Album Review: SNAILKING Storm
Watching a time lapse videos of say, a building being constructed or something going through the various stages of decomposition, is plenty interesting. The video might be a little bit on the long side, but you know everything you're watching is slowly working toward some grand finale in its various stages and. Plus, if the video were to be dissected into separate frames, each component would be worth staying on for a little bit because it's something slightly different and new while staying topical. What I'm getting at here is a slow-moving piece of art that goes from Point A to Point B without straying from the task at hand can be amazing if it's done right.
Snailking has done exactly that with Storm. What?
With the shortest song clocking in at about six-and-a-half minutes and the longest clocking in at about seventeen, at first glance it might seem like Snailking are just going with the whole "power of the riff" mentality and filling the sonic space with noise labeled as substance, rather than substance labeled honestly. Instead, the band takes the time lapse video approach to their music: start off with a riff or object and slowly mutate and contort it until it reaches what it should be while maintaining the essence of the starting point. It's a weird analogy to make, but that's the way Storm comes off to me. Even the longest song on the album, "Requiem," is purely hypnotic in the way it transforms from riff to riff to the point where you're not even aware seventeen minutes just snuck quietly by you.
That brings me to the next point about the magic that is Storm: the riffs and rhythms couldn't put me, or any listener, in more of a trance-like state even if they tried. The group released Samsara in 2012 and I hailed the record as being one of the better doom records to have come out in a long time. How could they possibly follow that up? Well, with less guitar effects and a more straightforward approach. Samsara utilized a little more in the way of flangers and chorus pedals on the guitar and let the drums and bass take up more sonic room, or in the same metaphorical way you'd watch an avalanche of rocks come barreling through a fog for about a half an hour. Crushing, but in one regard. Storm pulls out all the stops and just lays down the plodding heaviness that came along with Samsara, but with an extra layer of crunching, suffocating guitar on top. So an avalanche plus baseball-sized hail.
Storm is simply a record that lives up to its name. Sometimes it rains, sometime it's Hurricane Katrina hopped up on methamphetamines wielding two baseball bats. Prepare yourself accordingly, but keep in mind you'll be under the spell of Snailking's circular, pocket watch pendulum-type riffs too much to know everything is crashing down around you.