By Mark Angel Brandt



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Released on tape via Black Bow Records

If you were labelled as potentially the future of British doom by Terrorizer magazine with your début demo, would you rest on your laurels? Dorset self-labeled 'filthwizards' Greenhorn haven't; instead, they've upped their game even further, tightening their sound for new EP Doom Hawk, and added some humor along the way. The result, needless to say, is just a little bit filthy.

Once the listener gets over the bewilderment of songs entitled 'Horse Cock' and 'Driven Like A Cunt', the next thing to strike their ears are the riffs. Alex Jack and Simon Williams are clear worshippers of the riff, and it shows to great effect. Taking their cues from noisemakers such as Iron Monkey, Church Of Misery and Dopethrone, the guitar and bass work treads that fine yet fuzzy line between sludge and doom. 'Enemies' contains but one example, a frankly stonking heavy riff that hits after a psychedelic feedback-filled jam. The riff that bookends 'Kingdom By The Sea' is another highlight, elevating the song to jackpot of the EP. And most importantly of all, everything sounds massive; the production has taken a big step up since The Plague Doctor's Mask last year, for a more enveloping sound.



Riffs aside, there's plenty going on. Although 'Horse Cock' leaves the listener wondering where the bass is, it's soon clear enough: an instrumental break in 'Driven Like A Cunt' displays just how downtuned and buzzing the bass is, jacking up the potency of the riffs when the band slams back into action. Williams's other talent, the 'throat abuse', is a little more Marmite. For this reviewer though, his vicious snarls do the trick. Falling somewhere between Carcass's Jeff Walker and Iron Monkey's Johnny Morrow, they render the lyrics nigh on unintelligible, but he sounds mighty pissed off regardless. And to top it off, the dismal clean vocals heard before in 'Witch's Bridle' make a return on 'Kingdom Of The Sea', just to make that track even better.

In this midst of all this po-faced sludge and doom, it becomes intriguing to see a band that clearly doesn't take itself too seriously. Doom Hawk features two film quotes from Man Of Steel, one in 'Enemies/ and the other a stand-alone track after 'Kingdom Of The Sea' concerning binoculars. Given they both mention 'greenhorn', they may be drawing attention to the fact that a 'greenhorn' is a slang term for a newcomer (which Greenhorn are, having formed less than 2 years ago), or it may just be comic relief between the bouts of heavy. In any case, it will be interesting to note whether the band keep this as part of their stratagem, or whether it was a one-off for the EP.

If it isn't clear by now, Greenhorn are onto a winner with Doom Hawk. The band have never sounded bigger, better or more comfortable in their element. There is a burgeoning stoner/sludge/doom scene in the UK at the moment, and Greenhorn are making all the right noises to find themselves right at the top of the heap. Doom aficionados, grab a copy of this immediately, and make sure to witness their live show as well.

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