“We are Family… and so are you,” Applegate said during their first live set in Brooklyn. New York’s Family opened their arms wide to anyone would get hooked on their sound, grow with their progression and back them up just like any solid support system should. Well, back them the scene did. Along with other successful up and coming metal acts such as Hull and Primitive Weapons who have found a steady following in New York, Family has carved their own way though fairly constant gigs and word of mouth. Spawn through a concoction of the urban anger and southern hospitality, their progressive mix of Botch’s aggression, a rock inspired blend of Tool and Unsane’s musicality topped with Celan like creativity has only added to the level of top notch musicians in the city, pumping out some truly innovative stuff that should be spread to the masses.
Their debut release will not disappoint their brothers and sisters. “Portrait” comes out on October 26th in Germany, 29th in the rest of Europe and October 30th to the US/Canada through Pelagic Records; a concept album that tells the tale of a broken family who acquire odd and incredible, paranormal powers.
To get your first listen, Decibel is now steaming ‘Bridge & Tunnel,’ the first and strongest track off their album. Trailing in with distant drum beats, the layers build as guitars cascade in like something out of Mastodon’s “Leviathan,” inspired by some Zepplinesque classic rock. Kurt Applegate’s voice towers over Steve Gordon’s intermittent sludgy riffs with the lung capacity of a hot air balloon and ferocity of a restrained pit bull. Instrumentals continually shift direction, keeping the tone refreshing and avoiding the cliché of pattern and hooks to attain the same auditory interest. Again, ‘Daddy Wronglegs’ wowed me with its intensely guitar-driven, varying structure. Having two guitarists is defiantly a key to Family’s sound, breaking out into a killer soundscape of soloing expertise to bring this track to a close.
Though I have yet to find a track on this album that does not at least tickle my fancy ever so slightly, other tracks of interest include ‘Delphonika.’ Drumming on this track is splendidly solid and with a band that’s reliant on so many tempo changes, I would hate to be their drummer. There’s some serious talent going on behind those sharp cymbal crashes and hammering base drum. At almost 9 minutes in length and the longest track off of “Portrait,” ‘Delphonika’ is worth every second of your time.
Since in the end, it’s inevitable that through all these supernatural family happenings, it cannot end well, they leave you with ‘Exploding Baby.’ Leading in heavy on the base, the intricate guitar leads you in every which direction, creating funhouse walls of sound. Ending with Applegate screaming his lungs off in a gruff and testosterone infused fashion, I’d be totally blown away if you’re not completely enamored with Family.
If you’re a Tool fan (There are obviously some of you out there. I mean the band sells out ever frigging time even with insane ticket prices.) with a hankering for pulverizing vocals, heavy riffage and want to have your face melted clean off, go and check out Family already!