That Tommy Stewart is a busy bee. As mentioned in our recent (very recent) review of Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf he is the only member of Hallow’s Eve that goes all the way back into those Avalonian mists known as the 80’s when the band was founded. He has also released several solo albums, something called Fragile X, and worked on numerous albums as an engineer/producer. This is not counting demos, of which I’m sure there are too many to even begin the discussion. To get to the point, which is not to sound like if Mr. Stewart was trying to write his own Wikipedia article, he’s done a lot, and here he is, at it again. Bludy Gyres is a four man piece of Atlanta doom metal, featuring Stewart on bass, and these guys are taking things in all sorts of directions.
Whereas Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf was a minimalist, if extremely impressive, effort – effectively creating a noisy, sludgy type of Candlemass doom with just drums and a bass guitar – Bludy Gyres’ Echoes of a Distant Scream is a different animal. There are similarities of course, the most obvious of which is the very direct Black Sabbath lineage. There are not even hints of funeral doom, modern psychedelic doom or anything with growling vocals. Even so, the different instrumental setup and the presence of more musicians have created something absolutely distinct. There are wild experiments, odd breaks, heavy blues tendencies and all sorts of interesting innovations going on throughout the five, mostly very lengthy, songs. The label mentions influences from British progressive rock, and it is very much right to do so. Hearing the heavy, buzzing distortion of Bludy Gyres may not bring Third Ear Band or Gentle Giant to mind straight away, but such germs hide in there, and not that deeply either.
Talk of blues, progressive rock and other tomfoolery is not intended to suggest that there is a lack of metal here – just a quick listen to the magnificent heaviness that is “To Live is to Bleed” will put an immediate stop to any such perverse speculation. While you will sometimes find your mind drifting towards an idea of some angrier version of Jehtro Tull, Echoes of a Distant Scream contains plenty of both classic 70’s heavy metal and (somewhat) more modern doom riffing. The tempo is usually a little higher than is the case for the psychedelic types of funeral and stoner doom metal. I imagine it being due to these upstanding gentlemen being fueled primarily by beer and the occasional shot of gin, rather than heavier (or lamer) substances.
“Defy the Lie” sounds like a doomed and sludged down version of one of the better tracks off of Maiden’s X-factor, while “Discipline Man” is so down and dirty it can really only be described as a rock/metal version of Nick Cave’s “From Her to Eternity”. Bludy Gyres either know exactly what they are doing (a rather likely theory, admittedly), or simply happen to be creating something splendid from chaos anyway. This album is filthy, well executed, dynamic and eminently suited to anything from motorcycle gang gatherings and monster truck competitions to lonely reflections on the human condition. Considering the wide array of awesome hairstyles, beards and mustaches sported by the band members, this is pretty much a winner all the way.
Echoes of a Distant Scream is available in lots of physical or less physical formats from Soman Record’s Bandcamp.