The Hidden Hand

Night Letters

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AllMusic Review by

Curiously, the Hidden Hand's second release (following a very robust eponymous debut in 2003) is a split EP with label mates Wooly Mammoth; but even more surprising is the fact that the Maryland-based trio's two submissions do not contain lead vocals from renowned bandleader and underground metal legend Wino! Still, other than making a point about the Hidden Hand being a "band" in the truest sense, this small detail has little influence on the musical outcome, as both the solid "Five Points" (sung by bassist Bruce Falkinburg) and the instrumental "Welcome to Sunshine" (where at least Wino's legendary guitar playing is found stage front) carry on quite nicely in the Hidden Hand's pre-established, post-doom style. Moving on to the flip side, one is acquainted with the quite capable Wooly Mammoth, whose somewhat muddy retro-rock sound appears to be intentionally part of the package. All fine and good, since, although they hardly light the stoner rock universe on fire with energetically driving first offering "The Prophet," Wooly Mammoth will probably raise many an approving eyebrow with the mastodon-sized riffing (pun intended) heard on submission number two, "Mastercut and Charisma." [Also included in this release is Meteor City's 2004 sampler, giving fans an excellent eyeful of their hard-rocking roster.]

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:23
2
4:07
3
5:22
4
4:09
blue highlight denotes track pick