I have to wonder if an album title like “Damning With Faint Praise” dooms an album when it comes to reviews. Well, there will be no faint praise here. On Skin Graft Records, a less prolific label in recent years, but still one of the surest signs of quality, comes this boundary-pushing work of brutal prog mind-melt.
The closest recommended-if-you-like comparisons would probably be Ruins or Flying Luttenbachers during their brutal prog era. From second one to the last moment of this album, you are blitzkrieged by hyperactive, twisty-turny, guitar-guitar-drums maze rock (no vocals). Extreme technical proficiency is taken to new places. There’s a slippery, rubbery quality to the sound and playing too. Though hyper-precise, there’s lots of swing to the drumming, lots of bent notes and sliding on guitar strings. It almost sounds at times like listening to US Maple on triple-speed. When Yowie does fall into a groove – for about 6 seconds – it’s never in 4/4 time. It’s almost hard to believe these 3 people found each other to form this band.
Nobody would have faulted Yowie for including one or two mellow jam tracks here to let listeners catch their breath. In fact, it might have been a good idea. To the uninitiated, this could be a tiring listen, even at 29 minutes. But if what I’ve been describing sounds good to you, it will be a rewarding listen, without a second of filler.
You can stream the whole album directly below, or listen and buy CD, vinyl, or download at Yowie’s bandcamp page.