Sludge

Kite – Currents Review

Kite – Currents Review

“Let’s conduct a thought experiment: picture a noise band selling their souls to play better noise. The devil appears in a cloud of sulfur at a crossroads. He does this a lot, so he doesn’t stop to notice this particular intersection is the crux of sludge and post-hardcore. He offers the assembled musicians incomparable guitar skills in exchange for their eternal essence. “You mean like a more abrasive guitar tone?” they ask, which kind of throws him. He conjures visions of the fame and carnal pleasures awaiting if they accept his offer. They point out that they screen print their own t-shirts in the bassist’s garage and they doubt they could fill orders over 100.” Hard bargains.

Our Place of Worship Is Silence – Disavowed, and Left Hopeless Review

Our Place of Worship Is Silence – Disavowed, and Left Hopeless Review

“Don’t you hate it when people randomly come up to you and force you into happiness? You know, the types that just get in your face and tell you that “You’d be (prettier, handsomer, approachable, etc.) if you’d just smile more”? Because there are fewer things more unnerving and anger-inducing as toxic positivity, especially when we’re still a good couple of feet underwater when it comes to the pandemic, American politics, and the world continuously burning all around us. Californian duo Our Place of Worship Is Silence knows this, having thrown down just three years ago with With Inexorable Suffering, a promising album that combined the ugliness of sludge, the brutality of hardcore, and the murk of French black metal.” Worship the unsilent rage.

Praise the Plague – The Obsidian Gate Review

Praise the Plague – The Obsidian Gate Review

“For as generally tired and played out the genre has become as of late, black metal pairs exceptionally well with a cornucopia of disparate genres. Sure, we all know that it goes together with death metal, like a harmonious, spiked-gauntleted, and dog-food-promoting Reese’s peanut butter cup. Doom, however, seems like a stranger chocolate for our humbled corpse-painted nut butter of dubious origins. Something about not only the speed involved, but also the “hurry up and get to the fucking point, already” aspect of doom that would, on the surface at least, seem contradictory to the icy, tremolo-infested sound that birthed many a hooded sweatshirt-clad frost-dweller. Thankfully, we have German quintet Praise the Plague.” Gate creepers.

Planet of the Dead – Pilgrims Review

Planet of the Dead – Pilgrims Review

“A doom/stoner album with songs about classic horror and sci-fi books and movies? Sounds right up my alley. New Zealand’s Planet of the Dead take on all sorts of material, from Dune to Alien to Slaughterhouse 5, and do so with a sludgy simplicity here on their second album, Pilgrims. Their debut album, Fear of a Dead Planet, came out just last year, so this is a pretty quick turnaround by today’s standards. Channeling the usual suspects such as Black Sabbath and Kyuss, and coming off a bit Bull Elephant-adjacent, this quartet hits the sweet spot in album length, with eight songs spread out over less than forty minutes, making for an release that’s easy to get into from start to finish. Do they hit the mark on all eight tracks?” Space sludge.

Hellish Form – Remains Review

Hellish Form – Remains Review

“I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems black metal musicians enjoy carte blanche when it comes to incorporating other genres into their music. Everything from Appalachian folk to shoegaze to African American work songs to opera has been shoehorned into the supposedly kvltest of all metal. Not to mention any other metal genre can just add a little “blackened” seasoning in the mix for tasty results. It’s like the sparkling wine of metal: pairs well with anything. American bi-coastal band Hellish Form has looked at those corpse painted musical polyamorists and asked a question so bold, so elegant it brings a tear to my doom-loving eye: If black metal can do it, why not funeral doom? WHY NOT FUNERAL DOOM? That’s right, Hellish Form take the niche-est of metal styles and cries “Moar niche-er!”” Beseech the Remains.

Neker – Slower Review

Neker – Slower Review

“Hailing from Italy, Neker is the brainchild of… Wait a second. Neker? That’s… You’re sure that’s what you want to go with? Okay, so if any of you want to recommend this band to any friends or family, say it slowly and enunciate clearly. Maybe over-pronounce the K a little, just for safety’s sake. Neker is the brainchild of vocalist/bassist Nicola Amadori, with help from Daniele Alessi on drums and Alessandro Eusebi on guitars. The rest is all Amadori, and his passions lie with the roots of southern metal and sludge, speaking loftily of such renowned acts as Down, Pantera, Crowbar and Melvins.” Let’s get Neker!

Withered – Verloren Review

Withered – Verloren Review

“Metal subgenres can be a bit like high-school groups: comfortable if you fit easily into one, but a bit alienating if you’re a loner or difficult to pigeon-hole. Such has been the fate of Atlanta’s Withered. Over the course of four solid albums, their brand of blackened deathy sludgy doom has managed to endear itself to only a niche audience, and be mostly ignored by everyone else. Lest you were concerned, Withered has far too much street cred to be the geeky nerd, but they are the slightly weird loner no-one understands and therefore leaves alone to get on with whatever weird things they’re getting on with. Fifth collection, Verloren, finds Withered doubling down on their unique sound.” Toxic noise for the harsh palate.

Varego – Varego Review

Varego – Varego Review

“Talk about an art upgrade! Last time we saw Italian prog-sludgers Varego, their offering came wrapped in a decidedly undercooked wrapper. That turned out to be a bit prophetic, as the album innards were likewise short a few polishing sessions. 2 years have passed since then, and Varego have reverted from their inclusion on Argonauta’s roster to the solitary status of the self-releasing ronin with a self-named record. A mid-career eponymous album always serves as an attention grabber, a statement of identity. Along with the appealing cover, these are all strong indicators that the band is attempting a kind of rebirth, or at least a make-over.” Mastodonian.

Somnuri – Nefarious Wave Review

Somnuri – Nefarious Wave Review

“In 2017, NYC sludge band Somnuri released their eponymous debut to relatively little fanfare. No one around these parts seemed to catch it, but thanks to a personal connection to the band, I did. Somnuri was a solid mix of early Mastodon progressive sludge with Yob-ish doom tendencies. It was better than a self released debut has any right to be, with songs like “Kaizen,” “Inhabitant” and “Through the Dead” landing on several of my personal playlists. With the band on my radar, I’ve been hoping to see a follow up surface in our promo pit for some time. Lo and behold, Nefarious Wave comes to us courtesy of their new label Blues Funeral four long years after their debut. With such a gap between records, one would hope for, if not expect, a fair amount of evolution and refinement.” NYC tides bring strange gifts.