Gentry Densley is somewhat of a living legend in the metal world. Unfortunately I am not as familiar with his work in Iceburn as I should be, but Ive known him as an indispensable part of the Southern Lord supergroup Ascend. Ascend took experimental metal to new heights, but his latest project Eagle Twin, while moving in a similar direction as Ascend, is also possibly the heaviest band of all time.
Eagle Twin is a very clean distillation of every conceivable stoner rock, doom/sludge, and drone influence of the past three or four decades into something that is beautiful in its simplicity, and at the same time musically accomplished in the most unpretentious sense. At its core its blues-based stoner rock, but theres also some really killer atonal jazz-inflected leads over all the groovy bits.
Eagle Twin is kind of like OM in that its two guys playing epic droning stoner metal, but much less minimalistic and much heavier. But I hear that same sort of transcendental calm achieved through the lumbering yet complex percussion, a very subtle quiet/loud dynamic, and the resounding, mantric vocals.
The composition and mood of this album are flawless, but the backbone of the music is the syrupy, psychedelic wall of fuzz, lifted off Sleep and Goatsnake records, but with a new urgency, and new depths of heaviness. There is also an organic progression going on from that whole post-metal craze, (I still laugh at the thought that people consider it trendy in any way) and if you want to go that route the nearest reference point would be something more folk- and roots-rock-influenced like A Sun That Never Sets-era Neurosis, but again, even heavier.
Quite frankly, I am in awe of Densleys guitar tone. Hes really onto something with the baritone guitar, and I felt it in my bones when I saw Eagle Twin open for Sunn O))) in July. As someone who has tried every possible permutation of guitar, bass, fuzz pedal, distortion pedal, and amp in search of the ultimate sludgy tone, I have considerable respect for someone who has mastered this fine art. Its not as simple as tuning down and cranking the gain, theres always a hidden element to it; Densley knows how to find the sweet spot with his gear and expands it into an entire dimension of sound that comes alive with every pick stroke. I am so pleased that the album captures the same tone I witnessed live. Headbanging is mandatory.
All the songs on this album are rock solid, but my personal favorites are Birds of Black Hot Fire and Crow Hymn, which demonstrate the tectonic riffage that Eagle Twin is all about. On The Unkindness of Crows two guys manage to create a sound much more massive than most bands with four or five members. The drums and vocals perfectly fit the motif, but the baritone guitar is the force that drives it all, from moody clean segments to spacey, mind-blowing leads to the warm, beefy sheets of square-wave sub-bass. Eagle Twin proves itself the ultimate stoner rock band with its debut album, and leaves us with the gift of sludge as true art. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, music establishment.
9.8 / 10
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