Nick Wulforst (guitar/vocals), Brad Larson (bass), Tim Abel (drums) and Stephen Cameron (guitar/vocals) are Charley No Face. The band from Portland, Oregon recently released a three- song EP entitled The Green Man EP.
They mention they “draw on a wide range of influences reminiscent of Black Sabbath, The Stooges and early ’70s prog rock.” That’s what I was thinking as well. The EP aesthetics, textures and tones really hit the retro ’70s vibe in a similar vein to artists like Ty Segall or Mikal Cronin. As an engineer myself there is one difference I noticed compared to 70's production. The vocals on these songs are drenched in reverb and low in the mix. This is typically a characteristic you hear in shoegaze. I actually thought it sounded great and have heard this done before in drone metal bands.
The band kicks things off with “Prism” and the song is broken up into a couple of different distinct sections. They get going with a distorted and dark riff and you can hear comparisons to Black Sabbath. The vocals sound great and sort of feel like some of the light within the darkness when they appear.
The major change happens around the three-minute mark and they take a turn for the prog. They swiftly hit a couple transitions going back and forth. This second half sounded more like Tool than Black Sabbath,
Up next is “Gate Keeper” and it opens with a bluesy sort of Jack White style chord progressions. I was a little worried this song was going to sound completely different than the opener which it didn’t. The song gets back in ’70s metal territory. It’s a pretty epic song not unlike the opening track. “Endless Dream” is another great track and on top of the prog and metal influences I was thinking of ’90's grunge as well. There is a slight bluesy guitar solo as well.
These three songs were tight and I became a fan. My only critique would be for the band to think about some of out of the box experimentation as to where the music can go. Some of the riff and transitions sounded too on the nose for the genre and I felt like I’ve heard variations of this before in some capacity.
Overall, I would say this is a great EP from a promising band. I have give kudos to the engineers here for the killer production. Hopefully, this is just the start. I look forward to hearing more.
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