Doom/Sludge Roundup: The Body + Moss + Balam + Grime

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Reviews by Jason Guest

Futility, indifference and apathy having long consumed our spirits, what have we left to offer to the big black shape with eyes of fire that stands before us? With our earthly souls bereft of joy, of hope, of even the vaguest shade of mirth, all that remains for the impious imp to sup upon is our Weltschmerz. Were that not enough, then perhaps he could devour one or more of the four doom/sludge releases reviewed below. Why not join him?

  • The Body – Master, We Perish
  • Moss – Moss’s Horrible Night
  • Balam – Self-titled début
  • Grime – Deteriorate

 

The Body – Master, We Perish

Designed to unnerve and unsettle, the sound of an airstrike siren is a most apt introduction to The Body’s latest EP, Master, We Perish, such is the horror that ensues. The tumultuous and cacophonous sounds that collapse into and collide with each other in opening track ‘The Ebb And Flow Of Tides In A Sea Of Ash’ make for an eerie and disarming experience. This suffocating melange of maniacal drums, excruciating screams, and abrasive noise is followed by the desolate guitar chords and hauntingly angelic voices of ‘The Blessed Lay Down And Writhe In Agony’. A slow burner, drums emerge and a rising tide of doom chords spill onto the surface and pandemonium unfolds. Already, this EP is incredible. So then, what of track three, ‘Worship’? Its nine minutes is breath-taking. The Bacchanalian rhythms that underpin this track are no less than mesmerising, trance-inducing even, with feedback swirling in their malefic, sinister air until the profane ritual comes to a crushing close.

The Body - Master We Perish 2013

The Body have long been exploring the penumbras of music, the dark verge where chaos and desolation collide, and long has their menace been in its ascent. There’s no other way to put this; this is utterly dreadful.

8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. The Ebb And Flow Of Tides In A Sea Of Ash
  2. The Blessed Lay Down And Writhe In Agony
  3. Worship

 

Moss – Moss’s Horrible Night

Rise Above Records

Dwelling in vast chasms into whose depths we are helplessly shoved and duly spat out of into ominous groundswells of torment and colossal droning feedback, for the third studio album in their thirteen years – and first in five – Southampton’s Moss have made a couple of changes. First, once-savage mouthpiece Olly Pearson has taken a very different approach to his vocals: this time he’s in singing mode. Shaded with reverb, his vocals have a lost and fragile feel to them that bestow upon the tracks much more potency than they would have had he retained the same approach of the band’s previous works. Second, instead of playing their riffs out for what more often than not felt like an eternity, the tracks are more coherent, focussed, concentrated.

While the sluggish motion of the tracks belies their urgency, this is where the cohesive nature of Moss’s Horrible Night begins to emerge and so what may be considered perhaps a flaw in their previous efforts, here, each of the tracks feels like an essential part of the big picture. With fuzzed-to-fuck – even anthemic at times – riffs resplendent in menace, dark distortion, and almost otherworldly atmospherics, each track feels more a continuum and so the album becomes something much greater than its component parts. This may be less belligerent than its predecessors but Moss’s Horrible Night marks a significant shift for the band in a direction that has manifest itself in a doom album much deserving of your attention.

Moss - Horrible Night 20137 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Horrible Night
  2. Bleeding Years
  3. Dark Lady
  4. Dreams From The Depths
  5. Coral Of Chaos
  6. I Saw Them That Night

 

Balam – Balam

Mordgrimm Records

Dear reader, you may deem it necessary to advise friends, family and followers to stand well clear when you intend to play Balam’s début. The eerily-swirling feedback that opens ‘The Followed’ is no more than a cunning caution, a warning of the wrapped-in-fuzz heft that is soon to follow. Devastating doom chords, slow, hypnotic, crushing stomps, from gentle rhythmic pulses to towering infernos of infernal throbbing gristle, this slow-burning bulk is laced with the odd progressive element and plenty in the way of ethereal textures. Alexander Carellas’ vocals linger long across the doomed grooves, his melodies concentrated and lyrics as concise as the turbulence incurred by each track’s commanding stature. Enchanting, enthralling, and mesmerising, the début album from this Rhode Island quintet recorded as a demo – but you wouldn’t think so from the outstanding production – portends a promising future.

Balam 20137 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Followed
  2. Soul Scour
  3. Dark Door

 

 

Grime – Deteriorate

Mordgrimm Records

Grime by name and certainly by nature, this début is filthy. Encrusted in torpid tempos, caustic distortion, and bilious indiscriminate rage, from start to finish, the revolting stench that arises from the tepid, simmering swamp that is Deteriorate is malevolence incarnate. Grime drag us deep into their putrid pit with thick, dense and serrated riffs, drums beaten with sledgehammers, and a vocal that spits pure rage and rancour from a razor-torn throat. Like wading in wet cement, any resistant urge to escape the brutality of this album is futile. Deteriorate bears not a shred of sympathy, sentiment or sensitivity. Noxious, hostile and narcotic, while this odious beast attempts to encapsulate all that is abhorrent, it’s not long before this river of human waste begins to run dry. Though ‘Giving Up’, ‘Restless Man’, and ‘Pills’ stand out the most, the riffs are there, the venomous bile is there, the power is there, but very soon the tracks become indistinguishable, their gruesome sludge consuming the individualism of this album. A good début, but still a way to go.

Wilson Associates6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Burning Down The Cross
  2. Pouring Out The Hatred
  3. Down By The River Of Dreg
  4. Giving Up
  5. Deep Cut
  6. Restless Man
  7. Pills
  8. Idiot God

 

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