Friday, October 23, 2015
EP Review :: Slow Riot - Cathedral
October 23 2015 (Straight Lines Are Fine)
Words: Linn Branson
After hearing the impossibly dark and delicious ‘Demons’ which just soared like a majestic eagle, trampling all in its wake, the question was could Limerick's Slow Riot hope to surpass it with the three other tracks on this, their debut EP.
Recorded at the Manic Street Preachers’ studio in Cardiff with producer Kevin Vanbergen (The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Biffy Clyro), 'Cathedral' is a cavernous and lofty as its title with songs that swell on seering guitar notes and driving beat, each building in ominous climatic flourishes of spacious soundscapes.
Opener 'Demons' and 'Cooper's Dream' which the record closes on, form two gothic tower-like structures that rise imposingly to either side of the two lesser construction forms of 'City Of Culture' and 'Adele'. Both contain similar chord structures, although the latter is, admittedly, a different beast to the majestic tone of 'Demons'.
Less raucous, less angular than its single predecessor 'City Of Culture'; more dark, more desolate, and with that urgent driving beat that works with the stunning guitar in the opening minute to make your spine shiver and your heart weep, 'Demons' has almost placed Slow Riot very early in their career in the position of how the hell do they produce better than that? Niall Clancy's resonant and stirring vocal is perfectly designed for this kind of capacious song and fills its near six minutes with an opulent ravaged beauty.
In contrast, ‘City Of Culture’ is ferocious and charged on guitars, bass and weighty percussion, which all add substance to sonically alter the molecules from the preceding track, with its fierce distortion. Followed by the more contemplative ‘Adele’, which again utilises distortion on the vocals against guitars that peal sympathetically as befitting its reflective sentiment of unrequited love: “I am your shadow/know how much I need you”.
End piece ‘Cooper’s Dream’, as already mentioned, shares a similar tempestuous cadence to 'Demons', with its rippling bassline building to an overblown furor of noise like a call to the gods before it, exhaustedly, draws its last dying breath on its outro.
‘Cathedral’ is in all, a place that is undeniably dark and echoing, and while some may be unnerved within, others will undoubtedly find succour within its walls.