But then Mastodon and The Sword came, along with Baroness, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Russian Circles and ISIS.
And in the past few years, an even newer class of critical darling metal bands have emerged, ones that are pushing the form in new and vibrant directions: Pallbearer, Deafheaven, Metz, Pinkish Black — the list goes on.
Oklahoma City’s Idre doesn’t necessarily sound like any one of those bands, but they definitely share the same defiant spirit.
Idre’s dark blend is a slower, plodding take, one with the trudge of an art-house Frankenstein, not CGI flash, flare and spectacle. It’s slow-building — almost glacial — but no less effective in building to a blissful, body-swallowing crescendo of righteous heaviness.
And good lord is it heavy — like Andre the Giant deadlift heavy — captured beautifully at Oklahoma City’s Dust House Studio. There are varying degrees of post-rock, stonerdoom jams and stone-shattering punk to be found here, but they are all celebrating shades of gray and darker gray with the mastery of a monochrome Monet.
Idre might only contain two tracks, but it’s inarguably a fulllength record. Opener “Factorie” gets to roam for nearly half an hour before the comparatively brief (and awesomely titled) “Witch Trial” gets to make its appearance.
Yes, Idre feels it has about as much use for brevity as a three-ring Lisa Frank binder, but they might be right. These are two tomes of gloom and despair that feel consciously and thoughtfully crafted, as pared-down and purposeful as songs over 10 minutes long can feel.
“Witch Trail” climaxes at the eight-minute mark with a thrashing, cathartic breakdown worthy of the Hitchcockian pacing leading into it, with the foreboding processional drums halfway to that point getting their payoff. It’s the more affecting and effective of the two parts; the scarlet desert heat emanating from “Factorie” is pleasantly warm and hypnotic, but its slopes and slants lessen the heights they tease like a mirage. As a whole, however, it’s a successful pairing — the disorienting opening movement of “Factorie” jumbles the head and ear canals just enough to set up that closing act.
Idre isn’t for the faint of heart — or the impatient. It’s largely void of vocals and admirably committed to exploring every sonic nook and cranny made available, deconstructing its findings before looping back again. A few more immediate payoffs would make the long, winding ride even more worth it, though its watershed moments are powerful enough to mostly make up for it. It’s more stimulating than indulgent — despite the inevitable accusations of the latter — and by most measures, the band positions itself nicely to conquer new corners of metal from here.