"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Deep Swell - "Lore Of The Angler" (CD)

Deep Swell - "Lore Of The Angler" CD cover image

"Lore Of The Angler" track listing:

1. Shoes Off
2. You're Not Sleeping
3. Criminal Reward
4. Hilltop
5. Monsters Everywhere
6. Cry Wolf
7. White Coat
8. Thinking
9. Green Eyes
10. Small Girl Learn

Reviewed by on October 22, 2014

"Blending power and funk, ethereal singing and blues stomp, Deep Swell's 'Lore Of The Angler' is a fantastic debut disc."

There's something about Deep Swell's debut disc, with its funky slap-bass, slinky drumming and guitar work that alternates between crushing chords and single note patterns that pleasantly evokes memories of alt-rock in the early 1990s, on the cusp of the grunge era. This one would feel right at home on a shelf next to Jane's Addiction, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus.

Fans of Tim Sult's other bands, Clutch and the Bakerton Group, are going to find lots to love here. That said, Sult takes things in an even more funky direction than he did with the Bakertons, starting with the opening track, "Shoes Off," which has an intro that sounds like Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith sitting in with the Chili Peppers, but works surprisingly well.

A lot of credit for keeping things moving has to also go to drummer Jesse Shultzaberger and bassist Logan Kilmer, who do their part in keeping the disc's slower tracks, such as "You're Not Sleeping," from getting too sleepy.

That's not to say that it's all roll and no rock. "Hilltop" barrels along with considerable speed, while the disc's best track, "Green Eyes," blends the album's most muscular riffing with funk bounce to fantastic effect.

All that said, the MVP here is most definitely singer Briena Pearl. She alternates between lilting and ethereal sounds on "Small Girl Learn" and a powerful bluesy swagger on the aforementioned "Green Eyes."

There's only one track that stands out as being average at best. "White Coat" starts out with Sult's guitar sounding like a kid playing with a stretched-out rubber band and never goes anywhere all that interesting. It isn't terrible, but it pales in comparison to the rest of the album.

Blending power and funk, ethereal singing and blues stomp, Deep Swell's "Lore Of The Angler" is a fantastic debut disc. Here's hoping for a quick turnaround on a follow-up.

Highs: Superb playing and singing throughout, with "Green Eyes" especially standing out.

Lows: "White Coat" isn't quite as great as the rest of the album.

Bottom line: A fantastic debut that nicely evokes early 1990s alt-rock.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)