Harvey Milk, A Small Turn Of Human Kindness
Dinosaur rock: enormous, stomping, slow-moving and weighing roughly 500 tons
So much of the history of heavy metal has been dedicated to the notion of acceleration: Sabbath's methadone chug gave way to the high — both in pitch and in speed — sound of arena metal, which in turn spawned the even-faster rush of grind and thrash before finally (and somewhat simultaneously) cul de sac-ing in the bloodshot blast beats of black metal. It could be argued that much of the last decade-or-so's fascination with stoner metal and the like has been simply because we can't go any faster.
In that regard, and many others, Harvey Milk is something of an anomaly. The group hails from Athens, Georgia — no one's idea of a heavy metal hotbed — recorded and released an album that vanished completely until last year, broke up, reformed, and now release the substantially titled A Small Turn of Human Kindness, which sounds more like a slow turn of a rusty turbine engine at 4 in the morning. And is it ever sloooooowww: "I Am Sick of All This Too" rumbles and grumbles to life, impossibly detuned bass guitar, growling vocals — you can fit a whole other song inside the blank space between the tom-tom hits. If there wasn't a lyric sheet included with the physical copy, you'd be hard-pressed to prove vocalist Creston Spiers was actually singing words; the transliteration of his sounds would look roughly like this: "woooaaarrrrrh! Whaaaaaaaaaa! Strooooommmmm! Graugggghhggghh!"
All of which ends up making A Small Turn something truly terrifying: pitch black and imposing. When the band finally does relent and provide something approximating melody, like the miraculous mood-turn in the center of "I Alone Got Up and Left," it's enough to raise gooseflesh, a sudden glimpse of the monster's human face. The appellation "dinosaur rock" is snidely affixed to bands who have been around for decades but, in truth, this is dinosaur rock: enormous, stomping, slow-moving and weighing roughly 500 tons. In just under 40 minutes, Harvey Milk blast metal back to the Stone Age.