Review Roundup: End of Level Boss/Thou/Bringers of Disease

End of Level Boss

Eklectric
Exile on Mainstream

End of Level Boss have won many plaudits in the past for their first two records, which introduced the world to their formula of progressive stoner rock that sits somewhere between Kyuss and later-era Voivod. Despite this, they haven’t quite made the forward step in popularity one would have hoped for. Yet they stick to their guns on album number 3, and it’s a credit to them for doing so. Their sound is nothing short of pleasantly challenging.

Those Voivodian tendencies are rife throughout ‘Eklectric’ and at first it has a little trouble sticking as it seeks to find its direction. It’s not bad at all but there’s an awkwardness that sits about the formula that some might find hard to digest. It changes up a little with the more direct and venomous ‘Mouth of Hats’, and later on ‘Thud’, but it always remains firmly in angular territory. Eventually the album does gather momentum as the various elements that make up EOLB start to find a little more cohesion. Tracks like ‘Senescence’ and ‘Blueshift’ keep the momentum flowing ticking along nicely and there are plenty of other worthy jams as well.

Not quite a masterpiece, but this is a welcome return for one of the UK’s diamonds in the rough.

Thou
To The Chaos Wizard Youth
Howling Mine
The ever prolific Thou follow hot on the heels of their release of Black Sabbath covers, ‘Through The Empires of Eternal Void’, with another four track EP, this time comprising four songs of post-‘Summit’ material. It’s not quite as strong as ‘Summit’ for my money but then again, Thou never ever disappoint. This is yet another slab of crushing Baton Rouge sludge, the most impressive track being ‘Helen Hill Will Have Her Revenge On New Orleans’, the perfect soundtrack to a violent, murky death in the deepest swamps.
Bringers of Disease
Gospel of Pestilence
Translation Loss

Consisting of former members of Mouth of the Architect and Acheron among others, Bringers of Disease shun the current trend in certain USBM circles of going ‘transcendental’, instead focusing squarely on black metal of the old-school, crusty variety. Boy oh boy, does this approach pay dividends. The production isn’t clean and shiny, nor does the EP sound like it was recorded in a sewer – it’s just right. And while there’s nothing here that hasn’t been covered before, ‘Gospel…’ is anything but a retread. Songs like ‘Your Prayers Remain Unheard’ and ‘A Plague To End All Plagues’ display Bringers’ ability and nous to know when to ease on the brake slightly and when to hammer the foot to the floor. ‘Gospel of Pestilence’ is more than a solid debut, and its four tracks are a sign of pure potential. Definitely ones to watch.
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