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Subrosa - No Help For The Mighty Ones CD (album) cover

NO HELP FOR THE MIGHTY ONES

Subrosa

Experimental/Post Metal


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Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars It is surprising how artists keep returning to the doom metal format. This oldest of all Metals may be very straightforward to play and write, but apparently its very direct and heavy impact remains an endless source of inspiration. And inspiration is certainly the keyword to this release from SubRosa. Flirting with stoner, shoegaze, folk and indie, this band spices up their doom with an out-worldly space-rock feel, electric violins, majestic vocal melodies and ear-worms for songs.

The first thing you come to note are the vocals, female vocals, often harmonically arranged, but nothing like the operatic gimmick that people have come to associate with metal and female vocals. The vocals here are forceful, but very natural, slightly indie, slightly folkish, slightly punk, reminding me of L7 as well as Kylesa's female vocalist. There are also some occasional male growls, but very sparse and subdued, offering an extra bit of power on some of the heaviest parts.

Next on the list of fresh elements in this band's sound is the 2 electric violins, present in almost every track and offering the main melodic leads and some occasional freakish psychedelic outbursts. Together with the dynamic songwriting, Subrosa creates a unique style that is thoroughly catchy, and in places stunning and beautiful. The long songs often have a progressive or crescendo post-metal oriented structure, with very effective modulations or rousing finales that manage to turn around the doomy mood into something deeply moving and entrancing, ecstatic almost.

'No Help For The Mighty Ones' is one of the 2011 album that manages to surprise me with its fresh approach. Add the excellent songwriting and that kind of sultry mood that I like so much and you're looking at a potential top 10 candidate. Doom and stoner fans should be listening right now, but also the heavy crowd that's into hallucinatory stuff and electric violins are invited. Thanks again Profound Lore records!

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#542555)
Posted Wednesday, October 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars You Are Gettting Very Sleepy...

I picked up SubRosa's NO HELP FOR THE MIGHTY ONES last year as they are label mates with Grayceon, a band I really love. Superficially, the sound is similar, a sludgy organic metal with some classical flourishes for ornament. But where Grayceon (and sister band Giant Squid) have taken the doomy post-metal formula into completely new territory, SubRosa still clings to the doom format a bit too tightly for my taste. When they actually do take musical risks, head into slightly progressive territory, I almost scream at the speakers "Yes, more of that!!!" But it's too little, too late. Too much sludge, not enough music.

Like most of this style of music, the Black Sabbath fuzz and dragging riffage is apparent. The opening guitar crash even subtly aludes to the first notes of "Iron Man." But Ozzy had a sense of melody. The almost monotonic drone of the vocals on this disc kill the whole project for me. Which is unfortunate, because these gals can sing. The a capella harmonies on "House Carpenter" prove that this band could have done something truly interesting had they thrown away the trappings of sludge and made something new. "Beneath the Crown" is promising, with an almost melodic vocal intro and a more fleshed out sound in the midsections. "Attack on the Golden Mountain" is also not bad. But frankly, even those are at best "Grayceon lite." The vocals need to be higher in the mix and more active. The violins need to be more complex, and have some lead time.

I really wanted to like this album. The cover art is phenomenal. When the violins are going crazy, the music has alot of promise. But I want to hear those harmony vocals and strings dominating the sound, not the fuzz. I've heard doomy fuzz 5000 times before. We've also heard druggy goth girl singing before repeatedly during the grunge era. Harmony female vocals in metal with violins from full band members? That would be something really unique. I will definitely be watching the reviews on future releases, but I'll have to hear something new before dropping cash on another release.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#655329)
Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Many metal bands include one or two female members, but few have a majority-female lineup - and many of those seem to make a gimmick out of that (either by their own initiative or - as I suspect is more likely - at the prompting of their labels). SubRosa are a welcome exception, presenting a lineup on No Help For the Mighty Ones consisting of three women (including the two band co-founders Rebecca Vernon and Sarah Pendleton) but, in their material and in terms of the marketing, making this seem as though this is the most natural thing in the world rather than a quaint novelty or an opportunity to turn the female band members into eye candy.

Instead, the band offer an intriguing brand of folk-tinged Sabbath-inspired doom metal. Like Blood Ceremony, the band have hit on a way to do the whole stoner 70s revival thing without resorting to rote mimicry of past bands and fruitless ploughing of over-trod furrows by looking at the early 1970s music scenes and thinking "Which musical trends from back in those golden days could have fruitfully crossed over, but didn't?" In the case of Blood Ceremony, it was Sabbathy metal with Jethro Tull-influenced flute prog, whilst SubRosa mash up Sabbath with British folk rock in the tradition of the likes of Fairport Convention, Lindisfarne and Pentangle. The a capella version of the folk standard House Carpenter makes this especially apparent, but the twin violin action (!) of Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack backing up Rebecca's powerful Tony Iommi riffs give all the tracks on here a unique flavour. It's not an instant classic but it certainly shows a lot of potential, and I look forward to see what they do in the future.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#851630)
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2012 | Review Permalink

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