Long-time friends of the blog Slow Bloom are back with a fantastic new EP, titled Hex Hex Hex. It was released on January 26, 2018 by No Sleep Records and Dog Knights Productions. They return with their trademark ferocious energy and post-hardcore/post-punk blend, but with some new sounds in the mix.
The EP kicks off with 30 seconds of feedback that throttles into the first track, "Neon Sequitor". This introduces the defining sound of the band, with chorus-laden angular leads, fully fleshed-out chords, and shaking vocals that build into screams. The refrain hits with a memorable intensity, something that's immediately noticeable about these songs. They are just as easy to sing along to as they are to mosh the fuck out to. The band established such a high, fast-paced energy on this first track, it's bound to grab you out of your seat. "Immaculate" continues to crank it out, with skull-fracturing verses, and an incredibly catchy melody in the chorus of straight-forward singing. The bass and drums roll steadily in the bridge, allowing the guitars to shimmer in atmospheric noise.
"Sarcophaguts", the first song released from the EP, features a call-and-response verse between the vocals and instrumentation. The vocals are manic throughout the track, except for the chorus, which cuts through with one of the EP's strongest melodies to tie the track together. This is a personal highlight on this thing, especially when it breaks to just guitar and vocals before bringing it back full-force for the outro. Simple things like this can often be the most effective, and Slow Bloom absolutely kill it on this track. They waste no time launching into "Cataracts", with a spoken-sung vocal passage, which is why I've often drawn comparisons to ATDI in the past. This track is a bit more winding than the previous ones, and burns slower, but with the same intensity. The vocals hit soaring highs in the choruses, and rally throughout the rest. Plus, the bass tone here is impeccable.
"Hex Hex Hex" closes this 5-track EP out with a wall of sound for rhythm. The echoed background vocals playing off the lead vocals in the chorus makes for a definite highlight, as well as the change-up of vocals about half-way through, which are a little toned down, but twice as seething. This song is undeniably memorable, with catchy melodies, solid lyrics, and a climax build-up into the final chorus that's sure to snap your neck back. They finally pump the brakes to leave some breathing room at the end, letting the EP exhale to a close.
Overall, there are not enough good things I can say about this. They are absolutely recommended for people who just want a high-energy, catchy band with some instrumental chops to boot. You can stream the entire EP on Bandcamp below, or pick up the 12" from No Sleep or Dog Knights Productions. Also, check out the dates for their upcoming US West Coast Tour in April.