Saturday, December 3, 2011

Close But No Cigar Part 1: Sourvein - Black Fangs

This is the first in a series of posts discussing releases that deserve Honourable Mentions but just failed to crack my Top 40 Albums of 2011.
The latest Sourvein release, Black Fangs, (Candlelight Records) is the first unfortunate casualty of my venerable Top 40 list. These black fangs sink in deep and deliver a venom that will turn your innards to sludge. The tone on this album is killer. It's so heavy, it could sink an oil tanker in the Dead Sea. But I've come to expect nothing less from Sourvein. I mean, former guitarist Liz Buckingham left to play with Electric Wizard, so what does that tell you? There was a time that I would be falling all over myself to heap praise on an album such as this. While I still enjoyed it quite a bit, my tastes have changed somewhat since the days that Man's Ruin (RIP) and Rise Above Records ruled my world. Since, at this point, I have to be nit-picky to find a reason this album didn't crack my list, I'll go with the vocals. The whiskey-soaked, wildman, forest-dwelling vocals of T-Roy Medlin (also of Hail!Hornet with Sourvein guitarist Vincent Burke) are buried a little too deep in the mix. At times I wasn't sure if they were actually on the album or if it was just the voices in my head. This works to great effect in some cases but I would like to have heard them a little more. All that being said, this album still makes me want to get high enough to give Pluto a big 'ole hug and say "It's okay, buddy. You don't want to be a planet anyway. They're a bunch of conformist dicks. I love you, man!"

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