When your band is named He Whose Ox is Gored, people are going to have preconceived notions about what you sound like.
“We started having that post-hardcore influence, a little bit of doom,” guitarist Brian McLelland tells EW. The up-and-coming Seattle quartet is touring in support of its latest release The Camel, The Lion, The Child, out now on Bleeding Light Records.
But McLelland says it would be wrong, despite HWOIG’s epically dark name, to pigeonhole them as a metal band.
“As a guitar player I have a lot of influence from different metal bands — all kinds of different heavy stuff,” McLelland says.
Listen to HWOIG and hear complex time signatures, angular grooves and the drifting, lilting but nonetheless powerful voice of Lisa Mungo. Think the science of Radiohead, the atmosphere of Cocteau Twins and the exhilarating headache of At The Drive In. “We are also big fans of horror movie soundtracks,” McLelland adds.
Surprisingly, McLelland says HWOIG started out with more lighthearted intentions. “We were a little bit more like party rock — pounding beers, shredding riffs,” he says. “[Lisa Mungo] grew up with a huge amount of knowledge. I realized I wanted to do more than just be in a garage-rock band. We realized we wanted to push it and incorporate more influences — up our game a little bit.”
And, of course, heady musical complexity brings comparisons to prog rock.
“We like a lot of different kinds of music,” McLelland says. “We also listen to Yes and Rush — classic prog. I’m also a big fan of bands like These Arms Are Snakes and Botch, a lot of that Northwestern stuff.”
“You get those prog-like elements of odd time signatures and angular energy,” McLelland continues. “For me it comes from bands like that instead of traditional prog stuff.”
He Whose Ox is Gored plays with paleons, Moro and gazelle(s) 7 pm Saturday, Aug. 29, at The Boreal; $8. All ages.