Monday 15 June 2015

Nightslug - 'Loathe' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 1/7/2015
Label: Dry Cough Records,
Broken Limbs Recordings,
Lost Pilgrims Records

‘Loathe’ LP//DD track listing:

1. Vile Pegs
2. Loathe
3. The Thrill Is Gone: Repulsion
4. Under a Bane
5. Disease
6. Pure
7. Tainted Throne

Nightslug is:

P.Slug | Bass
F.Slug | Drums
J.Slug | Guitar/Vocals


Nightslug is an interesting band. Everything they do is simple and easily digestible, even with all of the feedback and grime which saturates every second of the album. It’s a hellacious racket from moment one, but it’s also exceedingly catchy and memorable. There are no shortage of bands occupying the sludge niche in 2015, and so many of these bands rely so heavily on production and tone that they forget they need to write riffs that stick. With ‘Loathe’, Nightslug succeeds in both areas without over-complicating a subgenre in which complexity’s a good way to lose the plot altogether.

One of the album’s great strengths is in its tempo and rhythm diversity. Title track “Loathe” works with a stomping 4/4 beat, bolstered by anthemic death n’ roll guitar work that sounds like it was written in Stockholm and then fed through a Coffinworm filter, though this carries none of Coffinworm’s black metal proclivities. It’s more that the loose feel and tempo of everything feels similar, though Nightslug’s a bit more heavy and devastating in execution. The song that follows, “The Thrill Is Gone: Repulsion”, is much more measured and plodding. Slow, primitive sludge like this can be a tricky thing, and it can be a thin line that separates a gargantuan, moving and yet uncluttered riff from something that’s just lethargic and half-hearted. By and large, Nightslug keeps themselves from crossing over to the wrong side.

The lone exception to that rule also comes in the form of the album’s first song. ‘Vile Pegs’ is a step or two below everything else on the album and unfortunately starts the album on a considerably less interesting note than everything that comes after it. The title track in particular would have been a fantastic opening song, where ‘Vile Pegs’ might have been better served somewhere in the album’s second half.

Even when considering that one misstep, the rest of the album more than makes up for a somewhat inauspicious beginning the cumulative power and venom of the six songs that follow. Where a slow start can often hurt an album’s overall experience, that isn’t even remotely close to the case with ‘Loathe’. Instead, you simply have to get through one minor roadblock to get to some of the nastiest music you’ll hear this or any other year. You’d be doing yourself a real disservice if you pass this up.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a digital copy here and an LP copy here.

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