Dope Skum - Tanasi (2021)
Rising up from Chattanooga, Tennessee, this two-piece group works a guitar-and-drums approach to sludge (with a few choice booms of bass), letting the punkier side of the style's roots show through in the leanness. Tanasi (try saying it out loud, with a bit of twang) is their first EP, following up on the advance single of “Feast of Snakes”, which is also the first track on the EP.
In said song, the duo work a grinding groove, with gritty production and dirty vocals keeping things grounded. The vocals and instruments twine together well around the main riff, which has a big enough hook to leave it stuck in your head for days. After that, “Anxiety” takes over, creeping along on a snaking rhythm, and letting it build up a while before adding in the vocals. It's one of the spacier tracks of the EP, but with relatively little feedback drenching it, making for an interesting dynamic.
“Chickamauga” takes center space in the track line-up, the title giving another nod to the group's locale. With this track, the band slips further into the moody instrumental groove, keeping enough uneasiness baked in to keep listeners on their toes. Some big drum boosting towards the end, along with plenty of cymbal-riding, makes this more of a showpiece for the drummer, though the guitar strains are a solid touch. “The Levee” picks up from there, and despite a quick run-time, it sets up a fun give-and-take roll on the rhythms, with a big and chunky culmination.
Lastly, “Mountain Cur” picks up the pace for an aggressive finish, gnarling through more feedback than the rest of the EP, though it comes to an abrupt stop. It still makes for a fun first effort from the group, with enough energy and exploration to entice further listening. Give it a go if you're looking for some sludge without all the studio polish most of it seems to get these days.
For Fans Of; Clutch, Dopethrone, EyeHateGod, Iron Monkey, Weedeater