Owen Hart

Earth Control

01. I, Nameless
02. 44 Black
03. Poor White Straight Guy
04. Welcome To Worthless-Piece-Of-Shit-Ville, Population: You
05. I Hate Myself And I Want To Die
06. Bomb Bay Beach
07. The Letter
08. Fuck Morrisey, Fuck The Smiths, Fuck The Cure
09. Methlaham
10. The Vertigo Of Murry Morgan
11. Evolutions A Fact, Jack

[Vitriol Records | 01/18/11]

We’re already a month into the new year and by now word has spread of all the gnarly releases that are forthcoming in the next few months, mainly March, which has now been dubbed Prog-Metal March. So it’s easy to see where everyone’s attention is directed, and how other releases might fly under the radar. Luckily a friend of mine and fellow band mate enlightened me to a band he felt I would enjoy. Upon hearing the name, I instantly thought of something (or someone) else, but with further investigation, I soon discovered a band that meshed styles of blackened thrash & death, hardcore, noise and the speed of thrash…

Tacoma, Washington’s own band of deviants, Owen Hart, have been dishing out their raw and pissed off sound since 2004 with only a demo and a two-song EP under their belt. While their sound was heard mainly along the West Coast, that soon changed after their inclusion on This Comp Kills Fascists, that was released via Relapse Records. Now with more attention being directed towards Owen Hart, they’ve taken it upon themselves to release their full-length debut, Earth Control, an album that showcases both progress and promise.

Earth Control lures the listener in with the sound of rain splattering against the ground and eerie string work which is soon joined by the slow build up of both the drums and guitars. It’s the standard opener you’ve heard countless times before, but it’s not here to blow your mind, it’s there to set the tone and build up the tension of what’s to come. The intro blends right into the next track, “44 Black”, and this is where the relentless riff work of both Tony Wolff and Rusty Graeff come out to play, the hard hitting drumming of Brian Skiffington turns bones to dust and the maniacal screams of Timm Trust (which bare resemblance to that of Jacob Bannon) dig deep into the darkest depths of the soul. It’s noticeable from the start that these guys are pissed off and the music and lyrics clearly encompass those emotions.

The album gives off quite a bit of a grindcore feel; fast moving, chaotic, and non-stop from one track to the next, but the heart of Earth Control is the riffs. They harken back to the days of early 80’s Slayer (which if you’re going to base your sound off Slayer, it’s the best era to be influenced by) and at other moments, giving off a Carcass-esque feel. From speed-laden and melodic riffs to mid-tempo breakdowns, to the black metal inspired tremolo picking and the devastating delivery, they are all strewn about and offer the more memorable moments of the album.

But Earth Control is not without it’s flaws. While it offers some memorable and catchy riffs, I feel there isn’t enough to draw a listener back for multiple listens. I found myself listening to it a few times and digging it, but it hasn’t offered that lasting impression that kept it in my rotation. Overall, it’s a solid debut from Owen Hart, but I feel they’ve only scratched the surface of their potential. If you’re into bands like Today is the Day, Converge and Carcass, and have a hankering for angst filled music, you will enjoy this album.

Owen Hart – Earth Control

3.5/5

– DA

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