[Click play above to hear the premiere of ‘Loose’ by 1000mods. Repeated Exposure To… is out on CD/DL Sept. 26 with vinyl Oct. 30 via Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings.]
With their third full-length, Repeated Exposure To…, Greece’s 1000mods affirm their place at the head of the pack of European heavy rock and roll. I mean that without qualification. Not just Greek heavy, but Europe as a whole. They were already leaders in their home country after their 2014 offering, Vultures (review here), which followed their 2012 Valley of Sand EP (discussed here), their 2011 debut LP, Super Van Vacation (review here), 2009’s Liquid Sleep EP (review here), and their first short release, Blank Reality, which came out in 2006, but a full decade later, the Chiliomodi four-piece have become bona fide masters of the form.
Released through their own Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings, Repeated Exposure To… derives its name from the photo on its cover, the warning on the tube amp that reads, “Warning! Repeated exposure to high sound levels (more than 80 decibels) may cause permanent impairing of hearing.” And so it might. Nonetheless, for 1000mods, one might take that as a credo under which they’re operating throughout the album as a whole.
Repeated Exposure To… runs at eight tracks/51 minutes and is easily the band’s most realized offering yet, produced and mixed by themselves with George Leodis and mastered by Brad Boatright with a crisp feel that demonstrates the professionalism they’ve hard won over the course of the last several years on the road throughout Europe, making their name internationally and coming to fully represent not only the vibrancy of Greece’s well-populated underground, but their own take on classic riff-driven songwriting, which finds its greatest accomplishments to-date here in cuts like “Above 179,” “Loose,” “The Son,” “A.W.,” “Groundhog Day” and “Into the Spell.”
A returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Dani G., guitarists Giannis S. and George T., and drummer Labros G. set the tone with the aforementioned opener “Above 179,” which declares its fuzzy roll outright and meets it head on with a galloping chug and the first of many resounding hooks. The tones are full, the drums sharp, the vocals cut through perfectly — it’s clear right from the start that it was a production with effort behind it; more an attempt to make an album with its own energy than represent a live show in raw form, and that works for the material as “Above 179” slows down and crashes into the riff that launches the subsequent “Loose.”
Tied with “The Son” as the longest tracks on Repeated Exposure To… at 8:41, “Loose” finds tension in the drums and builds toward its verse over the course of its first minute, a swing taking hold that finds interplay opening to its chorus, memorable almost immediately upon entering the ears. It’s only part of the impression “Loose” makes, however, as a thicker push kicks in to back a bridge and they move into a solo section at the halfway point that leads to a quiet section as part of a plotted instrumental jam that moves through the remainder of the track. Even as tight as they’ve shown themselves to be just a couple songs in, 1000mods let “Loose” live up to its name.
Its somewhat more hypnotic and long-faded finish is a smooth setup for the boot-to-the-ass that is “Electric Carve,” a 3:37 rush topped by more aggressive vocals in its chorus that’s the shortest inclusion at 3:37 and arguably the most intense — a barnburner, though one not quite willing to let go of the overarching groove 1000mods have built over the album’s early going. That turn of approach is all the more noteworthy as “Electric Carve” splits the difference between “Loose” and “The Son,” which holds to its swinging progression more than “Loose” but also has plenty of room for another extended instrumental section in its second half, changing the context in which it and both the tracks around it arrive. Again, 1000mods benefit from experience, from professionalism, and Repeated Exposure To… is a stronger record for it.
The play back and forth in thrust continues with the faster “A.W.,” though in this instance it’s the guitar doing the screaming following a quick intro line that seems to play directly off Monster Magnet‘s “Powertrip” prior to a chorus of “I know I’m living in a bottle,” that proves no less infectious. A slowdown at the halfway mark builds back up to full-throttle push and where both “Loose” and “The Son” left their hooks behind to go exploring, “A.W.” cuts the runtime by about 50 percent and reinforces the underlying notion of songcraft that’s been there all along by returning to what becomes its signature line near the finish.
Though it gets somewhat swallowed up by the closing duo that follows in “Groundhog Day” and “Into the Spell,” the subsequent “On a Stone” rolls out yet another showcase chorus and plays successfully off a mid-paced vibe that serves as a fluid transition into the ending section while satisfying in its structure and the ground it finds between the drive of cuts like “Electric Carve” and the more spacious material elsewhere on Repeated Exposure To… — a category in which it seems fair to include “Groundhog Day,” if only for the largesse of its central groove.
Both the penultimate track and the closer top seven minutes, and comprise between them an immersive finale for 1000mods, “Groundhog Day”‘s roll a standout moment for the album as a whole and put to effective use as a kind of instrumental chorus in the first half of the song until about three and a half minutes in when the drums signal a shift into the righteously half-timed solo section that will cap the remainder, a lone guitar line leading into “Into the Spell,” which announces itself with echoing guitar backed by bass and an emergent drum line over the course of its first minute-plus before the main riff makes its presence felt. If there’s anywhere on Repeated Exposure To… that 1000mods show their roots, it’s in “Into the Spell,” with a line drawn directly to Kyuss that still shifts back and forth into the more individualized jam while also keeping a forward motion overall.
Like the album overall, it’s not a minor accomplishment, and as they move from raucous, good-times heavy into the long fade that ends side B, it becomes increasingly clear what a special moment for the band Repeated Exposure To… has managed to capture. Like Dozer was once able to do in successfully transcending their early influences to create something individual from them, so too have 1000mods produced a work of such quality built from the strong foundation of their two prior full-lengths. I won’t attempt to conjecture as to future impact they or the band might have, but these songs hit with an effect that feels geared toward longer-term appreciation, and the immediate sense is that Repeated Exposure To… might just get even richer with time and, suitably enough, multiple return visits.