Driftoff – Modern Fear
When the members of a new band boast impressive musical resumes, you know you are in for a treat. Driftoff is a post-hardcore act, hailing from New York City, whose members have shared time in critically-lauded acts such as Rosetta and Junius. The quartet shed the bulk of their post-metal tendencies in favor of thick, driving, moody post-hardcore on their debut EP, Modern Fear. Reference points would include Quicksand, Planes Mistaken for Stars and Hot Water Music, but even those comparisons do not do this EP justice. The record opens up with the massive “Dying Light”, which churns out sullen, down-tuned heaviness in abundance. The chords charge forth with the sole intent of battering and bruising you, while crisp melodies meld with the aggression. The intertwining, gruff vocal melodies burrow into your skull and won’t be leaving anytime soon. “Ghosts of Hart Island” follows next with crushing, sludge-tinged riffs that bleed into echoing, intricate melodies, and back again. Leviathanic post-metal riffs combine with post-hardcore rhythms for a jarring bridge and allow the band to transition to an even heavier, emotive climax. Melancholic, effect-laden riffs shower over the EP’s third number, “Black Heat”. Palm-muted riffs march toward melodious surges during the verses, while the choruses are rife with city-leveling riffs. Driftoff choose to end the EP with its finest composition; the nearly seven-minute “Straphanger”. Bending, incendiary riffs pave the way for sludge-laden grooves that shake the earth around as melodies spiral around the metallic assault in a serpentine fashion. Through soaring choruses, cataclysmic verses and atmospheric bridges, “Straphanger” provides an epic end to an epic release. Modern Fear is one of the more forward-thinking, heavy and memorable post-hardcore style releases to be heard this year. Driftoff is definitely a name to look out for in the years to come.
Morality Crisis – MASH
Minneapolis-based sludge experimenters Morality Crisis pulled out all of the stops on their first full-length record, 2013’s Boats. The album combined angular, noise riffage, catastrophic sludge, post-hardcore adjacent rhythms and a great amount of humor (see “Enormous Fucking Death Ass Knife” ). The wacky genre-benders keep the tradition going on their newest musical venture, MASH. MASH is a 35-minute noisy, metallic roller coaster ride that fans of Melvins, Harvey Milk and early Mastodon will enjoy. The record begins with “Cannons Fall on Cannon Falls”, which t cycles between skull-caving hardcore assaults, spiraling licks and bulky sludge marches. The amount of rhythmic and stylistic changes in this track, and the album in general, is dizzying. “Gas” churns out rhythmically jarring, mathcore adjacent riffs that aim at causing disequilibrium, while album closer “Cowboy Song” drowns the listener in a sea of surging, down-tuned doom and gloom that feels as if it belongs on Call of the Mastodon. The album’s main event, however, is the 22-minute leviathanic title track. The first four minutes of “Mash” is made up of towering, earth shattering sludge and doom that bleed into intertwining sections of angular post-hardcore and crusty nuances. The song combines everything the record, and the band themselves, has to offer in a completely mind-boggling behemoth. MASH is yet another eccentric, heavy and fun release from these Minnesota metal maniacs.