by Torrey Proto (@torreysbrewin)
The collective group of musical projects undertaken by the members of young Connecticut quartet Crag Mask reads like a DIY all-star lineup, if such a thing ever existed. With strong roots in the vibrant New England scene, the four of them boast resumes that include a horde of local favorites such as CT’s own powerhouse crooners Queen Moo, frenetic experimental rockers Langosta, and the buoyant and always entertaining Zanders. However, Crag Mask sound nothing like any of those bands. Their strong debut album Loom pushes the creative envelope in a variety of new directions and will reward listeners looking for something gritty and challenging.
Opener “Sleep Eater” begins the record on a foreboding note with Gabriel Sciarra and vocalist Zack Abramo’s doomy guitars and Phil Lord’s plodding bass setting the tone before Abramo’s gnarled vocals enter the mire of sludge. The band continue to build the slowly unfolding sense of terror into a full stop followed by a stunning climax powered by Abramo’s soaring falsetto and Jason Rule’s powerful drumming. The overwhelming murk of the opener is prevalent throughout the knotty album’s eight other tracks, though Crag Mask are not content with a singular mood, as the songs shift shapes quite frequently and patiently reveal the satisfying melodies underneath the band’s slow crawl. Meanwhile, tracks like the hard-charging “Rug Burn” shake up the album’s progression with a more direct approach, wasting little time with build-ups or detours. With Loom clocking in at forty minutes, Crag Mask are happy to take their time and urge attentive listeners to take a journey with them as they venture down paths both unsettling and deceptively sweet. Loom is an impressive and dynamic debut for a young band that is clearly ready to unleash their massive and intricate compositions on a wider audience, whether they’re ready or not.
Crag Mask's Loom is out May 26th via Super Wimpy Punch and Gawk Records.