Let it be known fellow Sludgelordians, The Sour 16 returns. The Sludgelord presents the very best Diabolus in Musica to pour scorn on this desolate day and strike upon us the might of the riff, to inject our veins with sin and guide us on journey of subservice to doom, an act that goes against the very laws and teachings of populist culture, and for those that wish to come with us on our quest, kneel with me as we embrace the thunderous din that is, The Sour 16.
You 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). Terrifier – “Weapons of Thrash Destruction” (552)
15). 1968 – “Fortuna Havana” (571)
1968 wear their influences on their sleeve. There are plenty of bands that stalk the planet playing classic/hard rock; the trick is to make it your own and not become a cliché. 1968 walk the line well and come out with originality whilst using their influences to great effect.
14). Cranial – “Dark Towers / Bright Lights” (588)
Cranial have honed their Earth-shattering attack to razor-sharp perfection and expand the scope of their music to galactic levels of grandeur. The band are a relentless riff engine, churning out a constant flow of thick sludge, like Neurosis channelling the almighty crunch of early Mastodon. “Dark Towers / Bright Lights” does not break down any musical barriers but it is poised to blow your mind with its dark intensity.
13). Lizzard Wizzard – “Total War Power Bastard” (612)
This album is defined by tones as sweet as a glass of warm tar, sparse arrangements, sluggish tempos and venomous attitude. To listen to “Total War Power Bastard” is to get lost in a haze of looping riffs, humming amplifiers, grimy guitar fuzz and putrid vocals.
12). Lecherous Gaze – “One Fifteen” (688)
Imagine what would happen if Howlin’ Wolf grew up in the 80s, spent his time jamming The Ramones and getting fucked up on anything that came his way. If such prospect tickles your curiosity, then by all means, jump on board the “One Fifteen” train, Lecherous Gaze’s new album.
11). Frozen Planet...1969 - "Electric Smokehouse" (730)
The chemistry between the players – Paul Attard on guitar, Lachlan Paine on bass and Frank Attard on drums – can be heard in each one of these cuts. In fact, it’s not only heard, its felt, and that’s what makes this record sound so great. The music is alive, it moves, it gels, and best of all, it’s both heavy and psychedelic.
10). Demonic Death Judge – “Seaweed” (741)
The Finnish quartet deal in a potent blend of filthy sludge-encrusted riffs tempered by hypnotic stoner grooves and nasty gravel gargling vocals. The band conjure up the sound of a bar room brawl between Weedeater and Colour Haze.
09). Gloson – “Grimen” (776)
"Grimen" keeps getting better, the more you listen. It stirs the imagination with its ferocity and complexity. From its excellent pacing to its subtle use of varied instruments, it's a breathtaking achievement for a band that's just getting started.
08). Suma - "The Order of Things" (837)
Suma have proved that, over fifteen years on from their formation, they can still challenge listeners, in terms of their expectations and their open-mindedness. This is a sprawling record that impresses, uplifts, and imparts melancholia in equal measure. It’s a feat, and one that makes it sorely apparent that the Malmo crew deserves much more recognition then they are afforded.
7). Book of Wyrms - "Sci-fi/Fantasy" (921)
The legendary Hawkwind would be happy with the sounds exhibited on “Nightbong”, while the darkness on “All Hollows Eve” is right in sync with Uncle Acid et al. This is a good record which combines some of the best of space/stoner/doom in one package. A band to watch in 2017.
6). Kreator – “Gods of Violence” (1109)
There are so many great riffs, solos, hooks and vocals over the course of the record that there is absolutely nothing to complain about here. Kreator have produced another very worthy entry into their impressive back catalogue. Fans of their later work will love what is on offer here as it is a continuation of their most recent and very impressive albums. This is a hooky, vicious, well produced thrash record which is every bit as good as anything which has come out of America in recent times. Recommended.
5). Goya – “Harvester of Bongloads” (1015)
It is start to finish, packed with massive fuzzed out riffs, deep despair and copious nods to the sweat leaf that Goya pay homage to throughout the entire album. Small wonder in the midst of our current political nightmare that Goya would drop a jewel heralding the end, before escaping in the smoky haze of their own retreat.
4). Bathsheba - "Servus" (1106)
The biggest strength of the album is its tactful and haunting use of atmosphere. This is achieved through the skilful use of dynamic contrast, organically unfolding transitions and changes in the timbre of the music, particularly in the playing of guitarist Dwight Goossens. Tracks such as “Manifest” and “Demon” see Goossens change from chilling, ambient clean tones to rich, roaring fuzz tones that could satisfy even the hardest to please doom fans.
3). Sepultura - “Machine Messiah” (2115)
Will this convert early-Sepultura-only fans? Unlikely. Will it convert Cavalera only Sepultura fans? I doubt it, as those people have made their decision and won't entertain that a Sepultura can exist without the Cavalera brothers. However, this is yet another high quality entry into the Sepultura discography and is one of the best records the band has made.
2). Dead Witches - "Ouija" (3048)
This is another perfectly fuzzed out slab of doom from a band that doesn’t seem to know any other way.
1). Soen – “Lykaia” (3106)
On Soen’s third full length record their own explorative hunger is satisfied in the most delicious of ways, resulting in their most dynamically versatile but free flowing release to date. An explorative and colourful record, there is a lot to take in with this record, many dimensions in which to get lost in. Repeat listens bear gorgeous fruits.
A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful. January’s “Sour 16” features reviews by: Richard Maw, Phil Weller, Victor Van Ommen, Jay Hampshire, Ben Fitts, Josh Nichols, Charlie Butler & Dominic Walsh