Planet of the Dead - Pilgrims (2021)
Following up on their debut album from February of last year, the New Zealander quartet of Planet Of The Dead have made quick turn-around to bring us this sophomore LP. Filled with references to sci-fi hallmarks like Alien, Dune, and RoboCop in the track titles and lyrics, with asteroid-drifting art for the album cover, the band makes no bones about their inspirations and pop culture fondnesses.
Opening with “Gom Jabbar”, the band takes a few moments for spaceship engine noise feedback to set an atmosphere before crashing into full sludge banger mode. Confident guitar crunch and flavorful bass-lines join the cymbal-heavy percussion and deep growls from the vocalist, coming together as a tight sludge package. The rest of the album doesn't drift far from that initial MO, but each song does get some tweaks to help it stand out. For semi-title-track “Pilgrim”, for instance, there's more of a groove focus, while “Nostromo” gets some slowed breaks, “The Sprawl” lets in some tasty soloing, and so on.
For those looking for sludge with overt sci-fi flavoring, news of PotD's continued output should come as welcome news. The band's willingness to switch to doomier slowness for breakdowns serves the spacy settings well, and a scattering of opening samples from the referenced movies add an extra touch of fun. With all the color pressings of their previous album already sold out (and one of the special pressings for this one already in the same boat), you'll want to act fast if you prefer your sludge on wax. Whether the band keeps up their annual schedule, or spaces the next one out a bit more, they're certainly becoming big players in a niche sub-genre.
For Fans Of; Gallileous, giant gutter from outer space, Space God Ritual, Tides of Sulfur, Voidlurker