Bludy Gyres is the other doom band helmed by Hallows Eve bassist/vocalist Tommy Stewart. Like his other projects, it features macabre theatrics made even more sinister by a bare bones production job. However, Mr. Stewart makes this project made distinct from his Dyerwulf by not only featuring a quartet lineup complete with two guitarists (One of which also previously played in Hallows Eve) but also by its completely different approach to doom in style as well as songwriting.
Echoes of a Distant Scream has been described as a progressive doom metal album and it is certainly an accurate tag. While the five songs on here are linked by dark aesthetics and slow tempos, each one goes all over the place with off the wall structures and influences from blues, prog rock, and even a bit of jazz. This is best demonstrated by “Kept Death Busy,” as its twelve minute runtime features a waltz rhythm accosted by random instrumental breaks and howling vocals reminiscent of Big Business-era Melvins.
Of course, there are a couple songs that manage to be pretty straightforward. “Discipline Man” is the most accessible song as its more linear structure is made interesting by a groovy main riff, catchy vocals, and excellent percussion flourishes. “Defy the Lie” also stands out for a traditional doom structure in the vein of classic Trouble, though I do wonder how it would’ve sounded in the hands of a more operatic vocalist.
Fortunately, the musicianship may be the best that’s ever been featured on any of Stewart’s projects. You won’t find too many tech breaks or wacky shredding, but the musicians are all in sync and clearly know how to work off one another’s strengths and dynamics. Ironically enough, the bass isn’t quite as prominent as it tends to be with Stewart’s projects. Thankfully his vocals fit in much better than they ever have elsewhere, even if they may still be a bit of an acquired taste.
Considering how Tommy Stewart has been operating in the Atlanta metal scene for over thirty years, it is commendable to see that one of his most recent projects just may be the best he’s ever put together. Hallows Eve was certainly eclectic by speed metal standards and Bludy Gyres takes that attitude into the doom forum backed by a solid production job and excellent musicianship. It’ll take extra listens to really get a feel for but it’s worth checking out for those who’d like a little extra weirdness in their downer rock.
“Kept Death Busy”
“Defy the Lie”
Echoes of a Distant Scream is now available via Soman Records.