Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tentacle - Ingot Eye


Tentacle is a side project of the band members of Ice Dragon. For those who have been living under a rock, Ice Dragon is a Stoner/Doom Metal/ Psychedelic Rock band that has gained a cult following over the past few years because of the bands’ relish for continuous reinventation of self.  Ice Dragon believe that the only thing constant is change and so even when they hit the home run with a successful formula on a particular release it doesn’t hinder the bands’ idea of pushing music to the logical extreme on their next release instead of sticking to the same formula, playing it safe and churning out some quality material in the same vein as their precursor. This is the reason why no two Ice Dragon releases sound the same and this love for experimentation backed with an aura of open mindedness has attracted many a person into the bands’ fan base in a world where most choose to play it safe and release new stuff that mostly sounds like a re hash of their older stuff.

That being said, Tentacle was formed in 2012 and they released their debut EP in the same year entitled ‘Void Abyss’. Early this year they released their debut album labelled ‘Ingot Eye’ which lasts around 40 minutes and consist of 4 tracks with lengths varying from 5 minutes to 13 minutes long.  A mere glance at the name of the band, and its artwork promptly communicates to the listener the bands’ obsession with the infamous H.P.Lovecraft.

The band plays a mixture of lo-fi yet burdensome and onerous mix of doom with elements of drone-y sludge metal with the pivotal aim being to create an atmosphere that is riddled with dirge and bleak hopelessness. As compared to the debut EP this release has a rawer, heavier and more oppressive sound. If the previous EP was a taste of the bands’ exploration into the deepest darkest unknowns this album is a peregrination into the entrails of all that is murky and filthy. The music moves along at a pace that is neither as slow as Pilgrim or Reverend Bizarre but not also as mid paced as Alunah or Subrosa. A good choice, after all it is the slow, heavy plodding riffs that create a foreboding and morose feeling more successfully than up tempo riffs.  The band in a short time seemed to have mastered the concept of building up an atmosphere using heavy riffs, deep cavernous bass lines tortured vocals and repetitive drums that engulf the listener in a hypnotic, trance like and lethargic cocoon.

Show me the tentacles !!

The music in itself at times seems to draw out inspiration from Black Sabbath’s first 2 LP’s and at times even classical music. This beast of an album with its horror fuelled imagery and odiously nauseating atmosphere is sprinkled with hints of psychedelia. Even though the music moves along at a similar bruised pace throughout there are enough variations in each tracks that makes sure that the listeners’ attention doesn’t meander elsewhere.  Be it the variation in vocals that range from screamed to at times even clean or the subtle changes in the tempo of the guitar work or the trudging bass lines backed by the use of a single unwavering note against the backdrop of surrounding silence, each such change which has been masterfully placed piles onto the demonic and twisted feel this album permeates throughout its length. The band has this ability to mesh all that is mentioned above to create a singular unit of utmost quality and flows together with impossible liquidity.

The production deserves special mention here. Remember when Celtic Frost and Hellhammer released their legendary stuff 30-odd years back and it was the most repulsive and heinous stuff one had had the pleasure to listen to? How did the band do that? They used the simple concept of downtuning their guitars and let reverb do the rest. In the simplest of words, that is what the band has done here.  The band admitted that they had to work hard to get the sound they wanted and it has ended up paying dividends. In a day when overproduction reigns supreme and where production has a two dimensional sound – left and right, the band has gone out of the way to get the old school sound came to you from up, down, backward, forward and in the process created a multi dimensional listening experience, a sound which has sadly been long forgotten in the current day and practiced only by a handful of musicians. If you have listened to Head Of The Demon’s 2013 debut album then you know what I am talking about, for they too possess that evil reverb laden old school sound.

It is good news that Tentacle is not just an experiment by Ice Dragon. They are a serious band which is here to stay. Those familiar with the works of Ice Dragon may at times find some similarities over here but there are enough variations from the core Ice Dragon sound to call Tentacle a different band that carries a harsher, more nefarious look into the minds that are collectively known as Ice Dragon. Get your hands on this album as soon as you can as this is definitely ‘Best Doom Metal Albums Of The Year’ stuff.

SCORE - 86/100

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