Reviews

The Ditch and The Delta, We Rust (Gypsyblood, 2015)

From Gypsyblood Records comes We Rust, the debut EP from Salt Lake City, UT trio The Ditch and The Delta—featuring former Parallax members Elliot Secrist (guitar/vocals) and Charles Bogus (drums) alongside bassist/vocalist Kory Quist. Expect four tracks in about 20 minutes of dark, riff-centric sludge with math rock-ish quirks in the timing and structure of the riffs that avoids the usual trappings such as excessive feedback or overly long songs that emphasize repetitive, plodding drones. The burly dual vocal attack with one voice slightly higher than the other is very reminiscent of Neurosis in its presentation of shouting/yelling with vague hints of singing, and there are musical similarities as well—but certainly more stripped down and straightforward.

"Open Veins" lays the groundwork in a more streamlined fashion—still exploring minor twists and turns, but predominantly cranking out killer riffs, slick drum fills, and aggressive vocals that transition into surging midpaced grooves towards the middle. The title track, though, is slower and more dynamic, opening with lightly distorted strumming and soft, monotone vocals barely above a whisper, building into cool melodies and killer hard-panned guitar interplay. My personal favorite, "Four Specters" starts out similarly, but more melodic, opening up with flashier cymbal work, gripping melodies, and a hypnotically throbbing (but not too slow) pace. Just awesome.

Some of the fastest and most energetic riffing then takes place in "Dead Tongues," which kind of circles around with staccato rhythms, pull-offs, and bends as well as thicker, dissonant chord phrasings/textures.

The production is crazy thick and a little muddy, but I kinda like that in this case. It's borderline oppressive and certainly adds weight as a three-piece. I'd love to hear more definition to the bass tone, however. You can pick it out if you really try, but it essentially just adds massive weight—so dense that you can't really discern what the basslines truly have to offer. But the percussion sounds great and the guitars are just barely gritty, employing an atypical style of distortion that's not super overdriven.

I don't have the physical product in hand but I must say that the band logo is excellent, and the lyrics seem fairly abstract:

Dragging four specters, I clutch at straws and carry them in my skin.
Razor edge tribute, excise them. It's your breath on my neck.
They've gained mass, and dictate movements of the living.
Love turned tumor, I can't live for the dead.

The cassette pressing is limited to 500 copies at $5 a pop, or score the tunes for a mere $1 digitally. In any case, it's nice to hear a band winding down a different path within the general realm of murky, sludgy goodness.

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