71TONMAN “Of End Times”

By Dr. Abner Mality

A 71 ton man is heavy indeed! How heavy? Well, if you took the Navy supercarrier “George H.W. Bush” and filled it with concrete, it might almost be as heavy as “Of End Times”, the monolithic chunk of death-doom sailing our way courtesy of this strangely named Polish band.

This is as thick and pounding as metal can get. The subject seems to be the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and each of the four ball-crushing tracks here is dedicated to a different horseman. As for the approach of 71TONMAN, it is simplicity itself. Each cut lumbers forth in implacably slow and unstoppable fashion, based on elemental riffs, full of squealing feedback and agonized guitar noise, and topped off with the sort of animal roars you’d expect such music to sport. I just heard the latest album from England’s STRIGOI. Imagine an album made of all the slower parts from STRIGOI, but with things turned up even louder and noisier. There is no “Peaceville Three” Gothic melody on this monster...only the brutality remains.

That being said, 71TONMAN are deceptively smart in putting their long songs together. They know just when to change the flow of a song to avoid monotony and boredom. Yes, the feedback squeals get a little tiresome, but it’s not to the overdone point of PRIMITIVE MAN. CONAN is a decent comparison, but the clear production here is not as murky as what the Brits purvey. It’s a clearer kind of crush.

Each song is long and utterly heavy, but there was something about the deadly plod of “War” that sunk into my brain just that little bit deeper than the other tracks, although all are very punishing. This is a real torture test for death-doom fanatics, but extremely rewarding for those who thrive in this highly specialized realm. 2023 already has a contender for heaviest album of the year.