Serial Hawk - Buried in the Gray [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Serial Hawk

Buried in the Gray [12-inch] (2012)


Hailing from Seattle, Serial Hawk keep one foot in sludge metal and another in alternative rock. The result of this amalgamation, Buried in the Gray, cultivates waves of noise, whether they be of the punishing or ethereal variety. At just four tracks, the EP depicts a powerful band that isn't afraid to stretch out its tunes.

Opener "A Fraction of Light" is both the most accessible and most misleading track. It's the closest thing the band has to a radio-ready tune, to the extent that it's under six minutes long. But it condenses the band's aggression nicely, making a fitting opener.

The song also sets up "Silence Means Nothing" for a bit of misdirection. After all that bluster, suddenly the band turns into Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation, all whispering vocals and long, chiming notes. It isn't such a big stylistic departure that it doesn't make sense, but it certainly is surprising. While Serial Hawk proves that they can still drop a bomb during the track's nine-plus minutes, it's about as shocking as a lateral move through rock's louder subgenres can get.

After these first two cuts, "My Last Days" and "Watch It Burn" are almost disappointing. Almost. Neither are as abrasive as "A Fraction of Light" nor as ambient at "Silence Means Nothing," Buried in the Gray's back half explores a murky middle ground. Serial Hawk never quite commits to a subgenre, but by successfully incorporating elements of metalgaze and grunge, they don't really need to bother with that.