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Nether Regions - "Into The Breach" (CD)

Nether Regions - "Into The Breach" CD cover image

"Into The Breach" track listing:

1. Into The Breach/Spanish Werewolves (5:25)
2. Do You Live? (4:54)
3. Your Name Is Madness (4:51)
4. Pale Faced God (7:40)
5. Blood Ritual (4:17)
6. Alpha/Omega (4:48)
7. A City Far Enough Away (5:30)
8. Outrun The Sun (7:28)

Reviewed by on April 5, 2011

"Once the eight year old inside of you stops giggling from the sight of their band name, one listen of their debut 'Into The Breach' will set in the realization that Nether Regions could be serious contenders in sludge/doom metal. "

Once the eight year old inside of you stops giggling from the sight of their band name, one listen of debut “Into The Breach” will set in the realization that Nether Regions could be serious contenders in sludge/doom metal. They have a High On Fire vibe, supported by the gritty vocals of Joe Wickstrom, but there is also loads of classic heavy metal solos and a melodic underbelly. It’s an album that starts out inconspicuously and grows into something deadly when the second half rolls around. Stick with it, and the rewards obtained more than make up for a stuttering early portion.

It’s not that the first half is a dud; the band just seems to be easing their way into things. “Into The Breach/Spanish Werewolves” has the flashy drum fills and heavy sludge sound to appease fans of the genre, but it flies by with little impact. The same can be said to “Do You Live?,” which mellows out in intense fashion. A nifty bass breakdown and harmonic guitars jazz the track up, but like the previous song, nothing is really gripping enough to make Nether Regions stand out performers.

The moody intro to “Your Name Is Madness” is the sign that the record is taking a turn into worthwhile territory, and that continues with the instrumental-heavy “Pale Faced God.” The 70s-style guitar solos and lack of vocals for minutes at a time are done in a manner that isn’t excessive. Led along by the fantastic playing of the young Kyle Bates and the equally-proficient Todd Pidcock, the pair are always engaging and unsatisfied with just mundane riffs.

“Into The Breach” is adept with numbers like the groovy, punishing “Alpha/Omega.” These tracks are predictable; solid in design, but not really anything fresh. Any freshness comes when acoustic guitars and clean melodies give the record depth and emotion. “A City Far Enough Away” creeps under the skin with its lurching opening, and the stark atmosphere on “Your Name Is Madness” is enhanced by the rough production. The instruments can all be heard in their gritty glory, but this is no sheen to be found on these tracks.

The band has turned to using Bandcamp to get their music out to the masses without a record label to fall back on. It allows fans to stream the music first before deciding to purchase a download. For sludge heads, “Into The Breach” gets a strong recommendation from this reviewer. It’s a record that gets better as it goes on, and shows its true colors with the two epics “Pale Faced God” and “Outrun The Sun.” The real potential shines through, and with more time spent together, there could be quite a lustrous future for this foursome from the Northwest.

Highs: Great epic tracks in "Pale Faced God" and "Outrun The Sun," energetic guitar work, appropriate usage of acoustic guitars and clean melodies

Lows: Early portion of the album goes through the motions, rough production

Bottom line: A strong debut that will appease fans of High On Fire and Neurosis.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)