Wednesday 11 May 2016

Slomatics - Future Echo Returns (Album Review)

Release date: September 02nd 2016. Label: Black Bow Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Future Echo Returns – Tracklisting

1. Estronomicon
2. Electric Breath
3. In The Grip of Fausto
4. Ritual Beginnings
5. Rat Chariot
6. Supernothing
7. Into The Eternal

Band Members:

David/Chris - guitars/amplification
Marty - traps/howls/cowbell


The news broke a little while ago, that the long-standing relationship between Slomatics and Conan had moved into another phase when it was announced that Black Bow Records would be releasing the new record from everyone's favourite Belfast band (Stiff Little Fingers coming in a close 2nd place)

It's a move that makes perfect sense, as both bands have a long history as kindred spirits having collaborated on some notable releases together, and even back in the day (2008 to be exact) they even put a split out with Chris Fielding's (current Slomatics/Skyhammer Producer/Wizard) band Agent Of Morai. Which by the way is fucking ace, and I think still available via Bandcamp.....

Anyway.... Enough of the history lesson/fact sheet.....

"Future Echo Returns" opens with the mesmerizing and hypnotic instrumental track "Estronomicon" featuring a riff that builds and builds throughout the course of the song. It's a deliciously simple but effective track, that prepares you for the masterclass that's about to follow.

"Electric Breath" is up next and opens again with a lone guitar hammering home a blunt and stubbornly heavy riff, but the track really kicks into gear with the addition of Marty Harvey's excellent vocals. To my ears, on this release the vocals really stand out more clearly, than on any other, and they sound ruddy majestic throughout.

More of the same mix of that trademark Slomatics sound on "In The Grip Of Fausto" and then we are offered up the all together calmer and reflective ""Ritual Beginnings" which is more about the subtle use of synths and some ace space sound effects (whilst not the most technical description, they made me think of space, so that's what I'm going with). The track, builds slowly yet masterfully across its six minute run time as layer by layer more samples, synths and guitars are added.

The riffs are back on the next couple of tracks, the fucking wonderfully named "Rat Chariot" and "Super Nothing" which for me is the go to track on this album. If I was wanting to introduce the band to someone who had never heard them before, this is the song I'd pick to do it. Everything about is pretty much perfect.

Not only does Marty Harvey have an impressive set of pipes, he's a beast behind the kit and shows it of to full effect here, whilst the disgustingly heavy riffs of both Chris Couzens and David Majury, compliment it perfectly. Also if you strain your ears you might hear some familiar vocals backing things up in the mix....(but I could be wrong)

The album ends on "Into The Eternal" probably the slowest and certainly the longest track on the record. Heavy, yet melodic and the prefect way to bring this record to a close.

"Future Echo Returns" is certainly my favourite Slomatics record, and in a year that has already seen some phenomenal releases its confidently staking its claim to sit alongside the likes of Conan, Slabdragger and Mantar as one of the albums of the year.

As you may have seen from the recent commotion on Facebook this album is selling out faster than an Anthony Joshua stoppage win, so head over to the Black Bow Records BigCartel and order it while you still can....

Words by Simon Ross Williams

Thanks to Curtis at Dewar PR, Black Bow Records and Slomatics for the promo. Future Echo Returns will be available to buy from September 2nd 2016 on CD/DD/Vinyl from Black Bow Records.