With a pair of members in US Christmas and one in A Storm of Light, Tennessee trio Generation of Vipers has kept quiet for the past four or five years. But the sludgy post-hardcore three-piece finally self-released its third album, Howl and Filth, last year, and now it gets a proper push and release from Translation Loss.
Engineered by Kurt Ballou of Converge at GodCity, Howl and Filth is a whole new type of hugeness — a little less Neur-Isis and more pure assailment. There are fewer drawn-out, distortion-free buildups, but there’s still the same level of dynamics, with spots of melancholy and restraint.
Whether due to structure or due to Ballou’s touch, the album sounds much heavier and denser than a “power trio” usually does. Imagine the sonic density of Old Man Gloom with the sheer intensity (and dirge-like riffs) of Converge, and you’re pretty close. Crucially, the syncopated beats of drummer BJ Graves hold it all together, often perfectly mid-tempo for head-banging but chock full of fills.
The band’s songs, though still not short, have become more concise and well rounded. And after the opening pair of tracks nearly hit 15 minutes together, the eerie piano and string track “All of This is Mine” nicely augments the flow. “Eternal” follows it well, immediately launching back into down-tuned sludge for a four-minute burst. In all, Howl and Filth is a complete album, offering enough for heavy-music fans of all stripes.