West Palm Beach, FL, metal band. Florida is such a weird state to me. I expect yellow beaches; it gives me white dunes of coke. I expect free-spirited beach babes; it gives me redneck teenagers who murder their music teacher (Anyone ever read Someone Has to Die Tonight? It's awful). I expect sunny sunshine pop; they give me the ferocious guitar riffs of Ancient Albatross. I know it has all those things but that plays second-fiddle to their foils. I had a buddy from Florida who’d love it or hate it depending on the day. He was primarily a hip-hop head though, so that being my only impression of Florida at the time, I expected everyone to listen to the same. Then I met another dude who was into terrible alternative music and he said Florida was a breeding ground for indie bands. Make up your mind, F L O R I D A.
The EP starts with "City Living" which is sludge metal to the tenth degree. Heavy guitars and even heavier guitars permeate the air as the vocals are aggressively sung although at times when he sings the line "dancing with the devil" I couldn't help think about David Lee Roth. The second song is the longest of the bunch and reminded a bit of the band ISIS. Phrases are sometimes spoken until the pace is picked and they rock out for a bit. The album closes with "Frigid Oceans" which sounded like the epitome of early 90's metal.
Ancient Albatross has already made up their mind as to what music they want to play, technically impressive and pissed-off metal, and they make good use of their time on this four-track EP A Curse Upspoken. Each player is adept at his mission in the band. Singer Nick Barlow can go from guttural scream to black mass high priest chanting at the drop of the hat. Phil Pinto is a frikken' gorilla on drums (because they slam things, but his drumming is a lot more animalistic). Bassist Tony LaFerrera keeps things going with steady but nefarious bass lines and Daniel Mergens is just…his dark guitar wizardry is the reason this thing was on repeat for the better part of the day – mad slimy hooks with the sensibility of a mudslide. It's good as hell, heavy as hell, and acts as the perfect Pequod to Barlow's Moby-Dick vocals. If you like metal, stoner rock or anything like that, you will like this album. Too short of a review? Tough. That's what metal is about.
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