This band combine Neurosis-style post-metal sludginess with energetic riff-worship and a surprisingly technical delivery to produce 38 minutes of abrasive nastiness. Mix Neurosis, very early Mastodon, Today Is the Day, and Meshuggah, and you’ll have a good starting point for understanding The Ditch and the Delta.
The music sounds massive and unstoppable. Although not lacking in instant appeal, the true worth of this album is revealed over time, as its relentless negativity and thick distortion hammers through your defences, rendering you almost entirely at its not-so-tender mercies. The musicianship is impressive, showing that the band can break out some impressive chops when they’re not trying to straight-out pummel and punish you into submission.
This music is the sound of rage and pain finding expression through apocalyptic sludge and crushing malevolence. The album treads a fine line between belligerent heaviness and emotive darkness; the latter emotive component, like the album’s occasional technicality, definitely being something lesser-found on a sludge metal album. Moments of earthy post-metal atmosphere can be found here and there too, adding yet another string to the band’s bow.
Riff-heavy, but in a different way from your standard sludge or stoner band, The Ditch and the Delta have a penchant for playing fat riffs right alongside malignant slabs of mindlessly heavy distortion. The two are merged to take advantage of not only the wall-of-guitars approach, but also of engaging the listener with guitar-based hooks that are surprisingly effective at remaining in your head. After you’ve scraped your mangled form off the floor first, of course.
The Ditch and the Delta is one of the best abrasive sludge albums I’ve heard in some time. It seems it’s still possible to craft sludge metal that’s not only bludgeoningly heavy, but also creative and affecting.