Komatsu – A New Horizon

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: http://www.argonautarecords.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Horizon-Komatsu/dp/B07F8M1SD4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536842032&sr=8-1&keywords=komatsu+a+new+horizon
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/komatsurock/

Band line-up:

Mo Truijens – Guitar + Lead vocals
Mathijs Bodt – Guitar + vocals
Martijn Mansvelders – Bass + vocals
Joris Lindner – Drums + vocals

Tracklisting:

1. I Got Drive
2. Prophecy
3. 10-4
4. Surfing a Landslide
5. Love Screams Cruelty
6. Komatsu
7. Infected
8. A New Horizon
9. Walk a Mile
10. The Ship Has Sailed

Review:

Komatsu are a huge rock band from Eindhoven in the Netherlands who formed in early 2010. They released their self-titled EP in 2011 and their first full length album, ‘Manu Armata’ on February 2013. It was well received by the international press and received instant rave reviews. In September 2016, the band unleashed their sophomore effort ‘Recipe for Murder One’. Their latest work and the subject of this review ‘A New Horizon’, however, was made public on September 7th, 2018. Their music mixes sludge, stoner rock and metal together and can be compared to Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon and Monster Magnet.

Sludge is a perfect word to describe this music. That is one filthy, muddy guitar tone the band uses. It’s almost hard to believe it comes from an instrument and isn’t some huge monster’s growl. The vocals are a little pained in places whilst slightly aggressive at the same time. Paradoxically, they are kind of chilled out and charismatic in a metal way as well. Clearly the singing is filled with emotionally intriguing combinations. They work to add colour to the instrumentation that is somewhat straightforward. Naturally, its mildly repetitive and hypnotic nature is great for zoning out to and smoking weed. (I’d imagine).

Whilst there is nothing at all wrong with repetition in music, there is something wrong when it isn’t catchy and doesn’t leave a lasting impression on the listener. Monster Magnetic are no prog virtuosos, but they do have a knack for writing classic anthemic choruses. The same arguably can’t be said for Komatsu. The guitar riffs will seem perfectly reasonable to many, but heavy metal veterans, especially those familiar with Black Sabbath and doomier bands will know that they often lack originality. However, the vast majority of bands do, so that’s not too strong a criticism. It’s a bit of a shame that the Tool style melodic leads heard in ‘Infected’ for example, weren’t expanded upon more, though. The band have missed an opportunity to really stand out.

In conclusion, this music isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. It’s not massively important that the vocal melodies aren’t quite on par with the more commercial QotSA at their best. Komatsu are still cool, perfect for moshing to and are natural and raw. They are far from sellouts. Maybe the riffs could draw influence from more genres, as the downtuned power chords and chugging gets a bit tiring. Higher up melodies often widen the overall sound effectively, but if you’re into hearing advanced musicianship this band aren’t for you. It will be for many others, though.

Review by Simon Wiedemann

Share
Copyright © The Independent Voice 2018