War From a Harlots Mouth
In Shoals

Credit where credit’s due, not only have WFAHM continued to pursue the jagged, distorted path laid down from their prior releases but have more importantly, remained active. It’s particularly admirable given the current climate and the fact that people are becoming more and more fickle about how they burn their disposable income each month (providing they can of course). It therefore makes the efforts of all bands that much more vital, that much more crucial that they impress and forge quality music that has longevity, and won’t date within a week.Thus, In Shoals marks an impressive progression but also a significant grasping in the control of instrumentation and song writing. Their earlier output (particularly the split with Molotov Solution) was acutely schizophrenic, chucking in various influences that clashed rather then complimented but were executed with such vigour and intent that the chaotic cacophony just somehow worked.

On this second full length though, that insane energy is significantly honed, grasped and then directed so that the impact both in terms of heaviness but also in terms of song writing craft is significant. That doesn’t mean the songs are any simpler though, WFAHM still shift and integrate a plethora of elements be it grind, breakdowns or smooth jazzy meanderings throughout, particularly though, is a massive, massive Meshuggah presence resonating through a large proportion in the material.

Rather then this being purely plagiaristic it adds more weight, depth and texture to the compositions. Don’t expect WFAHM to be exploring within themselves as analytically as the Swedes did in the years from Nothing to Catch 33 but be aware that WFAMH are beginning to master that knack. Its particularly apparent on the burning closer ‘Scully,’ the absolute apex of the album, mingling morose chugs sumptuously to militant beats that pull and drag for three and a half minutes when it goes even blacker, ever more morose with Slintian (circa Spiderland, the only album anyone listens to anyway) undertones pervading and then controlling the mood.

Whilst WFAHM may not ascend to the giddy heights of masters of mood such as Meshuggah or Slint they show proudly that popularity isn’t what counts, but artistry, creativity and of course, passion, all of which are thoroughly present during In Shoals.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
May 26th, 2009

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