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No screwing around for Sangoma on self-titled release

December 26, 2012
By Joey Cutler (letters@graffitiwv.com) , Graffiti

This is the debut release by Huntington, WV's Sangoma. With a pretty unassuming image on the front of their new self-titled CD, it's cool because it might lead one into thinking that it is another one of those atmospheric indie releases that tend to regularly come from the area.

It's not.

The band is made up entirely of members who have been playing the region for years now, and they're taken all of their experiences and influences and created one of the heaviest sounding recordings the area has seen in quite a while.

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The CD begins with a double-octave sounding wall of guitars with a quick, but not rushed, steady ascension, and then it begins straight to the point without any frilly extended attempt at a build up of anticipation.

Sangoma takes the listener from the beginning without screwing around. With everything coming at you at once, it's easy to start the breakdown.

Blair Yoke's vocals are excellent. They penetrate the ever-changing mood provided by the musical section very well and he does a beautiful job at handling whatever the band throws his way.

Harshbarger's bass and Stiles' drums have no problem stabilizing the backbone and balls of the songs from beginning to end. They employ two guitars that produce dual sounds within the musical rhythms that, in places, should probably create a garbled mess at times. But to absolute contrary generate covered, layered, sometimes swirling effects that could send you searching in multiple directions for where what sound is coming from. And it's all done attractively and imaginatively.

Because we now live in a world where we can't seem to articulate much without using labels and categorizations, it would be safe to say that Sangoma can easily fit in with what so many have come to affectionately (and rather unimaginatively) dub the "stoner" genre. The band is, however, quite a bit more than that. All of these guys come from many different musical backgrounds and they've successfully crafted a collection that hits the listener straight on and don't let one single song overstay it's welcome.

Unlike a lot of the bands that are so generically labeled "stoner," Sangoma keeps what they have to say brief. They get in, do what needs to be done and then they're done, Then it's on to the next from there. Every song on this release is worthy of attention and is easily listened to multiple times. The only complaint that comes to mind is that it's frustrating to sit and wait for another release by them. This is an album worth checking out. A few standouts on this self-titled CD are "Sangoma," "Poison Tongue," and "Rolling Skull."

 
 

 

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