SubRosa – More Constant Than The Gods (Profound Lore Records)Friday, 13th September 2013
Non-traditional band lineups are pretty cool when you don’t realize the fact that you’re listening to something non-traditional, until further investigation. That’s the difference between a gimmick – a kitschy novelty that will surely overstay its welcome, and an organically unique thing with integrity. I’m struggling to think of other bands out there comprised of bass, drums, guitar, two electric violins, and three female voices. SubRosa is a five-piece out of Salt Lake City, offering their third full-length in More Constant Than the Gods (Rebecca Vernon handles both guitar and vocals).
These days there seem to be more bands playing some version of sludgy doom or doom-y sludge than any other genre of metal, at least in the United States. In order to stand out, my recommendation to bands would be to play something else, not just because most of that music bores the ever-loving shit out of me. Now, SubRosa are an experimental sludge-doom band who have a raison d’être, which leaves a mark.
Many female fronted bands in the metal-sphere feature a more operatic style of singing, whether in symphonic or gothic metal. This almost seems to be the norm, outside of the oddball death metal chicks like Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy). Here, we hear Vernon singing in a very natural style which works well with other kinds of music found in the indie rock or alt-folk realm. It’s really refreshing to hear.
SubRosa has a sound that is a bit hard to define, and that in itself is a strength. We have the low-end heaviness of Neurosis meeting the melancholy of A Perfect Circle. This is then draped in the haunting sweeps and sighs of the violins, enhanced by other instruments such as hammer dulcimer and flute, and tied together by strong (yet somehow delicate) layered vocals. Perhaps More Constant Than the Gods lingers long, clocking in at an hour and seven minutes – a minor complaint, really. SubRosa will envelop you in their cloak of ethereal doom, if you want them to. A recommended listen which straddles the line between the metal world and indie rock accessibility.