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Season of Arrows

season-of-arrows give it to the mountain cover

Give It To The Mountain

24th March 2016 – Argonauta Records

01. Farewell to the Horseman
02. Deep Graves
03. Evening Lord
04. Autumn Winds
05. The Bridge
06. New Sorcery
07. Bellow
08. From the Wilderness We Return

Spring, summer, autumn, winter, Arrows. If you are strict with your calendar and you’re prepared to deal with some setbacks to crop rotation, you too can dedicate an entire season to doom.

From right off it’s pretty clear that Season of Arrows have thrown their hat into the retro ring, comparable to acts like Blood Ceremony. Their blend of classic doom and stoner rock is sprinkled with prog and psych. Opener “Farewell to the Horseman” leads with shrill vocals underscored by some proggy guitar work, setting the bar for the rest of the record. “Deep Graves” is warmer and a little less out-there vocally. “Evening Lord” continues this theme, the band starting to adopt a psychedelic feel not unlike Kylesa.

Later, we’re treated to a few pacing changes, the record gradually developing a spacier feel which contrasts with the sharper instrumentation. The focus of the main band allows vocalist Stormie Wakefield to be brought to the forefront and provides a solid foundation for some lush atmospheres.

There’s an engagement with psychedelia throughout but it’s mostly used as an additional texture. Towards the conclusion, “Bellow” treats us to some jangly chilled psych with a curious delta blues angle; this track is short but the adjustment marks it as one of the record’s high points. This theme continues on album closer “From the Wilderness We Return“, their most expansive and prog-leaning track. Adding something a bit more left-field adds more colour; on subsequent listens the textures used previously are much more apparent.

The record is solid, but it’s the off-script moments that give it a bit extra sparkle. The jangly blues, the shrill vocals early on, dabbling in prog: it’s here that the personality of the album starts to shine through. The instruments are fairly restrained, and whilst this focuses the record and allows the vocals to float nicely on top of the mix, it means that moments where they divert from this are more noticeable. Generally this works well, like the guitar lines in ”Farewell to the Horseman“ .

Whilst Give It To The Mountain is well-presented, I wanted more variation, more ideas to be presented: I wanted Season of Arrows to deviate from the script more. The record has some surprises but is a little coy with them. I’ve heard plenty of releases that were overstuffed but I could go for some more risks. It’d be good to see future record upping the production values; they’re perfectly adequate but for the more energetic moments I found myself wishing the guitars were punchier and the vocals a little clearer on some of the busier moments.

That said, this is a solid record with plenty of merit. Give It To The Mountain might not be perfect but it’s a strong offering and certainly an enjoyable, engaging romp for anyone with a soft spot for vintage stoner prog. Plenty to mull over in your 2.4 month doom season.

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