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May 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Doom pop pioneers Floor return | Concert preview

Floor

Floor, from left: Henry Wilson, Steve Brooks, Anthony Vialon. Photo by Edward Linsmier.

As anyone in a band can attest, signature sounds don’t develop overnight.

Floor, who play Chop Suey Saturday, existed for a decade before hitting on theirs.

Explains guitarist and co-founder Anthony Vialon, it was somewhere in his and singer-guitarist Steve Brooks’ hometown of Miami, sometime in the late 1990s, when it happened.

“We were at practice,” Vialon recalls. “Steve picked up a guitar with a broken E string, started hitting it and we were like ‘man, that’s the heaviest [expletive] ever… the bomb string.’

“Combining that with Steve’s melodic vocals… was how we went from being a traditional doom metal band to really having our own sound.”

A bubblegum Black Sabbath? A Weezer 45 on 33? Doom pop? Whatever it was, the trio’s 2002 LP, simply titled “Floor” — their first, after a series of split singles, EPs and compilations dating back to 1992 — was unusual.

It was a cult hit — obviously, anything packing such a wallop can’t go completely unnoticed — but terms like sludge and stoner rock had yet to fully enter the lexicon.

“We were so excited when we made that album,” says Vialon, “because we thought we had done something novel. People responded positively, but the fanbase was still small. We only ever did one tour outside of the Southeast, and played in front of just a handful of people. We tried to keep it going, but couldn’t… and broke up.”

As alternative metal’s popularity grew, however, so did Floor’s reputation. By 2010, curiosity reached such a pitch that the Virginia label Robotic Empire immortalized its collective works as an eight-disc box set, “Below and Beyond.”

Coupled with the success of Brooks’ follow-up band, the more palatable — but still plenty aggressive — Torche, a reunion became an inevitability.

With the brand-new “Oblation,” Floor is back.

Despite the time off, the 14-song set picks up right where its predecessor ended, retaining its sonic hallmarks — colossal guitar tones, gut-punch percussion from drummer Henry Wilson, and hooks galore — as well as its sequencing techniques, earworms like lead single “Sister Sophia,” below, abutting downtuned rippers like the aptly-titled “Love Comes Crushing.”

Though Brooks remains the voice and face of Floor, and Vialon — at 45, the band’s elder statesman — readily acknowledges that Torche’s popularity made “Oblation” possible, he rejects the notion that the two are one and the same.

“I get it… Steve’s voice is, you know, Steve’s voice… but the songs I write don’t sound like Torche songs. Theirs are more technical… and they don’t tune like we tune.”

That said…

“Steve has the right to use the bomb string whenever he wants. That’s cool.”


9 p.m. Saturday at Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., Seattle; $15-18 (206-324-8005 or chopsuey.com)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Chop Suey, Florida, stoner rock

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