As tough-guy sludge rock goes, this is solid stuff — technical but not too wanky, speedy enough but paced with a sturdy groove, gruff and gloomy without descending into self-parody. I find myself subtly headbanging — fine, it’s just nodding my head, but that’s because I’m in my home office by myself — as I listen along. But here’s the thing: I spent a fair amount of time listening to grumpy, brutish rock just like this as a high schooler, and even on into college, but I’m not sure I could really see myself rocking out to HOF on my walk to work or at the gym or while reading The Hill on my laptop in the morning. It’s not that I’m embarrassed (I still read comic books and play video games!), or that I think it’s bad — like I said, it’s good, solid sludge. It’s more like this sort of music doesn’t seem like the right soundtrack to my life anymore. Maybe (probably) that’s kind of lame, but I suspect it’s true of a lot of recent punk, hardcore, and metal fans who’ve settled into amiable lives as young professionals and, perhaps in doing so, traded shoe boxes full of handmade Dillinger Escape Plan and Swarm of the Lotus tapes for iPods packed with Grizzly Bear and Dave Bazan.
(Thanks to TAS contributor James Poulos for alerting me to this album’s existence via the Tweeting machine.)