Subrosa is one of those bands I had never heard of until I saw posts about them on Twitter. Their record label, Profound Lore, was using tweets to promote the release of No Help For The Mighty Ones. After repeated posts I said to myself, "Well fuck. I should probably check it out." Don't tell me social media doesn't work! I was floored! I knew I was going to like it when I heard the Electric Wizard-esque opening riff on "Borrowed Time, Borrowed Eyes". I'm a sucker for tone and Subrosa nailed it. Love at first head nod. So you can imagine my jaw dropping when the already formidable wall of noise was joined by electric violins! At first I didn't even know what I was hearing. I thought at least one of them was a brass instrument. A little research cleared that up however. It wasn't so much ignorance that lead to the error as much as unexpectedness. On subsequent listens my appreciation of the contrast between the tones ripened even more. I now can't even entertain the notion of that insectile presence not being there to balance out the mammoth bottom end. It's a symbiotic relationship. Another unexpected surprise was how much I liked the singing. Yes singing. No quotation marks. Usually the only clean female singing I hear is from the crap my wife likes on the radio. Or worse, the crap my parents made me listen to growing up. I can't tell you how many times I found myself singing along unabashedly to those powerful, memorable, emotional choruses. A general sense of sorrow permeates the album. At times I felt myself on the verge of tears. Not only because of Subrosa's ability to draw out the emotions but also just because it's so damn good! Especially during "House Carpenter". The sometimes skittery, sometimes mournful violins, the subterranean oppressiveness of the Kyuss-ian guitars and the beautiful singing would be nothing if it weren't for the phenomenal song writing. Hooks both vocal and instrumental sink their barbs in deep. Every track is a testament to music as an art form. Brilliant in every way.
For a (much) more in depth treatise on my unrepentant fondness for No Help For The Mighty Ones, check out the detailed review I wrote earlier this year.
Who do you think will take the top spot this year?