Keelhaul Keelhaul

Like many of the elite in extreme music, Keelhaul make their mark not by excelling at one particular aspect of a single genre, but by combining multiple influences to mould their complex, pummelling cacophony of sound into something more devastating as a whole. Not that this should come as a surprise, considering Keelhaul's pedigree (featuring current/former members of Kraw and the much-maligned Integrity). Escape Artist is now re-releasing this eponymous debut (originally released on Cleveland's Cambodia Records). Keelhaul's blunt trauma inducing sound is a combination of vintage AmRep noise rock, Unsane-style audio scrapes, Neurosis's meandering doom/dirge and Coalesce's off-kilter metal/hardcore explorations mixed with some sludge/stoner moments of weakness and tempered with vocals that are both sparse and anguished, almost but not quite an afterthought to the music. Tracks like the superb "Khmir" (with its gambit of moods), "Fuimus" (more mellow and instrumental, but just as distorted) and "Enervate" (which was one of the standout tracks on the superb Hydra Head Records Sample Vol. 1) bear witness to the glory of Keelhaul's musical transgressions. (Escape Artist)