Saturday, September 30, 2017

Breaking The Burden...

Yanomamo - Neither Man Nor Beast (2017)

It's been a while since we last heard from the Australian crew of Yanomamo, but with their first full album (scheduled for release on CD and vinyl on October 20th), they've returned in fine form, bringing a bevy of heavy riffs to bear in a set of eight sludge-soaked songs. A choice sample from Caligula kicks off the festivities in “Blood Red, Black God”, from which the band unrolls a slow-beating assault with a sly streak of humor. They work the bass low and dirty, the drums hit hard, and the vocals are suitably grimy, with little flab or redundancy to the songs. I did find myself wanting some more feedback nastiness, but I always want more of that in my sludge consumption.
Yanomamo strike a good balance between that mean leanness and thick, tarry grooves, bringing the album in at a respectable (and vinyl-friendly) forty-five minutes or so. There's a clear stylistic continuity between the songs, but there's also a fair amount of experimenting within that stretch, with the use of flanging strings adding some of the most distinctive tones to the proceedings. Hit this up if you've been seeking some gnarly sludge with strong grooves, and rock well once you've got it.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Attalla, Grey Widow, Meth Drinker, O.D.R.A., Open Tomb


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Churning Out Filth...

O.D.R.A. - V (2017)

The Polish group of O.D.R.A. last crossed our radar back in 2015, with their debut album, Sexnarkoman. The grimy authenticity of their sludge snarling (not to mention their cover art style) put me in mind of early EyeHateGod back then, and two years later (with an appearance on a four-way split LP bridging the two albums) the group still sounds defiant and nasty, starting off their first song (“Motloch”) with a hocked loogie before crashing into grinding bass and ruptured howls.
But there's also some subtle refinement to their feverish aggression on this new album. As they thread together the bone-grinding riffs, there's more direction shaping the songs, even when they hit near-off-the-rails levels of riff-smashing (“Widly”, for instance). At forty minutes across eight songs (nearly a quarter of that given to the closing track, “Tkacze”), the band strikes a good balance between quick action and satisfying substance. Dragging sludge on for too long can kill an album's replay value, or at least reduce it to a few favorite and several skippers, but with the average song on V running four minutes and change, they give themselves room to experiment while still keeping it suitably lean. If you've been hungering for some genuinely nasty sludge lately, give this crew a go, and crank it up loud.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Blind Samson, CEBO, Coffin Torture, Hesperian Death Horse, le bomje


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Fusion Of Fears...

Ksyatriya & Animi Vultus - Discrimination (2017)

It's been too damn long since we heard from either Ksyatriya or Animi Vultus (three years and change since the former's most recent release, and over five years for the latter), so it comes as not just a delight, but a relief to get word from the groups that this split had been put together and was ready to be shared with the world.
Ksyatriya lead the way on the digital A-side, opening with the ~10-minute “(R).egimented (A).utocratic (C).ontrol (I).n the (S).ubdivision of (M).ankind”, a slabby mountain on which the band puts to work samples of diatribes by Malcolm X over craggy riffs and shuddering, thickly-reverbed tones. “Rise of the Femme Order: Bigot Cleansing” makes up the second section of the duo's record half, retaining the heavy bass presence while introducing the words of Emmeline Pankhurst for the ideological component. Both tracks feature careful development of the instrumental shaping, taking the droning thrum and directing it with nudges and anglings of the pulse, and there's a feel not unlike a sociologically-minded take on Bell Witch's “Beneath the Mask”, though the brothers of Ksyatriya give it much more distinction than that simple description suggests.
Animi Vultus' 'B-side' consists of just one track, the sprawling “Joy of Existence”, which clocks in at just over half an hour. In that space, the band grows their titan from quiet beginnings to deep snarls of doomy resonance, on through interludes of quiet menace, and into some violently energized rampages. There's a lot of discrete sectioning, with moments like their defiant digging deeper and deeper into a vein of sustained riffage that gets spikier and meaner with each pass, or the frenetic drumming so fast it's (almost) certainly programmed, or the nasty rumble that sinks, and sinks, and sinks still more. There's some real power and direction behind the voiceless doom they provide, and it finishes the split off on a decisive drop into the void.
It's been a while since I've heard an album, even a single-artist affair, that managed the kind of focus and completion of purpose that this one achieves. The two groups complement each other damn nicely, leaving listeners to guess at how much communication between them went on behind the music's construction, and the tension stretch of the last few minutes comes at a time when the musical handling should have attentive ears dangling on its string. Expect this one on the year's best releases list.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Bongripper, Major Kong, Sunken, White Darkness