This is the third album from US doom/sludge metal band Hush.
Hush play the sort of hybrid sludge metal that I like – bleak, crushing, nasty, and very, very heavy, but also emotive and atmospheric. Across these 56 minutes the band dish out the punishment mercilessly, but they also do a lot more than just batter and bruise, which is great to hear, as otherwise a running time like that could easily become a burden.
For a rough starting point, think of a mix of bands such as Amenra, Come to Grief, Eyehategod, Fall of Efrafa, Light Bearer, Monachus, Neurosis, Obscure Sphinx, and Owlcrusher. No, Hush aren’t a one-dimensional sludge monster. A variety of elements are included in their makeup – post-metal, doom, crust, drone, ambient, post-rock – all wrapped together into a well-crafted package that demonstrates a band wanting to do their own thing with their influences. The Pornography of Ruin is the sound of a band taking the Eyehategod-influenced harsh sludge metal blueprint and making it their own by expanding and developing it according to their own tastes.
Dynamic structuring helps to funnel songs in directions other than those dominated by mere riffs or brutality; expressive texturing and atmospheric shading is an important aspect of the Hush experience. The use of melody, atmosphere, and emotive depth is a key differentiator between Hush and many of their sludge metal counterparts. Hush know how to craft a diverse stylistic soundscape of depth and colour for the listener to explore. All of it is dark, without hope, and filled with negativity and oppressive forlorn auras, but within this the band have much freedom to express themselves to great effect.
The traditional evil sludge screams are used well. The singer’s caustic snarl fits the abrasive music perfectly. However, the band also make use of clean singing in appropriate places, adding yet another layer to their surprisingly multifaceted sound.
Deeply personal and emotive, the material on The Pornography of Ruin has a weight that doesn’t come from merely the distorted guitars.
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