Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof
Last year we reviewed Hampshire sludge rockers XII Boar and identified a band with work to do, but with plenty of potential. Now they’re back with ‘Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof’, another four tracks of raw power that signify a huge step up from the band.
Anyone not familiar with XII Boar will quickly realise this is a band that enjoys a good time and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Kicking off with the excellent ‘Smokin’ Bones’, the track begins as a bluesy rocker underpinned by an excellent bass groove, before going right into overdrive with a searing guitar solo and a balls-out thrashy section that even caught me by surprise, before settling back down to their blues groove with a ‘FUCK YEAH!’. That track alone exudes pure attitude and ‘Hellspeed Viper’ follows it up with more hammering riffs including a thunderous, sludge showdown halfway through.
Perhaps the centrepiece of this EP is third track ‘Slamhound’. Starting with an excellent sample from now defunct TV series Deadwood, from that point it gets straight into some good-time dirty boogie metal with a tremendous ‘fuck you’ solo sandwiched in the middle. Its part of the reason I’m finding it hard to put this EP down lately, because it kicks so much rear end its unreal. I wouldn’t say there’s a weak spot with this record at all, although ‘Triclops’ doesn’t stick in my head as much as the other tracks – that’s not to dispute its quality at all, though, a straight up metal beast as worthy of the monster it refers to.
If we did a most-improved of 2012 award, XII Boar would surely have to be in the running. ‘XII‘ was good but ‘Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof‘ represents a serious improvement for the trio. If only we could drown in their pool of beer, tattoos, women and galloping stoner grooves. This is the most feel-good slab of metal we’ve seen in a while, and it’d be an injustice for this party if it didn’t grow in size and stature.