Sunday 17 September 2017

Hotel Wrecking City Traders - Passage To Agartha (Album Review)

Release date: September 2nd 2017. Label: Cardinal Fuzz/Evil Hoodoo. Format: CD/DD/VInyl

Passage To Agartha – Tracklisting

1.Quasar 11:03
2.Kanged Cortex 11:54
3.Chasing the Tendrils 16:59
4.Passage to Agartha 14:43
5.Ohms of the Cavern Current 11:39
6.Oroshi 22:57


Ben - One Drumkit
Toby - One Guitar


Aussie Instrumental Sludge Rockers - Hotel Wrecking City Traders - new album, Passage To Agartha - is an epic album. Comprising of six tracks and clocking in around ninety minutes. This is an album that you need to take your time with as some parts of the album are very easy to listen. Whilst other parts are of the album is quite experimental and may test the patience of some their fans You can't deny the adventurous drive that the band has shown here. As they've taken their trademark psychedelic sludge/doom instrumental riffs to another level. This is perhaps the most complete album that the band has released to date.

Opening track - Quasar - is a post-rock/post-metal style song with the band exploring many different doom/sludge based atmospherics that finally merges into a heavy psychedelic outburst of different textures and noises. It's a captivating song with Hotel Wrecking City Traders on splendid creative form. The song does falter a few times but the band soon pick themselves up and unleash another heavy spectacular riff and one that drives the song to its natural conclusion.

Second track - Kanged Cortex - is another spaced out song with ambient noises being merged with the heavy sludgy guitars. The noisy and glitchy sound effects take time getting used to but once the dust settles the band once again settle into a more convincing rhythm. Shades of Pelican-esque post-metal riffs appear and that sound drives the album and band onto heavier psychedelic sounds. The drumming is quite jazzy and frantic at times but is perhaps the main driving force of this song. Everything feels built around or upon the intense drumming of Ben.

Third track - Chasing The Tendrils - is the seventeen minute opus that the band closes the first half of the album with. It sees HWCT opening with a more laid back style of post-rock/stoner sounds. The heavy bass keeps the mood driving along. It can be a bit boring at times. As the band don't change direction for the first few minutes of the song. I know that the band have an epic time to fill up. I wanted more variety after listening to the same repetitive sound over and over again. Though it's a different story when the band start playing heavier sludgier/post-metal style grooves. The mood becomes a bit more exciting, As the band start to impress again like they did with the first two opening tracks.

The second half of the album offers three more songs of heavy epic spaced and experimental sludge/post-metal/stoner sounds. The album does veer into more psychedelic/prog rock territories but the band never forgets their sludge/doom/stoner/post-metal roots. Out of the final three songs, Passage To Agartha and Oroshi are perhaps the standout songs on the album. With the band playing a more distorted psychedelic drone style of music.

Passage To Agartha is a very bold and daring album in some respects. As it asks a lot of patience and endurance from the audience. Ninety minutes listening to one album maybe too jarring some and it's perhaps better listening to the album in different stages. As you can easy feel lost with the many different styles of music that the band performs on the album.

The production is quite exquisite with each song having its own distinctive feel and identity. Apart from a few minor flaws, Passage To Agartha is a complex and brilliantly crafted album.

Words by Steve Howe