Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind is a recording project from Gateshead. Their debut album, Nothing Stays Put, was self-released on 30 April 2018, “Cast Off” is their 2nd record and it came after 4 years and it’s a result of Hammond’s trip as a Psychotherapist and his reflections upon it in a heavier direction than their debut so, let’s dig deep into it.
Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind starts their trip with a slow, hypnotizing tune which is “The Night Hag”, it says a lot about their sound and the record and how much they appreciate melody and mood. “From Whose Womb Comes the Isolato?” shakes things a bit with its up-tempo, fast pace and dynamic vocal melody before things slow down again in “Apropos of One”, “Not a Worry” and “No Need”. The three share the same pace and heaviness, they are sludgy, slow headbangers with dominant guitar melody and emotional vocal melodies. “Kill Yr Darlings” works as a break from the heaviness right in the middle of the record because of its mellow clean arpeggio mixed with the ballad-like vocals, it shows another side of the band. Back to the melodic fuzzy tunes in “Tabula Rasa” that start with their usual groove but elevate in an interesting way around min 5:20. “Yours to Keep” is 100% sludgy with heavy Down influences, it has an interesting intro, verse, and chorus riffs with good progression and dynamics. “Suffocate” takes us to a darker and more emotional area from its slow intro riff that fills you with anticipation until it progresses forward into a sludgy banger. Things start to change a little bit by “Cast Off” which sounds a lot different, it is more upbeat and has an alternative vibe that would’ve been much better “from my humble POV” if it had less fuzz and clear production. “Glass Coffin” is another twist with different mood and structure that I would dare to call doomy, like early Katatonia but with clean vocals. The record ends with the instrumental “He Likes Vonnegut” that sounds even more different, with a different sound, mood, and even production with its hopeful vibes ending the record on a more “cheerful” note.
“Cast Off” is a recommended record for raw, sludgy, doomy music lovers with a lot of fuzz and cool grooves, my only comment is that it might benefit from maybe more polished production but, that might be the artist’s creative choice for sure. As a fan of this genre, I will look forward to more from Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind
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