First impressions, man. For all the hyperbole and word-saladry people spin about them, they do serve their purpose, regardless if they’re a fully accurate summation of whatever it is they’re representing. Since this is a metal blog and you, dear reader, aren’t here for dating advice, political commentary, or anything else that you couldn’t find in abundant supply over at Facebook, you can correctly guess I’m about to discuss a debut. German then-trio1 Eremit are plunging their swords into the Earth, hoping to stake their claim as new heroes of all things slow and sludgy with Carrier of Weight, bombarding you with all the glory and power that three guys can possibly pack into three songs… totaling around 68 minutes.
So yeah, first impressions. “Dry Land” opens with some ominous keyboards and a simple guitar melody, setting up a moody atmosphere before leveling you with a monstrous riff. I admit, I was impressed by how powerful that riff was. Simple, yet effective. Apparently, both Kalle and fellow guitarist (and sole vocalist) Moritz Fabian agreed, as they proceed to bash you over the head with that riff, with almost no deviation save for a couple of chord changes and a pause here and there. For twenty-three minutes. I can’t think of anything that I enjoy doing repeatedly, besides breathing, without some form of variation for that length of time, because I’ll be damned if I wasn’t beginning to nod off nine minutes into it. Not the best way to win my heart over.
Thankfully, the other two songs fare better but still outline the songwriting issues negatively. Album closer “Cocoon of Soul” contains more riffs and some actual melodies, which at over 33 minutes, it honestly needs to, and some of those hooks are incredible. Still, you could shave off at least 12 minutes, as well as that out-of-place blast-beat-riddled ending, and I wouldn’t lose any sleep. The oddly-titled “Froth Is Beckoning,” besides making me wonder what the hell I did at Starbucks to cause such an ominous song title, rocks the fuck out with a quicker tempo at the beginning, as well as some powerful drumming by Marco Baecker. But again, they stay in the same gear, using the same riffs, for far too long.
From a production standpoint, Carrier of Weight takes a page from The Body by containing enough bottom end to suffocate a hippopotamus without the use of a bassist. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but in doing so it hindered some of the power in Baecker’s drumkit. That said, I appreciate the quieter moments giving some clarity to the instruments, so when they eventually drop the hammer, it strikes with the appropriate amount of power (as in “all of it”).
I know I sound like a broken record, but there is promise exhibited on Carrier of Weight, and as bands like Sleep and Bell Witch have shown in the past, you can make a compelling long sludge song. Sadly, Eremit aren’t quite there yet. Hopefully, with some tighter songwriting and better riff variety, they’ll get there. As for now, I’ll spend my time with Hell for my suffocating sludge fix.