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Friday, February 15, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Low Gravity - Incarnadine

Having featured them as the "New Band To Burn One To" after the release of their debut EP two and a half years ago, Heavy Planet is no stranger to the rip roaring riffs and side splitting humor of Denver’s Low Gravity. Self-described as “four drinkers with a music problem who decided to form a support group that resulted in some shows”, it’s easy to see that these guys don’t exactly take themselves too seriously. And between you and me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering this is a genre that all too often does just the opposite. But just one listen through Low Gravity’s debut full length, Incarnadine, confirms that this is an altogether different kind of band, one that’s built around the heavy and the hysterical. So get your drinking shoes on, turn the volume up and come with me as I check out yet another album that you've more than likely missed.

Incarnadine starts with “(The) Crushing Black”, which serves as a perfect example of the patience that Low Gravity employs throughout the album. Like a V8 that just won’t turn over on the first crank, the band opens with the grind of a lone guitar and slowly, almost cautiously, layers each instrument into the fold until that engine rumbles to life with the throaty growl of a grizzly. The dual guitar attack of Jess Ellis and Austin Williams is no doubt the culprit of the band’s solid groove, but it’s the grimy, raw throated vocals of Devin Ferguson (also the bassist) that make Low Gravity sound so menacing. So how is that shit funny? Well for starters, the song is a tongue in cheek ode to…of all things…pirates. So lest you want to walk the plank, try not to chuckle as the vocalist roars “when I’m on solid ground, a lass next to me…the stench of that wench, reminds me of the sea” or my personal favorite, “two things that I have learned…trust in the northern star…and you can’t spell pirate…without I and Arrrgh.” 

“Satellite” goes through a similar progression as Low Gravity build towards a bouncing groove that’ll have you doing the pogo like its 1994. More hilarity ensues as Ferguson barks “I’m high, I’m not gonna lie…and I think I’ll hold this couch down tonight.” But the band spends the final five of the song’s eight and a half minutes running through an intense jam session that sees them tear down their wall of groove, transition it into a series of trippy guitar solos and then build it all back up again. And I guess that makes this as good a time as any to mention that, with a run time of over forty six minutes, the six tracks that make up Incarnadine are lengthy to say the least. In fact, it’s safe to say that Low Gravity squeeze more monolithic riffs and neck noodling breakdowns into just one of their songs than most bands manage to fit into an entire album.

Like “Blood Fine” which opens with one guitar being subtly strummed while the other is made to cry out like a psychedelic banshee before reverb from Ferguson’s bass shakes the earth, cymbals clamor for attention and the band implodes into a crestfallen death march. Here the band’s blithe sense of humor only serves to make you nervous as you question the sincerity of these lyrics…“when your flesh begins to char…I'll do a little dance…singing la, la, la, la”. Try and keep still as the pace quickens and the guitar reaches air raid proportions. You want to give Low Gravity a quick sample? This one is my pick of the litter.

"Lord of Time", the shortest track of the bunch, abandons the multiple tempos and rhythmic shifts…well kind of…in favor of a straight up, balls out approach that sees Ellis and Williams combining their attack to create huge chugga, chugga riffs. "27 Names" is built on the power of Low Gravity's rhythm section as Ferguson and drummer Adam Mullins dish out an aural drubbing while overlapping their screams to invoke every moniker ever associated with the prince of darkness. And once the vocals are forsaken and the jam is on, I fucking love the melodic dual guitars as the bass and drums keep plowing forward. And then Incarnadine is brought to a close with "Dëathūg", which opens with another dose of titanic riffing before morphing into a Down-inspired swamp romp with a bluesy backbone and Anselmo-like croon. The song ultimately closes with a sick guitar solo and becomes a full on, shit kicking, boot stomper before it's all said and done.

Look bro, you want gargantuan riffs, shape shifting song structures and vocals that'll bury you where you stand? Look no further, because Low Gravity is a band that will topple you with their mountainous groove while they keep you guessing with their wicked sense of humor. Just be sure to take it all with a grain of salt my man, because chances are, they're not laughing at you…they're laughing with you. But then again…that could just be the booze talking.

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