Arbouretum, 'The Gathering' (Thrill Jockey)

The Gathering
Critical Mass
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Label: Thrill Jockey

by Spencer Kornhaber

Indie rockers deepen their commitment to stoner metal, get inspired by Carl Jung, and pen lyrics about swashbuckling travelers and the risen dead? The Gathering should be a hoot, at the very least, but this Baltimore clan's fourth release is more of a slog, shackled by monochromatic guitar churn and a slack pulse. Sure, Arbouretum singer-guitarist Dave Heumann leads us on a journey through his sun-scorched psyche, but it's a trip with few highs or lows save for intermittent instrumental heroics. When the nearly eight-minute, Tool-like "Waxing Crescents" manages to dim the palette from brown to black,it's a serious shift.

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