Normaliser – 456e64
The lovechild of Neurosis and Mastodon define their own idea of calculated chaos
Words: Phil Weller
“Since the birth of humankind man has grown and prospered, laying claim and dominion to this sexy orb that we call home. But time is no one's mistress. This is the tale of when the birds no longer sing. When the sky fades. When the DFS sale ends.”
Sheffield’s Normaliser mould thick, blood-curdling guitar tones and demonically possessed vocals into a blend of metal that is not so much a wolf in sheep’s clothing as it is a scientist in a wolf’s clothing. Their burly guitar attack owes a lot to sludge metal, you think, as it oozes like the treacle on a sticky toffee pudding on opener Observe and Perish. Meanwhile post-metal passages and more airy, accessible moments intertwine with a tumultuous sound which, despite appearances, is not quite as it seems. Beneath snarling canine teeth and razor sharp claws is a clever, progressively focused mindset, with time signatures flying all over the place like bullets on D-Day. On 456e64 they focus the sound to tell of an apocalyptic tale, with strong musical themes reoccurring intelligently throughout.
Cataclysmic Firestorm sounds like the love child of Blood Mountain era Mastodon and Times of Grace era Neurosis, while a lofty, barrel-rolling chorus ices their assault. The Last Straw hinges on a jarring, looping riff which growls like early, incendiary Devildriver or a more deathly version of Alice In Chain’s Check My Brain. A thunder ravaged chorus where the vocals can really take hold breaks up their excellently created sea of drone and unease and rounds off what is an enjoyably nasty piece of music.
456e64 is for fans of low down and ferociously filthy metal. It borrows ideas, dynamics and atmospheres from sludge, death and post-metal before distorting them into their own vision of calculated chaos. Now boasting a second guitarist, their sound is evolving, growing. With this as a pre-cursor, their future yields a lot of interest.