Thursday 23 March 2023

OHHMS - Rot (Album Review)

Release Date: March 31st 2023. Record Label: Church Road Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Rot: Tracklisting

1.Tonight's Feature Presentation

2.Let’s Scare Jessica To Death

3.Eaten Alive 

4.Blood Feast 

5.Body Melt

6.A Dark Song

7.The Mephisto Waltz 


9.Swamp Thing


Paul Waller - Vocals

Stuart Day - Guitar/Vocals

Marc Prentice - Guitar

Chainy Rabbit - Bass

Max Newton - Drums


UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metallers OHHMS have seemed to left behind the hard-hitting social spectrum of their last few albums for a more riff-centric album for Rot. This album sees the band draw upon their love for Horror Movies and that has allowed the band to perhaps release their most fun, catchy and aggressive album to date.

Rot features plenty of up-tempo changes and aggressive slabs of Progressive based Sludge/Stoner Metal that you would expect to hear from TORCHE, Baroness and Mastodon with OHHMS living up to their “Post-Whatever” style with more catchy guitar solos and harmonious vocals as well. Though OHHMS still add their trademark “Social Conscience” commentary on the album but perhaps with a more sarcastic and bleak humour with some of the lyrics contained on the album.

The record is deadly serious when it needs to be but OHHMS are in the business of having fun on Rot. The riffs are plentiful with echoes of Hard Rock, Thrash Metal and even moments of Sludgy Psychedelic Pop which you can hear on the early stages of the album.

The first track Tonight’s Feature Presentation brings an almost “Grindhouse” and “VHS” old-school effect with twisted noises and sadistic voice-over that is the perfect balance of 1980’s “Video Nasties” atmospherics which definitely sends chills your way.

Second track Let’s Scare Jessica To Death is based on the classic 1971 Horror Movie of the same name but injected with OHHMS bombastic Sludge/Stoner Metal delivery. The Psychedelic Post-Doom grooves can be quite apocalyptic but there’s that sense of “FUN” that I mentioned earlier. The song is violently loud but there’s a subtle “POPPY” vibe with the intense lead vocals from Paul Waller moving from clean based vocals before morphing into a more aggressive style while still clean based. Throw in some classic sounding TORCHE inspired AMPLIFIER FEEDBACK and the album fully comes alive with some BONE CRUNCHING sludgy guitars allowing the song to have a more inspired DOOM based ending.

Third song Eaten Alive is named after the 1976 film of the same name and directed by Legendary Horror Maestro Tobe Hooper. The lyrics are inspired by the film with OHHMS deeply social conscience touch appearing at times. The music is progressively DOOM based with the guitar tone moving cautiously between slabs of Sludge Metal and that twinge of Stoner Metal. The dual vocals of Paul and Stuart work superbly well together. Different styles of Hard Rock and Metal appear which OHHMS are well known for within the underground scene. The song does move at its own cautious rhythm with a menacing outlook which allows OHHMS to play some wicked beat-downs and breakdowns for the later stages of the song.

Fourth song Blood Feast is based on the 1962 film of the same name. However, there are multiple Horror films with that name and I’m making a guess based on the message of the album. More jagged guitars and Punk inspired beat-downs allows this to be one of the more “VIOLENT” and “UNPLEASANT” tracks on the album with the lyrics the band has written here. The song itself is powered by catchy Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal beats where perhaps the rhythm section featuring the talents of Chainy (Bass) and Max (Drums) steal the show here. The music is addictive and catchy (yeah, sorry I’m using that term again) but also one full of muscular energy which OHHMS starting to showcase why they’ve created another wonderfully diverse sound for themselves.

The other five songs on the album follow that same destructive creative path by forging addictive sounds on the fifth song Body Melt. Despite the harsh subject matter and the film it’s inspired by. OHHMS play some of the sweetest and technically impressive sounds on this track with some fantastic vocal harmonies yet again by Paul and Stuart that draws upon influences as diverse as QUEEN and maybe the Glam Rock Movement.

OHHMS venture into more darker creative waters on tracks such as A Dark Song, The Mephisto Waltz and Swamp Thing. The music maybe more upbeat compared to the earlier tracks of the album but listen to the dark subject matter on these tracks and they may surprise you like they did with me on The Mephisto Waltz. As the lyrics are wonderfully deceptive and speak to me in many different ways. 

Rot contains wonderful production values and ranks as one of the best sounding records the band have released to date. OHHMS impress yet again by releasing an album that sounds so completely different to their previous albums but they’ve done that with each subsequent release. 

OHHMS are one of the most bold, distinctive and creative voices within the UK Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal scene. Rot is absolutely packed with “HEAD-BANGING ANTHEMS” that allows it to be their most addictive and most consistent release to date.

This album is another Album Of The Year Contender from OHHMS. It’s seriously that great!!!

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Justine at Church Road Records for the promo.

Rot will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Church Road Records from March 31st 2023.


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