Friday, April 25, 2014

Woven Hand "Refractory Obdurate"

Country: USA
Genre(s)Prog Related, Rock, Folk
LabelDeathwish (World) / Glitterhouse (Europe)
FormatCD, digital, vinyl
Release dateApril 25, 2014 (Europe), April 29, 2014 (World)
1. Corsicana Clip (4:47)
2. Masonic Youth (3:39)
3. The Refractory (4:53)
4. Good Shepard (4:00)
5. Salome (5:19)
6. King David (4:47)
7. Field of Hedon (3:33)
8. Obdurate Obscura (5:20)
9. Hiss (3:53)
10. El-bow (2:42)

David Eugene Edwards: Vocals & Guitar
Ordy Garrison: Percussion
Chuck French: Guitar
Neil Keener: Bass Guitar

 The term “alt-country” appears on the first line of Wovenhand’s Wikipedia page, and it’s not entirely inaccurate; the band carries the weight of country and rockabilly history in many of their arrangements. Mostly, though, that word’s appearance makes a case for how useless and arbitrary genre distinctions can be, especially when the people making the music show no interest in adhering to any genre’s set of rules. I might’ve never given Refractory Obdurate its due if Converge frontman Jacob Bannon hadn’t released it on his Deathwish Inc. imprint, a label that’s made a name for cranking out adventurous and unhinged punk and hardcore and metal. And yet the label is a perfect home for the Wovenhand of Refractory Obdurate, who bring levels of darkness and mercilessness and grandeur that most metal bands could never hope to match.
Amidst whatever elements of alt-country you might hear on the album, you’ll also find ancestral folk-blues desolation, feverish basement-hardcore abandon, bilious sludge-metal power-fantasy enormity, evocative film-score majesty, pigfuck scrape, blurting postpunk grind, prog-rock sweep. There’s no twang in frontman David Eugene Edwards’s voice; instead, he’s got a grand and faraway carnival-barker wail that reminds me, just slightly, of one of his past tourmates, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. There’s some Gira in there, too, and some Birthday Party-era Nick Cave, and some late-Lungfish Daniel Higgs, and some recent-vintage Mark Lanegan. At a certain point, though, you stop mentally breaking the songs on this album down into their component parts, into possible genres or influences, and you just let them wash over you and fill you up.
 Read the full review by Tom Breihan at stereogum.com


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