Forest of Tygers – Bruises (29 April 2014, Primitive Violence [cassette] / Acteon [CD/digital])
Hey there, ladies and gentlemen (and whomever else might be lurking out there reading this). Welcome to a new month! It’s strange: this week is almost over already, and I still feel like I’m trying to recover from last weekend. It was packed full of running around — for example, to the hospital to visit our cousin’s newborn triplets, and to a friend’s wedding — and a few late nights, between the wedding and my band playing our first show in over seven months(!) which was pretty cool. But yeah, just trying to get back into the swing of things — not to mention now we’ll need to be preparing for our next show, which as I mentioned last week would be on October 10th when Black Tar Prophet, the sludgy, noisy duo from Nashville, come to town.
Well. Today I’ve got a treat for you, because we’re going to talk about another great two-piece band: Forest of Tygers, which consists of guitarist Jim Valosik and drummer Rachel Valosik. Just like their fellow Nashvillains BTP, FOT have also put out a new release back in the spring of this year, the Bruises EP. Although just four tracks long, this debut is crushing, and just the right amount of nasty, and serves as an excellent introduction to this husband-and-wife team.
From the moment the opening track (also called “Bruises”) starts out with a tirade of angrily shouted vocals, it becomes apparent that this band’s sound is firmly rooted in good old classic hardcore/noiserock. But, like the two bands on a split record I reviewed recently, Forest of Tygers take this foundation and layer plenty of other influences on top, producing an interesting collection of textures and sounds. Throughout the rest of this song, and in many other places during the seventeen minutes of this EP, both the guitar and drums often play parts that are markedly more precise and technically proficient than the standard hardcore fare.
The second of these four songs, “As Flakes of Ash” introduces a distinct black metal influence, especially in the guitar, and later (after a really cool heavy-groove riff, which makes another appearance at the end of the song) this turns in a more atmospheric direction (particularly during an extended section where reverby, faraway-sounding snare rolls float by, intertwining with some intricate guitar riffs), giving off more of a post-black-metal vibe. This continues throughout the following song, “Tiger Stripe” — and the odd atmosphere of both of these songs is enhanced somewhat by the peculiar samples that lead into each of them. The “Tiger Stripe” sample (some sort of morse code-sounding beeping noise, plus a robotic-sounding voice counting) is reintroduced later in the song, during a particularly ambient bit, but this quickly gives way as the band returns to expressing sounds of pure fury and frustration.
This more angry tone carries straight into the final track, “Wet Death” — which, given that it’s about 2-3 minutes shorter than any of the other songs, hardly has room for any of the exploration or introspection that’s found elsewhere on the EP. In just a short time, the band displays a wide range of emotions, but as in the case of these last several minutes, the most prominent one here is venomous rage. Which totally seems like a realistic representation of daily life — maybe not for everyone, but I feel like it’s pretty relatable. If that sounds like you, too, then you really ought to give this band a listen.
I’ve heard a rumor the Tygers may be doing a bit of traveling later this month, so definitely keep an eye out for more news about that! But for now, they’re scheduled to play the first two nights of the Black Tar Prophet tour: tomorrow (03 October) in Louisville and Saturday (04 October) in Indianapolis.
Bruises is available for streaming or as a pay-what-you-like download via Bandcamp (use the widget below). You can also grab a copy of the CD from their Bandcamp page or the cassette version from Primitive Violence.
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