Tuesday 1 December 2015

The Sludgelord "Sour 16" for November 2015

By: Aaron Pickford

As we enter the month of advent and start the build up to Christmas, let us rejoice in the knowledge that November brought another bumper month of new music, perhaps much needed stacking fillers for your nearest and dearest, hell even Santa himself loves the riff, Right!

The Sludgelord’s ‘Sour 16’ is back, you know the deal,  each month, you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records of the month, covering all genres of metal.  It is 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 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 November 2015.   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! All review can be viewed by clicking the artwork. (Total views at the time of publication highlighted in red)

16). Serious Beak – “Ankaa” (200)

15). Publicist UK – “Forgive Yourself” (207)

Melancholy guitar and vocals that sound both broken and heartfelt all at once seep into your being and any remaining self is filled with a sonic wash of drums, bass, organ, and other contributions. The listener is wrapped in a warm blanket, the music lulling them into a sleep, a calm…Publicist UK have very much succeeded in recreating that post-punk tranquilizer feeling

14). Tombstones – “Vargariis” (214)

“Barren Fields” sounds like doom, it relentlessly rumbles forth with unstoppable perpetual motion. There is more light and shade with Tombstones, but they are no less weighty, the compositions are all stand alone pieces of music, but all with a vibe running through them and a sound that identifies them.  Simply put, this is a modern doom record and those of us who enjoyed the their last record, Conan, Electric Wizard, Ramesses et al will find much to enjoy here. A fine album, then

13). The Ocean/Mono – “Transcendental” (217)

Of the splits to cross the desk, this is one of the most well done and well created albums to happen. Even though it's only about 24 minutes long, this feels like it takes a while, in a good way, to happen to you. Highly recommended if you want to calm the soul, and maybe push some boundaries for yourself.

12). Kowloon Walled City – “Grievances” (227)

Passages of minimal melodic interplay give way to shards of dissonance and outbursts of lean, razor-sharp riffing. The languid tempo of the drums reinforces the weight of the music and together with the gnarly bass, act as the perfect backdrop for intricate guitar interplay.

11). Grizzlor – “Cycloptic” (239)

Each track is a barrage of filthy, lumbering Flipper-style basslines and riffs that sound like Clutch on downers. Effected vocals and pitched down samples sit on top of this to add an acid-fried weirdness to proceedings, echoing crazy Texans, Butthole Surfers.

10). Magic Circle – “Journey Blind” (247)

Magic Circle throws hook after hook and riff after riff at the listener, giving us no shortage of big moments to latch onto, without falling back on the most tired aspects of Sabbath’s catalogue as the default.  Although Magic Circle isn’t going to wow anyone with innovation, for what it sets out to do, Magic Circle does it better than just about anyone going right now

09). Slabdragger – “Evacuate” (249)

Fans of Slabdragger will love this, hell, fans of heavy music in general should love it, it's absolutely brilliant and if this is a precursor to what lies ahead on 'Rise Of The Dawncrusher' we're all in for a wonderful treat.

08). Dragged into Sunlight/Gnaw Their Tongues – “N.V.” (250)

'Alchemy in The Subyear' drips with essence of evil. The guitars, drums and vocals converge to a sharpened point which is hammered into your heart with the force of the bass and allowed to carve your flesh, while the atmospherics drag your soul into the depths of hell.

07). Avatarium – The Girl with the Raven Mask” (252)

At the end of it all, there is the feeling that you have heard something very unusual, but also very enjoyable. It is not a difficult record to listen to and some of the melodies and imagery conjured up are just sublime. It is most definitely a natural progression from the first record- with a more defined sound and identity perhaps, albeit that the first record was very much its own beast. Certainly, this is doom, but of a different kind and it stands alone in the genre. Simply put: make sure you hear it. It is essential.

06). Stoned Jesus – “The Harvest” (290)

“The Harvest” is undeniably good, hitting the spots just right. There’s power in the slow cuts “Black Church” and “Rituals of the Sun,” which puts Stoned Jesus’s fine focus on display. Other cuts like “Youth For Sale” or the aforementioned “Wound” stroke our desire to hear something that’s both heavy and catchy, earning “The Harvest” a spot in one’s record collection.

05). Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – “Noeth Ac Anoeth” (301)

The wall of guitar, at times, sounds as though it is ten instruments deep, crushing your brain with the weight of a 150 ton hydraulic press.  All of this contrasts elegantly with lead singer Jessica Ball's siren aria floating above the driving rhythm.

04). Intronaut – “The Directions of the Last Things” (322)

The interspersed samples are delightfully odd, and give a welcome (often comical) break to the up-down-all-around prog fest that this album really is. There are so many sections that break out into something completely unexpected, leaving you extremely satisfied

03). Cult Leader – “Lightless Walk” (334)

Cult Leader have created a monster here, a perfect combination of brains and brutality. There’s enough going on to suggest that “Lightless Walk” is just the start of an intriguing journey to the outer limits of heavy music.

02). All Them Witches – “Dying Surfer Meet His Maker (483)

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

01). Danzig – “Skeletons” (750)

“Skeletons” would have been an awesome opportunity to work with a variety of musicians, those better equipped to handle specific songs and play up their advantages.  The recording quality varies wildly from song to song, as does the overall execution of each song. The strength of Danzig’s vocal performance is pretty consistent with where he was at on ‘Deth Red Sabaoth’, perhaps even a bit better which, sadly, makes it the album’s only consistently positive attribute

This list features reviews by, Chris Bull, Philip Weller, Hunter Young, Richard Maw, Daniel Jackson, Mike Wilcox, Asher Alexander, Victor Van Ommen, Charlie Butler, Peter Man