Pet Slimmers of the Year - Fragments of Uniforms
Candlelight Records
Groove/Post-Metal Instrumental
8 songs (50' 33")
Release year: 2014
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

Qualifying for my unofficial award of "weirdest name for a metal band" of 2014, Pet Slimmers of the Year was billed as "instrumental groove" when I got the album, and it does have a little of it, but it's hard to place them. Imagine, if you will, approximately what would happen if Crowbar collaborated on an album with late-era The Gathering or Anathema, and you'd come close to what this band's debut, Fragments of Uniforms, sounds like.

Unlike the above-mentioned bands, Fragments of Uniforms has almost no singing on it, and a lot more light and dark than a groove or sludge album normally would have. The first track builds up with a clean, ringing guitar until the distortion kicks in, and when it does about two minutes into the song, it is complex, with nuanced melodies echoing in and out of the main riffs and some minimal clean vocals floating in towards the middle of the song. The guitar and bass lines are echoing, drawn out affairs with a dreamy laziness to them, every once in a while uniting to form one thrumming note. The tracks drift into each other, each feeling like a continuation of the same song, just on another theme; bright arpeggiated melodies punctuated with saw-edged jabs of distortion give way to softer, more reflective tunes like Tides, which has a high-pitched guitar harmony wailing in the upper register, before returning to a heavier sound and a somewhat darker sound in Mare Imbrium.

For all the prettiness of those clean little guitar bits, those can definitely get boring, nor are the soft, somewhat shoegaze-y vocals particularly inspiring (though they match the clean parts perfectly) -- more harshness would be great, and the band is mostly instrumental for good reason, since the vocals seem like an afterthought. The most parts of the album I found most enjoyable were heavier, more riff-dominated tracks such as Churning of the Sea of Milk or La Tormenta, though the complex melodies of Days Since I Disappeared are also very enjoyable and fit together well regardless of whether the portion of the song is distorted or clean.

Fragments of Uniforms is a neat little album and a worthwhile first effort, though given the ability of Pet Slimmers to make seemingly any portion of their songs into an interesting musical concept, one does wish for a few more dark or heavy songs than one gets; however, that might just be the metal fan in me. Regardless, this is a very promising start considering this is a first effort.

Killing Songs :
Churning of the Sea of Milk, Days Since I Disappeared, La Tormenta
Andy quoted 78 / 100
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