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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Graves At Sea / Sourvein - Split EP

Pastels piss me off. I can't stand the soft hues and saturation of all things spring, and Easter is particularly irritating for a myriad of reasons. It's everywhere, and so are the lies and misconceptions. Think of it as Thanksgiving's cute younger sister who pretends she isn't a dirty little whore.

I needed to blacken my season, particularly on a day like today. It didn't take long to find the perfect sludge/doom one-two, transcending coasts and spreading slow, steaming shit across my neighbor's holiday display. Cave-crawlers Graves at Sea lace up with veteran plodders Sourvein for a split that'll answer everyone's questions as to why you didn't make it to church this morning. These five tracks are low, filthy, and quite the opposite of the sunny-sided optimism taped to suburban windows.

Graves at Sea take first crack at convention on a Billy Anderson-recorded tandem of Betting On Black and Confession. The former offers an ominous and haunting drone hover until we're staggered by a collapse of grinding doom. Thunderous slugs welcome the trademark vocal accost of Gollum and abundant abrasion. Rhythms lurch and lag, pushing and dragging under a mood despondent with slivers of deception. The plod and stomp are snuffed by filthy swirls as we're reminded "You're born into this world of shit, and then you die."

Confession is only a tad more uptempo, courtesy of drum flurries until swayed-timber pacing returns. Violence is dealt with undeniable, unstoppable clout as temperatures steadily rise throughout the track. Sticky repetition brings the burn to a numbness, reigns continuously loosen only to re-tighten. When the elements break for a sparse riff reprieve, we're foolish to think we won't soon be crippled under a caked slab of beefy guitars. Chops quicken, the trot grows frantic, and our heads are swiveled.

Sourvein, on the other hand, craft a doom-and-shroom triptych of groove-laden sludge that's as thick and tasty as anything they've done. Drifter plods through murk and T.Roy may have cut back on chewing shattered glass, his pipes echoing into a nod of doom's history. The track steadily drives deeper amid a thicket of threaded psychedelia, and a guitar solo uncoils to punch the track's mossy tapestry into oblivion.

The warbled, weird Equinox agonizes with droning sustain, hovering until reverb shakes its skin with an intermissionary vibe. It's so fucking cool, and Follow The Light is the perfect *ahem* follow-up. Pendulums swing with morose realization, begging the questions "What light?" This closer is thick, yet bitten with swaying groove that lifts briefly. The track's midpoint is drenched in distortion, loaded on chewy riffs too big to swallow. Guitar licks try to spoil the buzz, but what they really accomplish is expanding the mindfuck. Meat cleaver drums drive us home as Mike Dean begins accruing accolades for his production.

These bands are to one another both kin and complement, as the sounds thumb a parallel helix yet manage to separate themselves from one another just enough. But that's hardly the success here. Each song on either side serves as its own showcase of a band intent on keeping too many false smiles from polluting our planet. This split simply crushes from either side of the wax. It's a tad bright outside for my squints to adjust, so I'm gonna sit here in my basement, blast this staggering marriage of dissonance and harmony, and wait for the fuzz to pound my front door.

For fans of: Buzzov*en, EYEHATEGOD, Electric Wizard
Pair with: Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Founders Brewing Co.

Reach back for a taste until your copy arrives in the mail...

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