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April 21, 2014
TOKERidiculous riffing, slow and nasty doom grooves from Wilmington, NC.
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April 17, 2014
ORYXDunes of droning hypnotic sludge from the deserts of Las Cruces, NM.
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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Vulgaari

If I had a dirty nickel for every unique and distinct sludge riff I've had slung my way, many would still call me broke. I love metal's grimiest sub-genre, as much as I hate to label and over-categorize its card-carriers. But let's cut the shit: it's hard to break from the pack and truly accrue some accolades. Then again, I can't tell the difference between The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, or any of the other horseshit bands sucking the life from American thirty-somethings. So when I'm met with dickheads asserting sludge bands "all sound the same," I can't blame them. Sometimes they're right, even if they got there using an ignorant blanket statement.

Anyone ever been to Minneapolis, Minnesota? I thought Illinois was cold, but at 19 I learned Minnesota's gray skies and frigid stiffness cut a little deeper. But The Gopher State has recently offered up some acts that I'll have trouble forgetting. Add sludgers Vulgaari to a promising litany of snowshoe stompers that find time to spew some awesomely heavy tunes when they're not scraping their windows or pissing their name into piles of sooty snow.

A studio two-piece that expands to a live quintet, Vulgaari began with no intention of composing an actual release for mass consumption. You might say the well's been poisoned, as the band's self-titled debut is nine crushing tracks of sludgy doom rhythms wrapped in proficient axe-manship. When the monstrous riffage isn't plowing through your living room, the cosmic shots licking the sky's underbelly will leave dogs running in circles. There's enough murk here to stick to your boots, but what sets apart Vulgaari is the melodies crafted around the low tempos. I hate it when a review tells me "there's something here for everyone," but I can't think of another way to say so.

Opening on A World Created, an immediacy of string scratchings melds a despondent churn and hollow instrumentation. Guitars mirror Zakk Wylde, but Zack Kinsey's Molotov death growl is executed perfectly amid the swirling, screeching licks and sonic spirals. And those licks develop into a majestic Norse ascent on Match, an indulgent and misanthropic dick-rub that spits, burns, and only briefly stops to breathe. The guitar is most brightly lit on Outride the Reaper with bisected density and a promised intermission that's quickly abandoned. Whew. It's hollow, it's beastly, and its highest compliments will include multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. You're quickly exposed to varying levels of influence and approach, and a band that dismisses the pigeonhole is a band you won't soon forget.

Battlestag is the disc's poster child for sludge cadence marrying power metal guitar prowess. When Vulgaari aren't pinning your shoulders to wet earth, they're burning your senses with hot smoke. Long pauses, primitive thuds, and pacing that moves between a tortoise and a skittish crack-rabbit all blend for an excellent showcase of what the band is all about. But when it's straight sludge being choked out, it's pretty fuckin' stellar. Black Mountain wastes no time in growing vile and abrasive. You'll be riddled with welts from the steady repetition, but those guitar stutters perfectly glaze the mud.

I could truly go on forever. I scribbled a mountain of notes on this release, using more adjectives than I knew existed for a Sunday Sludge feature. Slow fuzz a la Weedeater plugs and plods on 77 74 until those licks return to cleft sludge palates. Forever Roam is a swarming descent of buzzing hornets, ambitious but unrivaled in terms of stylistic blends.  You don't know if you should run or simply weep. And the pensive and observant Dirt from the Grave overlooks the pass to assess a terrain obliterated over the first 8 tracks. The unsettling clamor forms the perfect end of times, you might say.

I can't find a red flag here. Vulgaari break from the pack and serve every metal fan a dose of all they've ever needed. There's no picking and choosing, no sampler pack. This is stoner-sludge-doom kissed with melodic power metal, all beautifully realized and well-executed. The steady burn makes you forget the ache, while the licks simply daze and astound. The next time some pretentious black metal prick in a Behemoth t-shirt wants to attack your patches or dismiss Post Progressive Blackened Avant Thrashgrind Thallcore, perhaps he's just asking for you to introduce him to Vulgaari. Immediately after you punch him in the face.

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