Sunday, June 2, 2013
Sunday Sludge: Hog Truck
I fell in love with the grunge of the Pacific Northwest long before I'd heard anyone whisper on "sludge metal." Perhaps the formative precursors of Green River and Mudhoney led me into elements both darker and thicker. Hell, had I jumped straight into Acid Bath and Buzzov*en, I may have just shit my pants and developed a chemical dependency. At 12, I'd abandoned any interest in Motley Crue or Queensryche and sought out the distortion and angst that grunge offered.
All that being said, there aren't many contemporary acts I can say carry a primarily grunge sound. Catania, Italy's Hog Truck take heavily from 90's Seattle, while at the same time hold enough sludge metal elements to carve their own nook. Heavy distortion, gruff vocals, and low-slung rhythms are elemental delights on this two-track EP. Repetitive churns balance tight instrumentation to snugly cement Hog Truck somewhere between grunge and sludge-metal that carries a whisper of alternative psychedelia.
Gridlock opens on fuzzy licks and hollow-carved drums, carrying a dense fog of smoke and cymbals that transcends genres and influences. You'll hear the stain of Tad and Melvins, but Hog Truck aren't set on re-hashing the sounds of pioneers. Daniel Laudicina steadily smacks skins like punching holes in a hanging tapestry of thick plastic. Near track's end, Frank Tudisco's vocal spiral wraps loose, rusty chains around adjacent elements and drags the sound straight into a vortex of screeches and slaps that carries you with it.
Balancing with Never Change, the EP's sound transitions toward loose bass thumbings and Frank Orlando's grinding buzzsaw guitars. The track is more abrasive at all corners, while the mood is darker and much less forgiving. The bass puddles complement the eventual swirl of licks, crafting another evolving and revolving tune that wraps listeners in the hope that Hog Truck will, in fact, never change.
Hog Truck won't draw out their passages or flirt with non-ideas, they get straight to the point. If these two tracks are an indication of what's to come, let's hope the band stays focused and hits us with a full-length soon. This EP took me back to flannel and cut-off jeans, and it felt so fucking good. But clouding and shadowing things a bit also puts the band in line with every Sunday morning of the past two years. Sunday Sludge/Grunge? Well, we haven't done this before. So to the purists, I'm sorry. I just had to have one last dance.