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A Review of “Morphine” by The Oxford Coma

By Kevin Tshiamala

Fans of innovative heavy acts like Tool, Neurosis and Dillinger Escape Plan should enjoy the crossover approach of The Oxford Coma. The Oxford Coma is a three piece heavy psychedelic rock band operating out of Phoenix, AZ.  The band has released a full length LP entitled Adonis which was critically well-received in the US and Western Europe after its release in 2012.  Their new EP ‘Morphine’ drops on 12/2/14. We received an advance copy and although not quiet yet there, hence EP, Morphine is still definitely worth a listen.

The EP consists of five wildly interesting, different, heavy yet melodic tracks that will sound eerily familiar to Tool fans while retaining their sense of authenticity. The only throw away song on the EP is the intro, “InfraStatic.” Other than this, starting with “My Raid,” each composition demonstrates Oxford Coma’s wild influences and multi genre faceted approach. They take you from off time metal to bass driven ballads and psychedelic rock progressions. It’s a mixture of Primus, Neurosis, Tool, and Nirvana scrambled together through various comprehensive grooves. The vocals aren’t for everybody, but neither is this style of music and attitude.

From vocalist Billy Tegethoff, “Morphine is a throwback to Bleach-era Nirvana, eyehategod’s Dopesick, and all the Steve Albini/Neurosis records…but we’re not really a metal band. Those records, in my view, were more about attitude than slick production. We recorded it live, mixed it to be raw and aggressive, and intentionally put the vocals on the level with the instruments. It’s not about fucking hooks. These songs are about grief, loss, death, and deeply personal experiences.” It’s often said that through grief and sorrow comes the best art. This may not be The Oxford Coma’s best work yet, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

You can catch them every few months playing in the Phoenix valley area or regionally at venues like the Whisky in LA.

“Morphine” will be released digitally and on a limited run 150 gram blood red vinyl edition December 2nd, 2014.