By: TJ Kliebhan
Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 05/02/2016
Label: Relapse Records
“Ezekiel’s Hags” contains a vile amalgamation of death metal, sludge metal, and doom metal influences to create abrasive and noisy instrumentals. The transitions between styles very much feel carefully crafted and meticulously created and the band constantly keeps your attention as the next phases of songs unfold, creating a record that is grotesque and pummeling.
“Ezekiel’s Hag” CD//DD//LP track listing:
5). Brother’s River
7). Third Season
8). Sacred Prostitute
10). War Master
11). Bastard Son (Bonus Track)
“Ezekiel’s Hags” is the third record from Seven Sisters of Sleep and their first on legendary metal label Relapse Records. The band promised to be heavier and gnarlier than ever before and on that aspect the record definitely delivers. “Ezekiel’s Hags” contains a vile amalgamation of death metal, sludge metal, and doom metal influences to create abrasive and noisy instrumentals. Seven Sisters of Sleep are very much a multi-faceted band and most of these songs transition between slower doom, heavy sludge, and frenetic death metal paces which give the record a generous amount of diversity. “Ezekiel’s Hags” is not always moving at a breakneck pace but the record can be an exhausting experience because it exercises so many different ideas at once. The transitions between styles very much feel carefully crafted and meticulously created and the band constantly keeps your attention as the next phases of songs unfold. Seven Sisters of Sleep very much did create a record that is overly grotesque and pummeling, but it is not without showing off some catchy sludge riffs as well. Tracks like “War Master” and “Denounce” feature some well written and pleasurable riffs which offer brief moments of relief amongst all the catharsis.
The most unrelenting and harsh portions of this record come from the vocal performance of Tim McClary. McClary offers a harrowing performance on this album. His vocal inflections are numerous, yet always carry a large amount of weight and exasperation in their delivery. There is a real sense of rage and torture behind his groans and shrieks that give the record an overwhelming feeling of despair and hopelessness. “Ezekiel’s Hags” becomes the nightmare it sets out to be in large part due to McClary’s brilliant and harsh vocals.
“Ezekiel’s Hags” does suffer from a bit of a lack of identity. The different styles and paces are well balanced, but occasionally that works against the record. Tracks such as “Prey” has a great sludge riff, but the band insists on speeding up the tempo only to slow it down again seemingly just to conform to their own identity. It makes Seven Sisters of Sleep harder to classify which can be a good thing, but at times less enjoyable as well. The tempo change goes straight into high gear when something slower would have felt a bit more cohesive and less predictable. By the end of the record the formula Seven Sisters of Sleep have put together is more exposed, but that hardly means that the formula is not effective. Big riffs and speed serve their purpose to create a tense, cramped, and hectic atmosphere. The familiarity of the song structures just remove a bit of the venom this record initially bites with.
“Ezekiels Hags” is available here