Friday 28 August 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Slow Green Thing, "Amygdala"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/07/2020
Label: Independent

“Amygdala” DD//LP track listing:

1). Medusa’s Spell
2). Amygdala
3). All I Want
4). Dirty Thoughts
5). Dreamland
6). Love To My Enemy

The Review

Slow Green Thing is an apt name for these stoner doomers from Dresden, Germany. The opening squall of “Medusas Spell” gives way to a loping groove and some great riffs. It's stoner/doom/rock/metal with clean vocals and a very laid-back vibe.

This is the band's fourth release (third full length) and they sound tight and assured via the organic production and strong material. The riffs are huge, the drums are creative and well phrased, and everything seems to fit nicely. It is not so far away from Sleep, perhaps, with its jamming inclinations and spacey, ethereal vocals.

Of course, there is nothing under six minutes long over the six tracks on offer here- but why would there be. This is all about volume and vibing riffage. From the title track through to speedy/dynamic tracks like “Dirty Thoughts” and epic work like “Dreamland”, this is huge and weighty but not aggressive- more insistent and attritional.

The opening of “All I Want” took me back to Alabma Thunderpussy'sFulton Hill” 2004 album- it shares a certain similarity- but Slow Green Thing make their sound their own enough to carve out a distinct identity somewhere between Sleep and a slowed down Soundgarden.

The album finishes strongly with “Love to My Enemy”- it's a string record throughout and has much to admire. If you like your stoner and are looking for a band you haven't heard that is different but has plenty of the old gods within, this is the band for you. Majestic and mighty, this one sounds exactly how you want it to, based on the band name.

“Amygdala” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday 25 August 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Voodoo Gods, "The Divinity of Blood"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/05/2020
Label: Reaper Entertainment

The Review:

Voodoo Gods are back, some six years after their debut full length, with this ripping follow up. As noted in my 2014 review, the band is a death metal supergroup- of sorts. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is still here, but Dave Shankle is gone. This record, though, is even better than the debut. Victor Smolski and Jacek Hiro now make up the dual guitar team, Alex Voodoo still masterminds the band and we also have Seth Van de Loo on vocals and Jean Baudin on very technically minded bass guitar.

This is more deathly than its predecessor but it retains some thrash elements along with some NWOBHM flourishes here and there. The production and playing is absolutely superb- it's crystal clear- from Corpsegrinder's enunciation to the precise percussive battering of Alex and Jean. From the opening “Isa” and through the excellent “Rise of The Antichrist” and beyond, the record rips.

It is an interesting mix of the aformentioned styles; Kreator-like thrash mixed with more technically minded death metal makes for a good pairing. It's not all hyper-speed either; there's good tempo variety in “Menace to God”. The Necrophobic cover (“Before The Dawn”- not the Judas Priest ballad, sadly) is a nice mid album touch- with very different mix and sound- but it is the originals which really impress. The album's variety shines through on “From Necromancy To Paraphilia”- everything from sitar to shred sounds-and the jazzy stylings of the intro to “Serenade of Hate” which then segues into vitriolic vocals is pretty unexpected too.

The latter part of the album is no less inspired, with the quasi-title track bringing some melodic thrash while “The Ritual of Thorn” is a more deathly affair. Oddly, the album sees itself out with a longer version of the same track (perhaps a demo version by the sounds of it) and the bonus of the superbly titled “The Absolute Necessity To Kill”- which is great with its gravity defying leads and forceful riffage.

Again, there is much to enjoy on this record; everything is pretty great and much of it is quite unexpected- much like the debut. I'd recommend it to fans of the individuals involved and all fans of death/thrash hybrids. It's creative and different and all the stronger for its originality.

“The Divinity of Blood” is available HERE

Band info: facebook

Monday 24 August 2020

REVIEW: Hidden Mothers, "Hidden Mothers" (EP)

By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 18/09/2020
Label: Surviving Sounds

“Hidden Mothers” DD//LP track listing:

1). Beneath, To The Earth
2). My Own Worth
3). My Blindness, Your Burden

The Review:

Sheffield UK's own Hidden Mothers make an incredible impression with their debut EP. A devastatingly heavy and emotive piece that will pull on your heartstrings while keeping your head banging for days.

Mixing a beautifully melodic post rock sound with the emotional dissonance of black gaze, Hidden Mothers bring to the table a style that is distinctly their own. The music rises and falls with an intensity rivaling the greats of the post rock genre, with Explosions in the Sky style instrumental passages giving way to extreme turmoil and pained shrieks.  The vocal style I would describe as like Deafheaven but much more emotive, a great improvement in my opinion.

With only three tracks taking up a less than twenty minute time frame, I will say that the EP comes in a bit short in terms of granting the listener the full release promised by the music. To me, this is long form art. I want to sit down with it for an hour and really take in all the feels that are being thrown around, coming out of the experience with a sense of completion.  But hey, I smoke a lot of weed. Anyway, this is a solid start if nothing else.

Hidden Mothers is a band that needs to be watched out for. These guys are going to be accomplishing amazing things with their music.  Grab this EP for a glimpse of what they are capable of and wait patiently for what is sure to be a masterpiece once it comes to fruition.

“Hidden Mothers” is available HERE

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Wednesday 19 August 2020

6 NEW BANDS: THE SLUDGELORD's "666 Pack Review" (June 2020)

By: Nikos Mixas

Every month seems to be a repeat of the previous month, no shows, limited releases and plenty of mask wearing. The “666 Pack Review” could just rehash the same drivel but no…. In fact, we’re going to project a more positive outlook this month.  So, if you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our “the future is so bright” rating scale below:  

1 – Your future is so bright, because you’ll quit music altogether after this score. 
2 – Your future is so bright, you scored better than a 1. 
3 – Your future is so bright, because average is the norm of what most music is nowadays.  You’re right on target.
4 – Your future is so bright, Don Dokken is probably finished now and you’re just getting started.  (I just had to fit in a Don Dokken reference in this month somehow. I know it’s a reach, but it worked)      
5 – Your future is so bright, Sunn0))) is jealous of this score. Haha…no?
666 THE SLUDGELORD won’t acknowledge your future being so bright, but a 666 goes a long way as far as bragging rights are concerned on this site. 

Caveat:  Even though the “666 Pack Review” is meant to offer humorous critique, there are no safe spaces here and your gripes will only make you sound like a bellyacher.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

1). King Marm “TRASH” (England, United Kingdom) Rating: 2

I’m not drunk enough for this

2). Wolkberg “Wolkberg” (Pretoria, South Africa) Rating: 3

Robert Fripp with a jumpy drummer.

3). The Choir “A Beautiful Fore Scorch Our Hands” (Singapore) Rating: 3

Early Paradise Lost without any grace.

4). Bloodswamp “Daylight Illuminates A Miserable World” (London, United Kingdom) Rating: 2

This band needs recording lessons STAT.

5). Godless-Mind “Scissions” (Lille, France) Rating: 5

If Perturbator quit edm and chilled.

6). Flesh Temple “Lamentations” (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Rating: 3

I can’t get past their name… 

Sunday 16 August 2020


By: Peter Morsellino 

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/07/2020
Label: New Heavy Sounds

“1823” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Prurient
2). Where I've Been
3). Stranger 
4). Powder
5). Eyes Like Knives
6). Your Burden
7). Vines

The Review:

EMBR take an interesting approach on their debut release, crafting a very digestible sound from a batch of the same spoiled ingredients doled out to a sludge band at conception. All of the abrasive elements we adore are present here, from the down tuned chugging riffs to the gritty film muddying the overall aesthetic, and yet from this mess comes something much more polished and refined than can be expected. Hands down, this is one of the most accessible things I have heard on this end of the doom spectrum this year.

As chock full of pop hits as it is with grinding metallic mayhem, “1823” straddles a high wire that Oh so many have fallen from in the past.  Is it hard enough?  Is it too hard?  Yes to both, really.  It is an album that knows exactly what it wants to do and does so expertly. Soaring operatic vocals lines mix with demonic screeches on the background, while sludgey riffs better the listener with hummable hooks.  Truly an album existing in two places at once, EMBR's debut is one that shows the promise of a band that can just about do it all.

The atmospheric tones of the clean vocals blend well with the grit of the music creating something very reminiscent of the post grunge alternative rock sound of the 90's. While I would be hard pressed to directly compare EMBR with the Breeders, there is a taste of the pop sound meets sullen aggression that is present in their work and that of which they inspired. A sound that lends itself perfectly to bobbed and banged heads alike.

I can see this as an album that is easily brushed aside by elite tier members of the metal fandom for superficial reasons across the board. But at a time when listeners are so flooded with work across the musical spectrum, it is undeniably positive for a metal release to be as head turningly catchy as this one. We simply cannot exist as a genre with the staunch gatekeeping of all things deemed not metal enough due to production value and accessibility anymore. I say it's time for metal to get noticed again, and I think this release may be a prime candidate.

“1823” is available HERE

Band info: Facebook || Bandcamp

Friday 14 August 2020

VIDEO PREMIERE: Pale Horseman, "Tundra"

There’s something about the harsh urban landscapes of Chicago that makes it a breeding ground for sludgy doom metal. Indian, Bongripper, The Atlas Moth, Ledge... and are very own Scientist, that’s just for starters. Another, lesser known name but equally deserving of the spotlight are Pale Horseman, who have been prolific yet consistent in high quality since 2012. Their fifth album, “For Dust Thou Art”, continues the band’s tradition of mixing high-grade misanthropy with apocalyptic visions, and a taste for thundering riffs and rhythms.

We kick off this weekend in magnificent style with the premiere of “Tundra”, with the heaviness of Entombed joining the grandiosity of Mastodon’s sludgy past or Neurosis’ present. Jason Schryver is a powerhouse on drums, driving the song forward at a pace that forces every neck to bend. Resounding Godflesh-esque riffs and thick, intricate bass playing  and the duality Eric Ondo and Andre Almaraz interweaving a melodic sneer and strained howl echoing into the abyss.

The whole song and album for that matter sounds immaculate, so judge for yourself, by checking out the video below.

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Tuesday 11 August 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, "Stygian Bough Volume 1"

 By: Peter Morsellino

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/06/2020
Label: Profound Lore Records

“Stygian Bough Volume 1” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. The Bastard Wind
2. Heaven Torn Low I (the passage)
3. Heaven Torn Low II (the toll)
4. Prelude
5. The Unbodied Air

The Review:

Hauntingly beautiful and dripping with emotion, Bell Witch joins force with Aerial Ruin to deliver a piece of art that is worth many times the sum of its parts.  With “Stygian Bough Volume 1”, we are greeted with an incredibly mature and strikingly artistic take on the doom genre. 

The album casts its spell upon listeners with a weight of immense intimacy, creating a deeply personal connection throughout its hour plus run time.  The emotional toll of this album cannot be understated. It moves slowly and sorrowfully and it inserts the solemn voices directly into the listener's soul.

Melancholic melodies reign supreme here, with powerful funerary passages dotting the release from time to time. Acoustic guitars and soulful vocal passages form the backbone of the album. It has very much of a Jose Gonzalez vibe at times, which is something I never thought I'd say on this blog, but it fits in perfectly. Moments of lightness should not be mistaken for levity here, as the emotional toll of these songs proves to be, at very least, as heavy as anything out on shelves right now.

With passages reaching well into the ten plus minutes marks (and several reaching just about twenty,) this one is a long haul for sure. And yet, the album feels woefully incomplete when consumed in bits and pieces.  You might be there a while, but I would highly recommend taking this one in in one sitting. This is an album that needs to be absorbed whole. It's an experience. A journey. Bell Witch and Aerial Ruin share something deeply personal and profound with listeners here, and it is something that needs to be respected.

The mixing of gentle elements into doom works is nothing new, but here on “Stygian Bough Volume 1”, we are presented with a master class on the matter. This is a game changer for the genre, just wait and see. A stand out album for me this year, and will most certainly be making my list.  Give it a go, you won't regret it.

“Stygian Bough Volume 1” is available HERE

Band info: Bell Witch || Aerial Ruin

Saturday 1 August 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Lantern, "Dimensions"

By: Thomas Gonzales

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/07/2020
Label: Dark Descent Records

“Dimensions” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Strange Nebula
2. Beings
3. Portraits
4. Cauldron of Souls
5. Shrine of Revelation
6. Monolith Abyssal Dimensions

The Review:

It is not often that I am faced with an expired deadline for a review, but, then again, I am also not often relegated to self-imposed quarantine, and social distancing. The last few months have been bizarre to say the least, and while the music industry is far less effected than film, the impacts of COVID-19 cannot be easily ignored. “Dimensions” dropped right at the same time I began preparations to return to work; and for me, Lantern’s latest release, “Dimensions”, was an album deserving of far more than a cursory glance, or half-assed write-up. It is a multilayered effort, deserving of an in-depth vivisection to really analyze each substratum of its composition.

While the actual review portion of the release was heavily procrastinated on, I found myself regularly putting “Dimensions” on play throughout my isolation; there is an explicit atmosphere Lantern communicates with their writing; often bleak and weighty, but the energy is intoxicating. Whether I was doing the dishes, cleaning, or combatting the pandemic with new “COVID Safe Practices” in the workplace, I could find time to enjoy “Dimensions” in my daily life.

Influenced by death, horror, and the occult, their inspiration from the mysterious and macabre, ooze out between their screeching melodies, and thrashing riffs, like a creeping and cognizant ooze of malevolence. It isn’t lighthearted by any means, as showcased in it’s beautiful album cover by Timo Kokko, but as others have said, they are a light in the darkness of Black Metal. It could be the melodic sensibilities in their song writing, or the distinctive vocal work of member Necrophilos; but where you often find chaos in the genre, Lantern breathes a sort of life and order into their exploration of death. Formed in 2007, the current line-up featuring Cruciatus, J. Poussu, St. Belial, and the aforementioned Necrophilos may be their finest effort yet and would not be surprising to see on many year end lists.

Hailing from the fetid womb of our Metal Motherland, Finland, Lantern leads their listeners on a dark journey through the underworld, like Kharon, the ferryman of the River Styx. It is no less dark or depraved than other bands in Black Metal, but there is an almost Alighieri-an poetry, meets Lovecraft nature to their vision. Musically, you can expect a diverse amalgamation of brutality and melody, dusting a metaphorical soundscape of storms and skeletons.  At the end of the day, I am happy to be writing again, and I am glad it was Lantern – “Dimensions” that kicked things back into gear. There is a level of despondence that takes over, when the rush of everyday life stops, and it was art that kept me going in those dark times.

“Dimensions” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook