The Owls Are Not What They Seem release new album

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The Owls Are Not What They Seem release new album

Courtesy of bleakvastness.bandcamp.com

Courtesy of bleakvastness.bandcamp.com

Courtesy of bleakvastness.bandcamp.com

Kristen Kaelin, North Campus Writer

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Last month, The Owls Are Not What They Seem, a local band from York, PA, released their fourth full-length album, titled Feral Blood. The artists describe the album as a “union of dark ambient, tribal rhythms, and nightmarish psychedelia,” and it’s certainly not for the uninitiated. This album is intense.

While only an hour long, Feral Blood perfectly captures feelings of rising dread and suspense, coupled with perfectly spaced moments of natural, ambient relief.

The percussion uses well-planned time changes to invoke a sense of confusion, and the chords always seem to take an unexpected progression. It’s like math rock meets Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, if Ummagumma had been sung by orcs, in the most fantastic way. Feral Blood feels like a journey into insanity and a heroic adventure at the same time.

The only thing holding it back is its commitment to suspense. Some of the songs spend so much time building to a climax that it takes too long to reach. The nervous waiting for resolution sometimes overshoots the mark, becoming boredom by the song’s intended next step. The song “Sacred Wheel” is a perfect example of this wasted potential. It begins with intense, clock-like percussion that builds and volume and impact during the song’s first four minutes, the first three of which feel enjoyably suspenseful; the fourth, however, carried a sense of impatient boredom. When the moment finally did resolve, any potential for relief had long since passed. Most of the album’s songs avoid this pitfall, but the ones that fall victim are the opposite of easy listening.

Luckily, the difficult tracks are sandwiched by the most exciting ones on the album. “From the Sky,” for instance, is a nightmarish roller coaster of anxiety and resolution that changes time signature as often as it can without losing grip. It’s one of the best songs on the album, and absolutely worth a listen.

All in all, Feral Blood is a wild ride, and a solid example of ambient psychedelia. If you’re interested in dark, experimental music, it’s not a bad choice. The album is available now, and can be purchased from their Bandcamp site, bleakvastness.bandcamp.com.