Generation of Vipers – Howl and Filth (Translation Loss Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Post-metal has never cared about vocals. They’re an afterthought, just like guitar solos are in sludge, modesty is in power metal, and showering is in grind. Not like it matters, for post-metal’s beauteous landscapes and drawn-out instrumental sections usually are strong enough to carry the load, just reference the prime, mandatory works of Isis, Cult of Luna, and Rosetta. The vocals are simply there to push along the music, to give someone the opportunity to make generic belches. Knoxville, Tennessee’s Generation of Vipers might soon come to redefine absentee vocals in post-metal altogether. You need a seismometer to hear what’s going on.

On Howl and Filth (their third full-length), the trio of Joshua Holt (guitars/vocals), Travis Kammeyer (bass), and B.J. Graves (drums) create the visceral, distortion-laden sound that is needed to cement the post-metal sound. In fact, they’re a bit more rumbly than their peers, Holt’s riffs having a sort of tempered Discharge feel to them, something that is brought to life on opener “Ritual” and the biting “Eternal.” A lot of the album’s massive sound could also be attributed to Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, who is becoming quite the master at making bands sound large and in charge. In fact, Howl and Filth might be his most explosive production job to date.

Put simply, Howl and Filth is a black-and-white post metal album. There are no continental drifts, very few softly-strummed sections, and melody is scant. But the template laid down by forefathers Neurosis is pushed to the brink here, making Generation of Vipers the burly, but likeable side dish on the post-metal menu.

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