I stumbled across a Northern California-based alternative/noise-rock band Slow Bloom who just released their debut EP, Hex Hex Hex, via No Sleep Records. Their music is reminiscent of bands like Nirvana and At The Drive In.
The music definitely transports me back a decade or so to when I was listening to At The Drive In. The singer instantly reminded me of Cedric Bixler shouting and singing over the driving guitars of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, but the tempo and music composition are very similar in that vein as well, but with a modern take.
My favorite song and the strongest, IMHO, is Sarcaphaguts – of which the music video is included below for your viewing pleasure. It has a catchy chorus and sums up the band quite well in one song. I love how the video begins with everyone turning the amps up to 10 – a nice preview of what’s ahead. It’s a compact cacophony of swirling guitars, heavy drums and spazzy vocals that comes together quite well.
The difference (vocally at least) of Slow Bloom compared to these other bands I’ve mentioned though are the screamed vocals, which is a natural progression from what has already been done. I like the singer’s use of shouts, screams, and singing, depending on what is needed at the moment.
What were my thoughts after listening to the entire EP? Well…that was different. And not in a bad way – I think that was the point! The vocal patterns could be unusual at times, jarring against the music in the way that Nirvana didn’t always have a catchy hook that went perfectly well with the instruments in every song. But I didn’t want to stop listening.
Is this an intelligent response to the last 8-10 years, where metalcore dominated the underground landscape but (arguably) may have reached a saturation point? Maybe. Or maybe the band was simply interested in putting out a true alternative-rock album – a solid debut in this genre. Yeah, I think it’s that.
But you give it a listen and you decide!