Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The last time I heard from Bill Robinson it was a pleasant message of appreciation for reviewing an album by his other band from Chattanooga, Oxxen. Now snarling and blasting out dangerous feedback with Red Necklace as well, Robinson and Patrick Wilkey - who provides drums and “hellfire,” according to Facebook - carve out four songs from forty minutes of thick riffage and thundering drums.

Starting with the glacial crawl of  “Repression of the Snake,” Red Necklace’s eponymous debut album fuses the swampy danger of Primitive Man and the bombastic noise of Behoover, then covers it all with a wintery mix of muddy slush and ice. It’s entirely possible that I’m projecting my own brutal New York February onto these songs, but they possess glacial qualities, in my frostbitten mind. When it comes to doom duos, there’s usually an enormous responsibility on the drummer to punctuate riffs that, without percussive accompaniment, risk feeling like distortion swelling and flickering as a freeform passage. Wilkey particularly shines on “The Swarm,” guiding the song down smoky corridors in some frigid basement labyrinth with confident fills while strengthening structural integrity.

But doom’s success is eventually determined by the mood and attitude of its riffs. Red Necklace grazes various subgenres (Sleep’s bouncy, bong-worshipping stoner doom; the texture of Evoken’s foggy, funereal epics; the grimy sludge of NOLA’s various musical outlaws), but emerges from the album with their own stamp on a genre, matching impressive kineticism with riffs that never feel derivative. The songs occasionally thaw during gentler moments of morose tones and shimmering cymbals, but it’s really just spilled blood momentarily melting the ice. Robinson’s rasp and blackened blues riffs transform 40 minutes into an experience that builds upon well-known metallic foundations (hell, parts of “Repression of the Snake” even feel like “Enter Sandman” at times, if the Sandman was dressed in fresh pelts) and stomps forward with a black boot.

Check out Red Necklace over on their Facebook page, then pre-order their album over on Bandcamp: http://rednecklace.bandcamp.com/

Better yet, order the cassette from Failed Recordings and Inherent Records here: http://failedrecordings.storenvy.com/products/5439073-red-necklace-s-t-cassette