Friday, 10 May 2013

Rowsdower / Send the Mistress split (album review)

I recently closed the doors to submissions here at the blog, but it wasn't without painful consternation.  A split album like this is the perfect example of why one wouldn't want to end the submission process.  There's no doubt I would have missed this one without it, and I'm grateful to have been sent this album for the purpose of review.  In fact, I'd heard of neither Rowsdower nor Send the Mistress before I received the email that introduced them to me.  I'll miss those moments of being completely floored by totally undiscovered bands for the time being.  Eventually the doors will open back up again, but for now ... it's albums like this that will have me up in the middle of the night wondering what I missed.  Anyway, Rowsdower and Send the Mistress: a pair of hard rockin' stoner bands from Missoura.

I have no idea whether or not Rowsdower projects the film The Final Sacrifice behind them when they play, but that would be perfect.  Not a bad starting place when trying to visualize an overall picture of what sound this band produces.  The band christened themselves after the mustachioed and mulleted big man with a shot gun from the b-movie.  Rowsdower the band play the kind of blues-tinged rock n roll that I'd like to believe Zap Rowsdower the man on screen would listen to.

"Redemption Denied" is an excellent example of how the band builds a song, slowly and carefully.  By the time the second guitar solo muscles in, the song has moved from a midtempo roadhouse blues number to a stoned roadside ceremony which then leads into their last number "Victor's Waltz".  Sparks dance towards the tops of long campfire projected shadows on isolated canyon walls as the band moves through its longest ritual on the record.

Where Rowsdower bangs the ceremonial drum around the campfire, smoking peacepipes and inhaling otherwise mellow vibes, Send the Mistress hits the ground running on their initial offering "Tired Limbs Energetic".  They've got a bit of an Alexisonfire thing going on here with dual melodic / rasped vocals but they do it in a more Alice in Chains-y way.  Let me make this clear, this is not "screamo" music, but there is that rasped scream element here.  "A Magnificent Feast" ups the A.I.C. ante by degrees with a terrifically distant background vocal during the chorus creating a floating / ethereal effect.

"Medusa's New Do" brings all the Send the Mistress elements to the table and rolls them together beautifully.  It's got the most stoner rock sound of all the songs on this record, which makes the screaming all the more apparent.  It's just not a technique used by a lot of 'stoner' bands.  Headbanging syncopation and those ethereal vocals waft in and out of the background once again.  Towards the end of the track the band actually does "send the mistress" with some excellent female backing vocals.

Even a cursory listen reveals a clash of styles at work, from Rowsdower's campfire Kyuss sound to Send the Mistress' blast beat explorations, it can be a bit much of a departure.  Listening to each side of the record at a time will certainly remedy this though, and it's got you covered for both mellow and hyped-up moods depending on how you want to flip it.

Highlights include: "Medusa's New Do" and "Acid Healer"

Rating: 3.5/5

Total Run Time: 35:23

From: St. Louis, MO. (Rowsdower) / Warrenton, MO. (Send the Mistress)

Genre: Stoner, Blues, Hard Rock

Release Date: February 6, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Chop your wood, find your kindling, start your fire, nurture it, then jump right in.

Rowsdower on facebook
Send the Mistress on facebook


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