He Whose Ox Is Gored
The Camel, The Lion, The Child
Review by Brian Kim
There are many in the Seattle music scene who have been anxiously awaiting the long awaited debut full length from stalwart local “doomgaze” champions He Whose Ox Is Gored, and now that the time has finally come, they have brought forth an uncompromising conceptual album that takes their already highly evolved style of artistic heavy rock to new heights.
Their first full length record proceeding a rich catalogue of EPs, He Whose Ox Is Gored’s The Camel, The Lion, The Child starts off with the full frontal assault of “Oathbreaker”, a track that sneakily lures listeners into the record with blooming ambience and a repetitive, slowly building guitar riff before unfurling into a sprawling, hard hitting odyssey. Brian McClelland’s unstoppable guitar lines and Lisa Mungo’s enveloping, melodic synths take the forefront of this track, while hammering drums from John O’Connell and pounding bass from Mike Sparks fill out the thunderous backbone of the rhythm section.
Throughout the record, He Whose Os Is Gored skillfully weave together melody and chaos, borrowing concepts from post-rock, sludge metal, post-hardcore, and shoegaze, among other loosely fitting sub-genres. The intense sonic destruction achieved in songs like “Omega” and “Zelatype” are made even more powerful by the silky smooth periods of peace and tranquility that appear in songs like “Crusade” or the swirling, atmospheric radiance of the first couple minutes of “Alpha”. These fluid dynamics give The Camel, The Lion, The Child an adventurous, progressive quality that takes the listener on an epic journey through a rich and luscious soundscape. This same dynamic is infused in the cross between McClelland and Mungo’s vocals, trading shifts between howling, desperate screams and entrancing, sometimes haunting singing.
The record ends with the extensive and comprehensive track “Weighted By Guilt, Crushed Into A Diamond”. A fitting ending to an opus of a record, this song clocks in at just over nine minutes and stretches the corners of the sound He Whose Ox Is Gored have cultivated over the preceding forty minutes, from atmospheric meanderings to overflowing buildups to explosive climaxes, this song traverses oceanic bedrock and stratospheric summits alike with a rare level of grace and dexterity.
A must-have for any fan of heavy music and well crafted art, The Camel, The Lion, The Child is out October 9th via Bleeding Light Records.