Written By: Gothmog
Colombian Necktie: A slit across the neck under the jawline that makes the tongue fall out of said slit. That’s pretty metal, right? Totally. And before you get any ideas, Los Angeles’s Colombian Necktie have already secured that band name. You may be quick to say “Obvious death metal band is obvious,” but you’ll be happy to know that Colombian Necktie are a self-described sludgecore band, which sees them combining sludge riffs and progressions with hardcore songwriting styles. Having released numerous EPs and splits via Bandcamp, the band released their self-titled début in 2013. A year has changed the band, it seems, as the end product that is Twilight Upon Us shows them successfully merge two unlikely sub-genres.
Clocking in at a little over three and a half minutes, opening track “Stockholm ‘73” pretty much tells you what this album is all about: heavy, muddy, and chunky riffs with no-bullshit song-writing approach. Before the track seems like it’s going to keep up with the low tempo and massive chords, the band kicks it up and starts going into a gallop before diving up and down with the dynamics. If it’s any indication, these guys know when to change things up and do it right.
Colombian Necktie are great for getting right to the point and not teasing you or leading you on. Song-writing is definitely the band’s main focus on Twilight Upon Us, and that’s where they shine. Songs usually lean towards either sludge or hardcore, with moments landing nicely in between, yet they manage to throw in enough surprises to keep you ready for the next crushing transition. That attention-getting switch ends up being inconsistent, however, and not always necessarily on-point. Later in the album, on a track like “Drought,” the band gets sloppy, making each chord progression more predictable and mundane to listen to. There’s good songs on this album, but some definitely falter when compared to the rest.
That’s entirely okay, though; the majority of the tracks still come through as being well written and enjoyable. Case in point are early tracks “Play the Game” and “Alternate Dimensions,” where they bounce between hardcore and sludge smoothly, and have moments where they sit securely in between. Colombian Necktie come out of their comfort zone, though, with the album’s monstrous closer, “Kevin’s Song.” A tribute to their fallen band mate, it’s the album’s high point. The ten minute epic starts off like any other song on the album, but quickly becomes so much more. After the hardcore-style intro wraps up, the band gets extremely melodic with their guitar work and the final product is unlike anything else on the album. After a few excellent transitions featuring alternate picking on the guitars and some solid lead work, they go as far to introduce trumpets to the song. And it works. There’s a lot of good songs on Twilight Upon Us, but “Kevin’s Song” is truly great and powerful because of how daring and successful it ends up being.
The production is extremely raw throughout the album, too, making the sludge influence more apparent, as if it wasn’t already. Honestly, for what the band is going for here, it works. You can hear each individual guitar clearly, with the bass providing the much appreciated low-end. Vocals and drums sit nicely with the stringed instruments, mixed to balance everything out. The sludgy quality of everything (Think Blue Record Baroness or Taste the Sin Black Tusk-sounding) helps the raw emotion come out, especially on the closing track, as it makes the album sound a lot stronger overall.
Blending and experimenting isn’t ever a bad thing, and Colombian Necktie have created something really good here. If the closing track is any indication of where this band can go, then the future should be looking bright indeed. Twilight Upon Us is a good album, and despite a some low points, it makes Colombian Necktie a band to keep on your radar for the future.