Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
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Six years can feel like a lifetime or a heartbeat, depending on your perspective. When Seattle legend Tad Doyle put together a two-song demo of sludgy doom under the Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth moniker in 2009, expectations were understandably high. Doyle made waves right before the Seattle grunge scene hit its crest as the front man and main songwriter in TAD, whose recorded output, most notably the Sub Pop albums, have been universally celebrated by heavy music fans of all stripes for decades. Noisey recently unveiled an excellent documentary on the history of TAD, but that was then and this is now. After the demo and a stellar split with fellow Seattle doom unit Mico de Noche, the band fell off the grid until the welcome announcement of their self-titled full length.
Assuming this album would be fantastic was a given; what I didn’t expect was how immediately attention-grabbing it is. Right from the opening march cadence of “Lava,” Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth demands you be front and center. The riffs, catchy as they are heavy, hint at what’s to come as the record unfolds.
The first listen through kept bringing me back to the first time I heard Mastodon’s Remission in terms of both sonic similarity and unabashed excitement. In the spring of 2002 Remission was a total game-changer for a scene that was still in the throes of a nu-metal hangover. Here was a band that loved the same great bands I did (Neurosis, Thin Lizzy, etc.) and combined them into something new and electrifying. Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth may not quite be in a position to overhaul the metal underground, but it doesn’t need to be.
The glacially paced “Empires Of Dust” evokes Monotheist-era Celtic Frost with some post-punk elements, while “Unnamed” imagines a world where the Melvins play black metal. The album’s crown jewel is the 11-minute “La Mano Poderosa,” which begins life as pure stoner Sleep worship then slowly, deliberately morphs into a noise rock jam buried under layers of metal distortion and Bonham drums. When the song’s coda comes back to (and augments) the opening riff it feels like Godzilla returning to the ocean. Like the most iconic albums, this one reveals hidden nuances and elements with every listen.
I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll confirm it here: it will be very difficult for any band to release a better album than this one in 2015. We may live in the Golden Age of Hyperbole but Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth is the real deal.
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