If you visit their Facebook page, this London, England set of rabble-rousers’ bio simply states: “Tune it down, turn it up.” And now that I’ve given Limb’s new album Terminal (New Heavy Sounds) a few spins I have to wholeheartedly endorse that mantra.
For a band that’s only been around since 2011 the rattling guitar tone and stellar production sure sounds confident. Rob Hoey’s throaty barks serve as the perfect complement to Pat Pask’s downtuned blues and Tom Mowforth’s forceful but controlled work on the drums. In terms of sonic quality, these Londoners sound on par with most doom acts on imprints like Relapse or Profound Lore. It’s groovy enough to show to your dad, but has enough impact to satisfy the younger heshers.
Terminal starts off with ‘Three Snake Leaves’ and at a running time of 1:45 it sets the stage for the headbanging to come, but it also drove me to a realization. Compared to typical Doom or Sludge offerings the songs on Terminal tend to come and go very quickly. There are four tracks that are done and over with in or less than three minutes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it won’t wear out its welcome, but it makes you wonder how numbers like ‘Mortuary Teeth’ would’ve turned out given a little more room to grow. Truth be told the best songs here like ‘Spoils of a Portrait King’ and ‘Cocytus’ happen to be the longest in terms of length and for slowing the tempos down to Jimmy Bower levels of guitar crunch. And I’m not saying that playing slower is the key either as ‘Down by the Banks’ has a Clutch level of self-assured heavy rock swagger.
I don’t want to make it seem like this is a bad record by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, there’s only one moment on Terminal that feels uninspired and it’s the appropriately titled ‘Sleepwalkers.’ It’s all just a matter of these young Brits adding some tweaks to the songwriting.
England started it all with Black Sabbath and kept that momentum going over the years with legendary noise merchants like Cathedral and Electric Wizard. Only time will tell if Limb are up to that task, but I like their chances.