Low Flying Hawks were founded in 2015 or there-abouts by a pair of fellow Texans, guitarists/multi-instrumentalists known only by the aliases EHA and AAL. Throughout the band’s existence, this core duo has been supported by the renowned rhythm players of the Melvins drummer Dale Crover and bassist Trevor Dunn from Mr. Bungle. From the start, the concept of the band intended to illuminate the myth of Sisyphos by constituting three major cornerstones, which are exemplified by Japanese expressions.
With their third full-length Fuyu, which means ‘winter’ in Japanese, Low Flying Hawks are completing their long-planned trilogy based on the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphos, King of Corinth, who was cruelly punished by the Olympian gods to eternally push a massive bolder up on a hill – only to see it slip and roll down again every time he neared the top. Bloody hell, after being quarantined in two different countries and seeing my various projects, personal relationships and commitments go off the rails, I know how this bloke Sisyphos must have felt.
First musical entreaty Kuro scrapes and grates out of the bugger void then dissipates as Subatomic Sphere splits itself into its constituents – hammering death metal screams glancing off a backline anvil while shoe-gaze vocals ooze mental vaseline front and center. Monster ditches the dirtweed death vox – for the first five minutes – allowing the guitar and string samples to coil and squeeze the neo-cortex for all it’s worth. These tripped out and reverbed-up guitar lines never quite arrive at the same time, or in-tune, and thereby complete the music’s vertigo.
allowing the guitar and string samples to coil and squeeze the neo-cortex for all it’s worth…
Midnight puts me on my heels again dealing me dirty with clean vocals getting fingered up by guitar parts bleeding everywhere. Title track Fuyu rattles with windchill vocals wheezing discordantly and stumped by a generally tuneless rut. Final tune Nightrider makes me do a double take. Can it be Al Cisneros of Om and Sleep singing the first half of this 13+ minute tune? It sure sounds like the man … and this song I do proclaim is My Favourite Groove.
You need patience and a modern listening mind for the music of Low Flying Hawks. These tunes tend to cohere in your mind and don’t immediately register on the ear-way to heaven. The music’s foreground is painted note over note by EHA and AAL, their musical Cézanne composites of out-of-tune vocals and riffs and non-integrated guitar lines drawn, then redrawn while the background report is defined by the cannonball rhythm section of Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn. You can stare at the horizon and tilt your good ear towards the music and still only yield a sense of hearing, or, somehow, of feeling, around the songs with their obscured, time-shifted and blurry edges.
The doom and stoner elements are rather unavailable for me as Fuyu is an unsubtle mash of musical elements done with some textural subtlety. Think of chomping on a double-aught steel wool sandwich slathered with Hellmann’s mayonnaise for a culinary reference. Or, like my death metal buddy Dims who listened to Fuyu with me remarked; ‘it’s like there are some catchy parts which become rutted by the songs’ own heavy veil’. Have a listen and then you tell me so we’ll both know … And so it is, my Brothers and Sisters.
Scribed by: Dani Bandolier