Fange – Pourrissoir (Review)

FangeThis is the second album form French sludge metallers Fange.

I enjoyed the group’s debut EP Poisse, so it’s good to catch up with them once more for their second album.

This is pitch-black sludge ugliness, with some noise tendencies. Think Primitive Man, Full of Hell and Continue reading

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Sunlight’s Bane – The Blackest Volume: Like All the Earth Was Buried (Review)

Sunlight's BaneThis is the debut album from Sunlight’s Bane, a blackened sludge/grindcore band from the US.

This is nasty, raw and nihilistic music that wants nothing more than to terrify, scar and demoralise the listener. With a mix of Nails, Anaal Nathrakh, Hooded Menace, Aborted, Trap Them, Extreme Noise Terror, Primitive Man, Zao, and many others in their sound, Sunlight’s Bane have concocted an identity that’s very much their own and quite a hard one to accurately classify, if you care about such things. Continue reading

Vermin Womb – Decline (Review)

Vermin WombVermin Womb are a blackened sludge/grind band form the US. This is their debut album.

Due to my love of their first EP Permanence, as well as all things Primitive Man and Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, (who they share members with), this release has been highly anticipated by yours truly.

On Permanence Vermin Womb channelled the destructive essence Continue reading

Mares of Diomedes/Dreich – Split (Review)

Mares of Diomedes DreichThis is a split between two sludge/doom bands – Mares of Diomedes from Ireland and Dreich from Denmark.

Mares of Diomedes start us off with two songs of bastard-heavy metal, lasting 13 minutes.

This is fuzzed-up and harsh, with colossal riffs drenched in distortion being unleashed like they are going out of fashion. With Continue reading

Swamp Witch – The Slithering Bog (Review)

Swamp WitchSwamp Witch are a doom/sludge band from the US. This is their debut album.

Sludge heaviness mixes with psychedelic hypnotic grooves to create slow, torturous music that takes the listener on a tour through forgotten swamps, populated by hideous witches, (do you see what I did there?).

Deep growled vocals act as a guide on this foul journey, paving a path through the murk with sheer force of diseased will. Continue reading

Caïna – Christ Clad in White Phosphorus (Review)

CainaCaïna are a black metal band from the UK. This is their seventh album.

What do you get if you combine raw black metal with industrial and dark ambient? You get Christ Clad in White Phosphorus.

The ugly, intense black metal parts are my favourite bits of this album, as they rage with an underground fury and intensity the likes of which most bands only aspire to. It’s not all about Continue reading

Primitive Man/Sea Bastard – Split (Review)

Primitive ManThis is a split release between two of Doom’s darkest stars, Primitive Man from the US and Sea Bastard from the UK.

Both excel at what they do and having both of them on one release is quite an exciting prospect.

Primitive Man start us off with two tracks of the grimmest, most evil Sludge-fuelled Doom that there is. It’s 17 minutes of agonised pain and hatred. After many releases, (here, here and here, for example), I still can’t get enough of the horribly bleak noises that they make.

Colossally heavy and nihilistically bleak, Primitive Man always deliver the goods, and on this split it seems that the goods are well past their best-before-date and covered in filth and dirt.

The singer has hands-down one of the best pitch-black growls I’ve ever heard and when his voice first makes an appearance on Cold Resolve it’s like being floored by a truck. That’s if the slow, crushing guitars haven’t flattened you before then. The song proceeds to crawl across your broken corpse, all distorted malice and squealing feedback, slowly pressing you into the ground until there’s nothing left.

The second song of theirs is the shorter of the two, yet is no less nasty for it. Servant starts off with a feedback squeal and is typically crushing from then on in, once again showing off the kind of high-quality Doom that the band have become known for. Dripping with spite and rage-fuelled negativity, as the track unfolds things just get heavier and darker until the playing time is mercifully over.

But there’s no real breather, as we now have Sea Bastard’s colossal near-20 minute behemoth of a track, The Hermit, to deal with.

Like Primitive Man, Sea Bastard keep unleashing quality releases on the world, (here, for example), and this is no exception.

Sea Bastard’s Sludge Metal is less dripping with filth than Primitive Man’s, but no less effective for it. Previously I’ve described them as similar to Bongripper only with screams and growls, and that’s not a band starting point for initial reference.

Sea Bastard specialise in settling into a slow-burning crawling-groove, with a mesmerising heaviness drawing the listener in and repeating itself over and over, but never to the point of where the listener loses interest. This is enticing and hypnotic, and just when you can’t take it any more the band shift gears or change riffs and the suffocating Doom takes on a different edge, no less crushing than the last.

The screamed vocals are the perfect accompaniment to the music’s guitars, and the combination of the two produces a very satisfying feeling deep in the stomach where the bass seems to have set up home.

Picking up the pace a bit halfway through, the band show that it’s not just slow riffs that they can peel off with ease. This doesn’t last, of course, and once spent the juggernaut returns to a malevolent crawl as the song claws its way to conclusion.

The Hermit is just as good as anything the band have released, and combined with Primitive Man’s side of the split this is a pretty damn essential Doom release for anyone who’s into this kind of thing.

DOOM!

Primitive Man/Northless – Split (Review)

Primitive Man NorthlessBoth hailing from the US and both peddling versions of Sludge/Doom, this split between Primitive Man and Northless got me quite excited when I first became aware of it.

Primitive Man are up first, and readers of this site should be familiar with them from their previous releases Home Is Where the Hatred Is and Split with Hexis.

They offer a single track, Empty Husk, which is a generous 15 minutes long. In my opinion Primitive Man are one of the best purveyors of hate-fuelled Doom out there, and this track does nothing to change that view.

The band have a thick, heavy, sludgy guitar tone that’s just perfect for the kind of music they play. The huge riffs are claustrophobic crushers that seem to suck the air from the room and replace it with tar.

One of my absolute favourite things about the band is the singer’s voice – his growls are just so perfectly pitch black, so utterly cavernous and without hope, it’s truly frightening.

Empty Husk starts off slow and unfolds drenched in feedback and drum rolls. The dark, Doom-drenched atmosphere is built up and maintained, right until it can’t take any more and spills over into blackened blast beats that soon spend themselves in fits of bubbling hatred, only to slow down to a crawl once more, dragging out the misery and contempt for all to soak in.

Phew.

Northless’ side of the split is a similar length, (17 minutes), but divided into three tracks. Although they’ve never been featured on this site before, their enjoyable brand of Sludge Metal is always a welcome listen.

They’re less-Doom and more Sludge than Primitive Man, which is demonstrated in opener Deleted Heartstrings when it starts with a rip-roaring upbeat tempo that crashes through everything around it in its hurry to spread its dirt.

Theirs is a filthy cacophony of twisted, nightmarish sound that has surely been spawned in some deep, dark abyss somewhere. Northless’ music gives off a very real sense of chaotic suffocation; a controlled chaos that sounds dangerous and is likely to leave scars. The riffs can be quite angular and atypical, with a slight blackened tinge and a surprising level of complexity on occasion.

The singer’s blunt snarls sound callous and almost inhuman, but with just enough uncaring humanity left in to be truly disturbing. He stands aloft, leading the punishing Sludge with unerring vision, firmly set on his grim task of spreading misanthropy.

With each song slowing things down that little bit more than the previous, Northless culminate in their final track Wasted Breath. This is the longest of the three and spends its time building inevitably to a harsh and powerful conclusion.

An exceptional split that showcases the many talents of two of Sludge/Doom’s brightest, (darkest?), lights.

Essential listening for all lovers of hatred, misery and heaviness.

Funerary – Starless Aeon (Review)

FuneraryThis is the début album from US Doom band Funerary.

This is dark, misery-drenched Doom that has a harsh Sludge edge, giving the band a nasty bite.

One of the first things that strikes me about Funerary are the jaw-dropping, ultra-intense vocals. They’re mainly high pitched screams or deep growls, although that description doesn’t do them justice. The screams sound rabid and the growls sound inhuman. Either way, they make a big impression.

This is 34 minutes of mind-numbing despair and utter misery. The songs are heavy, slow and full of depressed fury. This last point is an important one; for all of the Doom and gloom on this record, Funerary have a very angry side that lends their songs an aggressive dominance over all they survey.

Funerary also know how to do subtle though. It’s a downtrodden, malicious subtle and their version of light and shade is multiple shades of black, but subtlety is still within their arsenal. As such, there’s also a side of Atmospheric Sludge to their assault, which is always a welcome addition to any band and further enhances Funerary’s sound, giving them an added depth.

Throughout the release the feeling is one of a filthy, worthless existence, one that has no merits or positive sides just different types of pain and anguish. In itself this obviously doesn’t sound very appealing at all, however, when translated into Funerary’s scorn-filled hate-sludge, it suddenly becomes very appealing indeed.

It’s a relatively varied release, taking in aspects of the main sub-genres mentioned previously, as well as elements of Drone, Post-Black Metal and Experimental Doom. Largely though, it’s an impressive mixture of Doom, Atmospheric Sludge and feedback-laden nihilism, like a cross between Primitive Man, Esoteric and Khanate.

I strongly suggest you get a dose of Starless Aeon.

Khemmis – Absolution (Review)

KhemmisKhemmis are a US Doom Metal band and this is their début album.

Now this is an interesting release. The album cover might lead you to believe that Khemmis are a Traditional Doom Metal band, and although this is certainly a big part of their sound there’s also more going on here than that.

Khemmis combine Traditional Doom Metal with Sludge Metal. This is not a common thing to do and it works much better than you might think.

What does this mean in real terms? Well, it means the ancient Traditional Doom approach is melded together with a heavier, Sludgier sound that’s partially one and partially the other. Imagine a cross between 40 Watt Sun and a cleaner version of Primitive Man.

The vocals also display this duality of Doom purpose; dreamy, traditional clean vocals are occasionally supplemented with deeper growls that seem like they’re about to tear the Earth apart with their ferocity.

I love the way the band manage to take the clean Doom Metal sound, mix it with the dirty Sludge style and come up with a winning combination of the two. This is usually within the same song too. Southern-inspired riffs share space with heavenly cleans, (the singer has a top quality voice), before descending into the pit once more and the Deathgrowls rule the roost for a while.

This is an album that cries out for repeated spins, and repeated spins it gets. In addition to its obvious charms there’s a lot of hidden gold on Absolution.

Extremely highly recommended.