Subterraen – Rotten Human Kingdom (Review)

Subterraen - Rotten Human KingdomSubterraen are a French sludge/doom band and this is their debut album.

When the promo blurb states that Rotten Human Kingdom is for fans of bands like Eremit, Jupiterian, Lurk, Eyehategod, Neurosis, 71TONMAN, Conan, and Primitive Man, you know you have to check it out. You won’t be disappointed, either. Far from it, in fact.

Containing three epic-length songs, (and one shorter interlude), Subterraen play mostly slow, crushing music that brings together elements of drone and sludge under the aegis of doom. Bleakly atmospheric and negatively charged with apocalyptic moods, Rotten Human Kingdom is the sound of despair given form by thick waves of distortion and sombre emotions. This is the sound of pain, horror, and anger.

Piercing, anguished screams strike out from the oppressive assault of the songs. Melody is used as a crown to the heavy slabs of misery that form the body of the music. When it appears, it can be devastating, running right through you with rich emotional resonance. Lighter moments also appear, adding texture to the otherwise relentless heaviness of the songs. There are a couple of faster moments too; furious blackened assaults that hit like an earthquake. Sometimes hypnotic, sometimes abrasive, sometimes heartbreaking, and always immersive, these songs are exemplars of sludgy doom malevolence.

I feel like I have been waiting for this sort of doom album to come along all year. Now that it’s here, I can’t get enough of its grim charms.

Essential listening for doomheads everywhere.

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