Seven Sisters of Sleep – Ezekiel’s Hags (Review)

Seven Sisters of SleepThis is the third album from the USA’s Seven Sisters of Sleep. They play Sludge Metal.

On this album Seven Sisters of Sleep combine a lot of influences from a wide array of nasty, extreme sub-genres into their potent brew of Sludge Metal. Doom, Hardcore, Death Metal, Black Metal, Grindcore…it pretty much all gets a look in at some point in these 50 minutes.

This is nasty music that seems to revel in the filth and dirt, with no stone of depravity left unturned or unsoiled.

This is a wild and dangerous ride through all things heavy, taking pit stops in the aforementioned styles and mashing them together with all of the subtlety of a maniac with a very big hammer. Having said that though, there’s a fierce guiding intelligence at play behind the scenes here, and the band obviously know what they’re doing with the material they have bloodily birthed.

There are a lot of giant riffs on this release and whether the band are playing fast, slow or anywhere in between, they steer this ship of gloom with unerring accuracy through the fog of Sludge. Or something. I think my metaphors got a bit out of control there. Regardless, think of Ezekiel’s Hags as the nastiest form of Doom, shot through with streaks of blast beats and a predilection for terror.

The vocals are every bit as nasty as the music, even more so as they have a real splenetic fury to them.

This is an exceptional release full of horrorful energy and a testament to what you can do with the variety and interest that can be had with Sludge Metal.

I can easily imagine fans of Ilsa, Serpent Eater, Secret Cutter, Colombian Necktie, Cult of Occult, Behold! The Monolith, Nightslug and Eyehategod taking a real shine to this. I know I have.

Cult of Occult – Five Degrees of Insanity (Review)

Cult of OccultCult of Occult are a Doom/Sludge band from France. This is their latest album.

This is a band that the word CRUSHING was designed to describe, (yes, in capitals no less). There are five songs here; 65 minutes of misanthropic content.

How to describe Cult of Occult’s nihilistic, hate-fuelled music? They essentially take all of the pissed off, angry highlights of Sludge Metal, (Eyehategod, Charger), and draw them out to epic Doom lengths, resulting in colossal slabs of misery-drenched heaviness that are so caustic and scathing that the songs seem to have a painfully physically presence.

It’s not all ugly belligerence though, as the band skilfully navigate these seas of filth in ways that seem to harness the darkness into tsunamis of torment that crash and build onto and into each other, creating thick, distressing atmospheres.

These songs are deceptively simple though, and upon closer inspection you see that there’s more going on within the oceans of distortion and heaviness than you might think on first glance. The tides of riffs and groove-laden guitars hide a songwriting-skill that belies their nasty, noxious nature.

The singer’s impressive snarl is just shades of anger and repressed rage given form and feeling. Coupled with the Doom/Sludge of the music it seems it’s finally getting the outlet it needs to spew forth its venomous diatribes.

The dirge-like, repetitive nature of the relentlessly crushing music is hypnotic in its delivery and Five Degrees of Insanity is one of those releases that can do no wrong for me.

This is addictive like the worst of drugs. You don’t just listen to this, you feel it.