Sludge is a word that reminds me of my second job ever. My first career as a baristo1 and ice cream server failed because I hated talking to people, would forget to put coffee in lattes, and had a propensity to sweat all over the ice cream as I scooped, so I went to work for my family’s garbage company. I would spend many of my days pressure washing the inside of used garbage containers. Think about how often you clean out your container—Never. You never do—and you can imagine how nasty this task was. The water would run down the sloped wash pad and the solids would collect against a curb. At the end of the day, there would be a slough of the nastiest materials known to man, and I’d scoop up the congealed mess with a snow shovel. This material was endearingly referred to as “sludge,” and my coworkers and I would constantly try to get each other to drink it, but no one was ever brave enough to try.
I decided to atone for this cowardice by chugging some audible sludge in the form of Damned in Endless Night, the third full-length album from British wrecking crew Warcrab. I don’t listen to much sludge but the choice band name, impeccable logo, and Bolt Thrower comparison in the promo lured me into the Warcrab pot, and the musical chum I found within was so good that I couldn’t escape—nor would I want to. Specializing in the art of the riff and the groove, Damned in Endless Night is 52 minutes of Crowbar meets Bolt Thrower with a touch of Sabbath‘s Master of Reality, and I haven’t encountered something so Britishly heavy since Eddie Hall nearly killed himself deadlifting 500 kg. Embedded single “In the Arms of Armageddon” is the perfect example of this record’s power with its grating, squealing lead played over big power chords before the kick drums arrive to herald your coming destruction. The track’s finale slows down to a doomy crawl so lead guitarist Geoff Holmes can pay homage to Tony Iommi with an incredible bluesy solo.
Warcrab demonstrate their songwriting strength by the way that they blend death, sludge, and doom so well that it’s difficult to label the music at any given moment. “Halo of Flies” is like a sludge-dipped Sabbath track with its big guitar bends and its slow start that leads to a hard rocking death n’ roll finale. “Kraken Arise” grooves so hard that I pulled a similarly named black spiced rum off the shelf to toast to its glory, and the fuzzy sludge of “Magnetic Fields Collapse” ends in a syncopated guitar storm over thunderous drums that mimic the cataclysmic event described by its title. “Blood for the Blood God” is a plodding, crushing offering, “Abyssal Mausoleum” is like slowly being buried alive in the best way possible, and “Swords” bludgeons more like an arsenal of hammers. Somber melancholy infects the powerful “Unfurling Wings of Damnation” which shares its “Fade to Black”-ish melody with both the intro and outro instrumentals (“Perpetua” and “Damnati”), tying the album together nicely.
That similarity to the famous Metallica half-ballad is just about the only possible issue I can find with Damned in Endless Night, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. The album’s length could have been a problem if the songs weren’t so captivating and the flow wasn’t so perfect. Not being a sludge aficionado, I had a bit of a learning curve, but once the ‘crab got its pincers around me, I couldn’t stop spinning this thing. The record sounds great with the guitar sound granting each riff, chord, and lead tremendous power, and the drums have heart-stopping impact, allowing Rich Parker to earn MVP honors for his amazing rhythmic performance. I’m having a hard time naming individual standout tracks—I never once felt like skipping ahead or going back—but “In the Arms of Armageddon,” “Blood for the Blood God,” “Magnetic Fields Collapse,” “Kraken Arise,” and “Unfurling Wings of Damnation,” light up this damned endless night
wish like tracer rounds in a dark war crab feeding zone.
I’m glad I didn’t drink the garbage sludge so I could live to try the musical version. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an album that grew on me so strongly, and I can honestly say that with Damned in Endless Night, Warcrab have delivered one of the finest and heaviest
seafood platters I’ve heard all year. This violent crustacean is more than worth the market price.