Monday 10 January 2022

TEKARRA - Kicking Horse (Album Review)

Release Date: January 06th 2022. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD/CD/Vinyl

Kicking Horse - Tracklisting

1.Hunted 22:53

2.Crusade / Kicking Horse 23:11


Edmonton, Alberta - Doom/Sludge Metallers TEKARRA finally return after a four year absence with their second full length album Kicking Horse. The band play what can only be described as Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal with an over-reliance on AMPLIFIER RIFF WORSHIP and with a healthy LOW & SLOW attitude to match as well.

Kicking Horse offers two tracks with both songs running at twenty three minutes each. The atmosphere is icy cold with heavy grizzled guitars with a DRONE based attitude. Languishing between the heavy sounds of CONAN, SLOMATICS, BONG and SUNN 0))) but with TEKARRA still being their own thing. Almost everything runs at its own pace here with slow-paced and down-tuned guitars being the main order of business. The drumming is sparse but with real purpose. 

This is more Meditative Doom/Sludge Metal with the heavy grooves appearing only when they need to. This isn’t exactly a riff-driven affair but there are RIFFS to be found here. You will need to have patience with this release as this isn’t the most fast-paced style of music. TEKARRA explores this style of music fully on the outstanding opening track Hunted. 

There are vocals on this album but like the heavy grooves, they appear from the darkness only when they need to. They’re more GROWLS than vocals but they bring a bleak aggressive nature to the album. 

Second song is a two-part song called Crusade/ Kicking Horse and is indeed the standout part of the album with TEKARRA being more reflective on this track. This part of the album is more nuanced with bolder creative choices being made by the band. The song has similar flow and energy to the opening track but I felt more emotionally connected to this song. TEKARRA still plays epic drone based Doom/Sludge Metal with harsh vocals to match. There is an almost Post-Black Metal atmosphere to this song that almost goes unnoticed but there's a bleakness to this track that comes from that style of music. However, TEKARRA still firmly remain in Doom/Sludge Metal mode for the most part. 

The production process is an interesting setup with well known Canadian Folk Artist Jake Ian recording and mixing the album. Jake does an incredible job here recording TEKARRA’s blend of Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal. Credit also goes to Esben Williams (MONOLORD/Studio Berserk) once again doing another wonderful job on mastering duties. 

Kicking Horse is a wonderfully bleak exercise that expertly builds up slow-paced tension that allows this album to be one of the best records I’ve heard from the Canadian Doom/Sludge Metal scene in quite some time. 

An outstanding album. Plain and simple.

Words by Steve Howe


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