Salt Lake City. Arid and barren. A salt lake; a contradiction in thought. Blistering out of this plain, is The Ditch and The Delta. A heavy doom band that incorporates myriad influences to spew original ideas; all soaked in the blood of noise rock. The new full length, Hives in Decline, has been out this summer and harvesting stellar reviews.

Switching from thick and ugly one measure into a crisper more calculated attack the next, TD&TD’s songs balance various approaches meticulously. Their sound is loose and pulverizing, but with forethought. I tend to find the fuzzy belligerence more appealing but appreciate the respites of TD&TD pulling it in. Sandbars bring relief in rough waters.

“Fuck on Asphalt” is a chilling rocker, moving forward and using speed as a weapon as much as low- tuned thick chords. Halfway through its six minutes, the track reels back and becomes a reticent volcano of cymbals, toms, feedback and solo squeals. Other reviewers, and the band, will call influences such as Melvins and Eyehategod. I feel one can look to contemporaries like Black Tusk and Kylesa as well; TD&TD is the visceral to ISIS’ cerebral.

A Godflesh-like machine timed attack with real instruments as “Sleeping Dogs” or “Til Body Quits” begins. “Til Body Quits” soon picks up pace though. This has a succinct drum beat with a gliding, guitar line that refuses to let the listener sit still. Some explosive screams over mountainous riffs bring climactic proclamations. Heavy and defiant, this may be my favorite track. The dusty echo in the winding guitar of “Dry Land”; a two minute dirge that kicks up dust and the introspection of solitude, exhibits strong songwriting. This track does with inward sparsity what the rest of the album does with volume and low tones.

A piercing riff is the pith of the five minute “Mud”. Its high note wail which Eliot Scerist (guitars) pushes to charge forward is a conduit for each section of the track. It is a great send off point for the quieter discovery of the middle of the song which relishes a subtle tangent. The jazz infusion (think Pelican and Maserati) allows the trio to play and wander in a settled environment. But that’s one minute; the bulk of the song is still here to eviscerate. A violent thrash moves the song through its life, still with that guitar line pricking and needling the listener.

Hives in Decline pull sludge/doom and jazz breaks and together to relay a pounding execution. Angry bellows ride on discordant riffs which garner depression and regret. The ugliness of this society breeds rants and contemplation which TD&TD give us space and time in which to revel here.

RIYL: Melvins, Neurosis, Black Tusk, Maserati, ISIS, Earth, Godflesh, Intronaut

Purchase the album here.


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