[sic] Magazine

Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Passage To Agartha

Melbourne space-rockers Hotel Wrecking City Traders (hereafter HWCT) have only gone and made a double album! Thing is, though, they need that sort of scope even just to try and contain Passage To Agartha’s five humungous instrumentals. Over an hour in length, it’s a culmination of the band’s four LPs to date, a crushing consolidation of their free-flowing, muscular fuzz, so too a continuation of their on-going musical evolution.

A proper voyage of a track, the title-track is hence typical HWCT, doomed riffs counterbalanced by cosmic effects that can’t help but send you way out west, while only one track earlier they deploy leftover desert-rock basslines to the sound of charged particles pinging off their white-hot hull, feedback streaming out like the ripples of a disrupted magnetic field behind them. Here the blowout never comes, but all twelve minutes of “Kanged Cortex” make up for it by being nothing else. A hedonistic headbanger, it just keeps digging through the crust and on through the mantle with riff after riff, pulverising drums liquefying all before them into an inner core of molten heaviness.

A huge slab of distorted sludge, “Ohms Of The Cavern Current” closes out the vinyl edition of Passage To Agartha, while digital listeners get treated to 20 more droning minutes via bonus track “Oroshi”. Better than both of them, the album hits warp speed early on via tunnel-visioned rocker “Quasar”, which expands and contracts like it’s telling a story (undoubtedly a fast-paced one full of fire and brimstone), a soundtrack to some end-of-level showdown, a high-budget slugathon smeared out by the rushing contrails of rocket boosters. With that sort of power in tow, this is a record to firmly confirm HWCT’s place on the map and give their live-show the ammunition to transport you there.

Best track: “Kanged Cortex”

~Passage To Agartha is out now via thanks to the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Evil Hoodoo.~