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Lower Forms
Format: CD / LP / MP3
Release Date: February 15, 2011
By John Book April 21, 2011

The first time I heard of RABBITS (the band spells their name in all capital letters, with an upside-down capital R as the first character, so it looks somewhat like the head of an illustrated rabbit) was from doing some reading about various metal bands in Portland, Oregon. One blog lead me to other websites, which lead me to more music. Then I came across this three piece. After hearing a track or two, I bought a 10” EP released through Eolian Records and loved it. I had heard they were signed to Relapse Records, which meant the ensemble was going to go out of their way to prove a point with their music. This was their time.

Lower Forms is the kind of brutal sludgy metal with obvious punk influences that immediately brings to mind the beauty of bands like The Melvins (especially Gluey Porch Treatments-era Melvins), Eyehategod, Buzzov•en, and to some degree, the recklessness of Canada’s Superconductor. The album starts with “Burn, Sun, Burn,” which sounds drawn-out to the point that it might last forever, and yet at the same time its four-and-a-half minutes feels good and sinisterly soothing. It’s quite a contrast to the slap-in-the-face that is the 59-second penultimate track, “No Depth,” in which RABBITS guitarist and vocalist Joshua Hughes screams out, “What do you get when you beat on the brat? / Another day older and deeper in debt.” It obviously takes from other sources, merging a traditional country song with a punk classic to create something short and sweet before pulling you back into their sound and leaving you dry and ashy.

What makes RABBITS work? I like how it sounds completely chaotic, as if these guys – Hughes (formerly the guitarist in Angel Hair, The VSS, and Pleasure Forever), drummer Kevin Garrison (ex-Lion Fever), and guitarist/vocalist Seth Montfort – just ran into the studio with instruments and amps on, electricity running through them with the voltage affecting both performances and thought processes. Maybe it’s me, but while this was recorded during 2010, it could easily have been an album from 1986, 1991, or from another time long gone, while still sounding very much like a modern metal album. The low-end grumbling reveals obvious Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer influences, but there’s a punk spirit and a slight smirk that hints that they’re doing this for fun. It’s still serious metal mayhem, but with a cool attitude. In other words, less “attitude” and more for the power of a “fuck you” volume punch in the face.

RABBITS could easily turn themselves inside-out and become something else with each project, or the band could have fun and fondle variations of their sound, just getting heavier. Become one with these Lower Forms and forget how the other half lives.

Visit: RABBITS | Relapse
Purchase: Insound | eMusic