By: Anoop Bhat
Drums Are For Parade | website | facebook | soundcloud |
Released on November 10, 2014 via Hypertension Records
I first listened to SardoniS in 2012. At the time, I had no idea what to expect from this Belgian two-piece, whose sophomore album cover gave off this distinctively traditional vibe. II was one helluva twister, the good kind of course. The kind that had an eager, teeth-rattling quality to it, a sort of a nuclear fission reaction raring to happen. The sheer command with which these Belgians belted out massive, thrash-tinged stoner jams had you scratching your head; for a two-piece Jesse and Roel pack quite a punch. In the same year they partnered with Tank86, and shortly after, with Eternal Elysium and then came the (frustrating) lull that lasted a good two years only broken by The Abyss Stares Back series of splits by Hypertension Records.
Drums Are For Parades is an odd bunch. Also hailing from Belgium, it has managed to keep things interesting all along its career. No two studio outputs by the band have sounded the same. The band digs a variety of stuff and is not embarrassed to flaunt it.
Their side of the split starts rather adventurously with ‘Stacks’ – a song that demonstrates the band’s penchant for all things kraut, with the kind of elaborate, synth-driven soundscapes it conjures. The track is a motley assortment of ideas from earlier works of sequencer-based krautrock bands. It has the anxiety of a band like Kraftwerk coloured with the sunniness of some Stratosphere-era Tangerine Dream and some Hans Zimmer style cinematic set-pieces thrown in. ‘Ambulance Du Ciel’ is not your typical sludge song. It is not all-out bluesy nor is it the acerbic kind. With its leaden, almost-industrial delivery pinched with eerie pan-flute synth fills the song is a fresh take on sludge music. It is all there, the down tuned guitars, the grinding heaviness, the anguished vocals and yet it doesn’t seem typical. Oh and it all ends with a little xylophone piece.
The next song starts with this ‘On The Run’-like claustrophobic, pulsing synth bassline that then grows and slowly disintegrates into quieter sections. The song then meanders about rather aimlessly. My problem with ‘My Problematic Relationship With Death And Doom Metal’ is that it lasts for too long and it sounds just so removed from whatever that has been going on for the last 8 minutes. While their full-length, Master borrowed a huge deal from Melvins, Mastodon and even early-Soundgarden, they went all out avant-doom/sludge on this one. I do not think if this is their most focused work to date, but hey I found myself a fantastic new band.
These guys get right to business with ‘The Unknown’ – my favourite tune of the lot. They aren’t as punishing as I remember them to be, but they are bang-up groovy and one just can’t hate this. The guitar tone has a certain twang to it à la Clutch with some warm, tingly fuzziness peppered in.
Just when it begins to appear that the band has dropped their much lauded High on Fire influence and gone for a more Karma to Burn-brand of heavy hard rock (?), ‘Stirring the Undertow’ kicks in and changes that, proper SardoniS style. The band with their side of the split provide some quality light-hearted, no-frills, riff-heavy rock & roll and leave you with a smile. I loved it.
The split is a mixed bag of ideas where both the bands showcase a fresher side of themselves in their own ways. Long story short, The Abyss Stares Back #3 is a hit.