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Album Review

by Old Loaves


Review Date
5th September 2012
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

Over the last few years Wellington has created and nurtured an impressive collection of heavy musical acts as evidenced by the likes of  Beastwars and Spook The Horses.  Following closely on the heels of these two (by way of Auckland and Sydney) is Old Loaves. The trio of Kalem O'Brien, Cameron Reid, and Benjamin Ward make an impressive quantity of noise on Drowser, their take no prisoners debut album. There is no tact, no misguided cleverness, and no weakness to be found here; only the pure joy of sonic destruction.

Old Loaves inhabit the spectrum that runs from punk rock attitude to the murkiest of sludge metal. Every track on the album deposits itself somewhere along this scale like so much sediment. When the pace is slowed down it can suck the listener into the muck and the mire. This is a single-minded, amp-busting discipline. The “high” drama of 'Half Ounce' recalls the heaviest of 70s psychedelic rock, pulsating at top volume. The sound may not be punk as it is commonly understood but there is a “screw what you think” ethos at work all the same.

Heaviness leaks from the pores of Drowser. It's there in the surly, hardcore bop of 'Dust' or the drawl of 'Wretch'. It's there driving the gruelling, Melvins march of 'Parade'. The basic riff and structure are replicated over and over, only to be torn down and started again more desperate and overpowering than before. Your speakers may hate you for it but this is an album that is bound to get many rotations at a punishing volume.

From oppressive swampiness to an absolute inferno of brutal vocals and relentless riffage - that is exactly what you get on Drowser and much more. Do not get fooled into thinking that this is a one trick show. These are well written, brilliantly executed songs buried under those mountains of guitars that just happen to make a few ears bleed along the way. Old Loaves are part of the great New Zealand tradition of commanding guitar rock with the added bonus of being heavy as hell. Where on earth can Old Loaves go from here but upwards?


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