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Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity

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Album Review

Ohio-based math-thug-rock ensemble Keelhaul hasn't been heard from since 2003's Subject to Change Without Notice, but that album's title was quite clearly a lie, because nothing much has changed on this release. They're still pummeling away in their Shellac-meets-Karma to Burn mode, piling knuckle-dragging riffs atop intricate and ever-shifting drum patterns. Occasionally, one member or another will shout some barely intelligible lyrics into the maelstrom, but for the most part, Keelhaul prefers to pummel the listener with instrumental skill. Even when there are vocals, as on "High Seas Viking Eulogy," they don't come in until the last two minutes of a five-and-a-half-minute song, and it's not like there's a hook or a chorus to hang onto. The first song to follow conventional songwriting rules is "THC for One," and even that's unlikely to achieve radio airplay, with its barbed, Gang of Four-esque guitar line and psychedelically treated choruses. There are moments of beauty here, particularly on "Waiting for the Moon to Speak," but overall, the title of Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity is a totally justified self-fulfilling prophecy — they don't seem to want to cater to anyone but themselves in making their music, and more power to 'em.

Customer Reviews

Keelhaul's back!!

Finally.......another Keelhaul album. It's been 6 long years, but well worth the wait! If you ever get a chance to catch these guys live, don't hesitate. One of the heaviest bands on the planet!!

One of the greatest bands ever.

All of their albums are awesome.
I've been listening for years.
I got to see them live in Brooklyn years ago and I still think about how unbelievable it was.
Wish I could be there again.




Formed: 1998 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Self-described as "a loud, heavy, annoying rock band for people with short attention spans," Cleveland, OH, quartet Keelhaul plays a dense, punishing hardcore/metal hybrid that has fittingly led to a home on Hydra Head Records, which has also issued recordings by such roughly like-minded bands as Knut, ISIS, Cattle Press, and Neurosis. Members of Keelhaul's lineup had been playing together since the early '90s but the group didn't officially form until 1998. The quartet consists of bassist/vocalist...
Full Bio
Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity, Keelhaul
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Aug 18, 2009

Customer Ratings