2017 has been a brilliant year for new releases, especially new heavy releases, so dropping a debut album this year won’t be easy as it is getting harder and harder to stand out. Canada’s NECK OF THE WOODS don’t seem at all bothered by this however and why should they be? Their debut album The Passenger won’t have any problems standing out in the crowd. This album is about to grab you by the throat and give you a mammoth dose of progressive metal.
NECK OF THE WOODS take influence from bands such as CONVERGE, MISERY SIGNALS and RUSH and you really can hear the melding of all of these sounds on The Passenger. It opens with Bottom Feeder which starts the album as the band mean to go on, a gentle start in to crushing vocals which work so well with the complex guitars and drums. Nailbiter and White Coats follow and these carry on the heavy as hell sound. Some tracks are made for a live show and there is no doubt that any NECK OF THE WOODS show in the future will be absolute carnage when Nailbiter is dropped. Open Water breaks the record up perfectly and is a beautiful instrumental pause which shows that not only can Vancouver’s boys do balls out riffing, they can play almost peaceful pieces that you can lose yourself in.
The stand out moment on this album is the next track You’ll Always Look The Same To Me. Jeremy Gilmartin on drums is the stand out performer on the album, but this track belongs to vocalist Jeff Radomsky. The final two minutes of this song really showcase everything that the band can do, you get hard, heavy and then you get calm and intricate, this really is a spectacular piece of work. Similarly to Open Water, we get yet another beautiful instrumental piece in Drift that not only breaks the album up but serves as a calm passage to the final heavy onslaught of Foothills and then the delightful album closer, Before I Rest. You could be fooled for thinking this album is all about bringing the noise due to the incredible playing by the band, but the lyrics on this record are as poignant as the music, with Bottom Feeder, You’ll Always Look The Same To Me and Before I Rest especially hitting home as heartfelt, open and very honest.
The intricacy of this album makes it hard to believe that it is a debut but this also means that there is so much more to come from NECK OF THE WOODS and with this absolute rager of an album under their belts already, who knows what on earth we can expect from them next. If you’re a fan of brutal riffs, of intertwining guitars, of deep roaring vocals or a fan of heavy music in general, this album is about to blow you away.
The Passenger is out now via Basick Records.
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