I fucking hate the promo sump. It lies, cheats and steals more than the w
hor iest ov my exes, and successfully cons me into infinite second chances just as often. This time, she – the bin, not the bad news boo – really outdid herself, preying on my spite and my lust for redemption following my second 4.5 in this year ov our Jørn 2019; she promised me metalcore, guys, she said she’d give me something trite and untrve, but instead she gave me Cable. Not only are they exactly 0% metalcore, but these Connecticut creeps can actually kick a competent amount of kiester, woe Discordia. It certainly did my trust of the bin no favors, but I need one of you to lend me your shoulder so I can weep into it over how not-terrible Take the Stairs to Hell is.
Given the bands 25 year history, perhaps it’s my own fault that I didn’t fully understand what I had taken on here. Cable combine sludge, groove, and hard rock for a sound that’s about as metalcore as Holdeneye is confrontational; essentially, Take the Stairs to Hell is a sludge album with strong, grooving rock undertones. Sometimes it gallops, and sometimes it crawls, but there is always a dense, fuzzy layer of sludge in the air, compliments of guitarists Bernie Romanowski and Chris Fischkelta. One-time Isis contributor Randy Larsen further fuels the floccose fire with a fat and fierce bass tone, and all the while vocalist Peter Farris makes apt use of the instrumental backdrop, getting down with the thickness in a slightly gravelly Danzig-meets-young-Maynard kinda way that pairs quite well with the surrounding sonic slurry. Throw in the sturdy yet unsophisticated stylings of skinsman Alex Garcia-Rivera, and voila, you got yourself… Motherslug?
No, Cable aren’t secretly Australian, and I certainly don’t believe that a 25 year-old band is trying to emulate such a comparatively young and obscure act, and yet Take the Stairs to Hell gives me such a sense of déjà ‘slug that I only partly believe those things to be true. Realistically, the source of inspiration to this emulation would likely be more directly linked to Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, yet nonetheless this ish feels familiar as fuck. Cable incorporate enough liveliness in their riffage as to avoid being pigeonholed as just another Sabbath-alike, and the somewhat surprising inclusion of death growls on “Black Medicine” and the pseudo sermon of “Rats on Fire” add a little pizzazz to this platter of predictability, but Take the Stairs to Hell still largely feels more like a walk down memory lane than any kind of step forward.
Bastion of innovation this might not be, but that’s not to say that Cable bring nothing nice to the table with Take the Stairs to Hell. There’s a reason so many bands are vying for the Electric Wizard apprenticeship, after all, and while nothing here blows my mind almost all of it gets my head banging. The swagger of “It Cost Me Everything” alone is undeniable, and I’m a total sucker for that gloriously gunky guitar tone. Furthermore, Cable know to get when the getting’s good, never lolling about lazily in any given song; at an incredibly digestible 30 minutes, Take the Stairs to Hell offers a quick fix for sludge-doom junkies, a quick jaunt through familiar scenery that ends well before it can get boring. These tracks might function best as an augmentation to your favorite sludge-doom playlist, but they’re worthy of your time all the same, hardly a chore to endure. If you don’t expect too much from them, you might not be let down.
All I really want’s to be with you, metalcore, feeling like I matter too in this army ov
underrating hacks angry metal scribes. I don’t love Take the Stairs to Hell, sure, but it isn’t awful metalcore like I wanted and that pisses me right the fuck off. Muppet rage aside, I would personally expect something a little more distinguished from such a seasoned act, yet Cables latest offering is as inoffensive as it gets and I would begrudgingly urge fans of the sound to at least check it out. As for me, now I’m gonna have to wallow in self hatred until the bin can offer me up the auditory insult I so desire.