SubRosa

No Help for the Mighty Ones

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This Salt Lake City-based, female-led doom metal band features two violinists as co-lead instrumentalists alongside the usual guitar, bass, and drums, as well as multiple vocalists. The effect is hypnotic and incantatory, and much more interesting than the usual howls and growls of male-fronted, violin-deficient doom bands. Because three-fifths of their membership is female, SubRosa have a unique energy, reminiscent of Bay Area post-black metallers Ludicra but even more psychedelic and haunted. The tribal throb of songs like "Beneath the Crown" and the nearly 12-minute "Stonecarver" (which builds to an almost thrashy peak before downshifting to a crushingly heavy riff in its final third) doesn't inspire headbanging so much as head-nodding, but it's never boring; it's captivating rather than cathartic. There's an occult, retro vibe to their music despite the lack of overt early-'70s signifiers like those found in the work of groups like the Devil's Blood, Blood Ceremony, and Electric Wizard. "The Inheritance" feels like a song that should be howled at the moon, not played in a rock club. No Help for the Mighty Ones is a major statement of artistic purpose; while the album is absolutely not aimed at the metal mainstream, it offers powerful evidence that the genre's vitality can't be questioned.

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