Keeper – The Space Between Your Teeth EP (2016)

California’s Keeper play a type of rather raucous doom metal, which seems to edge towards the more darkest of moods. This isn’t quite your Candlemass or Manilla Road, it’s something with a bit more emotional gravity and although these songs are named “The King” and “The Fool” respectively, the dumped out pill bottle with the wedding ring inside of it tells me that they’re not singing about fanciful realms filled with mighty warriors and great beasts. No, The Space Between Your Teeth seems to take a more human approach, which only the darkest and palest realms in this genre can take. It’s not funeral doom, either. There’s too much life in it, so I’d put it closer to something a bit more ravenous. The vocals especially describe this, as I’m literally being confronted with a man who is one-hundred percent completely pissed off and frustrated with his life, society and the world at large. I can relate, as many of you have (and soon will) witness in my next musical offering. I’m not sure if these guys will tour or anything of that matter, but if conditions were ever ripe for my band to tour a couple of states, I’d definitely want to play a show with these guys. Keeper make the kind of doom that you feel right down in the pit of your gut. It’s the sound of real pain and anguish, not bullshit like “my girlfriend left me” even though that admittedly does suck. But I don’t think such a cardboard instance in society is worthy of true sorrow like has been experienced here. Some might want to throw the sludge title on here because of the vocal approach and maybe how the bass sounds, but in all honesty that’s just silly. Musically, there’s nothing “sludge” about these guys, it’s just melodic doom metal with thundering drums and horrendously scowling vocals. But we’ll let the hipsters have their terms, as “sludge/doom” becomes quickly thrown in. If I were to grade this record by means of personal opinion, I would definitely say that I prefer the nearly twenty minutes of “The King” over “The Fool” which contains a lot of drone and drum portions that I feel take away from the melodies and sorrows laden here. I’m all for experimentation, but when it sounds like you’re trying to echo a cement mixer in there, I feel that I’m far too covered in concrete to identify. Keeper offer two extremely long and slightly varied approaches on the disc, and the one you’ll prefer more will depend completely on taste. You may even wind up liking them both. But with a frontman like that, by which such passion flows forth from his venomous jaws, it’s very easy to see how these guys could become a household name in the genre. (The Grim Lord)

4/5

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