Review ·

New York quintet Bloody Panda uses the black ambience and plodding tempos of sludge metal to drag us along on an eternal march toward the gallows. And where the band's suffocating gloom and the artful transcendence of Kayo Dot didn't get along so well on the split twelve-inch the two bands released in late 2006, Bloody Panda's debut full-length, Pheromone, fares better. The four funeral dirges on Pheromone are still best appreciated after lighting black candles and donning executioner's garb (the band members do the latter for live performance), but Blake McDowell's truly unnerving church organ blares and the limber drumming of Dan Weiss at least give us something interesting to listen to as the embalming fluid sets in. Untrained vocalist Yoshiko Ohara veers from throttled moaning in Japanese to unearthly screams and typical doom-metal poetry ("Scorn sucking at your soul/ Left to suffer on your own"). For funeral-doom greenhorns, her voodoo vocalisms may threaten to push Pheromone over the brink of self-parody. But if listening to Khanate helps you fall asleep, Ohara might just be your new favorite lullaby crooner.







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