Slow Bloom – ‘Hex Hex Hex’

By Mark Johnson

‘Hex Hex Hex’ is the latest EP from North Carolina based act Slow Bloom. Formed of members from State Faults and Strike to Survive in 2014, this five track release leans heavily towards hardcore acts such as Refused and At The Drive In as well as having more than just a slight tinge of the Pixies and Nirvana.

Opening track ‘Neon Sequitor’ begins with dissonant and fuzzy feedback that suddenly springs into life with a chorus-laden guitar sound that takes you off guard; rather than a full sonic assault, ‘Neon Sequitor has an intelligent and refined post-grunge sound that resonates throughout the five tracks on this release. Front man Johnny Andrew’s vocals are reminiscent of mid 2000s emo bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Thursday, he effortlessly flips between a harmony driven clean verse approach to the guttural and repetitive chorus line “thanks for the misery.”

Second offering ‘Immaculate’ is a fine example of Slow Bloom’s sonic mastery; their fuzz-heavy hardcore sound is present and dynamic, yet never falls off the rails. There’s a real edge to this track that plunges the band further into the Pixies stylistically but with a more conventional and straight ahead chorus structure.

‘Sarcaphaguts’ sees the Taking Back Sunday influence hit the forefront and as the most approachable track on the EP, it screams “make me the single”. ‘Cataracts’ is the penultimate piece and is the slowest in pace. The guitar work is at the forefront, hitting  the chorus effect driven sound but with a ‘wall of sound’ wah/fuzz element that drives the whole track forward behind the screamed vocal.

Slow Bloom end with ‘Hex Hex Hex,’ the longest track on the EP and the most appropriate to finish things off. A fine culmination of the preceding 4 tracks, it showcases the now defined guitar work and vocal approach.

The strength in ‘Hex Hex Hex’ lies within Slow Bloom’s ability to craft a sound that is sonically diverse yet still cohesive and clear in structure. It is certainly a release to grab  hold of if you want something as guttural as Refused but with a mid ’90s grunge sensibility. Their debut full length will be released later this year through No Sleep Records in the United States and Dog Knights Promotions in UK.

JAKE JEREMY

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