By Karen A. Mann. More than four years after the release of their debut, Atlanta psychedelic sludge monsters Order of the Owl are back with a powerful follow-up that finally delivers on their initial promise. The band has spoken of personal and professional challengesBy Karen A. Mann.
More than four years after the release of their debut, Atlanta psychedelic sludge monsters Order of the Owl are back with a powerful follow-up that finally delivers on their initial promise. The band has spoken of personal and professional challenges, including the departure of two drummers, that engulfed the band over the past few years. Perhaps as a result, the sound on We Are Here to Collect Our Crown is more mind-expanding, more angrily powerful and more focused than before.
Fronted by singer/bass player Brent Anderson (formerly of Zoroaster), Order of the Owl retain that old band’s psychedelic soundscapes, but offer a heftier sonic palette on which they play out. We Are Here to Collect Our Crown alternates between bad-trip harshness and darkly hypnotic, with guitarist Casey Yarbrough’s thick, pummeling riffs and Anderson’s trademark looped, guttural vocals.
The album begins with “Brought Below,” which combines a menacing riff with Anderson’s demon-like vocals. The band speeds up a bit on “Wolves of True Diamond Hate” and “Hell Ride,” both of which flirt with hardcore. The band is at its best on “Resurrection,” which uses a lumbering, shimmering riff and monotone vocals to create an enveloping, trance-like effect.
Just when you’ve gotten used to the album’s sludge assault, the band hits you with the album’s closing track “Golden Dawn,” which begins with guest guitarist Juan Montoya (Killer Be Killed, ex-Torche) playing an acoustic melody, over which wordless vocals float in. As the melody ends, the song morphs into more than three minutes of increasingly frenetic electronic noise. It’s a good summary of the band’s sound as a whole, which always finds the right balance between melody and chaos, and typically does so in an unexpected way.
Order of the Owl aren’t satisfied to simply create something for you to listen to: They’re going to challenge your assumptions and force you to engage with what they’re doing. For that they truly deserve the crown they’ve come to collect.