Wednesday 5 October 2016

THE SLUDGELORD PRESENTS: The Sour 16 for September 2016

By: Aaron Pickford

It is that time once again people to cast our minds back, and digest the 16 albums that would become September’s most viewed albums and form the basis for our sacrilegious Sour 16’, the finest and most profane riffs around bundled together into a premium sized sonic soufflé.
You know the drill, each month; you the reader are unwittingly compiling a list of the top 16 records that we featured in September, covering all genres of metal.  Is it not a chart, in which reviewers or contributors extol their opinion about their favourite music.  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). Worshipper - "Shadow Hymns (475) 

Musically, with this being somewhere between Black Sabbath (Dio era in particular), Monster Magnet and anything from Witchfinder General to Angel Witch I feel that there is something for most metal fans to enjoy here. Throughout the eights tracks there are lots of ideas, lots of riffs and uniformly great performances from the band. This album surprised me with its scope and approach, so please lend your support and check Worshipper out as this is a rewarding and well crafted album.

15). Thou - "Peasant" (2016) (536)

14) Usurpress - "The Regal Tribe" (651)

This album is an album, in a profound, coherent and meaningfWorshiul way. It is heavy, dripping with dynamic and interesting, organic changes. The sound is warm but never suffocating, and it is brutal both when holding back (“The Mortal Tribes”) and unleashing (“Behold the Forsaken”). I hate to use the word genre-defying, but whatever fusion of death, doom, stoner and black metal Usurpress have evolved into, it is their voice, it is seamless and mature, and displays no sense of affectation.

13) Lesbian – “Hallucinogensis (656)

“Pyramidal Existinctualism” sounds like Mastodon after their drinks have been spiked with LSD and “Kosmoceratops” is epic fist-pumping thrash that takes a left turn into weird, uncharted territory. “Labrea Borealis” and“Aquilibrium” contain more melodic passages that expand the band’s horizons further into cinematic grandeur before crashing back to Earth for further, wild fretboard explorations. Overall “Hallucinogenesis”sees Lesbian achieve a perfect balance of labyrinthine complexity and headbanging simplicity.

12). Tardive Dyskinesia - “Harmonic Confusion” (677)

From cellos to righteous crescendos, this song album plumbs the depths of heavy prog and, weirdly, allows the listener to reach new heights as a result. Paradoxical? Sure. Bloody invigorating? You better believe it, buddy. 10 tracks of heavy, expressive, expansive music, just waiting to show you just how mythical Greek metal can be. Pray to the Old Gods, and seek salvation in‘Harmonic Confusion’.

11). Brant Bjork - "Tao of the Devil" (703)

In short, “Tao of the Devil” isn’t much different than Brant’s other albums in that it’s both a look back and a step forward. And like his other solo albums, this one can stand alone as a prime example of what Brant Bjork does best.

10). Asatta - "Spiralling Into Oblivion" (768)

This is cracking stuff and a worthy addition to the ever expanding doom canon, "Three Dials”is Crushingly heavy and really fucking noisy, "Lapse” features some swinging grooves to go with the slothful doom sounds, “She Died Long Ago” is a slow trudge through the darkest of doom- and echoes Candlemass rather than Conan in its approach. A fine debut then and an indication that there are great things to come from Asatta, who have positioned themselves up there with modern doom's elite.

09). Mouth of the Architect - "Gates of Flesh" (815)

“Path Of Eight”is a fine demonstration of a band evolving their sound without losing sight of what made them great in the first place. Mouth of the Architect have come into their own with this record and hopefully it will gain them some much deserved attention.

08). Khemmis – “Hunted” (891)

Overall, ‘Hunted’ is an extremely solid follow-up to their critically acclaimed first album. It is a melting pot of some hugely powerful styles of heavy metal music and the flawless coalescence between cataclysmic doom and melodic prog is a truly impressive feat. Khemmis are a band on a mission and so far, they’re doing it all right.

07). Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - "Y Proffwyd Dwyll" (928)

“Y Proffwyd Dwyll” is a celestial voyage of crushing density. “Valmasque” sets the tone for the album, establishing a towering wall of sound built from huge lumbering riffs, set against a backdrop of swirling space noise and sci-fi synths that enhance their attack and swell their sound to a galactic scale. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have struck gold here with their distinct brand of spaced-out carnage.

06). Trap Them - "Crown Feral" (1035)

...the tracks that are strong, like “Hellionaires” and “Revival Spines” in particular, really need to be considered the best stuff Trap Them has ever written. And while opening track “Kindred Dirt” didn't immerse me in the album in the way I'd hoped, by the time we reach “Twitching in the Auras”,there can be no doubt that Trap Them have made a definitive and impressive move forward on all fronts. The sound is overall excellent. Lyrics are angry and powerful and riffs are deep and plentiful. Strongly recommend, and an excellent reason to continue to follow this excellent band closely.

05). Giraffe Tongue Orchestra - "Broken Line" (1362)

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra have forged a sound that is unlike any other and more than just the sum of all its parts. “Broken Lines” is, in all, diverse and thrilling and one of the most unpredictable records you’ll hear all year.

04). Meshuggah - "The Violent Sleep of Reason" (1529)

Trying to describe Meshuggah’s sound is a challenge. The only way I can put it is that they’re a musical cascade: a never-ending barrage of sound and heaviness pounding down upon you. Don’t expect or ballad or moments of levity here, this is a relentless tide which you will not escape from. Tracks like ‘MonstoCity’and ‘Our Rage Won’t Die’ are pummelling tracks of new material which can easily be slotted in to their live setlist and not seem out of place. In fact, the same could be said for any of those songs on display here: like a chain forged by Vulcan, there’s not a weak link present. It all hits, and hits hard.

03). Ayahuasca – “YIN” (1631)

Throughout, nothing ever quite sits right, like a jigsaw with a few missing pieces: The spasmodic guitar work of ‘Dark Matter God’ is a fitting example of this. Yet they find, upon that uncomfortable platform, a way to drill into your psyche excellently. It may be weird, but it has an uncanny way of selling itself to you.

02). Neurosis - "Fires Within Fires" (1674)

1). Suicdial Tendencies - "World Gone Mad" (2363)

It flows in a virtually flawless manner and I do believe “World Gone Mad” will be remembered as one of their best records, ever. This one’s a home run with a bullet.

A big thank you as always to our amazing writers, your dedication knows no boundaries and for that I am truly grateful.  September’s “Sour 16” features reviews by:  Richard Maw, Theron Moore, Charlie Butler, Chris Bull, Victor Van Ommen, Philip Weller, Conor O’Dea, Jake Wallace, Chris Markwell & Jay Hampshire