Negative Reaction ‘Frequencies From Montauk’ CD/LP 2011

Negative Reaction 'Frequencies From Montauk' CD/LP 2011It seems that Psychedoomelic Records have a direct line to some of the coolest underground music around and with this 2011 release they are about to unleash the latest record from recently rejuvenated New York sludge band Negative Reaction.

Formed waaaay back in 1990 this doom laden trio refuse to die. Having released an impressive 19 records since their inception they are back to prove that they kick as much ass in the doom/sludge scene as bands half their age as they weld passion and experimentation to their monolithic slabs of low tuned, monstrous sounding riffage.

Lead by the (presumably) tongue in cheek named Ken-E-Bone this band have been bothering the ear drums of audiences since they released their split 7″ We Got Problems in 1993. This latest incarnation features the talents of Old MacDonald on bass and the recently rejoined Donald Limpy on bass. The music contained on Frequencies From Montauk is a heady blend of psychedelic doom metal that seeks to lay waste to the senses.

Ostensively is it a collision of spacey sounds, old school doom, clean vocals, heavy riffing and triply musical breaks that owes as much to Napalm Death and Grief as it does Black Sabbath. Despite the longevity of Negative Reaction they are still up for giving any band in the sludge/doom scene a kick in the ass in true New York style (as you would expect from a band who were present at the last night of legendary venue CBGB’s).

These guys wear their hearts and influences on their sleeves – even the album title is named after the hamlet located in New York and this belief resonates through the music and for the most part it is very enjoyable as the album dips and soars through 70’s infused workouts.

At times Ken-E’s voice is an acquired taste though; It seems his natural timber sounds a little strained as on opener Day After Yesterday where the lower range of the verses of Dopamine seem far more natural, but hey Ozzy has made an entire career out of it. On harder edged tracks like Docking Bay 94 the band have a confidence and a swagger about them and the vocals are gruffer and better suits to their vocalists range which makes it a wholly more enjoyable experience.

There is no doubt these guys can pen a tune, but they lack a little consistency in the delivery; Shattered Reflection is a great groovy track that sucks you in for it’s duration, before Thicker Thank Blood comes in and derails the momentum coming off like the weed smoking cousin of Sick Of It All and A Bit Of Numb has a quiet/loud vibe that is almost spoken verses screamed word which bizarrely reminded me of moments on Bloodlet’s Three Humid Nights In The Cypress Trees…

It’s easy to see why Negative Reaction have survived this long, I imagine in a club they are more than good entertainment, I’m just not sure they have quite captured this vibe on this record… so not a negative reaction from me, but I’m not raving about them either.

Label: PsycheDOOMelic Records

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden