Thursday, 18 June 2015

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (2015)

I've been waiting for the musical volcano of Tad Doyle to once more spew forth its lava, raining molten death upon surrounding villages for some time, at least since the Hog Molly album whenever that was, and certainly since that wonderful decade when a new Tad album seemed like a fairly regular thing; and the reason for such anticipation is that Tad were pretty much the greatest rock band of all time.

The lad has apparently spent the intervening years running his Witch Ape studio up in Seattle, generally avoiding music business headaches, and occasionally titting about with his own ditties. Eventually he decided this material justified getting a band together, and so he did, and here's the album.

I'm a bit out of the loop with all the musical subgenres into which everything has split of late, but then I've reached that age past which all sense of chronology goes out the window, by which I'd guess probably a couple of years have passed since the members of Tad all went their separate ways when actually that was 1999, which was fucking ages ago. Oh well.

One of the subgenres into which metal has split is sludge metal, or maybe I mean doom metal. You were probably all sick of it years ago, but I never saw the memo. Lieutenant Pigeon may already have enjoyed a sludge comeback for all that anyone has bothered to keep me informed. Anyway, the first Brothers of the Sonic Cloth album is something along these lines so I gather, meaning it's quite different to the music of Tad in certain respects, same ballpark maybe but a different game. In fact, most of Tad's output sounds quite light-hearted and breezy compared to this. To my ears - with all of their limited fat old man points of reference - I'm reminded of bits of Black Sabbath, maybe Cop-era Swans with more of a tune, and elements of Ramleh, Skullflower or whoever. The guitar represents a great wall of grinding neolithic pain rolling over its audience at glacial speed with the bass like some growling animal prowling around out there somewhere; and the drums just fucking pound. The raw force definitely reminds me of the Swans, but Tad - or Thomas Doyle if you prefer - always had so much more going on than just bludgeoning noise. As with his earlier endeavours, there's some serious if understated melody underscoring this river of lava, invoking that uniquely wounded quality which characterises the man's finest work, serving to throw the whole into sharp relief as something more than just the sound of stars undergoing gravitational collapse but with guitars - if you'll pardon what is probably a fucking ludicrous and possibly overused simile.

It's good to have this guy back, and certainly not wishing to diminish the mighty force of Peggy Doyle or Dave French, but this is one absolute fucker of a comeback album - if such a term is quite appropriate - and clear evidence of why Mr. Doyle remains one of the most astonishing music artists of our time.

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