Friday, August 24, 2012

Eagle Twin: The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale (2012)


Drone metal inspires one of two emotions, depending on who you are: An almost spiritual reverence, or complete bewilderment. The enthusiasm of its proponents has inspired me to try it time and time again. Although I've caught fleeting glimpses of what others see in it, I'm usually left scratching my head.

But if any band can make drone accessible, I'm convinced it's Eagle Twin. Their sophomore record The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale splits the difference between Sunn O))) and Goatsnake, something I didn't even think possible. Drone, but with actual songs.

The sound is incredibly crunchy, sludgy doom with a lot of low end, gruff stoner-like vocals, and steady, restrained drums. The solos can squeal. They'll switch between riff-based doom and amplifier worship smoothly and naturally. Though the band is from Salt Lake City, their style is imbued with a Southern drawl, in a way.

It begins on a 19-minute two-parter. The opening riff oddly reminds me of "I Heard It through the Grapevine," which makes for quite the memorable song, before devolving into some drone that may not quite be drone. Switchblade with ADHD, maybe, featuring guitar solos to make it more palatable to those of us who don't fully embrace drone. Those solos eventually pull apart at the seams, a theme that's repeated after the Tom Waits-esque storytelling of the second part, when the whole song seems to fall apart before coming back together.

That's the template for the whole album: Songs that turn into non-songs in such a way that you might not notice when it happened, then turn back into songs before you know it. It's a neat trick. And as you might expect from Southern Lord (who obviously know how to handle this kind of music), the production is as meaty and analog as it needs to be.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Preorder/Buy The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale
(release date: August 28)


  1. Four days til this hits stores and I cannot wait. Their first record was one of my favorites from the last few years and did not get near enough attention. The way you describe this sounds a lot like the first record. "Songs that turn into non-songs in such a way that you might not notice when it happened, then turn back into songs before you know it." Yeah, that describes most of what I've heard. However, there is one song called "Carry on, King of Carrion" that remains a song through the entire playing time, and it's totally kick ass.

    Anyway, I'll chime in next week after I've gotten a chance to hear this.

    Now, would you be offended if I gave you a homework assignment? You've gotta hear Harvey Milk's "Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men". You've just gotta!