Holy Roar Records/Shock Records
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Once upon a time, a two track release was considered a CD single, or if you’re old enough like I am, a 7” single or sometime after that, a high tech cassingle. Ahhh those were the days. Or something. But in this day and age with metal being as diverse as it is, two tracks an album can form. That’s right. Two tracks, one album. Granted this one album clocks in at almost 32 and a half minutes, and that may sound either boring or challenging depending on how you look at things. Bloom is the debut release from Kent (U.K.) quintet Ohhms and this two track release is anything but boring.
The challenge that Ohhms throw down to the listener is one of just how open are they to a mix of post-rock, metal, stoner, psychedelic and doom all rolled into a single package. With a Dave Grohl like throaty yell, “Bad Seeds” wastes little time in getting things going. Whilst the aforementioned variety of styles and sounds is the listeners biggest challenge to digest, it’s an ever bigger challenge for the band themselves to make this multitude of styles work for them effortlessly to ensure that such lengthy songs are not a chore that their audience must endure. The result needs to be engaging and thankfully Ohhms have pulled it off with ease. Ohhms’ thick, sludgey guitar tones are absolutely massive, particularly at just over the six minute mark where the track begins a rumbling shift down through the gears to the point of almost stalling. But before the track loses momentum, imposing, doom laden riffs and thundering drums emerge to take “Bad Seeds” with the listener in tow on a whole new ride which will soon enough drift seamlessly into gentler post-rock territory.
To a point, “Rise of the Herbivore” continues on from this point, at least initially, through post-rock styled clean guitars in the vein of the now defunct Isis. The key elements of what is definitely the stronger track here are the light and dark contrasts created by the ringing, almost drone-like guitars up against truly monstrous down tuned power chords that demand attention when they are unleashed around the five minute mark. But like a typical Queensland summer storm, the racket is over and done with before you really know what’s hit you as the track returns to the gentle ringing guitars before disappearing completely in the same manner in which it began. It’s all quite symmetrical really.
No doubt a release like this won’t be for everyone. The multitude of styles that ooze from the speakers make it hard to classify, which is both good and band, in this world of over categorised, micro-labelled, sub-sub-sub-genres of metal. Bloom is a very promising start for Ohhms and should easily appeal to fans of post-rock and doom. That might be a somewhat mutually exclusive match-up, or in the least, one that produces a small subsection of those two styles. Bloom is certainly unpredictable journey for the listener that may take a few listens to click with. It’s a solid start for sure and one that has certainly got my attention to see where they go from here.