FLOOR — Dove (review)

FLOOR — Dove album cover Album · 2004 · Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
aglasshouse
(This is the second time I've written this review because I realized after I wrote it that Floor's Dove was comprised of songs recorded in 1994, and seeing as much of the said review was me comparing faults of the debut to Dove as if it was some sequel, I had to delete it because so much of it was incorrect. So, second time's the charm.)

"I don't have the wisdom that you think you've got."

The 90's underground scene of doom metal was practically filled to the brim with hard-noggin, shoe-gazing stoners that thriving as long as you looked the part was no big deal. Among the scene were bands that emphasized the fuzzy- a characteristic that even now dominates the genre. This fuzz focused on lumbering chords, linear musical variation, and most important of all- volume. Doom metal prided itself on being the loudest of the bunch, and not in the way that arena rock took the world by storm in the 80's. This, with a lack for a better term, loudness was more conceded than it's bombastic predecessors like Priest, Maiden, or hell even Sabbath, yet focused on power over purity. This latter mentality created a lot of lazy, ill-equipped bands that laid themselves under the moniker that doom metal's 90's scene was plagued with as much quality as it was mediocrity. But once in awhile, you come across a diamond in the rough.

This diamond I reefer to is Flordian act Floor, formed in 1992 in Hialeah. Floor had some differentiating qualities about them that made them stand out quite a bit. If bands like Cathedral, Candlemass and Pentagram's fuzz defined their loudness, then Floor made theirs with sheer distortion. The unrelenting warpedness of Floor was, in simple terms, unparalleled by anyone else. It's a power that's sort of hard to describe in word format, so I'll try to explain their legacy and their sound as best as I can.

Now Floor didn't exactly end up focusing much on personal output as they were more content to record split after split with other bands. In fact, the band's formal debut wasn't released until 2002. However in 1994 the band had scraped together enough material to create a sort of makeshift studio album, later to be released as "Dove" in 2004. Dove is a quirky little thing, sort of like a science-fair project haphazardly created out of glue and construction paper in the efforts to make some sort of tangible product to meet a deadline. It isn't exactly, well, cohesive, and it sure isn't a professionally made product. But I believe this quality is where Dove derives it's strong suits. The band is so amateurish that they didn't really feel the needed to have a damned bassist. Here are some of the charms.

Dove only has a short, 6-track-tracklist. The album only peaks a bit over the half-an-hour mark, with 18 minutes of that dedicated to the title track epic. Tracks 1-5 is where the album shines the brightest:'Who Are You' is less of a serious track and more of an embodiment of the caricature of metal, similarly portrayed by Queens of the Stone Age on the 2002 track 'Six Shooter', but it manages to get a point across pretty well in a short time. It and 'Namaste' sort of bleed into each other, although 'Namaste' does have some neat guitar hooks that give it personality. 'In A Day' is where the album picks up, granted in a more stoner direction, but picks up nonetheless. 'In A Day' is actually one of the more consistent songs of the Floor catalouge- utilizing both a consistent, pummeling drum hook and clever hardcore-punkesque vocal queues. 'Figure It Out' is my personal favorite of the album, as it starts with a wall-of-sound esque attitude blended with a sort of punk vocal style from Steve Brooks. 'Floyd' is more or less a delineation of a blurred line between the rampant distortion of Floor and the conceded form seen on prior tracks. It's good for what it is as I don't mind Floor when they're in no-man's-land.

But track 6 is the definite kicker. 'Dove', the massive 18 minute title track is a purposeful stain on an otherwise rather well-done album. Granted, it has it's moments, but as I once sat through it's entirety I came out with a feeling of discomfort. Not a positive feeling of discomfort one might have experiencing a thrill for the first time, but more along the lines of relief in an experience being over. This after-feeling is the death-stroke for me, and this track subconsciously goes straight into the bin because of it. But I will admit it has it's pros. The opening bit pure and honest Floor, acting like they would on one of their earlier splits. But the track just sort of dies a quarter of the way through, opting for either a confused screech or sad rumble, both of which are more akin to microphone feedback than music. I will give them credit, as they may have been going for a Esoteric-esque fuzzfest, but no matter how how ambitious it may be, it ends up falling ultimately flat. Same goes for 'Nothing I Remember', which is practically a carbon-copy.

Other than that however, Floor's Dove is quite the spectacle. I'd recommend it for fans of the underrated, the bold, the beautiful, and the doomy. Very good.
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