‘Weight Of Night’
Self-released: December 2014
The first thing you notice about The Munsens is that they are called The Munsens. The band’s name derives from a term used in the movie ‘Kingpin’ to describe natural-born losers. Inspired by some friends who had appropriated the daftness for their own daily usage, this US three-piece decided that the term fitted their own lives of skating and jamming.
The second thing you notice about The Munsens is that they create a sound akin to Electric Wizard or Sleep – ie. a sound so heavy, dense and filthy that your entire skeleton turns to pulp the instant they plug in. Listening to this three-track EP is like being trapped at the bottom of a mighty waterfall as a deafening torrent crashes around you, pinning you within the grip of its undercurrent.
The three songs on offer are slow and murky, trundling patiently, and their incessant pummelling is adorned with occasional melody and a fleeting stoner vibe. ‘The Hunt’, for example, is a bestial and modern version of early Sabbath that relies on sledgehammer repetition rather than sublime skill, but towards the end a compelling groove breaks out. Similarly, the song ‘Slave’ begins in a relatively buoyant mood before descending into a lachrymose plod.
The mournful, raw vocals may not be especially distinctive, but they are laced with passion. And that desire is also seen in the band’s willingness to tour and build their audience, happy to share their delightfully unpleasant sound with anyone fool enough to risk their own wellbeing.
But while the higher-tempo sections add energy, ultimately this EP is a bit too simplistic to stamp much authority on your brain. B-movie samples aside, there is little in the way of depth or versatility on display; but for sheer, magnificent, blistering power, few can match The Munsens’ shuddering tones.