Friday, February 17, 2006


Oxes - Oxxxes - Monitor Records

Instrumental music began to really rise in popularity with the post-rock movement, with bands like Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor leading the way for newer bands like Explosions in the Sky and The Album Leaf to become quite successful. Now, creative metalheads are dropping the screaming and growling to make their mark on the genre, whether it’s the epic metal of Pelican, the technicaal workout of Collapsar and Behold…the Arctopus, or the ambient droning of Sunn o))). All of the ground in between is fairly uncharted territory, with only a few bands (like Don Caballero and The Fucking Champs) able to pull anything worthwhile off. In an attempt to discover more bands that could hold a listener’s attention with balls out rock sans vocals, I ran across this 2002 release from Oxes.

The first track, “boss kitty”, opens the album with heavy palm-muting and basic drumwork. Soon after, they open up the high hat and let loose with a sliding riff. The song stays around the same themes, but rises and falls in intensity. Luckily, they switch things up enough so that the palm-muting doesn’t sound like a lost verse from a grunge band. Palm-muting remains very common throughout the album. “Half Half & Half” showcases lots of hammering and more tempo changes, while “Kaz Hayashi ‘01” could have been written by a late ‘80s heavy metal band and is noisier than most of the songs. They show their softer side with “chyna, chyna, chyna”, but pick up the pace again with “Tony Baines”, a pace they pretty much hold steady until the drummer gets the spotlight at the beginning of the last track, “Russia is HERE”. When the guitars finally come in, Oxes show what they can do with a delay pedal before finally returning to the palm-muting.

It really is hard to stay imaginative in straightforward rock without a good voice or lyrics to fall back on, but Oxes pull it off. Of course, no Godsmack or Creed fan is going to like this, so there has to be enough noise and experimentation to appeal to the Pelican and Tristeza fans, and believe me, there is. What amazes me is the upbeat pace they manage to maintain throughout the album. The drums never slow down for spacey, fifteen-minute interludes like other bands, and the guitarists rarely touch their distortion pedals. I’ve now realized that I’ve made it sound like this album is nothing but noisy palm-muting, but there are two guitarists, so the other one is usually doing something pretty interesting over the chugging. This album is not mind-blowing, but it’s raw, full of energy, and it held my attention. If you don’t like words getting in the way, but fall asleep to Godspeed and The Album Lear, try this album. It works just as well as a shot of espresso and a six-pack of Mountain Dews. However, unlike drinking a six-pack of Mountain Dew, you can listen to Oxes around breakable things.

Hey how are you doing? just letting you know that someone from Central America read your blog!
If you feel like visiting mine:
how to play drums
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?