Hailing not from Louisiana, as their heavier-than-a-lorry-load-of-spanners sound would suggest, but rather from Portland, Oregon, Nether Regions (yes, we know…!) have released a debut album that on first listen may cause you to namecheck at least half a dozen bands that immediately spring to mind, but to dismiss them as mere copycats may mean you deprive yourselves of a pretty rewarding listen that could put these US sluggers in the same ballpark as some of the genre’s big boys.
Although opening track ‘Into the Breach/Spanish Werewolves’ kicks in with a flurry of drums and swamp-drenched guitars it soon settles into a dirty, mid-tempo groove that, while not really going anywhere, does reveal a pretty damn tight musical unit. Second track ‘Do You Live?’ is a similar beast – all musical flurries and pounding rhythms – although one suspects that in a live environment the song may have many more layers to it.
‘Your Name is Madness’ drifts in on a more psychedelic trip that echoes prime Danzig for atmosphere and dynamics, whilst the hard-hitting ‘Pale Faced God’ reminds of High on Fire, but this is where the album comes into its own as the double-whammy of ‘Blood Ritual’ and ‘Alpha/Omega’ display the right combination of balls-out heaviness and inventiveness that the first few songs were building towards, and serve as the album’s highlights.
Sadly, this means that the final two tracks don’t keep up the same level of quality or intensity. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad songs but after the schizoid insanity of ‘Alpha/Omega’, ‘A City Far Enough Away’ and ‘Outrun the Sun’ bring things to a close on a more melodic and mellower vibe that bring nothing new to the table and fail to resonate in the consciousness as much as the previous tracks.
Overall this is a pretty decent album. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and will no doubt be overlooked by people looking for the next ‘big thing’, but give it time and those dirty, swaggering riffs will lodge themselves somewhere in your head, and with a surprisingly ‘big’ production for a relatively unknown sludge band there are more than enough hints of a steady future for this band.
Nether Regions’ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nether-Regions/291856260783
Abnormal Gait Records’ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/abnormalgaitrecords