BACKWOODS PAYBACK (Momantha) CD

This is the constant quandary of the reviewer: how to treat an album that is neither great nor terrible. Great albums, while rare, are pretty much a gimme. It's never difficult to write up a band that you love or an album that genuinely makes you feel something. On the other hand, when you really dislike something the words flow like poison from your computer keyboard (or something like that). The problem is while the album is definitely not bad, it doesn't really do much for you at all in either direction. You know that the band has probably put a lot of time and effort into the music that they're proud of, that means something to them, but that doesn't make it mean something to you. Well, for me 'Momantha' is one of those records.

I've tried again and again, but the music just doesn't grab me. This is partly attributable to the fact that there are not much good songs for my taste. Sometimes the tracks pass into nothing and don't catch on fire as for example in 'You Know How It Works' and 'Flight Pony'. Moreover, they often lack compelling ideas, although the sludge assault of 'Timegrinder' has been both sudden and unexpected. But very often 'Momantha' is just an uninspired blend of Lo-Pan, Solace and Suplecs, with which they share the same record label namely Small Stone Records. In addition, I have a problem with the vocals of guitarist Mike Cummings, although I appreciate the fact that he has a versatile vocal range.

But unfortunately I don't like the almost whiny timbre in his voice and there are too many moments when he tries too hard to be emotional. So it can happen that a good song such as 'Mr. Snowflake' turns into a worse song and I would wish he would restrain himself from exaggerating because sometimes, as is known, less is more. However, a positive feature is that Pennsylvania's BACKWOODS PAYBACK create a huge wall of fuzz that's as thick as a giant sequoia. Needless to say that the whole thing is also very heavy. The instrumentation is loud and crunchy, with fairly aggressive percussion and my thanks go out to Benny Grotto, who, once again, did a fine job with the production. All in all, 'Momantha' is not bad but nothing that stands out. For the future I hope BACKWOODS PAYBACK will write better songs with stronger riffs. And there would be no harm in thinking about the vocals.

(KK)

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