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Chowder - Passion Rift

Shostakovich   (109 reviews)

Posted: 05/23/2012 | Comments: 4 | Rate:

Got my hands on this, on a nice coincidence, on the same day that Google had a pretty extensive working digital Moog synth as the logo on the main page. Very fitting indeed. I even tried to play along on repeated listens. It sucked, but was pretty fun. Anyway, I digress.

Finally seeing a full length Chowder record getting released is along the same lines as finally hearing "Chinese Democracy" after 20 years of promises, except without the wasted money, shitty music and massive amounts of schadenfreude. The band has existed, more or less, since the early 90's as a part time project of Josh Hart and Chad Rush, veterans of numerous Baltimore area metal and hardcore bands. Rumblings of the band can be traced back to around the time of Spectre, a similar band of Josh and Chad's, but with Rich Newberger on vocals. Since then, through various demo releases, Chowder has slowly gained an audience via twisted and dark instrumental progressive doom.

An EP released in 2006 showed a band comfortable with pushing boundaries that should seem easily pushed, but are still not seen too often. Bone rattling heaviness is not something often associated with bands influenced by Rush, and unique progression is too often unused in the traditional Sabbath doom scene, which means that Chowder's sound is still pretty fresh 6 years later with the release of "Passion Rift".

The full length yet again sees increased production quality and outstanding musicianship, as well as extreme consciousness regarding tone, attacking dynamics and aggression. No better example than "Insidious", a spastic and complex ride through the hills of all aspects of music itself. Through all the tracks, Doug Williams' bass lies under everything, coming through with a murky, watery uppercut, like the grunts of some Lovecraftian Deep One. Another great aspect is Josh's chord and harmony choices. Where many bands are content driving the song by rotating back and forth to low end brown notes, Hart will often harmonize the heaviest moments with unusual layers of notes and melodies, which actually adds to the sinister nature.

Highlights are constant. "Head Full Of Rats" brings a punkish Black Flag/Bl'ast! boogie groove. "Mazuku" begins sounding like a demented version of "Diary Of A Madman". "The Innsmouth Look" at times sounds like if you played an instrumental Rush record at half speed. All four distinct passages of the lengthy title track stand out. But for my money, nothing touches the finishing move of "Custody".

Part of Chowder's trademark sound, aside from jagged riffs and offtime chord shifts, is layers of pedals and synths, and some of the best moments come simply from the groan of a Taurus pedal floating not so gently under the band, or the creepy low end sounds of an old school mellotron.

This is a great record to clear your schedule out for and blast as high as you can stand, or better yet, clamp on the headphones for.

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still oh so ill
8,438 Posts
Phenomenal record.
do svidaniya
6,566 Posts
still listening. heart pounding music
I have no legs!
5 Posts
Available for mail order now at:
do svidaniya
6,566 Posts
order this shit

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