July 13, 2014

Pet Slimmers of the Year - Fragments of Uniforms

Written by Justin C.

The reason I randomly picked this band out of the digital promo pile is probably obvious--in a sea of bands based on the same three or four root words (BlackNecroDeathBlood!), a band whose name sounds like a product from your local veterinarian's office is bound to stand out. The name might be a little silly, but the band plays some of the best instrumental rock/metal I've heard in a while.

The UK's Pet Slimmers of the Year hover somewhere near the edge of metal and rock. If you put a growler on top of this music, the riffs would definitely be heavy enough to push this into post-metal or post-hardcore territory, but they've gone in a slightly different direction. The band calls themselves "primarily instrumental," and to that end, there are clean vocals on three of the tracks. The vocals are very good, managing to be emotive without being at all saccharine. The soaring vocals on "La Tormenta" are a particular standout. I wouldn't have minded vocals on all of the tracks, but I admire what they're doing here--like the recently reviewed Colosso, Pet Slimmers seem to be saying, "If the song needs to be instrumental, it will be, but if it needs vocals, that's fine, too. We're not going to restrict ourselves that way."

The instrumental parts lean toward the sweeping and majestic. The band specializes in heavy, very melodic riffs, and they build and fall from a lot of what I call "well-earned" crescendos. I've heard a lot of bands in this general genre that have two dynamic settings: very loud and very soft, and they mercilessly careen between the two. It's effective in the short term, but it can get to be wearying for the listener in a hurry. Pet Slimmers manage to ebb and flow in a more organic way.

All of the instrumental performance are great, but I have to give the band special props for the interaction between guitar and bass. They're not afraid to let the bass take a more melodic stand, like in "Gathering Half the Deep and Full Voices" and "Churning of the Sea Milk." (As you may have noticed, the band's flights of fancy in naming things isn't restricted to the band name itself.) In songs like these, the guitar takes a more atmospheric, rhythmic role, and the tasteful drumming is always matched perfectly to the flow of the music.

This release initially snuck by me, probably because it's not completely metal, nor is it completely post- or alternative rock, but since I found it, I've spun it many, many times. Highly recommended for anyone who likes their heavy mixed with some light.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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