If you've been traipsing around the underground metal blog-o-sphere these past few months, you have more than likely run into Mothman and the Thunderbirds. Y'know, wielder of an unforgettable moniker and equally unforgettable tunes. This popularity, I hasten to add, wasn't simply birthed into existence by benefit of Alex Parkinson's industry connections as a fellow metal reviewer. As anyone who has heard any of the advance singles will undoubtedly attest, his debut album Into The Hollow stands strong on its own two (three? seven? undeterminable?) legs (wings? assorted appendages?)
A sludge/stoner project for the purpose of succinct PR, Mothman and the Thunderbirds is, in reality, a very difficult beast to define. Into The Hollow does feature a whole lot of the sasquatchian heft and aggression that one might expect from conspiracy-and-cryptid-themed sludge--take, as a prime example, "Hollow Earth," which seemingly pays homage to Mastodon's "Circle of Cysquatch." However, merely singling out a single song does absolutely nothing to prepare you, a fact that you can, in fact, independently verify in very short order. Eclectic ain't the half of it.
Anyways. More on that later. More pressing matters are at hand. We slumbering scribes are happy, honored, and otherwise Very Fuckin' Pleased to present said album in its entirety, prior to release this coming Friday. Give it a listen below! Provided you're still standing, we'll meet ye on the other side.
The eleven tracks contained herein run a expansive gamut, to say the least. One moment Into The Hollow is heavy as fuck; the next, it is borderline ethereal. And then back again with nary a backward glance. Progressive sludge a la Baroness melds with off-kilter Voivod-ian experimentation, which floats (or lumbers, as the case may be) alongside the aforementioned Mastodon's penchant for intrinsically weird conceptualization. As a result of the deliberate lack of a central sound, Alex is able to explore a wide variety of sonic and aesthetic environments. In the hands of a lesser songsmith, the result may have been disjointed and ungrounded. Here, however, everything simply clicks in a way that is stupidly difficult to describe. I simply do not understand what exactly allows the seemingly disparate elements to fit together so seamlessly...but you know what? That's perfectly okay by me. Sometimes we need a little mystery.
One of my favorite tracks herein, "The Simpsons = Real Footage," featuring guest vocals from one Kirby, delivers punky riffage, a punky breakdown, and a deliciously hard rockin' momentum that feels utterly unique when considering the album as a whole. Meanwhile, "Cloud Giant" is a lightfooted progressive rock adventure that feels light-years away from the bombast of prior (and following) tracks. "Nomad,"which we premiered a while back, brings a level of dynamic doomy groove, yet is never shy to drop exploratory leads with a righteous confidence. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point. Literally every track has a remarkable sense of self. Notably, despite the progressive bent, none of the track outstay their welcome, which in turn allows each new change of pace to feel significant in the grand scheme of the album's...well, progression.
In case I'm dancing around the point: this is an incredible debut, and having been privy to the process of this project's maturation, I am vicariously very proud of what Alex hath wrought. Sludge and stoner are genres uncomfortably prone to stagnation, but Mothman and the Thunderbirds shreds expectations at every turn. If you like you riffage straightforward and predictable, this album will inevitable ruffle a few feathers. If you're looking for something fresh, innovative, and utterly unpredictable, Into the Hollow comes highly recommended.
Says Alex in regards to the impending release: "I'm excited to welcome everyone into the world of Mothman and The Thunderbirds, and I think Into the Hollow is the perfect starting point for this project. While it's not exhaustive of every sound I intend to delve into with this project, I think this debut album does a great job laying out the potential scope--the wingspan if you will--of Mothman and The Thunderbirds. You'll find that every track has its own distinct character, both sonically and in terms of the literal characters referenced. Whether it's songs referencing the hollow earth theory, cloud giants, or the Mothman himself, I think there's something on this album for every rock and metal fan. So come with me, as we embark on a journey Into the Hollow.
And there you have it! If you enjoy the many sights and sounds this album has to offer,please pre-order the damn thing for the INCREDIBLY LOW price of $1. It simply does not get better than that.
Mothman and the Thunderbirds - Into the Hollow will be released May 21st, 2021.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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