|Damn, those New Englanders sure can be hard to pigeonhole, ya know? First there's Cable, one of the region's best bands, and now there's Ichabod, from Massachusetts. I dunno, maybe it's all them educated peoples walking around up there with too many ideas floating around in their heads. Whatever; Ichabod are all over the underground map, serving up a tall Seagram's 7 glass full of psych, doom, punk, stoner, space, crust, and metal straight with no chaser. Its pure hell on the throat, but you'll be thanking the bartender soon enough.|
Along with the above-referenced Cable, Ichabod is on the bleeding edge of some new musical mutation, gathering up different styles and genres of metal and throwing them like a handful of shurikin at your musical expectations and laughing at the result. This music has a wide range of emotion, high intensity, and wide dynamics. Initially I was a bit confused by it all, but like all good albums it's a grower, and I found myself putting it on far more often than I needed to for a simple review. The sound quality gets the spit and polish from none other than Steve Austin who, coincidentally, also produced Cable's new 'Never Trust a Gemini.' He's one hell of a knob twirler.
The music is aggressive, beautiful at times, but not at all pretty. Its just as often grating as it is clean, thanks in large part to the alternative vocal stylings of Ken MacKay. I'm not much for screamers, but this guy can do it with the best of them. The tunes are as claustrophobic as the black basement of a derelict textile mill in the band's hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. But you know what? There's some sunlight filtering in through that broken window up by the ceiling. A light at the end of the tunnel, you might say. So don't get too bummed out.
The tuneage is jam-packed with stylistic variety, building on a foundation of doom and sludge. 'Inglorious' has a healthy dose of said sludge, with screaming mixed with breathless, clean vocals, 'Sabbathy musical change-ups, and even a bit of indy for flavour. 'Escape the Lie' makes you wonder if you're still listening to the same band, with its 'In Search of Space' Hawkwind drone going on until, yes, the sludge comes marching in. Not one of these songs begins and ends in the same way. 'Face Down Riverbed Blues' begins with some nice harp work, transitioning into some heavy doom riffing, while 'Ceramic Bulldog' speeds things up with a little punk sludge. 'World Without End/Pig's Mask' sums up the whole album for me: its kickass, doomy, groovy, sludgy, just a hell of a track. 'Break her Neck Before she Breaks Your Heart' sports some sitar (!) jamming and some evil sampling from Dennis Hopper, if I'm not mistaken.
The danger with this kind of thing is that a band that wanders this far afield can lose its identity. Not so with these guys, thanks to the sludgy doom to which they keep returning. So lovers of Sourvein, Godflesh, 70s metal, Cable, Converge, and Neurosis rejoice! Ichabod are here and your name is next on their list.
2. Escape the Lie
3. Face Down Riverbed Blues
4. Ceramic Bulldog
5. John rocker
6. 500 Miles Behind
7. World Without end/Pig's mask
8. Break Her Neck Before She Breaks Your Heart
Duration : Approx. 54 minutes
Visit the Ichabod bandpage.