He Whose Ox is Gored’s Latest Provides a Refreshing Take on Doom

Last week, this band made the “Year in Band Names 2013” list on The Onion’s “A.V. Club.” He Whose Ox is Gored do indeed have a righteous name, and now it finally has some righteous wax to go with it. The three-track Nightshade EP combines the two songs from the band’s eponymous (digital-only) 2011 release with “Pyramids on the Horizon” from 2010’s Op Amps II: Into the Ethers.

The band labels itself “doom gaze,” but the first thing that came to mind when this EP started playing is Fall of Troy, the post-hardcore Mukilteo band who made a name with noodly, proggy guitar lines. Opener “Nightshade” is sludgy and rattles with gut-rumbling bass, but the guitar takes me right back to F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X. (except maybe slowed down to half speed). Halfway through the atmospheric follow-up, “Charming the Snake,” that Fall of Troy noodling returns.

The genre collision is a refreshing take on doom, giving the genre’s typically plodding tempos some forward momentum thanks to the strong melodies. For those not as entrenched in doom metal’s gloom, distinct guitar lines and quicker-paced drumming gives the band a solid hook. The physical record itself is gorgeous—clear, heavyweight vinyl with black splatters. For a backdoor operation at a coffee shop, Vita Records has put out a high-quality product with this reissue, which comes with a foldout poster as well.

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