"UR-: a prefix meaning “earliest, original,” used in words denoting the primal stage of a historical or cultural entity or phenomenon."
"METAL: energetic, highly amplified rock music characterized by a heavy beat, often accompanied by dark lyrics with fantastic imagery."
And with that handy definition Texan four piece Hogbitch promises to deliver their brand of “Ur-Metal that augments the iron bite of doom metal and epic metal with elements of space rock and heavy blues.”
So like me you are probably expecting another band hitching a ride on the retro/occult rock bandwagon and the mystical chanting followed by driving traditional metal RIFF of opening track ‘Queen B’ does nothing to dispel that motif, all high tempo swagger, rumbling bass and strong clean female vocals nailing the vibe perfectly, while a grinding doom breakdown serves as a useful twist.
So far so expected then….
But then ‘Thrown To The Sky’ “happens” and we are suddenly transported into 90’s alt rock with a (admittedly monstrous) huge funk rock RIFF reminiscent of Red hot Chili Peppers and vocal delivery brings to mind Guano Apes. The bass RIFF in this is exceptional!
Unexpected but a brilliant song none the less ‘Black Corridor’ initially goes for the trippy space rock voyage until they decide to pinch the 'Brain Stew' RIFF from Green Day but they redeem themselves somewhat with an impressive mid-section psychedelic rock out.
These contrasting ideas and influences become common place the deeper into the album we travel with ‘Hameh’ attempting to combine the traditional metal and 90’s funk and ‘Never’ veering between quite bluesy verses and loud grunge choruses to varying degrees of success.
At this point it comes across as more confusion than genuine genre fusion but they are great songwriters when they stick to one idea as the opening tracks and the full on alt rock of ‘Consumptive Sun’ and ‘Maidenhead’ demonstrate.
Still time for one last curveball as ‘Skin, Don’t You Know Me’ has them trying their hand at some quirky gothic swing music (as you do).