Woven Man – Revelry (In Our Arms)

Those of us who developed a fondness for sludgey goodness back in the days of its infancy will have a soft spot for Welsh sluggers Acrimony, who blazed (!) an early trail for the sub-genre in the UK. While most of that band went on to found the Stoner grooves of Sigiriya, Lee ‘Roy’ Davies has drifted through guises until settling in the present day, and Woven Man: an outfit tipping its cap to The Wicker Man and aspects of his former band, which shine throughout debut album Revelry (In Our Arms) (Undergroove).

Opening track ‘Calling Down The Leaves’ is inspired by Davies’ home town and ‘Leaves Of Mellow Grace’, Acrimony’s seminal ode to weed: its near nine-minute length beginning with a charming banjo trip before a hulking riff and rhythm bluster explodes into life. Davies’ dirty Bluesy throat shows equal capability with both growls and melodies, while the music alternates between hostile Desert Metal and alt-Rock, always maintaining a huge yet catchy rhythm.

The tooth-loosening bass of the ensuing ‘I Am Mountain’ leads into a crushing, mid-paced Stoner / Sludge romp which is enlivened by some profound yet dextrous leadwork. There’s a fluidity and mindfulness to the sound which is unexpected yet not out of place, introducing the languid melody of Pearl Jam to the pulverising NOLA of Down. The influence of the latter is further evident in the bruising ‘With Willow’, its buzzsaw riffs and savage bludgeon allying with an Anselmo-like roar while brief melodic pieces bring Alice In Chains to mind.

The penultimate effort, ‘Maker’s Mark’, has a gentler opening: Country chords twanging towards another burst of noise. This time a wailing groove and grungey riff underpin the snarling cowboy while a shredding, oscillating second movement whips up a sandstorm on the dusty road. Closer ‘Of Sky And Land’ returns to the mangling rut of Pantera, its swerving and shamanic chants undercut by huge rhythms and guttural roars. It’s a pulsating, energetic finale for a thoroughly enjoyable album that may raise some eyebrows with its style, but offers something to please everyone.

7 / 10