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Album review: Eagle Claw, 'Timing of the Void'

October 25, 2012|By Brian Moore, @brithewebguy | RedEye Sound Board

*** (out of 4)

You've probably never heard of the band Eagle Claw. And you've probably never heard the Austin, Texas, band's music.

I hadn't either until I stumbled across them the other day on Spotify (see, record labels, you can discover music when it's free). Now, I'm glad I did.

The four-piece specializes in a bruising form of post-rock that is probably most aptly described as "instrumetal," a term that has been used to describe bands like Pelican and Russian Circles but is perfect for this truly metal band.

On Tuesday, the band releases the physical version of its sophomore effort "Timing of the Void," appropriately on Halloween eve. It's not that these guys are scary, but they are a treat.

"Void" clocks in at a brisk 34 minutes, but they are a head-rattling, brain-shaking 34 minutes--sans vocals, like the entire album. It kicks off with "Fifth Ring," which also acts as the album's "single" with a corresponding YouTube video, a slice of metal reminiscent of Metallica before the great Black Album sellout of 1991. "Uzumaki Vortex" rises above the fracas with its Iron Maiden-esque twin-guitar assault from Matt Rade and Michael Gonzalez. The stomach-thumping rhythm comes courtesy of bassist Luther Smalls and drummer Bart Butler, who are both often called on to do their best takes on the doom-and-fuzz of Black Sabbath.

Unlike a lot of post-rock instrumental bands, these guys don't shy away from "guitar solos," although they are brief. There is nice--but all-too-short--bit of soloing in the midst of the 6-minute epic "Ophidian" that would have prompted the hoisting of lighters in the '80s. There is a lot more melody among the eight-track disc as well, another welcome departure from the post-rock formula.

Bottom line, if you like your metal with head-bobbing riffs but can't stomach the cookie-cutter Cookie Monster vocals and cliche lyrics of many modern bands, you might just find that Eagle Claw is for you.

Want to judge for yourselves? Eagle Claw plays an all-ages show at the Double Door on Nov. 7, opening for fellow Texas metal act The Sword.

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