May 11

Howl – Bloodlines (2013)

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You know, Howl is a great band. Full of Hell was actually a pretty good doom record, and I can only imagine how that translated live. However, their search for the almighty riff has taken quite a different turn this time around. There’s definitely less stoner metal here and more headbanging. It’s as if they traded a hash pipe for some good old beer. But the question remains: is the maximum rockage any good?

First, from the moment you press play, you are swallowed in riffage. The thud of the double bass and the guitar immediately get the head a bangin. From there, stylistically, there are definitely changes, but all of them are dedicated to the riff. One can certainly find something to enjoy in this record, from the black metal-esque (yes, that esque is there for a reason) Your Hell Begins or in the doomy closer Embrace Your Nerve. They try different things to accomplish the best riffs for each song, and most of them don’t sound bad at all.

However, despite these stylistic changes, many of the songs sound the same and bleed into one another. I couldn’t really tell where one song ended and another one began, and had to keep looking at the tracklist to ask myself if the song was still going or if it moved on to the next one. This album is over before you know it, and it’s 40 minutes. I felt like Nails’s last record, at 16 minutes, had more to it than this record. Furthermore, though I don’t necessarily think this is much of a care to many people, if you’re here for lyrical content you’re on the wrong album.

So in closing, this is certainly not bad. There’s plenty here to merit listening to. However, although the styles change quite a bit (with a foundation of headbangingly heavy metal), it doesn’t necessarily make each song stand out and for me to say “I HAVE A FAVORITE ON THE RECORD”. With that said, these songs look like they sound absolutely enjoyable live, so there’s that. And if you wanna go grab an album to play while drinking beer with your friends, then you could really do worse than this record. Also, this album art is sick.


1. Attriton
2. Midnight Eyes
3. Demonic
4. One Last Nail
5. Down So Low
6. Your Hell Begins
7. With A Blade
8. Of War
9. The Mouth of Madness
10. Embrace Your Nerve

Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: Relapse Records

Playing Time: 40 Minutes


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