Sloths is a Portland, Oregon based Post-Hardcore/Post-Rock collective of three musicians the residents of the aea are quite familiar with: Guitarist and vocalist Kyle Bates, drummer and vocalist Nate Sonenfeld, and bassist Alec van Steveren. While the group is relatively new, they have been churning out smaller releases fairly quick over the past few years. 2011 saw their first Demo and the Transit EP, followed by the Knives EP in 2013, not to mention a whole lot of touring. For 2014, Sloths presents their third EP, titled Twenty Years, which will be available through Don't Live Like Me Records, The Ghost is Clear Records, Illuminasity Records on vinyl format, not to mention the group's own Bandcamp page as a "name your price" digital download. But is this just under thirteen minute effort worth your time?

There's no denying that Twenty Years is a very dark and moody album. In fact, the audio itself sounds like literal grey despite coming through rather dynamically. "Elegy" starts things off with more of a traditional Hardcore approach that quickly shifts to steady two-step drums and melodic hooks that border into the realm of Shoegaze, especially during the guitar solo prior to the slightly twisted breakdown. This bleeds seamlessly into "Void", which spends most of its time acting like it exists only as an extensive build for the next track. Once the richer music full of hopeful, powerful hooks kicks in, this becomes a whole other story that was kind of worth the wait, dropping back into its dark place with blasting drums and furious riffs that ends with the change in direction to a short lived Punk outburst. All of this doesn't quite make up for the pretty stagnant start, but it's a welcome surge of life to an otherwise dull track.

"Passing", however, is where the group shines the most. Brooding atmospheres laced with grim Punk Hardcore attitude, melodies and two-step drums have no problem giving way to spurts of aggression and complex, near Progressive Hardcore guitar work for the solo that really allows the bass guitar to come through and draw your attention away from the solid drumming that ly dominates the mix. This invigorating foundation gives way under it though, leading to dismal material with plenty of hooks that offer a glimmer of hope breaking through the already bleak and cloudy skies, eventually getting blocked off to push the emotional music definition of the song's title.

As a whole, Twenty Years accentuates a lot of what the Post-Hardcore and Post-Rock movement is all about: Moving audio landscapes. One key difference here is that Sloths doesn't just stick to that concept only, breaking down to more traditional Hardcore and Punk methods to convey the point of each song as well as they could. The problem is that they play so close to the rulebook for the genre that much of Twenty Years is nothing all that new, feeling formulaic with the many other bands out there. Start off small and get the atmospheric push out there, tie a song or two together, and end on an emotion that usually is the polar opposite of what you started out with. If you're a fan of this brand of music, or are already a fan of this three-piece from Oregon, you'll find enough enjoyable material here to come back every once in a while.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.