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. A full-length album, Dove, was recorded in 1994 but shelved, and Floor split two years later, briefly reuniting in 2001 before Brooks moved on to front Torche full-time.
But the advent of the Internet and a timely revival of Dove (finally released in 2005 after Torche broke through) exposed Floor to a wider audience. While they were inactive, the band’s listenership had continued to grow, and its members took notice. “Our fanbase had grown exponentially,” bassist Anthony Vialon said, “and doing a new record, kind of picking where we’d left off, was something we agreed we should focus on.”
Oblation, that promised return, sees the band in renewed form, as heavy as ever. The opening title track sets the precedent, its goopy guitar sludge contrasting nicely with Brooks’ vocals. Floor’s arrangements are more minimal and economic compared to Torche’s, with every chord change and riff placed for maximum impact. Songs might linger on a doom metal passage but always take off in some unexpected direction, like the crushing breakdown in “Rocinate” or the stuttering mathy rhythms of “New Man”. Most notable is the album’s centerpiece, “Sign of Aeth”, a multi-movement opus that kicks off with shrieking string bends before reclining into a smoky daze. “We are chosen for the high,” Brooks sings.
Aside from the somewhat misleading album art, Oblation’s only downfall is that it’s a tad too long, suffering from a couple filler instrumentals (“The Key”, “The Quill”) and the occasional mid-tempo rut (“Find Away”). But the record flows nicely and rewards uninterrupted listening. Floor’s triumphant sludge metal has never sounded so refined.
Essential Tracks: “Rocinate”, “Sign of Aeth”