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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
HEAVY VOODOO
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
SPIRITUAL VOID
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
SOUTHERN STATE
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
HYPERGIANT
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
KHEMMIS
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
BITCHCRAFT
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
DRUG MOTHER
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
SPIRAL GURU
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
TIMESTONE
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
RHINO
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
SOLAIRE
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
HADDOCK
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
VALFADER
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
BRUNT
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
MATUSHKA
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
MOPE
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
LANDSKAP
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
TOMBSEALER
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
SLUG SALT LAVA
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
MIST
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
GRIT
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
9OZ OF NOTHING
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
BRILLIANT MACHINE
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
OUTWAILED
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
YURI GAGARIN
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
BLACK SNAKE
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
OMEGA SUN
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Black Sheep Wall - "It Begins Again" (EP)


Those ghost-hunting programs on television can't be real, right? Capturing enough footage in single visits to hotbeds of paranormal interference seems too hit-or-miss to carry a series through multiple episodes, let alone multiple seasons. I still watch them, they still make me walk sideways up a flight of stairs, and I still have a strong belief that ghosts walk by us. But the curiosities don't end at whether or not spirits exist. If I'm feeling this uneasy, what are the dead actually feeling?

If there's a medium between myself (the observer) and the dead (the observed), I'd argue that Black Sheep Wall have laid it to tape. 2012's No Matter Where It Ends was a thunderous chug of thick serum that, for all the abrasion it caused, still managed to coat the throat and numb the pain. What follows on 2013's EP It Begins Again is an icy sheet of nightmarish sludge, stumbling in limbo with one hand in the mist and the other in the soil. All at once even more crushing and holding more beauty than its predecessor, Black Sheep Wall marry the tangible with the fleeting.

Immediately lonely and cavernous, the EP opens with Ancient Fvck, an ill-willed hunt entwined in laughter and panning predation. Quite ominous, not quite pretentious for all its post-blackened elements, the canvas of grief and gray acceptance is haunting and exhausting. It's been ages since I've heard anything so heavy in BOTH sound and theme. Black Sheep Wall find a Clockwork Orange-balance of the synthetic, the organic, and the unsettling, employing vocals both robotic and tortured (inviting along original vocalist Jeff Ventimiglia). The rhythms never sink, but they don't dare try and keep afloat either. The choral accompaniment is utterly chilling, and Ancient Fvck is an early candidate for the most complete sludge track of 2013. Oh, what a bold statement, Seth!

Provider follows with a more subdued vibe, lulled by cavernous chants and lilting, tinny licks. But when that sticky sludge storms in, BSW have us right where they want us. Matted fur is merely collateral damage; bass hits below the belt and the hope-laden licks are knocked down with strong structures and incredible control over instruments. Drums are the backbone, but Black Sheep Wall as a whole are beginning to contemplate life as thick repetition wails and wanes. These pockets of dense, jolting buzz punctuate a black tapestry of fractured of existence. Trust the smack across your lips; it may be the last human contact you'll know.

Screening and analyzing Evangelic Exorcism would be like giving thumbs-up to a funeral. Jesus Christ, these somber keys and empty air lose comfort and succeed admirably in their bid to discover an unsettling tone. But when the clicks greet the wind and offer an inhaled, encompassing warmth, the band's confidence shines and listeners are thrown back. It's wild, considering most bands have to shake and stomp to earn your attention. When the piano relents, thank the white noise for its haunt and comfort. And when your stomach sits warm with smooth reflection, thank the old neighbor lady who spent hours in your living room minimizing the distraction of teenage sex. It's not sludge. In fact, it's quite the opposite. And it's fucking gorgeous from brim to barrel.

This is a step forward. Oh, I love those bands who never change lineups or ideologies or simple sound, but when a band's spark can grow to a steady, glowing ember is when their impact becomes fully realized. Bristling, alive, and eerily adrift, It Begins Again holds all you'd want in a record. Crushing at points, completely somber at others, you'd struggle to find a weak corner. If the wandering dead had a playlist, these three tracks would be on it. You won't say it spans the human experience because half of the human experience is unknown. Perhaps, though, this is what the other side sounds like. Goddamn, THAT'S heavy.




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