Touch the Spider! - _Tales of Woe_
(Where Are You From Records, 2010)
by: S. Martin (7 out of 10)
There's a number of original, coherent artists out that seem to fly right under the radar, usually due to bad promotion -- in retrospect, it may even be cause of the band's complete lack of ambition, or, though rare, a distaste for the spotlight and attention. However, Touch the Spider seem to be doing great in every aspect; promotion, press, printing, distribution, etc. They don't play live shows, the backbone of many band's growing fan base. It's a shame, too; I know many people spanning a variety of genres that would love Touch the Spider. Unfortunately though, they haven't even heard -of- them, let alone them...

Their original brand of music boundlessly combines psychedelic rock and heavy metal, uniting them in a vast melancholic, down-beat atmosphere. This, of course, is quite clearly intended by the two-piece act; from the first track, a bland sound-scape sets the mood and the amplified dissonance slowly pours in, followed by down tempo, effective beats and generally monotonous -- although sporadic -- vocals bring it all together. Fortunately, this continues throughout the album.

_Tales of Woe_ is, in my view, reminiscent of many other bands -- though not daring to cross any lines, they remain as what I'd dub original. Bands such as The Devils Blood, Acid Witch, Joy Division, even Scum, just to name a few, jump to mind. The composition of all tracks is eccentrically laid back and unusually casual, which definitely works in their favor. It appeals to the listener on a personal level; a low budget unknown act, as opposed to the mainstream's high-class, cash disposal units.

_Tales of Woe_'s main downfall is that it's one of those albums that are only listened to when in a distinct mood -- of course this is entirely subjective, just in comparison to the aforementioned acts in particular, _Tales of Woe_ isn't quite up to par, just yet. The album incorporates many hidden gems throughout; great melodies, brief sporadic intervals, down-beat interludes, though on the whole, the album becomes almost redundant over time; thin, for lack of better word. If the band is able to dedicate some more time to perfecting their compositions, the sky's the limit.

Great musicianship and compositions flood this album, it's a great release -- when you're in the mood. It's something I'd envision one either loves or hates. A higher quality production, which is far easier said than done, would've been ideal for an album of this nature. The guitars are muddy, the drums flat and the vocals unexciting. A bit more experimentation on the production would've ideally suited the experimental nature the band clearly indulges itself in.

If anything, check out "Death Is My Destiny". Harsh, multi-tracked vocals, aggressive in comparison to the rest of their material, a great aggressive / stoner contrast -- definitely the highlight of _Tales of Woe_ that requires mentioning!


(article published 2/5/2010)

9/30/2011 C Drishner 7 Touch the Spider! - Dead@Last
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