Rainbows Are Free S/T EP

"Interesting choice in names for this five piece from Oklahoma, but don’t let it throw you because this band has an interesting sound for a very overdone genre (Heavy 70’s influenced rock with elements of doom and metal). It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes this stand out from the crowd (along with Stone Axe, I’ve been lucky with review material quality lately!) because their biggest advantage is an over all vibe (well that and some serious bite and fire to the guitar).

The overall feel that I get from this ep is kind of the inverse of the one I got from first album Abdullah. Abdullah during that period had a serious smoothness to the music and vocals, balancing some bone chilling horror in the atmosphere, like traversing a daemon-ridden, Lovecraftian abyss while sheltered in an opium dream cocoon. This ep doesn’t have a stand out, up front musical difference from the pack, but there is a grittiness and edginess that is hard to pin down, kind of like walking through a summer field toward a farmhouse, all should be peaceful and tranquil, but the hairs on the back of your neck are up and there is a palpable vibe of wrongness and evil.

Opener “Are You Dead” comes ambling out, at first fairly generic, but quickly brings a disturbing ambiance first noticed in the vocals…something is just not right here and I don’t mean in a musical sense, but in a “I would not want to be lost in the countryside with this guy around” sense. There is nothing overtly gruff or angry in the vocal tone, just disturbing. The guitar work deserves mention for a feel of bite and edge and emphatic, forceful, but not overplayed soloing (a trend that will continue throughout the ep). Next up is “Bloodcano”, which is probably my favorite track here. More “in your face” right from the gate, it continues all its predecessor’s traits in a far heavier and more aggressive fashion. This one contains enough good riffs to make a few solid metal songs from.

“Like A River We Roll” comes close to giving me a struggle with elements of generic mediocrity, but is redeemed by some spirited, spot on guitar work of both the soloing and “making great use of simple pummeling riffing” variety and the fact that it actually gets better as it moves along. Closer “Crystal Ball” sounds just like Mother Love Bone if they’d been smoking pot and dropping brown acid instead of doing smack and that doesn’t work out badly at all. Good groove, intermittent heaviness and a somewhat disorienting amorphous menace…all in all a nice little dose of dark, spinning target-eyed swagger to wrap up the ep.

This was quite a pleasant surprise. I’m still not sure the name is a good idea, but the music is certainly in one of the higher percentiles of its chosen class. If the above sounds like your cup of tea get to e-mailing because I have a feeling my review didn’t quite do this justice."


Michael Ballue
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