Murkrat – Murkrat – 3.5/5
An all female band, playing a very simplistic, bordering on drone-like doom is hardly the sort of thing that would usually appeal to me, yet for some reason Murkrat has succeeded in doing precisely that. Consisting of basic drum work, simple yet hard hitting bass guitars, sporadic use of guitar and clean female vocals, this feels unique but in no way unusual, as though to raise the question, why has nobody else thought of this?
To call it an all female band is perhaps a little misleading, as there are in fact only two members, the bassist/vocalist, and the drummer, and of the two the focus is clearly on the former, the drums providing a simplistic, no frills beat, which whilst heard, is often overshadowed by the bass and vocals. The bass, considering its simplicity is rather effective. Not content with simply using the low end of the scale, the riffs often vary between two main tempo’s in each track, and successfully create a number of addictive and atmospheric riffs.
The vocals, however, are what really make this album unique. Distant yet prominent, fading and disappearing, she has a distinctive and disturbing tone, filled with a range of emotions, from an unusual emptiness, despair filled wail and even the more venomous and aggressive growls at times, this simplistic and minimalist approach creates an atmosphere of melancholy desperation, of acceptance of the inevitable apocalyptic demise to come in the near future, which is perhaps lost in a number of modern doom bands.
Unfortunately, this effective simplicity comes at a cost. Despite its unconventional style, this is no short album. With most tracks in excess of 8mins, and a 74min run time, its severely hampered in holding your attention for its entire duration. This is an album to be listened to in stages, not to be listened to in one go. Newcomers to the genre could perhaps find better places to start, but for you doom vets out there, this is a new twist on an old genre.