You probably wouldn’t think a song with lines like, “And so we shed these tears of blood upon the ground/As the ancestors await us in the sky,” and a chorus about butchering those who sleep at night would be so damn catchy, but kudos to Boston bass/drum duo Olde Growth for turning grim tales into potent hooks. Hell, with bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme‘s delivery, it practically swings. Could be a lounge arrangement in an alternate universe. That would rule a little bit.
As it stands, LoVerme and drummer Ryan Berry do pretty well even without the Rat Pack tuxedos, and their new Owl EP slays all the more for the swagger they put into it. The four-track collection was originally released in 2012 as a limited-type tour-only cassette (initial nerding out here), but the material stands up to the wider — if still pretty limited — self-release it’s now receiving. “Tears of Blood” is a highlight, but each of the cuts stands itself out, and though I noted it prior, Olde Growth‘s development since their self-titled still rings true in these songs, given new context by John Trimmer artwork and due out shortly in an edition of 100 CDs and 50 tapes.
“Brother of the Moon” broods as much as its propels, its riff sounding big enough to stand up to the band’s epic lyrical ethic while still maintaining a stonerly fuzz. As the band is essentially a rhythm section, there’s no shortage of groove throughout, but LoVerme‘s capable of carrying a melody at this point even as he offsets it with gruffer shouting. Alternately manic and doomed, “Brother of the Moon” leads into “Warrior Child”‘s blend of bass groove and subtle effects swirl, marauding its way through a verse before a shouting chorus that plays out in call and answer before bowing to a final slowdown, heavy and a not unexpected but certainly welcome guest.
The longest of this small batch at 5:22, “Tears of Blood” is a ripper straight through, engaging in Olde Growth‘s post-High on Fire battle axe rush. It’s the melody that holds the song together, LoVerme following the riff but beginning to show that he doesn’t necessarily need to while Berry punctuates each line with a snare fill, cymbal crashes, sometimes both. If anything on Owl might foreshadow the next stage in Olde Growth‘s evolution, I hope it’s “Tears of Blood,” but that’s not to count out the handclap-ready bass drum of closer “Edge of the Sea,” which pulses with energy but finds room for a chorus slowdown that only serves to highlight the evolving dynamics of the two-piece outfit.
I dug this when it was called Tour EP 2012 and I find my appreciation not at all diminished for it as Owl, so I’m glad to have the excuse to revisit it by making it The Obelisk Radio‘s Add of the Week. In addition to having the CD and tape up for preorder, LoVerme and Berry have put the EP up for a limited-time-only pay-what-you-will download at the Olde Growth Bandcamp, from whence the following is also hoisted:
Tags: Boston, Massachusetts, Olde Growth, Olde Growth Owl EP, Olde Growth Tour EP 2012, Owl EP