Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Sludgelord "Sour 16" for June 2016

By: Aaron Pickford

Travis Shinn (c)

Back to the usually chart then, following our recent list of Top 16 records of year so far (Jan - June).  You should know the drill by now, each month; you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records of the month, covering all genres of metal.  Is it not a chart, in which reviewers or contributors extol their opinion about their favourite music.  To put it simply, the ‘Sour 16’ are the records that have been trending the most at Sludgelord Headquarters.

The results are compiled based on page views alone and calibrated into the list below.  All reviews can be viewed by clicking the artwork and we have included album streams wherever possible. (Total views since their publication are highlighted in red)

16). Merchant – “Suzerain” (409)


A potent mix of the epic vision of Yob and the no-nonsense sludge aggression of Weedeater, these tracks are more than capable of holding their own against the heavyweights of modern doom. Pulverising riffs worthy of Bongripper beat the listener into submission, repeated until breaking point, before moving onto a higher plateau of heaviness. “Suzerain” is an awe-inspiring release from Merchant and all the more impressive for being a debut
15). Dark Funeral - “Where Shadows Forever Reign” (414)
I’m sure a lot of Dark Funeral’s fans saw the album cover and assumed that this would simply be“Secrets of the Black Arts II”. And while this isn’t that, the typically fantastic Necrolord album art did signify a return to that same level of quality. This Dark Funeral is every bit as good as the Dark Funeral of 1996.
14). Rotten Sound – “Abuse to Suffer” (418)
“Abuse to Suffer” is an absolute banger of an album, that flat out runs you down like a T-1000, it is an album for the wild soul looking to get ripped apart, and Rotten Sound have their abuse sharpened to a rusty point, just for you.
13). Anion – “Fractures of Failure (421)
Huge riffs rain down on the listener from all angles, channelling the finest moments of the Hydra Head back catalogue and delivered with the venom of Gaza. The band occasionally pause for breath to allow their spacier side to dominate but these interludes provide brief respite before they lurch back into high gear, a perfect balance of crushing groove and mathematical complexity.
12). Raging Speedhorn – “Lost Ritual” (446)
The ‘Speedhorn, these days, are a more measured beast- gone are the almost out of control frenetic changes and overall delivery, and what we have instead is a band still capable of viciousness and aural violence, but approaching their craft in a more measured manner. As Comebacks go this is a great one- the band has lost none of their power and the ten tracks here are of uniformly good quality. A fine effort, well worthy of your time and a perfect antidote for these troubling times.
11). Monoliths – “Monoliths" (472)
This self-titled debut respects the crushing pedigree of the band’s constituent members while heading into uncharted territory. Over the course of two 16 minute behemoths, Monoliths create an absorbing world of bludgeoning repetition and psychedelic heaviness, fusing a more exploratory approach with the filth and weight of the heaviest doom
10). Haasts Eagled – “II: For Mankind” (483)
The majestic, sweeping 'Zoltar' begins with piano and a warm, all encompassing riff. If this song was the sea, I would happily drown in its crystal waters and when we get the heavy stuff... boy is it heavy! Fans of musical journeys take note; THIS is the album you need to hear this year. Its epic, it's majestic, it's fucking brilliant.
09). Spiritual Beggars – “Sunrise to Sundown” (495)
Business as usual for Spiritual Beggars, then; another album of good songs, strong playing and wrapped up in an impressive production. If you long for the days when Blackmore still played rock and jeans were flared, this album is certainly for you. It should be noted that there are two things about this record which really stand out: the sound and the performance. The sound is fantastic, live and raw but crystal clear... the performance? Even more remarkable, as this was tracked live, yes live, off the studio floor!
08). Merlin - “Electric Children” (543)
While Merlin may sound a little too much like their influences for some people's taste, “Electric Children” has a lot to offer listeners, and it shouldn't be cast off after just one listen. With a sound reminiscent of Om and Sleep and striking just the right balance between Hawkwind and Saint Vitus, Merlin accomplish what they set out to do which is obliterate your mind with a witches' brew of epic towering riffs and '70's era doom jams
07). Tides of Sulfur – “Extinction Curse” (648)
This is an astonishingly confident and assured record for a debut LP, helped by excellent production by Chris Fielding. He has managed to capture the filth of the band’s undeniable heaviness, whilst retaining the clarity of their epic song writing. “Extinction Curse” is a bold and compelling statement from Tides of Sulfur. The shockwaves from this seismic detonation are sure to be felt throughout the UKunderground and far beyond.
06). Nails – “You Will Never Be One of Us” (652)
“You Will Never Be One of Us” is as grim and dark a record as they come, and whilst they offer only one shade of black, they happen to do this shade incredibly well. For the brief instances they choose to experiment, they do so in a very meaningful and effective way; however it seems they would rather just flat out punish every living thing in existence. This record’s power can physically obliterate the weak while exhausting all mental reserves of strength. Such exhaustion at the end of a record is now their certified trademark.
05). Melvins  - “Basses Loaded” (690)
“Basses Loaded”is yet another stellar release from the Melvins. They may never release another record as influential as their 80’s and 90’s classics but the fact they are still unleashing vital shots of oddball heavy rock, 33 years into their career is testament to their immortal power.

04). Churchburn & Opium Lord – “Churchburn/Opium Lord” (932)
Like a swift punch to the throat, this split by Pawtucket,Rhode Island crushers Churchburn and Midlandsfilth mongers Opium Lord is both unexpected and completely disabling. Released in Europe through the fantastic F H E D and on the other side of the Atlantic by DG Records, this release packs enough of a wallop to take down a herd of elephants.
03). It’s Not Night: Its Space – “Revival” (1304)
No vocals, just a lot of stoned, smoky repetition that is equally spiritual as it is absolutely mind blowing.
02). Budgie - "The MCA Albums "1973-1975" (1500)
These reissues should be picked up by anyone with an interest in the era, the growth of the“heavy” genre and by anyone looking for some quality hard rock, played well, by great musicians. Lars Ulrich is no Pete Boot or Steve Williams (who play solidly and professionally on the albums re-packaged here), but he knew a tune when he heard one, all those years ago
01). Gojira – “Magma” (2029)
Magma’ is a record that envelopes you with its overtly dark drama, but within its haze, its crushing catharcism makes it one of the most special metal records to be released in some time. It may not be the relentless assault many fans wanted from the album – and that’s not to say it is barren of those moments – yet, as a vehicle for emotional cleansing, as a eulogy and an obituary for a woman who shaped the personalities that drive this act, it is staggering.
A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful. June’sSour 16features reviews by, Chris Bull, Philip Weller, Richard Maw, Daniel Jackson, Victor Van Ommen, Charlie Butler, TJ Kliebhan, Steve Wilson and Hunter Young

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