Saturday 15 September 2018

HAAN - By The Grace Of Blood And Guts (Album Review)

Release date: August 10th 2018. Label: Aqualamb Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

By The Grace Of Blood And Guts – Tracklisting

1.Thy Tongues 03:56
2.Hyena Moan 03:05
3.It Smells Like Gas 02:01
4.Zero Day 07:02
5.The Woke 04:41
6.Hangdog 04:06
7.Diminuendo 03:02
8.Funeral Song 05:52


Chuck Berrett: Vocals
Jordan Melkin: Guitar
Dave Maffei: Bass & Percussion
Chris Enriquez: Drums & Percussion


HAAN's debut album may have an album cover and title influenced by legendary Sludge/Post-Metal collective - Neurosis - however that's where the comparisons end. Well not quite you can definitely hear a distinctive Neurosis vibe but also The Melvins and QOTSA. By The Grace Of Blood And Guts is a mixture of Sludge, Noise Rock, Alternative Metal, Grunge and Stoner Metal sounds. The album is quite an intense experience and that's mostly down to the fast-paced Noise Rock riffs holding everything together.

Opening track - Thy Tongues - is a Noise/Punk/Sludge Rock affair with HAAN exploring every musical genres and influences they have at their disposal. The song is loud, frantic and has a hard-rocking Stoner based vibe that's undeniably heavy and so catchy as well. It's a winning start to a very different sounding album.

Second song - Hyena Moan - has the threatening humour and energy of early era QOTSA and HAAN just run away with this vibe by playing heavy crunching guitars with superb vocals to match. This song shows that HAAN are not afraid to experiment and play around with their sound. The songs running times vary in length as most of the songs run under four minutes or so. However HAAN have included a couple of songs that run past the six to seven minutes mark.

The QOTSA/Melvins vibe really comes out to play on the excellent third song - It Smells Like Gas. HAAN throw a curve ball here by playing a thrashier sound though still remaining to their Sludge/Stoner/Noise Rock roots.

The fourth song - Zero Day - is the longest song on the album and it shows. As HAAN play a more progressive post-metallic style of music. The music is very crisp but still retaining a very loud presence that only draws you further into HAAN's dark world. Other cool songs on the album to check out include: The Woke, Diminuendo and Funeral Song. Though the album feels like one continuous song split into individual chapters.

The instrumental work is most definitely the strongest part of the album with the lyrics being a close second. The vocals from Chuck are superb as well. I feel that the music and lyrics is what gives HAAN their edgy and highly confident attitude.

The second half of the album even manages to capture a darker sound that you would associate with Kowloon Walled City especially with the dark political themes going on especially on the song: The Woke. Overall, HAAN take you on a dark musical journey on this album and you can only hope that there is more to come from this great band.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


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