It feels like this album has been in gestation forever. I was starting to believe that it was something along the lines of the magical, mythical Yeti; many have spoken of it, some claim to have seen it, but even fewer know what it sounds like. When Tad Doyle resurfaced a couple of years ago to participate in Aaron Edge’s Lumbar project (also rounded out by YOB’s Mike Scheidt), the company he was keeping indicated how doom minded his musical tendencies might be leaning. But even as heavy as THE FIRST AND LAST DAYS OF UNWELCOME was, I guess I didn’t realize how fully Doyle had embraced “the doom”, because BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH is the real deal. A kindred spirt to the likes of YOB or Cough with its ability to simultaneously dominate while inducing gut wrenching emotion, it’s an exceptional debut that was worth the wait.
The rhythmic momentum behind “Lava” recalls Doyle’s handiwork from his namesake band (R.I.P. TAD), but holy crap, “Empires of Dust”; trudging through despondent resonance that’ll shake your rib cage one moment, threatening a ray of hope the next, all the while Doyle’s voice gurgles like a swamp demon. That delicate balance between blunt force sonic trauma and crawling, melancholic suggestion is a constant thread across the album’s seven tracks, and it’s entirely effective. Speaking of entirely effective, “La Mano Poderosa” is an older track first appearing on their 2009 demo, but it’s another wild, rhythmic ride. At its center is a magma core of YOB like chants and riff repetition that surreptitiously detours into upbeat jangle-isms a la Deafheaven, and then just as seamlessly slips back into first gear to continue hitting you with cinder blocks. “I Am” seethes with staggering ascendance towards personal triumph, while the percussive trance of “The Immutable Path” offers a more subdued alternative towards the closing piano strains of “Outro”. Start to finish, it’s an incredible album with tons of replay value. Each time I listen to this album, I hear something new that I\’d missed before – it\’s a fulfilling experience, for sure.
With an album this good, I’m a bit surprised at the limited press around BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH. Between the Neurot Recordings stamp of approval, Doyle’s inimitable legacy and sheer the quality of the songs themselves, BOTSC is the kind of album you’d expect to see littered across year end “best of” lists ( I know it’ll be on mine). But whether you’re a fan of the genre or just a fan of the heavy, consider BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH to be mandatory listening.
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