Eagle Twin’s 2009 album, The Unkindness of Crows, definitely didn’t move as many copies as releases by fellow metal bands like Slayer or Mastodon, but it was a supremely impressive and inventive debut—and probably the only album in any genre to be based on the poetry of Ted Hughes.
For their curiously titled sophomore effort, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale, the Salt Lake City–based duo continues to pursue the same style of glacially paced grooves and detuned riffage, though with a noticeable effort to balance the slow-motion bangers with more murky ambience. The two-part “Ballad of Job Cain,” which clocks in at nearly 20 minutes, plays out with cinematic ebbs and flows, while even a comparatively brief jam like “Epilogue, Crow’s Theology” mixes an apocalyptic pulse with oversaturated tones.
Indeed, Eagle Twin’s biggest strength is their attention to texture: Singer/guitarist Gentry Densley’s baritone axe–work comes wrapped in a blanket of distortion while Tyler Smith’s jazz-inflected stream-of-consciousness drumming is high in the mix to maximize the woody timbres. Densley’s didgeridoo of a voice is an acquired taste, but it goes perfectly with a collection of tunes that occasionally sound like chopped-and-skrewed versions of classic Black Sabbath songs.
For anyone who thinks the Melvins are getting too poppy, Eagle Twin is your new favourite band.
Playlist picks: “Ballad of Job Cain Part II,” “Snake Hymn”