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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.
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Since its inception, Josh Graham’s A Storm Of Light has adopted a model that’s based squarely on collective evolution, be it in something as complex as its musical aspirations or something as simple as its personnel. With its fourth release, As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade, the group seemingly moves a little further from its loose “project” designation yet seemingly keeps the “band” label at arm’s length.
With its sound rooted firmly in no-frills rock, Valley’s style could best be described as “talk metal” or, barring that, “verbal doom.” Graham’s vocals tend to avoid conventional melody, or at least anything too advanced, instead coming off more as pitched declarations of ideology over the anvil attack of bassist Dominic Seita and newcomer drummer B.J. Graves. Though the obvious comparisons to contemporaries Neurosis or Unsane will make sense, Valley really borrows more heavily from mid-1990s hard rock — the half-spoken, hard-truth heaviness of Rollins Band, or the sludgy Sabbath nods of Soundgarden (fittingly, guitarist Kim Thayil pops in for a pair of guest spots: “Missing” and “Black Wolves”). The chugging “Collapse” evokes a less tom-reliant form of Tool, and the environmentalist-turned-existentialist “Destroyer” finally explains what a Queensrÿche / Alice in Chains / Rage Against the Machine collaboration might have sounded like.
The members of Brooklyn-based metal trio Tombs take pride in their work ethic and don’t bother worrying about what others might think. As for the band’s sound, front-man Mike Hill says, “The music itself is just intensity.”