Reviews

The Mound Builders


The Mound Builders

Broadly speaking, bands that fall under the umbrella term of riff-worshippers – encompassing stoner, doom, and sludge metal – can fall under one of two categories. The majority of bands are content to walk (high as a kite) through the hills and valleys of their forefathers. A few, however, endeavor to take the tools that these legendary acts left and create new landscapes. Thus, we discover The Mound Builders from Indiana. While the blood of High on Fire, Buzzov*en and Crowbar among others flows through their veins, the resultant mix on their sophomore self-titled resembles the freshest dirt dug up for construction.

The most striking initial fact that jumps out on The Mound Builders is the fearless shift between tempos – instead of maintaining a reassuring tempo as many of their peers, they go from punk-inflected raging “Hair of the Dogma” to sludge metal swagger on “Separated From Youth”, stoner-thrash on “Star City Massacre” to vitriolic rough-and-tumble on closer “Vanished Frontier” – the latter of which has a stand-out vocal performance. The occasional pedal-manipulated solo wails out of nowhere – expertly handled by Brian Boszor, while the low end sounds both crisp and punishing as Robert Strawsma and Jason “Dinger” Brookhart hammer out relentless rhythms. You can spend any number of spins only hazarding a guess at influences, but the final result is a band who have their sound dialed in and know exactly how to wield it for maximum effect.

Narrating over the trio is the maniacal Jim Voelz, whose shrieks recall the great Johnny Morrow, and his growls echo the pains of the various strands of history from which the band draw lyrical inspiration, whether ancient tales or more recent life in their native Midwest, the grand cosmos or down here on Planet Earth. “It’s gonna be a massacre”, Jim warns, before another solo power-slides  into existence, and it’s not long before the song in question comes to a crashing close.

It’s been seven long years since their début full-length Strangers in a Strange Land, and The Mound Builders have made good use of that time in their craft. Their self-titled is a step up and a step closer to honing that perfect mixture between so many styles. For now, they’ll just keep building and playing.

The Mound Builders will be released on Jan 18 2019.

The Mound Builders are:
Brian Boszor – Guitar
Jason “Dinger” Brookhart – Drums
Ryan Strawsma – Bass
Jim Voelz – Vocals

Tracklisting:

1. Torchbearer
2. Hair of the Dogma
3. Separated From Youth
4. Acid Slugs
5. Star City Massacre
6. Regolith
7. Broken Pillars
8. Vanished Frontier

The Mound Builders – Black Drink Ritual

The Mound Builders – Wabash War Machine

The Mound Builders links:

Band location – Lafayette, Indiana

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