CD Review

House Of Usher – “Inferno”

By May Wiseman

InfernoThe ice cream cone looks good at first. Big and shiny. Piled up high and mighty. Then after the first five licks, it starts melting down your hand and soon slopping up that forty-dollar shirt you stupidly wore just because you were leaving the house for non-working purposes. Damn that cone! When you get to a comfortable licking point, around mid-way, things get good. You're filling up with a sugar rush and forget about the atrocity on those three button holes. Screw it! You beat that cones arse…

This Inferno album is just like that cone. The press read smooth, in fact I couldn't wait to rip it open hearing it was German underground progressive rock. With an intro track (Subinfernal) leading into track two, One In A Million, that sounds like yummy German prog goodness to be had for all. This is going to be good, and I like prog rock at any time. (Especially a good German prog group that provides a hint of goth.) By the third track, things started to melt. The groove wasn't anything like what that intro/track two paced for the listener. And by the start of the eighth track, the cone had melted on the front of my forty-dollar couture.

Track eight, Once in a Blue Moon, was right on. The band starts picking up momentum and I'm finally able to get control on the melt. The guitar work is particularly worth mentioning on this album. Very rich, very smooth chord structure played by Martin Krotz and Dominic Daub. They compliment one another familiarly, like they've played together forever, a pervasive tone that near sounds like a keyboard. What's unique about this House of Usher sound is the unity this band plays with. The bass lines (Ralf Dunkel) sound separated from the drums and guitar work that makes the body of the music reach the listener deeper. Everyone likes to hear the bass, most don't notice its even their unless you've got Flea or someone great like that throwing their weight around, but somehow they made their bass lines live alone on this record.

By The Day the World Stopped Breathing (track nine) I was home free. No more melting cone, just smooth licking. The music flows from track nine all the way to thirteen. Vocalist, founding member and programmer, Jorg Kleudgen, takes some getting used to. The thick vocals only compliments a certain sound, one that is straight up rock or one that simulates a ballad – nothing in between works for his vocals. This would be a compliment in the land of May. Those tracks that seem simple in sound, or rather plain, are just considered pop. Jorg does not have this pop voice. It's so underground you will only hear it if you go online to find it or you visit the local goth arena. How much fun is the hunt anyway for those that seek that baritone?

So now you've completed something worth it. An experimental finish with distorted guitars and eerie wind sound effects sends you home. You will be filled up and eager to try again. And even though that last track is spoken word – in German – the album is totally worth the groove. Even though I felt like skipping six tracks, the reality still looms that not even your favorite band can fill up an entire thirteen-track disc with song after song of no-skip finality. You're going to turn to get to the next song. So stop whining and finish that damn cone! Forget the diet pally.

Contact Information:
Equinoxe Records
Post: Ohlberg 4, 59469, Ense-Luttringen, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 2938-3326