Treedeon – New World Hoarder Review

Say what you will about sludge, it portrays auditory filth in ways that few others can. While weaponizing the densest guitar tone possible and often utilizing down-and-dirty blues flavors, its simplicity is its greatest asset. Toss in some tortured vocals, doomy percussion, and you’re gonna need a shower after that Gatorade cooler of shit and whiskey is dumped over you after the hard-earned win. While most match heft with the astounding wit of NOLA meth-heads, with bands like Eyehategod and Crowbar matching exactly those misanthropic and pummeling monikers, I’m unsure where Treedeon comes from. Is it a pun on Gideon? But aside from the Kronos-disappointed sophomore effort Under the Manchineel, why trees? I dunno, but Treedeon probably doesn’t care about much aside from being obscenely heavy.

Treedeon is a trio based in Berlin, having released two full-lengths since their inception in 2013. Consisting of former Ulme vocalist Arne Heesch, ex-Jingo de Lunch vocalist Yvonne Ducksworth, and drummer Andy Schünemann, Treedeon is a disciple of the NOLA sludge scene, with a filthy and caustic breed that recalls Eyehategod’s ten-ton blues and a density that conjures Thou – the sludgiest of the sludge that nearly borders drone – weaponized further by a noise rock edge that feels like Chat Pile. Ultimately, third full-length New World Hoarder is exactly what you expect from a massive sludge album, featuring a unique dual vocal approach and an infectious groove. However, it does not justify its protracted length with its one-dimensional sound.

Opener “Nutcrème Superspreader,” aside from its hilarious title, is a misdirect. Attacking its thick juicy riffs with Earth-like sprawl, it’s an interesting way to kick open a sludge album, but does not adequately prepare for the groove that infects tracks like “Omega Time Bomb,” the title track, and closer “Läderlappen.” Helmed by both Ducksworth and Heesch on vocals, it becomes a lethal combination when dissonant Pantera-in-slow-motion riffs rise alongside. These tracks are easy highlights, guided by the range of vocals to an infectious degree, as Ducksworth’s witchy shrieks and Julie Christmas-esque croons are seared into the brain and Heesch’s Mike IV Williams-esque raspy barks drip with charisma. Furthermore, “RhV1” does a great job injecting atmospheric noise and squealing feedback, adding an ominous flare to its crescendo of a conclusion, while the sliding central riff of “Viking Meditation Song” pumps energy. Of course, I cannot oversell how ridiculously dense this album is, which is an obvious selling point if you eat sludge for breakfast daily.

That being said, every song aboard New World Hoarder is simply too long. The shortest being just shy of five minutes (“Nutcrème Superspreader”) and the longest being twelve-and-a-half (“Läderlappen”), and Treedeon cannot get out of their own way in making these songs feel too long regardless of the track length. “Viking Meditation Song” and “RhV1” are the most obvious offenders. While they have their share of vocal or atmospheric intrigue, they are overall molasses-inspired slogs that require more stamina than the average man. Even the best tracks are doomed by this. While the groove of “Omega Time Bomb” is an easy highlight, it wears thin by the six-minute mark and the final four drag on. Ducksworth’s vocals are a catchy highlight in the title track, but too many iterations of the same melody grow old by four minutes, and the final two are wearisome. Treedeon could have released an EP of New World Hoarder’s best moments, and probably should have.

Treedeon deals in sludge, nothing more and nothing less. New World Hoarder is niche, its density challenging the most hardened of sludge aficionados. While its vocal approach sets it apart and groove attempts to justify forty-five minutes, the sheer wall of sound becomes a noisy din real quick. I get this is doom, in which sprawling length is a trademark, but doom is supposed to imply textures and melodies to justify it. New World Hoarder is a sludge record made for sludge fans, but for naysayers, the only thing it will likely justify is why sludge sucks to begin with. The dense simplicity is appealing in ways Eyehategod and Crowbar are, the vocals rock, and you will need a shower from this grimy mess. But if sludge is not your cup o’ joe, look for quality elsewhere.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Exile on Mainstream Recordings
Releases Worldwide: February 23rd, 2018

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