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Giant Of The Mountain - Mother Hydra - 90%

groverXIII, October 15th, 2011

Mother Hydra starts off quietly with its title track, an intro with some nice clean guitar and bass against a backdrop of falling rain, building into ‘The Opening Of The Gates’. The tracks that follow feature some nice interplay between bass and guitar, nicely illustrating the various styles that GOTM combine. There’s a guitar lick at the beginning that reminds me of Baroness, some black metal-ish tremolo riffing, some death metal grinding, and some nice proggy soloing. Cody’s vocals alternate between lower death grunts and higher blackened screeches, and there are some clean vocals in the mix as well.

The mix on this album is very raw, which might be off-putting to some (including myself, considering that I tend to like more modern production), but to be honest, the rougher production adds a certain amount of charm to things. Randi Matejowsky’s drums are buried pretty deep in the mix, and when she throws in blast beats (as in ‘Tormentor’), they nearly blend together into static, but she still does an excellent job of keeping things varied through a lot of shifting tempos. Chris Dearing’s bass, however, is easily audible in the mix, and as I mentioned before, the interplay with the guitars is excellent. As for Cody, well, he pretty much just tears it up from beginning to end, blazing through a variety of styles (often within the framework of a single song) while keeping things fluid.

And that fluidity is one of GOTM’s strengths. It would be easy for things to feel unnatural and mashed together, simply by virtue of the number of different types of metal they are combining, but it rarely feels that way. There are moments that remind me of various bands, from Baroness to Mastodon to Black Label Society (okay, that may just be the pinch harmonics on ‘House Of Vaermina’), but these moments never feel forced, and they never overstay their welcome, either. This is a tribute to their songcraft, really, because they keep things interesting throughout.

You can acquire Mother Hydra for a mere $2 via Bandcamp; it goes without saying that this would be two dollars well spent. This album is very rough around the edges, but there’s a lot to like here, especially if progressive blackened death sludge is your cup of tea.

Originally written for The Number Of The Blog