Tuesday 20 August 2019

Serial Hawk - Static Apnea (Album Review)

Release date: August 23rd 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Static Apnea – Tracklisting

1.Resting Waters
3.Depths and Passages 06:25
6.Diminished Return


Will Bassin
Adam Holbrook
Sean Bulkley


Static Apnea is the 3rd album from Hypnotic Doom Riffsters Serial Hawk and I’ve been a fan of this band ever since I reviewed their 2012 debut release Buried In The Gray back in the day. The band received critical acclaim for their 2015 release Searching For The Light and it’s good to have the guys back today after a 4 year absence.

Static Apena sees Serial Hawk drift towards a more Sludge/Post-Metal sound with their familiar and haunting Progressive Doom Metal grooves being added for extra weight and heaviness throughout this album. Serial Hawk draw influence from bands such as YOB, Neurosis, Pelican and Cult of Luna on this album for a more varied style of music.

Opening song – Resting Waters – has a deep and troubling aquatic vibe to it especially where the music changes direction with different layers of heaviness throughout the songs 10 minute plus runtime. The progressive guitar sounds allows Serial Hawk to play music at their own pace and on their own terms. A cool mix of Doom, Sludge, Psych and Post-Metal combining for heavy atmospheric grooves from the start.

Second song – Detach – has a more open ended Doom based sound with a Tool-esque influence especially on the lyrics and vocals. Everything else is Serial Hawk. It’s good to hear a more emotionally distant Stoner Metal sound starting to appear and make waves amongst the standard Doom/Sludge Metal vibes.

Third song – Depths and Passages – is perhaps the angriest song on the album with intense vocals from Will leading the way. The music has a reflective Post-Rock/Post-Metal feel with a more aggressive direction once the sound builds up to a more Psychedelic Doom/Sludge rhythm. The overall sound is truly captivating and reminds you of YOB in places.

Fourth song – Surrender – starts quietly with a lovely sounding Ambient driven Post-Rock score. The song is quite peaceful and remorseful with the slowly played music. A different style that Serial Hawk play superbly well.

The final two songs – Summon and Diminished Return both allow Serial Hawk to return to their heavier Doom/Sludge/Post-Metal world and where they explore a more emotionally distant part of the album. Expect more sonic experimentation on these two songs with elements of Drone Metal leading the way.

Serial Hawk feel like they’ve reinvented themselves with this album and it shows throughout the whole album. As the whole feel and flow of the album is quite different and more complex compared against the band’s previous albums.

Static Apnea could be defining moment for Serial Hawk’s career. As it’s the type of album that could launch them onto bigger and better things. This is a wonderful and emotionally driven album that’s full of rich progressive sounds and ideas that leave you wanting more.

Overall, Static Apnea is a classic sounding album in every sense of the word.

Words by Steve Howe


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