Victorian Whore Dogs - AfternoonifiedWith a band name like Victorian Whore Dogs, “be serious” is, most likely, not a common phrase for these UK sludge metallers. This becomes undeniable when you discover VWD song titles like “Michael Bay’s Transformers Are the Best Transformers” (from 2013’s Fetch EP) and the ridiculous song about Conan the Barbarian‘s sexual endeavors (“Kromdrom,” from 2015’s Hobo Chic EP). But, with all the absurdities that come with the band name, song titles, and lyrics, Victorian Whore Dogs are not at all what I had expected when I pressed play on their 2016 debut, Afternoonified. For the most part, the silliness in musical delivery that I had expected from this band only exists in Hobo Chic‘s “Gammy Sally.” Otherwise, these sludgers sound pretty fucking serious. Afternoonified, as well as the band’s two previous EP releases, stomp out some heavy-as-hell ditties, laced with unexpected doses of melody and a slew of alternating death growls and angry rasps. But the truly serious question remains: will the silly, sludgy style of Victorian Whore Dogs translate from three-to-four track EPs to a an eleven track full-length?

For the most part, the transition to an LP is not smooth. Fetch and Hobo Chic are concise releases that highlight the band’s shenanigans and aggressiveness perfectly in their compact and concise packages. The spontaneity of “Gammy Sally,” the catchiness of “Dead Eyes,” and the melodic atmospheres of “Prayer of Dust” give Hobo Chic satisfying variation and a surprising freshness; making it one of the most digestible sludge releases in my collection. However, when seven more tracks and thirty more minutes are added to a release, the charming qualities of Fetch and Hobo Chic are weakened. Unfortunately, many the songs on Afternoonified blend together and the second half is superior to the first.

Afternoonified, however, is far from a bad album. All the elements of the band, including ridiculous song titles like “Mutton Shunter,” “Captain Kirk Was My Favourite Stormtrooper,” “Murder Boner,” and “(I Can’t Believe it’s) Nutbutter,” still exist and (for the most part) work. “Mutton Shunter” opens the album perfectly with some memorable, bruising, melodic riffs, but the abrupt ending leaves the track feeling robbed of its true potential. “Murder Boner” is similar in approach to the opener (almost too similar), but with transitions that make it more exciting than its predecessor. But, sadly, these two tracks (and the two between them) don’t seem to work together, making it difficult for this album to build steam.

Victorian Whore Dogs 2016

But it’s follow-up track “Barrington Monroe” that marks the album’s turning point. The beautiful, The Ocean-like introduction to the song (swimming in a plethora of lush bass work) grows into soothing atmospheres and stickability that gave me hope for the remainder of the album. “(I Can’t Believe It’s) Nutbutter” succeeds “Barrington Monroe” perfectly with crates full of swampy assaults, convincing and passionate vocal deliveries, and a melodic character as gripping as quicksand. “Part III” to this trilogy of emotion-laden tracks is not as strong as the two that precede it, but “Agœcia” puts up a damn good fight with skull-crushing closing riffs. Vocal-wise, the Grutle-like delivery on “Southern Fried Homicide” is a standout on the album; adding a power-house character to the track that may have worked better as an album closer than the Triptykon-like “Sebastian Tenderhoof.”

Though the lyrics and song-titles of Victorian Whore Dogs make them the sludge equivalent of Dethklok, as a whole, Victorian Whore Dogs are a decent band and Afternoonified is a decent album. The sound and approach of previous EP releases may not completely translate to a full-length endeavor, but Afternoonified has a solid mix, surprising dynamics, and just the right amount of swamp mud in its treads. If the filler was removed and the album focused on the aforementioned highlights, Afternoonified would have been a successful follow-up to Hobo Chic.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Hibernacula Records
Websites: victorianwhoredogs.bandcamp.com | | facebook.com/VWDBAND
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2016