Once in a blue moon an album stands out from the rest, this can be for many reasons; Strength, technicality, production quality, but very rarely does an album tick so many boxes. Audubon, created by New York 3-piece NETHERLANDS, does this to an immense degree – heavy hitting, tight and full of sound. Audubon serves as the third release for the trio, and it is a masterpiece.
L.M.M. opens the up the album with huge amount of style, this sound carries throughout the track filling the soundscape with sporadic licks and heavy riffs courtesy of Timo Ellis. This track is everywhere in the sense of filling a soundscape, with bass and drums matching the craziness of the guitar, the environment created for the song is powerful and very, very doomy whilst maintaining a brutal almost hardcore-like presence too it.
Next up is Elephuck, fans of bands like Truckfighters will enjoy the tracks progressive nature. The song features haunting vocals that are just the cherry on top of the whole mix, the bass Ava Farber is incredibly crunchy and keeps the songs pace beautifully well. Elephuck makes for a strong track, perhaps not the best song on the album, but it sure as hell is up there. Thumper lives up to its namesake; with sharp, almost regimented drumming from Zach Eichenhorn that stands dominant over the rest of the instruments. This mix shifts as riffs take over centre point for choruses, then turns back to this, which is a really nice touch and isn’t too disjointed to make it seem like a new song is playing. The song itself is the shortest on the album at a shade under 2 and a half minutes, but in this time the track takes the listener on a very progressive and paced journey.
The Bottom of the Ocean brings us into the almost halfway point of the album and it has been strong so far, now as the track opens it is as if it has descended into calm before the storm. Softer vocals with a fuzzy riff almost lend to a TOOL like sound, this builds as drums come in. After the songs intro its bought back into that well paced and crunchy sound, similar to that of Elephuck, it is super fuzzy and that works to such an advantage. Next is New Jocks, smacking you in the face almost instantly with all aspects of the sound; MASTODON level craziness is a key feature on this track. There is never a sure sign of what direction the song Is going in, and it is very experimental in that regard, but it makes it play out almost like a jam session in that regard so this sound gives the listener a great insight into the tightness of NETHERLANDS. Dots follows and follows well, this after New Jocks shows no particularly distinctive change in sound or theming, there are moments where the vocals just become crazy – and it stands out very nicely. Dots is a lot more dark, and the stylist shifts are a lot more instantaneous, it feels like continuation of New Jocks and rather than a different song but this plays to its strengths and really works as if the two tracks compliment each other.
Thrombosis plays similar to Dots, but caps it by being very aggressive and rhythmical. The way the vocals are done in this track, the pacing with the other instruments makes it work so well, and it almost has a Chris Cornell edge to it at. Drums stand out really nicely on this track too, very tight and very prominent and are a great leading feature alongside the vocals whilst the strings push and pull you in every direction.Alien Pussy is wild from the get go, this is the experimental side showing its full form – this track is greatly paced and very progressive. Vocals once again are haunting and mix awesomely with the lead guitar making the sounds higher points and then almost creeping over the top of the main riff. The bass and guitar in Alien Pussy have a huge sound, cataclysmic almost, they have that proper chunky and fuzzy doom sound too them.
In Cyan closes the album off, this track is the longest on Audubon and is probably the strongest on the album, not to suggest that it’s the songs length is what makes it so good but it certainly plays a part in the drama that the song presents. In Cyan feels like the most complete song here, there is just the right amount of everything – effects, riffage and it all comes together beautifully and has it all going on for the right amounts of time. This track stands out the most on this album, shows great flexibility in the bands writing. Audubon makes for an awesome album, and given its only the 3rd release for NETHERLANDS it shows an immense amount of promise for the trio. Fans of doom and sludge definitely need to pick this up, and those into hardcore and experiemental looking to get into doom and sludge should love this blend of styles.
Audubon is set for release on June 17 via Prosthetic Records.
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