By: Garviel Loken
In a world of ten minute songs with constant tempo changes and staccato, off kilter time signatures, it is a nice thing to settle down with some music that eschews the polished veneer and delivers the bare bones. The newest Methra EP certainly does this, and no better phrase than "straight forward" can be found to describe what is contained in these five songs. So if you don't like to rock out to the not so delicate sounds of doom and sludge, please stop reading this review, dab some angel dust onto your eyes, and go party on with your speed metal. Now, where were we...
The opening track of the EP, Xipe Totec, sets the stage for what is to follow with a slow dirge and a whole lot of groove. Follow on tracks U Series, Buzzard, and the aptly named Heavier Things showcase that while Methra keeps events within their songs moving at the glacial pace of a war elephant on the march, they are not a one trick band. You clearly hear the influences that range from doom to sludge to rock to post-metal (think Isis/Neurosis.) There are even some hardcore riffs in the music, which please the ear at the mid to slow pace that is the modus operandi of the band. The stand out track award on the EP definitely goes to the last song, Argon. The beginning melody sets a very nice atmosphere that is built upon by the bass and drums and then at a minute and twenty-three seconds in the song launches forward into a tight, swirling groove that is very memorable.
Sounding much like a radiation blasted demon from your worst dream, the vocals give the proceedings an extra punch of ominous portent, and sit very well within the songs. Guitar, bass, and drums are all competently performed and locked into delivering the goods. Special mention must be made for the bass guitar tone and the snare drum, they sound really killer and distinct in the recording. The mix of the songs is very solid and while it lets the individual instruments stand alone to be heard, it also combines and blends them into a compact and potent block of heaviness.
Overall, the songs on this EP have an organic feel and as a listening experience are far stronger when listened to as a whole versus one song here and there. Methra has good chops and is talented at creating a certain feel to their material that seems all their own. Though at times it seems that the band is still trying to nail down where it wants to go musically, Methra sticks to the basics and gets the job done. Keeping the evolution going is a healthy thing for a group of musicians and we should look forward to what these guys create next. The meat and potatoes may be all we are receiving right now, but hell, meat and potatoes are pretty goddamned tasty.
Final Score: 7/10