The Mound Builders – The Mound Builders

After seven years of relative silence since their debut, the excellently monikered The Mound Builders use the opening minute of their self-titled sophomore album (Failure Records and Tapes) to well and truly set the scene. There’s a triumphant opening chord ringing out, with more than a hint of Volume 4 (Vertigo) about its tone, Ryan Strawsma hits a vintage clanking bass run and the swinging drums come in. By the time Jim Voelz’ raw shouts come in on top, we’re well underway to establishing this is going to be a fun, riffy, High On Fire fuelled uptempo Sludge Metal romp, with all the essential hints of Hardcore to pepper things up.

And if the seven-minute ‘Torchbearer’ lays down a marker, and it well and truly does, the excellently titled ‘Hair Of The Dogma’ rampages a Bay Area dervish and injects more of a Metal edge. When a band lists the criminally underrated Buzzov*en in their press release, and you can hear the punky, dirty undertones underpinning a sound, you know you’re onto a winner. Deeper cut ‘Regolith’ adds a Rock n’ Roll swagger and bounce, ‘Star City Massacre’ is muscular and aggressive, while ‘Broken Pillars’ dripping with Sludge.

With hints of Clutch, a deep draft of Crowbar, but overall offering an aggressive Hardcore-affected punked-up Sludge staple, Mound Builders sounds like the sort of band that would perform the live soundtrack to a house party that would lead to utter destruction of the property, and are not unlike UK act Allfather.

The Mound Builders are in the here and now frontier in terms of sound, look, feel and style and are armed with an album that could see them hop on many a tour and impress. This self-titled offering should serve not only as a reboot, but also to open opportunities up, or at the very least, it should allow them to jimmy the doors on their way to smashing them down.

7 / 10

STEVE TOVEY