FOSSILS "Flesh Hammer"


By Dr. Abner Mality

All of a sudden, bands with no guitars are the rage. Bass and drum combos are flying out of the woodwork like somebody flipped a switch. I'm all for it. I've had as much 70's retro rock, old school death metal and other unoriginal stuff as I can take.And if Fossils and Towers are anything to go by, this new wave of guitar-less metal could really be something interesting.

Fossils are two maniacs from Denmark who pound away at their instruments with molten energy on "Flesh Hammer". They don't bother with vocals at all, but unlike many bands that ditch their singers, Fossils kicks ass! This album is pure fun from start to finish and each of the 10 short, clipped tracks here will knock you silly with heavy grooves even though a guitar is nowhere in sight! Their approach to this type of music is admirable. They keep the songs short, full of hooks and jacked up on steroids. The album is brief, but since it's instrumental, this is an advantage. Many albums with no vocals outstay their welcome. The bass sound crushes everything in sight! All of the songs are great, but "Cat Stalker", "Stun" and "Spamtastic" flatten buildings. A certain comparison to "Meantime"-era Helmet is in order, but Fossils are their own beast. Great little album, very fun to listen to!

Towers come from the fertile Portland, Oregon music scene and are a much different and more bizarre proposition than Fossils. For one thing, they do have vocals, but of an unconventional kind. In fact, everything about this act is unconventional. They also favor only drum and bass, but while Fossils wants you to jump around and bang your head, Towers is more concerning with scaring the shit out of you. This is very doomy, dark and twisted. There are four tracks on "II", two of them being monolithic epics and the remaining two being of more restrained duration. Very hard to describe the creepy grooves and loops that infest this record. It is highly original and very catchy in its way, but NOT good time music. As for the vocals, they are clean but rather disturbed. The whole record sounds like the product of an asylum therapeutic exercise. Again, the heaviness is there and you won't miss the guitar at all. As far as creativity goes, Towers is the better band.

These are two very strong releases if you can be bothered to drag yourself out of the usual metal cliches.