This four-song EP from the strangely-monikered Welsh doom outfit starts brilliantly, but peters out towards the end. The first song, ‘Viking’ opens with an atmospheric piano before launching into an impressively gigantic doom riff. Then the vocals drip over the sledgehammer guitars like a steaming cauldron of troll vomit, before being suddenly replaced with a delicate, clean voice deploying a lighter, rock-orientated sensibility that surprises and sparkles amid the grey gloom. Both vocal styles are delivered by one man, Adam Wrench, and he combines them to great effect. Initially, at least.
Since releasing this EP towards the end of 2013, co-founder and bass player Greg Perkins has departed for a new life in Australia. While this is undoubtedly a blow for the band, it is also an opportunity to take stock and then push the music forward in the future – hopefully they will continue down this ‘Viking’ road rather than the somewhat formulaic stoner stuff that comes later.
Before that, though, is ‘The Eye Of God’. This is a fantastic stoner-sludge epic with a swaying, melancholic vibe, and some really enjoyable, original vocal melodies. But then, tragically, Wrench disappears altogether and we are left with two instrumental tracks that, while compelling and dramatically layered, are essentially pretty standard stuff. The subtlety and creativity of the first two tracks wanes as the listener is pummeled rather than entertained.
Eight out of ten for the fascinating first half, but only six for the slightly disappointing second.
NOTE: Now extinct, Haast’s Eagle was a terrifying airborne raptor with a wingspan that reached up to three metres. Yes, three metres. That a bird of prey as kick-ass as that ever succumbed to the same fate as the lame-ass dodo is one of nature’s little jokes, perhaps. Why this band from South Wales added a ‘d’ onto the end is another mystery, although maybe it was to distinguish themselves from another, lesser band with a similar name, who play some seriously pointless soft rock out of Auckland, Australia. Perkins should pop round and have a word.