Forest of Tygers – Bruises EP (Primitive Violence/Acteon)Tuesday, 27th May 2014
More sludge, which is essentially code these days for “let’s blend into the scenery.” With the edge effectively taken off this sound long ago, bands looking to get a quick fix and hipster nod in the underground forum of metal have gravitated toward sludge en masse, like the married duo of Jim and Rachel Valosik, who form the components of Forest of Tygers. (Thanks to Edguy’s recent single “Love Tyger,” that’s all we can think of: “tiger” with a “y.” And yes, Edguy are infinitely better than these two. Scenesters shudder.)
Comprised of four songs, Bruises does its best to combine the various attachments of black metal and hardcore, but neither are able to override the one-dimensional, everyman bark of Jim, who sees fit to douse the band’s songs with an unhealthy influx of vocals. And while the occasional riff pummel of “As Flakes of Ash” work their way rather ably through the sonic stratosphere, the all-too-familiar distorted and generic belly-flopping found on “Tiger Stripe” and “Wet Death” do nothing to indicate new territory is being blazed. One can take any number of like-minded releases of the last two years and put it up against Bruises, and zero distinction will be found.
In essence, these songs bear the mark of a band without much creative mobility, and are the embodiment of the disturbing sludge-it-up trend that has turned certain forms of heavy music into a vapid, soulless body. Pass. All the way.