Bottomless Pit, Hammer of the Gods

When Silkworm drummer Michael Dahlquist died in a 2005 car wreck, he took one of indie rock's most consistent and underappreciated bands with him. Now his former bandmates, guitarists Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett, have unveiled Bottomless Pit, so Silkworm is anything but forgotten, and BP shows the same patience and maturity that stoke the same explosive musicianship. "Dogtag" and "Leave the Light On" exemplify Cohen and Midgett's tasteful approach to hard rock, both building from near silence to desperate, crashing climaxes. "Repossession," on the other hand, eschews any subtlety, leading with a bouncy Manchester bass line that gets obliterated by a dynamite guitar riff. The album's oblique, introspective lyrics carry over Silkworm, but its subject matter, unmistakable in its concern with loss and death from opener "The Cardinal Movements" to closer "Greenery," sets Hammer of the Gods apart. "Dead Man's Blues" lays bare a grim, near-explicit reference to Dahlquist's death: "I lay in the street, cars run over me. I wanted to die, but I'm a tough piece of meat." "Human Out of Me," moreover, sounds for all the world like Midgett's elegy for a lost friend: "I can't believe how terrible it felt..." These songs lend Hammer of the Gods a heartbreaking emotional impact that Silkworm rarely achieved. In a very real sense, in death Dahlquist has taught his bandmates how to talk in a way they never knew before.

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