHHMS, your neighbour will hear a couple of different ones. The big difference is that OHHMS are currently standing out from the crowd ever so slightly. How far they go remains to be seen, but it's entirely possible that in another year or so the phrase, "they sound like OHHMS" will be in use, and it will be OHHMS hovering over everyone else.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Anchor
2. Dawn Of The Swarm

Duration : Approx. 33 minutes

Visit the OHHMS bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-07-13 by Matt Halsey
Rotten Copper
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