Release Date: Apr 29, 2014
Record label: Season of Mist
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal
Since they disbanded in 2003, Floor have managed to cultivate a bit of a cult following among metalheads. With a sublime blend of doom metal heaviness and power pop melody, the Florida band blurred the lines between metal and pop until they seemed like nothing more than a suggestion. Now, 12 years after the release of Floor's brilliant self-titled debut, the band return with Oblation, an album that finds the droning trio seamlessly picking up where they left off over a decade ago.
Floor, the band that predates the mighty Torche, are back with Oblation, their first new album in over a decade. Featuring Torche vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks, along with guitarist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson, the Miami, FL-based band's new LP comes four years after their extremely well-received reunion. Picking up where their 2002 self-titled album left off, Oblation is a triumph of doom metal and stoner rock.
For years, the narrative went like this: After toiling in relative obscurity with his underrated pop-metal band, Floor, Steve Brooks finally broke through to a larger audience by continuing his style with the band Torche. One begat the other, and there was much rejoicing. Even when Floor reunited in 2010 for a string of successful shows, they still fit that construct.
Floor were never very settled. In the first dozen years of the Miami band’s existence, they burned through a dozen members. They swapped out rhythm sections and shifted between trio and quartet lineups, as though their thick but quick mix of sludge metal and pop structures cracked the will of any new additions. As legend has it, that’s one of the reasons guitarists Steve Brooks and Anthony Vialon drastically dropped the tunings of their instruments.
Floor were the antithesis of the diluted death metal that consumed Florida in the early ’90s. While the rest of the state fixated on speed, gore, and aggression, the Miami trio, led by a young Steve Brooks, downtuned their guitars and slowed everything down. Their sound was a massive bliss — Slowdive by way of Sabbath — and early singles and EPs earned the band a cult following, which unfortunately never amounted to a recording contract.
Back in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Floor laid down an unique framework of bottomless low-end doom riffs and upbeat vocal melodies from which guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks built upon to great effect with the catchier, but no less devastatingly loud, Torche. In the years they were inactive, more folks began to get what Floor had done with its clever fusion of heft and hooks, and so the Miami-based trio, who reformed in 2010, has slowly crept up the ladder of reverence to become a cult act that straddle the alt-rock to doom metal divide. Notwithstanding Floor’s past credentials and current status, prior to listening to the band’s third album and first since reforming, Oblation, you might find yourself asking: What has Floor got to offer us outside of live shows when Brooks mines similar sonic ground with Torche to critical acclaim? The answer to this question isn’t easily answered, as it depends on where you’re coming to Oblation from.
Floor Oblation (Season of Mist) Despite going great guns with Torche's "thunder pop," Miami doom merchant Steve Brooks reunited his previous sludge trawlers Floor for a tour that included Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 and now culminates in Oblation. Good call, man. The Florida trio's first studio album in a decade and third LP overall revives a signature wall of bassless grunge, strummed on a pair of down-tuned guitars expunging riffs as thick as a Proust box set.
Given the bevy of singles and endless on-again/off-again status of sludge/doom/stoner veterans Floor, Oblation is a pleasant full-length surprise. It's only their third overall, following the 2004 release of Dove (recorded in 1994) and 2002's self-titled, and very logically picks up where that 2002 album left off. But it's also hard to ignore what vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks has been up to most of that time since: Torche, the increasingly loved cult heroes often regarded as a more melodic, progressively interesting extension of the bellowing fuzz he conjured up in Floor.