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Keelhaul - ‘Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return To Obscurity’

18 August 2009 at 15.01

Keelhaul - ‘Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return To Obscurity’ Cover

‘Triumphant Return To Obscurity’ is indeed triumphant...

And it’s a shame, innit? Cleveland’s semi-instrumental semi-legends have worked hard – well, as hard as any bunch who refer to themselves as ‘Queerhole’ and litter their emails with references to lifejackets, senility and knitting sweater vests can – at chiselling out three previous albums of mind-cramping math metal and dirty progressive sludge to little acclaim. The quartet appears resigned to having the same handful of people getting all frothy now that they’ve returned from a self-imposed hiatus. But that’s alright because there’s something purer and more authentic about music written for those within the rehearsal room walls first and foremost. The fans just happen to be along for the ride and wonder why no else is. Then complain when the bandwagon fills up.
‘Triumphant Return To Obscurity’ is indeed triumphant. It’s packed with heaps of off-time angularity moulded into more rocking riffs than should be possible. Continuing on in the tradition of prior albums ‘II’ and ‘Subject To Change Without Notice’, the geezers continue to move in perfect unison through a maze of odd-metered riffs and jumping guitar dynamics. The jocular irreverence remains (‘KFB’) as does the startlingly complex, yet understated (no gratuitous sweep picking!), musicianship. The differences come in the injection of punk-ish melody (‘Everything’s A Napkin’) and how herky-jerky sequences get disguised as streamlined sludge/stoner riffs. Maybe their date with obscurity is up? Nah, probably not.

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