Keelhaul lay down some serious, no-nonsense rock on their debut album. It doesn't necessarily scream "groundbreaking," but this disc shows that the band already had its own style in place, which could roughly be pegged as a mix of Neurosis-type hardcore/sludge along with traces of '70s hard rock/metal (Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath likely influenced them at some point) and plenty of off-kilter rhythms. The vocals, done in a hoarse hardcore scream/yell vein, aren't the world's greatest, but it hardly matters since most of the album is instrumental. And that's where this band excels, whether shifting gears between pummeling odd-time riffs and Sabbath-by-way-of-Cathedral shuffles or settling into a swampy Southern rock groove. A solid debut all around, this album laid the foundation for Keelhaul's even more impressive follow-up, II.
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AllMusic Review by William York