Band – Floor
Album – Oblation
Label – Seasons Of Mist
Release date – Out now
Sounds like – *points downwards* That. Also: RIFFS.
Floor have had a fairly turbulent run, let’s be fair. Formed in 1992, they’ve split up, reformed, been on hiatus, reformed, lost loads and loads of band members, had albums/tracks shelved, split up some more, before finally re-uniting and signing to Robotic Empire to release Below and Beyond: an eight disc box set of everything (including the self-titled album and Dove, plus loads of other low-end doom-sludge) they’ve ever done. Guitarist/vocalist and king of down-tuning EVERYTHING, Steve Brooks, has been busy making stoner-pop sunshine in the form of Torche (who also have an album out this year!) for ages now and they are pretty much his ‘main’ band, whereas Floor have been resigned to the broom cupboard, allowed out to play when teeth need rattling out of someone’s head.
Oblation is their first proper album in 10 years and while the cover represents a trance compilation from 1995, the music inside is a crushing, crackling, tinnitus-causing, sonic plough of bonged-out bliss. This could quite easily have been a pathway Torche could have headed down – their last two seven-inches show progression from the pop-sludge of Harmonicraft and saw a return of the bomb-string (Harmonslaught especially) and the aggressively disjointed Leather Feather.
I think though with Floor, it’s all about the layers and layers of roaring eruption courtesy of Brooks and Anthony Vialon’s detuned-six strings, which dredge the very bottom of the filth-encrusted lake to get that churning, dirt-spluttering gurgle to their guitars. Opening track Oblation, is a pummelling, scourge of thick, crunching riffs, coupled with molasses-coated drum beats courtesy of drummer and bassist Henry Wilson, who’s hits the skins as though his life depends on it, just to be heard through the dense guitar wall. Credit to Brooks – his vocals soar with an ethereal quality over this lesson in making thunder.
An ode to Don Quixote’s horse follows in the form of Rocinante, which tramples past at a furious rate, high on fast-paced-rock gusto, yet equally blister-inducing and volatile in execution (think the stoner-stamp of Torche’s Walk It Off, but heavier). The trawler-sound of Trick Scene quickly follows, unearthing a deep, frothing furrow of deliriously sick grooves, offset by Brooks’ shrill vocal cry of “you bet again; you’re on!” as the avalanche of crushing riffs hit home, employing liberal use of that bomb-string to maximum effect alongside the screeching scrawl of the second guitar.
Oblation is their first proper album in 10 years and while the cover represents a trance compilation from 1995, the music inside is a crushing, crackling, tinnitus-causing, sonic plough of bonged-out bliss..
Disenchantment and lost love ring true on the uneven gait of New Man – “don’t you know it’s been too long/always on my own…” croons Brooks over the meandering, math-rock riffs, which are twisted and contorted, much like the delicate subject matter on display. In contrast, Sister Sophia is an air-punch of rolling scattered drumbeats, mesmerising, looping guitar lines that see-saw all over the place, drenched in tar-thick grooves.
The devastating crush of Floor is apparent on the instrumental barrage that is The Quill – prepare for some of the slowest, filthiest head-banging ever. It’s quite funny that the first words of the brewing storm that is Love Comes Crushing should be “heaviness” as this opening minute is infested with such a monolith of scathing dirge, that eventually morphs into a shoegaze wash of hazy guitars and a sudden 30 second thrash-punk car-smash of a finish.
War Party was, I think, the first Oblation-song I heard from Floor and it remains a firm favourite still – from the huge clattering drums provided by Henry Wilson to the slick, stoner-rock grooves, it’s an absolute banger in just under 3 minutes.
It’s not all industrial-pressing the listener into the ground – Homegoings and Transitions is a shuddering, spread-out track of slow-tempo, smoky, bong-water-gargling beauty. Vialon’s girlfriend, Melissa Friedman, shares lead-vocal duties with Brooks and both complementing each other beautifully, adding a new dynamic to Floor’s bulldozer soundscapes.
In closing, the dark-punk assault of Raised To A Star is a total fist-pump of sweaty, raw excellence and Forever Still is a space-rock stamp of biting despondence “I’m walking back to you, to resurrect our love…” drawls Brooks, almost monotone in his decree, yet it’s clear something is very broken inside.
The cynics may question whether Floor are still relevant – after all, we’ve got Torche now – but since when has having MORE Steve Brooks material been a bad thing? Oblation is a churning cataclysm, mixing elements of doom-metal, stoner rock, gnashing, sludge-punk and the sound of cracking thunder. Ten years on, and they deliver the goods – “we’ve been chosen, recognise the sound” states Brooks on Find Away – heed his words.