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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Sludge: MotherSloth

Stripping away expectation and ignoring trends appear to be parallel endeavors. Depending on subjects and themes, turning off can be either second nature or an exercise in futility. And perhaps I shouldn't cluster heavy instrumental acts into a "trend," that's not fair. What's really going on is that I lately find myself drawn far more to instrumental acts than ever before, which is nowhere more evident than right here every Sunday morning. So rest your weekend ennui on my shoulders, will ya?

If there's an antidote to the tedium and a break from the mold, you'll find it on MotherSloth's five-track sophomore effort, Moribund Star. Following up their 2012 debut with this (mostly) instrumental shape-shifted colossus demonstrates the band's thickened mettle via stoner-sludge tread balanced by soft, subtle doom-rolls. Looks like these four Madrid heshers are done fuckin' around.

Buoyant plucks introduce Hazy Blur of Life, a twelve-minute layered fuzz bath that, as it expands, takes in as much as it gives off. Elements emerge as the track braces for a cosmic death, haunting with gorgeous blur through smooth whispers. Growing to a stomp and hitting incredible depths without alert or apology, the awesome cathartic buzz is an easy Sunday start. Holy Wall, however, follows with jagged guitars and deliberate, jarring slugs. The gentle lead has become a stern yank away from our creature comforts. Pacing shifts, passages are entirely unpredictable, and the subtropic tip-toe is barbed with poisoned arrows and a barrage of cascading flames. As a doom grind descends, we learn peace was never really in reach.

Ominously hovering with long, drawn-out doom, Death Flower is pensive and damn-near vision-inducing. And there's the mask of what's really going on. A hidden, molten landscape unveils and spreads as accomplished guitar licks tickle our feet. Again, there's a betrayal of expectation as calm breaks for mammoth stomps growing in both size and frequency. The brief, intermissionary Blackened Dawn is simple, but bold in its unclad style, offering placid breaths before the closer, Dry Tears. Easing in on tender guitar, there's really a circling of targets. Ghastly tapestries drip with sticky riffs, splitting open and gradually shuffling toward an imminent end. Just as an embrace of cold death seems to blaze all hope, a vocal breathes re-birth into a dying star. Swelling with plod and swirling with stoner-sludge, these sounds hang their heads but boldly face forward.

Rather than shudder and bark back, MotherSloth stare down fate with self-assured structure and weave a nebulous, therapeutic trail of tears. Moods shift with tempos, and expectations (fuck, there's that word again) drown before they even see daylight. Moribund Star hits all the stops without ever detouring, pinching together contemporary progress with a reverence for all that's classic in heavy music. There's no fucking trend. But this is an album I can blame for my amped loyalty to prophetic instrumental peril and the journey on which it takes us.

For fans of: Karma to Burn, Horn of the Rhino, Colour Haze
Pair with: #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, Magic Hat Brewing Company

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