4 out of 5
Produced by: Ross Ingram (recorded by), Chris Common (mixed and mastered by)
For a band that seems to have come from nowhere – I can’t track down any information beyond a Facebook page – Us. has rather keyed in to the whole classic rock / sludge rock / metal mash-up incredibly well, adding to the pile of talent that comes out of Texas and seems intent on delivering endless streams of excellent head-banging material to our ears. And while I definitely like my fair share of that stuff, it very often leans more on one end of the spectrum versus another: it’s more metal; it’s more stoner; etc. Us. somehow straddle all of that stuff equally, and effect it in a way that comes across very naturally, segueing from slower post-rock moments to massive 70s riffage, and then suddenly dropping into hardcore caterwauling and heading back and forth and never missing a beat. The recording – between Ross Ingram and the mix / master by Chris Common – strikes exactly that right blend of reverb and in-your-face intensity to keep this flowing, the layering of the drums, bass and guitar crisp and warm and rocking, all at the same time.
Without a lyric sheet, it’s hard to say for sure what words I’m hearing, but what can be picked out is perhaps a little stereotypical and open-ended, but I think it ultimately works with the arena-sizing of the songs, and Jacob Zarate’s delivery – whether singing or screaming – is passionate. The album’s seven tracks also hit the same “tone” a bit too often to allow any single song to necessarily stand out, but there’s been consideration to sequencing so that we have slow-burners mixed with straight out metal at a good clip; if you listen to the whole thing as one experience, it absolutely works, and it’s exactly that: an experience.
I hope we get the chance to hear more from this group.