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Feral Ohms
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  • Personnel: Ethan Miller (vocals, guitar); Chris Johnson (drums).
  • Audio Mixer: Chris Woodhouse.
  • Recording information: The Mansion.
  • Following a handful of ferocious singles and a six-song live set as part of Castle Face Records' Live in San Francisco series, Bay Area power trio Feral Ohms make their studio album debut with this self-titled LP. A project by veteran noisemakers Ethan Miller (Comets on Fire, Heron Oblivion, Howlin Rain), Josh Haynes (Nudity), and Chris Johnson (Drunk Horse, Sir Lord Von Raven), Feral Ohms are a needle-pushing three-headed beast of brazen guitar rock sprung from the trunk of '70s howlers like the MC5 and the Stooges with shades of noise rock, proto-metal, and undimmed early punk spirit. While many of Miller's other outfits have nurtured a penchant for excess and indulgence in length, the Ohms are compact and combative, shoving manic riffs into wild two- and three-minute rides. It's still indulgent, but so relentless it's hard not to get swept up in their cyclone. All six of the songs from their 2016 Live in San Francisco set appear here in studio form alongside three new new equally brutal/fun tracks: "Living Junkyard," "God of Nicaragua," and the excellent "Sweetbreads." Aside from a slightly higher production value and a couple of noninvasive guitar overdubs from Miller, Feral Ohms is very clearly still the work of a punishing live band put to tape with little fuss. At times, Feral Ohms come across more as an assault of rhythm and barely controlled fuzz, but on more straightforward rockers like "Love Damage" and "Value on the Street" they find the sweet spot that raises the pulse and the fist. For this type of music all three players are monsters, and Miller's powerful pipes strike the right balance of raw and rousing on this solid debut. ~ Timothy Monger
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