I missed Oceans Rise (St. Mark’s Records) when it came out (April 5th) and probably would have never gotten around to listening to this disc if I hadn’t received an email that it was going to expire from my promo pool. I’m glad that I grabbed this disc when I did as I would have been missing out a good thing. Oceans Rise is groove-based stoner metal crossed with a healthy dose of grunge and the disc sounds like what you would get by throwing Metallica, Alice in Chains and the current incarnation of Pentagram into a blender.
Thinning the Herd has been around since 2006 and the band is a power-trio comprised of guitarist/vocalist (and fine artist) Gavin Spielman, bassist Nick Lee and drummer Ben Proudman. Spielman sings with a raw but clean vocal style that leads to comparisons to Layne Staley or Pepper Keenan and his clean guitar riffs and solos adds a distinctive element which keeps the band from ‘sinking’ while mining the well-traveled grunge and stoner-metal genres. Adding to the mix, Lee and Proudman lay down the disc’s bottom-end with some muscular grooves and tight fills that sound like they came out of St. Vitus (or any of Wino’s other projects).
The disc’s eight tracks (35 minutes) go by fairly quickly in a haze of slow-burning, dirgey blues riffs (“On Fire”), Sabbath grooves (“Chill in the Air”), greasy hard rock (“Defiler”) and Soundgarden-style grunge (“Binge”, "Look Behind") which make a memorable impact without over-staying their welcome.
Thinning The Herd