This is the latest release from legendary US Grinders Agoraphobic Nosebleed, although it should be noted that this release is somewhat of an abnormality, much like 2009’s Agorapocalypse. Whereas Agorapocalypse was looking at extremity from a Thrash perspective though, Arc takes in the view from a dirty great Sludge one.
This is a new and different side of the band – heavy and full of Doom. It’s a filthy, Southern-tinged slab of ugly Sludge Metal that still carries the taste of the band’s core aggression and nastiness.
The singer’s harsh screams tear out from the roiling, churning music. Her voice is sharp and serrated, cutting through the thick Sludge of the guitars with ease.
Not a Daughter is an Eyehategod-inspired seven minutes of foulness that is abrasive enough to sand down anything; all thunderous riffs and cataclysmic drums.
Deathbed follows this with a Doomier take on the style, deliberately crawling and evil in tone. Deep, guttural growls join in for this one too, adding a more menacing note to the aggressive screams. About halfway through the track picks up with a huge Southern-styled riff that gives the track quite a jaunty edge and ups the energy levels quite a bit.
Closing the EP is Gnaw, which is also the longest track here. It’s a monolithic 12 minutes of heavy riffs, angry screams and nihilistic feelings. There’s a pounding rhythmic quality to it that really drives the song home.
A positive progression for the band, in what is apparently the first in a series of four EPs, all differently themed around the preferred music tastes of the individual band members. I now eagerly look forward to the next one.