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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Ooze

The bulk of my Saturday was spent in an Indiana town sampling and celebrating various Dark Lord sticky syrups, coating my gullet with hefty shares from complete strangers quickly becoming bonded enthusiasts. The flavors, the notes, the metal spraying from the stage, the warmth between the winds... It somehow adds up to even more than the sum of its parts. What results is an ungodly palatable thickness and a feeling that if I enjoy this too much, I may find myself knee-deep in some shit.

To follow-up with the most appropriate Sunday Sludge act seemed a daunting endeavor given the shellacking dealt to my pre-frontal cortex just hours earlier. But Trieste, Italy's stoner-sludge quartet Ooze offer a supplement that's as effective as any. Ten quick rolls and churns on their self-titled follow-up to 2012's Sister Tank serve a viscous pairing that dodges the pitfalls of over-thinking or digging too deep for too long. The tempos hold steady, the sludge underlayment never dries out, and the tips of your fingers are caked with earthen honey.

When Ooze hit the gas, there's a dirty groove rousing your guilt and burning the back of your neck. Thankless Life keeps things evil with vile vocals and drums fluttering with clout. The movement of Experience The Hatred is glazed with unapologetic marquee guitars, a thumping wolf at the door marking this as just one of the album's rhythmic highlights. As the screeches of Dope Visions collapse, the infliction evolves into cool stoner-sludge balancing the jostle with the buzz. Ooze spread it smooth only to hammer it with clenched fists.

Night Gastic Reflux is choppy with hovering sustain, breaking to attack thick timber and level it with a chainsaw. That hover returns on the cymbal-heavy The Smoke Told Me How, fuzzed out and burning on slow deception. Here the boys stomp, glare, and snuff out the escape with thunderous slugs and sharp jabs. But the highlight of the album's thorax ultimately rests with the final minute of Theft of State. An ominous crafting of slick, wet cobblestones at first seems like a placid moment of clarity by comparison. But what underlies? Broken chains, a beast unleashed, and an assault of uptempo abandon.

The ash-sifting lurches of Shrine counter the track's horse-collar, but as the ascension becomes more focused, we're dealt piercing sustain. Oh, there's that hovering tapestry again, this time dark with promise. The sludgy gait remains evident through the album's closer, Row to the Guillotine, leaving a trail of murk and sticking to hooves. The slow roll-out is unsettled and we're left braised and road-rashed. I'll have another.

Ooze sway with a stagger, but they manage to keep one eye open. When velcro meets matted hair with this much deliberate trot, it's difficult to free an arm. They'll drag us through moments of swampy despair only to sling us upward with barbed guitars. But Ooze consistently return us to that humming comfort somewhere between filthy and tense. And that intermittent back-end kick is only way to know you're really alive.

For fans of: Eyehategod, Noothgrush, Fistula
Pair with: Dark Lord Russian Style Imperial Stout, Three Floyds Brewing

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