Boomkat Product Review:
Don't be fooled by the Beatrix Potter-baiting band name, this San Francisco duo are cut from the same mold as arch doom-mongers Earth, purveying glacially paced gothic stoner rock that draws plenty of parallels with Dylan Carson and co. circa Hex. Throughout, there's the distinct feeling of a version of Americana gone wrong. Skeletal electric guitars intone with a tentative, death-knell twang at the beginnings of pieces before accumulating a more fully formed state of dread by the end. You can hear trace elements of the blues in 'Procession Of Golden Bones' and there's even a bit of acoustic, steel-strung guitar thrown in amongst the more gnarled and wizened sounds populating 'Ancient Of Days' - all this helps keep the album tethered to a sense of its rootsy, Western heritage. In their hybridisation of doom and dark ambient disciplines there are comparisons to be made with a band like Grails, who venture somewhat beyond the constraints of the customary sludge palette, and sure enough, Barn Owl manage to cram a diverse spread of instruments into their grim sonic dustbowl, frequently departing from the detuned six-string default of their genre in favour of more avant-garde, disorientating passages, as most effectively realised towards the hauntingly wispy close of 'Across the Deserts Of Ash' (which seems to be flecked with woodwind subcurrents of some ilk) or during the slow motion piano strains that bring the record to an unforeseeably orderly end, ultimately resolving the near-symphonic levels of deep-set, drone mesmerism that came before. Pressed on maroon vinyl and highly limited, this isn't one to sleep on... ESSENTIAL PURCHASE!