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Close the Hatch: Making Post-Metal Great Again in 2016

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When Aaron Turner significantly scaled back operations with Hydra Head a couple of years back, it felt like a giant blow to the post-metal community. Luckily he lumbered back onto the scene last year with the bone-crushing Sumac debut, and with genre giants Neurosis gearing up for an album release later this year, 2016 is primed to be a calendar year for thinking-man’s metal. An early taste of what’s to come in 2016 for post-metal is a recent release by Ohio outfit Close The Hatch.

Formed in 2011 in Dayton, Ohio, Close The Hatch are the creative child of Steve Barton, who also owns CTH’s boutique label Red Moth Records. The band has shared the stage with such varied acts as Weedeater, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Windhand, but a quick listen immediately brings to mind their post-metal contemporaries listed in the opening paragraph, as well as the recently regrouped Cult of Luna (also set to release a new album in 2016) and another Turner classic project, Isis. Their latest EP Death & Resistance was recorded after going through the ultimate (and far too common) musician’s nightmare: 90% of their gear was stolen while on tour in June 2015.

Luckily, through financial donations and borrowed or donated gear, Close The Hatch were able to regroup and forge ahead. The silver lining to any hardship is almost always growth, and it is evident here in tracks like “The Nighttime Pugilist.” A fist-draggingly sludgy wall of distortion pulls down from below Barton’s gritty growl wretching out scenes from a bane landscape: “Daylight lives in a vacuum, and I never sleep.” The shortened, direct urgency of the song-writing coupled with more advanced recording techniques and better musicianship serve to make this EP the band’s best, heaviest work to date.

Stream Death & Resistance below via Bandcamp.

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