Did I pick this record solely based on the band name? Yes, of course I did. Despite what the Pokédex might tell you, Snorlax is actually a one-man blackend/grind/death/doom band from Brisbane, Australia. Brendan Auld played, recorded, and mixed all instruments on II. He also handled most of the vocal duties, adding guest performances from Mathew Budge on “The Resin Tomb” and Anthony Oliver on “Impending Abysmal Wretchedness”.
There’s obviously an underlying sense of humor about this album, given the band name and some of these song titles. But the album is pretty legit. Or EP? It’s only 23 minutes, so I’m not sure how we’re classifying this one. Anyways, what I’m trying to say that this album is actually very good despite any preconceptions you may have.
II is predominantly a black metal album, but it goes into a fair share of death doom and grindcore as well. This melding of styles makes for good variety. “The Chaos Ov Iron Oppression” has a cosmic feel, whereas “The Resin Tomb” is a grindcore banger that pummels you in under two minutes. The vocal contrasts between Auld and guest vocalist Mathew Budge make the latter song all the more exciting. “Mind Ov Maggots” has an intro that sounds like something Kurt Bullou would conjure up. The rest of the song doesn’t necessarily sound like Converge, but there are a few parallels. There’s also a great breakdown section in “Encapsulated Apocalypse”. I know the word “breakdown” may cause terrible flashbacks for those who lived through the shittier days of metalcore, but it’s done very tastefully here.
As far as black metal goes, the production hits the sweet spot between raw and comprehensible. All instruments sound crystal clear, but the album is still dark and dingy. The bass is very forward in the mix, and it has an awesome gritty tone. The guitar leads are very biting and the drums sound organic. It probably helps that Auld runs Black Blood Audio – his experience definitely shows here.
The only real low point on the album is the last track “Impending Abysmal Wretchedness”. It feels like the inspiration for this record ran dry here, as there are several riffs that sound similar to those on the preceding track “Encapsulated Apocalypse”. Also, the blast beat sections are around the same tempo in both songs. Anthony Oliver does a great job taking the vocal mantle, but otherwise the song is not very memorable.
Besides the last track though, this is a very solid album. II does a lot in its short run time. The riffs seamlessly transition between chunky and agile. The vocals are brutal yet multifaceted, and the songwriting is incredibly captivating. You may be surprised to hear a band named Snorlax does not make hacky music, but it’s no surprise that this thing is heavy as hell!
Best Tracks: The Chaos Ov Iron Oppression, The Resin Tomb, Encapsulated Apocalypse
Weakest Tracks: Impending Abysmal Wretchedness
FFO: Mizmor, Witch Vomit, Teeth
Overall Score: B