Sons of Otis

The need for "Isolation" befalls us; or, it befalls the entire human race if we […]
By Barbie Rose
November 2, 2020
Scars of Oblivion - Misanthropy album cover

The need for "Isolation" befalls us; or, it befalls the entire human race if we defy this titular command.  Our governments encourage "Isolation" too, as do our medical providers. The 1992 Toronto based Metallic Doom Band groups "us" together again with this release; and the first track "Hopeless", asks us, on the band's behalf, to teach them to feel free, and we - as fans hear and cheer amidst our loneliness. It is difficult to separate the guitar from the bass-but this is intentional and musical - and earns a favorable nod to the engineer.

In the second track, "JJ", I find myself pleased to hear the occasional neighbor tones, a short chromatic half step that quickly returns to its root, prior to chord changes, and is conveyed through the high register of the lead guitar. The whammy bar whines more than woos, but this is good - because during this Pandemic - who is wooing who with six feet between us, err we fall to the depths of six feet beneath us.  Through the soprano register of the lead guitar, the neighbor tone changes to an escape tone that opens to the song's end. While the pedal tones of the guitar and bass are, again,  nearly oppressive - this is done with intent, with class, and with perfect musical skill.

Creatively,  I've always been a fan of placing an essence in the middle-as the meaning is in the means; Trust, the third track of a six track album,  opens with a nice bluesy hook - adding an interstellar 'wah' reminiscent of Hendrix, wowing the listener with awe.   How perfectly the strings bend, and blend too -  in perfect unison with the opening & closing of the cry.   I wish I could do that with my guitar strings!  "Darkness everywhere seems to slip my care" is the pervasive theme epitomizing this tune,  which ends in conjunctive amplified feedback, and as we learn is typical in the Isolated life that we collectively suffer through this pandemic. Let there be no buts about it,  as the most melodic song on the album, it's also my favorite. The Bluesy hook hooked me, and it seems to slip my care. I am falling into the loneliness of "Isolation" with the SONS OF OTIS, and I'm liking it. Yup!

On the album's sixth track, I feel the "Ghost" of a lost soul that pounds in rage, and this is the track in which Drummer Frank Sargeant shines the most. I've returned to hear the entire album again - and only now do I understand that he's been raging all throughout the recording - he's just been doing so too musically, too appropriately,  for me to notice. Theme II - Replete with psychotic sirens and wails, we feel the drama & horror of those induced into comas. Through the last track, we feel the meaning through that of the first;  the thematic prescience of the lurking descent that awaits us. If I'm going down, I'm going down singing, and I'll be singing in "Isolation" with the SONS OF OTIS.

10 / 10









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"Isolation" Track-listing:

1 Hopeless
2 JJ
3 Trust
4 Blood Moon
5 Ghost
6 Theme II

Sons of Otis Lineup:

Ken Baluke: Guitar/Vocals
Ryan Aubin: Drums
Frank Sergeant: Bass

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