Examination of the... Whitest of Elephants

Four songs, 44 minutes and 38 seconds of pure aural density, Examination of The…’s Whitest of Elephants is slow-motion sonic obliteration, like a planet being inexorably rent asunder by a black hole. Of course, it also sounds like a near-perfect homage to the sonic density of Neurosis and Isis, the two paradigms of heaviosty in the underground all hardcore kids know, although let’s not exclude Sabbath or the Melvins, but it’s pulled off flawlessly. It’s also quite the curveball, as Examination of The… evolve from their earlier abrasive musical hostility into a massive toppling wall of metallic density, complete with tranquil moments, rolling tom work, atmospheric builds and lulls, opaque drone and moments of utter oblivion, like giant waves crashing down on you while alone and adrift at sea. They’ve also mastered the semi-melodic vocal drawl that Neurosis refined for this type of apocalyptic doom while still harnessing the roaring vocals as well. For the most part, Examination of The… stick to the slow, crushing pace, immersed in its mid-tempo throb, but every so often shades of their former musical selves surface, only to once again be consumed by the storm. But the question remains, because even though it’s awesome, it is bordering on musical plagiarism: is a copy of greatness, greatness itself? (Hawthorne Street)