Posts Tagged ‘Sludge’


The new record from Californian ‘space sludge’ band Archons is another trip into the unknown, powered by riff and wrought from psychedelica as much as doom. It was self released by the band in October of 2017, and if you enjoy a rumbling, doomy record full of hooks then ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is probably for you.

The burning, smoky groove of opener ‘Galaxians’ mixes the thick riffing of the likes of Kyuss or Crowbar but adds a little bit of White Zombie weirdness to it. Gruff vocals couple with the swaggering groove, and yet something otherworldly is in there as well. Strange bleepy samples appear, while the driving ‘Black Lotus’ interjects a little Baroness into the mix. ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is a record full of muscular riffing, throaty roars and psychedelic atmospheres; it is difficult not to enjoy the grinding warp of ‘Red Shift Demon’ or the grimy ‘Kid Nitro’ when each chunky riff slaps you across the face.

Not an easy genre to differentiate yourself in, but the spacey sludge effects of Archons helps. Their riffs are derivative but still great, and each track is at least recognisably different from the previous. Unfortunately there are a lot of bands peddling this kind of primal rage filled stoner doom/sludge and it’s going to be difficult for Archons to stand out. ‘Lord of Light and Thunder’ should not be missed though, as it is a fun album with plenty of great moments, particularly the monstrous ‘Mysterians’.


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American sludge doom lords DeathCrawl have lumbered from the fetid misery of Cleveland, Ohio (full disclosure: I’ve never been to Cleveland, and I’m sure it is a lovely city but if these guys are anything to go by it sounds like a post apocalyptic wasteland) to deliver us their third full length, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’. The band are self releasing it and it is out now!

The crumbling, nihilistic belch of noise that opens the brutal ‘False Oracle’ is somewhat typical how this record is going to go. Sludge is this amazing genre where true aural fucking hatred and disgust is personified perfectly. Death metal doesn’t manage it as well, neither does black. If gangrenous wounds could play music, it would sound like this. ‘Universally Diminished’ is a monstrous, lurching beast with that ugly, bluesy groove that most sludge bands slide under the radar. Another thing about sludge; it can be almost primally catchy in parts. The swaying, Mastodonian ‘Corrupted Earth’ is a standout for me.

DeathCrawl may stick mostly to the sludge/doom blueprint, but their work is visceral, intense and enveloping. An album that you can put on anytime and be sucked into, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’ is a more than acceptable level of awesome.

Sludgy Arizona band Horse Head have already disbanded by the time you hear their final release ‘Terminal’, and it feels like I’m getting to know them too late. Their follow up to the well received ‘Missionary’ will appeal to fans of EyeHateGod and Rwake, but Horse Head aren’t mere clones. In fact, they could’ve been something incredibly special.

Opener ‘Inferno’ builds with rumbling bass and a cold, clean guitar riff then strong doom guitar crashes behind a nihilistic shriek. While lacking much of the squalling feedback of EHG, Horse Head definitely capture a more sun scorched take on sludgey nihilism. It is dry, suffocating heat with almost brutal takes on Kyuss riffs, rather than your murky swampy eastern sludge. ‘Throne of Lies’ is a stomping, Godfleshian nightmare where southern fried riffs take on a ritualistic, nightmarish edge. They remind me of fellow Arizonians Godhunter, especially in the deathly, sludgecore crush of closer ‘Price We Paid’

Horse Head have left quite the epitaph in ‘Terminal’. Sludgey, fire scorched riffs burn brilliantly under throat shredding screams and a dangerous sense of groove. It seems quite the shame that they have gone, but we have this to remember them by.

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A one man swampy black metal project from the dark recesses of Floridian marshland, Worm’s debut record ‘Evocation of the Black Marsh’ is due out at the end of the month on Iron Bonehead, and is a particularly nasty slab of raw, sludgey black metal with more subtlety and nuance than you might expect…

‘Altar of Black Sludge’ couldn’t really be better named, as a morbid crawling riff oozes from underneath occult atmospheres of dread before the ‘Winged Beast of the Phantom Crypt’ envelopes a harsh riff in a suffocating miasma and unholy screams vomit forth from dark places. All the best parts of early Bathory combining with the latter swaying doom of Celtic Frost make ‘Gravemouth’ a modern, mutating classic. Sure, black metal plays the major influencing role here but there’s an undeniably sludge and doom undercurrent here too. The title track sounds like Xasthur covering EyeHateGod, which is inevitably awe inspiring.

Monstrous, fetid crushers like ‘Evil in the Mire’ and ‘Swamp Ghoul’ raise foul spectres of southern sludge and when layered with a malevolent black metal spirit allows ‘Evocation of the Black Marsh’ to become as good an embodiment of a title as any album you’ve heard in ages. Poisonous, asphyxiating bands like Worm aren’t ten a penny, and therefore you need to find this.

Brazilian atmospheric doom/sludge from one of my favourite record labels?! SOLD! Transcending Obscurity are bringing us this slab of massive riffs ‘Terraforming’, which is a pleasure to find as your immediate thoughts on South American metal is howling, raging Satanic black/death/thrash. Isn’t nice when your perceptions are shattered? ‘Terraforming’ is out on the 15th November.

The groaning strength of ‘Matriarch’ begins this record with a swaying riff and a lurching, atonal melody that floats below cavernous roars. Think of the mournful power of Swallow the Sun, and couple that with a rusty Louisiana groove and scowling guttural roars and you’ll be about there. The atmospheric ‘Unearthly Glow’ is an early highlight, and I like how Jupiterian mix a sense of the vast beauty of death/doom with the ugliness of sludge. The title track is dark and creepy ambience, benefitting greatly from an appearance from Maurice de Jong of Gnaw Their Tongues.

‘Terraforming’ is a titanic record, built upon massive riffs that appear from the darkness like cliffs of granite. A record that has a deep sense of uneasiness about it, whether in the vocals from hell or the odd melodies seeping out of the guitars. Jupiterian are vast, primal and unbearably heavy at points. Shimmering black metal moments in ‘Us and Them’ are a mere example of the atmospheric, limitless possibilities hidden with ‘Terraforming’. Mark your calendar for this one.

From the home of rock and roll Memphis, Tennessee, comes Namazu, whose debut album ‘Works Cited’ is a blistering combination of hardcore and heavy metal, in the style of Black Tusk or Red Fang. Typhoon Killer Records is dropping the record at the end of September, and it definitely seems to be worth your hard earned cash.

Immediately infectious, Namazu come across as a hybrid of Mastodon and Clutch, with a soulful heavy metal riffing style encased in rough guitar tone. Songs like ‘Gunwhale’ drive onwards, like a melodic river under a sun scorched sky, and the chunky ‘Bright Boys’ kicks like old Torche. It is immensely satisfying when you read that a band sounds a bit like a lot of your favourite bands, and then not only does it turn out to be true but that they are more than just your average copycats. Namazu take bits and pieces from all their influences and carve their own sound from them. Tracks like spiralling, Kylesa-esque ‘The Sportswriter’, or the progressive leanings of ‘Waterwalkers’ are a little off kilter, and it just makes them all the better.

Namazu are a welcome addition to that subgenre of sludgey hardcore that is full of infectious melodies. They’re here to kick your head in and make you sing along at the same time. I can imagine their live shows are awesome, as ‘Works Cited’ possesses a thrilling energy about it.

Contra - Deny Everything

A formerly instrumental stoner sludge outfit, Contra (classic video game reference has sold me already) have dropped their debut record ‘Deny Everything’ on Robustfellow Productions/Shifty Records, and despite the relatively uninspired album cover is a badass record full of heavy blues and cathartic sludge roars that will delight even the most jaded of metal fans.

Squalls of feedback lead into a groovy slab of stoner metal, where ‘Human Buzzsaw’ takes the wheel for a trip down some sickeningly catchy groovy roads. The slamming ‘Altered Beast’ feels like Clutch jamming some old Kyuss riffs, while ‘The Gorgon’ hits hard before the spacious ‘Humanoid Therapy’ adds a little bit of slow, desert rock doom in there. Contra don’t stick to a simple template, they throw in little bits of everything within the stoner/sludge/doom sphere and come out with something that rocks hard and seeps into your mind.

The rumbling intro to ‘One Hundred Hand Slap’ could be my favourite moment here; stinking of NOLA blues and soul. ‘Deny Everything’ may not be the most original slab of hard rocking stoner sludge, but when you have riffs like these who cares?! Contra are a new guilty pleasure I keep coming back to, and ‘Deny Everything’ is built for jamming.