Posts Tagged ‘Sludge’

Warcrab - Scars of Aeons

When death metal meets sludge, you’re probably going to be in for the heaviest of musical endeavours, and when you find Warcrab you’re in for a real treat. Their second full length, ‘Scars of Aeons’ is out very soon on Transcending Obscurity, and it could be one of the most devastating releases this year. Prepare to be flattened…

‘Conquest’ is one of the ugliest monoliths of extremity you’ll experience. Chilling murmurs begin to fade behind a dense, Crowbar-esque riff and an insistent drum line. Massive, deathly groove flows like a river, overwhelming you in a torrent of crushing riffs. That almost typical British death metal groove rolls out in full force, but the injection of Deep South sludge sensibilities looms large over the melodies that lurk within. The bulldozing start of ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is a thing of mighty, brutal beauty.

The mournful ‘In the Shadow of Grief’ is bleak, rolling thunder upon a barren world, while the monolithic crush of the title track provides the final soundtrack to a burning, collaping planet. ‘Scars of Aeons’ finds Warcrab creating a sound that is beyond mere sludgy nihilism and deathly brutality, but a defining place beyond. Nasty, yet undeniably catchy in parts, Warcrab are heaviness incarnate and ‘Scars of Aeons’ is fucking great.

Nightmarish death/doom titans Drug Honkey have been twisting the Godfleshian blueprint into darker and heavier forms for many years now, and their newest release, ‘Cloak of Skies’, is yet another progression into psychosis causing metal. Hallucinating carnage and despair is very much a byproduct, and Transcending Obscurity will be lucky to avoid the blame for a host of suicides or mental collapses based on this record!

If you want to hear the visceral rending of the earth, then that opening note of ‘Pool of Failure’ will do it. Apocalyptic, crushing monstrosities of death and doom collapsing stone and earth around you, while maddening growls rumble from the dark. ‘Sickening Wasteoid’ hums with static desolation, while the ugly stomp of ‘Outlet of Hatred’ is reassuringly heavy. Like a terrible psychedelic trip where instead of seeing happiness and joy, you’re confronted by the sheer horror of this world in the haunting ‘(Its Not) The Way’, while the mental weight of ‘Cloak of Skies’ is almost unbearable.

Harrowing, unrepentant and cataclysmic, Drug Honkey are like the back street junkie version of Godflesh. While JK Broadrick imbued his music with industrial heaviness there were often glimmers of hope. ‘Cloak of Skies’ is smothered by despair, drowning in sludge and crumbling under its own existence. Terrifyingly essential.

Demonic Death Judge sounds like a sub boss in a 90s video game, and don’t even get me started on the cunning link between the stoner sludge sound, the album title and the album cover. But, before any preconceptions are made, you should definitely take a listen to ‘Seaweed’, as you’ll find some of the heaviest grooves this year lurking in the depths of this record, out now on Suicide Records.

Through the juddering behemoth of an opener, ‘Taxbear’, you’re instantly absorbed into the tar thick blues of Demonic Death Judge’s world. Think of Kyuss filtered through that swampy EyeHateGod nihilism and you’ll come close. The grooves are massive, particularly in the lumbering ‘Heavy Chase’ and in the measured melody of the title track. Ironically, for a genre that seems to be so drawn to nihilistic tendencies, all really good sludge records are imbued with an innate sense of soul, and ‘Seaweed’ is one of those. Just listen to the opening section of ‘Backwoods’ and try not to be enchanted.

Infectious riffing matches power with memorable hooks, and where sludgy groove couples with lonesome melody is where Demonic Death Judge shine. Be it in the gloomy ‘Cavity’, or the layered awesomeness of ‘Pure Cold’, Demonic Death Judge are a nuanced and talented band in a genre that tends to stick to the same sound. ‘Seaweed’ looks to be a serious sleeper hit for 2017.

Nasty hardcore/sludge from New York? Well, if you insist! False Gods are a dense four piece who wield brutal groove like a rusty hammer, bludgeoning with each swing. Their five track EP ‘Wasteland’ is positively crawling with sludgy grooves and roaring hardcore influences.

Opener ‘Despot’ has that irresistable Southern groove, despite their northern home, and coupled with a caustic hardcore roar creates a scuzzy, lo fi monster with all the mournful blues of prime Sabbath and the attitude of EyeHateGod. Most successfully achieved by Black Flag, this marriage of hardcore rage and the unyielding, cloying power of sludge is a match made in heaven, and ‘Wasteland’ is another excellent example of how the two styles fit so well. Crowbar riffs rumble through a humid swamp, while the snarling vocals pour venom upon those who are captured by the music.

‘Grant Me Revenge’ has a particularly bleak fury to it, and the crumbling world feel of ‘Worship as Intellectual Tyranny’ also gives off those apocalyptic vibes. But closer ‘I Can See You for What You Truly Are’ sums up the kind of murky, savage sludgecore that False Gods have crafted here. This is nasty, violent music designed for nihilist tendencies and a love of good groove. Get this shit as soon as.

"Split / Blister The Maw" cover art

British post-hardcore/sludge titans Sonance have emerged with their latest release, bringing together their split with Torper and their ‘Blister the Maw’ tape, along with an extra track to entice those who may own both previous releases. This is monstrous, and breathes fetid life into the British scene, where sludge doesn’t normally rise to the top.

Opener ‘End Your Life’ opens with an almost Boris-esque hum before a crashing EHG influence swamps the melody. Primal howls skate alongside the squalling feedback and apocalyptic riffage. ‘Under and Under’ gleams with glacial menace, before crushing nihilistic rage collapses the earth and pulls you down. There’s a calming post metal influence on the almost Isis-like ‘Capes’, which is a stark reminder of just how beautiful this kind of metal can be.

Catharsis is often a driving factor in sludge, and there’s something strangely cathartic about the calm, glacial melodies that lurk amongst the walls of powerful riffs. The vast soundscapes of the second half are unsettling, particularly the thirteen minute ‘That’s What Its Like’. The gentle acoustics of ‘Cherry’, the jarring noise rock of ‘Oldest Harm’; Sonance combine a number of different elements into a well formed whole. Sonance are a guiding light for those who miss Iron Monkey and Isis, and for all of us their music is a gift we should appreciate.

Boston sludge group Sea dropped their debut EP last year, three tracks of heavy grooving doom with elements of post metal and even a little grunge in there. The haunting cover art makes the music inside seem even more dense and frightening.

Opener ‘Seer’ has a vastness about it. Sure, it has crushing riffs and a primal roar that shakes the ground, but there is a sense of open space where ethereal melodies lurk behind oppressive sludge. ‘Moros’ has that same, glacial melody that ghosts through, haunting vocals accompanying it perfectly. As it swells to an inevitable crescendo, Sea have created a debut that builds with layers to create excellent post metal/sludge. The grinding groove of closer ‘Chronos’, complete with a melancholic croon, creates Sea’s most perfect moment, and this band are to be watched!

London based stoner doom types Morag Tong (from the assassin group in ‘Elder Scrolls’) have dropped their debut EP, ‘Through Clouded Time’, in late January. I have no

Opener ‘Monolithian’ rises from the humming feedback laden void, and drops into a thick, sludgy groove easily. Shuddering riffing ploughs a devastating furrow through your mind, bringing to mind Electric Wizard, but without the hazy occult vibe. A short but effective first track, that opens into the expansive grinding swagger of ‘Godhead’. Morag Tong are heavy as fuck, and with an overt Wizard influence that plays directly into my wheelhouse. Vocalist Adam Asquith has a primal roar but it is somewhat soothing too, especially as the track opens in to a Kyussian desert doom space.

I’m digging what Morag Tong do here. ‘Through Clouded Time’ is crushing, but every riff piledrives through with a natural, authentic feel. The ‘sunrise over the Mojave’ intro to the title track is pure magic, and there’s a naked honesty about this EP that is endearing. Dashes of early Kylesa peek through every now and then, but Morag Tong mostly go their own way. It is a way that means, by the end of ‘The Eyes of Men’ you are ready to hit repeat and enjoy this wonderful riff paradise all over again