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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Grey Widow - "I"

At age ten, I developed a strong mistrust of the outdoors. I spent five nights in a tent creepy-crawled with pests after Troop 52 paired me with a kid who seemed to love killing shit. So the thought of a silverfish exploring his collar never bothered him. Before long, as my friends climbed trees and dismembered insects, I found I couldn't lay in a patch of grass without feeling trespassed. I couldn't tolerate grime under my fingernails. I shook when a bike ride took us to a land development offering mounds of black dirt to ramp, opting to face the taunts of my peers rather than risk my fingers sticking together or my ear getting doubled over. Yeah, bro... I was a pussy.

There's a moment on Grey Widow's I that took me straight back to that tent. Beyond the midpoint of track IV exists a sparse, backmasked passage littered with wooded whispers and trippy campfire snickers that'll keep me out of a tent until I'm long dead. And perhaps that's the highest compliment I can pay to Grey Widow, a blackened UK quartet that offers nothing your dry, rattled heart won't love. The sludge sticks, the doom sways, and the violence numbs every sense until you need someone to wipe you down with a warm, wet rag.

You'll get your money's worth here. Eight tracks spanning fifty-seven minutes, hovering endlessly on drone and death-rattled buzz, craft a paranoia via moss-coated monoliths and calculated repetition. Absolutely vile, viscous, and violent, you may find the songs offer more filth and staggering thickness than you're willing to handle. Grey Widow utilize every moment to deliver a slow-motion chest-caving peppered with smoke breaks and ominous lunges.

This is no one hour grinded haze, though. The vocal tandem is simply shared pain, a bad cop-bad cop dynamic designed to drill home your worthlessness. Whether snailed or torrid, the pace reveals a focus, a frayed perspective honing doom chops like drunken giants with visions of murder and molten malevolence. Riffs hover and hang like tattered tapestries of dried flesh while the backdrop of splintered redwoods thumps sheepskin and offers a distant spite that progressively spills into your wheelhouse.

After four tracks, I found myself wondering where the album stood among 2014's best. The collection's back end cemented my view, offering two nine-minute cruisers dishing a paranoia that... wait, I'm NOT paranoid; there really is something out there. Over there. Under there. Fuck. The warring of psyches is never snuffed, just numbed-out. The blanket of spanning doom descending over everything leaves behind vast, gaping expanses on VIII. Difficult as it is to select a defining track, this depth charge chatter of reverb and collective collateral damage offers primitive reprieve, only to pull out the rug and stun listeners just once more.

I'll be writing about this again come December. Grey Widow's I shifts paces and left my face a tad swollen. These Sunday morning sludge welts sting like your shit-faced father's faux leather belt, lacing your back and leaving your living room carpet caked with blood. Buzzing like a fresh wound and hissing like a cracked engine, this album's gonna spend a little time with me. In a daze, I drooled when these sounds drove a knobby knee into my crooked smile. Doom, despair, and a clubbing without discrimination? I may not remember much, but my dentist clearly thinks I need help.

For fans of: Iron Monkey, Graves At Sea, Dark Castle
Pair with: Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Founder's Brewing

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