The intro track Our Fields Are Burning is slow and meandering, and reminds me of Abandon. The singer barks over the first part of it and I like his voice; aggressive, legible and passionate.
June 2, 1910 is the first song proper and also the longest at just under 10 minutes. I’m once again reminded of Abandon, and their combination of Doom and Sludge with a dose of Crust is a path that Old Thunder also adhere to.
Having said that, Old Thunder also have faster sections that put me more in mind of a band like Rorcal with their Blackened Sludge delivery.
The first half of Sinking sounds like it’s stalking prey through a dark wilderness and once more I feel the need to comment on his barking voice; it’s very expressive and sounds really, really good. Nice work that man.
Rainroom has a strong despondent melodic streak running through it that focuses more on the Atmospheric Doom side of the equation, as well as some My Dying Bride/Katatonia influences.
The final track Serpent Sovereign is all about the dirrrggggeeeee.
My favourite parts of this release are the bits where the music slows, the guitars lock into a Doomy repetitive riff and the down-beat melodics come into play.
There’s also the odd moment of Post-Metal thrown into the mix, and even some clean vocals added in to spice things up.
This is a surprisingly diverse mix of Doom-esque sub-genres. All performed well and all, for the most part, sounding naturally mixed and not just cut and pasted together.
Slings & Arrows falls short of being absolutely phenomenal only very marginally. The first reason is the recording; there’s nothing wrong with it as such but I can’t help but feel the songs would benefit from a slightly fuller, warmer sound. The second is the songwriting; although very accomplished, especially for a first release, I feel it could be tightened up a little bit here and there.
Really though, these are very minor quibbles as this is a top quality début. On the basis of Slings & Arrows I fully expect that the next release from Old Thunder will be totally jaw-dropping.
Be sure to check this out.