Full Length, Howling Mine / Vendtta / Television Records
December 21st, 2012
I've become obsessed with Cower over the past few months, this record in particular but even more their split with Thou (who's members really dig this as well). I'll be putting up the rest of their catalog eventually but Mind Over Matter deserves a little more time first. I said it pretty concisely in my list so lets see if I can mess it up here.
Cower are definitely flying under the radar despite their odd accessibility, putting out four records so far all of which are really good as I found out. This one is at the top with their split. Their grand, usually upbeat style of stoner-sludge hardcore is difficult to not enjoy and has mad staying power.
I think they're sometimes a four piece but usually a three piece, drummer Logan and bassist Jakob providing both clean and scratchy punk shouts. The important thing about the cleans is that they're melodic without becoming cheesy or overdone. That doesn't mean everyone will like tit of course. Tons of thick riffs sometimes filtered through tremolo and flang effects bringing a little stoner psychedelia into the mix but never oversaturating the riffs; it remains fuzzy and loud. Cower also offer a lot of aggressive punk energy that can quickly part the dope cloud and stir shit up nicely.
Mind Over Matter has a lot of variation even if you want to boil it down to just sludgecore. Listen to "Skylids" which is loud and anthem-like and also
quiet and bluesy., it's ridiculously catchy from every angle and one
of my favorites on this. "The Secret Garden" has similar qualities but it's arranged a little differently so as to make shit fresh, ending up with another hypnotizing song
with a sick build from the beginning. Those bass lines are engrained
into my mind.
Then check out something like "Fungus Summer": a pretty acoustic balad that turns into something much more once the drums and bass creep in. Even from "The Secret Garden" you leap into something much different directly afterwards. It changes over to a bouncy almost southern rock near the end before slipping into the pure hardcore "404" which only progresses into a more sludgy Converge section at the end. This is the mark for the next track "A Rocket Man's Reality" which falls right in line with the first two mentioned as it carries that Converge-twang for only a few quiet moments, yet again morphing into a swampy sway.
As on previous releases each song shows that Cower does these genres extremely well separately and fused, with passion and making them just internally enjoyable. Another example of this is in "The Lonely Road" which is a bit dark but clear cut hardcore while "Fifteen" sounds like something out of the fastcore punk '90's or maybe Touche Amore these days; high speed, frantic with a bit of a screamo vibe by the end without the vocal style. The final track might be my pick though. "Moving Day" is just so heavy and hypnotizing, from the scratchy punk intro to the heavy rhythms and cadence of as he shouts along jerkily, it really couldn't get much better you'd think until the slow fade and build at the end.
Admittedly you might get a different impression from the first track "Cops" as it is deceptive for the first half of the song, more obtuse and angular hardcore then most of what Mind Over Matter sounds like; though these elements are certainly incorporated. The switch is made and like that the stoner-sludge influence takes over at the same pace. Its even more palpable from "Cowboys Pt. 2" (appropriately titled) onward. They do some of this mid song flips in other tracks like "Thieves of the Night" which becomes very melodic and chilled, grooves pulsing and vocals turning clean, as well as in "A Rocket Man's Reality".
Cower on each release have brought this accessibility to a manageable/tasteful level, as with the experimentation, so there's no way you can't enjoy it even if you're on a strict diet of kvlt. A sludgy Cave In is what I would describe it as except I'm getting far more consistency and enjoyment out of Cower than Cave In.
This doesn't have a physical release yet but considering the fact that all their previous records made it on to wax and cds you can bet this will, and probably from Television Records too. Possibly Howling Mine or Vendetta in Europe if I had to guess. For now it's up on bandcamp as a pay-what-you-want download along with the rest of their discography (which I will also be posting in the future) so please give these guys what you can if you like what you hear.