Flood Peak – Fixed Ritual EP
Release Date: 22/01/2021
Running Time: 30:15
Review by Steven Hooke
Seemingly forged in despair and emanating from a budding hardcore/post-metal scene in Portland, Oregon, Flood Peak offer a punishing follow-up to their 2018 debut “Plagued By Sufferers”. Converging from various bands in-and-around the aforementioned scene, the band’s somewhat modest three-piece appearance does nothing to prepare you for the incoming barrage of grim, doomy sludge metal waiting in the winds.
Straight from the moment you press play on opener ‘Urnfield’, “Fixed Ritual” is a heavy barrage of reverberating bass riffs, clever drum lines and shearing guitar parts, all backed by the raw, guttural vocals of frontman Peter Layman. The trio do an amazing job of filling any would-be gaps in their sound, with a production job sounding as if the band are enveloping you like a rising tide and–ohhhh, the name makes a lot more sense now.
Flood Peak do personify everything sludge metal has come to represent; this EP is downright filthy in its sound. Yes, it’s been mentioned how the production makes the band sound twice as big, but the general tone of their instruments plus the mix position of the drums, it is a snarling, gritty affair, topped off with its methodical doom influences as well. Many bands have tried something similar before, only to fall short and sound like a blown-out speaker.
Flood Peak do tinker with some outside elements as well, ‘Feral Wraiths’ has a hideously gorgeous black metal hue over the top whilst closing duo ‘Way Of The Sea” and ‘Sectarian Hilt’ veer more towards the realms of post-metal. Implementing or embracing a genre so left-field of your current working environment has the potential to be so creatively fruitful for a band. While post-metal and sludge are certainly no strangers to each other in this day and age, contradicting the fast-pace and higher tone of black metal should be something Flood Peak explores further, it’s worked wonderfully here and on debut album track ‘Mire’, and can be used in breaking up a release and stopping it feeling too linear.
This is a release that the doom/sludge crowds will salivate over, ultimately the feeling of a slow-motion car crash, but actually getting to sit in the car. Flood Peak in their short time of being a band have already shown signs that they can branch out their sound to something very interesting, á la a Conjurer or Inter Arma.
Inevitably though, you’ll come for the doom, stay for the gloom.
02. Salve Curator
03. Feral Wraiths
04. Way Of The Sea
05. Sectarian Hilt
Peter Layman – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Pierre Carbuccia Abbott – Bass
David Fylstra – Drums
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