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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Lothorian - "Welldweller"

I'm trying real hard not to wake up the rest of the family. You've got one passed out on the couch, another upstairs tossing and churning in a sea of stuffed dogs and Lego bricks, and who knows what kind o' shit the others could get into if they're shaken awake by the death rattling from my speakers. I may not have the luxury to "crank that shit," but a good pair of headphones should do the trick.

Belgium's Lothorian are no strangers to Heavy Planet, and we're finally able to give a fair tug to their six-track sonic titan Welldweller. If you read the rest of today's feature, you're wasting time you could spend buying this epic stoner-sludge landmark and getting unzipped with your buddies. Please, you're not gonna hurt my feelings. It's a fucking miracle I can even see through the haze well enough to wipe the mud from my computer screen.

Welldweller strikes hard and deep from the onset of Witchunt, creeping and humming toward a filthy drop of doom. The sound is immediately thick and beautifully slow, and it gets harder to pull away (or pull out) with each buzzing riff. The long roll of heavy-handed drums paces the coagulating molasses and listeners hang from a rotted vine that could break at any moment. It's a promising opener that'll numb away the vacuous routine you've adopted as "life."

The title track follows, burning through riffs and plodding under a Dax Riggs-esque vocal. As stoner elements jack up, the murk is dusted with quick grit for more than a textural departure. In fact, Lothorian begin sounding more like themselves as they expand their scope. The rhythmic crunch promised earlier is not only maintained, it's amplified. But as licks split away from first gear, Lothorian are busy crawling into the back of your head, digging for a place to fester.

The album hits its gait on Atmosphere and Doomsday Calling. There's no denying the fuzz, but doctors couldn't have warned of the immediate burning sensation. Atmosphere's stomp meets a cavernous cathedral vocal that serves as the male counterpart to Monarch's Emilie Bresson. The echoes and reverberations welcome the Electric Wizard-influence of Doomsday Calling. This seven-minute crusher holds a massive fucking Supercoven-inspired structure with doom strokes atop a foundation that can't be shaken. The song's bleak outlook is embraced while nooks and crannies are filled with nuance and lost hope. When the tempos lift, your greasy mane is blown back by Lothorian's second wind.

Unpredictable pacing on Cult is only part of the track's appeal. A return to the promise of sludge/doom form, these moments are the album's most dense and decadent. Drumwork is showcased, and how these riffs don't trip over their own thickness is an exercise in brilliance. As the sludge staggers, giants stomp out a village fire they clearly started. The riffage continues with Shallow Ground, a closer breeding an underlying accessibility through solid structure. We're taken on a sticky sway, locked in and slugged straight into our dullest senses. Your brain is rattled, your skull is scraped and caked. And you're sure to hit repeat and go right back for more.

Welldweller isn't gonna do anyone any good unless it's played LOUD. Whether it's filtered through a soundsystem or some mangled ear buds doesn't matter, really. The crushing weight of every note deserves your engrossment. Your girlfriend's gonna bitch about the footprints on the carpet. But did you really expect her to be understanding? Lothorian blend elements well-enough to clip a ring through your nose and drag you at varying speeds through the dark and the dirty. Thank you, sir! May I have another?

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