Friday 6 November 2015

The Sludgelord 'Sour 16' for October 2015

By: Aaron Pickford

Welcome, all lovers of the riff, you know the deal by now, however for those of you that do not, let us recap.  Each month, you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records of the month, covering all genres of metal, but predominately the best the doom, sludge, stoner-psychedelic genres have to offer.  Is it not a chart, in which reviewers or contributors extol their opinion about their favourite music, but simply, the ‘Sour 16’ are the records you guys (readers) have been most interested in over the last month and checking out on this page.

So here is the The Sludgelord’s Sour 16’ for October 2015, the 16 records you’re most looking forward too or are currently checking out.  Dig in, spread the word and perhaps revisit some records you may have overlooked.  The results are compiled based on page views alone and calibrated into the list below. So without further ado, enjoy the ‘Sour 16’. Roll up, kick back, chug a beer and Hail the riff! For more info click on the artwork. (Total views at the time of publication highlighted in red)

16). Zillah – ‘Serpentine Halo’ (210)

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that ‘Serpentine Halo’ is easily the band’s most accomplished work to this point. If forced to give an easy reference point, I’d say that this is a blend of ‘Whisper Supremacy’-era Cryptopsy along with very early Mastodon and a dash of Gorguts at their most disjointed and jarring. If that sounds as appealing for you as it does me, you should be in good hands with this album.

15). Seahag – ‘The RX Epidemic’ (220)

Metal never sounded so good and I’m glad these dudes woke from their slumber to produce this powerful and chaotic release. So many elements woven together with immaculate structure creating an intense ride that keeps this in constant rotation for me.

14). Suma – ‘Ashes’ (233)

It's a masterpiece of post metal tinged doom. The riffs are straightforward but able to smash through concrete with the volume and vehemence of which they're played. The guitars are layered heavily to allow them to invade your consciousness and claim your brain.  If you're reading this and have yet to listen to this album, stop wasting your time and listen at full volume!

13).Great Falls – ‘The Fever Shed’ (236)

Right from the first note of “Dressing the Saints”, there is nowhere to hide as the band assault the listener with an abrasive opening salvo of shards of metallic noise. Even when the volume dips during sparse minimal sections, there is always a taut menace to proceedings which feels like it could give way to chaos at any second.

12). Goblin Rebirth – ‘Goblin Rebirth’ (235)

If you want something that is out there, entertaining, and from a legendary band, look no further than Goblin Rebirth's self titled debut. Bend your mind, but only to the best of beats with these Italian masters of the reptilian beat!

11). Ravens Creed – ‘Ravens Krieg’ (239)

Once again, it is all about the riffs- Steve Watson managing to accurately mimic the sound of tanks rolling through your town and laying waste to it.  What you get is thirteen tracks of spiteful fury as the riffs and songs rage by.  If you like metal, you really should like Ravens Creed, being as they present the genre in its purest form: riffs, aggression, adrenaline and pace all combine to make a satanic racket of biblical (ha!) proportions.   Uncompromising, extreme music from an island of festering resentment. Hail The ‘Creed

10). Drowning Horse – ‘Sheltering Sky’ (246)

I am brought back to why I listen to this kind of dirge: it taps into the static, that universal thrum, and serves as a meditation, a reprieve from the chaos and noise surrounding us.  A job extremely well done and I’ll have my eye on Perth’s Drowning Horse going forward, hoping that they continue to churn out the catharsis

9) = Graveyard – ‘Innocence & Decadence’ (247)

All in all, “Innocence and Decadence” could be viewed as a polarizing record. Graveyard may lose fans, or they could very well gain them. They’ll probably always have older fans pissing and moaning over “the good old days,” but it’s also likely that, regardless of the extreme reactions people may have against this album, Graveyard will remain one of the most top notch bands around today.

9) = Hyne – ‘MMXV’ (247)

They show off groove without being flashy, talent without being full of themselves, and honestly which puts many bigger bands to shame. If we can see more of this, I am going to have to get more hours in my day! And listen for that little Sabbathian charm!

7). Bastard Grave – ‘What Lies Beyond’ (255)

From the opening of ‘From The Depths’, you know exactly what you are getting; feral death with a punk sensibility. This continues right the way through the album, I am pleased to say. Each song fits nicely with all the others.  No melodies here; straight forward Entombed/Dismember/Grave worship- chainsaw guitars, meaty but rough and ready drums and that bass sound you love are all present and correct.  For fans of all the bands noted along with Entrails and any other sons of Northern darkness you care to name. Ripping stuff!

6). Grim Van Doom – ‘Grim Love’ (273)

I can tell from the off that run of the mill stoner/doom this most definitely is not.
'Goddamn This Love' has your doomy qualities but with an Unsane edge to it (without being too obvious an influence). Vocally I'm reminded of Stephane Azam from French avant-sludge troupe CROWN, and Fade Kainer from Batillus.  'Snowfields' is straight from the Abominable Iron Sloth/Will Haven school of riff writing, jagged and angular but at the same time, round and smooth. This band has set a high standard for whatever they follow this up with, can they do it? I'll be waiting to find out

5) Terzij de Horde – ‘Self’ (283)

As someone who has been listening to black metal for nearly twenty years, I’m thankful that there are bands out there like Terzij de Horde challenging black metal’s standards, to keep it from losing what made it special to me in the first place. Beyond being one of this year’s finest albums, ‘Self’ is important because the beliefs and mindset that gave this album life are as purely black metal as it gets.

4). Clutch – ‘Psychic Warfare’ (311)

It’s the precise interplay in each of these songs that make “Psychic Warfare” – dare I say it – a competitor for album of the year. Be it the way Maines bridges Gasters swing with Sult’s stiff blues in “Quick Death in Texas,” or how the chorus in “Firebirds” only works because of the foundation provided by the verses, “Psychic Warfare” is a mature, well-written album.

3). All Them Witches – ‘Dying Surfer Meets His Maker’ (320)

Groovy and slow like the rocking back and forth of a fishing boat on a quiet lake seems to be the state of mind, but it’s not a lazy album. The free falling jams are certainly laid back and the songs are no different, such as the case with “Open Passageways,” a prime cut that tells a bizarre story while being guided by a wonderful string section that takes this song to a whole new level.

2). Girra – ‘Girra’ (329)

Girra plays a gothic form of blackened doom, and they play it effectively. Their tones, bleak and unflinching, wash like a tide with their almost clanging rhythms, over a very melancholic flat sounding drum beat. It sounds like the beating of a rotted gourd made into an instrument.

1). Horrendous – ‘Anareta’ (439)

There’s so much to enjoy and unpack as I listen to this album again and again, because every song offers a new wrinkle to the formula or another compositional element that most bands wouldn’t think to use. It’s so fucking rich and dense. To put a finer point on things, ‘Anareta’ is the sort of album that lifts death metal as a genre up.  It’s everything I could ask of a death metal album in 2015 and there’s virtually nothing in metal as a whole that’s in Horrendous’ league right now

The ‘Sour 16’ features reviews by, Chris Bull, Eric Crowe, Hunter Young, Dan Jackson, Richard Maw, Mike Wilcox, Victor Van Ommen, Charlie Butler & Eric Sugg