By: Aaron Pickford
As the haze of sunshine finally appears to be descending for the last time and with it the end of summer, let us not despair and instead rejoice as we usher in another feast of music for your listening pleasure, a veritable smorgasbord of riffs, this can only mean one thing? The Sludgelord’s ‘Sour 16’. Welcome, all lovers of the riff, you know the deal by now, however for those of you that do not, let us recap. Each month, you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records of the month, covering all genres of metal, but predominately the best the doom, sludge, stoner-psychedelic genres have to offer. It is not a chart, in which reviewers or contributors extol their opinion about their favourite music, but simply, the ‘Sour 16’ are the records you guys (readers) have been most interested in over the last month and checking out on this page.
So here is the The Sludgelord’s ‘Sour 16’ for August 2015, the 16 records you’re most looking forward too or are currently checking out. Dig in, spread the word and perhaps revisit some records you may have overlooked. The results are compiled based on page views alone and calibrated into the list below. So without further ado, enjoy the ‘Sour 16’. Roll up, kick back, chug a beer and Hail the riff! All review/band links can be accessed by clicking on the artwork. (Total views at the time of publication are highlighted in red)
16). Eschaton – ‘Sentinel Apocalypse’ (312)
For anyone with an interest in death metal from Revocation to Morbid Angel to Immolation to Death, then this album should definitely be checked out. I enjoyed it hugely and recommend it highly.
15). Nightfell – ‘Darkness Evermore’ (320)
“Rebirth” sees the band playing with different melodic black metal elements… which make for a wonderful musical counterweight to the resonant doom n’ death rumbling of the album’s general comfort zone.
14). Fight Amp – ‘Constantly Off’ (348)
‘In short, I’ve been missing out. I’m really happy to have had a reason to sit down with a band I already thought I knew and find out there’s still so much more to them. I can only highly recommend ‘Constantly Off’, and after this I’m off to check out all the stuff I’ve missed.’
13). Lucifer ‘Lucifer I’ (352)
‘All in all, “Lucifer I” is a solid release, song-per-song. It’s sure to be a hit for all the ‘70s obsessive’s and the proto-metallers, but it also has moments that are evil enough and dark enough to satisfy those who need a little more intensity beyond the black rainbow.’
12). = Myrkur - ‘M’ & Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘Abyss of Longing Throats’ (354)
At this juncture, Myrkur has proven to be capable of material that is truly special, with the sort of vivid musical imagination welcome in any genre, metal being no exception. What’s most exciting is what an even deeper exploration of this kind of folkish black metal, rich with creativity might yield a couple of years from now.
‘Gnaw Their Tongues has opened up a portal into hell and is dragging you with him. Fear the worst. Expect to suffer. If you make it out alive, expect some severe emotional trauma.’
10). Six Feet Under – ‘Crypt of the Devil’ (357)
‘This is as pure a strain of death metal as you are ever likely to find: crushing, sawing guitar riots? Check. Throat-expanding guttural vocals? Check. Lurid, obscene song titles, including ‘Broken Bottle Rape’ and ‘Compulsion to Brutalize’? Check mate. If it’s classic death metal grooves you’re after, look no further.’
09). Limb – ‘Terminal’ (371)
All in all, Terminal builds on what Limb have already achieved and is ultimately better than their top notch debut. The tracks on Terminal are well crafted, and the whole piece is tighter throughout. Absolutely no time is wasted on the album with every note being completely integral to the success of the album
08). Locrian – ‘Infinite Dissolution’ (400)
‘Standout track ‘An Index of Air’ leans into emptiness with a rattling drone, an almost imperceptibly off-time drum pulsing the intro before expanding out into tidal-waves of anguished convulsions blended with blissed out droning black that Deafheaven would burn gasoline-soaked churches to attain.’
07). Carousel – ‘2113’ (420)
‘2113’ is a blur of dynamic, late night booze fuelled journeys filled with timeless hooks and immensely powerful solos. A band that knows how to capture your attention; they filter the music of their childhood heroes add a contemporary twist and their unique flair and create magic. They build on their concrete foundation of strong vocals and catchy choruses, wrap up some tight backing and present a very pleasing album complete with a jazzy little bow.
06) Hivelords – ‘Tapered Limbs of a Human Star’ (424)
'Cavern Apothecary' was a glimpse into the potential this band had at that point. On ‘Tapered Limbs of a Human Star’, they've smashed through the glass ceiling and surpassed the promise they showed. The fact that they're signed to Anthropic Records is both a blessing and a curse; it makes those who know about the band seem like part of a secret club and preserves their cult status. However, had this been released on a label like Relapse, Profound Lore or Candlelight, everyone would be losing their shit and proclaiming this as the best album they've heard this year. It’s simply stunning.’
05). DoctoR DooM – ‘The Seed We Have Sown’ (534)
‘It's a monstrous sound, reminding me of a club scene in many a Bond film, but replace lounge piano or jazz with a much more upbeat rock band. This is Everyman Rock. And they love to stay around with their songs, so look forward to an album full of 4+ minute slabs that will take you along sonic highways of old.’
04). Ahab – ‘The Boat of Glen Carrig’ (551)
‘It's hard to sum the record up, such is the scope and depth on offer within the record, but suffice it to say this: it will feature in year end lists, it will grow on you and is definitely one of the more unusual and ambitious releases of the year. This is fine stuff, but then again coming from Napalm Records, does anyone expect anything less?! Dark, atmospheric and powerful. A fantastic record.’
03). Pentagram - ‘Curious Volume’ (710)
Overall, for my money, Curious Volume is a better album than Last Rites- more focused, more inspired and it crackles with life, it really does. It is the best album from Pentagram in a long while and for that we should all rejoice. Legendary for a reason!
02). The Sword – ‘High Country’ (1377)
The length of the album, at 15 tracks, does make getting acquainted with this record a slow process, but in the end you’ll discover there aren’t any dips in form. ‘High Country’ is rich in consistency and across its span, Cronise, Shutt and co. dispel any fears you may have about this release all the while oozing a slick professionalism. They’ve been at this song writing malarkey for a while now, they’re hardened pros and this stands testament to their brilliant legacy.’
01). Ghost – ‘Meliora’ (5382)
‘Today, Ghost still manage to shock and surprise us in a society where we’ve seen and heard it all before. People are fascinated, fixated even with finding out their true identities. Their music is more powerful than it ever has been too. ‘Meloria’ is a spellbinding listen and one which will see them elevated to greater plains of existence. It affects you, leaves you shaken. They can make you laugh or cry without so much of a flick of the wrist and, although the music we love is basking in something of a purple period right now, a band as potent as this is still a rarity.’
This list features reviews by, Chris Bull, Philip Weller, Kat Hilton, Hunter Young, Richard Maw, James Harris, Dominic Walsh, Chris Markwell, Daniel Jackson, Erik Sugg & Greg Sheriff