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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Sludge: Galaxicon - "Old Gods"

I'm not sure why everyone so eagerly anticipates summer. Every asshole who wasted winter breaths saying things like "Cold enough for ya?" or "Sure wish the sun would poke its head out" is now shoved into a corner fanning himself and yelling at his pets. So if you absolutely MUST leave your companions in makeshift saunas called cars, at least give 'em something to hear as they slowly submit. But no mutt deserves to suffer through that shitty Gotye song that has everyone fooled. Set the mood with Memphis, Tennessee's Galaxicon and make the most of those final moments.

July 7th will mark the release of Galaxicon's full-length debut, Old Gods. Themes of hopelessness, suicide, and existential doubt permeate these six sludge trips, strung together by ominous screeches, rhythmic shifts, and a thick crunch that'll crack your skin and shake your blood. There's more than straight-up swamp-ass sludge here; elements of black metal, progressive rock, and more than a spoonful of doom all contribute to a sound that melds tradition with progress.

Opening with a drum-trot/guitar-pan tandem, Serpent Savior is thick with clouded sludge under Ben's howling licks.  Dual vocals boast a stylistic split that contemporaries would envy, as any of the band members on their own could front Galaxicon.  The timing changes also showcase varying approaches, while the drone-laden shifts and pauses rattle your head and stick like wet socks.  Immediately following is Rapture of the Deep, a slow knuckle-drag cruise toward a fuzzy, down-tuned stagger. The dirge never wanders, and the track's breakdown into a simmering swarm is progressively and perfectly punctuated.  Enter the hive, stutter your steps, and seek new truths.

There's plenty of reverb hover on Snake Oil.  Paul's drums pace a primal, patient march toward demise.  Choppy, crunchy sludge enters a field of near-psychedelic fuzz funneled through Shawn's loose bass tones.  Riff-driven and loaded with gravity, the track boasts a hollow thump of unknown fate. Galaxicon burn through the final minute with a stoner-groove sidecar to the low-slung sludge, and the result is one of the album's more accessible moments.

The unnerving buzz of scraping static implies the band is hiding something on Innkeeper, Old God's closer.  Quicker and even more brutal than the disc's earlier passages, rhythms clunk under soaring desperation.  The blackened sludge is progressive in its shifts, and you envision a molten river approaching a quiet village.  Warbling buzz is the carry-out, and you sense you'll be picking this shit from your teeth for weeks.

Galaxicon, for all their shifts and stylistic marriages, manage to keep their finger on the heavy.  From the sped-up meth-sludge of Pyramid of the Sea to the riff-reverb-riff dynamic of The Key, The Gate, The Light to the calculated boot-stomps of every note the band touches, listeners are getting their asses handed to them.  Steady, often fuzzy, and cloaked in uncertainty, Old Gods attaches grinding buzz to metered chaos and pokes us into sludge-doom bliss.  There's some dark, spooky shit here.  So if the sun blisters your skin and the humidity coats you like a wet towel, just crank this in your basement and keep to yourself. Old Gods should tide you over until fall returns.

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