Hangman's Chair
A Loner

I do not need music to help me achieve a depressed state, Hangman’s Chair, okay? I do very well with that as my default, thank you very much. However, if you’re unlike me (for your own sake, let’s hope), maybe you just need that nudge or like to feel miserable sometimes.

If so, A Loner, the new album from Hangman’s Chair could certainly do the trick. If you’re unfamiliar, as I was upon first listen, apt comparisons are Type O Negative, Katatonia, and maybe 3, Nothing or even Alice in Chains in the vocal department. If those bands are up your alley, as they are mine (all 5 of them), then you’re in for a treat.

The very first track, “An Ode to Breakdown,” has some serious World Coming Down-era Type O Negative vibes in the instrumental section, even if the vocals are perhaps the opposite of Pete. Those eerie background keys really add to it. At nearly 7 minutes, it’s bold to open the album with it, especially considering the first couple of minutes contain no vocals, but they pull it off.

The first real standout track however is the second one, “Cold & Distant,” with easily the best, most accessible and repeatable chorus on the album. Way to blow your load early, guys. Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us (so I’ve heard). It’s shorter and slightly more upbeat, but certainly not in the vocal department. The falsetto at the end of the chorus in one instance is somehow not out of place.

Further on, the inclusion of the instrumental “Pariah and the Plague” is questionable on an album a little on the longer side, especially when it leads into the next track, essentially the title track “Loner,” which is instrumental for nearly the first minute and on its own doesn’t have a very discernible hook.

However… One could make a play on words with the next track, “Second Wind,” but I’m way above that. Suffice it to say, it recaptures the vibe. Being one of the shorter tracks, it doesn’t take up too much time. It unfortunately doesn’t get heavy as it has more of a shoegaze or post metal vibe, but that doesn’t matter with such a stellar chorus.

After that, we’re onto the final track, “A Thousand Miles Away,” which is over 9 minutes. Despite that, this is one of the heavier songs on the album with its doomy, plodding march and would probably be my favorite if it weren’t for “Cold & Distant.” I’ve said before that the longest songs at the end of an album are often a misstep, but I’m sometimes wrong as this certainly isn’t one.

Through my first listen to this, it didn’t click. However, after each subsequent listen, I began singing along and remembering more parts. This was a hell of a recommendation for me to check out from fellow Teeth writer, Steve K., and it’s a potential year end list candidate. You should buy this. Now.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 10th, 2022

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