Big Tones From The Low Country
Given their liberal attitude towards the holy smoke, it’s surprising that the Dutch are hardly renowned for producing high-quality sludge and doom. Enter Whooom, who follow in the footsteps of fellow crusty-eyed countrymen Toner Low with their debut slab of riff-worship, Lager.
How is the sound ?
Soupy and abrasive and equal measure, with the sort of ebb-and-flow that the listener will only really appreciate if their ears are already well accustomed to 10+ minutes epics of jam-based doom.
The guitars absolutely roar, with zero compromises on the huge wall of fuzz and a less-than-subtle drenching of reverberation to boot. Some tasty tones are utilised in the meandering solos – my only criticism is that these leads are sometimes a bit lacking in direction.
Bizarre vocals are using very sparingly but to great effect on a couple of tracks. Last but certainly not least, the drums have a slightly muffled sound due to the way this album has been recorded (more on this later), however, this actually compliments the overall vibe.
In summary, Whooom try out lots of different ideas, but they are at their best when they let the amps do the work by latching onto a massive, repetitive groove.
Why is this album worth listening ?
- Huge, feedback-soaked guitars churning out winding doom riffs (the way you like it) as well as the occasional more upbeat punk-influenced section
- Varied, very heavy and effective drums, which often sound tribal
- Some welcome experimental touches, for example the vocals in “Sandwitches”.
In what situation you should listen to this album ?
It goes without saying that you need to be alone in order to fully appreciate this long-winded style of doom/sludge. I’d recommend playing this at high volume through a pair of headphones while you’re out and about on a rainy day. Hood up, volume cranked – perfect!
Something particular to note ?
If you head over to their Bandcamp page, you will note that Whooom recorded Lager in analog, with much of it being recorded in one take. The imperfections on display here are welcome in an era of music when anyone with a guitar and an interface can churn out a squeaky clean but ultimately characterless album. I sincerely hope Whooom continue this approach on future recordings.
All of the five songs here have their moments, but the huge melodic riff in closer Kokonut King makes this the standout track.
For Fans Of
Monolord, Toner Low, Ufomammut, High on Fire
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