Enhailer “Grisaille” Album Review + Stream…

In Case You Missed It Series – Episode 4

Enhailer

Grisaille – CD // DD

Blackseed Records – Released June 2, 2016

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the Akron, Ohio band Mockingbird. I’m fairly familiar with them, as I was privileged enough to be able to share the stage with them on multiple occasions.  Their sound was a progressive and melodic take on sludge/doom metal, in the vein of early Mastodon and Baroness, yet there was something so PURE about them.  They were completely removed from any of the mainstream trappings that the aforementioned bands eventually came to embrace.

I don’t typically like to define artists in terms of their former bands or other projects.  All the same, it’s hard to talk about High On Fire or Om if we don’t also talk about Sleep, isn’t it??  Drummer Chad Beverlin from Enhailer also plays with the criminally underrated Mockingbird, and there are enough similarities in their sound that it’s worth bringing them into the conversation.

 

Enhailer have a slightly goofy name, which is both endearing and problematic for me personally.  I like the name, though I know how using puny names can sometimes come with a stigma or turn people off unnecessarily.  Yes, I play in a band called Palace In Thunderland.  People tend to either love it or hate it. It’s goofy, and funny, and fun….we hope.  That’s really up to you, not us.  It’s also meant to be a bit artsy, and that’s the same vibe I get from Enhailer.  They’re instrumental, so we know that they’re artsy.  However, this is not the more stripped down minimalism incorporated by fellow instrumentalists Karma To Burn, nor is it the hip neo-melodicism of Pelican. This is something far darker and dirtier, like if we truly pushed Mogwai into the depths of despair that they’ve always mildly flirted with.

There’s nothing demure about Enhailer.   They encompass everything that I love about the American Midwest.  If you’ve never been, I’d highly suggest that you spend some time there.

While Mockingbird tended to write more songs with a more traditional vocal-driven structure, the lack of vocals allows Enhailer to work more with a classical, theme and variation motif.  The six songs tend to build, evolve, and intensify organically, which is what prompts me to compare them to Mogwai. The major difference is in the atmosphere itself, which is bleak, heavy and haunting, due largely in part to the guest keyboards, which loom and pulse in the background.  Technically Enhailer are a trio, though it’s hard to talk about this album without bringing in the keyboards, as they truly add a nice touch.  It’s also worth noting that their seem to be some form of growls in the background of a couple songs, though I think this is just for effect, and to add to the atmosphere.  I don’t think there are any discernible lyrics.

 

Band Logo

 

I really dig the production, which manages to sound both full and never excessive.  The songs themselves usually lurk at a comfortable, mid-paced tempo, and combine quieter, more introspective sections with full on dirgy doom riffs.  It’s a nice blend with a unique take that firmly separates them from the rest of the post-metal pack.  I get the feeling that this is really just a sampling of what Enhailer have to offer.  These six songs clock in at just over 30 minutes.  I’m thinking that they’ve got a lot more to say, in their typical manner of not speaking or singing a single word.


Album Review – Lo-Pan “In Tensions”

Lo-Pan “In Tensions” EP

Aqualamb Records – Release Date – January 13th, 2017 

Limited to 500 Copies – All Pre-Orders come with a 100-page Book

 

From the moment the wheels of this ‘big maroon van’ hit the ground with the first chord from this Columbus OH band’s latest release “In Tensions,” it’s obvious their self-stated mission is true; they are out to destroy everything.

 

Lo-Pan_2017_Band Pic

 

Four seconds into debut track “Go West” Jeff Martin shows his vocal prowess drawing you into their signature time stamps, letting his voice wrap around you like a latex glove. Lo-Pan instantly takes you on a sonic ride this stellar EP represents from start to finish. “Sink Or Swim” shifts gears into a faster spin on the choices we all face when it comes to ‘finding our way’. We get a second to catch our breath during the distorted bass fade-in of “Long Live The King” before the hammering power chords bring the sonic dissonance Lo-Pan has established as a staple throughout their prolific career. “Alexis” lets Jeff go full-range vocally and shows the influence of Tool with the spiraling delivery that is so compelling throughout this release. “Pathfinder” is the final offering and continues along the road we have been traveling as the title suggests and is the kind of track to make the biggest stoner/sludge fan squirm in satisfaction. Plenty of sustain, delay and phase shifting to almost induce a head rush or two. Well worth the wait and makes me want even MORE! Highly recommend!

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr