The sound of He Whose Ox is Gored is neither doom-metal nor is it masturbatory math rockthe kind that wallows in complex, self-congratulatory riffage only a guitar nerd could love. Instead it borrows from both styles, with hints of The Sword and Mastodon and a dash of Ronnie James Dio, too.
On "Charming the Snake" from the Nightshade EP, a spooked-out wind blows and chiming bells bring on the heavy. The band crashes forth with guitar stomp and a short burst of bellowing vocals that fans of Big Business or the Melvins are certain to enjoy, before the track lulls the listener with an expansive Mastodonian riff and morose soundscape. Just when you've given yourself over to the spaced-out groove, the bombastic vocals return and the rhythm section adroitly shifts into some solid ass-kickery, asserting more inertia on the repetitive figure and causing one to kick over nearby garbage cans. If there's something sweeter than a false ending I haven't heard it; the band drops a dope one here replete with the perfect riff for headbanging hair farmers. Crush, groove, repeat.
He Whose Ox Is Gored plays the VFW Thu., June 27, at 9 PM with Into the Storm, Breag Naofa and Shramana. $4.