Sunday, August 10, 2014

…travelling new dimensions: FELLWOODS – ‘Gyromancer’ EP

Straight from the year 2037 via interdimensional portal comes Fellwoods’ mini space opera, ‘Gyromancer’—a blistering four track EP that finds the Portland, Oregon foursome at the top of their game. The band’s full-length debut, ‘Wulfram’, has been a favorite of mine for quite a while, especially on long summer road trips into the mountains, but ‘Gyromancer’ finds the quartet meddling in quantum mechanics and channeling frequencies from a whole other universe. The progression is nothing short amazing. The ‘Gyromancer’ EP is loaded with wailing dual guitars and killer riffs that are catapulted beyond the stratosphere with drumming that packs the kick and momentum of a rocket’s engine. Complement these elements with tales that reach beyond the known universe with Adam Burke’s distinctive nasally delivery and a progressive hard rock groove that gets seared into your brain and we have one of the year’s most smokin’ releases.

Opening the EP is ‘Interdimensional Grid’, a slab of evil sounding proto-metal that smolders red hot from start to finish. The mood is set with groovy drums, rumba shakers and even some cow bell for good measure before the bass swells and choppy, dueling guitars settle in for one of the coolest album-openers of the year. Everything about this tune is perfect, but the propulsive drumming and screeching guitar leads really kick this track up to the next level. The title track, “Gyromancer”, is another up-tempo scorcher that includes one of the coolest and catchiest choruses of the EP.

“Dark Horn”, the longest track at almost 7 minutes, is a journey in and of itself that tells the tale of humanity’s darkest hour. A beautiful, yet haunting guitar harmony kicks off the track before the song settles into a slow groove that is occasionally accented with what sounds like mellotron. Tempo changes, dreamy soundscapes, and an emotive denouement makes “Dark Horn” one of the most fascinating songs of the EP. Closing out ‘Gyromancer’ is “Destroyer”, a tune which boasts an intro that sounds as if the band recruited Joey Santiago to play the opening guitar. “Destroyer” is probably the most menacing of the lot, particularly due to the sporadic use of organ in unison to the closest thing that the band plays to doom. The latter half of the tune simply shreds and squealing guitar noise ultimately peals out into outer space.

Fellwoods’ ‘Gyromancer’ EP is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders. It’s adventurous, textured, and reverential without sounding stale or insincere. Every moment of the mini album is sonically engaging and is a step up from what the band had crafted on their mind-blowingly stellar debut. ‘Gyromancer’ is, up to this point, the finest EP of the year even though technically it was briefly available to stream last year. The band wanted to master it and tighten up the mix and there was also talk of a vinyl release through Svart Records. Hopefully that will still come to fruition. Fans of guitar driven hard rock that is both exploratory and progressive will be blown away by ‘Gyromancer’. Looking forward to where this band goes next…