It would be easiest to define Bridgebuilder’s debut, Lay Waste the Siege Perilous, as metal, but that would sell it short. The music is as much hardcore as it is metal, and the traditional arrangements heavily echo elements of art rock. Tempo and meter changes rarely allow any of the material to groove, but when this Missoula-based band does lock into a riff, it’s as punishing as anything one might expect from a band like High on Fire or, even more, Meantime-era Helmet.
Various piano compositions also add significantly to the album’s musical assault, especially in the opening track “Mr. Stuntman” which leads with a piano passage. I don’t know if piano was written into the material or the result of tape time experimentation, but it works. Either way, the drama and atmosphere the keys add to the proceedings provide an excellent touch.
Clocking in at just under 20 minutes, the record is more EP than full-length, but it’s well worth checking out by anyone who likes some unpredictability in their music and aren’t afraid if it’s heavy and loud. Lay Waste would fit perfectly within the catalogs of experimental labels like Hydra Head, Relapse, or even Southern Lord. (Chris La Tray)
Bridgebuilder plays for the KBGA Presents night the Badlander, Tuesday, June 10, 9 PM, with Kakistocracy and DJs. $5.