Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2019

Stimuli: They Are We

They Are We

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Metallic guitar stabs into a flumping cool beat starts “ +x-“ the tune that begins STIMULI’s 11-song self-titled release. This heavy Oakland-based trio has lots to offer as this album slowly reveals.

There is lots of chunk and drama here, but what makes STIMULI especially stimulating (sorry, I couldn’t resist) is drummer Cole Andrew pretty much offering lots of unexpected smacking and holding a cool groove to what would normally be expected in the face of all the heavy-hitting. When the band rolls into the Middle Eastern-mystery of the ballad “Sandstorm,” we get to see that this three-piece can mine byways not always just heavy and fast. The scratchy echo of the tune that follows, “Fire In Disguise,” keeps us in the progressive metal mode, and might be Jimmy Tomahawk’s best vocals and his best lead playing. I love the way STIMULI lets this one open to its fullest potential without racing to get heavy. This is my favorite tune here.

Tai Hake’s bass flumping married with Andrew’s (once again) truly creative drumming make “Pill For The Pill,” one of the better later tunes, despite a slightly trite lyric. “Only Liars,” and “Prize Of Nothingness,” offer up acoustic moments, the first a nice ballad, the second a real slow read, featuring a woodwind sound, some studied picking from Tomahawk then a tribal tom solo mid-way to end.

“How On Earth,” brings us back up to speed, Andrew working his high hat as the tune builds and “Pushing the Stone,” once again showcases some great lead guitar playing from Tomahawk as well as floaty guitar riffery. The kinetic toms from Andrew at the beginning give way to heavy hits, as once again this band takes its time letting a tune breathe to its fullest potential.


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Stimuli: They Are We