By Shane Willenborg
Local Music Journalist
Artist: The Well
Album: Death and Consolation
Release date: May 2019
Fall has finally taken hold in central Texas, the temperature is dropping while the sun’s relentless reign of terror over the southwestern landscape is blocked out by overcast sheets of clouds.
Every year when the weather starts cooling down and the days get shorter, I find myself seeking out dark brooding music that reflects the atmosphere. This year the Austin based fuzz metal trio, The Well, is the soundtrack to my favorite season.
Death and Consolation is The Well’s most recent release and treads on the same path as metal giants such as Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard, by focusing their sound on the fuzzier and more psychedelic side of metal.
The Well reminds me of another Austin band, The Black Angels; however, The Well utilizes slower tempos and focuses more on their metal roots.
The first track on Death and Consolation, “Sabbah” jumps straight into driving melodies and changing time signatures that have become staples of psychedelic metal.
They also include cryptic lyrics based on myths and folklore. While none of these ingredients are particularly new to the metal genre, it feels like The Well is paying tribute to these influences with Death and Consolation.
The third track “Death Song” sounds like it could have existed on an Electric Wizard album or any of the other bombastic fuzz metal bands from 15 years ago. Only now with a high production value.
“Death Song” hints at southern rock influences with its guitar riffs relying on meaty scale progressions and twangy solos, reminding me of The Sword, another Austin heavy metal band.
Longer tracks on the album like “Freedom Above” and “This is How the World Ends” slow down the tempo even further and focus on the more creepy, horror-infused side of fuzz metal. In these later tracks I think The Well really starts to show its own sound instead of relying on the path paved by other artists.
“Freedom Above” and “Endless Night” delve deep into the world of drone metal, with “Endless Night” transforming into a funky fuzz metal head banger reminiscent of an early The Sword song.
Compared to their previous work, The Well have made strives toward better sound quality and writing on “Death and Consolation.” The band takes it’s time to pay tribute to the titans of fuzz while also paving their own path in the genre. This album is sure to stay in my headphones as the weather continues to get colder and the sky darker.
Featured image courtesy of The Well band website.