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LowFlyingHawks : Genkaku

Some stunningly-recorded moody Sludge/Post-Metal, courtesy of Texan duo LowFlyingHawks.

What a pleasant surprise the year 2017 has been for Doom. New releases from Bell Witch, Loss, Electric Wizard, and Paradise Lost have been grabbing the attention of many who love the slow and sad tunes, continuing to refine and refresh the style with their modern interpretations of it. One band that has recently caught me surprise is mysterious Texan duo LowFlyingHawks. Although they released a debut album entitled 'Kōfuku' last year, this second release, 'Genkaku', is the first I've heard from them.

First thing that I want to say is where the HELL did these guys come from??? Very refined and mature sounding music, a professional and clean cut sound production, and session musicians from the likes of The Melvins and Fantômas! Had I not known better, I would think this album belonged to a band that has decades of experience under their belt. I would also think they were on a much bigger label, such as Relapse or Profound Lore, just for how incredibly high quality the recording sounds.

Well, without further ado, let's get onto the music. 'Genkaku' consists of a unique and well-nuanced blend of Doom, Stoner, and Post-Metal with dreary, mid-range clean vocals. The guitar tone is very deep, as if it were to match the pitch of the bass lines. The bass is just as loud and pounding as the guitars, in which the distorted guitars and bass carry on dense repetitions, as clean guitar melodies strum alongside them. The drums are very crisp and aggressive, adding more intensity to the lethargic riffs and switching up time signatures to keep you on the edge of your seat. In terms of the atmosphere, a majority of the music is very bleak, scorched, personal, and incredibly dark. It has the kind of mood as the emotional modern Doom of 40 Watt Sun, The River, and even the more mechanical and droned-out sounding Jesu. Then, at periods, the music builds up to sludgy, bluesy, Stoner Metal sections that are exemplified by more gravelly singing.

A good example of the transition I'm referring to is well-showcased in the opening track, 'Smile'. The first half of the track consists of melancholic, melodic doom with sorrowful guitar melodies and monotonous clean singing. Towards the middle of the track, the mood turns into a more easy-going, Sabbath-style swing, topped off by vocals from none other than Buzz Osborn! It's a unique transition from two very different moods, and they pull it off so seamlessly. In addition to the solemn, melancholic sections, and the bluesy, Sabbath-y passages, there are also a lot of ominous periods of ambient noise, feedback, and droning guitars. Tracks 'Hallucination' and closer 'Sinister Waves' have extended sections in which the drums drop off, allowing a very quiet layer of droning clean guitars to guide them into its next respective phase of the songs.

What wraps the album up into a nice little package is the stunning recording quality. Everything sounds so crisp and clean, without losing any of its edge. The singing is so pleasant and varied, placed at just the right level with the guitars and bass, yet the drums are never overpowered either. Generally, this is a very mature, complex sounding Doom album, with tasteful shades of Stoner, Post-Metal, and Drone scattered around to add variety.

Those who enjoy stuff like The River, Pallbearer, Khemmis, and particularly Pelican's first couple of releases, you will find something you want to hear with this album.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Smile
2. Uncool
3. Virgin Witch
4. Space Wizard
5. Hallucination
6. Twilight
7. Sinister Waves

Duration : Approx. 44 minutes

Visit the LowFlyingHawks bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-12-18 by Dante DuVall
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