71TonMan – Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity)Monday, 27th February 2023
“Fat, low and slow.” That’s the moniker on 71TonMan’s Facebook page, and it’s an apt description of the band’s music: low tuned guitars, presented in a sludgy doom package, and heavy as a, well, a 71TonMan. Having been bringing the heavy since 2011, this Polish five-piece has somehow slipped under the radar for many. Having been familiar with their second album, 2017’s Earthwreck, one would expect crawling, gargantuan riffs that’ll crush anything in their path. The EP War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery creeped toward a more despondent feel, serving as the perfect segway into their third full-length, Of End Times. No amount of preparation, however, will not get one ready for this onslaught.
Beginning with “Conquest,” brooding guitar feedback and cymbals crashing serve as a precursor. Then at the 50 second mark, like a boulder smashing into Wile. E. Coyote, a crushing industrial-sized chainsaw of a riff crashes upon you, along with a deeply powerful growl courtesy of vocalist K.K. The most noticeable element is how thick the overall sound is – like a giant avalanche of grime, the pounding sound could make one almost pity their poor speakers/headphones. The pace picks up a little at around the 5:55 mark, upping the tempo slightly to give a different look, then ending on an ever so slow roll to finish. More feedback leads into “Plague,” with a riff that portrays an Eyehategod sort of vibe. As we continue, prominence is given to ever so low growls and more immense riffs, complemented with dashes of feedback to cultivate an aura of hopelessness. Not to mention the dissonant guitar lead beginning at 5:39 that drags one deeper into the foreboding muck, and plodding to the finish driven by poignant drums.
More buzzing riffs progress into “War,” which somehow manages to turn up the heaviness. How that’s possible is a mystery, but dammit, it’s just getting heavier. A ten minute plodding (in a good way) hammer smash, this offering is simply unrelenting. “Famine” brings more husky guitars, along with a varied vocal attack ranging from some mid-range screams, low grunts, and even some higher register wails. Assuredly the darkest and most downtrodden track, it’s a fitting ten+ minute opus that gives off a vibe of Primitive Man’s more sinister side, but with 71TonMan’s own signature style.
Many pieces stand out when looking at this compact, four song beast. Well thought out and precise songwriting traversed into pinpoint execution of every morsel of instrumentation, resulting in a tightness that enhances the album. The enormous production packages what the band is trying to accomplish, putting forth every note to be as devastating as possible. Of End Times is also one of those recordings that is – fittingly – a huge sum of all of its parts that encapsulate the senses.
71TonMan have stepped up their game in every conceivable way with Of End Times. These guys should really play the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise with the ironic similarity in both name and heft, though they assuredly would sink the boat, with an extra ton of bulk (Andy Piller, take note). If crushing and filthy doom is anywhere near one’s sonic proclivity, missing this would be a crime. Of End Times is a massive triumph in more ways than one – a brilliant realization of 71TonMan’s potential into a glorious mass of doom one won’t soon forget. Fat, low and slow, indeed.