Wednesday 9 March 2016

Hotel Wrecking City Traders - Phantamonium (Album Review)

Release date: March 18th 2016. Label: Evil Hoodoo Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Phantamonium – Tracklisting

Dusted Pines
Drowned & Disowned (Part 1)
Entering The Lodge

Band Members:

Ben - One Drumkit
Toby - One Guitar


Australian Psych Stoner Rockers Hotel Wrecking City Traders (HWCT) return with their new album – Phantamonium. It’s perhaps their heaviest and most experimental work to date as the action feels it’s centred by a huge global catastrophe or the end of the world as such. The album is constructed in such a way that you’re part of the action as you’re instantly dropped into a bleak and dangerous world. The band create some stunning post-rock based atmospherics to build their heavier sound upon.

Opening track – Dusted Pines – starts off rather slowly before exploding into life with traces of Psych Rock, Stoner Rock and even Post-Metal vibes. HWCT start channelling the bleak sounds of early Pelican and Russian Circles but still offering their own style of Psych based riffs. The ambient noises leave you with a sense of unease as HWCT opt for a more progressive feel compared to previous releases. The drumming is almost drowned out by the frantic guitar work as the band leave you in a state of confusion in what is going on. Before everything comes together for a huge WALL of sound where the riffs only become louder and louder with each passing moment.

Second track – Phantamonium – sees both HWCT and the listener more comfortable with the mood of the album as riffs return to a calmer psych/stoner sound. HWCT once again add ambient noises to the mix as the band are in their element here creating as many different sounds they can possibly get away with. Maybe the band over did things with the different noises and riffs on this song but I have to admit I’m starting to think this is my favourite track off the album. It’s a complex, sombre and brutally heavy affair especially towards the end as the band create some the albums heaviest riffs. Distorted Drone/Post-Metal sounds are the main attraction here and HWCT don’t disappoint on that front.

The final two tracks Drowned & Disowned (Part 1) and Entering The Lodge carries on the same style of distorted Psych, Stoner and Post-Metal sound found on the first half of the album. Though HWCT offer a more doom and gloom approach on the second half of the album. Fans of cinematic based prog rock/post-metal will find much to enjoy here as HWCT expand on their sound and it leaves you wishing for more songs as the album feels slightly short at forty mins or so. I would have loved one more epic song to finish the whole experience. Apart from that HWCT have created their most ambitious and complex work to date. This album oozes class from start to finish. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Bro Fidelity and Evil Hoodoo Records for the promo. Phantamonium will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Evil Hoodoo Records from March 18th 2016.