Review & Track Premiere: Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

[Click play above to stream ‘Blood Moon’ from Sons of Otis’ Isolation. Album is out Oct. 16 on Totem Cat Records. Preorders here.]

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2018 saw the release of the limited live album, college application essays on leadership great post to read Uk best homework help online integrity definition essay Live in Den Bosch (discussed here), as a beginning of the band’s relationship with¬† Check out why it is important to read the best Best Site To Do Online Assignmentss. Only this way will you have access to top quality work delivered on time, and Totem Cat that has also included reissues of their 1994 Javascript Array Assignment. US-based service has hired native writers with graduate degrees, capable of completing all types of papers on any academic level. Paid to Suffer debut EP and follow-up debut LP, 1996’s¬† Spacejumbofudge (discussed here), and Concrete Lo-Fi also backed a reissue of 2001’s¬†Songs for Worship in 2017, but a dearth of new Sons of Otis has been a notable absence. Perhaps all the more because in the years since¬†Seismic, a new generation of listeners has emerged hungry for precisely the kind of largesse of groove the band has so long had on offer. Add to that the automatic cred their years give them —¬†Sons of Otis outlived grunge and they’ll outlive you too — and all the makings of well-earned weedian cult plaudits would seem to be in place.

Their methodology, long established, is not messed with on Isolation.¬†Baluke‘s throaty vocals — more “mucus” than “sludge” — echo up from a hazy nod of riff while languid pacing evokes doomed vibes. They might be doomed. We might all be doomed. The difference is they don’t care, and across the two sides of the LP, from the inward dive and purposeful beginning that the record gets with “Hopeless” to the plodding repurpose of Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath” that is “Blood Moon,” they absolutely prove it.

And just who on or beyond earth could get away with brazenly, recognizably putting to use that most landmark of genre-making riffs? Well, Sons of Otis and pretty much nobody. As in the past they’ve donned works by¬†Saint Vitus and¬†Funkadelic, they inextricably make “Blood Moon” their own, and if you’re not on board with wherever they want to go by the time that song opens side B, you should probably just punch out. “Hopeless,” “JJ” (no relation) and “Trust” comprise the first half of¬†Isolation and they are a willful slog through a mire of distortion,¬†Baluke and¬†Sargeant‘s tones a wash of low-end air-push,¬†Aubin‘s toms an accompanying thud as¬†Baluke intones, “Free my soul,” on the opener, soon enough to follow by referencing “Amazing Grace” in “JJ.”

None of the first three tracks touches nine minutes long, but the level of submersion¬†Sons of Otis¬†offer in their material is unmistakable. As an initial salvo, “Hopeless” and “JJ” are crawlingly slow — maybe anguished, but not entirely beaten down — and relentless in their paean to the riffs themselves. This may well be the band raising their collective hand to testify to the glory of their own process, and if so, it’s fairly enough earned, and the watch-your-brain-melt-because-yes-you-can-see-it effect on the listener is palpable.

At once huge and obfuscated, these first moments of¬†Isolation¬†play out as a single morass, and while “Trust” — shorter at 6:24 — ups the tempo to some degree in order to highlight its funkier wah riff, by then the record is more than 16 minutes deep into its run and, the vibe is set. One sincerely doubts the band would have it any other way, and if they did, would they still be¬†Sons of Otis? I don’t know. But consider acts like¬†Electric Wizard, Weedeater or¬†Bongzilla — the latter two harsher vocally but all with well-known sounds. With any prior experience as a listener, you have a sense of what’s coming from a new release. Sons of Otis‘ sound operates in a similar fashion, but¬†Isolation¬†isn’t redundant either in the years it’s been since the band’s preceding album or on the level of its own songs.

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Or rather, if it’s redundant, it’s gloriously redundant.

“Blood Moon” leads off¬†Isolation‘s second half, as noted, and is followed by the LP’s two shortest tracks in “Ghost” and the closing instrumental wash that is “Theme II,” both on either side of six minutes long. In delivering to expectation,¬†Sons of Otis¬†nonetheless surpass it. After the thunderstomp that is “Blood Moon,” “Ghost” functions with a similar sense of repetitiveness, but more than any of the other tracks seems to put¬†Aubin in the lead position. His drums start the song with two slow stick-clicks, and then even as the bass and guitar lurch to life, it’s the round-and-round-we-go tom fills that most distinguish the penultimate track.

A tension set early is never really released, and as drawling spaciousness surrounds, the feeling is almost one of sensory overload. It’s the moment when¬†Isolation¬†most comes across like it’s going to swallow you entirely, and even when it seems like that tension is being released, it’s really just moving to another stage. Sandwiched between “Blood Moon” and “Theme II,” it is in just the right position for what it presents, and as it leaves off with noise and lets the thud and rumble of the closer — an apparent sequel to the well-feedbacked “Theme” from Spacejumbofudge — the roiling completeness of Isolation is hard to miss.

This is¬†Sons of Otis in full-album mode, and if “Theme II” is half a song topped with noise, a more fitting summation of the fuckall represented throughout the LP preceding it is hard to imagine. A cymbal wash and residual rumble fades out at the close, and all that’s left is the hungover sense of reality-departure from which one is somewhat cruelly returned. Put your head in it — or maybe put it in your head via those fancy earbuds you’ve got there — and Isolation¬†might just stretch you out for years. My advice is to let it do so. One never knows when the follow-up might be coming.

Sons of Otis, Isolation (2020)

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2 Responses to “Review & Track Premiere: Sons of Otis, Isolation

  1. Aron says:

    I had the distinct pleasure of watching Sons of Otis blow original-lineup Electric Wizard off the stage during the infamous Baggy Pants tour. Unearthly Trance and Otis melted my brain, E-Wiz just stood there looking bored and played badly.

  2. DieselJam says:

    I saw Otis open for Dopethrone, Bongzilla and Church of Misery in Wießbaden in 2018 and it was absolutely ear shattering and awesome beyond belief.
    They asked the half empty room filled with mostly round about 20 year olds like myself, how many people actually knew who they were and I was one of only 6 people who reacted.
    Underrated as hell!!!

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