A bruising slab of ponderous metal riffing from this San Franciscan supergroup, helmed by Matt Pike (HIGH ON FIRE, SLEEP) on vocals. The band's aesthetic is uniformly slow, plodding, dirty and dirge-y, Pike yowling quasi-tunefully over pork-fisted riffs and thudding rhythms.The effect is somewhere between a dumbed-down MASTODON or a metalhead NEUROSIS, kinda epic in a dirty basement way. "Frozen Suns" flirts with DOWN territory in the vocal line and the wistful guitar melody. The operative plan here seems to be "the simpler, the better," the main sections of songs often relying on the most bare-bones riffs, adorned with these wisps of twin-lead melody. Unfortunately, the overall effect after a while is… well, kinda boring. It's not doomy enough to be really harrowing, it doesn't rock much, and it doesn't even come across as all that heavy. It's just kinda middle-of-the-road, and on the few occasions where it seems like it's gonna catch a spark (when the heavy part kicks in on "Godpills", for instance), the song quickly meanders off into another simpleton riff. It's not bad, don't get me wrong. Songs occasionally lock into a decent enough groove, and the band's vibe is satisfying in a Stonehenge-y sort of way. It just gets old pretty quick, and leaves little behind when it's over. Pike, never known as the world's best vocalist, actually fits the music pretty well, and stretches himself for some anguished, painfully melodic howls over these uniformly gray dirges. Even his vocal lines get same-y after a while, though, only adding to the sodden, oppressive, ultimately dull nature of "Kalas", the album. Decent, but hardly essential.
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