Shroud Eater – Thundernoise …   Leave a comment

Shroud Eater return with their full length début after the very promising start they made with their EP that they released in 2009. The Thundernoise album comes in a very thick cardboard digipak with a lyric-sheet put together by the band themselves and the artwork is in the same tradition set by the EP. Shroud Eater have a unique place in the sludge-metal scene as they sound not like any other band and maybe they are not sludge at all depending on your own tastes. Thundernoise has 11 songs, 3 of those are re-recorded versions of “We are Beasts,” “Vesuvius” and “Cyclone” which also appeared on their début EP. The band still have a raw take on the sludge genre, sounding like a punkish version of High On Fire at times with the vocals of guitarist Jeannie Saiz mostly consisting of aggressive yelling. Shroud Eater unleash a fairly varied approach from straight-forward noise rock to more complex passages especially in one track titled “Oubliette” which is the album’s centerpiece.

“Oubliette” is one of the best tracks here, a fine blend of progressive rock meets stoner riff rock. The three re-recorded tracks still stand out as being great tracks but I don’t think these versions sound any better than the original recordings but they are no worse either. “Sinister Hunt” is one of the more basic rock moments on the album and I think this is where the band is at its best. Along those same lines is “Baying of Jackals” which is another driving stoner riff workout but my pick of the album goes to “Descent from the Summit” which is a no-frills pummeling attack of a tune with the band working at its most sonic peak. There is no doubting Shroud Eater’s ability to write songs, most of these tunes are infectious and driven by a powerful energetic performance but here is what bites – the production. The drum sound, I hate to admit is pretty awful. The opening track, “High John the Conqueror” highlights the flaws in the sound, drums sound thin and overly loud so they cut through the rest of the band. If you adjust your EQ if you have such an option on your stereo you can make it sound a little better but it is still grating to the ears.

Luckily guitars and bass still deliver a good sound and the songs are great so it is easy to ignore the albums production pit-falls. The songs are well thought-out and have dynamics that make this still an engaging release despite the production woes. It is also worth noting that guitarist Jeannie Saiz and bassist Janette Valentine are a great duo that are locked in throughout the album. I hear two sides to the band, the raw sludge side and their more progressive side but it is the raw-sludge side that where they are at their best. One track titled “Pale Rider” which closes the album is a monster cut that shows this band is more than capable of knocking your ass in the dirt with sonic groove and if there was a couple more tracks like this one it would push this album into the ‘must have’ category. As it is, it is still good but the production issue takes away some of the edge from the songs. If you liked their EP, this is better overall as there is more songs and some absolute gems so you will want to pick this one up. They seem to be building up to something spectacular so maybe their next release will be the one, I hear “Thundernoise” as the stepping stone to something great that hopefully wont be too far away………….7/10
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Posted February 8, 2011 by doommantia in Shroud Eater

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