Owen Hart - Earth Control
11 songs (32:51)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Goat

An interestingly named band who play even more interesting music, the US-based Owen Hart worship at several musical altars simultaneously, mixing their various influences together to make a sound of their own. Owen Hart himself was a Canadian wrestler who died after an equipment malfunction in a pay-per-view event, and although I’m not quite sure why the band chose that name, it seems to have an appropriate air of tragedy and violence for their music. Googling the band prior to the review, I was disgusted to see hordes of results for people begging for copies of Owen Hart’s death video, and the band seem to take this disgust and broaden it to include all of humanity. Take Welcome To Worthless-Piece-Of-Shit-Ville, Population: You as an example, opening with Converge-esque screams and writhing grind in a pretty heavy bit of blasting, assaulting your ears with riffs and bass licks before grooving into technical territory and dying in a strangely melancholic acoustic sunset. It’s oddly catchy, has plenty of riffs, and the raw production gives it the sort of black-tinged organic atmosphere that this sort of band can rarely manage – impressive stuff.

It’s hard to deny that Owen Hart are an impressive band all around. Earth Control is their debut full-length, and the variety and songwriting skill alone is worthy of plenty of praise. Intro piece I, Nameless sets the scene with subtle militaristic drums and cello, guitar feedback rising in volume before 44 Black storms in, manic grind switching to catchy thrash before switching again to crushing tech-death – each genre switch seamless and natural. Poor White Straight Guy goes for the jugular with battering drums and varying tempos, a catchy breakdown bit of riffing turning atmospheric, Bomb Bay Breach building on this with snarled vocals and ominous building guitars, and The Letter intensely thrashing its way into a death metal cul-de-sac before destroying itself suddenly and mercilessly. Everywhere you look, there’s something different, from Fuck Morrissey, Fuck The Smiths, Fuck The Cure’s swinging groove to Methlahem’s runaway grind train that takes on a sense of almost melodeath melody towards the end.

Nothing done on Earth Control is new or original, but it’s all performed and presented well enough to make it enjoyable, and there’s a real grasp of atmospherics shown which, if developed, could see the band truly making brilliant albums in the future. For the moment, the promise shown by the likes of The Vertigo Of Murray Morgan – feedback under which bass and drum clatters carry out a discordant dance – and album closer Evolution’s A Fact, Jack with its air of defeated melancholy show that Owen Hart’s name is one that should be remembered.

Killing Songs :
44 Black, Poor White Straight Guy, I Hate Myself And I Want To Die, Bomb Bay Breach, Methlahem
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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