This has been a difficult review to write, as originally, what you read before you was simply three words, three accurate words though, but a record can’t simply be narrowed down to such vague minded simplicity, but yet, when it comes to Hogslayer, those three words keep racing to the front of the mind: HEAVY, PUNISHING, and BRUTAL!
Let’s look at those things individually:
HEAVY: What the Cardiff, Wales, sludgers have done on their second record, Defacer (released on the excellent Undergroove label) almost goes beyond heavy, grabbing hold of the aftermath of a heavy sound’s death and stretching it to the far reaches of what you think you can take, into glorious five to seven minute deadly songs filled with venom and hate, all the while crushing your lung capacity to suffocating measures. Opening track ‘Slowhawk’ starts the record as the band mean to go on, relentless skull fucking your ill prepared ears with. Speaking of being relentless
PUNISHING: Hogslayer simply never let up! Their sludge/noise/doomy mega onslaught is not for the faint hearted, it’s a mix of guttural screams from a man at the end of his tether, it’s drumming that breaks the skins, sticks, and kit of every set they touch, and it’s guitars that not only grind away at the nuts and bolts of the frameworks of each song, they are riffs to do some serious damage to, as your head becomes an uncontrollable pneumatic drill of motion, and on the pattern goes, trudging through every thickly layered song, never, ever, pausing for a respite, and your tattered soul can be thankful for that as the title track does actually feel like a physical assault on your being; and that is how we get to:
BRUTALITY: Going into a sludge or noise record, you pretty much know what to expect, it isn’t going to be something you’ll be whistling as you skip to work on a sunny day. What Hogslayer have done is to reach a new level of heaviness that still retains the song’s core structure and most importantly its tune, withstanding its own wall of noise, but still destroying everything around them. These areas are where the doom elements of the band come into play, as the appropriately titled ‘Bludgeon’ showcases to perfection. It is often said that music should emit an emotional response, and if you’re not just a little bit scared of Hogslayer, you’re a double hard bastard I wouldn’t like to meet down an alleyway at night.
Defacer is a record that is quite beautiful really (perhaps not a word used very often with this genre). They’ve set out to write songs in the heaviest way they can, without losing track of their goals, adding walls of sound, spite, aggression, bruising riffs, apocalyptic vocals, but still crafting a piece of music which draws you in, and bewitches you for it’s duration. We can’t say you won’t come out of the other side a slightly more damaged individual, but it’s a musical ride you simply have to be a part of.