HVALROSS – Running The Gauntlet EP

The debut album from Dutch rockers Hvalross introduced listeners to a band with a very distinctive sound. Released in 2020, ‘Cold Dark Rain’ wasn’t afraid to mix styles. Tunes like ‘Finally Repent’ and ‘I Shot My Best Friend’ blended old style melodic rock with light alternative rock tones and semi-bluesy sounds, and the band’s huge approach to backing vocals occasionally hinted at a love of ‘Dog Eat Dog’ era Warrant. ‘As I Am’ leant further towards a prog metal-post grunge hybrid with its contrasting muted riffs and huge blankets of sound, and ‘Death From Above’ showed how Hvalross could weave stoner-ish tones within their riffs and still convey a huge hard rock melody. They didn’t always get it right; the huge, wailing vocal cutting through the middle of ‘The Owl’ proved to be a massive distraction from some potentially enjoyable music, but few records are perfect.

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