Gore
"Hart Gore + Mean Man's Dream"

(Southern Lord 2008)Gore - Hart Gore + Mean Man\'s Dream

You'd be forgiven for never having heard of Gore. The all-instrumental noise/stoner/sludge outfit never broke out of the underground, so here's a quick recap: forming as a trio circa 1985 in the Netherlands, the band began immediately spitting out records, one of which is a highly sought-after live double album with Henry Rollins. What followed was a typical band life cycle of lineup changes, split-ups and reformations until Gore finally dissolved for good in 1996. Fast forward to now, and Southern Lord is re-releasing the group's first two albums, "Hart Gore" and "Mean Man's Dream," in one handy package.

Contrary to what the press materials would have you believe, Gore sounds nothing like contemporary instru-metal acts Pelican and Mono, apart from the conspicuous absence of a vocalist. Gore actually sounds a lot like Kyuss or "Houdini"-era Melvins, without John Garcia or Buzz Osbourne to liven things up. Gore are all about jamming on simple, messy riffs and rhythms, maintaining a looseness that no doubt comes with plenty of recreational drug usage. "Mean Man's Dream" features slightly less sloppy, slightly longer songs, but it's exceedingly infrequently that the band ventures out of the ultra-relaxed groove they're content to wallow in. The first disc's "In The Eye of the Sniper" finds the trio stepping up out of single-digit RPM range, and churning out a mild rager. If only Gore had traded their bongs for uppers more often.

Sometimes, these reissues from forgotten bands come out, and all they do is remind you why a band was forgotten in the first place. This is not one of those instances; Gore is yet another example of a band unceremoniously and unfairly relegated to the gutter of music's crowded highway. The tunes on "Hart Gore"/"Mean Man's Dream" are quite good, plus both albums are packed with live cuts, unreleased session tracks, and demo takes. And there are insightful liner notes from bassist Rob Frey that include, for some mystifying reason, lyrics to both albums. Again, this is instrumental music. Go figure. You may have never heard of Gore, but if you're a fan of baked sludgy goodness, this reissue shows you why you probably should have.

B+

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