[PDX SLUDGE] Scan the liner notes of local metal outfit Rabbits' new record, Lower Forms, and you'll find a surprising note: Lower Forms was recorded at Type Foundry studios. For the uninitiated, this is somewhat of a shock: as Type Foundry (run by Norfolk & Western's Adam Selzer) is Portland's premier haven for all things folk rock, and Rabbits' heavy, low-end thwack is about as far from cute and cuddly as humanly possible. Still, a few spins of the record immediately quell any suspicion the band has gone soft.
Despite Rabbits' name, its music is loud and punishing, and Type Foundry (plus producers Jeremy Romagna and Lauren K. Newman, a.k.a. LKN) acts as a perfect foil to the band's intensity. Lower Forms is a metal-punk record of the highest fidelity: The whole thing is mixed clean and to the front, so you can hear every tumbling drum fill and monstrous, slow riff. It's a step up from the band's early 12-inches and split singles, and it rivals seeing one of its ear-splitting live shows.
It also succeeds in establishing one mood, an overwhelming sense of dread that's not the type of thing every music fan can get behind. All 10 tracks on the album are steeped in the same thick grime and molten rhythms, and grounded by singer Josh Hughes' howling growl. But a few songs stand out, including opener "Burn, Sun, Burn" and "Invisibugs," which plods along with a quick stop-and-start beat and a particularly heavy bit of guitar feedback. Along with Red Fang, Rabbits is redefining how Portland hard rock bands should sound and act. So, who's recording at Type Foundry next?
SEE IT: Water & Bodies plays Friday, Feb. 18, at the Doug Fir, with Archeology, the Dimes and UHF. 9 pm. $5. 21+. Rabbits plays Saturday, Feb. 19, at Branx, with YOB and Norska. 9 pm. $10 advance, $13 day of show. All ages.