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Wednesday , 23 January 2024
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Album Reviews - Wo Fat’s The Black Code & Omotai’s Terrestrial Grief


Wo Fat
The Black Code
Small Stone Records
(4/5 Stars)

I make no secret of my love for Dallas’ Wo-Fat.  Guitarist Kent Stump lays some riffs so sweet that I fall to my knees and weep and I have no hesitation in proclaiming that bassist Tim Wilson and drummer Michael Walter form one of Texas’ best and heaviest rhythm sections.  As a live band, they smite audiences with such a deft iron fist that they leave venues with ashes of the poor sods who entered expecting to leave the club with their lives.   Yes, this band literally kills!  Not surprisingly, their newest album, The Black Code, is one that delivers the heavy in spades.  The band alternately slinks up and then assaults listeners with its Texified, Sabbath infused, stoner rock like a large, deadly cat on the prowl.  There’s so much good stuff in this short, five-track album that it’s hard to pick out a few examples but one of my favorites is Hurt as Gone with a slide guitar that rises like a moss infested creature from some dark and creepy bayou.  Shard of Leg has a long slow psych infused guitar interlude and some other unexpected twists and turns that make it a lot of fun too. Meanwhile, the opening track, Lost Highway, is the kind of Wo Fat track that Moses would have brought down from the mountain with is leaden, skulking riffs and high flying wah-wah solo at the end. It’s not just a song, it’s like taking a fucking road trip on one of Hannibal’s elephants across the alps.   Be forewarned, not for the weak!  4 of 5 stars

Wo Fat performs Saturday 05 January 2024 @ Fitzgerald’s with From Beyond and Project Armageddon

The Black Code is available on Bandcamp: http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-code


Terrestrial Grief
Treaty Oak Collective

(5/5 Stars) 

Omotai’s Terrestrial Grief brings the heavy with blistering speeds, a raw but mathematically polished hardcore sensibility, and constant melodic sucker punches.  If you banged your head to their debut EP, Peace Through Fear, there is a lot that is familiar here but, in the short time that has passed, the band has evolved.  With the prior release, it was easy for any reviewer to toss off a Mastodon comparison and call it a day but Terrestrial Grief is a much more sophisticated work.  Those who want naked aggression and heavy, memorable riffs won’t be disappointed but they may be thrown off by some of the more melodic turns that guitarist Sam Waters takes in songs like “Spanish Constellation” or the sudden tempo change in “Spidercave” that employs bassist Melissa Lonchambon’s reverbed vocal “oooos” that play off brilliantly off of the building vocal screams and grinding guitars.   The ace in the hole here is Scott Ayers of Pain Teens, Anarchitex, and so much more.  Ayers takes a cameo as second guitar in “Seabitch” and the result is nothing short of the best goddamn guitar solo of 2024!!  I shit you not! Omotai builds him this brutal, pummeling base of operations and Ayers grabs it with more gusto, balls, and originality than in anything you’ve heard in a metal album all year.  It seems that the pretty, ambient, psych of the the title track that it flows into is required just so you can recover.  Drummer Anthony Vallejo somehow manages to keep right on top of all the twists and turns of all this with a workman-like precision that leaves the listener exhausted.  I won’t hesitate to say that this is one of the best fucking albums to come out of our state in 2024.  You want to play it safe?  Great, there are a million tattooed bands out there with stock riffs and rock star posturing to keep you happy in your little box.  If you want to have a heavy band that plays it smart, challenges expectations, and takes wild risks?  Then Omotai’s Terrestrial Grief needs to be in your collection.

Omotai performs Friday 11 January 2024 at Walter’s with Harold Borup, The Band That Controls Your Drugs, and Marshal Walker

Terrestrial Grief is available on Bandcamp: http://omotai.bandcamp.com/

Next: Infinite Apaches

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