Howl - Full Of Hell CD


Call it "sludge with benefits." Fact of the matter is that Rhode Island residents Howl draw the bulk of their musical cues from the classic Southern sludgecore sound, but this 2010 debut, Full of Hell, sees that sound transformed into a much more agile, dynamic, and feral beast by the time its been dragged, roaring and clawing, across the Mason-Dixon line and beyond. Yes, the album's dateline places it well beyond both the New England metalcore apotheosis and the neo-prog-sludge revolution instigated by Georgia's Mastodon (half of whose members originated in the American Northeast, lest we forget), but that doesn't stop Howl from identifying a unique field of their own to plow in this highly competitive (and increasingly repetitive) creative domain. In a nutshell, their songs are kept altogether short and quick on their feet, no matter what tempos they keep (doom being the exception, not the rule), and best results like "You Jackals Beware," "Heavenless," and first single "Jezebel" tend to coalesce precisely when the musicians sink their fangs into the deeper, labyrinthine entrails of their songwriting, emerging with endlessly changing, churning riffs, marbled with insidious melodies and capped by vocalist Vincent Hausman´s -- you guessed it -- raging howls. The only notable deviation from this strategy comes via the album's ten-minute parting shot, "The Day of Rest," which undoubtedly verges on Mastodon-like indulgence (if not exactly their excellence), but proves that Howl can certainly challenge in this space, if not come away victorious. Not yet anyway, but the groundwork and future threat to that effect have been impressively laid down by the members of Howl on Full of Hell.