Jagged Mouth – Louring (Review)

Jagged MouthThis is the debut album from Jagged Mouth, a sludge/doom metal band from the US.

With the kind of scathingly high-pitched vocals that can strip skin at 100 paces, Jagged Mouth don’t mess around. This is slow and heavy sludge/doom that doesn’t care for being nice or pleasant in any way. Continue reading

Warped Cross – Abbot of Unreason (Review)

Warped CrossWarped Cross are a sludge metal band from Germany and this is their début album.

This is underground filthy sludge metal that takes inspiration from bands like Eyehategod, Crowbar, Down, Corrosion of Conformity, Cathedral and Electric Wizard. There’s a hint of, (dirtied-up), grunge in their sound, (not too dissimilar from the recent Boss Keloid album), as well as some pinches of old-school punk. There’s even a touch of Type O Negative in places.

This is raw and utterly unpolished, but Continue reading

Sourvein – Aquatic Occult (Review)

SourveinThis is the fourth album from these US Sludge/Doom veterans.

Sourvein return with an aquatic-themed album, it seems.

The band play their sludge with a raw energy that seems to tap into something primeval and old, probably something lurking in the deepest waters in the darkest ocean.

With a heavy sound that’s warmly analogue, these songs have a kind of retro vibe to them that manages to eschew any of the normal bullshit trappings that such a term usually involves. Rather, what we have here is music that’s honest, visceral and not afraid to get dirty, (wet?).

The songs have groove and melody, both of which are used well throughout the playing time. It’s an endearing mix of influences that combine on this release, with everything from Electric Wizard, Eyehategod, Black Sabbath, Acid Bath and Mastodon making it into the melting pot.

Short tracks don’t outstay their welcome, and Sourvein know how to flourish a song with a relatively short playing time for maximum effect.

There are some quality and earthy, (aquatic?), guitar solos included, alongside a bass that just sounds really, really good.

The singer reveals himself to be quite versatile, with clean and rough singing, as well as throaty shouts used where necessary. He has a lot of presence and charisma, which can also be said of the songs as a whole. Taken together the music and the vocal performance make for a very strong collection of tracks that are both catchy and memorable.

Well, this is very, very enjoyable. Sourvein stick out from the crowd as having something a bit special and being a bit different from the norm.

You gotta get this, or Poseidon will be pissed.

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.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc (Review)

Agoraphobic NosebleedThis 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.

Moros – Life Assisted Suicide (Review)

MorosThis is the début EP from US Sludge band Moros.

This is nasty stuff. Starting with a harsh feedback-squeal and followed by some dirty bass, Moros start as they mean to go on and establish themselves early as playing the kind of abrasive, nasty music that any lover of Sludge can get on board with.

The vocals are high-pitched and laced with poison, seemingly able to cut flesh with ease just by sound alone.

There are some choice riffs on this release and their bass-heavy sound is an instant hit with a bass-lover like me. Their percussive know-how is enhanced by the vocal attack of their singer so that everything works together to create tracks that really, really hit the mark.

The music takes the template as laid down by Eyehategod, infuses it with the dynamic musical know-how of a band like Fudge Tunnel, adds the bass-led stomp of bands like Palehorse and Ghold, and liberally sprinkles the passion and filth of bands like Charger and Burning Witch into the mix. The result? Passionate, ugly Sludge Metal that sits well in the genre and is highly enjoyable. If you like getting your ears cleaned out with acid, that is.

Loved it. Moros get a big thumbs up.

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.

Nightslug – Loathe (Review)

NightslugNightslug are a German Sludge band and this is their second album.

Nightslug sound as their name suggests – ponderous and heavy. This is discordant, ugly Sludge that grips you by their hair and forces your face into the vomit. This, of course, is something you like. So eat it all up. Eat it now.

The songs have a good groovy swagger and the guitars steal the show with their cocky bravado and murky heaviness. The vocals shouldn’t be discounted, however, as they sound like the aural equivalent of an acid splash to the face.

The bass makes its presence felt like a steel girder that props everything up and works with the guitars to create a solid and crushing foundation for the songs to destroy everything around them.

Feedback, distortion and an overall dirty, grim aesthetic is par for the course with Sludge but Nightslug do it with style. They have a slightly unusual sound in their guitar tone and the way the vocals are mixed. It works exceedingly well though, and gives them a distinctive flavour. It reminds me of, (although sounds different from), the production of Rabies Caste’s début album Let the Soul Out and Cut the Vein, which also had an atypical sound. Like Rabies Caste though, they have taken the Sludge template as handed down by Eyehategod and made it firmly their own.

Also like Rabies Caste, Nightslug specialise in songs that are incredibly catchy and memorable. Certainly not in a radio-friendly way, of course, but these are riffs and tunes that stick in the head like an infected nail. It’s painful, but a twisted stroke of master workmen and the Sludge Gods should be proud of them.

I love a good Sludge band and Loathe will be firmly a part of my playlists for some time to come.

This is one you must check out.

Favourite Track: Vile Pigs. With a main riff that just won’t quit, this song is as catchy as Hell.