According to author Jaya Mitai, Keelhauling is the act of stretching a rope from the fore of the ship to the aft, underwater, along the hull, or spine of the bottom of the boat. A sailor or officer would then be tied to the rope and hauled beneath the ship, usually without a shirt, to be ripped to shreds by the barnacles attached to the hulls of said ships. Most drowned; those that survived wished they had.
If ever a soundtrack for such a brutal (and now illegal) act was called for, Keelhaul II would most certainly fit the bill. I'll try not to spout out some cheesy, cliched analogies (ie. a brutal wrecking ball of sonic mayhem OR a savage kick to the solar plexis) about how powerful this band can be. With the exception of the final track, which features some very appealing and mellow guitar playing, everything this band produces is the pinnacle of heavy. At times, they march along slowly, with sludgy guitars in the vein of Isis. But these guys are definitely at their best when going full-throttle. Last time I listened to "new void", I felt like running down the street and punching anyone within reach (pretty mature, huh). It was as if I made some shaky connection with my primitive alter ego, the one that blindly feeds off slabs of frenzied and tightly wound rock. This standout track is a disciplined collection of crushing grooves and subtle variations of the same ferocious theme.
Suprisingly, they're not incapable of infusing some melody into their compositions either, as evidenced by portions of "360" and "some day some other place". Layered nicely with plodding drums, their overdriven guitars provide atmospheric chunks of subtle melody. As was the case in previous material, vocals are few and far between. When they do appear, they basically consist of sloppy and throaty yells and don't really add much to the album. In fact, Keelhaul II wouldn't suffer in the least bit if it was totally instrumental. The musicianship itself isn't astounding from a technical standpoint, but everything is very tight and solidly performed. Moreover, drummer Scharf gets bonus points for skillfully moving from one groove to another without sacrificing momentum.
Bottom Line: The biggest problem with Keelhaul is the repetition. They obviously aren't afraid to work a riff to death. Oddly enough, this is also their strong point. When they lock into a groove and hammer it home, they're virtually unstoppable.