So the Process Church of the Final Judgement wasn’t really your thing? Don’t slit your wrists over it, cults aren’t for everybody. Candlelight Records recently took a walk on the wild side adding a band that doesn’t run with their usual black metal or even their melodic death metal circles. Their band name is absurd, meaningless and annoying to the point where Nothing actually may be the better option, and to say that it had me tearing my hair out in chunks is an understatement. Pet Slimmers of the Year… Have you tried to Google this? No dammit, I’m not putting my feline on a diet, round is a shape too!
Pet Slimmers of the Year are a post-rock band with dabblings in post-metal, hailing from the Cathedral City of Peterborough, East of England, that combines the serious, slow atmospheric progression of say Cult of Luna‘s Somewhere Along the Highway, with the slow sprawl of Russian Circle‘s Memorian and then for good measure delves into the Wavering Radiance of lost but not forgotten Isis. Vocals are used sparsely, only making an appearance in “Arterias,” “Churning of the Sea of Milk” and with the most grandeur in “La Tormenta.” They’re used in an instrumental or atmospheric fashion, like one would hint to a violin or maybe a cello, as more of an illusion within the whole, the focus being on subtlety rather than on absolute delivery of a message.
Despite what could be considered a lack of vocals, the track titles form fragments of a plethora of interesting references, with each taking on the feel of a thinking man’s journey of discovery. The “Gathering Half the Deep and Full of Voices” alludes to the cycle of twelve narrative poems by the English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (Idylls of the King and more specific to the track The coming of Arthur). “Churning of the Sea of Milk” hints at the bas-relief of the same name, depicting the ancient Indian tail of Lord Vishnu cajoling demons and gods into working together, churning up the waters of a great cosmic ocean using only a sacred mountain as a pivot and a supernatural five-headed snake as the rope – the result, the elixir of immortality. While “Mare Imbrium” translates to the The Sea of Showers or The Sea of Rains, named for a large, shadowy, dark volcanic rock basin on the Earth’s moon. The ideas don’t seem to relate to each other, creating a bit of a disconnect for me, but that’s not evident musically.
With Fragments of Uniforms, Pet Slimmers of the Year‘s first full-length release, Scott Gowan, Steve McKenna and Dale Vinten set about creating the soaring, intense highs and quieted interludes one expects of a post-rock/metal album. Tracks like “Arterias,” “Gathering Half the Deep and Full of Voices” and “Days Since I Disappeared” include beautifully multi-layered guitars that charm, bringing to mind the pickings of My Dying Bride and Agalloch. The great thing about the album is that it strives to be unoffending – almost angelic, but it’s tough to keep the slow, fuzzy distortion pushed down and a subtle and enjoyable darkness rears its head breaking through the nice from time to time. The rumbling, hypnotic bass-driven start to “Churning of the Sea of Milk,” and later the turbulent storm of “La Tormenta” give you a taster of the bands earthly side. When all’s said and done, both tracks show off the band’s ability to combine heaviness with melodic riffs and harmonious, polished drum patterns.
Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered at Bandit Studios, under the watchful eye of Jonny Renshaw (Devil Sold His Soul), Fragments of Uniforms has the depth and clarity of a modern hand, attention to detail and texture and a dynamic range neatly within the range of popular music. The album is a beautiful first release, relaxing, not really metal, following all the rules and delivering exactly what’s expected. In the modern age where music costs hard earned cash and listeners crave variety, Pet Slimmers of the Year have fallen a little short of the mark this time around.
Label: Candlelight Records
Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Websites: PetSlimmersoftheYearOfficial | Facebook.com/PetSlimmersoftheYear
Release Dates: EU: 2014.04.14 | NA: 04.22.2014