Saturday 25 May 2024

Gnarwhal - Altered States (EP Review)

Release Date: May 24th 2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Altered States: Tracklisting

1.Tides 03:31

2.The War / Nothing More 06:36

3.From Her Hands 03:46

4.Altered States 03:19


Canadian Sludge/Stoner Rockers Gnarwhal return with their new EP Altered States which fis quite different to their excellent 2023 debut album which has a more Punk Rock and Psychedelic based sound which comes surprisingly early on the stunning opening track of Tides.

Tides has a rough and ready Progressive sound with a subtle Sludge Rock swagger and trippy Psychedelic sounds. The vocals are quite raw with a classic Heavy Metal energy to them. There’s slight influences to bands such as The Sword and Mastodon on this track with Gnarwhal still developing their own sound with a subtle Alt Rock flow being added to standout from the crowd.

Second track The War / Nothing More sees Gnarwhal drift into Psych Rock territory with the band using familiar sonic trajectories used by bands such as King Buffalo and Howling Giant which allows the band to slowly become part of the Post-Stoner world. There is a haunting Doom Rock attitude that appears on the later stages of the track with Gnarwhal’s usual blend of Sludge/Stoner Rock dominance leading upto heavy pounding sounds. The final moments of the track slowly builds up to an exciting and aggressive climax which can only be described as Mastodon playing Punk Rock heavy jams.

The final two tracks of From Her Hands and Altered States are where Gnarwhal bring the Sludge Metal identity of their music to the forefront with some of the heaviest and freshest grooves on the entire EP. The record is still bound by that vibrant Punk Rock influence with the band adding more layers of Sludge/Stoner Metal aggression.

I have to say for an EP, Altered States is a different beast compared to Gnarwhal’s debut album. This one sees the band take more bolder and braver creative choices with their music that pays off handsomely for Gnarwhal with Altered States being a much better record. I’m hoping to hear more of this style of music from Gnarwhal on future releases.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Asher Media for the promo.

Altered States is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl.


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