Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review puplished on

Absolute vacuum, utter emptiness or void seems to be a re-occurring theme in Doom Metal, as well as various other depressive genres of music. It is especially common in bands that lie in the Drone or Funereal realms of Doom, which perpetuate a feeling of hollowness through excruciatingly slow riffs, monotonous tunes, or unintelligible vocal performances. Dark Tharr succeeds in sounding desolate and empty, yet they do so to an extent that the performance itself becomes lifeless after a while. Raw and Nihilistic are two promising adjectives for an intense Sludge album, but intensity is what this album lacks. With a good bass tone and possessed vocal performance, the band has potential to really kick the listener’s ass. Yet, there is too little variation in rhythm patterns and riffs, which takes away from the power of the music. The drums sound fairly weak in the mix and stick to a comfortable mid-tempo beat throughout each song, while the guitar emanates a rusty and bleak essence that would be more than appropriate for a Stoner band. At times, the rhythm section grinds to a standstill, leaving the buzzing guitar to vibrate among ear-shattering feedback. Shades of Drone drift along at times, bringing to mind the intensely slow moments of Thou. Despite the less than powerful guitar and drums, there are some points of interest in the music. Although rasps and screams are characteristic for Sludge, the vocals add a layer of ferocity to the emotionless tracks. The sick shrieks are cruel and cynical, sounding truly damned and anguished. Even though it has become a bit too common to compare extreme female vocals based on gender, they lie close to the demonic rasps of ShEver and Grey. Another effective element, and perhaps the band’s best aspect, is their bass. The listener is treated to a deep, thick wall of sound that pounds alongside the guitar. It is utilized particularly well in ’Days of Despair’, in which its heavy movements are akin to Om’s distinctive usage of distorted bass. With the basic song structures, minimal variation in riffs and repetition of Stoner-inspired melodies, Dark Tharr almost begins to sound close to a less ambitious and more depressive sounding Weedeater. This simple and ritualistic approach would probably be greatly improved with a cleaner sound quality, and drums that weren’t buried so deep in the mix.

Thanks a lot, Dante Duvall!

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