Wednesday 25 April 2012

Bastard Of The Skies & Catatomic "Split L.P" (Review)

By: Aaron Pickford

Album Type: Split 12inch
Date Released: 01/04/2012
Label: Speaks Volumes Records

‘Split LP’ LP//DD track Listing

Bastard of the Skies

1). Willalee Bookatee (02:27)
2). The Knuckles of Saint Bronson (3:58)
3). Grays Sports Almanac (3:49)
4). Human Skull (4:53)
5). Don't Let It Bring You Down  (3:51) (Neil Young Cover)


1). Void (11:07)
2). I Went To You (4:05)

The Review:

Over the years we have been blessed with a number of excellent sludge metal bands hailing from the UK; Iron Monkey, Helvis, and Raging Speedhorn to name but a few. Hailing from Blackburn, Lancashire, Bastard of the Skies are continuing that tradition and according their web page, their music is 'The soundtrack to drowning in a swap of your own shit'. The band have cemented their own sound by welding massive, lurching, riffs to sludgy noise and discordant melody.

Playing their own brand of discordant filth since 2006, what we have on offer here is another slab of no holds barred gut spewing filth. The 5 tracks we're presented with are quite simply, brutal! The opening track ‘Willalee Bookatee’, sets the tone for much of the record, with the opening blast of drums, kicking into their loathsome blend of piercing riffs, compounded by vocals which sound like a vicious attack on your senses.  The song is an example of unparalleled savagery, it is a wonderfully grisly. 2:27 of ear splitting audible torture and we love every second of it.

‘Grays Sports Almanac’ is another extraordinarily ugly and vicious beast, this is for me, some of the best sludge noise I am likely to hear this year and as heavy as hell. The metallic tone of the guitar is monumental and the song is easily some of best stuff they have ever produced.  There is not a second wasted on the tracks on offer here, they batter, bruise and pound you into submission, seemingly leaving your senses crushed into fragments.  ‘Human Skull’ is probably the slowest sludgiest track on the album. Sounding like the bastard (no pun intended) offspring of the Melvins, you can't fail to be impressed by the intensity and ferocity of the track.  Bastard of the skies deliver a dynamic and uncompromising blend of down tuned monster riffs, vicious vocals and brutal rhythms

With a new record entitled 'Tarnation' due for release sometime in the summer, this Split is the perfect appetiser.  They have created something hideously ugly, a monster that lurches for your jugular from beginning to end. It is not pleasant, however if like your music hard, heavy and ferocious, look no further and buy this record. I loved it. 

In terms of the reverse side, I found it difficult to review a band solely on a couple of songs, however once the opening assault and battery of the drums kick in , 'Void' bursts into life!  The opening minute and half of the song consists of droning low end bass and vintage doom sounding guitar, sliding between notes until the song lurches forward into a classic Electric Wizard sounding riff.  Simple and yet heavy, the song is seemingly based upon a fluid 4 bar chord sliding riff, interspersed with a 'Symptom Of The Universe' type acoustic guitar section and that is a feature of much of the song.  The song almost induces nausea due to the Ebb and flow of the track.  The vocals fit well with the track and they feel as if they are spoken, rather than sung and that style sits well with the track.  The song weighs in at a mammoth 11:07 and due in part to little variation to the track, it does feel like it outstays its welcome a little, however 'Void' is a fine example of a retro sounding doom track of days gone by. 

'I Went To You', is a track I have a little more difficulty with, it is curious in that it has a vibe which feels as if it was improvised.  An acoustic track and poles apart to 'Void', it wouldn't feel out of place on a Lou Reed record and feels a little off centre.  This is by no means a criticism of the band but in terms of material, the track doesn't feel as strong as 'Void' and left me feeling a little disappointed.   As I said earlier, I found it very difficult to judge this band solely on the two tracks on offer, however on evidence of the track 'Void', Catatomic do show they have potential and hopefully they will go on to create bigger and better things. 

This ‘Split LP’ is available here

Band info: Facebook | Big Cartel | Bandcamp