No Funeral Records
RIYL: Yaphet Kotto; City of Caterpillar; Orchid
The Canadian Screamo scene has produced some of the most dynamic and boundary pushing bands in heavy music like ’90s legends Union of Uranus, ’00s breakthrough act Alexisonfire, and new ’10s stalwarts like Respire and Terry Green. On their self-titled debut, Brampton’s Karloff have managed to fully embrace the traditions of the genre while also adding a unique flair to its canon.
Each song on the album showcases a dynamic sonic palette that can shift from chaotic and atonal to serene and understated at the drop of a hat without losing a sense of coherence, starting with the opening track “untitled” which blends a contorted sample of a trailer announcing the name of the band’s namesake, legendary actor and horror icon Boris Karloff, with a glitchy dirge of noise and riffs that sends the listener through the looking glass. Pristine arpeggios and chainsaw riffs sync up with jazzcore drumming to propel each song forward while melodic basslines dance through each track with surgical precision. The vocals sit on top of each track acting as both paintbrush and colour palette elastically bending and shifting to the demands of the music, moving from the aggressive shrieks and growls of songs like “Abre Los Ojos” to the raspy wails of songs like “Ocean or Other.”
A darkly cinematic atmosphere can be felt throughout the project. In a similar fashion to the classic horror films that starred the band’s namesake, Boris Karloff, the album pulls the listener into the internal struggles of the soul with the monster inside.
– Daniel G Wilson