Either by design or one hell of a stroke of nominative determinism, the London-based 3-piece that are Slabdragger sound every bit of how their name suggests. This is music to move Stonehenge to... But this will not be news to fans of the band's previous album ‘Regress', but rather will cause rabid salivation at the knowledge that 'Rise of the Dawncrusher' - the bands latest full length on Holy Roar Records - is out now.
On a cosmic trip of sludgy-doom, with black metallic shimmers and a punk-like delivery, this pony has many tricks. And the hour-long 5 track record is packed-full of ideas. What excites me about Slabdragger with this record is that it's never formulaic, and as a listener you don't feel there's a roadmap for where they're taking you. 'Progressive' may be seen as a dirty word by some, but this album's inventiveness demands further listens which uncovers elements you don't pick up on first time round.
Opener 'Mercenary Blues' lures you in with a Sabbath-esque groove, before heavy section preceding heavier section... It's a challenge to keep anyone engaged across 12 minutes in today's click-happy world, but this is master craftsmen at work. The other standout track is the brooding ‘Dawncrusher Rising’, which over 15 minutes builds and soars like the awakening of a behemoth from the deepest darkest depths of hell.
It seems the five years plotting their follow up to ‘Regress' has served Slabdragger well. Here's hoping the response to this album will get the band back in the studio a little faster next time round...