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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Bridegeist

So that digital age of music is waning, eh? Whatever trends these assholes come up with, upward or downward, I'm likely to hunch back and observe before making encompassing statements about the industry. Vinyl is expensive and cumbersome, compact discs have a short shelf life (get 'em outta your car, dumbfuck), mp3's and their compression are compromising quality. I have my own take: digital files are great for sharing, and for an undiscovered band to send me a link or download not only saves them money, it also makes it portable and convenient.

But my biggest reservation with digital music is the lost romance, the impersonal and cold click of a link over the "sssfffttt" of removing a new (or beaten) record from its crisp (or dog-eared) jacket. Music doesn't need to be as one-dimensional as strapping on headphones and walking to school. I need to know what these artists are about, I need to spread open the gatefold and scan the artwork, and sometimes I simply WANT visual movement to parallel a band's best riffs and progressions. Fuck it, blame MTV.

Welcome Wichita's Bridegeist, a psychedelic sludge-doom trio of seasoned heavy hitters specializing not only in devastating audio atmospherics, but also incorporating that oft-neglected visual element. Promising a debut 10" by October's dawn, the band's meld of the ethereal with the staggering is unique and promising. Add Ian Stewart's trippy, warbled visual accompaniments and Bridegeist make their case as the next act you can't miss.

Though the slow-smoked Wolves At Dusk offers no visual sidecar, it's no less worthy of attention. Resonating on goddamn electric riff-clouds and coated in peeling fuzz, you'll numb second-handedly just from the track's drippings. Hand-wrought woodshed guitars have trampled the cautious drums, but this rhythm section also has a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. From every corner, Bridegeist trim fat in slow-motion and lace up with eerie psychedelia, glazing your throat with cosmic whispers among the sludge. The deliciously slow and sticky course meets its fallen bridge with split neuroses via swirling guitar licks, guiding this towering heaviness from overpass mischief toward red-rocket atmospheric ambition. You'll be weak at the knees succumbing to these wolves, friend.

But the looped, echoed warbles are made all the more haunting by Fellini-esque Sex-'N-Satan projections, full realizations of the profane. Storms of static are guided by waves and bursts of strange light. Cavernous whispers are all the more enticing paired with swinging hips. Short of dangling contortionists from rusty chandeliers, Bridegeist offer a full spread of visual stimulation commonly absent from bands' live shows.

For a band dipping their toes in the teeming, fly-laden sludge/doom abyss, Bridegeist have found more than one way to set apart themselves. If their upcoming release offers as much gut-rotted heaviness as Wolves At Dusk, we'll all have a reason to flush our expired prescriptions. Whatever images the sounds evoke in our minds certainly won't hold a black candle to Ian Stewart's live projections, however. You never thought a road trip to Wichita was in your future. Well...

For fans of: Ufomammut, Bongripper, Neurosis
Pair with: RuinTen IPA, Stone Brewing Co.

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